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Prenatal Care: Pregnancy and Exposure to Conventional Pesticides

Toxins in conventional pesticides are harmful for adults, children, and pets, but especially for expectant mothers.

More research is being conducted on the correlation between disease and birth defects in children and their prenatal exposure to conventional household pesticides that are filled with toxic ingredients. Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, found an increased risk of brain tumors and leukemia in children whose mothers had used conventional indoor pesticide sprays such as common flea-and-tick control products and roach sprays. Not only were the highest rates of incidence found in children exposed to toxins during prenatal pregnancy, but also more frequent exposure was found to increase these risks.

These study results demonstrate the high probability that common household pesticides are directly linked to preventable birth defects and disease brought on by exposure to carcinogens during prenatal pregnancy. Chemicals in conventional pesticides have different functions. Some repel pests and others prevent them from reproducing, both without lethally affecting them. But most household sprays are designed to kill critters on contact. And they do so by interfering with the biological systems of pests—namely the central nervous system. Nerve fibers carry impulses throughout an organism and those impulses are passed between gaps in the fibers. Traditional insecticides can target the fibers, the gaps between the fibers, or both.

Incidentally, it is during the first trimester that a baby’s nervous system is developing. During the first trimester the brain, spinal cord, and neural tissue of the central nervous system are formed. So are the baby’s organs and facial features including ears, lips, eyes, nose, and even teeth in addition to fingers, toes, arms, and legs. It doesn’t then seem coincidental that the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program found moderate risk increase for prenatal pregnant women exposed to conventional pesticides included oral clefts and neural tube, heart, and limb defects. These risk increases are linked explicitly to defects in development during the first trimester.

But describing these risks as moderate cannot be devalued. Don’t panic! Studies suggest increased—not imminent—risk of incidence. And heightened risk comes from prolonged and substantial exposure to conventional pesticides. If you have recently used a traditional flea-and-tick control product on your pet or have a service company spraying your home quarterly for pests, rest assured that your baby is not doomed to disease or defect.

However, as the old adage goes: knowledge is power. When you know better, do better. Understanding the risks gives us the power to make informed decisions and to take an active role in the ongoing health and development of our families. Here at Wondercide, we believe in providing safe*, plant-powered solutions that promote the health of families. 

To stay protected indoors, use Indoor Pest Control. For families with pets, use Flea & Tick Pets + Home on pets and throughout the house. It's safe* for pets of all ages, even puppies and kittens. For the family, use Insect Repellent to keep mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas and more away. These three solutions come in 4 scents that are equally effective. Just choose the one you love most.

To eliminate pesky bugs at the source, treat your yard with Outdoor Pest Control. It will eliminate ants, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, chiggers, no-see-ums, gnats, and more.

*When used as directed.

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