Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Immunization Information

I thought this site, National Network for Immunization Information, was interesting. They give a good and simple description of how vaccines, aluminum (adjuvants) and antigens work in the body together to create immunity.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Truck Traffic and Asthma

Truck traffic is linked to Asthma. Though, there are many reasons that a child can develop asthma, the most important being parents who smoke, truck traffic is a leading cause of the disease. Truck traffic in urban areas threaten the health of our children and the family's quality of life. Children with health issues are more likely to miss school due to illness and parents are more likely to miss work due to caring for ill children.

An article in the The New York Times , Oct 2006, explains how children exposed to high truck traffic have increased risk of developing asthma.

"A group of schoolchildren carried the monitors everywhere they went. The instruments, attached to the backpacks of children with asthma, allowed researchers at New York University to measure the pollution the children were exposed to, morning to night."

"Airborne particles like dust, soot and smoke that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are small enough to lodge themselves deep in the lungs. Studies have linked pollution of this sort to respiratory problems, decreased lung function, nonfatal heart attacks and aggravated asthma, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

E.P.A. officials said these fine particles, a significant portion of which are produced by diesel engine emissions, lead to 15,000 premature deaths a year nationwide.

In the South Bronx study, of the 69 days for which measurements were taken over the three-year period, average daily exposure to fine-particle pollution for a group of 10 children exceeded the E.P.A.’s new standard on 18 days. The standard will be 35 micrograms per cubic meter in December."

Here is a study done by the University of Buffalo .

"In Erie and Niagara counties, mortality was greater in urban areas than in suburban or rural areas.

Buffalo, the most urbanized area in the 2 counties, had the highest annual mortality rate, comparable to that of New York City. Buffalo accounts for 20% of western New York's population but was responsible for 50% of asthma mortality in the region during the study period. The 2 zip codes with the highest asthma mortality rates in Buffalo comprise areas with large African American populations.3 Many US cities have large minority populations living in poverty, among whom the prevalence and severity of asthma are high.46

Given the reversibility of asthma and the availability of effective treatment strategies, deaths due to asthma are avoidable. The present report provides a basis for targeting interventions and evaluating their effectiveness."

This study looks directly at the Peace Bridge as it stands with today's truck traffic. Females and children are showing high rates of asthma. The community living near the bridge compose a large Latino community who as a group due to living near the current plaza have high rates of asthma.

This study was performed by the University of Buffalo.

"Results of a study of residents who live near the second-busiest U.S.-Canadian border crossing, located in Buffalo, show that females, individuals between the ages of 6 and 34 years and persons of Latino descent are at increased risk of developing asthma or chronic respiratory illness.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo, has implications for all heavily trafficked border crossings and residential areas near major truck traffic routes.

Traffic-related pollution at border crossings, in particular, currently is receiving more attention than in the past, said Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa, M.D., because of an increase in diesel-burning commercial traffic due to the North American Free Trade Agreement and tightened post-9/11 border inspections that result in trucks waiting in long lines with their motors idling."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Warnning !

Warning ! Practicing Attachment Parenting techniques may lead to affectionate independent child, be fore warned.

It was one of those days. It started this afternoon when my child was making a Lego tower. She would stack a few blocks then step back, place both her hands on her hips tilted slightly back, pause staring like an artist trying to get the image perfect, then utter, "Mmm No". The blocks, apparently were not quit right. Then adjust the blocks and repeat the above mentioned actions. I enjoyed the moment.

Then later, I had my husband move the beds so I could vacuum. Our daughter's toddler bed was pushed up flush against my side of the bed. My husband took what he thought was an opportunity to move the toddler bed 4 feet away from my side of the bed. But I was not sure what to make of it. I had expected to move her bed sometime this year. But not yet. Though, her vocabulary is larger than average (and in two languages) her enunciation is weak. As far as I was concerned she could sleep next to me until her speech was on par with the other children her age. For me, her speaking clearly was the sign I needed to have in order to acknowledge my child's accent from baby to little kid. She just turn 2 yrs old this spring. My husband didn't see it that way any more despite the fact he was the one to recommend she be in our room until she can talk and walk to get us if she needed us. He was not happy about her climbing onto him and the occasional kicks.

Later that evening as we got closer to bed time her daddy went through the normal 5 story books (hence the large vocabulary) then I did the sing along songs. While she was sitting on her bed playing I took a moment to go change into some pajamas. When I returned, there was my daughter standing between the beds. She was doing a little dance to the music that was playing. She threw her arms out in front of her motioning to my PJs and said "Oh, mommy" smiled and repeated a few times. She loved my lounge pants with Japanese styled cheery tree branches and blossoms. I felt as though we were out shopping for cloths and she was exclaiming 'These are the ones'. She wanted to tie the draw string at my collar and made a series of twists "knots". The moment felt good. I felt we were connecting. She was trying to care for me just as I dote on her. I thought to myself that we are going to have a long relationship, a tender one.

We did a few dances. Then it was time. I said it was time to turn the lights out. She crawled into her bed, hugged her doll and I flipped off the lights. I then went to her bed and half laid down with her. I stroked her hair and she petted my head. And she passed out. Something was a miss though. I was so proud of her. She was so independent and even returned the affections I gave so freely. I left her bed and was both happy and sad. She'll always be my baby. My very very independent baby.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Homeless Man Turns His Life Around and Starts a Business

He sleeps in a cardboard box but started a shoe shine business. Check out this story. Unfortunately San Francisco is making it as hard a possible for the man to stay in business but he stays optimistic. They want him to pay them $500 for a permit to be a vendor. This was the man's whole savings which he planned on using for the first months rent on an apartment. But instead the city prefers he sleep on the street, get the permit and re-save money for an apartment. The city could of easily let him make payments instead of requiring the whole amount in one lump sum.

