Critical Times Of Development.
Exposure to environmental chemicals, especially when the eggs and sperm are being formed, the fetus is developing in the womb, and during early childhood, contribute to the root cause of so many health conditions and diseases.
The EARTH Study.
Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, for almost 20 years research teams have been gathering data on chemical and environmental exposures from mothers, fathers, and newborns to determine the effects these exposures will have on children’s health.
Exposure before conception has shown a disruption in fertility in both men and women and has even affected pregnancy outcomes. In 2018, Brown University professor Joseph Braun PhD launched the PEACE (Preconception Environmental Exposure and Childhood Health Effects) study where researchers will continue to gather health data about children born to couples who participated in the Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) study.
Environmental chemical exposure has also been linked to an increase in birth defects. One such birth defect? Hypospadias. That’s a condition in which the opening of the penis is on the underside, rather than on the tip. Using this tool from the Center for Disease Control National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network one can search many different diseases and birth defects by location, age group and/or gender.
For example, once on the link in Step One for “select content area” I highlighted “Birth Defects.” In the “select indicator” box I highlighted “prevalence of hyospadias.” In the “select measure” box I highlighted “average annual number of cases.” For Step Two’s Geography Type I highlighted “State by County.” In Step Three I highlighted “Michigan.” And, finally, for Step Four I highlighted “all years.” Now view the results.
As the map loads, notice the prevalence of this particular birth defect on the map and where the highest number of cases occur (in blue) – near industry. Where it’s yellow Michigan has very little to no industry. Clearly one is able to see a correlation between environmental exposure to chemicals used in industry and the effect it can have on just this one birth defect. Now try using this tool to explore other birth defects or diseases where you live in the U.S.
The CDC states “Fewer males are conceived when exposure to endocrine disruptors causes a decrease in testosterone.” Endocrine disruptors interfere or block the way natural hormones or their receptors are made or controlled. It’s also been shown that endocrine disruptors may increase the vulnerability of male children to behavioral disorders such as ADHD.
The National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences has an incredible amount of information on their website including active links to other resources. But some of us are visual learners. So please view the video presentation that ABC Science has created on endocrine disruptors in this YouTube video “Our Chemical Lives – Are Chemicals Hurting Us?”
The Global Fertility Crash.
Once on this image move your mouse over the graph. It may shock you, although I wasn’t all that surprised. After focusing on this topic over the past 7 years I know all too well how environmental chemical exposure is affecting fertility rates around the world. Concern is growing over low-level prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors as leading to a decline in fertility in both sexes, affecting an early onset of puberty in females and delays in male puberty, with a 30% higher infertility rate in daughters exposed to PCBs in utero. Phthalates showed a negative effect on sperm motility and concentration; paraben exposure may be contributing to diminished ovarian function; and pesticides can alter normal hormonal balance in both males and females and lead to infertility (it’s all in my book.)
One plastic chemical, BPA, has been shown in studies to reduce male fertility and negatively affect semen quality. Alas, just one more email to deal with but maybe it’s time to forgo paper receipts! The Ann Arbor Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff program tested 207 receipts. BPA or BPS was found in 93% of those tested. Data regarding dermal absorption of BPA through the skin shows uptake between 10% and 60%. So if you still opt for paper receipts, wash your hands after handling them (especially before eating) and don’t allow children to play with them.
Are you pregnant, or is anyone that you know expecting? Made Safe has just released their comprehensive, 106-page, free “Healthy Pregnancy Guide” covering the safest products in every area of life – kitchens, laundry, cleaning, personal care, bedroom, household, outdoors, self-care – when preparing for the new baby! Please forward this link to anyone you know who is expecting, or planning on conceiving.
Maybe you’re attending a baby shower and want a gift that is both baby friendly and environmentally friendly. If so, check out the BestBottom diaper system. Over 20 billion diapers end up in the landfill every year (taking roughly 450 years to break down in the environment) and disposable diapers can cost parents over $2500 through potty training. Check out the site’s quick videos to learn more about a cloth diapering system.
In addition, please check out the products offered from Hugh & Grace. Founders Sara & Ben Jensen stated, “When we learned that hormone disruptors found in most personal care products – including clean, non-toxic products – can have serious health risks, we knew we needed to create something better. We created hormone-safe products formulated to help reduce chemical exposure so people can live cleaner, healthier lives.”
If you are nursing or are planning to do so, the National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database LactMed allows women to search the safety of pharmaceutical drugs, herbs, supplements, and essential oils while nursing in order to determine any possible adverse effects. It’s an invaluable resource, as natural doesn’t always equate to safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you are already nursing and would like to increase your milk production, the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Medicine lists several herbs that can enhance milk supply, including a recipe for a Galactogogue Brew!
The effects of chemical exposure might not be the most uplifting topic, but it’s real and it’s happening right before our eyes. Therefore, we must focus on prevention. Detoxifying young adults (both men and women) before they conceive and then teaching them how to avoid future exposure is imperative and should be taught in schools. The body’s environmental chemical burden is real. Learn all you can about the topic and then share, and share some more. Each one of my blogs are filled with information and resources so please subscribe so you don’t miss out. Also, feel free to share a link to these these blogs with friends or on social media. We need to keep this conversation alive!
I agree with these statements and have worked hard for 40 years to make our environment clean and free of known toxins. I have taught our 5 children (all grown now!) and now our 8 grandchildren these things too. Thank you for your outstanding work, Cindy!
Thank you, Annette! I truly feel it is our generation’s responsibility to bring attention to these issues, and do what we can to change the trajectory!