“We are exposed daily to toxins, including endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) found in everyday products, from plastics to household goods to cosmetics. These chemicals may harm women’s reproductive systems, thereby adversely impacting pregnant women and fetuses, breastfeeding moms and their babies,” said Jam Lorenzo, Policy and Research Specialist, BAN Toxics.
This was the statement of the environmental group BAN Toxics as the country celebrates Mother’s Day.
According to the World Health Organization, an endocrine disruptor is a substance or mixture that alters functions of the endocrine system and causes adverse health effects. Some of these toxic chemicals are dioxins, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), bisphenol A (BPA) and related chemicals, flame retardants, phthalates, UV stabilizers, and toxic metals such as lead and cadmium.
Plastic-containing EDCs are used in packaging, food production, cookware, children’s toys, furniture, home electronics, health care, textiles, and cosmetics, to name some. Exposure happens during the entire lifespan of these products – from manufacturing to recycling, waste management, and disposal.
“These chemicals are persistent and they bio-accumulate in the human body long after exposure, passed from mother to baby while pregnant or breastfeeding as research has shown. PFAS are linked to problems such as weakening of the immune system, cancer, increased cholesterol, liver damage, and thyroid disease,” he said.
For some practical tips to breastfeeding and pregnant moms to avoid dietary exposure to EDCs, think twice about plastic and reduce your use. Watch what you eat, choose fresh food, and lessen or avoid the consumption of canned and microwavable foods. Eat organic food as much as you can afford to.
It is hard to avoid these toxins at home and at work as plastics are ubiquitous and chemicals are not typically disclosed on labels.
“With the increasing production of plastics, we reiterate the urgency for effective public policy and strict implementation of existing regulations on chemical safety, including toxics elimination and substitution in products, product labeling, and accountability of manufacturers from the production, reuse, recycling, and disposal of their commodities,” the group added.