Shoe Shine Man

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pesticide Ban - Canada

Why must Canada be so progressive? I heart Ontario. They rock !

"Ontario's cosmetic pesticide ban took effect last week. Homeowners can still buy pesticides to control wasps, mosquitoes, fleas on pets, house pests or plants that are poisonous to the touch like poison ivy. But Ontario's ban outlaws the cosmetic use of about 250 products on lawns, parks, gardens and schoolyards."

For the full article

Now if NYS can only get as far we will be moving into a new era.

Enjoy Your Park ! - Part One

In my case this would be Delaware Park and I gravitate towards the play grounds, wooded hills and valleys and the meadow. I have been going to the park to both play with my toddler and as a place to enjoy nature. I love city life, the parks are part of this. They are also a great way to let you and your child enjoy ecology and earth science. Topics can include plant and animal life science, life cycles, soil chemistry-health, plant nutrition, eco systems, atmospheric and solid chemistry and how different ecosystems need to work together to benefit all of life.

For example, the Olmsted Parks managers have been letting certain areas of the park NOT be mowed. Why? Because this allows the grasses and plants to grow and self-seed. How does this benefit us? Well, wild flowers are pretty for one and it provides natural habitat for birds and wild life. If the flowers, grass and trees self-seed the tax payers do not have to pay for the purchase and labor to have them planted. Also, Think of it this way, this is a city park right? We want nature, not a mowed suburban lawn that is cut too short and then burnt by the sun to look at and play on. Suburban manicured lawns is not what I pay higher property taxes for. I want my child to have a field of wild flowers to run through. I want my child to have t picnics under trees. I want the birds in the trees and the butterflies in the meadow also. It is a quality of life issue.

These parks, with biodiversity, are also what is called an oxygen sink. It means that when you are standing in these areas you breath in a higher percent of oxygen per liter of air then you would on a busy street sidewalk. Higher levels of oxygen are good for preventing asthma and allow muscles to recover faster.

The top left picture is off Lincoln Ave at Delaware Park. The flowers have gone to seed and new ones have replaced the ones shown. The top right photo is the valley near the side entrance not far from Lincoln Ave. Unfortunately the guys with the mowers were out the week after I took this photo and seemed more then happy to remove this image before anyone else got to enjoy it. So sad. They cut the grass to unhealthy short levels too. Double disappointment. More tax dollar wasted.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Staying Green on a Budget

Whether the economy is up or down a person should be proud to find Green ways of living at a good price. Here are some simple things a person, at little cost, can do and be proud of.

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

Yes your recycle bin is the place to begin. Make sure it is full each week and walk it to the curb with pride. In our case our toddler likes to drag it out with giggles while exclaiming Choo-Choo. Imaginative play is a bonus.

Are you remodeling? For hard items like removing old sinks, cabinets, windows, tubs, and even bricks, see if you have a Habitat for Humanity's Restore, a non-for-profit like Buffalo Reuse or just drop it at your local Amvets Thrift Store or Salvation Army. You'll get a tax deductible receipt, make sure it is dated. Also, consider looking for replacement materials in the news paper classified, at the Habitat store and other reuse facilities.

Kids toys do not need to be new. Head to garage sales, the classified, or consignment stores. You can often find out where all the garage sales are through the local news paper or even on Graig's list under the name of the city you live in or near. To find consignment stores you can Google the name of your city and the words "consignment store". Be diligent shopping at the consignment stores and do not e afraid of telling the owner to watch for certain items. I recently asked my local store to look for leggings in a certain size.

My grandmother always said (which was told to her, by her mother) no matter how much funds we have coming in, we will always either make or buy clothes on consignment. The point was made as a reminder that it is not the retail price you pay but the quality of the sowing, handiwork, and the highest quality garment for the lowest dollar spent at the store that makes a woman. Quality, Quality, Quality.


The products you use for cleaning have a hug effect on your family's health. Good cleaning products go a long way at protecting your children. In my house we prefer EcoCover - "no sent" for dish washing detergent and Seventh Generation for laundry- "no sent". The "scents include in many detergents always give me a headache. Natural scents like the ones in Ecocover and Seventh Generation were the first ones not to cause the brain pain. I have always been the canary in the coal mine even when I worked in laboratories and factories. Despite the fact I have a poor seance of smell I could always tell when the ventilation of the fume hoods were not functioning well. The fume hoods were suppose to suck the air, that was filled with chemicals like acetone and methyl chlorine, out of the room and through a cleaning funnel. I always could tell they were not functioning even before the emergency sensors went off.

Yes, safe, healthy cleaning products cost more then the non-healthy ones. The non-healthy ones are cheap because they are made from materials sane people do not want. So, how do you save? We save by buying in bulk, by the case or two, on Amazon.com. We get free super saver shipping to our door. So we save both money and time by ordering on line. I did a spreadsheet to demonstrate this. Bulk shipping saves on gas too. Having a year's supply shipped once rather then buying by the bottle is a big difference. Plus we get to budget our money.