Are you pregnant and experiencing crazy cravings or nesting instincts? If so, it's perfectly OK, but make sure you protect your baby from harmful substances.

Endocrine disruptors (hormone disruptors) are dangerous substances that cause hormone imbalances in our bodies. They are regularly in the news because they can be dangerous to our health and the environment, and we come into contact with them on a daily basis. Pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant, young children and teenagers are especially vulnerable to these substances, as hormones are crucial for human development at those times. Did you know that if you develop the right habits, you can reduce the risks of contact with these substances? So enjoy those crazy cravings or nesting instincts, but make a conscious choice to reduce your exposition to endocrine disruptors!


Protect your baby from harmful substances : 10 tips for a healthy pregnancy


1. Limit your use of beauty or care products, especially those that will stay on your skin or nails or in your hair (such as body lotion, nail polish and hair dye). These products may well contain endocrine disruptors. Try to use neutral, plant-based oils such as almond oil instead to prevent stretch marks.

2. Avoid (re)heating food in plastic by using a glass bowl or plate instead. Whenever plastic heats up, substances are released that may be harmful to your or your baby's health.
3. Wash or peal vegetables and fruit to avoid consuming any contaminating substances.
4. Avoid using pans or cooking utensils if the non-stick coating is damaged, as harmful substances may then end up in your food.
5. Ventilate your home for 15 minutes, twice a day, including in winter in order to remove any potentially harmful substances. These may come from cleaning products, perfumes, adhesives, new furniture, dust and so on. It is important to refresh the air inside your home, as it is often more polluted than the air outside.
6. Avoid using fragrance diffusers or room fragrances, as they may contain harmful substances. If there is an unpleasant odour, ventilate the room.
7. Clean your home using simple products:Marseille soap, bicarbonate of soda, etc.  Try to use cleaning products with the EU Ecolabel, as they will contain fewer hazardous substances. Wipe away dust regularly using a damp cloth. Only use disinfectants (products labelled ‘anti-virus’, ‘effective against bacteria’, etc.) when necessary.
8. Ask for help if you want to set up or paint the baby's nursery. If possible, choose paint with the EU Ecolabel, thoroughly ventilate the room and schedule the work in good time before your baby arrives.
9.  Wash your new clothes and those for your baby, before wearing. Textiles (clothing, curtains, dishcloths and so on) have often been treated with potentially hazardous substances.
10. Find out about the risks of exposure to potentially harmful substances at your place of work. Ask your employer for details of the company's prevention policy.


More tips for a healthy pregnancy 

What are endocrine disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors or hormone disruptors are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that are not produced by our bodies. They disrupt the functioning of our hormonal system. Hormones play an important role in our growth, fertility, sleep, heart rate, sense of hunger, etc.
How do endocrine disruptors work? By mimicking or counteracting the normal functioning of our hormones, they can play a part in the development of health problems and even lead to harmful effects that are passed on to children and grandchildren.

Where do endocrine disruptors hide?

Endocrine disruptors can be found in our ordinary, everyday consumer products, in food or in the environment. They can enter our bodies in different ways:

  • By inhaling chemical sprays, paint fumes, etc.
  • By eating certain foods or medications that contain endocrine disruptors. Children can also ingest them by sucking on their toys.
  • Through skin contact, or via personal care products, clothing, or certain substances in mattresses or carpets
  • In unborn babies via the bloodstream: the foetus is exposed to endocrine disruptors via the mother's placenta.

What effects do they have on your health and the environment?

Endocrine disruptors can have a major impact on health. They can cause numerous diseases: problems with fertility, growth, brain development, autism, obesity, diabetes, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, endometriosis, etc.
Our environment – the air, water, soil, plants and animals – is also polluted by these chemicals. Several species (birds, fish, amphibians, mammals, etc.) are already heavily affected by endocrine disruptors because their habitats are polluted. Exposure to endocrine disruptors affects their health and their chances of survival (reduced fertility, malformations, developmental problems, change of sex, etc.), and is therefore causing a reduction in those animal populations

Europe and Belgium are taking action to fight endocrine disruptors!

The federal, regional and community governments have adopted the National Action Plan on Endocrine Disruptors, or NAPED, which contains a series of actions to reduce exposure to endocrine disruptors in the Belgian population and environment.  

In Belgium, we have strengthened measures to protect workers, and pregnant women in particular, to limit their risk of exposure: since 2023, endocrine disrupters have been included in the Belgian Belgian Codex. We are also funding a number of research projects aimed at better identifying endocrine disruptors.
At European level, numerous measures are being taken to limit the presence of endocrine disruptors in our environment, notably through the REACH and CLP regulations. The European Union will require the presence of endocrine disruptors to be indicated on the labels of certain categories of products.
Follow our recommendations and reduce the risks of endocrine disruptors to your health and the environment.

Further information: 

The partners of this campaign
This campaign came about in collaboration with numerous partners (Department of Care, AVIQ, Department of the Environment, SPW Environnement, Brussels Environment, ONE, Agentschap Opgroeien, FPS Employment, mutual insurance companies, etc.).