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.

Great Birthday Gifts for $20 or Less

Seems as though the cost of everything is on the rise. Many of us are trying to think of ways to tighten up household spending without losing certain standards of living such as affording healthy foods, good books and still putting away savings for retirement. See post here.

I think birthdays are another way to save. The below presents are all under $20 and some less then $10. I think these presents are worthy gifts for family, friends or one's own child.

Handmade Gifts

One of my friends is getting sheets of felt, cutting shapes and sewing crowns. Her child will bestow these special gifts at each party he attends. I was informed by the crown crafter, that the most recent birthday honoree wore his crown during the whole party with pride !

If you are not a crafter then head to Esty it is a great website to find handmade items. The site allows artist and crafts persons to have on-line shops to sell their creations. Most toys are made of felt, cloth, wood, or recycled materials.

A search under "handmade" for "wooden waldorf", will give you a list of handmade toys. I bought some wooden figurines; a gnome ($6.50), trees, hedgehogs, mushrooms, a Leshiy (forest creature $10.00) from the artists called "Mamaroots" and "Youreinspired". The products were well constructed, painted and delivered well packaged. They both have items under $20.

Books - you can never go wrong with a great book.

Many Dr. Seuss books can be had for under $15 per book. We have a few of Dr. Seusses books, as does many parents. "The Foot Book" is fun for small children. Our daughter gets to get a kick out of it. "The Sneetches and other Stories" is another great book. The Sneetched are divided into those with stars on their bellies and those without. The stories goes on to tell how the Sneetches came to realize that it is not what a Sneetch has, but who they are that matters.

Another favorite author of mine is Shel Silverstein who's books are between $12 and $20. Silverstein stands out for me because it was my first grade teacher that use to read "A light in the Attic" or "Where the Sidewalk Ends". She was a the sweetest woman and I remember always feeling warm and intrigued when she read to the class.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Uber Urban Wildlife - Butterflies

Butterflies - There are many kinds of butterflies but these are two that fly close to the ground where little children can find them. The hard part is not chasing them but in stead, waiting for their wings to open and snapping a photo.

The Karner Blue, (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), is a small, blue butterfly which is endangered "because of its restrictive habitat that has been dwindling due to such things as land development." The size of a postage stamp and rounded wings.

Clouded Yellow or Sulphurs they have rounded wings and often are in shades of yellow, orange, burnt orange and sulphur. Unlike the Karner Blue butterflies, Sulphurs are abundant.

Ways you can help butterflies are by supplying food, water and shelter. Shelter is usually in the form of a butterfly box which is similar to a bird house though with smaller openings for entry. Growing plants that are native to your state will also provide food and a healthy resting place.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dr. Elizabeth Pierce Olmstead

I did not know Dr. Pierce (Ross) Olmsted ," a pioneer for women in medicine". She graduated from the University of Buffalo's school of medicine in 1939 and "invented the diffraction lens used in the treatment of crossed and lazy eyes. The doctor was also one the the area's first female pilots, serving as a lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol in the early 1940's."

I first heard about her a few years ago when my neighbors told me that she once lived in the house I just bought. She had also told them how both she and the neighborhood children would all take turns on a swing that was hung from the large Silver Maple in my back yard. Apparently my backyard was the IT spot to play 80 years ago.

What made me think of her was that I was thumbing through a red book of "Complete Works of William Shakespeare with notes" that I acquired one day at the estate sale of the doctor's home. I did not intend nor did I know about the sale ahead of time. But when I see those "Estate Sale" signs, I follow. I have been on the look out for books, art and old wooden toys (for my daughter). And I found a beautiful yellow with butterflies enameled picture frame and the collection of Shakespeare plays. As I was sitting at my desk about to start reading I realized that there were news paper clippings in the book. I began to think that this was a college text book with a snap shot of thoughts from a young woman's journey through college. There was a photo clipping of graduates from Lafayette High School. A poem by Dr. Frank Crane called "The Pressure". A problem solving article for the card game Bridge. A poem called "The Eulogy of the Dog" very sad. And lastly, a stiff card with a picture in blue and black on it called "Ex Libris". It is a night scene with a castle on a mountain and what looked like tiny knights on horse back in the foreground. It was like moments in a college students life. Together they almost told a story of someone enthralled with the drama and tragedy of Shakespeare, possibly feeling the pressure of school, death and sadness, and the fantasy of a far away land.

So, did the doctor own my house at one time? I was curious so I pulled the deed to my house. As I first scanned the deed I looked for an "Olmsted" and found no one by that name. Then realized that that was a married name. Then there was a Edward J. Liebetrut, a prospecting pharmacist from the East Side, sold the house to one William H. Pierce on October 30, 1919. William Pierce left the house to Clara K. Pierce, who was his wife, in June 10, 1912. Clara left the home to her daughter Elizabeth Ross and son William Wright Pierce on October 26, 1959. They kept the house until 1968. So, from what I can tell the stories are true. I wish I had a chance to ask the doctor some stories about the old house. And now it seems odd that her picture frame and old college book now sit on a shelf in the same house she once owned.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Solid Pine Kitchenette

I was gawking at all the great items on www.etsy.com again. I come across this solid pine kitchenette while searching under the word "Waldorf". It is for about half the cost of other handmade, solid wood kitchens and thought I would share the good news. Check it out Here

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Age Two - Don't Hold Back

I often catch myself admiring my child. I watched each day as she made the transition from being a baby person to being a little person. She has always been independent and social. But I think she realized cause and effect. This tied in with the occasional impulsiveness desire, intense dedication to her friends and dollie, and determination to be self sufficient has caused me to fall even more in love with her. OR is it more complex? It may be that along with the intense love I have also developed admiration and...pride?

