Guest post by Lisa Frack, Environmental Working Group Online Parent Organizer
In the month leading up to a baby’s birth, the umbilical cord pulses with the equivalent of at least 300 quarts of blood each day, pumped back and forth from the nutrient- and oxygen-rich placenta to the rapidly growing child cradled in a sac of amniotic fluid. This cord is a lifeline between mother and baby, bearing nutrients that sustain life and propel growth.

When EWG conducted its (in)famous umbilical cord blood study in 2005, it was shocking to find an average of 200 chemicals in each fetus we tested.  Shocking because not long ago it was commonly held that the placenta shielded cord blood – and the developing baby – from most chemicals and pollutants in the environment.  Shocking because of the 287 total chemicals found in the 10 fetuses we tested, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.

Despite this very sobering information about the most helpless among us, however, there remains a strong campaign against what I call ‘the low-dose argument.’  Acute exposures and their often tragic adverse health effects are hard to deny or ignore, but the longer-term, low-dose effects of so many chemicals continue to be denied by many, primarily the chemical industry.  So I am pleased to share an excellent (recorded) presentation by Ken Cook, founder and president of EWG, about this cord blood study, in which he shows exactly how and why low-does exposures are a serious concern.  It’s called 10 Americans.  Some have called it ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ for toxic chemicals and health.  See for yourself.  Ken’s funny, so you’ll laugh while you cry.  If the fight against chemicals in our everyday lives matters to you (and if you’re a Green & Clean Mom fan, like I am, I know it does), this presentation is worth every minute of your time.

And if after watching the presentation you feel the sudden urge to rise up and do something about it – terrific news.  Keep on reading what Green & Clean Mom has to say, and read up on the Kid Safe Chemicals Act.  If enacted, we could all head to the store without all that research, because chemicals would actually be tested and proven safe before they’re on the market, something our current chemical law (TSCA), doesn’t even come close to.  So don’t despair.  Yes, this is serious stuff, as Ken Cook says so very well.  But it’s also within our power to change it – at home, in the marketplace, and in Washington, and that is good news.

What do you have to lose?


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