Recently our staff had the opportunity to meet Dr. Jenn Berman at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference in California. After observing the long line of Pediatricians waiting to receive a copy of her recent book, “SuperBaby”, it occurred to us that Dr. Berman would likely have valuable insight about organic foods – and that she does.
"SuperBaby" is packed with an incredible amount of valuable information, the chapter on “Just the Facts, Mama: Chemicals and Our Kids” truly alarmed me. As an employee of an organic medical food company for pediatrics, I consider myself a conscious, educated consumer, aware of the many health benefits of an organic lifestyle. What I often overlook, as this chapter points out, are the many toxic chemicals my family is exposed to everyday in our home. From the paint on the walls to the mattresses we sleep on, it is disheartening to know my family is even breathing in toxic chemicals at night while they sleep.
When considering the first several years of a child’s life, we need to be infinitely more concerned about chemical exposure for many reasons: (all of which are provided in “SuperBaby”, but to give just a few.)
· The blood brain barrier is still porous and allows more chemicals to reach their brains
· Children have a larger skin-to-surface area in relation to body weight, and their skin is thinner, resulting in greater penetration of toxins.
· Exposure to toxins during critical stages of growth has greater effects and can last a lifetime
· A child’s diet is less varied than an adult, leaving them more vulnerable to toxic exposure.
· A child’s metabolism is faster, increasing the rate of toxin absorption.
· Children eat three to four times more food per pound of body weight than the average adult.
Did you know?
· The American Red Cross found that babies in utero had an average of 200 industrialized chemicals and pollutants in their bloodstream
o 180 are known to cause cancer
o 217 are poisonous to the brain and nervous system
o 208 have been linked to birth defects in animals.
· Approximately 82,000 new and synthetic chemical compounds have been introduced to the environment over the last several decades; only 10% have been tested for safety!
The major toxins to be aware of are lead, PVC, phthalates, flame retardants and cigarette smoke. For infants less than 3 months old, BPA, a hormone disrupting toxin commonly found in infant bottles has been linked to a variety of health conditions such as heart disease, liver abnormalities, diabetes, mood disorders and issues with brain function. Infants do not develop the enzyme necessary to metabolize BPA until around 3 months old.
Children are our greatest gift, protect them by learning about the most common dangers they’re susceptible bodies are exposed to everyday. We, as parents, are responsible for knowing what’s in the products we purchase. Don’t assume that it’s safe just because it’s manufactured for a small child or infant.