Doris J. Rapp, M.D.

Health Tips







Dr. Doris J. Rapp M.D.



We have an epidemic of infertility in couples. In addition, the number of stillborn or developmentally- or birth-damaged babies has increased. One major cause of this infertility is the massive unavoidable exposure to chemicals in our air, food, water, homes, schools and workplaces. These chemicals are found in the blood, urine, fat, semen and breast milk of most humans including young children. These chemicals can unquestionably adversely affect a developing infant. (In one study there was a 70% increase in stillborns if mothers were exposed to one pesticide in the first three months of pregnancy.)

All babies hiccup and kick a bit, but some pregnant mothers notice that their unborn infant will suddenly start to hiccup or kick so violently that they are in pain and cannot sleep. Sometimes the mother's abdomen can be bruised or black and blue from the inside because of the severe kicking. These mothers should think back to what was eaten or smelled before the over-activity began. Foods might take a few hours to cause a change but chemicals can affect infants in minutes. Mothers often detect allergies to specific foods or sensitivities from exposures to chemicals prior to the delivery of an infant.

After the baby is born, these same foods and chemicals can cause similar sudden bouts of extreme hyperactivity.

At the present time the amount and the quality of the sperm of many men has diminished. The sperm can be contaminated with chemicals that can potentially seriously damage the baby at the time of conception. Men who were in Viet Nam, for example, can have semen that still contains dioxin or Agent Orange.

For nine months unborn babies float and are exposed, inside and outside their bodies, to chemicals such as DDT, lindane, and PCBs in the uterine fluid. Their first bowel movement contains these same toxins. The babies often are then fed breast milk, which is indubitably the best food for infants, but many mothers' milk contains DDT, lindane, PCBs or other chemicals.

In fact, human breast milk can contain up to ten times the amount of chemicals that are found in a mother's body, because breast milk is one way that nature enables a mother to excrete toxins from her baby. In Japan the chemical content in some breast milk was found to be so high that there was mention they might consider it to be a toxic waste.

If a milk or soy formula is selected to replace the breast milk, it routinely can be put into plastic bottles and then heated in the microwave. Micro waved food loses important nutrients. Heat in the microwave enables the chemicals (phthalates) in the plastic to enter the milk and then the baby. These chemicals can cause sexual changes particularly in male babies and early puberty in the form of breast development at 6 to 8 years of age in girls.

One last potential problem concerns diapers. Babies are typically wrapped in disposable diapers for one to several years. These can contain a chemical in the plastic called bis-phenol A which again can affect the sexuality and/or sex organs of boys.

What Mothers Can Do about
Avoiding Chemicals Prior to Pregnancy:

 For at least six months prior to conception:

  • Eat only organic food as much as possible. Ask your spouse to also do this. (A 1998 USDA report stated that nearly 55% of 7,000 fruits and vegetables contained pesticides.) Current methods of detection are not completely accurate and believed to miss up to 60% of pesticides in foods. It is reported that one single apple can contain as many as 10 pesticides from a possible 37 different chemicals commonly found on apples.

Try not to eat any genetically-engineered or irradiated foods.

Eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables. Milk, soy and corn tend to be genetically engineered at the present time. Animal studies indicate pigs can become cripples and blind, cows die earlier and have arthritis and more stillborns, and rats develop thyroid cysts and prostate abnormalities from genetically engineered foods. We do not have adequate studies showing the safety of these products for human adults or infants. 

Drink only purified water in glass for at least six months before attempting to become pregnant. Ask your husband to do likewise. Eat nothing stored in plastic or Styrofoam.

Check your urine, blood, and possibly semen, for toxins before you attempt conception. Call AccuChem Lab 800.451.0116. The average number of chemicals in blood is 99, but some single blood samples can contain up to 700.

Check your breast milk for chemicals near the time of delivery. Call AccuChem Lab at 800.451.0116.

Don't use heating pads or electric blankets when pregnant.

Don't sleep on a body/form-fitting synthetic mattress or pillows which contain chemicals.

Don't sleep between polyester sheets (formaldehyde) that have had fabric softeners used on them.

Use only organic cotton or wool blankets, no synthetic fibers or cotton that does not require ironing because it contains chemicals.

