We have all heard of the Do's and Don'ts of pregnancy...you know, no deli meats, unpasteurized milk, soft cheese, raw fish...but did you know that there are all sort of environmental toxins that are lurking in things you eat and use every day!
1.) Aluminum Compounds in Deodorant and Antiperspirant
The problem with deodorants and antiperspirants is not only the aluminum, but how it works to reduce sweat and smelly odors. Aluminum compounds or aluminum salts, such as aluminum oxide (Al2O3), are key ingredients in almost every antiperspirant. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body. Antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms. What's more, "antiperspirants are designed to be absorbed"; the aluminum and many other chemicals are taken into the body and may affect the endocrine and lymphatic systems, as well as being a potential risk factor in breast cancer. Source: http://www.suite101.com/content/aluminum-in-deodorant-a45498#ixzz0yuUu9aEn
I used Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant (Aluminum Free) Unscented while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. I also used Trader Joe's Brand Aluminum and Paraben Free Cotton Scented Deodorant. They work just as well as the leading brands of deodorant and are about the same price!
2.) Lead in Your Lipstick
Top brands L'Oreal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior test positive for lead, as Campaign for Safe Cosmetics find lead in lipsticks. Toys made in China aren't the only products laced with dangerous heavy metals: lipstick manufactured in the United States and used daily by millions of American women also contains surprisingly high levels of lead, according to new product tests released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory over the month of September on red lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis. Top findings include: More than half of 33 brand-name lipsticks tested (61 percent) contained detectable levels of lead, with levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). None of these lipsticks listed lead as an ingredient. One-third of the tested lipsticks exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy - a standard established to protect children from directly ingesting lead. Lipstick products, like candy, are directly ingested into the body. Nevertheless, the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick, which fits with the disturbing absence of FDA regulatory oversight and enforcement capacity for the $50 billion personal care products industry. Source: http://www.emaxhealth.com/118/16981.html
Click here for a full list of Lipstick Brands and their Lead Content:
3.) Red Dye No. 40 and Other Chemical Food Dyes
So there are not many clear cut recommendations regarding food dyes and pregnancy. My OBGYN was pretty liberal and said "everything in moderation," but I took it upon my self to eliminate foods with food dyes (particularly Red Dye No. 40) from my diet during pregnancy. You would be surprised at the laundry list of foods that contain chemical dyes...everything from Gatorade to Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars.
For a full list of products containing Red Dye No. 40 click the link below.
Children are most often the ones who have sensitivity to red 40. Reactions include temper tantrums, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, uncontrollable crying and screaming, kicking, nervousness, dizziness, inability to concentrate and sit still among other findings. Physically children and adults may experience frequent headaches or migraines, upset stomach and feel ill after ingesting this additive. Often when Red 40 is eliminated from the child's diet a remarkable change is noticed immediately. There is little known about the effects on the unborn child, but given the above side effects, I chose not to take a chance.
4.) What artificial sweeteners are questionable or NOT safe to use during pregnancy?
Saccharin: (Sweet 'N Low) Although it is not used as much today as in the past, it still appears in many foods, beverages and other substances. The FDA does consider saccharin to be safe to use for the general public. Former studies that had linked saccharin to an increased risk of developing bladder cancer have been dismissed by the National Toxicology program. But studies do show that saccharin crosses the placenta and may remain in fetal tissue, so its use for pregnant women still remains in question.
Cyclamate: This sweetener has been linked to cancer and is currently banned in the United States. Cyclamate is not considered safe for anyone including pregnant women. If you use artificial sweeteners and are pregnant, it is always best to talk with your care provider on which sweetener you are using and how much you are consuming.
Although, many artificial sweeteners are considered "safe" during pregnancy I still tried to avoid them altogether. I don't feel like I am an extremist when it comes to environmental stuff, but when I was pregnant and breastfeeding I always tried to error on the side of caution. Hope this info was helpful!