Proof positive that one woman can change the world: Mamavation and Shiftcon founder Leah Segedie recently helped the American Academy of Pediatrics to cut sponsorship ties with Monsanto, which manufactures the carcinogenic pesticide glyphosate and is facing multiple lawsuits from farm workers as its stock prices plummet.
Why the AAP allowed sponsorship in the first place is a mystery to me, considering the organization released a statement in 2011 recognizing that pesticides like those produced by Monsanto are associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems, and recommending that pediatricians work with parents to help reduce the use of pesticides in homes and yards.
Acknowledgement that toxic chemicals like pesticides are bad for our health seems to be a growing trend among reproductive health professionals. On October 1st, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics–a global reproductive health conglomerate representing ob-gyns from 125 countries–published the strongest opinion yet on the subject. “Physicians need to do more than simply advise patients about the health risks of chemical exposure,” said co-author Dr. Jeanne A. Conry. “We need to advocate for policies that will protect our patients and communities from the dangers of involuntary exposure to toxic chemicals.”
Yet a 2012 report showed that doctors weren’t even taking the first step of advising patients, let alone advocating. The University of San Francisco study of more than 2,000 obstetricians and gynecologists nationwide found that although they routinely discuss smoking, alcohol, diet and weight gain, most doctors do not warn their patients about environmental hazards as related to pregnancy.
Hopefully with soapbox-friendly actions like the AAP’s new Monsanto policy, the tide will soon be turning. “As long as we put our priorities on the health of our children and communities, things are going to keep getting better,” Segedie said on her Mamavation blog. Agreed!