I have never been a proud person before. Yes, I have accomplishments but I am always pressing ahead to the next task so there is not much room for pride in what I have done. This, I think is different. I understand that my child is not perfect in the technical seance of the word. But she keeps me in awe.

She is outgoing in a way I am not capable of nor do I hold her back. I instead smile and hope I can learn a thing or two. Yah, a few locals last year have pegged her for a socialite. Often when we arrive at a shop or store it is marked with sales people, cashiers, etc extending a cherry wave with Hello dispite the task they have at hand. It has gotten to the point that as we leave the grocery store my child is waving and announcing bye bye so jubilantly that all the cashiers plus whoever is standing in line all wave and bid farewell. The first time this happened I felt as though we were at a ship launching. And I not being the most socially apt person smiled, said bye bye, while crouching my head lower as I really do not like attention. I had very mixed feelings. I so dearly work against my own personality just so my child can be herself. That is was I selfishly want. For my child to find herself, embrace herself, and go for it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Man's Last Message

I posted this video over a year ago. I though this video was worth posting again.

I think for many times people now, times may be a bit hard. But no matter what we need to be reminded sometimes that...well...

This is the last lecture given by Randy Pausch.

See his last lecture

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Food, Memories, Gardens and Families

Food from gardens is something near to my heart. For a few reasons. One my great grandmother, Lillian Finn, went to college and became a nutritionist when she was 35. Second I split my time between the East Side of Buffalo where I was born and my home which was the old Singer's Orchard in the South Towns. We raised apples, cherries, pears, plums not to mention the the 16 garden beds and a 40 by 40 veggie bed. Third, I was raised on PBS. Who often interjected about the importance of community, health, and loving life.

The east side of Buffalo and our orchard near the Boston hills were worlds apart. I got to see both sides. I participated in events like the Love Joy Halloween parade on the East Side. Yet, I was throwing nets over cheery trees so the crows didn't steel them all. I would take a quarter my great grand mother Lilly Mae gave me, cross Filmore Ave as she waved me on from her second floor apartment, walk to the corner vending machine, and out fell a frozen carton of milk. Then again harvest time meant climbing into the plum tree and eating the purple drops of lushness while bouncing on a branch.

I remember my mom making cherries jubilee lighting the flames and presenting it to the table. Or the rhubarb crisp, apple pie, and mammoth berries off the rod. All pies were made in sheet cake pans about 16 by 24 inches. They last longer that way.

The wild animals loved the food. And the deer were kept healthy all winter long digging up the apples that were left on the ground. Which brings me to another thought. Farming and gardening is done differently in the city.

Last year, as people walk by my wild front garden, they would point to a plant asking for its name (which I often do not know) or comment on how much it has changed from two years ago. Even a seasoned "Garden Walk" participant asked how we got the plants to maturity in only two years. As I watch other gardeners I began to realize that many of the gardeners in cities and suburbs are different then in small towns and small farms. I have a few rules of I follow mostly because they worked for my mom. Much of what I know has been past down in my family. And every time I listen to my mom I am reminded of how little I know.

For example here are some things that are different between city and country:

1. If you want to remove a vine from a building cut the vines at the based from the roots. Let them die over winter. Then you may have a chance at scrapping them off the wood.

2. Rake your leaves ONTO your garden before the first frost. It should not be a foot thick or you can get rot. But a healthy 1-2 inches allows normal microbial breakdown, sustains nutrients in the ground and it is free.

3. Never ever KILL the microbes in your garden. You are better off with a few grubs and a ton of good fungi and bacteria then a sterile garden and or lawn. Sometime I walk by a lawn and I see a pretty green lawn with short dandelions. And sometimes I see a lawn that obviously has damage soil. These are the lawns that are deep green in the spring. They suffer from synthetic fertilizers and even pesticides. The owner thinks the deep green is a sign of a well maintained lawn. Deep green like that usually means the plant is pumped up on chemicals, will be short lived, die back, get sun burn, and only causes more work. Most of these lawns I see are homogeneous which is a lawn made of one species of grass. This is an odd thing to do to a lawn. A healthy lawn will have about 15% minimum of weeds and at least a couple species of grass. Some "weeds" are good for gardens as well. The lawn is an easy and obvious example.

4. Do you need to kill off grass? Spray vinegar ! The type you can get from a grocery store is perfect and then cover the ground with a tarp. If you are only killing grass and dandelions, a few weeks will do it. You also do not get the die off of the beneficial microbes. But if you have a creeping plant, with runners, you can over the ground in fall and come spring the ground should be ready to go. That is what I did with a front section of my lawn. It had an invasive weed that would choke out other plants. Now I have perfectly cleared ground to work with. I did get some weeds growing on top of the tarp but they popped off the ground when the tarp was lifted up. I also did no harm. My yard is carcinogen free. It is safe for children, dogs, my friends, family and me.

