Why You Should Choose Chemical-Free Products for You & Your Baby
As a woman who has personally struggled with infertility and endometriosis, I am very passionate about this topic. In this close-to-home article I’ll share exactly why and how you should use natural and toxic-free products.
It may alarm you to realise that in countries such as Australia and America, there are very limited regulations on the safety of which chemicals are used in household and our everyday beauty and baby products. This lack of protection can have a significant impact on not only your health, but also your babies and even your grand babies.
Since WWII and the Industrial Revolution, we have witnessed an explosion in the use of chemicals in our world. From Agricultural chemicals, chemicals in our food to chemicals in our everyday skin, personal, hair, baby care products, cleaning products, perfume and cologne, we are increasing the chemical burden we place upon our body and ultimately our children's health daily, not to mention the harm we are doing to our planet.
Many chemicals are either: Endocrine or hormone disrupting Carcinogenic, Neurotoxins, Developmental Toxins Reproductive Toxins, Toxic to the immune system Obesogens, Teratogens
Chemicals that we are exposed to daily can be passed through our offspring, and can even cross generations. Sadly, we dump our fat-soluble chemicals onto our children in utero and our babies are being born pre-polluted. One of the fastest ways to detox is to have a baby. This can unfortunately have a multi-generational effect on health and fertility. Fertility rates are declining through generations (click HERE to read my blog The Benefits of Cleansing Before Fertility) and while there are many factors responsible for this, chemical exposure that passes through to our babies and affects their fertility and their children’s fertility is something that we need to become educated about and take responsibility for before it’s to late like it almost was for me.
Chemicals found in newborns
A study by the Environmental Working Group in 2005 examined the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborn babies and found a total of 287 chemicals, with an average of 200 chemicals present per baby. 28 of these were waste by-products such as Formaldehyde, PCBs, Mercury, Petroleum and Dioxin 1, 4. 47 of these were consumer products such as Bisphenol A, Dioxins, Phthalates, Triclosan, Brominated Flame retardants, Pesticides and Preservatives. Of these chemicals and pesticides had actually been banned or restricted in use 30+ years ago, giving us a scary insight into how chemicals can be stored in our bodies and be passed onto our offspring despite not having current exposure to them.
Therese Kerr who is a dear friend and mentor of mine was doing a talk on environmental toxins and stated the above on stage and was corrected by Professor Marc Cohen who said
"OUR CHILDREN ARE BORN WITH THOUSANDS OF CHEMICALS IN THEIR UMBILICAL CORDS" (they only tested for 200)
- Professor Marc Cohen
"ANOTHER WAY IN WHICH A WOMAN WILL DETOX IS THROUGH BREASTFEEDING. BREASTFEEDING IS THE ONLY THING WE RECOMMEND FOR A BABY - IF MUM IS IN FACT ABLE TO BREASTFEED, BUT KNOW BREASTMILK ON AVERAGE, AROUND THE WORLD,
CONTAINS 200+ CHEMICALS."
- Professor Marc Cohen
Other studies have shown that many of these chemicals were passed down the line from the grandmother's generation, however the chemicals were present in higher amounts in the children, suggesting that they are transferred across the placenta and breastmilk. This is why we recommend cleansing/detoxing before you start conception or your IVF journey, to give your body the best chance.
How to choose chemical-free products for you and your baby
Whenever you have the opportunity to convert to a safer alternative or eat organic do so. It can be quite overwhelming when you realise the vastness of the issue, and it can be very expensive to replace every chemical in your house at once. So begin by minimising bit by bit.
Here’s 6 practical ways to start that process:
1. Use a safe natural perfume or cologne
Almost all perfume and cologne on the market today that are sold in department stores and chemists contain phthalates - some of the most potent of all endocrine/hormone disrupting chemicals.
"THE VERY THING A WOMAN THINKS MAKES HER MORE FEMININE - SMELLING PRETTY, WEARING PERFUME... IS THE VERY THING COSTING HER, HER FEMININITY."
- Dr Carole Hungerford
Shop 100% natural perfume www.getbare.com.au has a beautiful safe collection for both men and woman, also available at The Clean organic Hub online store.
2. Whenever possible try to avoid use of plastics
Switch to reusable steel or glass, or natural rubber alternatives. The Natural Rubber Soothers & Teethers from www.thecleanorganichub.com are BPA Free and don’t contain any chemical softeners, parabens, PVC or Phthalates
3. Read labels on baby, beauty, food and drink products
One product that companies frequently promote as natural or organic when they aren’t are baby wipes. JAK Organics is the brand I personally trust to use on my twin toddlers. Their Baby Wipes are 100% natural and enriched with organic oils. They are vegan friendly and GMO Free which I love!
4. Try making DIY cleaning products
Or buying safe chemical-free options and choosing safe, chemical free beauty products you feel confident won’t affect your fertility or health.
5. Choose organic food where possible
Or if you can, grow your own produce or find a local organic farm and support your community. We love Freeman's Organic Farm, if you are in the Gold Coast area please pop up and mention us!
6. Cook your own food from scratch and prepare food in advance and store in plastic free containers or use vegan food wraps
This is a great way to save food wastage and there are beautiful ethical brands that offer steel storage like everECO. Available on The Clean Organic Hub online store.
In Australia, the approach to chemical regulation is different to countries more progressive in this area – Chemicals are used predominantly in cosmetics on the basis they are safe, UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE (other than in Europe where The Reach Program was established in 2007).
- There isn't any pre-market or health testing undertaken on any cosmetic product before it is released onto the market.
- Only 10 chemicals have ever been banned in cosmetics in America over the last 40 years, whereas in Europe, 1330 chemicals have been banned in cosmetics since 2007.
An absolute evidence of harm is required before a chemical is removed by use in Australia, compared to the EU where a more precautionary principle is in place – they believe that “When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, action shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm.”
In order to navigate this lack of protection we must take more responsibility ourselves. Penelope Jagessar said in her Ted Talk: The Toxic Baby “It is only a parent’s awareness that stands between chemicals and our children”. So it’s up to us, and you don’t need a degree to understand that.
Chemicals to watch out for
While there are so many problematic chemicals still in use in household and personal care products, one of the chemicals you may find easily in your household is phthalates.
Phthalates are commonly used in many personal care items such as perfumes, air fresheners, cosmetics, hair sprays and dyes, detergents, cleansers and nail polish. Look on the ingredient list for terms such as dibutyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate, but they are often not required to be listed and so can be disguised under the term ‘fragrance’. Perfumes are one of the strongest sources of this chemical and are best completely avoided during the preconception period, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
One of their main actions is in relation to steroid hormones, an action referred to as a xeno-oestrogen, in which they interfere with our oestrogen receptors, and this effect is most potent when multiple compounds are present. These chemicals can affect sperm motility, morphology and count. Exposure is also linked with incomplete testicular descent in boys and the feminisation of baby boys (lowered androgen levels and development of breast cells that can even produce breast milk).
MINIMISING EXPOSURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS IS KEY TO LONGEVITY.
From the skincare and personal care products you use, to the food you eat, to the cleaning chemicals and washing powder you use in your home. We need to choose wisely and as i ventured more into my infertility journey i discovered and learnt more and more because as the lovely Therese Kerr always states
"You don't know what you don't know until you know it!"