Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Bogeymen: -Ates and -Ides and -Oses, Oh My!



Last week I wrote about my husband's concern about electro-magnetic fields (EMF's), and a few people commented that they actually wanted to hear more about his irrational fears well-founded concerns.  You asked for it.  Well some of you anyway.

Certain of you will have a hard time not mocking him and his paranoia.  But really, don't bother holding back on my account.  While others (I'm looking at you Autism Mom Rising) will fantasize about running away with him and starting a chemical-free compound in the wilderness.  Again, I think you should go with that instinct...

If I could have figured out how to do it, I would have highlighted the bogeymen in some kind of dripping green font...instead, you'll have to settle for large, bold, and emergency-vehicle RED.

Everyone knows about gluten and casein.  Pfffft.  GFCF is for amateurs.  Many store-bought GFCF foods are still loaded with refined sugars and other simple carbohydrates.  And of course anything with HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup) is out of the question.

Hot dogs and deli meats are technically GFCF, but full of nitrates or other chemicals such as MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate).  Like-wise French fries and potato chips are GFCF, but are loaded with toxic acrylamides that are released during the frying process.

Even some fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli and strawberries, should be limited if you are sensitive to phenols.  Needless to say there are few non-organic foods in our house, nor grain-fed beef or farmed fish or whatever the opposite of free-range chicken is...cooped-up chicken?

Microwave usage is verboten.  I can't explain it.  The food molecules go helter-skelter, grow horns, and attack your brain cells with cleavers.  Or something.  We have a $1,000 water ionizer and any other non-ionized or tap water is frowned upon.

Summer time is interesting.  Hubby is very concerned about a lack of exposure to sunlight so he wants Audrey to be outside a lot, but disapproves of sunscreens.  Notice that the words "skin" and "cancer" are not in large, bold, red letters here.  Totally not a bogeyman.  Pool chemicals are, but the trade off of getting exercise and sunlight is OK.  Apparently, the sunlight naturally dissipates much of the chemicals.  Which means that indoor pools and water parks are not allowed.

The scarier thing to me is that I could actually go on and on and on, but this is already getting long and annoying the shit out of me.  So I will just jam in all of the other household items such as anti-bacterial soaps, cheap shampoos and bubble baths, fabric softeners, carpet chemicals, cleaning supplies, "bad" air in the house, etc.

I know that he's right about some of this stuff.  There have been billions of new chemicals introduced into our environment in just the last few decades.  Some question our ability as a species to adjust to this onslaught and process all of these new toxins...and I don't discount the theory that this may be a contributing factor in the epidemic levels of autism in that same time frame.

But how do you balance this with living your life and not making yourself crazy with paranoia over everything you come into contact with?  Well?  Tell me!

45 comments:

  1. um, try not to think about it? I think about it plenty because of the whole having to eat thing. My son loves to eat and unfortunately, there is many things he shouldn't eat. And then I start thinking about the other stuff...candles, non-green cleaners (who didn't grow up loving the Pine Sol smell of a clean house?)...it overwhelms.

    so I stick with trying not to think about it and the fact the damn full moon comes every month. Does he know about that?

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  2. I am reading this from our weekend away at an indoor waterpark...well, off to get chemicaled-up! But not before I shove down a few more munchkins from dunkin donuts.

    Jen (if I didn't microwave my kids wouldn't eat)

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  3. What about contrails? Your husband would have a lot to talk about with my dad. :)

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  4. Fortunately for me and my entire family, my short term memory is pretty, well, short. Every time I hear about one of these disastrous chemicals or anti-microwaving news stories i jump on the bandwagon...for about 3 days. Then i realize what a pain in the ass it all is. And, well, with one kid with autism, a second who is at very least learning disabled, a husband who gets underway more often than he is home, 30 minute drives to schools, you get the idea! My pathetic brain can't handle all the information so it shuts down. And off I go to nuke some aspartame-filled diet cupcakes!

    ...mmmm...yummo...better living thru modern chemistry!

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  5. And don't forget the oils people leave on you from their hands when they touch you. That can't be good either

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  6. I not only have a lovely little kid with autism, I have a hubby with severe psoriasis. Now on the autism front I haven't a clue, but with regard to psoriasis I know of a whole host of triggers. We try to avoid most, but it just isn't possible to avoid all.

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  7. Man, our husbands would hit it off! My husband isn't quite as extreme, we haven't eliminated all the bogeymen you listed. Let's just say that I hope and pray with all my soul that your husband never meets my husband!

