Being a mom is complicated. We start out as mothers, at a physical and emotional deficit. We are exhausted from gestation, we are exhausted by birth and then exhausted still more, by the need for attention to infants which require round the clock care even under the best of circumstances.
They will tell you when you are pregnant that there are no instruction manuals for children. There are some, but they never cover every contingency, because childbirth and child-rearing, like the military, are subject to all the horrors of Murphy's law; of the Red Queen Principle; and ruled entirely by *the Imp of the Perverse. And we haven't even gotten to the chemical part yet.
Even if we were to take away all the really difficult satellite issues of raising a family, having children would be complicated. Don't get me wrong, it's very rewarding, but it's not something that you achieve once and then you are done. It's years of toil and sacrifice, emotional roller coaster rides, and a lifetime of worry.
I cannot imagine in fact that there was ever a time when having children wasn't hard. But now, instead of worrying how to pick all the lice off of them, or which berries are ripe and edible, or if the puddle is of potable water, we have to contend with mountains of information regarding chemicals. Assuming we think that deeply about it, which some parents do not.
The video clip is about chemicals used to make household objects like nursing pillows, especially the fillers that make the foam. It is about BPA and other chemicals used in plastic bottles and pacifiers and toys. It's about the flame retardants in cushions and even on clothing.
But in all honesty, this topic is so much more broad in it's scope, than even those things.
So what pray-tell, is the big deal here?
Defective Neural Development
I warned you. This is a very big, and somewhat old topic. However with our alarmingly short attention span that cannot last beyond one television show, much less a whole generation or three, this matter keeps emerging from the abyss, to startle us over and over and over.
If we were collectively more attentive, we might have seen a pattern emerge by now.
The problem is, before you have kids or try to have kids, you don't really think of these issues. If we all thought of ourselves as pre-pregnant, then maybe; but who wants to do that? So really, only a portion of our population is really focused, at any given time, on what basically amounts to long term health issues that start in childhood.
Parents are driven to do this for a multitude of reasons. First of all, because most parents want their children to be healthy and to live long and productive lives and eventually have families of their own.
If your child suffers chronic exposure to toxins that affect their intellect, or their fertility [among other things], then that might not happen. Instead of grandchildren, you could be looking at a child with cancer, or a puzzling array of symptoms that affect cognition, emotional stability or even the ability to hold down a steady job, and this could strike in childhood or adulthood. Irregardless you are still their parent and still involved.
And it could take years for all the symptoms to unfold, and years of studies, on unstudied but *legal chemicals, before you or your child make heads or tails of their symptoms. This is some scary stuff. For some families, this can be the equivalent of Gulf War Syndrome or 911 Illnesses, only this happened in the home somewhere, and no one will know why for a very long time, only that it is.
So what's the big deal?
Lets start with Flame Retardants. Flame Retardants are used on some clothing and furniture, and it is put on cloth and other materials to prevent material from easily catching fire.
NOAA scientists, in a first-of-its-kind report issued today, state that Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), chemicals commonly used in commercial goods as flame retardants since the 1970s, are found in all United States coastal waters and the Great Lakes, with elevated levels near urban and industrial centers...Livers and Thyroids are very very important.
PBDEs are man-made toxic chemicals used as flame retardants in a wide array of consumer products, including building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, plastics, polyurethane foams and textiles since the 1970s. A growing body of research points to evidence that exposure to PBDEs may produce detrimental health effects in animals, including humans. Toxicological studies indicate that liver, thyroid and neurobehavioral development may be impaired by exposure to PBDEs. They are known to pass from mother to infant in breast milk.
Similar in chemical structure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, they have raised concerns among scientists and regulators that their impacts on human health will prove comparable. PBDE production has been banned in a number of European and Asian countries. In the U.S., production of most PBDE mixtures has been voluntarily discontinued.
Discharge comes from a variety of sources, so even though we are not necessarily making this stuff anymore. It is still prevalent enough in some aging products, that incineration of waste could be a major contributor, runoff from landfills, accidental spills [from what I have no idea].
Note that it has not been banned in the US, that PBDE mixtures have been "voluntarily discontinued." I feel so comforted with our paper tiger we call the EPA.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of flame retardants used in furniture, carpeting, textiles, electronics, and plastics to reduce the risk of ignition and slow down burning rates. Because PBDEs are not covalently bound to these materials, they may leach into the surrounding environment.So what are they using in carpet instead of PBDE? And is it any less toxic? According to the 2010 article quoted above, 97 percent of American adults had detectable levels of PBDEs and our levels on average were 20 times higher than our European Counterparts.
PBDE Concentrations in Women's Serum and Fecundability.
