Doctors tell expectant mothers to avoid smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol but warnings are also needed regarding chemical exposures that can harm unborn children as well as infants. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health indicates there are 214 chemicals linked to human brain damage that are not regulated in the U.S.
Unborn children and infants are especially vulnerable to these chemical exposures, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY and author of the recent study. In an article in Medical News Today Landrigan said it is time for a “fundamental revision of US chemical policy.”
Pregnant women should avoid painting because paint contains chemicals that can be absorbed into the skin. Older homes and apartments built before the mid-1970s may contain leaded paint that can be dangerous if ingested. The problem tends to be more prevalent in poorer neighborhoods where there are older and run-down structures. Some communities have programs to help homeowners identify and remediate lead issues. For example, St. Louis has the Lead Safe St. Louis program. Here is a brief description by Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.