system and brain. PBDEs can cross the placenta, transfer through breast milk and get absorbed from the gases that vaporize from household products. The effects depend on the amount of exposure over time.
To lessen the toxic load, consider buying an organic baby mattress and bedding. Many companies now sell beautiful organic products that are free of formaldehyde, dioxins, fire retardants, pesticides and synthetic petrochemicals (see “Green Resources”). Each potential toxin you eliminate is a baby step toward better health.Breathe-Easy Tips
• Increase ventilation whenever possible.
• Keep windows and doors open to release pollutants when
vacuuming, dusting, frying, painting or folding clothes.
• Use household products according to manufacturers’
directions and never mix products unless directed on the label.
• When using spray cleansers, keep the nozzle close to the area of application, spray in short, directed bursts and avoid human and pet traffic until you wash the area with soap and water.
• When entering your home, leave shoes at the door; they track in harmful chemicals from the outdoors.
• Pay attention to air-quality advisories, particularly if you live in a big city, and don’t exercise outdoors during advisory alerts.
• Try to limit the amount of time you spend inside the car (some pollutant levels can be higher inside vehicles than outside) and in traffic-heavy areas; look for less-traveled routes.
• Hold your breath or turn your head when you see exhaust or while putting gasoline in your car.Absolutely Avoid
Rather than worry about every potential exposure that may or may not affect your baby, focus on avoiding the following proven hazards:
• Tobacco smoke
• Paint fumes
• Kerosene heaters
• SolventsShould You Eat Organic?
Some research shows that organic foods (those grown without pesticides and antibiotics) are not nutritionally superior to those produced conventionally. But a University of California, Davis, study of organic berries and corn found that they contained 60 percent more antioxidants than their nonorganic counterparts. Regardless, eating organic at least some of the time is a great way to minimize pesticide intake. According to the Environmental Working Group, here are the most and least pesticide-laden foods when grown conventionally.