Hello, friends! I’m sorry to have been entirely absent this last month. My full-time job went into overdrive, and unfortunately something had to give. It was really important to me that my family get what was left of my free time, so PureBebe had to take the back seat. My apologies to all of you.
Life is still a bit hectic, and as I’ve been thinking about how I can better use my time to keep up with PureBebe, I’ve decided to change it up with our weekly highlights post. Don’t worry, we will still keep you in the know – Just hop on over to our Facebook page and follow us there.
On our timeline, Heather and I will share the latest health and safety news, research, and recalls as well as other fantastic reads and pinterest-worthy finds too. And we encourage you to do the same. We want to know what you’re reading and what interests you. Ask us your questions and share with us your knowledge.
If you miss our recall notices on Facebook, you can also find them now in our right sidebar. We’ve added continuous feeds which will always be up to date with the latest recalls of children’s products and toys, car seats, and foods.
And now my time spent on weekly highlights will be dedicated to research and writing on other child health and safety topics as well as great family recipes. I’ve got some fantastic ones coming up!
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
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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We hope you had a wonderful weekend. Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy! - Jasmine
In the News:
Is it Safe to Play Yet? Going to Extremes to Purge Household Toxins- The article is a bit hypocritical as it highlights legitimate reasons why we should be concerned, but then paints concerned mothers as neurotic and portrays a PhD’d father as unconvinced based on his common sense. Even so, the message is that parents are going to great lengths to determine what is safe and protect their children from what they feel is not.
This is one of the many reasons that Heather and I do what we do – research and write in an effort to put helpful information at your fingertips. Despite what the article says, there is plenty of science on some toxic threats with more emerging daily. It’s becoming harder to deny the science on BPA when even small doses are showing adverse effects.
Concern over toxins in our daily lives can be incredibly overwhelming, paralyzing even. But we do have to be careful not to let toxic green guilt take over our lives. I’m guilty of that feeling sometimes, but I’ve learned to move in baby steps knowing that every step gets us closer to a healthier family. In the end, though, there’s only so much we can all do to protect our families, and ultimately we need chemical reform.
Schools Can Just Say No to ‘Pink Slime’ - In response to public uproar, the USDA is now giving schools the option to purchase ground beef sans ‘pink slime’. While many say it may not be unsafe, everyone seems to agree that there is a definite yuck factor with ‘pink slime’.
Herbal Danger: You’ll Rue Taking Rue - Consumer Reports highlights important points to consider before using herbal treatments, in particular detailing concerns over rue which can cause uterine contractions and miscarriage in pregnant women.
No More Annual Pap Smear: New Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines- New guidelines on cervical cancer screenings from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advise women to reduce the number of tests they receive over their lifetime. Recommendations now suggest that women under 21 should not be tested, and those over 21 should only receive a pap smear every 3 years.
Low Doses, Big Effects: Scientists Seek Fundamental Change in Regulation and Testing of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals
A team of 12 scientists are calling for a paradigm shift after spending 3 years reviewing hundreds of studies on the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals. In what is likely to be a controversial paper, they have concluded that there is plenty of evidence that hormone altering chemicals have effects at low levels, and those effects are often different than what may be seen at high doses. The researchers argue that we need to change from the current regulatory system where chemicals are tested at high doses and then safe levels are determined at lower doses while never actually being tested; instead, chemicals need to be tested and regulated at low levels akin to human exposures.
Common Antibiotic Linked to Asthma
A recent study out of Canada has concluded that a widely used antibiotic, vancomycin, when used early in life can increase the risk and severity of asthma. In experiments done on rodents, the researchers found that the antibiotic wipes out beneficial gut in the bacteria that play an important role in shaping a healthy immune system. The ongoing research is investigating specifically which microbes are affected, as consideration for how the bacteria might ultimately be used in treatments in the future. While the research is not yet proven in people, the researchers are working on a national study in 5,000 children.