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  8. Oh my gosh, Lynn, that is like a mirror of the bogeymen that we've come up with! My husband threw out the microwave, but I'll admit that just about everything else was my initiation. And guess what, she's still got autism ;)
    I loosened up a little and we did the spray parks last year- city water, but I think less chlorinated than the pools.

    Some things to add:

    *SCD- so you can obsess over any molecule of starch or other complex carbohydrate
    * Carseats- Maybe you're beyond this stage, but I decided that since mine is low tone, she should remain rear facing as long as possible, and found a carseat that can do that.
    * Mattresses- Wool, not chemicals, makes up the mandated flame proof qualities of her mattress.

    That's all I can think of now, and yes, when I introduce myself to new people often it starts with, 'um, yeah, I'm kind of weird ....'

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  9. Greg has started saying weird shit to me like, "think we should stop cooking her oatmeal in the microwave?" and "I think we need to hand wash her dishes instead of using the dishwasher."

    This is coming from a man who drinks redbull. gross!!!

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  10. I'm sorry--i was unable to read your post because i was too busy microwaving M&M's in a pool of food coloring, in a plastic bowl while talking on the cell phone and slathering sunscreen on myself and drinking water straight out of the tap...

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  11. OMG he's even more bat *#%! than me and I truly did not think that was possible. If I know about it then I have to do something, so I spend a lot of time trying not to find out about things. So like when I download several hours of Coast to Coast am daily I skip right by the ones about chemtrails & emfs.

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  12. Well, we're new to the army so we've only heard of the gluten and casein stuff. Wow! You've opened my eyes up to so many other things to be scared of! On the advice of our pediatrician and six therapists, we're keeping casein and gluten in Nate's diet. For one, all he eats is casein and gluten and he won't eat new foods (texture, color issues yader yader yader). His therapists have only seen major leaps and bounds in their clients when the kids already had irritable bowels. But not Nate. He's got the stomach and the bowels of a champ. And he chows. He eats lots and lots of food at every sitting. However, I am open to being freaked out about other things on your list and will add that Nate doesn't have organic sheets. And we use Tide detergent. Lots and lots of chemicals in that. Crap. That must have done Nate in....

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  13. I think it can be really easy to go overboard and make yourself crazy about it. Most of Georgia's peers are on mostly organic diets. We can't do that because it's too dang expensive! But I buy from the farmer's market during the summer months, and always organic berries.
    I firmly believe in antibacterial soap during flu season, so that's out too. But I do believe in cleaning with all natural products... as long as they're not a PITA to make or buy.
    I think companies are making a killing advertising products as "natural" or "organic" and they're not any better for you than some of the chemical products. So I pick the ones I think make the biggest difference to me, for better or worse.

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  14. I'm with Cara, keep your hubby away from mine! We don't have all of those bogeymen on our list (yet).

    Did you perhaps forget to mention GMO foods and the evil that is called Monsanto? I hear a lot about that at my house. : ) My daughter and I cringe when corn gets brought into a conversation because we know where that convo is going to end up.

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  15. Sorry, I meant Cheryl not Cara.

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  16. I forgot to mention bisphenol A (BPA) and sulfates in plastic drinking cups. That's a big one. Audrey's fine motor skills + drinking glasses = dustpan and sutures at the ready.

    @Christine: Not heard of any theories on contrails. He's probably Googling it as we speak.

    @Dave Buko: You are not allowed to comment as you are responsible for the anti-bacterial soap phobia.

    @Cara: Oh I know all about SCD...that was what the simple carb shout out was in regards to. I've not yet had to deal with any car seat or mattress issues.

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  17. I think I kinda like your husband Lynn- he matches my craziness, but I too have ADHD- so I love to jump on these things and then a week later move on to something else- maybe he'd keep me focused ;)

    I'm still trying to figure out how I would survive without a microwave, after the look our doc gave us at the Thoughtful House when I told him I use one almost daily lol

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  18. One of my friends is a high school maths teacher. She teaches a course in "critical thinking", to teach the kids about analysing data.

    She uses a "leukemia spreadsheet". It's full of data such as numbers of McDonald's which have opened up throughout, usage increase of plastic bottles, introduction of fluoride to water, and any other real or imagined health threats. The spreadsheet also has a randomly generated set of "instances of leukemia" (note: the numbers were randomly generated by a computer. There was no actual leukemia).

    And guess what: at any given time, the "leukemia" is always correlated with something. If you look hard enough, there is always a scary connection to be made which is just totally random.

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  19. P.S. What's "non-organic food"? Sand? Rocks? Dirt?

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  20. Didja know that parental stress causes autism in kids?

    I mean, just look at all these stressed parents. Coincidence? I think not, baby.

