Weekly Highlights (4/3/2012) – FDA Says No to BPA Ban and GMO Labeling

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:

Ban on BPA? FDA Says No - In a truly disappointing but not surprising decision, the FDA will not place a ban on BPA in food packaging, citing a lack of sufficient scientific evidence to support the ban.

Despite the FDA decision, the FDA has not changed its position that it holds “some concern” over the effects of BPA in children, and the government is currently funding $30 million to conduct additional studies.

FDA Responds to GMO Label Petition - In yet another truly disappointing and, again, not surprising decision, the FDA has decided it needs more time to consider labeling of genetically-modified foods.

While no one should be surprised by the decision, much controversy has arisen over the petition as the FDA has severely discounted the number of responses it received. While the Just Label It organizers say the petition garnered over a million signatures, more than any petition submitted to the FDA in history, the FDA says it has officially received a measly 394.

Some say the FDA has deleted signatures, however I suspect that is not the case. The FDA’s official rules require signatures to be submitted individually via their regulations.gov website in order to be counted. Because the website is difficult to navigate, Just Label It organizers collected and accumulated signatures on their website before submitting them to the FDA.

While each submission may have contained over thousands of signatures, each submission counts as just 1. Ultimately, it is just semantics. The FDA has to understand that there is overwhelming support for labeling GMOs. The question is just if and when they will act.

Alicia Silverstone Premasticates Her Child’s Food - Not long after celebrity Alicia Silverstone posted the video below to her blog, intense criticism ensued for her method of feeding her child.

While I admit I was a bit puzzled when I saw the video myself, I was more intrigued when I discovered that the idea of premastication is actually used in some cultures to promote infant health as it gives baby access to nutrients from foods they cannot chew and promotes immunity through antibodies received in the mother’s saliva.

While some experts express concern over the possibility of spreading disease such as HIV and tooth decay, it depends in large part on the health of the mother and child. And other experts have expressed more concern that the practice is dwindling in some poorer societies where it may be critical to the child’s health.

Hmm, you learn something new every day.

New Research:

CDC: New High in Autism Rates
The CDC’s latest analysis reports that about 1 in 88 children in the U.S. experience autism or a related disorder, nearly double the rate 10 years ago with cases in boys outnumbering girls 5 to 1.

The report analyzed data from 2008 in 14 states, and found rates much higher in some states like Utah; however, increased awareness and access to services are cited as likely factors in those states.

In fact, increased awareness and better diagnoses are cited as major factors in general for the rise, but recent research also points to environmental factors as a possible contributor.

Pinpointing the environmental culprit, however, seems next to impossible when we’re exposed to a veritable soup of chemicals daily. Two large studies funded by the National Institutes of Health are hoping to do just that, though, by examining everything from what mother eats during pregnancy to toxins in the home.

Ultimately, earlier diagnosis is needed. The earlier a child is diagnosed and gets help, the better their chances are for reaching their full potential.

Babies Take Longer to Come Out Than They Did in Grandma’s Day
A comparison of nearly 140,000 births found that first-time mothers today labor longer than they did fifty years ago, about 2 1/2 hours on average. The reason for longer labor is not entirely clear, but today’s mothers are older, delivering larger babies,  and more likely to use epidural anesthesia. Epidurals can prolong labor anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes.

The more striking implication is that OB’s today may be rushing to C-sections based on an out-of-date expectation as to how long a “normal” labor should take. OB’s today still rely on a definition of normal labor that was defined back in the 50′s.

Good Reads:

Weekend Detox For Your Home from Houzz - Some easy steps you can take to green your home and improve your health. Now that spring is in the air, I love the idea of completely unplugging on a Friday night after a long week at work and getting outside, and then waking up Saturday to open the windows and freshen the air.

Pinterest-Worthy Finds:

I came across this image this week as I am working to rearrange and redecorate my family’s home office/playroom. I love this arrangement that creates a fantastic workspace for the entire family. These stools are a little high for young ones, but the concept still applies. As our family grows, I want us to have a place where we can all be together as we do homework, pay bills, blog, etc.

I’m sure something like this could be a reasonable DIY project - cube bookshelves could be used to form the bases. I’d probably choose to use planks of wood for the surface and sand them down as opposed to plywood or other large particle board which often uses formaldehyde-based adhesives to bind.

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Recalls, March 27 – April 3:

CPSC Child Product Recalls

Child Safety Seat Recalls

No child safety seat recall announcements this week.

USDA/FDA Recalls


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1 Response to “Weekly Highlights (4/3/2012) – FDA Says No to BPA Ban and GMO Labeling”

  • FDA: I’m not surprised that the FDA continues its position of doing absolutely nothing to protect and educate consumers. It’s just shameful and irresponsible.

    Premastication: I’m sure that Alicia is doing what’s best for her family, but I’m exactly going to follow her example. I personally feel that my kids should learn to eat independently sooner than later. From chewing their own food, to using their own utensils and graduating from bottles to sippies to cups — I prefer for my kids to learn do to it all by themselves. Kids (ESPECIALLY younger siblings) learn by example and can figure it out. If a particular cut of meat is too tough, I’ll cut it up finely or tenderize it without oral interference, and then put it on their plates for them to consume themselves. Again, these are my thoughts. It’s not meant as a criticism of how Alicia raises her son (seriously – to each his own); I don’t find this technique desirable for my family.

    Pinterest-Worthy: Redecorating: It’s got to be Spring fever, but I’ve been redecorating and re-organizing my house, too. I love the idea of repurposing stuff around the house (baskets, containers, jars), giving it a little facelift (covering shoe boxes, adding neat labels) and using it for storage. It’s all about being organized. :)

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