By: Amanda Anderson
In a time when we are constantly concerned with preserving some of the Earth’s most precious resources and battling issues that are believed to be a result of global warming, it is easy to forget just how much of an impact these environmental changes are posing to our own bodies. While we may live in big cities and tackle things such as air pollution daily, the effects may not be visible now, but the risks that they can potentially pose in the future is frightening. You may have a heard a few health experts speak on the dangers of toxins, but just how dangerous are they to your reproductive health? The latest studies reveal toxins can cause extreme complications to one’s reproductive system.
According to the Center of American Progress, women of low income and women of color are at greater risk when it comes to these findings. There are many factors that could explain why these particular women are at the greatest risk, but living conditions make the very top of the list. In general, women of lower incomes and minority women are most likely to experience pregnancy issues such as miscarriages and birth defects. Their environment contributes to these problems if they are living in lower income areas that tend to be the most dangerous chemically.
An example of these findings is the story of young Asian women who live in low income areas who were greatly affected by endometriosis. With this particular condition, tissue that usually grows in the uterus grows in other parts of the body. This condition eventually leads to cervical cancer, infertility, and other reproductive challenges.
And according to research. African American women have the highest rate of premature births and are more at risk to have babies of lower birth weights than any other race.
According to the Toxics Release Inventory, 3.9 billion pounds of on and off site disposals were released in our environment in 2008. More than 85 percent of the chemicals in use have not been tested for their effects in human health, and this includes more than 50 percent of high volume chemicals, which have production volumes of above 1 million pounds.
On April 15, both Houses of Congress introduced legislation that would better regulate industrial chemicals by overhauling the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. With this new legislation, a burden is now placed on the industry to test chemicals and make sure they are safe.
While the legislation will help put pressure on the chemical industry, places like nail salons still pose major reproductive health risks. In general, most nail salons harbor many toxic chemicals that are regularly inhaled by patrons. Nearly 95 percent of the 10,500 chemicals used in personal products have not been tested for safety.
So how can you protect yourself? The first thing you can do is to stop using toxic products. Never inhale any products, especially nail products, and try to limit the amount of time you spend in toxic places such as nail salons. You can also make a switch in your household to use natural products, and take the necessary steps to make your community safer by contacting local politicians.
Be aware of your surroundings, and most importantly, be aware of all the toxins that your body takes in on a regular bases.