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  21. I could have my acronyms wrong but weren't a few conspiracy theory people complaining about Electro Magnetic Fields killing all those bird and fish back around the start of the year? Yep, the government working hard.

    (Just so you know after reading about a lot of conspiracy theory things online....my home land line now mysteriously clicks *they are listening!* when I talk on the phone)

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  22. Oh my God!! Is breathing considered safe, or is she only allowed to exhale? Has he freaked out about parabens and sulfates yet? Does she use baking soda as toothpaste and some yuppie tree bark bar as soap? Sunscreen is a bad thing but skin cancer, come on down?

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  23. Holy crap. I would lose my mind.

    Have you seen behavior differences with this stuff, as opposed to living without it? (Sister, if I had to give up my microwave, I'd be ... --- it doesn't bear thinking about.)

    We tried GFCF and it made no difference for us. But I haven't even heard about half the stuff that scares your husband. Is he a nutritionist or in the industry in some way? (Other than the way that being the parent of an autistic child kinda automatically puts you in the "industry.")

    I wouldn't rule anything out. At this point, we're seeing lots of improvement with therapy and a daily multivitamin -- but should Billy's progress stall, I'm sure I would go back to looking for "bogeymen."

    My husband, though, is a snobby, skeptical, Oxford-educated biologist who just shouts "bollocks!" at me any time I suggest something along these lines.

    Me, I'm not beyond going to an astrologist if someone tells me it helped their autistic kid do math or something.

    As long as you guys make decisions together and it's not making you miserable, I say go for it. Give us an update if anything proves a big success.

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  24. Think about this: Jack LaLanne, the epitome of helathful living, died at 96. My Uncle Bob - who never exercised a day in his life, smoked cheap cigars everyday for almost 80 years, ate hotdogs at least 5 times a week, would laugh in your face if you mentioned the words "organic" or "free range", ordered extra MSG on his spare ribs, spent a total 6 minutes of his entire life in the sunlight - lived to 95. Drove himself to the hospital where he died.

    Enjoy that extra one (1) year of life all this insanity MAY bring you. I'm going to microwave some left over chinese food.

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  25. *mind boggles* must be true love! Jen

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  26. It's too much!! I've even heard doctors comment that although your fruit is coated with carcinogenic pesticides the vitamin content of blueberries, apples and rasberries outweigh the harm. Sounds a lot like the vaccine argument, the chlorine and fluoride in your water, etc, etc. Bottom line, we're screwed.

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  27. Bottom line, it's a good thing you guys care about what's going into and onto your body. It sounds/looks pedantic and over-th-top bat s#!%, but in the long run, you'll be happier and healthier. Oh what a world...

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  28. Oh gosh, I just don't have the energy or intelligence to worry about all those things. We did take a big step and switch to ketchup without high fructose corn syrup. Yeah, um, that's all I got. We should just live in a bubble.

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  29. There are actually fewer toxins in our environment now than there used to be. Think about it: leaded gasoline, high VOC paint, crazy pesticides in the garden and house, everyone smoking cigarettes even during pregnancy, etc. I live in Los Angeles and the air is way cleaner than it was 20 years ago before emissions standards--it used to be you couldn't see the San Gabriel Mountains from five miles away. I'm all for limiting exposure to chemicals but it's good to keep things in perspective.

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  30. I sort of don't...worry about that stuff...too much. I admit as moms in our support groups talk about how they would never give their child HFCS I sort of nod and pray they don't ask me about it...because my kids have stuff with HFCS on a fairly regular basis. *cringe*

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  31. Big Daddy is always good for putting things in perspective. ; )

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  32. @lebelinoz: That's kinda like that book "Freakonomics". Interesting. Yeah, "non-organic" didn't come out right. It means anything that's not "organically grown".

    @JoyMama: Love you! All of this stuff comes at a great cost...to my sanity.

    @Amy: I wish HFCS wasn't so damn tasty.
    @Amanda: It does kinda make me miserable. It's impossible to prove that avoiding this stuff does any good. The proof wouldn't come out until decades from now when we are the only ones not dropping dead from EMF exposure. Until that time, it's kind of a mindeff.

    @Kaiyuh Rose: Oh, I hope you're right. Thanks for stopping by!

    @theconnorchronicles: Yes, I often say that we should bubblewrap Audrey. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    @Anonymom: That's true. Although I keep hearing the stats about "new" toxins. I guess lead is old hat.

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  33. Ooh, you reminded me of Stats.org, which is an website devoted to analyzing statistics in the media. Really worth checking out. I used to be a journalist and read them all the time.

