Chemicals in Pregnant Women: Public policy

The Environmental Health Perspective article, Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women, has been getting a lot of play. I’ve got five take home lessons from the study. Here’s number 3.

What to Do About Chemicals in Pregnant Women: Public policy changes your body

Lesson 3: Public policy changes your body.

A major 2011 analysis of typical pregnant women across the US found widespread evidence of toxic chemicals in their blood, often at levels that have been linked to higher risk of developmental and reproductive problems in babies in other studies. Beyond this, the pregnant women in this study were typically exposed to mixtures of various toxic chemicals at one time, with effects we have yet to understand.

One of the most striking aspects of this study was that the toxic chemical profile was different in pregnant women living in different states, varying with the chemical regulations there. This makes sense. We already knew on a national level that when lead was removed from gasoline by public policy, the lead levels in our children plummeted.

Public policy about regulating chemicals isn’t boring or irrelevant; it’s meaningful and intensely personal. The issues are often complex, but the results can change our bodies. Pay attention to these issues, and let your voice be heard.

Read More in this Series:
Lesson 1: It’s a peek behind the curtain.
Lesson 2: All products are eco-products.
Lesson 3: Public policy changes your body.
Lesson 4: Your choices do matter
Lesson 5: A green solution. Leafy green.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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