How many weeks have I missed now? Two? Three? So I'm just including a very few choice links in this post. If you want to check out more posts and articles I find interesting, you can consult the gadget in my right sidebar called "Best of Eco-novice's Google Reader" or just click HERE.
Eco-novice around the Web
Art Books for Kids
My guest post on megwrites.
School Lunches Need a Food Revolution
Eco-novice is Blog of the Week on Healthy Child Healthy World.
Other Interesting Stuff
Skin Deep Cosmetic Database (Environmental Working Group)
One of my favorite resources, EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, has been updated to be more user-friendly. Try searching for your favorite beauty product and see how it rates.
Is Sugar Toxic? (NY Times)
I read excerpts of this fascinating article to my husband. His response was, "Does this mean you are going to stop making chocolate chip cookies?"
Pediatricians want tighter regulation of chemicals (LA Times)
Autism Now Series (PBS Newshour)
I have watched a few segments of this excellent series and plan to watch all of it. The series is hosted by former co-anchor Robert MacNeil, whose grandson is autistic. Here are a few excerpts from interviews with autism excerpts about the causes of autism (watch the segment, learn about who these experts are, or read the full transcript HERE);
DR. MARTHA HERBERT: I think that what you have is, yes, definitely a question of toxics and toxics in our environment, that some of them act like our own molecules, like hormones, for example. That's called endocrine disruption. Some of them get confused with neurotransmitters. Some of them damage our cell membranes. Many, many of them damage our mitochondria, our energy factories in our cells.
DR. CRAIG NEWSCHAFFER: Something that I think is important in thinking about these complex causes is thinking about the window of vulnerability. When are these causes most likely to act? And again, I believe that that prenatal, intrauterine period is going be very, very important. So things from maternal diet, infections that mothers may be exposed to in pregnancy, exogenous chemicals, chemicals in the environment that could be neuro-developmentally significant. All these are things -- I think these things are likely to play a role. How large, how small, I think, is yet to be determined.
DR. DAVID AMARAL: So I think it's pretty clear that, in general, vaccines are not the culprit. If you look at children that receive the standard childhood vaccines. If anything those children are at are at slightly less risk of having autism than children that aren't immunized. It's not to say, however, that there is a small subset of children who may be particularly vulnerable to vaccines if the child was ill, if the child had a precondition, like a mitochondrial defect. Vaccinations for those children actually may be the environmental factor that tipped them over the edge of autism. And I think it's -- it is incredibly important still to try and figure out what, if any, vulnerabilities in a small subset of children might make them at risk for having certain vaccinations.
DR. MARTHA HERBERT: I think it's possible that you could have a genetic subgroup. You also might have an immune subgroup. There are a variety of subgroups. But the problem with the population studies is they don't they aren't necessarily designed to have the statistical power to find subgroups like that if the subgroups are small.
DR. DAVID AMARAL: I think more importantly what the whole vaccine issue has done is has opened our eyes again to the idea that the immune system is an important component of autism. . . You know, vaccines are only one of the things that we do to ourselves. But there are myriad other kinds of-- toxic chemicals that we're putting into the environment. . . I don't think there's enough research on environmental factors. Frankly, I think it's very expensive. It's difficult research to do. Because again, you start trying to develop a list of how many new things there are in the environment now, from 30 years ago. And it'll be a very long list.
DR. MARTHA HERBERT: When we were having this explosion of our chemical revolution, we didn't have any way of knowing the subtle impacts on cellular function. We thought if it doesn't kill you, it's probably okay. But now we're learning that it can alter your regulation way before it kills you.