Autism Linked to Popular Backyard Product: Check Your Cabinets

pregnant womanA new link between pregnancy and toxins could make you give your "natural" household products a second look. A study found that pregnant women who live within a mile of places where pesticides are used have a higher risk for having a child with autism. The highest risk is for women in their last trimester, and for those living near a golf course or farm. So what does that have to do with what's in your cabinets at home?

Well, you may not have much control over how your neighbors treat their lawns and crops. But it turns out, some of those same chemicals linked to autism can be found in your own home, and from the very sources you'd least expect.


The study didn't zero in on specific pesticides, just commercial pesticides in general. But the lead researcher, Irva Hertz-Picciotto, points out that some of the chemicals like pyrethroids found in pesticides applied to big, public spaces can also be found in so-called "all-natural" household products. You know, the ones we moms buy so we can AVOID toxic chemicals?!?

Pyrethroid in particular get away with being called "natural" because it's based on a chemical found in chrysanthemum blossoms. But it is SO not from flowers.

So, what to do about this information? Well for starters, check the active ingredients in your home pesticides. A safer alternative to pyrethroids, Hertz-Picciotto says, is a powder called diamaceous earth. It kills insects by dehydrating them rather than attacking their nervous systems.

More from The Stir: How Your Husband's Job Affects Your Child's Risk for Autism

Basically the phrase "all natural" is useless. 

But don't give up! Check out this handy-dandy ultimate non-toxic baby guide, which lists ingredients you should avoid, sneaky language on products that can mislead you into thinking a product is safer than it really is, and labels you can actually trust. No go forth armed with knowledge, pregnant women.

What do you usually use to get rid of the the bugs around your house?


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