I have also been learning a lot about family. Right now with a toddler I can only work in the backyard or risk her running into the street every time she sees the neighbor's dog when in the front yard. But sometimes I get to go out and just work on the front garden. I enjoy working on my garden. It is not very old. Developing a healthy lush garden does not happen over night. I sometimes just focus on what I am doing. Other times I think about my relatives back when they had farms and what it was like for them. I have recorded the foods they grew and where they were sold. I have recipes from each relative that came to live in Buffalo whether they were from Italy or North Carolina. I have my great grandma Lilly Mae's southern cole slaw and biscuits. I have my Great grandma Lucy's Florentine mint cheese over sized ravioli. I have my mom's pizza, cherries jubilee, and sheet cake pan apple pie. And my Dad's lasagna. Though I am a vegetarian I have my... let me think here, yeah, great great grandma Maria's Abruzzi lamb/beef mint meat ball recipe. Wow, food is good. I just realized I have a food associated with each person in my family. There are more but I'll stop the the flashbacks now. It has been 4-5 generations since anyone made farming a living in my family. But we always maintained land, gardens and trees despite our careers. The foods and recipes each family member favored is reflective of the farms and places they were from.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Uber Urban Wild Life - Take a Look

From our third floor window my toddler and I watched a very healthy cardinal feed its large baby. There is a lot of wild life to be observed in a city. Attracting particular animals to a city yard is not that hard.

Here are some animals that may be in your east cost back yard.

Birds: Cardinals, Blue Jays, House Finch, Yellow Finch, Sparrow, Starling, Robin, Swallows, Turkeys, Warblers, Red Tail hawk, Cooper's hawk

Mammals: rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, bats

Amphibians: frogs, salamanders, toads

Insects: stick bugs, praying mantis, lady bugs, sulphur butterflies, Karner Blue Butterflies, ants, etc

Wild life is good for the neighborhood...Why?

Well, to start with predators eat pest meaning people have less work to do to remove vermin. If we provide habitation for one brown bat, it will eat 3000 mosquitoes in one night. The insects called praying mantis, stick bugs and ladybugs eat the insects that kill garden plants. The Northern Leopard Frogs eat mosquitoes. These frogs are also an indicator of water and air quality, the worse the quality the lower the number of frogs. Needless to say these animals are low in numbers.

The first year I saw a Coopers Hawk was truly the beginning of my appreciation of urban wild life. The hawk was was sitting just 20 feet above ground in a maple tree. Its long banded tail signaled to me that this was not a typical bird, and the way is was perched signified this was a hawk. The following year it found a mate and raised a baby in a nest three stories up in a neighborhood Silver Maple. I watch all summer long as the two parents fed their offspring rat after rat. There were very few rats that year in our neighborhood. A neighbor saw me and I turned to tell him that this small predator was a hawk. He responded with it made a loud ruckus, the cawing it did was so that the fledgling bird could follow its parents as they swooped and dove between buildings. I responded with, I watched the baby bird eat a half dozen large rats each day and maybe the added noise was a small price to pay for the removal of the rats. (There is always someone like this in a neighborhood.) This photo is the bird eating a pigeon in the Silver Maple that is in my back yard the year after it raised its baby. These hawks are considered rare in New York. So, plant a tree in your front yard that will grow tall, attract nesting birds that eat rats, and be inspired by this jet-fighter-like flying bird.

Nature Balancing Nature

A neighborhood reap the rewards if a few simple steps are taken by each homeowner.

1. Buy predatory insects so they can eat other pest insect.
2. Plant a maple, sycamore, or other large tree for perches for hawks to hunt from or nest on.
3. Do not rototiller a yard. It turns up dormant weed seeds and it kills earth worms.
4. Do not use pesticides on your yard, besides that it causes breast cancer, it kills the insects birds need to eat.
5. Plant bushes and brush. This is for shelter for song birds that eat weed seeds and insects.
6. Nesting boxes for birds.
7. Shelter boxes for butterflies.
8. Shelter boxes for bats.
9. Provide water supply; pond, rain garden, bird bath, etc.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why are males developing eggs in their testes?

Why are males developing eggs in their testes?

Intersex, endocrine disruptor, thyroid glands, eggs found in testicles, fishing, rivers, lakes, soaps, deodorants, farm run off, lawn care....These are a few components that are part of the web of problems causing male animals to develop female eggs in their testicles and female like behavior. Some females exposed to these chemicals are producing male reproduction organs too.

Endocrine disruptors, found in everything from household cleaning agents to farms, are being found in toxic levels in many of the U.S. water supplies; Chesapeake bay (Virginia and Maryland) and Puget Sound (Washington) are two examples. The sources for the high levels of endocrine disruptor have been traced and tested. The sources are run off from lawns, farms and impervious surfaces such as parking lots and roads. When there is rain (or driveway washed car) the water washes all the chemicals from lawns, farms, parking lots and roads into sewers pipes and drainage ditches. These pipes and ditches empty into rivers, bays and lakes. Then we the people drink and swim in the contaminated water along with fish, lobster, salmon, deer, orcas, seals, dogs, etc. These chemicals cause a host of issues one of the major illnesses is reproduction organ damage. The results can range from undescending testicles, low sperm count, as found in human males to eggs in testes in fish and frogs to stillborn babies. An addition blow is premature onset of breast cancer.

What is even scarier is that when some of these chemicals are mixed together they can work in synergy against humans and other creatures drinking and swimming in the contaminated water.

Here is a definition from Wikipedia

"Endocrine disruptor (sometimes also referred to as hormonally active agents)[1] are exogenous substances that act like hormones in the endocrine system and disrupt the physiologic function of endogenous hormones. Studies have linked endocrine disruptor to adverse biological effects in animals, giving rise to concerns that low-level exposure might cause similar effects in human beings.[2]"

"Food is a major source of pollutant exposure. Diet is thought to account for up to 90% of a person's PCB and DDT body burden.[35] In a study of 32 different common food products from three grocery stores in Dallas, fish and other animal products were found to be contaminated with PBDE.[36] Since these compounds are fat soluble, it is likely they are accumulating from the environment in the fatty tissue of animals we eat. Some suspect fish consumption is a major source of many environmental contaminates. Indeed, both wild and farmed salmon from all over the world have been shown to contain a variety of man-made organic compounds.[37]"

Endocrine disruptor include some of the following chemicals
"Chemicals commonly detected in people include DDT, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), Bisphenol A, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE's), and a variety of Phthalates.[46]"

"Some examples of putative EDCs are vinclozolin, zearalenone, 17-alpha ethinylestradiol, Dioxins, PCBs, PAHs, furans, phenols and several pesticides (most prominent being organochlorine insecticides like endosulfan, DDT and its derivatives). Substances with estrogenic effects include the xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens."

