Because the changes affect the way our genes function, we can pass these tendencies for wrong signals on to future generations. I asked Nagel how many generations can be affected when we’re exposed to endocrine disruptors. Her answer was somber, “We do not know. We do know that exposure to mom exposes the unborn baby AND the baby’s eggs. There is certainly evidence for multigenerational effects in lab animals and some human data.” Those effects suggest a connection to breast and prostate cancer, infertility and other problems. As for BPA, one of the better understood endocrine disruptors, Nagel cautions, “There’s every reason not to expose your baby to it.”
Nagel says expectant parents should educate themselves on creating the safest environment for their child, even before birth. In addition to BPA, the list of potential hormone disruptors is too long to list. “When in doubt, don’t use chemicals,” is the blanket caution she gives. Let someone else paint the nursery, don’t install new carpet, avoid pesticide use around the home and limit use of personal care products. Look for alternatives to plastic for anything that might go in baby’s mouth. Of course, eat the freshest, local, less packaged foods when possible. She suggests that consumers might want to check out Good Guide to help make informed purchases.