12 Health Warnings for Parents and Kids in 2008

Twelve Health Warnings

In keeping with the rest of the media at this time of the year, I came up with a Top 10 list for 2008. But… to be a little different, I made it a Top 12 list. (You know, 12 days of Christmas and all…)

In 2008, parents and children were hit with a number of warnings for toxic products and toxic lifestyle, and we got a couple of wake-up calls from both the environmental and health sectors. There were a number of studies released this year with disturbing conclusions, so read up and make sure you’re making the healthiest decisions for you and your family.

1. A Not-So-Sweet Valentine from Monsanto

Nearly half the sugar we use comes not from sugar cane, but sugar beets. By next year, much of that beet sugar could be from genetically-engineered beets. The new beet seed was created by Monsanto to be able to withstand direct application of the herbicide Roundup, which has the active ingredient glyphosate. The Environmental Protection Agency has enabled Monsanto in releasing the new GE crop by increasing the allowable residue of the herbicide by five thousand percent!

2. No Cold Medicines For Preschoolers – Now It’s Under 4 Years Of Age

Children under 4 should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, U.S. drug companies said Tuesday in a concession to pediatricians who doubt the drugs work in kids and worry about their safety. Responding to federal health official’s statement that found that the drugs seem to…not work, the drug makers said they will also add, yet another warning on their labels that will advise parents not to give them antihistamines to make them sleepy.

3. Why is There Lead in My Balsamic Vinegar?

Do you ever read the fine print on your vinegar? I certainly did not, until one day I noticed my organic balsamic vinegar had a Proposition 65 warning!  In fine print, the label reads: This product contains lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

4. Toxic Teens: Common Cosmetics Chemicals Alter Hormones, Disrupt Puberty

A new study on teenagers and toxic chemicals released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), has some very disturbing implications. Laboratory tests revealed that adolescent girls across America are contaminated with chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and body care products. The study of 20 teens found an average of 13 different hormone-altering chemicals in their bodies.

5. 1000 Sunscreens Ranked: Check Yours, It May Be Hazardous to Your Health

In a new investigation of 952 name-brand sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 4 out of 5 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. Leading brands were the worst offenders: None of market leader Coppertone’s 41 sunscreen products met EWG’s criteria for safety and effectiveness, and only 1 of 103 products from Banana Boat and Neutrogena, the second- and third-largest manufacturers, are recommended by EWG.

6. Toxic Chemicals in Wal Mart’s Bottled Water

Myth: Drinking bottled water is safer than drinking tap water. Truth: You are being ripped off, and then poisoned, by drinking bottled water from unknown sources. Recently found in bottled drinking water: Trihalomethanes, Haloacetic acids, Nitrates, Ammonia, Acetaldehyde, Hexane, Toluene, bacterial contamination, Arsenic, radioactivity contamination (and more…)

7. 10 Ways To Avoid Toxic Plastic – BPA, Synthetic Estrogens and Your Child

Parents have become more and more aware of the adverse effects of using baby bottles, pacifiers and soft rubber toys with their babies. The danger of synthetic estrogen can affect us all. So what can you do to avoid this toxin and provide a safe home for your family?

8. Melamine in US Baby Formula: URGENT Health Alert

Can I scream from the mountaintops? You are killing our children! The FDA said in October “FDA is currently unable to establish any level of melamine and melamine-related compounds in infant formula that does not raise public health concerns.” So what is it? Is a little bit of Melamine okay when it’s not your child?

9. New Study Finds High Levels of Toxic Fire Retardants in Children’s Blood

A new study finds that the concentrations of hormone-disrupting chemicals known as PBDEs in young children are significantly higher than their mothers. The investigation, conducted for the Environmental Working Group, tested blood samples of 20 mothers and their young children for PBDEs, a common fire retardant found in foam mattresses, furniture, and electronics. According to the study, 11 different flame retardants were found in the children’s blood, and the levels were three times that of their mothers.

10. Nursing Mothers Pass Toxins to Babies Through Breastfeeding, But Still Best for Babies

Nursing your baby has numerous benefits, including decreased risks for allergies, diabetes, cancer, infections, and arthritis. However, pesticides, heavy metals, and other persistent organic pollutants accumulate in human milk, leading some researchers to question whether the risks of exposure to pollutants in breast milk outweigh the benefits.

11. Danger – One in Three Public Schools Hazardous to Children’s’ Health. Is Yours One of Them?

A new report, “One-third of schools built in air pollution danger zones”, released this month found that one third of public schools are built within 400 meters of a major highway. Research studies have shown that environmental pollution, like exhaust particles, can leave school age children more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. Close to 6.3 million children in the U.S. under 18 currently have asthma.

12. Childhood Obesity, Smoking, and Sexual Activity Linked to Media Exposure

A new study by Yale University School of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and California Pacific Medical Center finds that exposure to media damages children’s long-term health. 80% of the studies reviewed link greater exposure to media with negative health effects for kids and adolescents.

This list sounds kind of “doom and gloom” doesn’t it?

The way I figure it, the more we know, the more we can keep our kids safe from these negative health effects. Life is inherently dangerous, but if we don’t expose our children to these toxins, then we’re doing the best we can for them…

We’ll be sure to bring you more positive information in the coming year, so keep coming back!

Image: Cappellmeister at Flickr under Creative Commons


  1. Excellent article Derek. There are a few of these that I was not aware of, and I’m going to pass the link along to some other parents.




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