Though, Wikipedia sites food as people's closest point of contamination besides water, this is a chain event. The food and water would not be contaminated if storm water was not allowed into pipes and ditches that empty into drinking water sources. The pipes and ditches would not be contaminated if farms were organically farmed, and parking spaces, along with roads, were built to be permeable allowing water to seep through the cement or paving and into the ground where it can be filtered.

I am lucky. I found a water filter that takes out all the major contaminants up to 98-99% efficiency per contaminant. I have access to organically grown food. And I am educated on the health issues. But many people, neighbors, parents, sons and daughters are not aware, or have access to defend their health. Our water ways, our lakes, our bays do not have giant filters to clean them. Chesapeake bay has loss its fishing industry, its fish, its life. Puget Bay is losing its orcas, 7 died last year. There is no fishing allowed. Remember this is where many get their drinking water too. Mother's nurse their children can pass these contaminant on.

How do we stop this?

In the home you can buy organic when possible (endocrine disruptor are fat soluble), get a farm share (you save money here too), get a good water filter, refinish old wood floors (remodeled in the 1960's with PCB varnish) with a modern low VOC finish, avoid wild and farmed salmon, increase indoor home air ventilation and avoid house dust.

In your community you can encourage new housing/business developments to use permeable parking space (allows water to seep into the ground under paving), do not wash your car in the driveway take it to a car wash which filters and cleans the water, get a farm share also called Community Supported Farming, be involved in water way clean-ups and vote ! This is your community, family and your own health at stake here.

And always remember "Land use is key to protecting our drinking water and children".

You can watch the Front Line special on "Poisoned Waters" where I got much of the information for this post.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Budget - Saving Money

Like most people I have been thinking about the economy, incomes and budgets. Both my husband and I work on contract; he as a mobile computer programmer and I as a research and developer. Which means we do not get paid weekly, biweekly or even monthly. We get paid when we sign contracts only. We get contracts when someone (or a company) needs to hire someone, like one of us, to do a job. If they do not need us or choose to go without, we also go without. Hence staying on budget.

We were thinking of different ways we can hedge against the next two years of economic shortfall. We live two blocks from our grocery store food co-op, so no transportation cost, other than calories burned from walking. Though the large grocery store is a 10 minute bus ride away. ( We have no car, meaning no car payments, insurance payments, gasoline costs, repair costs or the once upon a time many parking ticket costs.) We have a water filter attached to our faucet. So we do not pay bottle water prices. We already buy bulk foods such as dried beans, dried fruit (currents, raisins, mango), and love our complex carbohydrates (pastas, brown rice, granola). We cook foods that are in season; asparagus in spring, squash in the fall, etc. We buy by the case from on-line stores such as Amazon.com, Ecocover and Seventh Generation for all our toilet paper, baby wipes, diapers, laundry detergent and dish washing detergent. The cases are delivered to our door free of charge.

I pay less per eco-friendly toilet paper roll or diaper then the leading non-eco-friendly product. And I did not even have to leave my house. This is a major convenience when long shopping trips, via city bus, with a toddler, is not how I want to spend an afternoon. Because I buy on-line and ship many things to my house, on the occasions I do need to go to the grocery store, I can fit everything in a shopping basket and get through the 15 items-or-less cash out line.

But what made me think to write this post is that I just finished filling out our contract for a Community Supported Farm share (CSF). What happens is a local farmer will offer a portion of his/her crops in exchange for us paying up front. For us that means about $1000 for a family's worth of veggies for a YEAR ! We drop that kind of cash on veggies in half a year. This farm we are joining is an organic farm that practices sustainable farming, e.g. they use compost (which is fermented leaves, grass, and plant clippings) as fertilizer and they do not spray pesticides or herbicides. A 20 week fruit share (think "supply") runs a little over $200. Still, this is nothing had we bought these foods at a grocery store. What is better? The farmer drives into the city, to designated drop off points. I meet them at one of these points, which for me is a total of 2 and half city blocks. I find this convenient. What is even better then this ??? My child learns that fruits and veggies do not grow in stores, that there is a farmer who cares and takes pride in the healthy food they produce. My toddler can meet the farmer ! Too cool. This adds depth to her understanding, meaning to how the world works and community.

Making friends and expanding ones community can add to ones happiness. Like I said before, my husband and I have high tech lives. Good food, slow food, enjoying cooking, chatting with the farmer as he hands us our purchase is a healthy distraction from the looming, downsizing economy. Plus we have food, regardless of our income for a year, at half off the grocery store price.

We did this slowly over the last 3 years. First went the car, then we got the water filter, then we bought all our bulk baby items on-line....we figured out how to cook dried beans...etc. It can take some time. We focused on one thing at a time and it all added up quickly. The savings and slower pace are luxury.

Now, if only they had shares in chocolate !

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Buffalo - A Niche

Buffalo is like a niche product. It fills a gap that is missing in the United States. It can not be summed up in few words but I found out after traveling to cities from the likes of Shanghai, Tokyo, Milan, San Fransisco and Toronto, that finding a city that is so satisfying to live in are far and few.

