Pregnant? Here's Another Reason to Avoid Exposure to Common Household Chemicals

Some common household items could put pregnant women's unborn children at risk, new research from the the journal Epidemiology shows.

The study found that a woman's exposure to a group of chemicals called phenols, especially triclosan and parabens, which are found in many soaps and cosmetics, were linked to baby boys' increased birth weights at birth and also at age 3. Higher birth weights are dangerous as they can indicate future problems, like obesity.

Chemicals in the phenol family are endocrine interrupters, and Science Daily reports that they include:

  • Parabens: used as a preservative in cosmetics and healthcare products
  • Triclosan: some toothpastes and soaps carry this antibacterial agent and pesticide
  • Benzophenone-3:  a UV filter found in sun protection products
  • Dichlorophenols: used in the manufacture of indoor deodorisers
  • Bisphenol A (BPA): used in making polycarbonate-based plastics, like plastic bottles, CD cases, etc.
  • Epoxy resins: found in lining of food cans, dental amalgams

While previous studies of this variety have focused more exclusively on BPA exposure, this was the first of its kind to test other chemicals. And, in testing more chemicals, researchers found that 95 percent of the more than 500 women in involved in the study had been exposed to them. Yikes!

And though many of these chemicals may seem unavoidable, there is some good news—BPA in food packaging for infants and young children was banned in 2013 and will be banned for all food packaging starting Jan. 1, 2015.

Household chores are a necessary part of life, but should you be doing all your usual tasks while pregnant? Find out what is safe and what isn't.

Photo of liquid soap courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

 

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