Toxic Chemicals are Everywhere

Did you know that most of the products we buy (soaps, body products, kids toys) contain harmful chemicals?

Did you know that as women & moms, we are the most impacted by exposure to toxic chemicals?

Did you know that toxic chemicals can cross the placenta and pass through to our children via breast milk?

Did you know there are over 80,000 unregulated chemicals in commerce today?

This sh*t is scary people!

Moms are the first environment for our children. We are the ones that carry a baby through pregnancy, we are the ones that breastfeed our children (if we choose to do so) and we are the ones that buy most of the products our families need. I think many of us wrongly assume that if we can buy something off a shelf it’s undergone safety testing and unfortunately it’s just not true (sorry to burst your bubble…)

Here's my daughter on a playmat I later found out has toxic chemicals in it. I threw it out immediately.
Here’s my daughter on a playmat I later found out has toxic chemicals in it. I threw it out immediately.

Did anyone catch the recent story Dateline did about this? Watch part 1 and part 2 if you didn’t. Andrea Canning, a correspondent for the show, decided to have herself and her three daughter’s bio-monitored. She was interested to see if she and her children had any chemicals in their bodies and her story focused on endocrine disrupters like BPA and phthalates. If you don’t know what an endocrine disruptor is (who can blame you?), it’s a category of chemicals that can interfere with the bodies hormonal system and cause negative developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans. And yes, as mentioned above, many endocrine disruptors pass through the placenta potentially impacting developing babies.

What Andrea found was really quite disturbing. Not only did she have several endocrine disruptors in her body, but her children did as well. In fact her baby had 10x the national average of one particular chemical and her 2-year-old had 100x the average. ONE HUNDRED TIMES.

The chemical industry and the companies using these chemicals say they don’t have a negative impact on our health. To me though, that arguments seems laughable when science is not on their side. Plus, how can is possibly be GOOD to have these chemicals floating around in our bodies?

Now that I have probably throughly freaked you out, let me reassure you that there are things we can do to reduce our exposure to chemicals. The Dateline piece says that if a container or bottle has #7 on the bottom there is a high chance that it contains BPA. They also suggest keeping a lookout for products that are clearly labeled to be BPA free. As far as phthalates go, companies aren’t required to include them on the label but if your cosmetics say they contain fragrance, they likely contain phthalates too. You can also lookup your products in the Skin Deep database  (holla to the Environmental Working Group for this incredible resource!) They also suggested replacing plastic Tupperware with glass and put a large emphasis on not using any products that say they are antibacterial. The positive message here is that once Andrea removed these things from her daily life, the levels of chemicals in her body reached almost zero.

I really commend Dateline for doing such a high-profile story about this problem. Are you worried that you might be unknowingly exposing yourself and your children to toxic chemicals?

This is how my daughter feels about toxic chemicals being in her products. OK, not really, but you get my point.
This is how my daughter feels about toxic chemicals being in her products. OK, not really, but you get my point.

Want more information about this topic? Check out Dena’s cleaner living series & read this post on

12 thoughts on “Toxic Chemicals are Everywhere

  1. I read this last week but didn’t get a chance to comment. This is something I think about all the time because the balance between being practical versus being overly worried is a really fine line, and it’s hard to tell where to draw it. I try to control my kids’ exposure to basics such as the “dirty dozen” (or whatever it’s called now) and to stuff like plastics and stuff but the reality of it is that no matter how hard I try, they are still exposed to it everyday. Our daycare doesn’t allow glass because it’s a safety hazard to the other kids – so while I wanted to use glass bottles, we were forced to use plastic bottles that were heated in a small crock pot to keep the milk warm. Same thing now with food containers – while I’d prefer to use glass (and do at home), we are required to pack lunch in plastics and the school reheats the food in the containers we pack our lunches in. So, the best I can do is make sure we use cycle code = 5, hope they adhere to some safety standards with regards to the stuff they use in the facility (doubtful), and go from there.

  2. Thanks for this great post! If you haven’t already, check out our website for more resources and ways to take action. It is not ok that our broken federal laws leave us as consumers to be detectives. We need Congress to step up and pass the safe chemicals act! Also, are you connected to the great work the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy CT are doing in your state? Thanks, great post!

    1. Lindsay thanks for commenting! I love Safer Chemicals! You are doing wonderful work. I personally am on the Coalition for a Safe & Healthy CT and am proud to support their work 🙂

  3. This is SUCH an important topic. I tell everyone I know about the EWG website (okay, I might be THAT annoying mom – but it’s so important I don’t care!) and about finding toxic free toys/playmats/sand, etc. It’s so scary – because like you said, you think you have control and you are keeping them safe, but all of these toxins creep into our homes through ‘normal’ products in every store. Thank you for the post!!

  4. It is so important for moms to have the tools they need to make informed decisions and also to take a stand with their dollars and say “I’m not buying your toxic crap for my kids!” Thanks for the shout out 🙂

    1. I know Melissa. It is scary and I hope I didn’t totally freak you out. It’s really overwhelming to think about this stuff but it’s so important that we do.

  5. holy cow, scary! i just saw something like this on treehugger news. i always feign ignorance but i guess it’s time to get real. thanks for opening my eyes.

    1. Thanks for your comment! And I so hear you. The issue is so overwhelming that once you really pay attention, it’s shocking. The good thing is that we can do something about it!

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