THE BIG PICTURE - CONTAMINANTS IN NEWBORNS

For over two decades, medical and environmental studies from across the globe have identified very common contaminants in our drinking water that put pregnant women and their fetuses, as well as infants and children at risk. Pregnancy risks include miscarriage, spontaneous abortion and stillbirth. Risks to children include birth defects, increased risk of childhood cancers, low birth weight and a range of cognitive disorders.

The rest of us face increased risks of cancer, liver, kidney or central nervous system problems, gastrointestinal illnesses and increased blood pressure, to name a few.

How do these contaminants make their way to the fetus? One avenue is through drinking water (tap and bottled), and pregnant women are instructed to drink plenty of it.  Let’s look at a landmark study which examined the umbilical cord blood of newborns.

In 2005 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) spearheaded a study to examine the umbilical cord blood of newborns.  Researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in the blood of these babies, born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. These contaminants were passed from the mother to her fetus. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group including pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), mercury and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage. Contaminants in the water ingested by the mother are considered primary, contributing factors. EWG recommends that pregnant women filter their tap water.  

Of the 287 chemicals detected in umbilical cord blood, 180 are known to cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. A follow up study on minority newborns was performed in 2009 with similar results.  Per EWG, “Had we tested for a broader array of chemicals, we would almost certainly have detected far more than 287”.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Review this website to learn more. If you think bottled water is your answer, please think again. Learn why here.  Do not rely on the water filter in your refrigerator, water pitchers with filters or those that attach to your faucet.  Commit to installing a solid carbon block water filter that is certified to reduce as much and as many of the contaminants that are finding their way into your homes and children.  I did the research and even called NSF International and the Water Quality Association, both of which certify water filters. I chose Multipure after much research and recommend their filters to your family without hesitation. Select your NSF certified Multipure filter here. See my tips on choosing one of those filters here. If you're concerned about installation, read my comments here.

Spread the word - WaterforMoms.com. This is important information, not only for pregnant women, but for all of us. The 287 contaminants found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns were from the mothers' bloodstreams. They're just as likely in yours and mine if we do not take measures such as installing a high-quality solid carbon block filter.  Adding reverse osmosis will remove additional contaminants.  As far as I can tell, the majority of physicians are not sharing this critical information with patients and it's not discussed in even the most popular pregnancy books.  Please share my website with friends, other pregnant women, and even your own OB-GYN and other medical professionals you see. Your child's pediatrician should be aware of this information as well. Again, if you purchase a Multipure water filter, you will know what you are getting.  You are choosing the best.