Thursday, December 8, 2011

Scary Statistics Backed By New Studies

Early this week I had the privilege of attending a symposium at the New York Academy of Medicine hosted by Mount Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center in NYC.  The focus of the symposium, which was titled ‘Birth Defects, Learning Disabilities, Obesity and Breast Cancer: How can we avoid the effects of Toxic Chemicals?’ was to inform the attendants about new studies that have linked toxic exposures during pregnancy and early childhood to ADHD, autism, obesity, breast cancer and other common conditions in early childhood and throughout life. 

The symposium was yet another urgent wake up call as to the dangerous effects that common chemicals in everyday things can have on our kids... even before they are born.  FINALLY there are scientific studies that are backing what many suspected for years:  these chemicals are hurting our children's health in potentially horrifying ways.

The symposium presented so much relevant information for parents that I want to break it up in 3 (future) posts, to address and briefly describe each of the 3 studies that were spoken about.  All the studies focused on chemicals that are endocrine disruptor's and their links to:

1. Neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, autism etc)
2. Early puberty and breast cancer
3. Obesity and diabetes

Please stay tuned to my news briefs on these studies!

In the meantime, I want to include some downright scary statistics that were provided by Mt Sinai's Children's Environmental Health Center, that put into perspective, once again, what a big deal this is and how important in is to transition to a more toxic-free life.....

- Both childhood leukemia and brain cancer have increased in incidence by about 40% since 1970. Childhood cancer has become the leading cause of death among children under the age of 15

- One in every 110 children is affected by autism.  Neurodevelopmental disorders -autism, ADHD, dyslexia, mental retardation, and other learning disabilities now affect 10 - 15% of the four million babies born in the US each year(While genetics and better screening play a large role in this increase, new studies are also shedding light on the links that environmental pollutants have)

-Today's children are at greater risk for breast and testicular cancer.  In young men, incidence of testicular cancer has increased by over 50% and is being diagnosed at younger ages.  In  young women , 13% of girls are reaching the onset of puberty by age seven, putting them at greater risk for lifelong breast cancer ... both these diseases have been closely linked to  phthalate exposure (chemicals found in fragrance, soft plastics etc)

- Our munchkins are at risk of becoming the first generation in over a century to live shorter less healthy lives that their parents.

-In the US, there are over 80,000 chemicals used in commerce of which only 200 have ever been studied on humans.    That leaves 79,800 chemicals being used everyday that have never been tested for toxicity on humans... (they are in your lotions, shampoos, creams, air fresheners, sofa upholstery and children's pijamas, toys, cleaning products, paints, food etc).

These figures are not meant to overwhelm you, just to remind you of what an important job you have:
our laws don’t protect us nor our munchkins, so it's our job to stay informed and learn how to decrease our and our children's exposure to harmful chemicals.

REMEMBER: lots of small easy changes can make a HUGE impact... just reading this and becoming informed is a step in the right direction!

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