Red ALERT for pregnant women: Synthetic chemical exposures produce lifelong negative effects
(NaturalHealth365) The amount of artificial and synthetic chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis is hard to fully quantify, but we do know that many of them – commonly found in everything from baby bottles to cosmetics – are known to have damaging health effects on the human body … as well as the human mind.
In a new study published in January 2020, researchers add to the growing list of evidence which shows why women should do their best to minimize their exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) during pregnancy.
The key reason? Prenatal exposure to these chemicals may have life-long impacts on their children’s intelligence.
Exposing the massive (negative) effect of synthetic chemicals
A team of researchers collaborating from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Karlstad University of Sweden wanted to investigate how early prenatal exposure to suspected and widespread endocrine disrupting chemicals influenced child neurodevelopment. They define EDCs as “xenobiotics with the ability to interfere with hormone action, even at low levels.”
Published in Environment International, the researcher’s data revealed several important highlights:
- Early prenatal exposure to 26 suspected EDCs (as measured by blood and urine levels of these chemicals in moms during the first trimester of pregnancy) correlated to lower IQ in children by age 7
- Boys seemed to be more affected by prenatal exposure to EDCs than girls
- Minimizing their exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy can help women protect the neurodevelopment of their children
The researchers drew their conclusions from a cohort of 718 mother-child pairs who were a part of the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and child, Asthma and allergy study (SELMA) study.
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“Chemicals of concern” linked to lower IQ points among children at age seven included 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, BPA, bisphenol F (BPF), perfluorohexane sulfonate, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and mono-benzyl phthalate. BPF – which is sometimes marketed as a “safer” alternative to BPA – actually “made the largest contribution” to decreases in intelligence, according to the researchers.
As much of the science clearly reports: Many of these chemicals only stay in the body for a short amount of time. For this reason, the authors warn that even short-term prenatal exposure may be harmful.
Above and beyond environmental toxin exposure: Here are 3 things that can influence a child’s IQ, according to research
In addition to EDCs like pesticides and certain plastics, many other things may influence a child’s neurodevelopment. Varying levels of evidence indicate the following factors:
- Domestic violence: a 2019 study published in Wellcome Open Research found that children born to mothers who were victims of domestic violence while pregnant or in the child’s first six years of life were nearly 50% more likely to have a low IQ at age 8
- Prenatal exercise: growing research, including a 2014 study published in PLOS One, suggests that children born to mothers who exercise throughout their pregnancy tend to perform better on various neurodevelopmental and motor skill assessments
- Prenatal nutrition: greater consumption of processed foods during pregnancy has been associated with lower IQ in children, whereas moms who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to have children with higher IQs, according to research including a 2018 paper from Maternal & Child Nutrition
Bottom line: as we always say here at NaturalHealth365, never underestimate the importance of simply avoiding unwanted toxins and maintaining a healthy (organic) diet.
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