Some words I can used to describe Buffalo, NY are; human, theater lover, music lover, festival enthusiast, architectural exhibitionist, food and kitchen obsessed, college students everywhere, ethnic diversity welcomed, a small business incubator and we have our share of competitive highschools.

Areas that we are lacking are: The city school system has many good and great schools but as a whole needs a lift. If you need an expensive home that cost more than one million dollars to sink the capital gains you just scored into then we are lacking. Public bus transportation can improve and our metro train is limited. The spring and fall can feel too short. The east side of Buffalo has many empty houses, 10,000 of them. They need to be rehabbed or taken down by Buffalo Reuse.

These are some facts and surveys done on Buffalo.

Second largest city in NY state
Population as of 2005: 276,059
Diversity as of 2000: African American 39.3%, Latino 8.3%, Asian 1.8%
Median family income: 36,700
Median cost of home: 74,000

Student Teacher ratio in City schools 13 to 1
Schools: 78 Public, 47 private, Charter
Magnet (specialty) Public High School: 11, including specialties like art, finance, honors, bilingual, etc
University/College: 7 private, 2 state, one junior college (three campuses)
City Honors Public High School is ranked 8th in the nation.

Jobs - in private industry

Company.................................Industry.............................No. of Employed
Kaleida Health Health Care 10,000
Catholic Health System Health Care 8,400
HSBC Bank USA N.A. Commercial Bank 5,848
Employer Services Corp. Employment-related services 4,880
M&T Bank Commercial Bank 4,820
Tops Markets LLC Supermarket Retailer 4,673
Seneca Gaming Corp. Entertainment 4,020
Catholic Diocese of Buffalo Parishes, schools, and institutions 3,700
Wegmans Food Markets Inc. Supermarket Retailer 3,288
Roswell Park Cancer Institute Hospital 2,699

"Buffalo is home to over 50 private and public art galleries[54] , most notably the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, home to a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art. The local art scene is also enhanced by the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, CEPA, and many small galleries and studios.[55][56]"

Buffalo has over 20 theaters including Shea's performing Arts Theater, Irish Classical Theater, and Alleyway Theater.

Water - Sailing / boating / Crew
"Buffalo is at the eastern end of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, which boasts the greatest variety of freshwater sportfish in the country. The Lake serves as a playground for numerous personal yachts, sailboats, power boats and watercraft, and provides a short water route to excellent sand beaches on the nearby Ontario (Canada) shore. The city has an extensive breakwall system protecting its inner and outer Lake Erie harbors, which are maintained at commercial navigation depths for Great Lakes freighters."

Night Life
"Several distinct and thriving nightlife districts have grown around clusters of bars and nightclubs in the city. The most visible nightlife district is West Chippewa Street[61], located between Main Street and South Elmwood Avenue. The area is home to high-energy dance clubs, crowded bars, trendy coffeehouses, and restaurants. Allentown, where bars are as numerous but the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed, is a several minute walk north to Allen Street. Allen Street near Main Street houses several gay bars, while Allen near Elmwood has many bars that feature live music. Continuing up Elmwood Avenue from Allentown is the Elmwood Strip, which runs about two miles to Buffalo State College. This strip has numerous small boutiques and restaurants, with few large corporate establishments. Crowds on this strip include everyone from college students to families to the elderly."

Ski Resorts
We have 13 ski resorts within a 100miles of the city.

Buffalo has had top ten rankings:

Forbes Magazine - First (1st) for The Perfect Commute
Half of the workers in the Buffalo metro spend that time or less getting to work, and drivers experience only 10 hours of annual delays, according to the Texas Transportation Institute. Of cities with over 500,000 commuters, fewer people spend an hour or more getting to work in Buffalo than anywhere else in the country.

Forbes Magazine - Fourth (4th) strongest housing market
Buffalo home owners are poised to not be hit hard by the housing downturn. Housing values rose during the bubble but at a marathoners spead rather then the sprinters pace the rest of the U.S. This is allowing Buffalo's housing values to stanbelize.

"The quarterly NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) stated that nearly 90% of the new and existing homes sold in the metropolitan area during the second quarter were affordable to families making the area's median income of $57,000. The area median price of homes was $75,000."

Newsweek - National Public School Ranking

"The rigorous college preparatory curriculum at Buffalo's City Honors School has landed it at the head of the class in a Newsweek magazine ranking of the country's top high schools. Newsweek's 2006 list of "America's Best High Schools" ranks City Honors No. 4 on its list of the nation's 1,000 top schools. The high school rankings are the cover story of the publication's current issue"

Medical Jobs and Facilities

"Buffalo has increasingly become a center for bioinformatics and human genome research, including work by researchers at the University at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. This consortium is known as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It also includes: Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, Buffalo Medical Group Foundation, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Kaleida Health, Olmsted Center for the Visually Impaired, Cleveland BioLabs and Upstate New York Transplant Services."

The American Planning Association - 3rd Best Neighborhood to Live - 2007
The Elmwoodvillage, a neigborhood in Buffalo, NY, was ranked the best place to live.

AmericanStyle - Art Destination
"Ranked Buffalo fourth (4th) in its list of America's top art destinations."

Air Quality - 86% of a year has good quality ! - 2008
For a medium to large city to have 86% of its days having good air quality is a big deal. This is a significant change in the last 3 years.

USA Today - 2001
Named Buffalo the winner of its "City with a Heart" contest, proclaiming it the nation's "friendliest city."

