Monthly Archives: March 2007

Good news all around

1. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces rate of HIV infection

2. Eric Kerouak, who I wrote about before, has stepped down from his position overseeing birth control and reproduction for the Health and Human Services department. Good thing, considering he was publicly against abortion and birth control.

3. I got accepted to medical school.

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Former Arizona governor admits to seeing UFO

Phoenix lights Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington (also a former pilot) has come forward on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to admit he saw the famous “Phoenix Lights” ten years ago while he was in office. (I will let you search for stories on the Phoenix Lights yourself. It is all over the internet, and Discovery did a special on it…)

S had his first (and only!) sleep over last year. His older friend C.J. got him so freaked out about aliens (something we had never discussed before) that they both came out of the room, wild-eyed and babbling. C.J. kept saying “It was a special on DISCOVERY! It was REAL!” I wonder if he saw the special on the Phoenix Lights?

Sigh. I don’t normally condition kids to believe The Man’s lies, but I needed some peace and quiet. I told them no aliens were coming to visit and sent them back to bed.

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Wish me luck

I am interviewing for medical school tomorrow!

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Chicken pox vaccine fizzles

Thanks Green Fertility for the head’s up on this story, just when I was researching vaccines for a friend from hipmama.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has confirmed that Merck’s chicken pox vaccine fades in effectiveness. Not only has the incidence of shingles changed on a public health scale since the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine and a lack of the natural disease in society, but, according to this article:

” And with fewer natural cases of the disease going around, unvaccinated

children or children in whom the first dose of the vaccine fails to work have

been catching the highly contagious disease later in life, when the risk of

severe complications is greater, they said.

“If you’re unvaccinated and you get it later in life, there’s a 20-times greater

risk of dying compared to a child, and a 10 to 15 times greater chance

of getting hospitalized,” said Jane Seward of the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who worked on the study.”

I am sure that she meant unvaccinated or vaccinated yet still not immune. So, is the CDC recommending to get rid of the vaccine, and revert back to the natural immunity caused by a relatively uncomplicated childhood illness, or are they going to continue to risk that our children get more serious disease later in life? Oh, no, they are going to reward Merck for creating yet another shabby medication, and recommend boosters in later childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

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Help others, help yourself!

pest-walletguide.jpgWant to help the Environmental Working Group study the safety of brands of bottled water? It’s as easy as logging on to this website with a bottle of water in your hand, and entering in information off of the label. Easy stuff, like the UPC code, the source, any health claims.

The first 1000 people to enter in a label will get mailed a handy dandy pocket guide to the best and worst fruits and veggies, pesticide-wise.

Woo hoo! It’s not often that activism is so rewarding!

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Stinky phthlalates!

phthalate adPhthalate (ooooh!) exposure in pregnant women may come from a variety of sources, most of which contain fragrances. A coalition of environmental and public health groups compiled a study of commonly used cosmetics and listed which of them had high levels of phthalates, “including nine of 14 deodorants, all 17 fragrances tested, six of seven hair gels, four of seven mousses, 14 of 18 hair sprays, and two of nine hand and body lotions, in concentrations ranging from trace amounts to nearly three percent of the product formulation.”

Phthalates are banned in cosmetics in the European Union, which may be why many of these companies also produce similar products that are phthalate free. Some examples from the full study (pdf) include:

“Unilever make hair sprays with (Salon Selectives and Aqua Net) and without phthalates (Thermasilk and Suave). L’Oreal markets Jet Set nail polish without DBP but puts the phthalate in its Maybelline brand. Procter & Gamble sells Secret Sheer Dry deodorant with phthalates and Secret Platinum Protection Ambition Scent without phthalates. Louis Vuitton has taken phthalates out of its Urban Decay nail polish but still has these dangerous chemicals in Christian Dior nail polish and the fragrance Poison.”

Not only are these ingredients legal to put in cosmetics in the United States, but not one of the products with them has anything in the ingredient list to let a consumer make an educated choice. You have to check a study such as this to know. Most phthlates are grouped in under the listing “fragrance”.

If you would like the full list of products tested, the tables are available in the full study (pdf) . Most of the worst offenders were perfumes.

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Gender bender chemicals

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI can hardly keep up with the warnings in the news these days. I can’t pass this one up, because it is about one of my favorite scary words to say: phthalates. Ooooh, say it again. Phthalates. That sounds even worse than napthalene, doesn’t it?

Recent research, soon to be published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, shows significant feminization of boys born to mothers with high levels of four types of phthalates in their blood. Phthalates are used in so many pliable plastic products, from toys to medical tubing, that it is difficult to determine what the primary points of exposure are. But, this research convinces me that something more needs to be done.

Check out these conclusions:

“Tests showed that women with higher levels of four different phthalates were more likely to have baby boys with a range of conditions, from smaller penises and undescended testicles to a shorter perineum, the distance between the genitals and the anus. The differences, say the authors, indicate a feminisation of the boys similar to that seen in animals exposed to the chemicals.”

Animals studies have also showed more pervasive changes, affecting behavior and learning.

I hope more research is done, and not just because of the penis size issue.

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