You Are What Your Mother Ate
This article provides a good overview of the theory of epigenetics. A lot of the studies that I’ve been reading and that we’ve been highlighting fall under this theory – that the foods we eat and the environment we expose ourselves to can affect the expression of our genes and the traits that we pass on to our offspring, but we and our children also have the ability to modify gene expression with our behaviors. For instance, where certain factors have put us at increased risk for a particular disease, we can counter that risk with healthy behaviors and possibly turn the tide for the next generation. Much of today’s research is focused on epigenetics, and it is truly fascinating.
CafeMom, a social gathering site for moms, recently hosted a photography challenge by Me Ra Koh, a professional photographer, in which she provided recipes/detailed instructions for capturing memorable images and moments and then users reported back with their images. Her first recipe invited moms to capture the fleeting hair swirl of their newborns.
We hope you had a wonderful weekend. Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy!
Arsenic Testing Proves Organic Baby Formula Safe - The test results are in on Nature’s One Baby Formulas independent testing, with results showing levels of arsenic below global standards for rice-based foods for infants. The company’s press release cites flawed methodologies in the Dartmouth study, but leaves more questions than answers about the reliability of testing for arsenic in food.
Rise in Preschool Cavities Prompts Anesthesia Use - Dentists nationwide are seeing more preschoolers at all income levels with 6 to 10 cavities or more, often resulting in the need for general anesthesia in order to undergo extensive procedures. Yikes!
Pink Slime for School Lunch: Govt Buying 7M Pounds Ammonia-Treated Meat - McDonalds and other fast food joints have halted use of ammonia-treated meat made from beef scraps and connective tissue, otherwise known as pink slime, yet the government continues to use it in school lunches as a cost-saving measure. While the ammonia treatment is supposed to curb e coli and salmonella contamination, it doesn’t appear to be all that effective. Why is this acceptable? Read more about pink slime here.
Study Highlights Dangers in Everyday Products – Even the “Green” Ones
A first-of-its-kind peer reviewed study published last week reveals that both conventional and green products from household cleaners to personal care products contained a number of chemicals of concern that were not disclosed on the label. Over 200 products in 50 categories were tested for 66 chemicals associated with either endocrine disruption or asthma, and 55 of the 66 were found – even in so-called “green” products. Sunscreens and fragrance products had the most target chemicals and some of the highest concentrations. The study has been criticized for its methodologies, and the researchers admit that this is just a start but hope that it will provide a stimulus for conversation around toxic chemical sources and exposure.
Mom’s Weight Before Pregnancy Can Affect Baby’s Brain
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that preemies whose mothers were obese (with a BMI over 30) before pregnancy had double the risk of developing cognitive issues. The study involved 921 infants born before 28 weeks – the mothers gave placental biopsies immediately after birth and the babies’ neurological development was evaluated around age 2. It’s not entirely clear how obesity impacts baby’s development, but the leading theory is that the mother’s excessive weight can result in a heightened inflammatory response during pregnancy that adversely affects the baby’s brain.
We hope you had a wonderful weekend. Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. We’ve added a new feature this week, thanks to a suggestion from one of our loyal readers (thanks, Andrea!): Pinterest-Worthy Finds will now highlight some of our favorite images from the web. Enjoy!
In the News:
Berenstain Bears Creator Dead at 88 - Jan Berenstain, creator of the beloved Berenstain Bears, passed away Friday. Her books were a significant part of my child, and some of those same books are now in my children’s library. Thank you, Jan, for a wonderful legacy.
First 4-in-1 Flu Vaccine Approved by the FDA - The FDA has now approved the first flu vaccine to protect against 4 strains of the flu, resulting in the addition of another Influenza B strain to the mix. The new spray vaccine is approved for ages 2 to 49 and is expected to improve the likelihood of protection from vaccine, particularly in young children who are affected by Influenza B more than any other population according to the FDA.
