I'm not usually one to spread pregnancy panic, as I'm still scarred from the paranoia fever dreams I experienced during my first pregnancy as a result of too much "What to Expect When You're Expecting." (What was I expecting? THE WORST, after reading that book.) But the latest study on potential pregnancy dangers, while scary, at least has a silver lining ... sort of. Research recently published in JAMA Pediatrics found that pregnant women exposed to phthalates are at an increased risk of going into pre-term labor (before 37 weeks).
As you are most likely well aware, preemies are more likely to suffer from breathing and developmental problems. The freak-you-out part, of course, is that phthalates are found in lots and lots of places, from contaminated food and water to commonly used toiletries like deodorant and lotion. EEEK!
Except, not so much. Here's why:
While phthalates are, as we said, found in lots and lots of places, there are a few tried-and-true ways to avoid them. Here are some incredibly helpful, comprehensive tips:
1. Always read ingredients. While most labels won't come right out and say "phthalates," there are other ways to detect their presence. DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in beauty products such as nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions. (BzBP is also in some toiletries.) DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics. BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and toiletries. DMP (dimethyl phthalate) is used in insect repellent and some plastics.
2. Watch out for the word "fragrance." This blanket term can hide possible phthalates, too. combination of compounds, possibly including phthatates, which are a subject of recent concern because of studies showing they can mimic certain hormones.
3. Always pick plastics with the recycling codes 1, 2 or 5. Recycling codes 3 and 7 are more likely to contain bisphenol A or phthalates. So, as you can see, there are definitely measures you can take to keep your pregnancy as phthalate-free as possible. Sure, it'll take a little vigilance -- but the payoff is worth it: A healthy baby!
Do you try to avoid phthalates as much as possible?
Image via Consumerist Dot Com/ Flickr