We Have Poisoned Ourselves and Our Children

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We Have Poisoned Ourselves and Our Children

Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), diseases unheard of a few decades ago, are now diagnosed regularly.

Of every 100 children born today, one will be diagnosed with autism before the age of 8.

About 4.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Rates of asthma, diabetes, and childhood obesity are at all-time highs and scientists can’t explain why the number of children with food allergies has increased 18% in the last decade.

Is it a coincidence the regularity of these problems has increased as we’ve increased the use of chemicals to grow our food?

Experts might claim our reporting and diagnostic technologies are better than they used to be, which is probably true.

But compared to other countries where the reporting is just as good, the U.S. spends far more on health care with dismal results.

Our life expectancy is the shortest and our infant mortality rate is the highest of any developed nation.

In many countries whose citizens have longer life spans than Americans, a lot of the chemicals we believe are necessary to grow food have already been banned.

In 2008, the program testing pesticide levels on fruits, vegetables, and field crops was stopped because the cost – $8 million a year – was “too expensive.”

That’s just one small example of where our priorities are when it comes to protecting our health and our children.

According to the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC), more than 80,000 new chemical compounds have been introduced since World War II.

Many of them are used in agriculture.

There are 3,000 so-called high-production-volume chemicals, meaning more than 1 million pounds of each are produced or imported in the U.S. each year.

More than 2.5 billion tons of these chemicals are released into the environment in the U.S. alone each year.

In addition, more than 4 billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the U.S. – to kill everything from agricultural pests to inner-city cockroaches to bacteria in schools and hospitals.

Traces of all these chemicals can be detected in virtually each and every one of us.

Yet only half of the compounds have been even minimally tested and less than 20% have been tested for their effects on fetal nervous systems.

(What parent would agree to that kind of testing in the first place?  And yet all of our children have already been exposed.)

At least 75% of the chemical compounds that have been tested are known to cause cancer and are toxic to the human brain.

“Failure to test chemicals for toxicity represents a grave lapse of stewardship,” says Philip Landrigan, MD, professor and chairman of the CEHC.

“It reflects a combination of industry’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the products they produce coupled with the failure of the U.S. government to require toxicity testing of chemicals in commerce.”

Dr. Landrigan is a pediatrician and epidemiologist who’s dedicated his life to being a leader in public health and preventive medicine.

He’s published more than 500 scientific papers, as well as 5 books.

Dr. Landrigan chaired the group whose research led to the passage of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, which is the only environmental law with explicit provisions for the protection of children.

You couldn’t find a physician or activist who’s been more committed to protecting children’s health from environmental toxins.

His pioneering research into the toxicity of lead at low levels was responsible for the federal mandate to remove lead from gasoline and paint.

Lead arsenate was also heavily used as an agricultural pesticide before the introduction of newer chemical compounds.

Dr. Landrigan has also worked to get other chemicals banned from homes.

These include organophosphates, which are toxic to your brain and nervous system and cause thousands of deaths from poisoning every year.

Unfortunately, they’re still commonly used as pesticides on farms today and residues are often tracked into homes.

A study published in 2009 documented a definitive connection between the most common childhood cancer, a form of leukemia, and the organophosphate pesticides Dr. Landrigan has been trying to get banned.

Dr. Landrigan is also concerned about the widespread use of antibiotics in raising animals for human consumption.

The devastating practices used in large-scale meat production have been the subject of entire books.

Dr. Landrigan describes these facilities as “animal slums.”

Animals raised in those conditions often suffer from stress-related infections, so they’re routinely treated with antibiotics as a “preventive” measure.

Even worse, antibiotics are fed to livestock to promote growth (since it’s cheaper than using real food).

The rampant use of antibiotics to treat all food animals (cattle, hogs, and poultry) in these slums is shortsighted and dangerous.

Even the FDA is calling for a ban.

Could you imagine keeping your children on antibiotics full-time just to keep them “healthy”?

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Dick and Lenay

email: lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657

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