The concept that maternal exposure to certain chemicals and drugs during pregnancy and lactation can have detrimental effects on the fetus/baby is not new. Adverse effects on fetal development and long term health due to cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy are particularly well documented.1,2 This has led to the provision of guidelines and advice to women who are pregnant on the consequences of these lifestyle choices for unborn babies. In contrast, there is no official antenatal advice or guidelines that inform women who are pregnant or breastfeeding of the potential risks that some chemical exposures could pose for their babies. Instead, they are faced with frequent ‘chemical scare’ stories in the media which are often inaccurate or exaggerated. Subsequently, these stories create understandable anxiety for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The purpose of this document is to raise awareness of the current issues surrounding chemical exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so that women are armed with sufficient facts to enable them to make an informed decision as to whether or not they might wish to take some form of positive action in regards to chemical exposures throughout their pregnancy.
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