Pediatricians Say Breastfeeding is about Public Health, Not Just Lifestyle - Last week, the AAP updated its guidelines on infant nutrition and in it recognizes breastfeeding as a public health issue based on a wealth of new data on the benefits of breastfeeding. Previously, the AAP was divided on the recommendation to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, but now there is consensus from the entire academy. The new policy calls for exclusive breastfeeding for “about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”
The study followed 340 women in Bangladesh, half of which were given the flu vaccine and the other half were given the pneumococcal vaccine as a control. During non-flu season, there was little difference in birth weights, but during flu season, women who received the vaccine came down with the flu less than half as often as the other women and their babies were born at healthier weights. Four other studies have shown similar results, and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has granted the researchers additional funding to perform a larger, similar study in Nepal.
Exercise in Pregnancy Safe for Baby
A recent study finds that moderate exercise during pregnancy is safe for baby, even for women who were not regular exercisers before pregnancy. The study also found that even high intensity exercise is safe for women who were previously active before pregnancy.
In the study, 45 women between 28 and 32 weeks pregnant walked or jogged on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity. Those who were regularly active before pregnancy were assigned an additional 30 minutes of high intensity exercise on the treadmill. The fetuses were monitored before and after each session. While the fetal heart rate rose after the exercise, the babies’ heart rate, blood flow, and biophysical profile remained within normal range.
The Peaceful Parenting Approach to Kid’s Conflicts - I’ve been enjoying reading tips lately on positive parenting and teaching children conflict resolution as my kids are getting older and more interactive. I thought this was a great read with practical tips for teaching yourself and your children empathy and problem-solving. To read on, go here:
(you may need to copy and paste the URL in your browser because the apostrophe seems to be causing a problem with the hyperlink)
How fun is this?!? Last year, a neighbor of ours arranged an Easter Egg Hunt at dusk and the kids searched by flashlight, but what a great twist – Give it to PlayatHomeMom for another fantastic idea: glow-in-the dark easter eggs courtesy of mini party lights. If you’re going to pin this, be sure to hop on over to her site and give her the credit. Or if you’d like to follow me on pinterest, find my newly created Purebebe profile here.
Happy Leap Day! Sorry for the delay this week, as I managed to land myself with crutches after a rough spill and a badly sprained ankle. Nevertheless, welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy!
In the News:
Baby Born with Cancer is a Medical Mystery - In the rarest of medical occurrences, a baby was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma shortly after her birth. Earlier this month, her mother lost the battle with the same cancer that they believe she passed on to her baby in utero. Now baby Addison is fighting the cancer and being treated with an experimental FDA-approved medication approved only for her and not covered by insurance. To help the family with the cost of care, donations can be made to the “Cox Family” donation account at Arizona Federal Credit Union. Account #826604.
California Bill Would End Use of Toxic Flame Retardants - A new bill was introduced Friday seeking to change the state’s outdated flame retardant standard. While the new bill doesn’t require the phasing out of toxic flame retardants, it does set a standard that most furniture items could pass without the use of toxic chemicals, and that is a step in the right direction.
CPSC Adopts New Federal Standard for Portable Bed Rails- Bed rails intended to keep children from rolling out of an adult bed have entrapped young children and killed infants. The CPSC has adopted a new standard requiring testing and improved warnings stating that rails should never be used with children under 2. Portable bed rails must also not create a dangerous gap with the mattress or contain hazardous edges or small parts.
That New Car Smell is Toxic
That new car smell is actually the smell of chemicals off-gassing from interior auto parts like the steering wheel, dashboard, seats, and trim. It’s amazing how the smells we’ve been conditioned to associate with new and clean can be so toxic to our health. Over 275 different chemicals have been identified in vehicles interiors, including bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; and heavy metals. These chemicals have been linked to a variety of health problems such as allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer.
Healthystuff.org has tested over 900 vehicles since 2006 for these chemicals, and in its latest release the 2012 Honda Civic topped its list as the least toxic whereas the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander was the organization’s worst pick. Some general observations to note: Honda has virtually eliminated PVC from its fleet, with 83% of 2011/12 models free of PVC. North American-produced vehicles lag behind Europe- and Asia-produced vehicles in PVC and brominated flame retardant use, as the U.S. has the weakest regulatory system for chemicals in consumer products and provides the fewest incentives. How does your car stack up?
