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Decreasing the Exposure for Your Baby

Julie Dohr MDby Julie Dohr, MD

The US Environmental Protection Agency has a chemical inventory of over 10,000 chemicals.  To focus efforts on reducing exposure of ones that could affect your baby’s brain development, Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risk) was started.  

Possible potential toxic chemicals: 

  • Organophosphate pesticide (OP) - found as residues on some foods, and pesticides used at home
  • Polybrominated dephenyl ether (PBDE) - Found in house dust (old foam furniture), and in plastics for electronics and some fatty foods

  • Combustion-related air pollutants - Air pollution

  • Lead - In older homes and water and soil and in some ethnic products such as herbal remedies.
  • Mercury - Found in fish (usually larger fish
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) - found in foods, some fish (bottom feeders), meat and dairy products.

  • Phthalates - found in plastics

How Can You Decrease Your Exposure?

  • Avoid heating foods in plastic containers 
  • Reduce plastic storage, and use of plastic straws. Glass is preferable
  • Wash hands frequently, especially prior to eating
  • Decrease use of scented personal care products
  • Avoid foods, especially seafood, high in heavy metals (See the FDA's Advice)
  • Be mindful of air quality alerts
  • Choose "organic" food if possible
  • Decrease use of chemical solvents in cleaning
  • Damp-mopping can decrease dust in your home