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Reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals by following our tips for a healthy pregnancy.


Choose fish wisely
  • Avoid king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, tilefish, tuna steak, striped wild bass, alewife, bluefish, shad, imported wild sturgeon, or weakfish.
  • Choose wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, Atlantic herring, Dungeness crab, Pacific cod, Alaskan black cod, farmed striped bass, farmed catfish, clams, mussels, and Pacific oysters.
Eat organic food as much as possible

Especially for foods found to be most contaminated with pesticides such as peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes (imported), spinach, lettuce, and potatoes.

Avoid canned foods as much as possible.

Linings in cans may leach BPA (bisphenol-A), a toxic chemical that mimics estrogen and has been shown to have a variety of health effects at low doses.

Choose low-fat meat and dairy products

Because many chemicals build up in fat.

Avoid clear water bottles (in any color) that are labeled #7 on the bottom.

These bottles are typically made of polycarbonate, which may leach bisphenol-A. Choose water bottles made of uncoated stainless steel or cloudy plastic instead.

When reheating food, opt for containers labeled as microwave-safe such as those made of glass or ceramic materials.

Try using parchment paper, wax paper, or white paper towels to cover containers rather than plastic wrap.

Avoid non-stick or Teflon-coated cookware

This may release toxic compounds. Choose stainless steel, glass, cast iron, or ceramic cookware instead.

Avoid microwave popcorn.

The inside of the popcorn bag is often coated with toxic chemicals that may leach into the popcorn. Avoid fast foods, as fast-food containers may be lined with “Teflon chemicals.”

Personal care

Choose fragrance-free personal care products

And consider giving up perfumes, nail polish, and hair dye, which may contain harmful chemicals.

Choose cosmetics and personal products from companies committed to safer products

Some examples include Burt’s Bees, Avalon, Aubrey Organics, and California Baby. You can also explore safer products and ingredients on the Cosmetic Safety Database.

Avoid hand soaps marketed as "antibacterial"

Scrubbing hands with hot water and plain soap is just as effective, and the overuse of antibacterial products can lead to germs that are harder to kill.

Avoid clothing, shoes, and boots made with vinyl/PVC

If you can, also avoid those treated with Gore-Tex or other “Teflon chemicals.” Choose rubber and vinyl-free fabrics such as nylon and polyester.

Pest control

Avoid bug killers, weed killers, and other pesticides in the home or garden.

Focus on preventive techniques, and learn about easy non-toxic options here and here (search “Indoor Pests”).

Household products and home renovations

Replace plastic shower curtains with fabric curtains (like nylon or polyester)

Also, avoid vinyl mattress covers and inflatable furniture.

Don’t do any remodeling unless it’s absolutely essential.

If you must remodel, don’t do the work yourself, and choose products free of VOCs. Learn more about safer building materials here. If you have an older home with lead paint, hire a certified lead abatement worker to protect yourself from lead paint dust or chips.

Inspect foam furniture for rips

And get rid of items where foam is exposed and crumbling.


Try green cleaning recipes using liquid soap, baking soda, and vinegar

Some options for safer brands include Seventh Generation, Bi-O-Kleen, and Country Save.

Leave shoes at the door and try to vacuum once a week.

Toxic chemicals from both indoors and outdoors can build up in household dust.