Learn To Protect Your Baby From Environmental Hazards

June 14, 2012

Potential hazards and pollutants may lurk around almost every corner – they may be in a child’s toy, in the air, in the water and food they eat, or in everyday household items.

But armed with information, pregnant women and parents can take steps to limit their children’s exposure to environmental hazards and give them a healthy start in life.

Two leading experts in the field of children’s environmental health separated reality from the myth about health hazards in every day life.

Frederica P. Perera, DrPH, director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Maida P. Galvez, MD, MPH, FAAP, director of the Mount Sinai Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) presented the latest research on long-term health consequences of exposure to plastics, air pollution, lead and pesticides.

“We have learned a lot in recent years about what we can do to protect babies from environmental hazards and there are steps parents can take to lower their children’s exposure to pollutants,” said Dr. Diane Ashton, March of Dimes deputy medical director.

The March of Dimes urges pregnant women avoid known hazards, such as:

  • Cigarette smoke, including secondhand smoke by quitting smoking and asking people not to smoke around them.
  • Chemicals with strong smells, like turpentine, paint thinner or paint by wearing gloves or a face mask.
  • Insecticides and pesticides, such as bug spray and weed killer.
  • Plastics with the number 3, 6 or 7 on the bottom which means that they are made with phthalates, polystyrene foam or bisphenol A, which may have a harmful affect on children’s development.
  • Let your health care provider or dentist know if you are pregnant before getting an X-ray.

For more information visit Your baby's environment page on marchofdimes.org.