Yet another hazard, not listed in the non-existent Baby Instruction Manual. And apparently an important one too! And even though I did take Chemistry in high school, I have no recollection of studying flame retardants. Did anyone study that in high school? Who would be fluent in this subject, this side of a graduate student in Chemistry? But even in my relative ignorance, I wonder how this might affect the health and fertility of fire fighters or military personnel since so much of their gear is treated with flame retardants.
"Firefighters have elevated rates of multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, prostate, testicular cancer, malignant melanoma, brain cancer; many linked to halogenated flame retardants," says Tony Stefani, cancer survivor, founder, San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, and retired SF Fire Department Captain. "Lawmakers should stop listening to chemical industry representatives who misrepresent the facts." Yahoo News: Chicago Tribune Investigation Reveals Deceptive Chemical Industry Tactics Promoting Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals.Not good.
Although penta- and octa-BDE have been banned for use in the United States, exposure continues because these mixtures are present in furniture and other home products manufactured before 2004. Deca-BDE continues to be used, primarily in electronic products. ibidYikes. So is this the chemical responsible for that New Computer Smell? This is also the dust that gets on your television. The story linked to here, states that BPDE bioaccumulates, and best of all, according to this Science Daily story, flame retardants may actually create more toxic gases in fires, which are the top cause of deaths in fires.
Some of the flame retardants added to carpets, furniture upholstery, plastics, crib mattresses, car and airline seats and other products to suppress the visible flames in fires are actually increasing the danger of invisible toxic gases that are the No. 1 cause of death in fires.And what about voluntary discontinuation? Well take a look at this:
In a study in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology, they describe hints that one flame retardant, banned years ago in some areas, actually remains in use. "To the authors knowledge, this is the first study to report on flame retardants in baby products," the report states. Science Daily.This article, published in 2011, specifically names PBDEs.
They detected potentially toxic flame retardants in 80 percent of the polyurethane foam samples collected from 101 common baby products. Among them were compounds associated with pentaBDE, suggesting that the substance -- banned in 172 countries and 12 U.S. states -- still remains in use, as well as two potential carcinogens, TCEP and TDCPP. "Future studies are therefore warranted to specifically measure infants exposure to these flame retardants from intimate contact with these products, and to determine if there are any associated health concerns," the report states. ibidThis explains the use of a nursing pillow by the Mommy-Protester in the video.
Brominated Flame Retardants made number 9 of the Top Ten Toxic Chemicals Suspected to Cause Autism and Learning Disabilities.
Now I know that a lot of folks out there will go nuts, because the science is new. The point these people are missing is that, when it's your kid, statistics become nothing but a tool, an excuse to distance people more interested in making a profit, from the consequences of their actions. Which in this case, is an environment that destroys lives before they are even begun. And in this case, could be an underlying cause that destroys families by limiting fertility or prohibiting the development of independent adult children [or both].
According to the Wiki-article, Brominated Flame Retardants are or are related to Organophosphates. If this is true, then I can see how they would make the top 10 list. Organophosphates disrupt the uptake and utilization of acetylcholine, a very important substance needed for proper development and function of the brain and nervous system of humans, and animals. Chemicals listed as Organophosphates are the basis for nerve agents, pesticides, herbicides and plasticizers.
But lets move on to plastics.
Common Plastic Chemicals, phthalates linked to ADHD symptoms.
At least in the past, you could vacuum up the paint chips and keep the kid indoors when the DDT truck passed. But now? Every plastic bottle of milk or water, every lined can you buy full of stewed tomatoes, every disposable diaper could be a vector.
The world suddenly got more complicated, full of chemicals you were never told about, with names you cannot pronounce. It was bad enough trying to read ingredients lists at the grocery store, but this? You have just entered the chemical twilight zone. Actually you have been there all along, but now you are painfully aware that what you know about the products you use, would fill a thimble.
And I didn't mean to imply that pthalates were only in food and drink containers. It's in the baby shampoo and lotion too.
Babies recently treated with infant personal care products such as lotion, shampoo, and powder, were more likely to have manmade chemicals called phthalates in their urine than other babies, according to University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute study appearing in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics. Phthalates (pronounced "thah-lates") are added to many personal care and cosmetic products, as well many common household plastic and vinyl products, and some studies suggest they may affect reproductive development in humans.But you survived this long and so far, so good?
There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors. Even at a modest increase in circulating phthalate levels, the risk of diabetes is doubled. This conclusion is drawn by researchers at Uppsala University in a study published in the journal Diabetes Care. High levels of Phthalates Can Lead to Greater Risk of Type-2 DiabetesThis might be considered important news to the Sandwich Generation. But the EPA has our back right? Not so fast. Remember the 80,000 chemicals listed by the EPA, out of those only 200 have been tested. And if the debacles surrounding Corexit, fracking chemicals or NeoNicotinoids are any indicator, I would strongly suggest that you verify their results with studies by independent scientists and institutions.
