The transgenerational effect: how do toxins harm future generations?

While there’s no question that the chemicals found in our air, water, food, and conventional personal care products are not doing us any favours, what’s even more disturbing—thanks to a recent study—is that our exposure today is powerful enough to impact the health and wellbeing of the generations of tomorrow.

Yep, you read that right!

Thanks to the brilliance of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the latest body of research tells us that our children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren may suffer from early onset puberty, underdeveloped eggs, dead sperm, or obesity because of OUR exposure to toxins today. A little mind blowing, isn’t it?

The transgenerational effect

If you’re wondering how this is possible, we’ve got answers for you.

Let’s start with what’s been established for quite some time now: toxic chemicals can pass from pregnant women to their foetuses through the umbilical chord. That means a mum who is regularly exposed to chemicals found in things like bug spray, pesticides, or her skin care products is passing them on to her baby.

And while this is alarming in itself, the recent research from the EWG is shows that the same chemicals may alter gene function so drastically in a mum that they can be passed down to not only her baby, but also the next two generations.

This is called the ‘transgenerational effect’, where kiddies that have never been exposed to harmful chemicals—even a generation removed—can experience health issues because of the toxic exposure of their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents.

How does the transgenerational effect happen

The EWG explains, “all of our cells contain the same DNA – a complete blueprint for every cell and process in the body. But not every gene needs to be used in all cells or at all times. Epigenetic markers attach to DNA to modify the way it functions. Small markers called methyl groups bind to DNA and turn off genetic instructions that aren’t needed and allow others to be expressed.”

Simply put, a mum’s lifestyle habits have the power to trigger the behavior of these markers, which will then turn on or turn off certain genes and traits in her children, her children’s children, and beyond.

Yikes.

How can you reduce the transgenerational effect?

There’s good news!

You have the power to prevent this from happening to your family through your choices every day, especially when it comes to choosing personal care, baby care, and home cleaning products. Lucky for all of us, there are a plethora of clean, toxin-free, eco-friendly items to use daily instead of their chemical-ridden counterparts.

To reduce the transgenerational effect, here are five key tips to keep in mind when detoxifying your home environment and beyond.

1. REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF PLASTICS YOU USE DAILY

From food storage containers to water bottles, the BPA found in almost all plastics has been classified as an endocrine disruptor, which impacts the hormonal health of not only mum, but baby as well. It’s best to use glass instead whenever possible.

 

2. REPLACE YOUR BABY CARE WITH CLEAN, TOXIN-FREE ITEMS

Sadly, most conventional nappies, baby wipes, soothers, nappy rash creams, and more are loaded with harmful chemicals like parabens, SLS, and synthetic fragrance that irritate skin and the overall wellbeing of your baby. You can easily replace all of the above with cleaner and safer products—thank goodness.

 

3. REMOVE TOXIN-FILLED HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS FROM YOUR HOME

Those air fresheners, laundry detergents, surface sprays, and more are brimming with chemicals like phthalates, chlorine, ammonia, and other synthetics. Many of which are also hormone disruptors and negatively impact the behavioural and reproductive development of kiddies.

 

4. DETOXIFY YOUR PERSONAL CARE

Just like the conventional baby care products mentioned above, your conventional personal care items contain harmful chemicals as well. From shampoos to body washes, toothpaste and cosmetics, mainstream products will usually contain parabens, petrochemicals, PEGs, benzene, and even classified carcinogens. Replace them with clean, eco-friendly products and you’ll feel better than ever.

 

5. EAT CLEAN, UNPROCESSED FOOD 

We’ve all heard that organic, non-GMO, whole foods are better for us, but why? Well, conventional produce has been sprayed with pesticides which also make their way into our bodies when we consume them. Processed foods are laced with additives, preservatives, and excess sweeteners that contribute to chronic inflammation and even the development of chronic disease. Be sure to shop for fruits and vegetables that are organic or locally grown, and always read food labels. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you shouldn’t eat it!

Making the effort to detoxify your home, your refrigerator, and your bathroom cupboard will ensure that you, your children, and future babies maintain healthy DNA.

Source
Science DirectExperience LifeScience DailyAustralian Government, Department of Health
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Blair Badenhop

Blair is a wellness copywriter and the host of the Brand Yourself podcast. She’s passionate about living a healthy and conscious lifestyle - taking care of her body, mind and heart; practicing kindness and compassion; and being mindful of her impact on people’s lives and the planet.

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