Despite being a country of over a billion, there is little understanding about how chemicals can severely damage fetuses. A new report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a good opportunity to think about this important issue.
Broadly, we know that children, especially first borns, inherit a significant chemical burden from their mothers. The problem is, it is hard to say what exactly are the top 10 worst chemicals, because there just is not enough data. The next best thing is to prevent exposures.
Here, women say they ‘pamper ourselves’ and are told to ‘eat whatever we want to’ when they become pregnant.
A better way to pamper oneself and one’s child, according to the report, is to avoid processed foods and storing food in plastic containers, minimise the use of perfumes and perfumed products, moisturisers, cosmetics, shower gels and stay away from paint fumes.
Why? Simply because these contain dangerous chemicals. Most personal care products, perfumes, and some plastics, will have phthalates, a chemical that is known to disrupt the endocrine system and harm the development of the fetus and in specific cases, also contribute to the feminization of male fetuses.
Most women who are poor, or work on factory floors or farms, often do not have the option of avoiding chemicals. For them, and the planet, we need a cleaner production regime. But anyone who can take heed should, so the next generation has a healthier start.