Don't sleep in a bedroom that contains freshly dry cleaned clothing or mothballs. Wearing freshly dry cleaned clothes increases your chance of cancer.

Use only natural cleaning products for dishes, floors, laundry, disinfectants and deodorizers. Use no scented sheets in the dryer. Use Bon Ami polishing powder for scouring powder. Use no aerosol or pine smelling cleaning materials or anything that contains phenol.

Use only natural personal body products and cosmetics, and use "Essential" sanitary napkins. Buy at health food stores or call N.E.E.D.S. 800.634.1380.

Do not use fingernail polish or remover.

Use only natural food dyes.

Don't eat fish from the Great Lakes or other lakes where the water is heavily polluted with chemicals. (If such fish are eaten two to three times a month, the babies can have a smaller heads and brains than normal. Those with elevated PCBs can be delayed developmentally so they talk and walk late, and some have significant learning problems.)

Don't wash your dog with a flea pesticide solution or put a pest collar on your dog because this can cause a six fold increase in your unborn child's chance of developing some form of cancer (leukemia or lymphoma) by the age of six or seven years.

Avoid cigarette or tobacco smoke and alcohol in all forms.

Avoid all obvious chemical odors. Be the first in the beauty parlor on a slow day, before it is too heavily polluted. Use your own non-allergenic hairspray, such as "Clinique."

Do not dye your hair. If you do, use entirely natural dye from health food store.

Do not use any pesticide inside or outside of your house unless you are certain the chemicals used are entirely safe. Avoid all pesticides. In one study when pregnant women were exposed to PCBs, their infants had smaller penises and increased behavior problems. In other studies, as PCB exposed children grew older, they tended to developed thyroid disease and learning problems.  Other studies have shown similar changes in animals exposed to PCBs. (Get Set at 800.221.6188 has a helpful book entitled The Bug Stops Here that can be downloaded at no charge from or

Avoid all habit-forming addictive type drugs, such as cocaine, Ritalin, etc.

Don't cook in Teflon under high heat. (The chemicals given off can kill birds and we do not know what it does to infants or humans.)

Do not personally lay a synthetic carpet. Hard wood or hard tile flooring and non-toxic glue are much preferred. Non-toxic carpet is available: call 716-875-0398.

Do not paint or remodel your baby's room unless you use allergy-free paint.

Decorate with cotton fabric and try to use only genuine hard wood furniture. Use no plywood or particleboard because it contains formaldehyde. (N.E.E.D.S., P.O. Box 580, East Syracuse NY 13057. 800.634.1380.)

Be wary of a moldy smelling home or room for an infant. Molds can seriously harm infants in many ways.

After the Baby Is Here:

  • Use only natural organic cotton for clothing.

Use washable or totally organic disposable cotton diapers or disposable Tushies (800.344.6379).

Do not use any chemical-smelling wipes.

Try to breast feed. It was created for babies. (It takes two to six hours for the foods a mother eats to reach the breast milk so you can often easily detect food allergies if a mother eats a food to which her infant is sensitive. Chemicals can pass into the breast more quickly than foods.)

If you can't or won't breast feed, heat non-genetically engineered milk or soy in a glass bottle in a pot of water.

Buy no irradiated foods or milk. They can cause a 20 to 80 % decrease in nutrients. Irradiation can cause a sevenfold increase in benzene in irradiated beef. This solvent is a cause of leukemia in children. In animal studies, heart lesions developed in 83% of 25 animals in 85 days when they were fed uncooked irradiated milk. Control animals had no heart lesions. I know of no studies to verify the safety of irradiated products in the human fetus, newborn, or children.

Heat nothing in plastic and nothing in a microwave. (It decreases the nutrient and energy value of foods and can contaminate the heated food with the dangerous or harmful chemicals found in plastic.) Do not freeze or heat anything in plastic.

Feed your infant only organic food that you prepare, or natural baby food from health food stores. (One study showed that 76 non-organic baby foods contained 16 different pesticides. Every day 77,000 infants are fed commercial non-organic foods that contain unsafe levels of pesticides.

Give your baby only natural organic vitamins.

Visit Sherri Tenpenny's website entitled before you make any decisions about immunization with vaccines. Many studies indicate infant damage because of many trace metals, such as mercury, found in most vaccines.


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