Over past few decades, halogenated flame retardants have become very common chemicals in the lives of people all over the world. These synthetic chemicals that are mainly used in upholstery, carpets, electronics, textiles, airplane and vehicle parts, insulation, strollers, children’s clothes and other products are very effective and are meant to resist fire.
The usage of these compounds have risen in such an extent that the food and the environment are getting affected by these. The present of these chemicals in the blood of people can cause adverse health effects. It leads to problems related to reproduction, hormones, neurological development in infants as well as children and also may affect the thyroid and metabolic function in a body.
Prenatal exposure to flame retardants can be very harmful for mother and children who are still in mother’s womb and it elevates the risk of several health hazards. Below given is a list of hazards that a mother and child can face if they are exposed too much to flame retardant chemicals during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who are exposed to flame-retardant toxic chemicals to a great extent may have the risk of giving birth to premature babies. The premature babies generally face many health problems and need to stay in hospital for longer period of time compared to the normal babies who are born at the right time.
Exposure to flame retardant chemicals can alter thyroid hormones of a pregnant woman which can have a harmful effect in baby’s growth and brain development. The pregnant women who are hyperthyroid have increased risk of premature birth, reduced fetal growth and even miscarriage.
Attention Problem in Kids
Exposure to flame retardant at the time of pregnancy can cause attention problem in kids. Hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention are few symptoms that are prevalent in kids.
IQ Deficit in Kids
If mother is over exposed to flame retardant during pregnancy, the IQ level of the kids may also get affected. As per study, if the blood of the mother had 10-fold increase in PBDEs, generally an average 5 year old kid had 4 point IQ deficit.
We cannot avoid exposure to flame retardant completely during pregnancy but probably we can reduce the exposure. Here are few ways, which may help you to decrease the exposure.
Make Cleaning Products by your Own
You can make non-toxic cleaners using effective and safe ingredients like baking soda and vinegar.
Stay Away from Synthetic Fragrance
Buy laundry detergents, personal care products and cleaners those are labeled as “fragrance-free”. It is better not to use air fresheners as the synthetic fragrance is made with several chemicals which can have an adverse health effect for the mother and child both.
Go BPA Free
Avoid canned foods and opt for fresh vegetables and fruits. Try to find products that are packaged in glass or lined cans. Use “BPA free” plastics instead of normal one. It is better not to take receipt from grocery stores or ATM, if you do not require it.
Use Plastics with Recycle Symbols #4 & #5.
Use the plastics that have these symbols signifying PVC free. It is advisable to store foods in glass jars or in glass bowls.
To protect our health and home from toxic chemicals we should immediately start using “green” and organic products. It is also very important that we should start redesigning our products avoiding the flammable materials.