Doctor Shortage and Types of Doctors

I have been reading about the shortage of doctors in the United States. I started thinking about this subject when I was trying to find an obstetrician, then pediatrician and then again with a family doctor...still looking for the later. I would also like to point out that there is a shortage of Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN). In addition to the Medical Doctor (MD) shortage there are even fewer Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine Doctors (DO) or Naturopathic Doctors (ND). This is unfortunate.

Here is some information I pulled from other websites.

The Shortage

Here are some statistics and background information on the medical world in general from an article in USAToday.

"The country needs to train 3,000 to 10,000 more physicians a year — up from the current 25,000 — to meet the growing medical needs of an aging, wealthy nation, the studies say. Because it takes 10 years to train a doctor, the nation will have a shortage of 85,000 to 200,000 doctors in 2020 unless action is taken soon."

"The nation now has about 800,000 active physicians, up from 500,000 20 years ago. They've been kept busy by a growing population and new procedures ranging from heart stents to liposuction."

"To become a physician, students spend four years in medical school (two years graduate school with two year in rotation). Graduates then spend three to seven years training as residents, usually treating patients under supervision at a hospital. Residents work long hours (80 hours per week) for $35,000 to $50,000 a year. Even doctors trained in other countries must serve medical residencies in the USA to practice here."

"Some medical policy specialists say the USA doesn't have too few doctors, just poor distribution of them.

"We have more and more physicians taking care of fewer and fewer patients," says Kevin Grumbach, chairman of family and community medicine at San Francisco General Hospital.

He says doctors gravitate to high-paying practices — such as sports medicine and total body scans — that serve the wealthy and well-insured at the expense of Medicare patients and others.

"It's wrong to think that we can produce more physicians and have them trickle down to where they are needed," says Grumbach, who favors a government-run, national health care system. "Investing billions of dollars to produce more doctors is a foolish way to spend money."

I appreciate the idea that a person should be able to choose where they want to work though, those doctors that choose to locate in "doctor scarce" rural or urban areas should get an "inkind" bonus. The inkind could be that the municipality or state helps the doctor locate and secure a medical building - preferably on a bus line.

and The Acronyms Associated with them

MD = Medicine Doctor

Recognized as a physician in all states

DO = Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Recognized as a physician in all states

ND = Naturopathic Doctor of Medicine

Recognized as a physician in Arizona. Considered a licensed medical practitioner in 16 states, the district of Columbia and five Canadian Provinces. There are two types of Naturopath; Naturopaths and Traditional Naturopaths. I think the issue of two types of Naturopaths is what caused not all states to adopt Naturopaths.

In these above mentioned jurisdictions, naturopathic doctors must pass comprehensive board exams set by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)[25] after having completed academic and clinical training at a college certified by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).[26] The letters ND usually designate a naturopathic doctor in jurisdictions where such a title is protected by law, although other designations exist. In unregulated jurisdictions, the ND title is not protected and may be used by any practitioner regardless of qualifications.

Just make sure your doctor has passed their board exams and

CMD = Chinese Medicine Doctor

CMD is not recognized as a physician without a MD or DO degree in the United States, though these doctors practice in over a hundred other countries. This is unfortunate because the CMD physicians education is a thousand (yes I said 1000) years old. They are well respected physicians in the rest of the world. The World Health Organisation uses CMD practitioners as physicians just as they would MDs and DOs. The U.S. has a tendency to be behind in medical science based on the many studies I have read, for example Chiropractic services took a long time to adapt in the U.S. and become registered. At one time going for a massage was considered a luxury, not a therapy as it is now viewed. A person who who went for a jog on purpose, with no destination, was considered a person who "has loss a few marbles." So, CMD not being recognized in the U.S. is not surprising.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"I only turned away for a minute"

This question caught my attention, "When can my child bathe alone?" Many caregivers asked this question because the cleaning of the child often lasted only 5 minutes and the play time last another 30. Many caregivers often want to attend to other "chores" while the child plays.

The first thing I will mentioned is that, the Consumer Federation of America and 8 other group petitioned, in 2000, to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a ban on "Bath Seats" citing that it leads to a false seance of security and has lead to 8 deaths a year and over a 100 injuries. These were easily preventable.

In another report I found this information. "Unintentional drownings cause over 600 deaths annually among children 5 years old and younger. Bathtubs are one of the leading sites for such drownings for children 2 years of age and especially for children 1 year or younger." When these parents were questioned 31% of the respondents admitted to leaving their child alone in the bathtub. The mean age of the child was 37.5 months (3 yrs 1 mo. old). The most common excuse given for leaving the child was to retrieve a towel, diaper, answer the phone or cook dinner. Five of these injured children were left alone with another child under 10 years old. The less then 10 year old was meant to be the supervisor.

Conclusion: The children, at 5 years or younger, who had parents that left the bathroom were deemed "inadequately supervised". Th parents were then labeled as those who should "be advised concerning proper supervision in early anticipatory guidance." In other words these parents lacked the education and understanding that a five year old has not developed enough to navigate in and around water, in problem situations. "Reported Level of Supervision of Young Children While in the Bathtub"
Ambulatory Pediatrics, Volume 3

Third, According to the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison prevention, Studies have shown that a 0-4 year old child can not navigate water environments well enough to be left alone. Citing that parents will leave a child to answer the phone, door, or retrieve a towel. It has been determined that these and other reasons will not be excepted as excuses for leaving a child four and under in or near water of 5 gallons or more. American Academy of Pediatric

The above is what I found on the internet. Often, I think, caregivers do not want to "just sit and watch" their child in the tub when they feel like other works "needs" to be done. Instead of thinking that bathing your child is a "chore" consider playing with the child and their toys. Or if you do not want to do that you can clean the bathroom while your child plays. You could bring in a magazine or read.