Memo to Pediatricians: Screen All Kids for Vitamin D Deficiency, Test Those at High Risk
As numerous studies have shown the fundamental role of Vitamin D on health and disease, which often develop in childhood, pediatricians are recommending that children be screened for risk factors and tested when at high risk. The AAP recommends 400 IU daily for breastfed infants under one and 600 IU daily for toddlers. I give my girls, one of whom refuses to drink milk, Carlson Labs Vitamin D supplement which comes in the form of liquid drops of vitamin D3 in fractionated coconut oil. It’s tasteless, so they don’t notice a few drops added to their water.
Kids Get More Added Sugar From Foods Than From Drinks
While soda is still the single largest source of added sugar in children’s diets, new government data shows that processed and packaged foods are the leading source in their diets with 63% of calories from added sugars consumed at home. “Soda consumption is high, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the added sugars in foods such as muffins, cookies, sugar-sweetened cereals and pasta sauces,” says Cynthia Ogden, senior author on the report and an epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics.
Getting Kids to Eat Veggies Can Be Sticky Business
A recent study found that rewarding children with stickers increased their affinity for a previously disliked vegetable. In the study, 173 families were assigned to three different groups: one that rewarded tiny tastes with stickers, another that rewarded with praise, and a control group that used no special tactics. Over the course of 12 days, the researchers found that the children rewarded with stickers gave higher yum factor ratings to vegetables they’d previously disliked and the results seemed to last, whereas praise seemed to have little effect. While rewards can be controversial as may lead to an expectation of reward, the researchers suggest that it about 10 days was enough to change a child’s attitude toward the vegetable.
Solutions for Siblings from Positive Parenting - I’m fortunate that my children get along most days, but sometimes they and I need a little help diffusing a situation. This article provides some great ideas for minimizing sibling rivalry and creating an environment where children can feel safe, loved, and valued.
We hope you had a fantastic long weekend! This week’s highlights was delayed a bit so I could devote some time to the arsenic and rice news that came out late last week. Here’s a little more of what I’ve been reading this past week. - Jasmine
In the News:
Johnson & Johnson Recalls Infant’s Tylenol - In case you missed it on our Facebook page, Johnson & Johnson has issued a nationwide recall of all infant tylenol on the market due to reported difficulties using the new dosing syringe.
No adverse events have been reported, but if you’d like a refund you can visit their website or call for a refund. Consumers can still use the product if the flow restrictor remains in place. The instructional video below issued by McNeil demonstrates how to use the syringe.
Maine Groups Press for BPA Ban After Chemical Found in Baby and Toddler Food - 11 out of 12 major brands of jarred baby food tested positive for BPA in the lids, and tests also showed that the BPA had been found in the baby food. Levels were 1 to 3 parts per billion, but the physiology professor cited in the article says that’s enough to be concerned. Levels in toddler canned foods were found up to 134 parts per billion. Just one of the many reasons I chose to make my own baby food. If you’re interested, you can find tips here: Homemade Baby Food - As Easy as 1-2-3.
EPA Issues Long-Awaited Dioxins Report - After working on the report for decades, the EPA has released the first half of its assessment on the toxicity of dioxins, the most toxic of all man-made chemicals. The first release addresses the noncancerous effects, while the second half of the report is expected to address evidence of the chemical’s cancerous effects.
While the report concludes that dioxins are seriously toxic at low levels, it says that exposures have declined so much over the past few decades that most people should not be concerned. As one scientist put it, though, that statement is “very odd” as it ignores people who are exposed to higher levels or more sensitive to the effects, like fetuses and young children.
