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September 27, 2022

Can chemicals travel from mother to unborn child? 

A young mother recently told us she was doing everything possible to give her children the healthiest diet and environment. She described the careful diet she provided for her children, the home environment she had created to reduce her family’s exposure to harmful everyday chemicals – she was doing everything she could.  So when we asked her if she knew that endocrine disrupting chemicals could pass from mother to child across the placenta, and she was shocked and said, “that’s hard to believe, it’s too scary.” 


Yet a review published in America last week has found a whole host of PFAS substances were being passed across the umbilical cord. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a vast group of chemical substances that persist for years. They are known as ‘Forever Chemicals.’ PFASs enter our bodies as we breath, ingest food and drink, and by skin contact. They have been associated with serious health risks including cancer and childhood development because they can disrupt the healthy functions of the endocrine system. 


What can we do to reduce our exposure to PFAS? 


It’s very hard to avoid PFASs completely but there are steps that will help to reduce the health risk.  

  • A water filter system to extract chemical substances from drinking water. 
  • Swap plastic for glass or metal when storing and heating food.
  • Avoid non-stick cookware. 
  • Avoid processed food including take-aways that rely on plastic packaging and linings. 
  • Switch key fresh foods to organic to reduce your overall pesticide body load. 


Is there any good news about PFAS? 


Whilst there’s still a long way to go before we understand how to reduce the threat PFASs can present to our the health, good news is beginning to emerge. Scientists recently published their discovery of a new method to break down the strong chemical bonds of PFAS, reducing them to chemical elements that are completely safe. News has also emerged describing the plans for a new water treatment system to remove PFASs in drinking water for a small town in Illionois. 


Read more: Insights – What are PFAS?  


Lasting Health