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This is SO scary, it reminds me of the fictional scenario that diminished fertility and motivated the dystopian future described in Margaret Atwood's novel _The Handmaid's Tale_.

I have PCOS too, but I guess mine's pretty mild. I was lucky that it took me only 1 year to conceive the first time.


Just a quick item of note related PCOS (I'll have to come back for plastics discussion): My diagnosis was actually changed from PCOS to metabolic syndrome because I was able to conceive on my own (well, with -help-, but in the traditional no-interventions way), and my periods became as regular as they've ever been in my life, which is to say happening more often than every 60-80+ weeks. My blood chemistry and assorted other problems haven't changed, but apparently having a child was enough to incite a change in diagnosis, at least from my endocrinologist's point of view. I never had cysts*, but otherwise fit the PCOS profile to a T. And for the record, my PCOS-related supply issues weren't happening in a vacuum, I also have moderately hypoplastic breasts, which come with their own set of problems.

*For those reading who may be unfamiliar with PCOS, yes, you can still have PCOS and -not- have ovarian cysts; it's a syndrome (not a disease) because it doesn't present in the same fashion among all affected women--there's some momentum to change the name to stein-levinthal syndrome because the 'polycystic ovary' part of the most common name is actually something of a misnomer.


I wonder if we could petition SIGG to make bottles (metal, with the same nonreactive liner they use in their water bottles) to make small bottles that would have openings that you could screw a nipple onto. I've already switched from sippy cups (we still have a couple flaoting around, but I'm not buying any more) to SIGG kids' sport-top bottles. Come to think of it, it's time to get El P his own water bottle now that summer's coming. I get mine at

Rosemary Grace

Jo, I think it was through you that I found the Environmental Working Group website, their info on personal care products helped me assess the level of carcinogens in the SPF30 I was slathering all over my exposed parts daily to fend off Melanoma. The one I was using had a ridiculous number of chemicals in it that are known sun-sensitizers and carcinogens. In sunscreen! When I developed melanoma anyway I reasessed my lotions and potions, but I had to take a break before I moved on to considering other environmental hazards because I was starting to seriously consider that whole wollen yurt scenario. Even though I knew it wouldn't halp much.

My only big change so far (besides starting to buy only organic apples) is to switch to cloth sanitary towels. MAN are they more comfy than wearing a bit of plastic stuck in your knickers! So I heartily recommend to anyone looking to decrease their plastic use/exposure.

I know I'd really appreciate a post similar to your explanation of your cloth diaper routine, where you list some of the products you have eliminated, and what you replaced them with, to reduce use of plastics.

Cat, Galloping

Do you get Nutrition Action newsletter? They just had a thing about an ingredient, I can't remember what it was called, that encourages those resistant bacteria-- and it turned out it's in my TOOTHPASTE (Colgate Total).

I feel like, GAH, what can I do to escape? Are there any bottles I can feel a bit better about using? (I'm using Dr. Brown's.) Did you end up finding kids dishes that are not plastic? Someone gave us a single set of tin ones. (Tin? I dunno, metal anyway.)

Coincidentally I just bought a SIGG bottle this weekend-- glad to see Moxie's endorsement! And I'm glad to know that's a good alternative for sippy cups.

Thanks for all the PSA's but man is it overwhelming. We avoid trans fats and eat organic and I make my own baby food and blah blah blah but jeez, I didn't get my couch at IKEA. It's like 10 full time jobs to stay up on this stuff.


For those of you with experience with the SIGG bottles, how do they compare to a straw cup? My daughter has never taken to a sippy, only a straw cup. Do you think the sipping mechanism on the SIGG is similar enough to that of a straw cup to allow for an easy transition? Thanks.

Cat, Galloping

oh my gosh. i just realized that i've been feeling pretty good about making my own baby food from organic ingredients.

but gah, i mash them up using a hand blender with plastic parts, then store in plastic ice cube trays, then transfer to little plastic containers for defrosting and feeding.

jo, help! what are the alternatives?


Ditto the above plea ... what are the alternatives to plastic bottles, plates etc. At 6 months we're just about to start solids but own no bits n' pieces yet so any advice jo?????


Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel the same way about my endo, infertility and repeat pregnancy losses. It could be luck. It could be family history. It could be all of the above, with an extra dose of endocrine disruptors that I cannot escape. Why is this not more of a public health issue?!

An excellent post.


Isn't this really a PSA for everyone, including fertile people who wish to stay that way?


Yeah, I think there will be a follow-up how-to post. Because Lord knows I can use some more ideas too...

And yes, Ariella, it's pretty much for everyone. But I got to give a shout-out to the infertiles.


As I was reading your post, I took a sip from my plastic water bottle as I do many times a day and then wondered, in horror, if that's been doing me more harm than good. In the last few months I developed mid-cycle periods that don't seem to be explainable, and maybe that's contributing to the hormonal imbalance. Incidentally, has anyone else experienced those? I'm reaching my wit's end with them.


wow. this post makes me suddenly feel a lot better about smoking. turns out my bottled water is just as poisonous. :-)

Jo In Utah

Geez I know I was an LLL Leader about a gazillon years ago, (you were probably just a wee sprout then) but I don't remember recommending bottles! Have things changed that much?


sdpalladio, could it be ovulation bleeding? Some women have mid-cycle bleeding as an ovulation sign...more later.


