Green Parenting: Toxic Babies

The pace at which we must invent new products to alleviate our problems is staggering. Products are invented out of our “needs”- the need for people to have quicker fixes to health issues; the need for manufacturers to be more efficient/make more money; the need for things to be quicker, faster and smarter. Our needs have increased at a rapid pace in the past 50 years and we are definitely paying for it now via our environment.

I was introduced to a new documentary by filmmaker Penelope Jagessar Chaffer through a Facebook group I am involved with. Chaffer was curious about the chemicals she was exposed to while pregnant: could they affect her unborn child? So she asked scientist Tyrone Hayes to brief her on one he studied closely: atrazine, a herbicide used on corn and found in many of the products we use as well as our water.

They created this incredible 18-minute TED talk where Hayes and Chaffer tell their story of how a pregnant mom questioned what effect an everyday chemical has on her unborn child and how a man studying frogs had a very shocking answer. Here is the video and below it are some of the astonishing facts from it.

– The most commonly used preservation in baby products mimics estrogen when put on the human body. These preservatives are found in breast cancer tumors.

– We will have 30,000 -50,000 chemicals in our bodies that our grandparents didn’t have.

– 600% increase in autism and autistic spectrum disorders in babies born between 2002 – 2006 in the U.S.

– Atrazine is the largest selling product by the largest chemical producer in the world. It is the number one contaminant in groundwater, drinking water & rainwater. Banned in EU in 2003 and the same year the US renewed its patent.

– Atrazine is causing a hormonal imbalance and makes males lose testosterone and grow female reproductive parts.

– The Earth is losing species faster than when the dinosaurs became extinct and it can be attributed to pesticides and new chemicals being introduced into our environment.

– We are effecting the health of our grandchildren’s grandchildren with the introduction of these chemicals into our bodies.

– We collect these chemical compounds our whole life and are poisoning our placentas with them and in effect our children. The fetus is trapped in a contaminated environment.

– The problem is we don’t see the connection between polluted water since we turn on the faucet and water comes out. We assume it’s clean and we assume we are masters of our environment rather than being part of it.

Chaffer has also created the film “Toxic Baby,” exploring environmental toxins through interviews and surreal imagery that will be released Fall 2012. Be on the lookout as this is sure to be a documentary you don’t want to miss.


Green Parenting is published every Friday.

For questions or story suggestions, please email Elise Jones.

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