Weekly Highlights (8/29/2011)

Welcome to “Weekly Highlights”, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week but also give us an avenue to share some of the other great reads we’ve come across in our internet travels.

In the News:

Washington State to Require Chemical Reporting for Toys! - A new law took effect this week in Washington which will now require manufacturers of toys, cosmetics, jewelry, and baby products to report when their products contain certain harmful chemicals – from a list of 66 chemicals identified as unsafe. Let’s hope this will spur action in other states, or better yet at the federal level.

Is Gender Selection of a Fetus Ethical? – A new maternal blood test can determine a fetus’ sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy. The test is not yet available but has sparked a heated ethical debate. Would parents use this to perform sex-selective abortions??

On Food Safety, a Long List but Little Money – The FDA is facing an uphill battle to implement the food safety law passed last year on limited funding. While I have my issues with the FDA, I do think we need to find a way to allocate resources so they can fulfill the responsibilities they’ve been given to keep our food safe.

Food Safety in China, and the Risk to the U.S. - Another food safety crisis in China (reported by the AP here). In the second vinegar scandal this month, vinegar contaminated with antifreeze has killed 11 and sickened 120 in China. This article highlights the continuous spate of scandals in China and the risk they pose to us as imports from China are increasing in the U.S. and the FDA is struggling to keep up. What are we to do? Buy fresh, buy local as much as we can.

The Color of Controversy - A pretty good summation of the history of food dyes, related health studies, and controversies.

Patience, Mom: More Hospitals Say No to Scheduled Delivery Before 39 Weeks – A number of hospitals are now prohibiting scheduled C-sections and inductions before 39 weeks of pregnancy unless medically necessary in light of recent research showing that babies experience a lot of critical development during their final weeks in utero, and mortality rates are cut in half by waiting until 39 weeks versus 37.

New Research:

Global Rates of Obesity Doubled in 30 Years
Three new studies published recently in The Lancet, a British medical journal, say that rates of obesity have doubled worldwide, even as blood pressure and cholesterol levels have dropped. People in the Pacific Islands are the heaviest, but among developed countries Americans are the fattest.

New Report Finds Few Adverse Events Linked to Immunizations
A panel of scientists assembled by the Institute of Medicine says there are relatively few health problems caused by most commonly recommended vaccines. The IOM included experts in pediatrics, immunology, neurology, epidemiology, and statistics. The review of more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies represents the most comprehensive review of the available literature on the potential side effects for eight vaccines – MMR, chicken pox, influenz, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, HPV, DTAP, and meningococcus. The article describes some of the conclusions drawn by the panel.

Could the Way We Mate and Marry Boost Rates of Autism?
An interesting theory as to why autism rates are on the rise – people with certain traits are increasingly meeting and marrying and having children more likely to be on the spectrum. Cited reasoning: The recent surge in autism rates has coincided with certain social changes, such as an unprecedented movement of women into math and science professions and the dotcom boom making more technically-minded people more sought after as mates. The theory is still largely speculation, but interesting nonetheless.

What Makes Some Preschools Better than Others?
A Vanderbilt University professor suggests that preschool teachers who engage children and use rich and varied vocabulary influence the children’s vocabulary and reading abilities later on.

Kids with Nut Allergies Feel Teased, Excluded
A study in the UK in which 26 families dealing with nut allergies were interviewed found that they routinely encountered skepticism and hostility over their children’s allergies.

Good Reads:

8 Month Old Gets a Cochlear Implant from YouTube - Heartwarming, tear-inspiring video of a child hearing his mother’s voice after a cochlear implant.

When Kids Bring Up Same-Sex Marriage from CNN Living - Several parents share their thoughts on how they address questions about same-sex marriage with their children.

Monsanto’s 5 Most Dubious Contributions to the Planet from TakePart.com – Before bovine growth hormone and GM seeds, there was Agent Orange and styrofoam.

Recalls, August 23 – August 29:

CPSC Child Product Recalls

Child Safety Seat Recalls
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.

USDA/FDA Recalls

We’d love your feedback! If there is anything you’d like us to add or change, we’d love to hear it! If there’s anything you see and think we should feature, please send it our way to purebebeblog@gmail.com. We hope your week is off to a great start!

XOXO,

Jasmine & Heather

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