BPA’s Obesity And Diabetes Link Strengthened By New Study
To date, studies have suggested a link between BPA and metabolic problems, but no one was really sure why until now. A new study released last week has determined that BPA fools a specific receptor into thinking that it is estrogen, an insulin regulator, and triggers the release of almost double the insulin actually needed to break down food. When that specific receptor was removed from the subject mice, the effect disappeared.
According to the author of the study, Angel Nadal, “When you eat something with BPA, it’s like telling your organs that you are eating more than you are really eating.” And surprisingly, the effects were seen at very low levels of exposure - a quarter of a billionth of a gram was enough to do the trick. What is most concerning is the impact on pregnant women and developing fetuses, who are particularly sensitive - ”The fetus is not only exposed to BPA but also to higher levels of insulin from the mother, making the environment for the fetus even more disruptive,” says Nadal. “This is a very delicate period.”
Children at Risk for Ingestion of PAHs from Pavement Sealant
Coal tar sealants, commonly used in the Central, Southern, and Eastern U.S. to refresh driveways and parking lots, are a source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, some of which can cause cancer. Researchers from Baylor University and the U.S. Geological Survey have found that children living next to driveways or parking lots coated with coal tar are exposed to 14 times the amount of the chemicals than those living near untreated asphalt. Exposure is primarily through contaminated dust tracked into the home, rather than food as once thought. Coal-tar-based pavement sealant has PAH concentrations 100 to 1,000 times greater than most other sources.
Over the 112 years the study covered, age-specific recommendations for sleep and actual sleep duration of children has declined at similar rates.
Over that same period, children have lost about 75 minutes of shut-eye with overstimulation and modern technology to blame.
There’s not much evidence behind sleep recommendations; they’re pretty subjective. Kids consistently get at least 30 minutes less than the recommendations.
Different countries have different standards, but American children sleep less than nearly all other children.
How to Get Rid of Facebook Timeline, Bring Back a Simpler View - Anyone else struggling to get used to the new timeline view? It seems cluttered and messy to me. LifeHacker just published an article with a plugin that can be used to adjust your browser’s Facebook view for a cleaner look. I’m definitely going to try this out.
A study published Thursday in the research journal Environmental Health Perspectives has caused quite the stir after researchers from Dartmouth College found surprising levels of arsenic in two samples of organic infant formula and other foods containing organic brown rice syrup. Both formula samples contained organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient, and results showed that each contained inorganic arsenic concentrations at or above the current US drinking water standard and more than 20 times greater than the other 15 formulas tested which contained no organic brown rice syrup.
Foods containing organic brown rice syrup were chosen for this study as rice is a major source of dietary exposure to arsenic, and brown rice tends to have more of the inorganic, more toxic, form of arsenic since it accumulates in a layer that is generally removed during the polishing of white rice. The researchers suspected that the use of organic brown rice syrup as an alternative to high fructose corn syrup in organic foods was likely to introduce arsenic into these products.
The study did not name the two formulas containing high levels of arsenic; however, it did indicate that these were the only two infant formulas they were aware of that contained organic brown rice syrup. The Boston Globe has identified these products as Baby’s Only Organic Dairy Toddler Formula and Baby’s Only Organic Soy Toddler Formula, both made by Nature’s One.
According to the study, the lots of dairy formula tested contained levels of inorganic arsenic at and just below the EPA’s drinking water standard, whereas the soy formula tested contained levels of inorganic arsenic exceeding the drinking water standard (see the graph on p18). The lead researcher in the study, Dr. Jackson, has indicated that these levels are not acutely toxic and parents should not be concerned about acute arsenic poisoning.
The company has responded on its website by indicating that their California-based supplier uses an independent lab to test arsenic levels in their organic brown rice syrup and as of yet has reported undetectable amounts of arsenic. For parents who rely on these formulas made by Nature’s One, the location of the supplier is notable. Much of the rice in the U.S. is produced in the south on land formerly used to grow cotton where arsenic-based pesticides were used heavily. That arsenic remains in the soil today (looong half-life), even after some of those fields were switched over to organic farming methods. Research has shown that rice grown in California, however, generally has much less arsenic – one study found organic brown rice from California to have the lowest levels of 134 varieties tested between California and Arkansas, the state where about half of U.S. rice is grown.
