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.