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How Toxins Are Making Our Children Chronically Ill

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How Toxins Are Making Our Children Chronically Ill

As we watched each of our five grandchildren and their friends enter this world and begin their life’s journey, it became more and more clear that something is amiss with this generation.  How are your children and your friends’ children doing?

Most likely, one of three of the children you know in this generation suffers from a chronic illness.  Perhaps it’s cancer, or birth defects, perhaps asthma, or a problem that affects the child’s mind and behavior, such as Downs Syndrome, learning disorders, ADHD or autism.  Though one in three may sound exaggerated, unbelievable, the figures are there amidst various government files.

This generation is different.  Childhood cancer, once a medical rarity, has grown 67 percent since 1950.  Asthma has increased 140 percent in the last twenty years and autism rates without a doubt have increased at least 200 percent.  Miscarriages and premature births are also on the rise, while the ratio of male babies dwindles and girls face endometriosis even in teenage years.

This generation is the first to be raised in a truly toxified world.  Even before conception and on into adulthood, the assault is everywhere: heavy metals and carcinogenic particles in air pollution; industrial solvents, household detergents, prozac and radioactive wastes in drinking water; pesticides in flea collars; artificial growth hormones in beef, arsenic in chicken; synthetic hormones in bottles, teething rings and medical devices; formaldehyde in cribs and nail polish, and even rocket fuel in lettuce. Pacifiers are now manufactured with nanoparticles from silver, to be sold as ‘antibacterial.’  What’s wrong with rinsing a pacifier in soapy water?

Despite naysayers (who pays them to say nay?—that’s a whole story in itself which I’ll write a lot about in weeks to come), it’s clear there is both an association and a causative connection between the vast explosion of poisons in our everyday lives and our children’s “issues.”  Over 80,000 industrial chemicals (tested only by the manufacturer) are in commerce in this country, produced or imported at 15 trillion pounds a year.   Pesticide use has leapt from the troubling 400 million pounds Rachel Carson wrote about in the 1960s to the mind-boggling 4.4 billion pounds in use today.   Nuclear power plants, aging and under-maintained, increasingly leak wastes, often without notifying their community.  The Gulf oil catastrophe will end up damaging a great multitude of the children living in those communities.

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Alice Shabecoff

Alice Shabecoff is a freelance journalist focusing on family and consumer topics, and co-author of the recently published book Poisoned for Profit (Chelsea Green). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and International Herald Tribune, among other publications. She was executive director of the National Consumers League, the country’s oldest consumer organization, and executive director of the national nonprofit Community Information Exchange.


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10:29PM PDT on May 3, 2013

This is scary.

5:56PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

A very good analogy and it gets worse. We live in N E Tasmania, an area where forests have been removed to make way for huge monoculture plantations. These trees (E. Nitens) are regularly sprayed with herbicides to kill other trees. These herbicides (Atrazine and Roundup) do not affect the plantation trees. The State Government said there are no GM plants in Tasmania. My research has shown Monsanto modified E. Nitens early on in the piece to resist roundup. To my reckoning, these trees are GM. Not only that, the original species that was cloned has only a fraction of the naturally occurring toxins in its leaves. These plantations are more than 100-times more toxic and they are planted in almost every water catchment. My partner has cancer, as do almost a third of the population in rural NE Tasmania. The Holman Clinic in Launceston treats patients by the busload, literally. Aerial spraying, banned in EU countries due to cancer fears in 2009, is still happening here. The plantations are impacted by leaf-eating beetles and are sprayed with Alpha-cypermethrin to kill the pests. This is a chemical originally used to kill ticks on sheep and the Vets banned its use because it also killed sheep. We have lost 3 animals to cancer in 3 years and we are fighting now, to cure my partner, using alternative treatments. Chemo and radiation do not work and only make the disease return later. Laetrile or vitamin B17 will cure cancer very quickly without impacting on the rest of the body. Needl

7:10AM PST on Nov 10, 2011


8:38AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

I for one

5:15PM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

We do have power. We have the power of where we spend our money. In addition to a petition should we start a group with all those that are in consensus about this? I wholeheartedly agree. I know I try not to buy from extremely large corps because they seem to be the ones that are doing the most damage. (too big to bail out: wall street bail out) I think if we got a group together on Care2 we could start brainstorming and start action in each of our locals. Anyone in?

4:31PM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

In hopes of driving this point home even more, here is a link to an article about a video by Ken Cook of the Environmental Working group about the toxins found in the blood stream of 10 average Americans. Before they were even born.

4:53PM PDT on Aug 11, 2010

Very good, positive article!

4:04PM PDT on Aug 10, 2010

Well let's do something about it, I know I feel powerless being stuck at home with my baby everyday, but if we start a petition for our environment then we can change the laws that govern what chemicals can and cannot be used, come on people.

12:05AM PDT on Aug 9, 2010

I believe that toxins of various kinds are making all of us sick, and I believe that they have been doing so for a long time. Just in my lifetime, various illnesses and diseases have appeared in human beings - illnesses that had been heretofore unknown. Something is causing this. I believe it is, at least in part, a result of the proliferation of chemicals in our environment and, most particularly, in our food supply.

My best friend, Gale, who achieved a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies predicted in the early 80's the things we have since seen come to pass. It was she, in fact, who urged me to read "Silent Spring". I believe Rachael Carson, I trusted in my best friend's knowledge, and I also trust my own instincts. Very much is, indeed, amiss with our environment, and it is adversely affecting our environment.

3:30AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

Thanks :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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