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In a landmark decision last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moved to finally ban the use of endosulfan in America, prompting health advocacy groups like the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) to applaud what they hope is the first step toward a global phase-out of the highly toxic chlorinated pesticide.

Banned already in more than 60 countries worldwide, endosulfan is used widely on vegetable crops and cotton and has been linked to birth defects and delayed sexual development in children, as well as an increased risk of developing autism. Although not considered a carcinogen, research shows that endosulfan may also contribute to certain types of cancer, in particular breast cancer.

Even though it was re-registered for use in the U.S. under the Bush administration in 2002, PANNA and others have been pushing to remove endosulfan from the market because of documented evidence of health damage to farm workers as well as people and wildlife living near exposed soil and water. The EPA is now working with the sole manufacturer of endosulfan in the U.S. to establish a timeframe that would allow farmers to come up with effective alternatives to endosulfan use.

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Expectant moms have a lot to think about when it comes to their babies’ health, like eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and making sure they avoid things like smoking and alcohol. But what if something you couldn’t even see was affecting the healthy growth of your baby while it was still in the womb?

Experts at the University of California, Berkeley recently found that exposure to flame-retardant chemicals called PBDEs (polybrominated diphenylethers) could significantly affect the healthy brain development of babies in utero. Used in countless consumer products such as electronics, building materials, carpet and upholstery, motor vehicles and more, PBDEs have also been linked to increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

So what’s the connection? Researchers looked at more than 250 pregnant women and found that exposure to PBDEs may result in reduced levels of specific thyroid hormones necessary for healthy fetal brain development, and that higher levels of PBDEs in the mother’s blood were linked to lower levels of important thyroid-stimulating hormones.

The study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, underscores the danger of our modern environment and the thousands of toxins to which we are exposed daily. Curious about how toxic you are? Visit Brenda Watson’s Detox Strategy today and take the quiz! Plus, learn Brenda’s simple tips on how to reduce toxic exposure and eliminate stored toxins from your body.

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