But think of it this way, all the work you are doing is mostly for your family, right? All the cooking, cleaning, and toweling off of wet bodies. If your child slips, that 30 seconds it takes you to run into the bathroom to assess what happened, then another minute goes by while you try to find your phone so you can call 911 could take too long, then you will no longer have a family to worry about. Was that extra cleaning you did worth it?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A friend asked me about consuming a lot of soy and all the controversy about it. I pulled the following studies. I think based on these studies that soy is like any other healthy food. For instance, Vit -D is good for you right? Eat too much and you die. It is simple. Though, most healthy foods do not kill you. You would not fair well if you ate the same thing day in and day out.

Human's are designed to eat a balanced diet to the best of their ability. One goat was meant to feed a family of 10 (small portions). On the other hand everyone may of had their fill of potatoes. But we are at our best when we eat a balanced meal. So, I have no problem with my family having a couple servings of soy each day. But mix it up. If your family drinks a lot of soy milk, serve rice based ice creme. On days when you serve soy tofu and soy sauce, hand out glasses of rice milk, hemp milk, oat milk, almond milk or water. In my house we are big soy milk drinkers and soy yogurt consumers. But our cheese is goat, sheep or cow and our icecreme (usually do not have desert) is dairy. From what I have read, soy is a problem if you eat a lot of processed foods. The soy is not the real problem, but the delusion held by consumers, thinking a processed food still may contain the healthy goodness the adds claim, though it no longer resembles the original soy bean. In addition if you have cancer, back off the soy...I would eat as many fruits and veggies as I could if cancer was an issue. No cancer = eat soy, Have Cancer = run the other way.

NON Fermented Soy - (Soy milk, Soy bean nuggets, Soy bergers, proceded foods, etc)

Soy Milk Lowers Blood Pressure - Journal of Nutrition (2002;132:1900–2)

Drinking soy milk regularly may lead to substantial reductions of blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition (2002;132:1900–2). Matt Brignall, ND is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Bastyr University.

No to Soy Supplements - Georgetown University

"meta-analysis does not find enough benefits to recommend use of soy supplements according to Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, Ph.D., a professor of oncology at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive cancer Center who studies the role of food-based estrogens in cancer prevention. She cautions against overuse of soy supplements, particularly by women at high risk for breast cancer or by breast cancer survivors."

Soy milk and Tofu (curd) - Cancer Research UK

"Researchers from Cancer Research UK, the National University of Singapore and the National Cancer Institute found that consumption of soy milk and tofu (soybean curd) may reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 60 percent, reports the Nando Times." Novemebr 2002

"Many cases of cancer are largely caused by the way estrogen acts on breast tissue, and the researchers speculate that the isoflavones in soy may block estrogen in the breast. "

Effect of soy milk consumption on serum estrogen concentrations in premenopausal Japanese women - 1998

Department of Public Health, Gifu University School of Medicine, Japan.

RESULTS: At the end of the study period, estrone and estradiol levels were decreased by 23% and 27%, respectively, in the soy milk-supplemented group and were increased by 0.6% and 4%, respectively, in the control group. The changes for each hormone between the two groups were not statistically significantly different. In the soy milk-supplemented group, menstrual cycle length was increased by nearly 2 days, and, in the control group, it was decreased by approximately 1 day, a difference that was not statistically significant. A subgroup analysis restricted to subjects who provided follicular-phase blood samples on the same day or 1 day apart in menstrual cycles 1 and 3 showed a reduction in serum estrone levels in the soy milk-supplemented group that was of borderline statistical significance (P = .07 for change in serum estrone level in soy milk -supplemented group versus control group).

CONCLUSION: Much larger studies will be required to confirm the ability of soy products to reduce serum estrogen levels.

Interesting Person: Lee-Jane Lu, PhD, associate professor, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston

The following link is to Lu's profile page which includes studies she is working on.


Soy protein has a greater effect on bone in postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy, as evidenced by reducing bone resorption and urinary calcium excretion

"Recent reports suggest that soy protein may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in peri- and postmenopausal women. The objective of this study was to examine whether soy supplementation exerts beneficial effects on serum and urinary biomarkers of bone metabolism in postmenopausal women, regardless of whether or not they are on hormone replacement therapy (HRT)"

Departments of Nutritional Sciences (B.H.A., D.A.K., B.J.S., E.A.L., S.J.) and Statistics (M.E.P.), Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078; and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (R.A.W.), University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73190

Say no to soy if you have cancer

"Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently announced results of research suggesting that the highly purified soy foods and soy supplements marketed in the United States may promote the growth of some pre-existing breast cancers. The study results, to be published in a future issue of the journal Carcinogenesis, showed that breast tumors in mice grew when the animals were fed highly processed soy products missing some of the natural components of whole soybeans."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Everything is Reusable

I can not believe all the recycled materials that are being used and turned into fabulous Eco Chic totes, grocery bags and yes, handbags. I never was a handbag person. When I finally gave up my backpack at 28 years old, I went to a messenger bag. Even if you do not use handbags you need to check out this site because it is an inspiration. For me, as a consumer, it has set a new standard that daily used products can easily be made from recycled materials.

They are as beautiful as they are diverse. I think that is why I like these bags so much. I will be buying a bag in the future now that I found ones that let me make my own statement; Give me design and Eco Friendly all in one !

Check them out

P.S. No, I do not make a commission off these bags. And we need to support artist who use recycled matterials.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vaccines - Aluminum Injections Studies

There has been very little research into Aluminum toxicity. Here are the few I know of.

