Born pre-polluted | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation
Photo: Born pre-polluted

Smoke stacks have traditionally been the way we view pollution but that's about to change (Credit: Brent Danley.)

What would you say if I told you we're all polluted?

It's called our human or chemical "body burden." And day-to-day exposure to harmful pollution might look like this: flipping pancakes with a non-stick frying pan and then washing up with an antibacterial soap. How else do pollutants get into you? Check out this diagram about toxic chemical exposure

The unfortunate truth is we're born this way. Born pre-polluted.

We know pregnant women shouldn't drink or smoke because those chemical residues travel from mother to baby. But what if expectant mothers were told to avoid the local park because it was sprayed with pesticides the day before, or to stop shopping for shampoo and deodorant with fragrance? Sound extreme?

A U.S. Environmental Working Group study looked at the umbilical cords of 10 babies back in 2004. They detected on average 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants which included pesticides, stain repellents, flame retardants, plasticizers like phthalates, PCBs (banned in the 70's), Teflon (PFOA), lead, mercury and dioxins.

It's a long list, I know.

Here's what I suggest. Watch the recently released video called The Story of Cosmetics launched by The Story of Stuff Project. It's an eye-opening seven minutes, and although it refers to U.S.-specific information, we have similar issues here in Canada.

The Personal Care Products Council is dubbing it a "shockumentary", but if you're one of the 6,246 that participated in our spring survey, you're already familiar with the cancer causing chemicals in your cosmetics. Missed it? Visit What's Inside? That Counts to get a dirty dozen chemical ingredients out of your personal care products.

Avoiding the Dirty Dozen is a start but it would sure be nice if we didn't have to shop defensively. Here's what you can do — take action. Ask Canada's Health Minister to protect Canadians and our environment from harmful chemicals in personal care products.

If you want to make sure you receive the full results of our study with Canadian results, sign up to receive our updates now!

Sincerely,
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

July 28, 2010
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2010/07/born-pre-polluted/

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7 Comments

Jun 24, 2013
5:22 AM

Here in Canada we have disposal drop off locations for batteries, light bulbs and such. I just wish there were disposal locations for cosmetics and personal care products like at Shoppers Drug marts etc. Due to the many ingredients some which are detrimental to our health, I worry about how these product ingredients will leach into our water system etc. I wishing/e of the aftershocks start this initiative.

Aug 10, 2010
5:53 PM

The quantitative information in this article does not surprise me at all! It makes you think, are the efforts we put into physical appearances really worth the damage in the long run? I’d like to extrapolate this idea to how we care for the land we live on. We put in the finances and efforts into short term aesthetic — appeal but will these solutions look as good 100 years from now? We can no longer utilize temporary solutions which cause more damage in the long run.

Aug 10, 2010
4:53 PM

PS. Another vote for Slow Death by Rubber Duck. It turned me into a health activist.

Aug 10, 2010
4:51 PM

Glad to find your blog. I often write about toxic chemicals in the environment. We need to all work together to get this situation turned around. No baby should be born pre-polluted. No mother should have to worry about the toxic chemicals her child is absorbing.

Aug 10, 2010
3:51 PM

So many things for moms to worry about — but at least David Suzuki is here to help.

Aug 09, 2010
6:00 PM

A U.S. Environmental Working Group study looked at the umbilical cords of 10 babies back in 2004. They detected on average 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants which included pesticides, stain repellents, flame retardants, plasticizers like phthalates, PCBs (banned in the 70’s), Teflon (PFOA), lead, mercury and dioxins.

Aug 06, 2010
12:00 PM

Another book to read related to this subject is “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” by R. Smith/B. Lourie. I have made of point of trying to reduce my use of harmful chemicals but it is difficult. New hazards keep surfacing such as reusable shopping bags treated with microban (triclosan disguised) as an antibacterial agent and I wouldn’t be surprised if nanosliver is added as well to reduce odour. Why do we need this? Can’t we just buy regular cloth bags and wash them periodically? So many of these consumer items add pointless and harmful chemicals for no reason.

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