Monday 23 October 2017

Jenny McCarthy: Pregnancy is scary enough without experts adding to the fear factor

Jenny McCarthy

I'M glad I'm not pregnant. An official list of things for an expectant mother to worry about just got much longer, with a report by the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warning that if pregnant women want to "play it safe" they should reduce their exposure to chemicals by avoiding fresh paint on the nursery walls.

They should also stay away from certain cleaning products, air fresheners, pesticides and non-stick frying pans, tinned food and ready-meals. Don't buy new carpets or cars. Oh, and they might also want to be careful about moisturisers, shower gels and sunscreens – which could, theoretically, pose a risk to the foetus. Or not. No one is quite sure.

I have some sympathy with the report authors, Dr Michelle Bellingham and Professor Richard Sharpe. They're scientists, and they believe in telling the public the truth, which is that there is indeed scientific concern about the effects of a build-up of common chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA) upon a developing foetus. The trouble is that, as they admit, "obtaining definitive guidance will take many years". So women can, if they choose, take precautionary measures in the meantime.

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