Thursday, January 29, 2009

How is an embryo like a canary in the coal mine?

I just read this article in HealthDay News about oh-so-dangerous perfluorinated chemicals, which the article says “are pervasive in food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, [and] carpets and personal care products.”

The article continues, “These chemicals are being phased out in the United States because of their toxic effects, and are expected to be completely gone by 2010. However, they remain in the environment and in the body for decades, and have been linked to developmental problems.”

The gist of the piece is that “these widespread chemicals apparently lower the fertility in couples trying to get pregnant.”

I’m pregnant—and due on Earth Day!—and find myself continually outraged at information like this. If perfluorinated chemicals make it harder to get pregnant, just what are they doing to our bodies? I often think of an embryo as the canary in the coal mine . . . if the embryo can’t survive in a cocktail of chemicals and toxins, what makes us think we can?

Here’s some good news: I was 35 when I got pregnant (with what will be my first child) last July, and was in the “high-risk” category because of my age. In other words, my chances of conceiving were lower than that of a woman in her 20s, yet my husband and I created a baby the first month we set about trying to do so.

I say this is “good news” because I live a very earth-friendly lifestyle and I know that being green made it much easier for me to conceive. I eat all organic food. I don’t use beauty products with fragrance, parabens, or other dangerous chemicals. I sleep on a non-toxic mattress with organic cotton sheets and an organic wool duvet. I have hard wood floors, use an air purifier, wear eco clothing, and even drive a Prius.

I guess you could say I created an environment for a canary to thrive!

Now, in my 7th month of pregnancy, I feel absolutely terrific, as I have throughout my pregnancy. No headaches. No back pain. No swollen ankles. I can also still fit in most of my non-maternity clothes. I attribute this to my eco lifestyle as well.

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, or already pregnant, or are just looking to live a healthier life for you, going green is the only way to go. Just keep paying attention to those canaries.

Question of the blog: Do articles like this outrage you enough to make changes in your lifestyle?