A troubling new study is emerging from Canada and it is sure to concern expecting parents and doctors everywhere. A report issued by Environmental Defence has suggested that babies in the womb are much more exposed to chemicals than many of us would initially think.

The report points to pervasive pollutants in the environment and those contained in consumer products that we all use every day.

A developing fetus is going through rapid cell division… the idea that they are being exposed to harmful chemicals is definitely a problem. Considering the fact that some compounds are known to mimic the effects of an assortment of hormones that drive development in different parts of our bodies such as the brain, organs or skin tissue.

The report is based on a study conducted by Environmental Defence that tested the umbilical cord blood of three newborns. Shockingly, they found a total of 137 different chemicals in the newborn babies. Of those chemicals, anywhere between 55-121 were considered to be toxins.

A veritable slew of problematic compounds were found in the umbilical cord blood and they included flame retardants, PCBs, PFCs and organochlorine pesticides. Many of these toxins are directly linked to a number of serious health conditions.

The Environmental Defence report declared that 132 of these different chemicals were reported to cause cancer, 110 are considered toxic to the brain and nervous system while 133 of them are known to cause developmental and reproductive issues in mammals.

While the sample size of this study is extremely small, it does correlate with similar research that was conducted elsewhere. Overall, the cord blood toxins that were discovered were all at low levels, but the fact that they were there in the first place remains the major issue.

The most common toxins were those associated as flame retardants and the ubiquity of these in our household environments (they are frequently found in couches, pillows, curtains and mattresses) would exacerbate the exposure of a child because their mother was likely lying down, sitting or sleeping for a large portion of her pregnancy – particularly the final trimester.

The PFCs (perfluorinated compounds)that are found in teflon coatings for frying pans were also found to be prominent in the umbilical cord blood of the newborn infants. They can also get into our system as they are usually found in stain-resistant clothing and materials.

The goal of the study was to show the propensity of these chemicals to get into our systems and Environmental Defence is using it as a call to introduce better labeling on products that contain these harmful chemicals.

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