Weekly Highlights (3/26/12) – Health & Safety News, Research, & Recalls

Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels.  If you see anything you think we should feature, please send it to jasmine@purebebe.com. Thanks, and we hope your week is off to a great start!   - Jasmine

In the News:

Help for Postpartum DepressionThe nation’s first inpatient unit for moms who suffer from postpartum depression at UNC Chapel Hill allows hospitalized moms to be with their babies, offers weekly therapy for mom and baby, as well as partner-assisted therapy for dad to learn how to be most helpful. The center has been open since August and sounds as if it has been a resounding success. If only more women could have access to this kind of therapy and support.

FDA to Decide on BPA by Week’s EndBy the end of this week, the FDA is set to take a position on BPA in food packaging in response to a court order after ignoring a petition by the National Resources Defense Council. We’ve seen more research emerging as of late showing effects at even low doses. I’m with the NRDC – we need to get BPA out of our food, but we also need to ensure a safe replacement.

Sugar Takes Corn Syrup to Court - Sugar producers are taking on corn refiners as they accuse the corn industry of false advertising in its latest campaign that argues corn syrup is “nutritionally the same as table sugar.” In fact, corn industry reps are hoping to change the name from “high fructose corn syrup” to “corn sugar” in an attempt to improve its image. Call it what you want, but ultimately our society needs to reduce its overall consumption of sugars and sweeteners if we’re going to have much impact on the obesity epidemic.

Maryland Senate Proposes Ban on Smoking in Cars with Young Children - After a lively debate on the Senate floor, the Maryland Senate voted to send a bill to the House that would ban smoking in cars with children under the age of 8. While many opponents argue the intrusion of privacy, the dangers of smoking are well-established and in this case, I think the pendulum swings in favor of protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

New Research:

Early Exposure to Germs Does a Body GoodSome scientists think they’ve figured out the key to the “hygiene hypothesis”, the hypothesis that exposure to germs at an early age helps build immunity whereas a super clean environment increases susceptibility to allergic and autoimmune diseases.

In a recent study, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital compared the immune systems of mice living in “germ-free” and normal environments and found that immune cells (invariant natural killer T cells) accumulated in the lungs and colon of the mice in germ-free environments and caused symptoms resembling asthma and colitis. When young mice were exposed to microbes during the first weeks of life (but not later as adults), on the other hand, they grew up with stronger immune systems protected from immune cell accumulation and disease.

The researchers caution that additional research in humans is needed, but the findings fall in line with years of research showing that exposure to microbes and parasites in childhood reduces the risk of autoimmune disease.

Good Reads:

Spring Cleaning: 11 Germ Traps to Clean Today – Some surprising recommendations you might not think about.

The 4 Questions Anyone Struggling with Work-Life Balance Should Ask – A refreshing point-of-view on the idea of work-life balance. Her dialogue sure helps me feel better about my inability to keep up with life sometimes.

Pinterest-Worthy Finds:

This week, we’re featuring pocket-size activities for your little ones – small enough to tuck away in your purse or diaper bag for a little entertainment on the go. The first feature comes from Made by Joel, an ingenious site that is full of DIY activities to do with your children. LOVE this site! I came across the second feature on Pinterest, and it comes to us from Etsy. I think I need to invest in some altoid tins. FYI – do a search for altoid tin crafts on google, and you’ll be amazed what else you might find.

Travel Size Paper City Paris! from Made by Joel

Wee Mouse Tin House PDF Pattern from mmmcrafts on Etsy

If you’d like to follow us on Pinterest, find us here.

Recalls, March 20 – March 26:

CPSC Child Product Recalls

Child Safety Seat Recalls

No child safety seat recall announcements this week.

USDA/FDA Recalls


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2 Responses to “Weekly Highlights (3/26/12) – Health & Safety News, Research, & Recalls”

  • Cabinet-Lock Recall: Thanks for the note on the recall of the Safety First cabinet locks. We have that lock type all over our house. :(

    Spring Cleaning Tips: Excellent tips. I really like the idea about using a fabric shower liner instead of a vinyl one. We purchased laminated fabric tablecloths at Bed, Bath & Beyond a few years ago and LOVE them. You can wipe them clean like vinyl, but they are ultimately made of fabric, so you can just toss them in the laundry when they get too yucky. I should have considered looking for the same type of alternative for shower curtains. Genius! :)

    Germs: I agree with the article. I feel that we’ve been a little too anti-bacterial crazy over the past decade. Exposure to some germs helps with immunity. So, let your kids get a little dirty. :)

    • Oh no, hopefully not that specific lock model. I know that type is rather popular.

      When I updated the decor in my kids bathroom, I had an old hemp shower curtain that I was planning to toss but ended up using as a liner behind the new cotton curtain I bought. Hemp is great because it is naturally anti-fungal and fairly water resistant – and the great thing is I can toss it in the washing machine. Be careful with laminated products as often they’re laminated with vinyl which can offgas numerous VOCs. I’m not sure how long vinyl off-gasses, but I have seen one study that suggested about 1 month so having had yours for a few years it is probably not off-gassing much anymore.

      On germs, I had been hoping to write something up on this a long time ago but never found the article my mom mentioned in a conversation – apparently, in areas like Beverly Hills where wealthy families have access to nannies and housemaids and homes are super clean, autoimmune disease concentrations are up. I found this very interesting, and I definitely agree that while I’m very conscious of toxins I try to balance that with allowing my kids exposure to a little dirt and germs.

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