Why the formulas containing California-sourced rice syrup tested with high levels of inorganic arsenic in the Dartmouth study then remains to be explained. Nature’s One does highlight some concerns they have with the study, albeit a bit defensively, namely that the Dartmouth study does not use the World Health Organization’s preferred method of testing for arsenic in food nor the EPA-approved method for testing arsenic in drinking water. The company further highlights the margin for error cited in the Dartmouth study, stating that it is outside the range expected for a reliable scientific study. Nature’s One does not elaborate on its own testing procedures; however, it does plan to release updated testing results on its website soon.
Until then, the best thing parents can do is follow the advice of Dr. Alan Greene, well-respected pediatrician and board member at Healthy Child Healthy World:
Rice should not be the primary source of calories for babies.
Whenever practical, ensure that the rice they do get comes primarily from California and/or is adequately tested for arsenic (with technology at least able to detect 10 ppb).
Avoid conventional rice imported from countries where arsenic exposure is a concern, (i.e. Bangladesh)
Similarly, for the rest of the family, I would suggest rice in moderation and paying attention to the source. One study suggested that one would have to eat more than 115 grams daily of high-arsenic rice to potentially reach or surpass the drinking water standard, so while the latest news is cause for some concern particularly in young children, it doesn’t seem there is need to panic.
Ultimately, the results of this study in conjunction with news late last year of arsenic in fruit juices, highlight the need for safety levels of arsenic in food and beverages. The FDA is currently looking into the issue after being pressured over arsenic in apple juice. According to Time, regulatory agencies in Britain and Europe are already on their way to setting limits, and legislation was introduced in the US House of Representatives earlier this month to push the FDA along.
Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope you and your families have a wonderful day filled with lots of love.
Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy! - Jasmine & Heather
Woman Fired Over Lactation, Judge Says Not Sex Discrimination- A woman was fired for asking for to pump at work, and a recent court ruling says that lactation is not pregnancy-related and thus not protected under sex discrimination law. Although Obama’s health care law requires employers to give women breaks to pump, it apparently doesn’t specifically protect them from being fired if they ask to do so - pretty much rendering the requirement ineffective.
Mom Induced Early for Dying Husband - In a heartbreaking situation, Diane Aulger scratched her plans for a natural birth and was induced two weeks early so that her dying husband could meet his unborn child. Husband, Mark, passed away just 5 days later. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Diane and her family.
Chemo Possible for Pregnant Women with Cancer
About 1 in 1,000 women will face cancer during pregnancy and the unbearable dilemma of how to proceed. I personally have a family member who went through this, so this news comes very close to home. A series of papers published last week suggest that women with cancer can be treated the same as other patients with minimal risk to the fetus. One study of 70 children who were exposed to chemo in the womb found that they developed just as well as other children based on tests on their hearts, IQs, and general health. Another study suggests that chemotherapy after the first trimester is possible with extra ultrasounds to monitor baby’s development and radiation is best done in the first two trimesters when the baby is small enough to be covered by a lead blanket. The same study also found that ending the pregnancy did not improve the chances for the mother.
Skip The Strained Peas, Let Babies Feed Themselves
Does this mean the end of my beloved Beaba Babycook? New research suggests skipping baby food purees and letting children go straight to finger foods through “baby-led weaning”. In a study of 155 children ages 20 months to 6 1/2 years, parents filled out questionnaires on their children’s feeding and weaning practices, food preferences, and height and weight. The results of the questionnaire indicate that babies who learn to feed themselves early on may develop healthier eating habits and be less likely to become overweight as self-feeding helps them to be more mindful of their appetites. The study also found that the finger-fed children preferred carbs while the spoon-fed children preferred sweets. It seems to me that there may be more factors at play, but ultimately helping children become mindful of their appetites and serving them fresh, whole foods when they are ready is key.
