Minimize exposure to environmental toxins to maximize fertility
Exposure to toxins can be a common but unnecessary occurrence. Avoiding toxins during preconception, pregnancy and after birth is an important consideration in order to protect yourself and your child from health disorders or imbalances, and increase your ability to conceive.
Everything from reproduction to metabolism relies on hormone health. Endocrine disruptors are dangerous hormone-altering toxins that the public is routinely exposed to—but most simply aren't aware. More and more, studies show that exposure to bisphenol- A (BPAs), dioxins, PCBs, mercury, and other chemicals negatively affect fertility, pregnancy and babies. BPAs are found in can liners, plastic products, and coated on paper receipts. Dioxins and furans are common names for toxic chemicals (including some polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that are found in very small amounts in the environment, including air, water, soil and our food supply. Mercury is a neurotoxin that is found in all fish due to pollution. Some waters are more highly polluted than others.
We encourage women trying to conceive or currently pregnant to take steps to lessen their exposure to some of the most common offenders listed below.
Avoid non-organic and GMO foods.
Alternative: Eat organic food whenever possible. Choose only organically produced meat, poultry and dairy products and use lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Guide to Pesticides in Produce to find veggies and fruits that are low in pesticides (since we know it is not always possible to buy organic).
Avoid ‘big’ fish such as Shark, Sword fish and Marlin, and Tuna as they a high level of mercury.
Alternative: Eat only deep sea, short-lived, small fish such as mackerel, sardines, wild pacific salmon and halibut.
Avoid non-stick cookware such as teflon which can release perfluorooctacnoic acid (PFOA) which is linked to developmental harm and cancer.
Alternative: Use only stainless steel or cast iron to cook.
3. Canned Food
Avoid canned foods - Metal cans are often lined with the endocrine-disrupting chemical BPA, which may contaminate the food inside.
Alternative: Opt for fresh or frozen ingredients. Use products packaged in glass or lined cardboard instead of cans.
Also containing BPA, avoid plastic storage containers, plastic wrap on hot foods or plastic wrap over food in the microwaves.
Alternative: Replace with glass or stainless steel. If you have to use plastic containers, avoid those with recycling codes #3 (may contain BPA) and #7 (may contain phthalates).
Avoid handling paper receipts at ATMS, grocery stores, etc., as BPA is coated on receipts.
Alternative: Decline the receipt or request an emailed version. If you must handle, then wash hands as soon as possible after handling.
6. Personal Care
Avoid synthetic shampoos, soaps, creams and cosmetics. Read the label to avoid chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, mercury (thimerosal), and benzophenones.
Alternative: Replace with natural organic products. Check the EWG's Cosmetic Database to see how yours measure up and find safer products.
Public Goods is a great company that will send you all the personal care and household cleaning products at once so you do not have to source them all separately.
Avoid any synthetic and toxic cleaning products, including laundry detergent.
Alternative: Replace with natural products.
8. Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners
Avoid dryer sheets and fabric softener, as the chemicals in these are considered to be among the most toxic of all household cleaning products. Lingering chemical residues in the clothes and enter the body through the skin, which is tantamount to eating them!
Alternative: Try wool dryer balls, or ditch these all together.
Don’t use air fresheners and choose candles carefully. Air freshers are full of chemicals, and most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens). Many scented candles also have wicks that contain heavy metals like lead.
Alternative: Choose beeswax candles instead.
9. Household Dust
This can sound funny, but research has shown that dust is likely to contain several chemicals that may affect reproductive health including flame-retardants, long- banned polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and phthalates
Alternative: Use a vacuum fitted with a HEPA filter, mopping the floors and dusting with a damp cloth can reduce the amount of dust you are exposed to.
Avoid exposure to fresh paint and make sure it contains no volatile organic compounds or (VOCs)
Alternative: Use only no VOC paints. We especially like Lullaby Paints.
11. Cellphone Radiation
Both laboratory and real-world tests have shown that cell phone radiation can affect sperm count, movement, structure, appearance and viability, and it may also even damage DNA.
Alternative: Since radiation levels decline sharply with distance, just keeping your phone out of your front pocket and away from your genitals will reduce your exposure tremendously. Carry your phone in your back pocket or in a bag or briefcase if you carry one. At night, sleep with your phone turned off or away from your bed. For more tips on reducing your cell phone radiation exposure, visit the EWG's Safer Cell Phone Use Guide.
Avoiding all toxins would be an impossible feat. But it starts with awareness. Try employing an 80/20 rules, where you eliminate 80% of the toxins from your daily routine.
For some great ideas for alternatives to your currently products and produce, check out our Toxin Free Living Pinterest board.