GMO Crops May Affect Pregnant Women and their Families
By Molly Gray, ND LM

I encourage all pregnant women and families with young children to avoid GMO crops. I make this recommendation because of the increased amount of pesticides used with GMO crops. Research is continually demonstrating the toxicity of pesticides to human health and the environment. Crops that are commonly genetically modified include: corn, soy, potato, sugar beets, canola, and cotton.

The importance of minimizing children’s exposure to pesticides was emphasized to me by a 2009 study by Environmental Health Perspectives. The study found that young children have significantly lower levels of a key enzyme that protects against the toxic effects of certain pesticides. The young children’s enzyme levels do not catch up to an adult's until after age seven – far longer than previously thought. Developing babies in the womb are even more defenseless than young children when it comes to keeping toxic chemicals from harming them. Detoxification processes are either completely missing in developing fetuses or immature like mentioned with the young children meaning that toxic chemicals have vastly different effects on the very young.

The Environmental Working Group puts out a list of the “dirty dozen.” These foods have the highest amount of residue left behind during tests by the US Department of Agriculture and FDA. It is extra important to choose organic when eating these foods. If you need to save money or can’t find organic choices, choose the foods with the lowest levels of pesticides, “clean fifteen.” A printable list and iphone application for the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen is available at www.foodnews.org.

For further reading on other environmental effects on children’s health such as lead in toys, toxic nurseries, flame retardants in clothes, BPA in bottles, and toxins in sunscreen- I recommend the following resources: www.watoxics.org and www.ewg.org

Molly Gray is a naturopathic family medicine physician and midwife in the Seattle area. She has a great interest in how the environment affects our health and recently testified to the US Senate to ask them to update our nation’s laws on toxic chemicals.