Practicing Prevention

Being a smart consumer is one of the best ways a woman can prevent environmental illness, says Tina Eshaghpour, women’s health researcher for the Women’s Foundation of California. "I always assumed if a product is on the shelf, someone has proven it to be safe," she says. "But that is not the case."

Until government oversight improves, women can take the following steps to protect themselves:

" Have your water tested for heavy metals and pesticides like atrazine, especially if you have a well.

"Buy organic produce from local farms.

"Use iron, glass or stainless-steel pans instead of aluminum or nonstick types.

"Avoid carpets and upholstery treated with water and stain-repellant.

"Switch to natural cosmetics, unbleached paper products and nontoxic cleaning products.

"Use glass and ceramic food containers instead of plastic.

"Limit canned tuna.

"Opt for washable natural fabrics and clothing instead of synthetics that need dry cleaning and cause pollution.