Chemicals To Avoid When Trying To Conceive

Prepare for conception by creating a healthy home for you and your family.

Boost your chances of fertility by limiting toxic exposures in your household. Exposure to certain chemicals can affect your fertility and chances of having a successful pregnancy.  Potential health effects can include but are not limited to altered cognitive and behavioral development, cardiometabolic disorders, reduced fetal growth, endocrine disruption, and preterm delivery [1].  Here is a list of chemicals to avoid while pregnant or trying to conceive. 


Propylene-Glycol is derived from petroleum. Petroleum products come from natural gas or coal which can adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. Additionally, benzene is derived from petroleum sources and exposure to it has been cited as a possible proxy to the development of childhood leukemia [2]. 


Octinoxate has been found to mimic estrogen and block thyroid functions. It is a popular ingredient in many sunscreens and should be excluded from your skin care routine. Avoid this chemical while pregnant as exposure might increase the risk of behavioral and reproduction issues with offspring [3]. 


Phenoxyethanol has been linked to allergic reactions and eye and skin irritations [4]. We do not recommend use of this chemical during pregnancy to avoid such aforementioned local effects.


Pregnant women exposed to parabens may have children with abnormal weight development [5]. Use of parabens may also influence thyroid hormone levels [6].  

Sodium Benzoate 

Warm temperatures can cause sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid to create benzene which is one of the 20 toxic chemicals used in foods that are known to cause cancer [7]. Additionally, sodium benzoate might promote hyperactivity in children during later development [8].  


Due to its texture and low biodegradability, dimethicone can create build-ups and clog pores. It is a popular ingredient in many hair products and should be excluded from your hair care routine. Avoid this chemical during your pregnancy journey and reap the benefits of not having any skin care side effects. 


BHA’s most common ingredient is salicylic acid, which ingested orally in late-pregnancy may cause complications [9].


Triclosan may pose a threat to growing fetal cells. Triclosan has a 50% chance of being present in the umbilical cord, so we recommend you reduce any additional unnecessary exposure [10]. 


Large doses of BHT may impact the liver and kidneys [11]. Since there is not enough evidence to know whether BHT is safe in medicinal amounts, we recommend limiting your exposure to this chemical during pregnancy [12].  


Formaldehyde has been known to cause cancer [13]. Additionally, this toxic chemical may increase your chance of fertility related issues or a miscarriage [14]. Formaldehyde may also cause low birth weight [15]. 


BPA exposure in pregnant women has been associated with miscarriages and premature deliveries [16]. Children’s development is also disrupted with effects on birth weight, male genital development, immune function, thyroid function, and neurodevelopment (increased anxiety and depression). Get tested for your exposure to BPA, parabens, phthalates, and other toxic chemicals with Million Marker’s Detect & Detox Test Kit & Lifestyle Audit

Magnesium Hydroxide 

Magnesium hydroxide supplementation during pregnancy may delay the onset of lactation and could affect natural breastfeeding processes [17]. We recommend avoiding this chemical during pregnancy so no additional steps need to be taken to aid in breastfeeding. 


In animal studies, animals exposed to glycerin produced some babies who were born with problems [18]. Glycerin also falls into category C on the FDA safety regulation list for medication use and we do not recommend this chemical for use during pregnancy since it is not in category A [19].  

Petroleum Jelly

Unrefined petroleum jelly contains PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) which have toxic, mutagenic and/or carcinogenic properties [20]. Finding refined petroleum jelly is rare, so we recommend avoiding this chemical altogether and opting for natural ointments instead.



[19] The FDA ranks medications on a scale of A, B, C, D, and X with A being the safest and X being the least safe. Falling into category A does not solely warrant a Million Marker approval.