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Infants are not protected from mother's toxins

In 2005, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a small study analyzing the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.  Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.  Please read the full article HERE. 


A larger and more recent study published in 2016 was conducted at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. This study is the most extensive look yet at the relationship between a pregnant woman's chemical exposure and the amount of toxins present in her newborn. From 2010 to 2011, researchers collected maternal blood samples from 77 pregnant women and measured 59 chemicals.  Once the babies were delivered, researchers collected umbilical cord blood samples from these women.  Almost 80 percent of the chemicals detected in maternal blood samples were also detected in the umbilical cord blood samples, indicating that they passed through the placenta and entered the fetal environment.

Woodruff, the senior author of the study, who also directs the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at UCSF stated the following.


 “Our findings have found that many chemicals do indeed accumulate in the fetal environment and are absorbed at greater levels by fetuses than by the pregnant women themselves. This may have significant consequences for the growing fetus, since many of these chemicals are known to affect development.”

NHANES is the The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). For years they have been studying human exposure to environmental chemicals including pregnant women. NHANES studies have shown that greater than 99 percent of U.S. pregnant women have been exposed to environmental chemicals.  Included in their testing were polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), mercury and lead, among other chemicals. These chemicals were also found to be present in 90 percent of the babies’ umbilical cord blood BUT in higher concentrations than in the mother.  Also higher in the cord blood than in the mother were mercury and PBDEs. For lead and PFCs, cord blood concentrations were generally equal to or lower than maternal concentrations.  Click HERE for more information about the chemicals.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology along with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine published a formal committee opinion on this in 2013:

“Patient exposure to toxic environmental chemicals and other stressors is ubiquitous, and preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic environmental agents can have a profound and lasting effect on reproductive health across the life course. ”
























The umbilical cord is the lifeline between mother and her developing child delivering nutrients that sustain life and propel growth.  The medical community has previously thought that the placenta shielded cord blood — and the developing infant — from most chemicals and pollutants in the environment. But from numerous studies done including the NHANES studies, not only is the developing fetus vulnerable but, depending on the toxin, receiving a higher dose.  More studies need to be done to determine why toxins are higher in cord blood. 

The bottom line from these numerous studies is that developing babies are affected by the mothers current and previous toxin exposure. The umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life and critical nutrients but also a steady stream of  industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides that cross the placenta as readily as residues from cigarettes and alcohol.  

At The Johnson Center we can provide testing that measures your body burden of chemicals.  We then create a protocol that will provide steps to reduce these toxins and to nourish your cells in preparation for pregnancy.


Call The Johnson Center for more information. 



A developing fetus is very vulnerable to a mother's body burden of toxins.  Preconception detoxification needs to start at least 6 months and preferably one year prior to conception. 

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