Good morning! Is it overcast and dreary where you are too? This might brighten your spirits:
In a big, bold move, the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying the U.S. is failing to protect kids from toxic chemicals.
From the wires:
“Children are not little adults,” Paulson, of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., told Reuters Health. “Their bodies are different and their behaviors are different. That means that their exposures to chemicals in the environment are different, and the way their bodies (break down) those chemicals are different.”
Kids may be especially vulnerable to chemicals during important periods in development, when their brains and bodies are changing quickly, Paulson added.
Of course we know this already, and we also know it’s not just children (and fetuses) that are at risk, but it’s amazing to see it getting more muscle behind it. Plus, the kid angle is always an especially compelling one, and one that will certainly increase pressure to update the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Happy news, right?
Happy baby pose via this amazing site, with stick drawings of yoga poses
Hopefully you have already swapped out your old tampons for fragrance-, bleach-, pesticide and dye-free organic ones. But if you haven’t, you should do so now. Yes, they are more expensive, and if you’re a Keeper or Diva Cup girl, awesome.
But there’s no sense in being equivocal about this one: Tampons are things you put inside your body every single month, several times a day for several days in a row, for decades on end. Pesticides, dyes, fragrance—fragrance!—and bleach have no business in there.
Now for the news. We all think—and for good reason—that when we remove a tampon, that it is no longer in our body. Intuitively, this is what makes sense. But guess what?
Read this chilling (and very carefully worded, we noticed) article in the New York Times about how o.b. tampons—my former tampon of choice—have been mysteriously disappearing off shelves.
Is there a quiet recall going on? The meat of it here:
A search of the FDA’s adverse event database for medical devices [note: tampons are considered medical devices by FDA] turned up a handful of consumer reports of problems with o.b. tampons over the last five years. Such health complaints are not necessarily caused by the products cited in the reports.
The reports in the FDA database about o.b. tampons included complaints of headache, fever, nausea and abdominal pain as well as infections caused by tampon remnants remaining in the body. One complaint from last year concerned a consumer who said she had been using o.b. tampons for two years.
“Consumer saw her physician and was prescribed medication for a vaginal infection. After one day of treatment, a ‘ball of tampon threads was released from the uterus,’ ” the report said. “The consumer reported that the physician suspected that the ball consisted of ‘little pieces of tampon from over a period of time.’ ”
A spokeswoman for the FDA said the agency was “not aware of any quality control or manufacturing issues with o.b. tampons.”
We’re about to get a little activisty here. No, we don’t know for sure what’s going on with o.b. or any other tampon out there. And no, we can’t prove that the o.b.s caused fever. And no, we have no way of knowing whether or not organic bleach-free-yadda-yadda tampons are also leaving bits of cotton behind after we remove them. But if they are breaking off in small amounts inside of us, we’d still feel bad, but we’d feel a whole lot better about it knowing we weren’t also leaving behind a bunch of chemicals with it. It’s back to the why-bother principle—except it’s not wrinkles we’re talking about here.
Please, please, please, please, please change your tampons or get a reusable, nontoxic thingy like the Diva Cup (which one of our writers wrote to us about ages ago—thanks Claudia!), and please send this article to every woman you know.
Turns out it’s not just canned food and bottled water we have to worry about—which we kind of new anyway, but this is no less easier to hear. In addition to customer receipts at chain store, a new study shows that:
“Higher exposure was correlated with exposure to cashier receipts, cigarette smoke and the family of chemicals known as pthalates, which are used in plastics, fragrances and many other common household products.”
BPA, in case you don’t know, is an estrogen-mimicking chemical found in some plastics and can linings, as well as a whole host of other things we come into contact with on a regular basis. It’s virtually impossible not to have some exposure to it, which is why some legistlators—and Canada—is moving to ban the stuff outright.
A few other highlights from the study, according the The Daily Green:
—Choice of organic produce made no difference in BPA levels.
—Women who were cashiers had the highest concentrations.
—Elevated levels also were seen in women who smoked cigarettes and women exposed to phthalates.
Another reason to not wear synthetic perfumes, smoke cigarettes, or buy bottled water.
According to a new study, young girls are developing breasts as early as 7 and 8 years old these days. As the New York Times is reporting, a survey of 1,239 girls aged 6 to 8 found the following:
At 7 years, 10.4 percent of white, 23.4 percent of black and 14.9 percent of Hispanic girls had enough breast development to be considered at the onset of puberty.
At age 8, the figures were 18.3 percent in whites, 42.9 percent in blacks and 30.9 percent in Hispanics. The percentages for blacks and whites were even higher than those found by a 1997 study that was one of the first to suggest that puberty was occurring earlier in girls.
Reasons for the racial disparity are inconclusive, though obesity definitely plays a role in early onset puberty because body fat can produce sex hormones. But the author of the study, Dr. M. Frank Biro, doesn’t think weight tells the whole story.
Exposure to environmental chemicals—many of which are estrogen-mimickers—may also be playing a role. You know where this is going right? Several suspected hormone disruptors are found in personal care products.
Among the many reasons this study is so disconcerting? Seven and 8 year old girls are not psychologically ready to be in women’s bodies, let alone deal with the attention that engenders. We couldn’t say it better than the Dr. Biro:
“I think we need to think about the stuff we’re exposing our bodies to and the bodies of our kids. This is a wake-up call, and I think we need to pay attention to it.”