7 Harmful Cleaning Chemicals To Avoid During Pregnancy

Chemicals cannot be separated from everyday life. They exist everywhere, even hundreds of them can be found in our home. Chemicals infiltrate in our food supply, home and environment.

Not all of the chemicals are considered safe. Some of them may have toxic properties that can be harmful to human. Question is, which chemicals are considered safe and which ones are harmful? You can read more about those topics in Harmful Chemicals in the Environment.

Now, we have already known that some chemicals are toxic. Everyone also knows, pregnancy is a time when toxic avoidance is absolutely imperative since the developing of fetus is highly susceptible to the effects of some chemicals.

Some chemicals that pregnant women should avoid of is also hidden in their own cleaning products. It is possible that the smells associated with some cleaning products may affect nausea. Even low exposure to everyday toxic chemicals may cause abnormal development or birth defects. Here is the list of harmful cleaning chemicals to avoid during pregnancy:

1. Phthalates

Phthalates are cleaning chemicals that are used in detergents and surfactants. Those chemicals are a class of substances used widely to increase plasticity, transparency, durability, longevity of building supplies, personal care products, medical devices, cleaning products, food packaging, children toys, paint and cosmetics.

The wide use of the chemicals makes no surprise to us that many people are having health problems as a result of exposure. You really should take a note that pregnant women especially are at a higher risk for experiencing side effects of phthalates. What kind of side effects?

Studies show us that phthalates are the potential cause of breast cancer. They may shorten the distance between the anus and genitals in fetus, which is bad to sterility. The chemicals have also linked to miscarriages.

2. Triclosan

Most of the antibacterial soaps contain triclosan in its ingredients. Truth fact about triclosan is that it is a hormone disruptor, building up in our bodies and it has been found in blood and breast milk. The cannot be easily broken-down properties of triclosan may lead us to imbalance. To make it worse, studies also show that it’s actually no more effective than plain soap and water at removing germs or preventing illness.

Triclosan is a harsh chemical, found in antibacterial soaps, more in Harmful Chemicals in Antibacterial Soap and has been shown to hinder enzymes that contribute to a healthy pregnancy. It causes disruption in the metabolism of estrogen, needed to develop the baby’s brain and regulate baby’s genes. Estrogen is disrupted when enough of this chemical reach placenta. Scary effect in babies who don’t receive enough estrogen is that they get less oxygen from mother.

3. Aluminum

It is not only phthalates that people are exposed to everyday. Other chemical that often exposed to people is aluminum. Related to cleaning products, aluminum is found in personal care products. Moreover, it may also be found in food packaging and cooking utensil.

This metal possibly leads human to behavioral disorders. Research shows that aluminum has neurodegenerative properties. It means the chemical possibly cause the developing cognitive disorders including Alzheimer’s disease.

There is one exposure route of aluminum in babies which is no other than vaccines. Pregnant women who receive aluminum-containing vaccines also expose their baby to aluminum. In the end, because of their small body weight, they uptake the chemicals greater. 

4. Synthetic Fragrance

Next in the list of cleaning chemicals to avoid during pregnancy is synthetic fragrance. More about this in Banned Chemicals in Cosmetics in Europe. It is mostly found in cosmetics and perfumes. You can also find the synthetic fragrance in cleaners, laundry detergents and personal care products.

Important fact is that fragrance can be made up hundreds of chemicals. Common chemicals hidden in fragrance are linked to increased the risk of breast cancer. The strong smells of certain synthetic fragrances are enough to get your pregnancy-sensitive reflexes going. You better stay away from these chemicals for at least the first trimester of your pregnancy.

5. Glycol Ethers

Glycol ethers belong to a large group of solvents used both industrially and at home. Mostly, this chemical is found in perfumes and cosmetics. We can also find it in cleaning products.

Glycol ethers are quickly absorbed into the skin when you spill the product containing it. This chemical also produce aroma, ranging from odorless to quite strong. With its aroma, toxicity levels of glycol ethers also vary widely. Overexposure of products containing this chemical may lead you to anemia. The effect to children are experiencing greater risk for asthma and allergies. 

6. Chlorinated Solvent

Chlorinated Solvent is a chemical substance that usually formed in liquid substance. Chlorinated Solvent have the source to dissolving other substances such as dirt, grease, fats, oils and other chemicals. It is a group of organic chemicals in List of Organic Chemicals . Before, we have already known about glycol ethers. Other common solvent found in cleaning products is chlorinated solvent.

Pregnant women exposed to organic solvents are 13 times more likely to deliver a baby with major birth defects. Research also shows that they are linked to increased risk of miscarriages, low birth weight, fetal distress and even prematurity. Absorption of solvents increases during pregnancy. Once solvents are absorbed, they distribute widely through human body. Some of them can cross placenta barrier and pose a threat to the baby prenatally, as well as through breast milk postnatally.

7. Toluene

Toluene is mostly used as metal cleaner. It can be exposed through breathing, skin, eyes and mouth. This chemical affects the central nervous system, as well as respiratory system, liver, kidneys and more. High concentrations of toluene can cause loss of consciousness, respiratory depression and even death.

It has been shown that breathing high levels of toluene during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Toluene also retards mental abilities and growth in children. The exposure of toluene is also proved by evidences to cause spontaneous abortion.

Those are the list of cleaning chemicals, more in Harmful Cleaning Chemicals, to avoid during pregnancy. It is true that chemicals may be everywhere and we have no escape route from them. Yet, knowing more about their side effects may help you more aware and cautious so that you will become less dependent to them.