PEDIATRICS Magazine (Vol. 97, 1996, pp. 413-416)
"In 1996, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a position paper on Aluminum Toxicity in Infants and Children which stated in the first paragraph, “Aluminum is now being implicated as interfering with a variety of cellular and metabolic processes in the nervous system and in other tissues.[3]"

Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN)
"Federal Register of January 26, 2000 (65 FR 4103), aluminum content in parenteral drug products could result in a toxic accumulation of aluminum in the tissues of individuals receiving TPN therapy. Research indicates that neonates and patient populations with impaired kidney function may be at high risk of exposure to unsafe amounts of aluminum. Studies show that aluminum may accumulate in the bone, urine, and plasma of infants receiving TPN." www.fda.gov

Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Tianjin Medical College.

"Mice were tested orally to study the toxic effects of Al on their skeleton and brain. The results showed that the Al content in brain increased along with its intake increase, but pathological examination of brain revealed no apparent change between test and control groups. Relative femur weight of mice in the highest dose group was lower than those of the other groups (P less than 0.05). The bone Al content was increased along with Al intake increase (P less than 0.05). There was negative correlation between the bone Al content and relative femur weight (P less than 0.05), and positive correlation between the bone Al content and the Al intake (P less than 0.01). Pathological examination of femurs revealed that the pathological changes of osteoporosis and osteoblast atrophy tended to increase while both Al intake and bone Al content were increased." PMID: 1782826 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Division of Research and Testing, Food and Drug Administration, Washington, DC 20204.
Aluminum is used in medical products and some parenteral products (Vaccines) contain aluminum. In a study of neurotoxicity of aluminum in mice, four groups of CD1 mice (5 males and 5 females per dose level) were treated as follows: group one drank 1.0% of aluminum (as AlCl3) during the weaning period from day 1 to 8 weeks of age; group two drank AlCl3 from 1 month to 4 months of age; group three mice (1 month old) were injected i.p. with 10, 30 and 100 mg of aluminum/kg/day for two days; group four mice (1 month old) were injected s.c. with 3, 10, and 30 mg of aluminum/kg/day for 2 days. Controls received the vehicle only. All mice were trained for CAR five times at 2 months of age. The CAR of mice that ingested AlCl3 during the weaning period to 8 weeks of age was lowered by 26% compared to the control group, which achieved 46% of CAR after five training sessions. Also, the retention of CAR was reduced to 30% whereas that of the control group remained at the same level after 1 month. CAR values of group two did not differ from those of its control. CAR of group three (at 30 mg/kg i.p.) was 36% lower than controls. CAR of s.c. group four (3, 10, and 30 mg/kg) was lowered to 16%-28% of the control; CAR retention was reduced to 18%. Therefore, the oral ingestion of aluminum induced neurotoxicity in mice which may be seen only at an early age, but injection of aluminum can cause neurotoxicity at any age." PMID: 1542881 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

If an injection of Aluminum can cause neurotoxicity with as little as 3 to 30mg/kg (or 3 to 30mg/2.2lbs) then why allow it in vaccines?

If a 8 pound baby is born and given the Hep B vaccine that would be 250 micrograms of Aluminum or 69.4mg/2.2 lbs could they develop neurotoxicity? According to the study, a new born baby would have neurotoxicity because as little as 3mg/2.2lbs would cause a 16% loss of control.

Can injected Aluminum accumulate? And if injected Aluminum accumulates on your baby's tissue after repeated exposure what happens then?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Water Contaminants

Many of us have bought or plan to buy a water filtration system. A few things to educate yourself on before buying are as followed.

1. All systems are not created equal; Distillation, carbon filter, reverse osmosis, ionization and a combination there of, all produce different levels of clean water.

2. Many municipal water systems have up-dated their systems and are much more effective and consistent then 20 years ago. Wells and non-municipal waters need special treatment.

3. Read the EPA Website to see what contaminants are mandated to be tested by your municipality and their limits.

4. Cheaper filters are designed to improve taste and reduce turbidity (soil contamination) so the filtered water looks and smells better.

5. If you have old pipes in your house, you may have lead contamination. It is up to you to replace the pipes or filter the lead out of your water.

6. Learn the abbreviation; MCL = Maximum Contaminant level, MCLG = Maximum Contaminant Level Goal, TT = Treatment Technique

Example of what a filter can do.

Note: For those readers who don't like looking at numbers, the more zeros the less the contamination. e.g. 0.002 has more contamination and is a larger number then 0.0005.

Chemical in mg/L...........Municipal Water.............Carbon filter+Ionization Commercial Product

Carbon Tetrachloride.........0.005....................................0.0005

Some of these contaminants, in high concentrations, can cause kidney or liver "problems". Others can cause cancer. Every few years the EPA, due to new studies, adjust the quantity of the MCL. Usually the study shows that there needs to be tighter controls.

My thinking is that...

1. Why wait for the EPA to realize that there should not be any PCBs, Pesticides, Herbicides, etc in our water? I want clean water now. Even if some of the natural "good" minerals are taken out. Because I can get the same minerals in the food I eat, like Broccoli and other greens.

2. If I want to optimize my physical, mental and emotional capacities then this requires a balanced, diverse, and natural diet with clean water. A student can not get good grades if they can't concentrate or are constantly sick and home from school due to contaminated water or poor nutrition. An Olympic athlete can not win a gold metal if their livers and kidneys are not processing the water they intake at optimum levels. See book "Optimum Sports Nutrition".

3. And if clean water is good for those people who are above average then the average kid could derive benefits too. Everyone should have optimally cleaned water.