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.
I love how specific these instructions are for those of us less experienced behind the camera. To see her other recipes and challenges, visit her post here.
If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest, find me here.
Recalls, March 14 – March 19:
CPSC Child Product Recalls
No child product recall announcements this week.
Child Safety Seat Recalls
No child safety seat recall announcements this week.
- Troyer Cheese, Inc. Recalls Backroad Country Caramel Puffcorn Sold in 8oz and 16oz Plastic Bags Because of Undeclared Milk
- California Firm Recalls Chicken Caesar Wraps Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens
If there’s anything you see and think we should feature, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.