Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

12 April 2011

Third Paris Appeal International Congress on Children's Health and the Environment: The Foetus, First Victim of Pollution

This article was published by Metro France, April 12, 2011 and is translated from French.

Diseases related to the environment originate from pregnancy. Explanations and prevention tips:

Cancer, reduced fertility, diabetes, asthma ... most of the diseases that affect adults originate at the fetal stage, and are linked to environmental pollution, according to studies presented at the third congress of the Paris Appeal on children's health at UNESCO (12-13 April 2011).

The Paris Appeal, signed by thousands of scientists and citizens in 2004, establishes the link between development of cancer and environmental degradation.  Although the conference targeted chemical pollution (pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol, etc.), it was also interested in electromagnetic waves and radioactivity.

1% more cancers each year

According to data presented at the conference, cancers in children have been increasing by 1% each year for the last thirty years.  One child out of a hundred is born autistic, 10% are obese or overweight and 15% have asthma. "We have confirmed that many cancers and other diseases are of environmental origin in children and begin at the fetal stage," said Philippe Irigary, scientific director of research at ARTAC (Association for Research and Treatments against Cancer) and conference organizer.

Genetic damage

Professors Ana Soto (biologist, expert on the effects of bisphenol A) and Ernesto Burgio presented their work on the fetal origin of environmental diseases. At the stage where all cells are dividing, any alteration (toxic molecule, endocrine disruptor, electromagnetic waves) can cause irreversible damage, which may not show up until adulthood.  This is also the case during the growth phases, early childhood or adolescence. These genetic alterations can be inherited and have consequences on subsequent generations.
The major study Elfe on the health of children may reveal nothing as it studies children at birth, while much is decided before birth, says Philippe Irigary. For example, bisphenol A is found in pregnant women well before pregnancy.  (From April 2011, 20,000 French children will be followed from birth to age 20.  Factors influencing physical and psychological development, health and socialization will be studied.)

 Nine recommendations of ARTAC to pregnant women:

1. Do not smoke and leave the premises where people are smoking, because of the risks of passive smoking.

2. Do not drink alcohol.  Drink mineral water, if possible packaged in glass bottles.

3. Eat a balanced diet and if possible "organic" before and during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, to avoid contamination by pesticides and other lipophilic organic pollutants and / or fat.

4. Do not get vaccinated and do not take any medication except in exceptional cases on medical prescription.

5.  Renounce all x-rays and medical isotope examinations.

6. Limit exposure to electromagnetic fields:  carry the cell phone away from the body and use it only in   emergencies with a speaker.  Only use a computer with a flat screen and without wifi .

7. In the case of dental alloys, consider their removal before but not during pregnancy to avoid possible contamination by mercury.

8. After birth, breast feed for several months if possible.

9. Use baby bottles without bisphenol A and without nipples sealed in paper as they are in most cases sterilized with ethylene oxide which is identified as a carcinogen by WHO.

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