Saturday, December 31, 2016

What makes a healthy home?

I was doing some research for my website, Eve's Best, when it suddenly occurred to me that many people may not know what a "healthy home" really is. Of course we all have our own opinions, but I feel a healthy home encompasses these qualities:

1. The air is clean. Unless we have a sick child, we may not realize how poor our air quality is. We often hear of sick buildings or sick schools, and we neglect to realize the danger occurs in our own homes. Whether we have abundant off-gassing, mold or mildew, or allergens floating around in the air, most homes do have poor air quality. We solve this by using Airwise air purifiers in our home.

2. Safe cleaning products are used. The majority of products on the market are NOT safe. You can find safer alternatives at your local health food store, or make your own non-toxic cleaning products. Both alternatives will help you avoid volatile organic compounds (VOC's) which are given off, even by closed cleaning containers.

3. Fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic) are on hand for snacks. People who say their kids won't eat these are usually providing their children more junk than fruit. Of course children will choose a twinkie over a banana! So leave the twinkies at the store and you avoid the battle completely. My kids get fruit out of the refrigerator bin without me knowing it because they know that when they're hungry that's what they should eat. They are 4 and 5, and we have sweet teeth just like everyone else. But we also have brains that we try to use daily, and most parents out there just don't feel the same way, apparently.

4. Safe personal care products are provided. Everything you put on your body or use to clean your body has an affect on your body. Just like cleaning products, personal care products have not been created with your health in mind. Cost has been the most important factor, and many mainstream products

Friday, December 30, 2016

Triclosan Concerns

Antibacterial Compounds In Everyday Products May Affect Fetuses' Lengths

By Shweta Lyer, Aug 10, 2014

From hand sanitizers and body washes to detergents and dish soaps, we love everything that comes with the antibacterial label. But is the overuse of antibacterial products doing more harm than good? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certainly thinks so, as it's considering a ban on common antibacterial compounds that are also known to harm the environment. What’s more, scientists have found that the chemical compounds in antibacterial products have found their way into fetuses in pregnant mothers.

Researchers reported their findings at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

"We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products," said Dr. Benny Pycke, a research scientists at Arizona State University, in a press release. "We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples.”

Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide back in the 1960s. But with a potential to be used as an antimicrobial ingredient, it began being manufactured into antibacterial products. Recent studies have shown the serious health implications that triclosan and triclocarban present in animals, and possibly in humans, too. In the lab, these compounds were shown to disrupt hormones essential for neural and reproductive development and produce drug resistance in bacteria.

While its true that the human body can flush out these compounds, constant exposure may still leave traces inside the body. "If you cut off the source of exposure, eventually triclosan and triclocarban would quickly be diluted out, but the truth is that we have universal use of these chemicals, and therefore also universal exposure," lead investigator Dr. Rolf Halden said in the release.

While scientists have not been able to replicate lab results showing the effects of these compounds on people, State University of New York's Dr. Laura Geer found another interesting outcome during the study. The study showed that women with high levels of the antimicrobial compound butyl paraben, found in cosmetic products, gave birth to shorter newborns. It's yet to be seen how these compounds will affect people in the long-term. But if their findings are confirmed in larger studies, it could mean that widespread exposure to these compounds may cause subtle, but large-scale effects on birth size.

Currently there are more than 2,000 over-the-counter products that contain these compounds, including toothpastes, soaps, detergents, carpets, paints, school supplies, and toys, the researchers said. Besides harming the human body, these dangerous compounds are no good for the environment either. Our ecosystem, especially lakes, accumulate large amounts of triclosan due to the release of sewage water. In turn, marine life is harmed.

Because of these implications, several governments have considered banning products that use these compounds. Minnesota became the first state to pass a ban on the use of antimicrobials in certain products. The ban is expected to take effect in January 2017. The Canadian Environmental Law Association has also urged the Canadian government to ban these two compounds. Meanwhile, companies like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble have also announced the discontinuation of these compounds from some of their products. At the federal level, the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency have recommended a scientific review of these compounds, and with sufficient evidence may consider banning them.

Source: Geer L, Halden R, Pycke B, et al. Human biomonitoring of prenatal exposure to triclosan and triclocarban in a multiethnic urban population from Brooklyn, New York. At The 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. 2014.

Lead Poisoning in United States

Nearly 3,000 US Communities Have Higher Rate Of Lead Poisoning Than Flint, MI 

By Whitney Webb

Last year, the community of Flint, Michigan was thrust into the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Children were being diagnosed with lead poisoning at previously unheard of levels and the town’s water supply was later found to be the culprit. City officials, not long before, had switched the city’s water supply from the Detroit water system to a polluted and corrosive nearby river in order to save money. Though several of the city officials responsible have now been criminally charged for their role in the disaster, nearly two years have passed while residents of Flint remain without clean drinking water.

Though Flint is the most recent example of lead poisoning in the United States, a new analysis by Reuters has found that it is just the tip of the iceberg. The study found that nearly 3,000 communities throughout the country recorded incredibly high rates of lead poisoning, over a third of which were quadruple that of Flint at the height of the water crisis. Pockets of major urban centers like Baltimore and Philadelphia were the locales found to suffer the most from lead poisoning. In many of these communities lead poisoning has been a problem for generations. There, the rate of elevated lead tests has hovered between 40 to 50% for at least the past ten years. Other communities are more rural, like Warren, Pennsylvania. 36% of children living in Warren, a town of under 10,000 along the endangered Allegheny river, had elevated levels of lead in their blood.

The study used previously undisclosed data from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments to arrive at its conclusions as both groups track poisoning rates among children in a variety of locations nationwide. Reuters reporters found that lead poisoning was so widespread it spanned across economic class and race, though poverty was often predicted a higher likelihood of lead exposure. Though the CDC officially estimated that 2.5% of children nationwide in the US suffer from lead poisoning, some say the number is likely far higher. Ultimately, the report strongly highlights the failure of government attempts to eliminate such high exposure to such a dangerous toxin. Dr. Helen Egger, chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Longone Medical Center’s Child Study Center, told Reuters that “Where lead poisoning remains common, many children will have developmental delays and start out behind all the rest.” For that reason, any child whose lead blood level is above 5 micrograms per deciliter warrant a “public health response” as the slightest elevation can result in a reduced IQ and stunted development.

This study raises the possibility that lead poisoning could be to blame, in part, for the rise in autism. Lead poisoning has already been pinned as a cause of autism as a 2014 study in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology found that lead and mercury can lead to autistic disorders. That same year, one in 68 children in the US were diagnosed with autism, a 30 percent increase in just two years. However, mainstream health news, such as WebMD, claim that the causes of autism remain “a mystery.” Children throughout the country have now been proven to have high levels of a heavy metal known to cause autism in their blood. The real explanation for the dramatic jump in autism cases is right in front of us, if only we would see it.