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5 Green Parent Posts: Autism & Coal, Video Games & Vision, Non-Toxic Label, Corporate Uterus Status, and Organic Community Gardens

Don’t forget to click on the title of each post to get to the full article on the original site!

1.  Inhabitots:  Possible Link Between Coal Power Stations and Autism

Could coal power stations and autism really be connected? Maybe – at least professor David Austin of Swinbourne University thinks they could be. According to Austin, research published in the United States shows that there may be an increased rates of autism among kids who live near coal fired power stations. It’s not the actual power station, but mercury associated with the power station, that’s likely the culprit. According to past research from the University of Texas Health Science Center, there is a significant link between pounds of industrial mercury released and increased autism rates. This same Texas study showed a statistically significant association between autism risk and distance from the mercury source.

2.  Jon Barron’s Natural Health Blog: Video Games as Vision Tool?

We all grow up listening to the dire warnings from our parents.  For several generations, they were busy cautioning us not to sit too close to the television set or risk permanent eye damage.  Today, kids are more likely to hear, “Stop playing those video games so much or you’ll hurt your eyes.”  But now optometrists aren’t so sure about that.

Members of the American Optometric Association are suggesting that the new Nintendo 3DS may be a helpful tool that can alert parents to a potential vision problem, especially in children younger than 6.  That’s despite the manufacturer’s own warning that the product should not be used by kids under the age of 6, mind you.1

The optometrists’ reasoning for this is that children who are unable to see the 3-D effects of the images on the screen most likely have a vision issue.  If your child tells you that it doesn’t appear 3-D or they feel dizzy or uncomfortable playing it, they should definitely visit an eye specialist.  They may be suffering from one of a range of vision problems that typically arise in early childhood, such as amblyopia.  Amyblyopia, otherwise known as lazy eye, is the most common vision disorder in children.  It occurs when the nerve pathway from one eye to the brain does not develop properly during early childhood.  This eye then sends a blurred or incorrect image to the brain and the brain responds by ignoring it, resulting in a loss of vision in the weaker eye.

3.  Mom Goes Green: Do you know what the “non-toxic” label means?

I’ve been on a “label kick” lately, trying to discover some of the lesser known facts about what it all means.

I’ve talked about fragrance-free vs. unscentedPLU produce labels and certified-organic vs. organic ingredients.

Well now, how about “non-toxic”?  Do you know what the label means? Let me tell you…

… it means NOTHING. The reality is that the non-toxic labeling is NOT regulated by the FDA, so it literally means nothing.

From commercial cleaners to cosmetics, when it says it’s non-toxic it doesn’t say anything beneficial about the product.  Any manufacturer can place this on their label to give you peace of mind about what you’re purchasing.  And sadly they can do it, just because the term isn’t regulated.

I, myself, have been misled when I thought that I was buying something safe.  In fact, I even bought a tube of non-toxic face paint for my son’s Halloween costume (so I could draw on a scraggly pirate beard!) but when it came down to it, I sacrificed my expensive eyeliner instead, simply because I knew it was safe.

4.  Mother Jones: My Uterus, LLC

Florida women can now symbolically incorporate their uteruses, in protest of both theonslaught of bills limiting reproductive rights and the ban on the u-word in the state House.

Incorporatemyuterus.com, where women can file for corporate uterus status, is a project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. (If you really want to take a stab at making it legal, though, you’ll need to see the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.) Here’s the idea:

Businesses get special treatment these days. If lawmakers and other politicians see your uterus and your body as a business, maybe they’ll work to get government out of the uterus regulation business as they do for every other company.This was the point that State Rep. Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) was trying to make last week when the GOP Speaker of the Florida House forbade him from using medically appropriate terminology in the chamber—maybe if a woman’s uterus were a private corporation, Republicans would stop trying to make laws about it.

5.  The Good Human: How to Plan and Plant an Organic Community Garden

If you’re concerned with all the additives in the food that is available in a traditional grocery store, you’re probably looking for alternatives. One way to make sure you get fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods is to shop at a farmer’s market. Another way is to shop at an organic grocery store. The best way is to grow your own. Planting and nurturing organically grown food is the only way of being absolutely sure of what’s being used to produce it. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the room to plant a garden. An alternative could be to go together with like-minded individuals and plant a community garden. Following are some tips on how to plan and plant an organic community garden.

Friends and Neighbors

The first step in planning a community garden is to determine who wants to go in on it with you. Begin by talking to friends and neighbors who share your interest in organic gardening. Many of them won’t have access to a tract of land large enough to grow food in the amount they’d like, so a community garden may be just what they’re looking for. You want to make sure you have the same interests as the people you’ll be working with. It’ll make the experience more pleasurable, and help eliminate potential conflicts.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by hepingting


  1. Recycled plastic for your raised beds could help make gardening even more organic by reducing the need for chemicals and wood treatment over the longer term.

    It’s going to cost more to get the garden going but in the longer term it will save you money and it will be more environmentally friendly.

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