Conditions like autism, attention deficit disorder & asthma in children continue to increase. I believe that exposures in the womb are playing a major role.
The amount of chemicals we are now exposed to are legendary. The EPA registers some 82,000+ chemicals for use in the US, the vast majority of which have never been tested for safety. Then, we have chemicals produced because of the lifestyle choices that we make.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are compounds that are created when fossil fuels are burned. This can include fats (when grilled), incense and candles. Exposure also occurs when PAH hitch rides on dust particles.
The way we prepare our grilled meats can affect the levels of PAH present. Things like cooking slower, adding spices and basting your meat will help to lower the production of PAH.
These compounds and other environmental toxicants have already been shown to affect pregnancy and lead to lower birth weights. Exposure to other toxic compounds in the womb have been linked to the presence of autism.
This particular study looks closer at the affect of exposure to PAH on the development of attention deficit disorder and anxiety in children 6-7 years later. Researchers determined exposures either by sampling the air the pregnant mom was exposed to for contamination or looking at the damage these compounds cause to the blood in the mom or umbilical cord.
There was a clear relationship between the higher exposure levels and the child’s behavior years later.
This is obviously a concern. Dietary choices, exercise, stress levels and choice of a prenatal vitamin are all conscious choices during pregnancy. But not so much for these environmental exposures. These tips may help:
- Grill meat slowly, loaded with spices and marinated (or avoid altogether)
- Avoid incense and candle burning
- Take your shoes off at the door, use air cleaners in larger rooms and dust frequently
- Strictly avoid sealing your driveway while pregnant (just in case it was on the to-do list…)
These approaches, coupled with a good quality diet and a good prenatal, should go a long way to protect your little developing baby for decades to come.
(Side note: If this information managed to get to your or a family member years later and you’re dealing with a child who has attention issues anywhere along the spectrum, there are many alternative approaches to using medications to help the brain. This article is a good start to understanding these options better)
How have you cut your toxic exposure in your life, pregnant or not?