How careful are you when it comes to avoiding chemicals?
by Lisa Fogarty
The other day I had a holy fit after I practically inhaled a quart of amazing homemade cucumber raita with feta cheese. It's my second pregnancy and I should know all the restrictions by heart, but I couldn't for the life of me remember which cheeses are A-ok and which are contraband. Turns out pasteurized feta is just fine. Whew. I am a wise preggo woman after all.
Or am I? Just when I'm feeling like I've got this pregnancy health thing down to a science, I come across a great article about toxic chemicals to avoid while growing a baby inside of you that makes me realize I am a damn fool. A damn fool who is filling her world with harmful chemicals I didn't even know existed. And the worst part? I'm not sure I'm capable of stopping the madness.
I am aware of the fact that I should be making my own cleaning products from vinegar and baking soda -- but I don't because I'm lazy. I avoid canned foods, eat organic when possible, and will save my first Brazilian Blowout for after the baby is born. But here are three products and routines that contain or release chemicals that can be harmful to you and baby that I never -- not for one second -- even thought about.
- Fragrant laundry detergents and cleaners -- wow, this one seems like such a no-brainer. I wash all of my daughter's clothing using Dreft because she has sensitive skin, so why then, when it comes to my own laundry, do I still equate a fresh, clean smell with a good, wholesome product when the opposite is actually true? Turns out fake fragrances contain hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals, including phthalates and synthetic musks. And unscented doesn't necessarily mean fragrance-free, so check labels carefully.
- Products containing triclosan -- products containing what? Though, thankfully, many companies are starting to do away with using this chemical, which is a hormone disrupter that can get into breast milk and blood, you might be surprised at the variety of products that contain it. From popular brands of lip gloss to mouthwash to several brands of antibacterial soap, this is definitely one chemical I haven't been avoiding.
- High heat when using non-stick cookware -- I'm lucky if I throw out my frying pans after they start to peel. When using Teflon or non-stick cookware, the flame on your stove should always be at medium or low to avoid the release of perfluorooctanoic acid, which is linked to cancer and developmental problems. Better still: get rid of your Teflon (which is impossible to clean, anyway) and go for stainless steel or cast iron pots.
Do you avoid these products while pregnant? How careful are you when it comes to avoiding chemicals?