Some commonly used chemicals are thought to affect breast development. Children, babies, and fetuses are especially sensitive, and exposure may make their bodies more susceptible to harm later in life, leading to problems in breast-feeding, increased breast cancer risk, and enlarged breasts in boys and men. Here are a few simple steps to help busy moms protect their families:
As much as possible, choose organic produce and meats, and practice less toxic pest control in your home and garden.
Dust can harbor pesticides, flame retardants, and other chemicals, so keep dust levels low by vacuuming with a HEPA filter and using a wet mop.
Phthalates and BPA (bisphenol A) can leach from plastic baby bottles and infant formula cans, especially when heated. To reduce exposures, opt for glass and cardboard containers when possible.
To avoid flame retardants found in foam, choose crib mattresses, bedding, and cushions made from naturally flame resistant fibers like wool, cotton, and hemp.
Paint can contain dibutylphthalate, so avoid painting the nursery while you are pregnant. If you must, have someone else do it, ventilate well, and stay away for a while.
While we can make healthier choices, there’s only so much we can control one mom at a time. So consider joining with others to call for safer products and environments for everyone. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (www.saferchemicals.org) is leading a national effort to pass smarter chemicals policies.