Yea, that suggests that the EPA hasn't been pursing cumulative risk assessment of phthalates or any other chemicals. Yikes!
Environmental Protection Agency should examine whether combined exposures to chemicals known as phthalates could cause adverse health effects in humans, says a new report from the National Research Council. In addition, this analysis, called a cumulative risk assessment, should consider other chemicals that could potentially cause the same health effects as phthalates, instead of focusing on chemicals that are similar in structure, which is EPA's current practice.But what could possibly go wrong?
The most notable effects in male rats are infertility, undescended testes, malformation of the penis, and other reproductive tract malformations.The problem with this alarming gap in scientific studies on the effects on humans is really quite elegant.
First of all, it gives chemical companies and the EPA something called *Plausible Deniability.
The lack of definitive, cumulative studies means that they can claim ignorance in the face of glaring illness and injury.
And in addition to that, they can also claim that since there is no prior evidence of harm, that we--non-scientists [read parents, loved ones, victims] cannot prove harm in the absence of that pre-approved proof.
Similar tactics are used against Veterans seeking benefits after chemical exposures. From the perspective of a mere peasant, I see this as being about money. First of all to cover the asses of interested parties and culpable government agencies--as in law suits, and secondly to preserve profit for companies that manufacture and distribute these substances.
In the case of chemical substances, their loss could force companies to put more money into research and development just to find viable replacements in many cases. I understand their fear here, in terms of profit, but they do not pay my healthcare bills.
These companies do not pay for the medication, the treatment or educational requirements of special needs kids. They do not pay for the care and treatment of adult children who never leave home or who cannot support themselves due to cognitive deficiencies. And these companies do not pay for couples, desperate to have a child, to either receive IVF, or surrogacy, or even adoption. These companies do not pay for cancer treatments or testing.
So their pain as corporations seem a bit incredulous to me. And we haven't even discussed BPA or Bisphenol-A.
Its tied to a host of problems, including but not limited to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which can cause infertility, weight gain--which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and ups your risk of heart disease and cancer. It's also been linked to Breast Cancer. Another study linked it's presence in the body to chemotherapy resistance.
Other studies show that it causes epigenetic changes in female offspring. And these changes will last for generations.
"What your great grandmother was exposed to when she was pregnant may promote ovarian disease in you, and you're going to pass it on to your grandchildren," he said. "Ovarian disease has been increasing over the past few decades to affect more than 10 percent of the human female population, and environmental epigenetics may provide a reason for this increase." Environmental Toxicants Causing Ovarian Disease Across Generations.You will want to read this next article too: Today's Environmental Influences Behavior Generations Later: Chemical Exposure Raises Descendents Sensitivity to Stress.
Phthalates and BPA both are indicated as a causing Thyroid Problems. Hypothyroidism in particular is associated with significant weight gain and an inability to loose said weight. This can also affect how you feel, whether or not you have energy to function. That last one doesn't really sound like a medical condition. But tell that to people who literally cannot scrape themselves up out of bed to do much of anything.
Many medical conditions have a genetic component. However, with our new understanding of epigenetics, and the environmental factors that help our bodies switch certain genes on and off, we now know that toxins and genes can interact with each other, causing disease and dysfunction, and that this confluence can start in utero, at some point during direct exposure after you are born, and in some cases, before conception.
Those seem like very big deals to me.
The organization shown protesting on CNN is The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow. And they are located in and focused on Massachusetts.
A broader national organization is the Pesticide Action Network.
And the creator of the last video about the Chemical Lobby, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. I noticed that they had a headline for the National Stroller Brigade, that indicated moms, and cancer survivors, and nurses were in that protest on Capital Hill.
The National Stroller Brigade builds on 30 local events in support of the Safe Chemicals Act, in locations as diverse as Little Rock and Omaha. Hundreds of moms – many with children in tow – flew or bused into Washington to deliver 130,000 petition signatures to their Senators.You noticed that I haven't even touched on the issue of mercury, cadmium and lead tainted toys and jewelry. Or of pesticide laden playgrounds and parks.
Moms turned out in large numbers in response to an investigative series by the Chicago Tribune, which exposed the chemical industry’s deceptive lobbying tactics to protect toxic chemicals. The moms divided up by state to deliver the thousands of petition signatures asking their Senators to support the Safe Chemicals Act.
So much information overload, it boggles the mind of a mere parent.
Be sure and go to the left hand margin and check out the graphics and other links related to the story. Very Interesting.