    I just went to the website and they did a lengthy article on chemicals in the environment: http://stats.org/stories/2009/are_chemicals_killing_us.html. A sample:

    In the attitudes they express toward chemical risk, toxicologists tend to downplay the dangers to human health, as the results summarized in Table 1 indicate. Most do not regard either cosmetics or food additives as significant sources of health risks. Only one out of three ascribes significant risks to food additives and one out of four to cosmetics. They express more concern about pesticides and endocrine disruptors, which are seen by slight majorities as posing significant health risks.

    We then presented respondents with a list of specific substances and asked them to rate the risk to human health posed by current levels of exposure to a list of specific substances to each, on a scale from very low to very high risk. Table 2 shows the results in terms of both mean scores and proportions reading each substance as high risk. For example, 89 percent of toxicologists rate smoking tobacco as a high-risk activity, 44 percent regard second-hand smoke as high in risk to health, and 37 percent say exposure to mercury as a high risk. Next in line are exposure to sunlight, rated as high risk by 26 percent, and aflatoxin, a naturally occurring fungus found in peanut butter, rated as high risk by 29 percent.

    In comparison, toxicologists rate certain chemicals that have generated considerable public controversy as significantly less dangerous to human health. Phthalates, which are added to plastic products to make them flexible, including many children’s toys, are rated as high risk by just 11 percent of respondents. High fructose corn syrup, seen by many people as a cause of obesity was also rated as high risk by 11 percent.

    Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is used to harden plastics, and was recently discontinued by makers of baby bottles, was rated as high in risk to human health by 9 percent. Despite recent controversy over the safety of Teflon coatings, it is rated as a high health risk by just 3 percent of toxicologists. Similar results were obtained for several other magnets of public controversy, from flame retardants to genetically modified organisms.

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  34. @Jen: You are a genius.

    @Lynn: Nice picture of you below the title. Didn't know the camera was already invented when you were a kid.

    Ignoring my comments only makes me funnier.

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  35. If even Autism Mom Rising says this is going too far, you'd better believe her!!

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  36. And people thought I was hardcore.

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  37. So have you discovered a GFCF HFCS free, no simple carbs or refined sugars organic cupcake? Or does Audrey work for illegal profits?

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  38. this is why I walk in circles at the grocery store. And one week buy only organic -free range-grass feed etc everything and the next week go, eh, who cares? I've finally settled (I think) on cooking from scratch as much as possible. That's the only solution I've come up with that keeps me kind of sane.

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  39. I honestly DO NOT have the answer here. I live in total paranoia and often try to tell myself take it one day at a time. Today I was "relaxing" and decided to watch some tv while Little D' was in school and started watching Doctors! All I have to say I started cleaning my cabinets while wearing gloves and a face mask, and dusting every part of my house. So much for relaxing there. So far we are on GFCF (amateurs), and stick to organic foods. We do however let little D have his occasional GFCF pretzels, and limit HFCF as much as possible. I would put him in a bubble if I could but I don't think that will be socially acceptable lol

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  40. well how do you explain, or he explain, all the "normal" children that aren't effected by these things? i don't know...I think there is a grain of truth to it all but there is no way to avoid exposure to all these things. I have known a lot of ppl that think like him and no amount of reasoning ever makes them reason so its best to just agree.

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  41. That's it.

    Only organic wine for me from now on.

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  42. I LOLed, reading that. Are you quite sure that Hubby doesn't have a slight touch of the "A", himself? I know I do, maybe more than slight. You know what they say about assortative mating, and the apple falling not far from the tree.

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  43. I say consider the source. If a chiropractor or other foil hat type warns you about it, but the average MD says it's safe, it's probably safe. One of the reasons I'm no longer a chiropractor. Sure, getting your back cracked feels good, but I couldn't stand listening to the nutjobs who speak for the profession.

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  44. I loved that you wrote this...I am "stumbling" you from blog frog but I just wanted to tell you I feel your frustration. Our daughter Court has DownSyndrome, Hypothyroid,Sleep Apnea, Celiac Disease......so sometimes I feel like "runnin' for the hills"...LOL And sometimes I wish she came with a handbook to tell me what exactly to do at all times. But alas there was no handbook, just an amazing little girl and well we'll just figure it out as we go!

    Have a great day!

    Shawn
    @ chicksdigcoupons.blogspot.com

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  45. Well, I guess I am a paranoid nutjob too. ;) There is real evidence-based research on numerous things that were written about here in a joking way. The problem is that most people do get terribly overwhelmed and will then not listen to anything or make any changes that would be beneficial. Too many changes at once is too daunting, but if we can just take things as they come and things that make sense to us, we can make a difference.

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