Jo, it is right at that timeframe, and does that pleasant little ovulation spotting thing... and then starts the full out bleeding for 6 days. A week later, a real period. We've tried Prometrium, which helped for a couple of months, but now it's back. So much fun!


I get pretty worked up about this stuff too, but to calm myself down, I remind myself that the life expectancy of someone who lives in a yurt is about 25 years less than ours (and the infant mortality is way, way higher). Yes, some of the things that have come about to "improve" our lives are or may be harmful, but it's a work in progress.


Jo, thanks for inspiring me to get my head out of the sand on this issue. I have sort of known, sort of, you know, plastic is bad. But I have avoided doing the research because I just felt overwhelmed. After worrying throughout my pregnancy about crib mattresses, the paint for the nursery, mercury in my beloved spicy tuna melt, lead in my old house, the perils of my impending hospital birth, etc ad infinitum, after the baby arrived I decided to nurse, make my own organic baby food, use cloth diapers, and I sort of shut out the rest. I sympathize with all the women here who've made similar comments along the lines of "I thought I was doing good, but jeez..." Add to that the fact that I hesitate to get too preachy with my mother-in-law, lover of plastic and all things convenient, because she is doing baby care for us, and she's amazing. I don't want to hurt her feelings, so I decided to make peace with the Exersaucer!

I found this very concise and handy guide online for anyone else who feels overwhelmed. They give some specific recommendations for baby bottles, sippy cups, and other household items.

Also, anyone who wants more inspiration should read Sandra Steingraber's exquisite "Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood." I have recommended this book countless times and I'd love to know if anyone else here has read it.

I, too, would love a follow-up post from you, Jo, about specific ways you are reducing exposure.


Thanks for the reminder DoctorMama. I have to remind myself of that when I start freaking out about my chemical laden life. As much as all this stuff scares me (and believe me it really does) I would still rather live in a world with plastic than without it.

One way you can lower your toxic chemical exposure is to eat a lot less animal products. And if you can only afford some organic products focus on organic animal products. Never eat fatty meat (dioxin's accumulate in fat) and keep the diary low fat whenever possible. Now that won't help with all those hormon disruptors out there but it's a start.

I do take some comfort in the fact that since I have been a vegetarian for 17 years (well over half my life) and a (mostly) vegan for the last 6, my milk should be at least somewhat less toxic than someone who eats high on the food chain. I recently met a woman at a party who told me she was doing Atkins to lose weight and attempt to get pregnant. It took a lot of restraint not to give her a little lecture about the bioaccumulative effects of dioxins and how all that fatty meat she was ingesting was toxic to her system and could be passed along to her baby through breast milk. Don't worry I held my tongue. I'm not THAT much of a party pooper!

Sorry for the lecture. I can never pass on a chance to plug a Vegetarian lifestyle when I see it.


Good point, DoctorMama. Very good point.

Jo in Utah, the bottles would be for someone who's returning to work and needs to feed expressed milk.

sdpalladio, damn. I bet somebody here knows something about that...

arb, I wanna read that book.

Symbolically, Sophia has located and is now destroying all my old performance evals from work, so, l8r.



In my past life, I worked for a medical education company and had some conversations with one of the scientists who worked on the study you mention...I remember he was busy with the press because there was a law under consideration in the California legislature concerning banning the use of certain chemicals in plastic products...this was about a year ago. Perhaps that will help you in your search for political groups?

Cat, Galloping

but, but, what's wrong with the exersaucer? we don't actually have one but i mean, is there any such thing as a baby toy that's not plastic? (i'm only partly kidding here.)

i'm looking forward to the how-to post and if i may be so bold as to make a suggestion, could it please include some prioritizations?

and then we all need to figure out how to do the best we can and not be consumed by worry all the time. not that, um, the lady who's commenting 3x on a single post is freaking out or anything.


I am glad to hear that you are pursuing LLL Leadership. I think you would be great. And you don't have to "recommend" bottles, just share information about them. I would either use glass, or whatever the milk banks use to store their milk (I think maybe polypropylene?)


The tops of the SIGG bottles are like sport bottle tops, so much easier for a straw cup user than a sippy user, I'd guess. My older son took to one easily at 3 years after using straw cups, and my 1-year-old just surprised me by tipping up my bottle and gulping the water down out of it.


This is such an overwhelming thing. It seems like no matter how hard you try, you're still going to end up poisoned. Not that I don't still try. I remember a co-worker asking me why I bothered eating organic (when I was pregnant), because what's the point? But I still think every little bit counts (not that I'm super hardcore -- M does have some plastic toys, AND an exersaucer that she spends time in once or twice a week).

But what really bums me out is the fact that when you think you're doing the right thing, you really may not:
All those pretty, "natural" body care products at Whole Foods appear to be not so natural after all.

I've switched to getting all my body care products from Terressentials (where everything is food-grade organic -- yes, I could eat my lotion if I wanted to). I've been very happy with them so far.

Aside from that I try to eat organic when I can (just joined an organic CSA), and stay away from prepared and packaged foods. Use as few chemicals as possible for cleaning my home. I can't afford organic clothing for the most part, but try to buy used clothing when I can -- at least that way I'm not contributing to the pesticide burden, and maybe some of the evil stuff has been washed out. I bought M Bobux soft leather shoes -- the leather is tanned and dyed with non-toxic chemicals ... I never would have thought of that, but of course, they're in her mouth all the time.

You just do the best you can ...

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