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status in the mercury arena. (See rec- ommendations at SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_regional.aspx) Five-cent solution: Fish con- tains beneficial protein and omega-3 fatty acids, so don’t give it up entirely. Aim for safer options, such as shrimp, salmon, pollock and catfish.

7. Let bugs and weeds be Pregnancy is no time to come into contact with pesticides or insecticides, which researchers have linked to cancer, reproductive problems and a host of other health and environmental issues. Pesticides, such as organochlo- rines (OC), accumulate in the food chain. Some, like DDT, now largely banned in the United States, remain in the environment for decades. Five-cent solution: Switch to natural alternatives, such as fly paper, bug swatters and hand-weeding.

8. Pick healthy pans Teflon pans are easy to clean, but they’re manufactured with chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a water contaminant and suspected carcinogen that may also cause birth defects. Use non-Teflon pans with a splash of olive oil, instead. Five-cent solution: Shop sec- ondhand for cast iron, glass or stainless steel pans.

9. Renovate later

Pregnancy may seem like a fine time to fix up the house. But it’s actually the worst time, with all the ripping, scrap- ing, gluing, sanding and painting that renovations entail. Remodeling can be particularly toxic in homes built before 1978, when almost all paints contained lead, a substance that can affect nearly every aspect of fetal development. (Test for lead with a kit from the local hardware store.) Most of today’s com- mercial paints still contain hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOC), but paints with few or no VOCs are available. Older houses also are prime territory for asbestos, a fire retardant, widely used in everything from ceilings and plumbing to insulation and floor- ing. If puttering is a must, at least use green, natural products. Five-cent solution: Resist the redo and relax. Baby won’t arrive criti- cizing the wall color.

10. If it stinks, it stinks

When something smells terrible, it’s of- ten terrible for us, too. The nose knows when to stay as far away as possible. Common toxins include cigarette and cigar smoke, bleaches, conventional household cleansers, refinery smoke, solvents, paints, paint thinners, glues, oven cleaners, air fresheners, vinyl shower curtains and new carpets (that “new carpet smell” is a bad sign). See a warning label on a product? Leave it alone.

Five-cent solution: Feel free to be unapologetically picky in making healthy choices.

Reprinted by permission from Grist ( For more green parent- ing advice and tips, check out Brood Awakenings, a special series on parent- ing and health

Let our New Year’s resolution be this:

we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.

~Goran Persson

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