We should all be concerned about the state of the environment these days – more pollutants in the air, in food and water, chemical and power dumps infiltrating more and more communities. Sometimes we forget that these outside factors create huge risks for many people’s bodies, especially pregnant women. Now, a new article published at Center for American Progress reports on how poor women and women of color are more at risk for reproductive issues because of their exposure to chemical pollutants and toxins.
Low-income communities of color are faced with higher rates of fertility problems, miscarriages, preterm births and birth defects. Think about it – if you’re poor and living near a chemical dump because it’s the only place you can afford to live, it makes sense that over time, something in the air food and water may affect your health.
Author Whitney Maddox cites an excellent example of how Asian American women who live in low-income areas have the highest rates of endometriosis – a condition where the tissue that usually grows in the uterus starts growing in other parts of the body. This condition can lead to cervical cancer, infertility and other reproductive risks.
African American women have the highest rates of premature births are more likely than any other race to have children with low birth weights.
Maddox reports: “Both houses of Congress introduced legislation on April 15 that would better regulate industrial chemicals by overhauling the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976…and reforming the way the federal government protects the public from toxic chemicals.”
The Safe Chemicals Act would lower human exposure to industrial chemicals, dangerous products and cosmetics. Given that 90% of the 10,500 chemicals used in personal cosmetics and other products are federally unregulated, this is a good thing! Additionally, farmworkers would no longer be exposed to pesticides, a dangerous chemical that can drift into the air and can injure field workers.
There has long been increasing research and reports that document how people of color are more affected by so many more health issues, both generally and with regards to reproductive health. It’s time to level the playing field by making sure that all populations have access to safe living and don’t have to subject themselves to detrimental health issues just to work at a farm or a factory or a nail salon.