Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Parents´ Environmental Exposures Lead to Fetal Developmental Problems
by Lourdes Salvador
Fetal health problems may be due to parents´ environmental exposures.
Preterm birth, death, structural and functional abnormalities, and poor growth have been linked to parents´ environmental exposures to chemical, biological, and physical agents before a child is born.
D.R. Mattison recently published a scientific review on gene-environment interactions. Mattison works as a researcher at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Mattison says, "Exposures associated with adverse developmental outcomes include air and water pollution, chemicals in foods, occupational exposures, agricultural chemicals, metals, persistent and volatile organics."
Volatile organics (VOCs) are compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Most VOCs are man made chemicals. VOCs can be found in petroleum products, solvents, paints, pharmaceuticals, and as a bi-product of chlorination.
Seemingly easy to avoid, VOCs are actually present in a surprising number of everyday products people are exposed to, including household cleaning products and fragrances contained in everything from perfume to soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, cleaners, and laundry products.
Exposure causes developmental problems included stunted growth, functional deficits, deformities, early birth, and death.
It´s not jus the mother´s environmental exposure that causes these problems. The environmental exposure of the father, placenta, and fetus are also culprits.
Though these products have been around for many years, their use is becoming more commonplace. In addition, more products are being used than ever before.
As children, most adults over 40 remember mom using glass cleaner, scouring powder, furniture polish, and an all purpose cleaner. Since then, advertisers have convinced people that to be truly clean we also need fabric fresheners, air fresheners, and special cleaners for tile, toilets, and every other conceivable item in the home.
Bathing used to involve soap. Now a shower involves soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, gel, sprays, deodorants, powders, and a host of other things all loaded with fragrances and VOC´s which have been linked to health problems in both children and adults. Without realizing it, the average woman applies over 500 chemicals to their body each day. Most of these chemicals have not been tested for human safety and many are hidden in the ingredient "fragrance".
Organizations such as the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics have formed to "protect the health of consumers and workers by securing the corporate, regulatory and legislative reforms necessary to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products." For more information about the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics, see http://www.safecosmetics.org/.
Mattison DR. Environmental exposures and development. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2010 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2010 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America