Tests Find Mold, Fecal Bacteria in Children’s Lunch Boxes
Ewwww. A NC State University scientist and her grad students paired up with a local news station to investigate germs where we eat. They found no evidence of harmful bacteria on the trays tested from fast food restaurants and mall food courts; however, children’s lunch boxes were a different matter. Of the 100 lunch boxes tested at a local middle school, about half tested positive for low levels of staph and about 15% showed fecal contamination most likely due to children not washing their hands properly after using the restroom. What was also surprising to me - the list of other surfaces with highest germ concentration according to other studies - i.e. gas pump handle.
Stomach vs Food
This video follows a “smart pill” into the stomach of two subjects and shows how our bodies digest (or fail to digest) processed foods - Ramen and Gatorade - as compared to their homemade counterparts. Incredibly fascinating to watch.
Why Pinterest is 2012′s Hottest Website from CNN - I’m a HUGE fan. I joined Pinterest in its early stages and was hooked from the start. It’s essentially a visual online bookmarking system; however, the social aspect allows you to see and repin what others have pinned too. I can’t tell you how many fantastic ideas I’ve found using this site.
Recalls, February 7 – February 13:
CPSC Child Product Recalls
No child product recall announcements this week.
Child Safety Seat Recalls
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.
We hope you had a wonderful weekend! Welcome to this week’s highlights, our weekly post that recaps important child health and safety news, research, and recalls from the previous week and other great finds we’ve come across in our internet travels. Enjoy! - Jasmine & Heather
Home Birth Advocate Dies in Child Birth - A home birth advocate passed away after going into cardiac arrest during childbirth bringing into question the safety of home births as their popularity rises. I found this article a really refreshing take on home vs hospital births.
Qantas Flight Grounded by Dirty Diaper – Yes, you read that right. A plane was forced to land and passengers removed by forklift 5 at a time due to a foul odor coming from a dirty diaper stuffed in the airplane toilet.
Why Spanking Doesn’t Work
A new analysis of two decades of research on the long-term effects of physical punishment finds that it doesn’t work and can have serious long-term effects. While it may work in the moment, it leads to increased aggression in children in the longer term and can harm the relationship between parent and child as well as affect a child’s sense of self-worth. Later in life, it’s associated with mental health problems as neurological analysis has found that it can affect brain chemistry.
Parents Cheat on Booster Seats, Despite Safety Risks
A new survey in this week’s Pediatrics found that more than half of parents carpool children other than their own, but they don’t always use booster seats for children who should be in one. Only about half of parents who carpool require their own child to ride in a booster, even when their friends are not. And 21 percent would allow their child to ride boosterless in someone else’s car.
Breastfeeding Tied to Stronger Lungs, Less Asthma
Two new studies out this week on the effect of breastfeeding on lung function: The first followed 1500 UK children from their birth in the mid-1990s and tested for lung function and allergies between the ages of 8 and 14. Two out of the three tests showed that babies who were breastfed by asthmatic moms for at least four months may get more benefit from breastfeeding than babies of asthma-free moms, countering previous studies which suggested asthmatic moms may put their babies at risk with breastfeeding. The second study followed 1000 children in New Zealand and concluded that each month of exclusive breastfeeding was tied to a 9% drop in asthma risk.
Word! from An Inch of Gray – Touching words on coping with grief and what almost was before the tragic loss of her child in the floods of VA last year. Pray for those who have loved and lost that they will be comforted through such grief and pain.
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.
A number of recalls below are driven by the recall of hard-cooked eggs produced by Michael Foods which have been sold to retail/institutional establishments and may be contaminated with listeria. Be cautious purchasing products containing hard-cooked eggs.
PureBebe focuses on everything safe, healthy and pure for babies and young children. We conduct extensive research on baby topics and products. This site is about sharing that knowledge as well as the crying, laughing, and wincing that accompany being a parent.
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-Heather & Jasmine