And I'm not talking about Pthalates even though they are all the rage now. They are found in plastics, mostly the soft pliable kind. They can also be found in the air, not much you can do about that since you have to breathe. They do affect developing fetuses, causing male babies to be born with small genitalia.
Here's a quote from our friends at the Environmental Working Group (EWG)
Phthalates have been found to disrupt the endocrine system. Several phthalate compounds have caused reduced sperm counts, testicular atrophy and structural abnormalities in the reproductive systems of male test animals, and some studies also link phthalates to liver cancer, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s 2005 National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Though the CDC contends the health hazards of phthalates to humans have not been definitively established, for some years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has regulated phthalates as water and air pollutants.I'm talking about food and cosmetics.
Pregnant women are told to avoid a laundry list of foods because of contamination (mercury in fish & seafood), bacteria and paraiste risks (rare beef, chicken, pork, raw dairy & soft cheese) and because of chemical exposure (cosmetics).
Do you really want to eat things that can compromise the development of a human being? I don't want to consume foods that are contaminated with mercury for my own safety, same goes for foods that are not cooked properly that can kill me.
The chemical exposure is what always strikes me. We have no problem coloring our hair and going to the nail salon, but when you are pregnant it's recommended you don't color your hair and I have a friend who is a manicurist that couldn't work while she was pregnant.
Now a days there are plenty of alternatives and I encourage people to seek them out. Eating a plant-based diet* that includes the organic version of the dirty dozen and using skincare products that don't contain parabens and other harmful chemicals will help reduce your exposure to chemicals in the long run (check out the Skin Deep: Cosmetics Database to find the right product for you). If only cleaning the air and the water was that easy...
*The new GMO alfalfa that's been approved by the USDA raises the risk of contamination into organic animal feed