Health, wellness, long-life… not for the average American. The state of human health in our country is disintegrating at an increasing rate. As moms, we want to do something about it. And, by golly, we will… even though it means we become the “weird” mom who refuses to buy Koolaid and rejects vinyl bath toys.
I’ve been on this path for years now. By now, my family is used to it. But still, everytime I have to say “no” to an adult who offers my children food packed with high fructose corn syrup or a pthalate-fuming “scented” marker, I feel the rub. The eyes say, “Why must you be so picky?” and “Your children are missing out!” I want to exclaim, “Why should I be on the defensive?!?” Here’s the facts, folks:
• Asthma: incidence has more than doubled. It is the leading cause of admission of children to hospital and the leading cause of school absenteeism.
• Cancer: after injuries, is the leading killer of children in the United States.
• Leukemia and Brain Cancer: have increased in incidence, brain cancer by nearly 40% over the past three decades.
• Developmental Disabilitiesand ADHD: Neuro-developmental dysfunction is now commonplace, with learning disabilities affecting anywhere from five to 10 percent of all children.
• Birth Defects: The incidence of Hypospadias, a birth defect of the reproductive organs in baby boys, has doubled.
• Autism: has jump 400 percent in the last 20 years to 1 in 150 children
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To me, as a medical detective, the increase in the incidence of childhood cancer alone is the first clue that something is going wrong. In fact, many chemical toxicants are known to contribute to causation of these diseases. They deserve special attention because most are preventable sources of harm. Children are at risk of exposure to over 15,000 high-production-volume synthetic chemicals, nearly all of them developed in the past 50 years. These chemicals are used widely in consumer and household goods like personal care products, cleaning supplies, pesticides, paints, toys, home furnishings, carpeting, electronics, plastics and even food and water. More than half are untested for toxicity and affect on human health.
We must understand an important fact: Children are especially sensitive to environmental toxins and more vulnerable than adults.
• Pound for pound of body weight, children have greater exposure to pesticides because they drink more water, eat more food and breathe more air than adults.
• Their unique behaviors put them at higher risk. They live and play close to the floor; and they constantly put their fingers into their mouths.
• Children’s metabolic pathways, especially in the first months after birth are immature. Generally they are less well able to metabolize, detoxify, and excrete toxicants than adults and thus are more vulnerable to them.
• Children are undergoing rapid growth and development, and their developmental processes are easily disrupted. From conception and throughout fetal development, exquisitely small toxin exposures can cause permanent impacts.
For the complete post, see Chemicals in Everyday Products and Children’s Health: A Small Dose of the Facts at Healthy Child Healthy World Blog.
So, I say, “Wake up, folks! There’s reason for concern. There’s work to be done here. And, I’m not the weird one.” Obviously, weirdness is not really the issue. It’s about education. An informed consumer changes everything. And, that’s what I’m trying to do here – spread the word one post at a time.