As parents, there’s nothing we want more than to have our kids healthy and happy. We try our best to buy organic fruits and vegetables and prepare wholesome nutritious meals for our little ones to consume. Similarly a child’s exposure to toxins can be detrimental for their growth and development. Many pollutants in our environment have been linked to abnormalities in behaviour, perception, cognition and motor ability during early childhood, even when exposure is at low or harmless levels.
Infants and children are more at risk than adults due to their immature detoxification systems. Furthermore, children play and breathe closer to the floor where contaminants often accumulate in air and dust.
Our role as parents is to minimize our child’s exposure to toxins by knowing about the harsh chemicals found in foods, furniture, toys, cleaning and grooming products.
Here are FIVE of the most harmful chemicals to avoid:
Bisphenol A (BPA)
BPA is a component found in many plastics and the lining of food cans. There is evidence that it disrupts endocrine function in the body and has been linked to low sperm count, hyperactivity, early puberty, obesity, enlarged prostrates and small testes.
Widely used as preservatives in cosmetics, washes and pharmaceuticals. Be weary of the contents of your everyday products such as prescriptive and non-prescriptive drugs.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC is related to both contact exposure (children putting toys in the mouth) and offgassing (the relase of gas from a product over time). PVC can leach both phthalates and lead.
These are man-made chemicals found mostly in personal care products. They pose potential toxic effects to the developing endocrine and reproductive systems and can be ingested, absorbed through the skin or inhaled. Research has shown that infant exposure to lotions, powders and shampoos were signficiantly associated with increased urinary concentrations of phthalates. The study also shows that children with the highest concentrations of phthlates in their urine had more severe ADHD symptoms.
A by-product of PVC manufacture, dioxins are also found in a variety of household items such as baby diapers. They are a global health threat as they persist in the enviromnet for an extended period of time. Even at very low levels, dioxins have been linked to immune system suppression, reproductive disorders and endometriosis.