Archive for the ‘ADHD, Autism, SIDS’ Category

Experts Say Everyday Chemicals Can Cause Autism – and Some of Them are in Crib Mattresses

Sunday, May 6th, 2012


chemicals suspected of causing autismIn decades past, we rarely heard of children having autism, but now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of one in 110 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many causes have been suggested but, still, most autism is considered idiopathic – which means, basically, that no one knows what really caused it. However, some experts believe it to be caused by heavy metals and environmental and household chemicals – some of which are even in crib mattresses.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor and chair of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York, compiled a list of 10 heavy metals and chemicals that are highly suspect.

Here’s the list:

• lead
• mercury
• polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – EPA studies say everyone (literally) has them in their body
• organochlorine pesticides like DDT – DDT is banned, but other, similar, chemicals are still around
• automotive exhaust
• brominated flame retardants – found in furniture, electronics, household dust and even certain sodas and sports drinks
• polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – these are in some driveway sealants, in anti-dandruff shampoos, cigarette smoke, mothballs and meat cooked on the barbeque
• organophosphate pesticides – these pesticides have been banned for residential use, but they are still used on our fruits and vegetables
• hormone-disrupting chemicals – these include phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA) and are in hundreds of products we use every day, everything from soaps and cleaning products to air fresheners
• nonstick chemicals – these are used in cookware, as well as in stain protection for furniture and carpeting

According to Dr. Landrigan, “It’s now possible to connect early exposure to problems in childhood.” Problems such as autism, ADHD and learning disabilities. But a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group also found 300 chemicals, some of which are on this list, in newborns. So, while early childhood exposure is a pivotal factor, chemicals are also being transferred from mom to baby while baby is still in the womb.

What steps should you take to reduce the potentially dangerous chemicals in your environment? Some things are obvious, and you might even know about them already – furnish and decorate your nursery with an organic crib mattress and other organic products whenever possible, switch to natural household cleaning products and personal care products for both yourself and baby. And there is more.

For a full rundown on where the suspect chemicals are found and how to avoid them, check 10 Suspect Causes of Autism & Learning Disabilities for a very informative slide show that also features related articles that give you even more information.

Everyone may not agree that heavy metals and chemicals are a problem, but do we really need everyone to agree? After all, many experts think there is ample evidence that these chemicals are highly suspect and, when it comes right down to it, do we really want to take chances with our babies?

New Study Finds Link Between SIDS and Alcohol Consumption

Thursday, December 30th, 2010


One more way to keep your baby safe.

Every parent is concerned about SIDS. Although there are many theories about it, and some feel they’ve narrowed down possible causes, it is still the # 1 cause of death in children between the ages of one month and one year. New research has now linked SIDS to parents or caregivers drinking alcohol. It may not be the sole cause of SIDS, but it might enable you to make changes that could keep your baby safe.


The study, conducted by University of California sociologist, David Phillips, reviewed 129,090 SIDS cases that occurred between 1973 to 2006.

The findings showed that SIDS deaths increased at times also known for increased alcohol consumption. For example, SIDS deaths spiked by 33% on New Year’s Day. Researchers also discovered that SIDS deaths were higher on weekends and on the fourth of July.

This lines up with other statistics on SIDS: Babies of mothers who drink are more than twice as likely to die of SIDS.

One doctor commenting on the study said, “”Although the study alerts us to considering the increase in SIDS at this time of the year (meaning New Year’s), it concerns me because it does not have evidence to suggest a cause or action to prevent this increase.”

Actually, the ‘action to prevent this increase’ is pretty clear. Don’t drink alcohol AND take care of babies. Pretty simple.

Many other factors are suspected of contributing to SIDS:

Babies suffocating in extra quilts, blankets, pillows, very soft mattresses, or by sleeping on their stomach. Recommendations are to put the baby to sleep in his or her back with no extra or heavy blankets, toys, etc., and ensure they can’t roll over.;

Babies overheating if they’re over-dressed or in a room where the temperature is too high. We have a tendency to bundle babies a little too much and have their bedrooms very warm. Most doctors recommend that if you are too hot or too cold in a room, your baby probably is, too. Don’t use extra blankets or clothing; if the temperature’s good for you (unless you are particularly sensitive), then it’s probably fine for baby;

Some experts think breathing fumes coming from the chemicals in baby crib mattresses. Naturepedic crib mattresses have been independently tested to ensure the air around them is safe for baby.;

And others are still being researched.

If parents took care of all of the known or suspected risk factors, would SIDS be over? No one really knows. But we do know that we can lower our baby’s chances of SIDS by addressing the things in the above list. And now, thanks to this new study, we know that drinking alcohol and caring for babies do not mix. Abstinence may be the best policy for parents and caregivers of young children.

Which Chemicals Should You Avoid to Prevent Behavioral and Learning Problems?

Monday, September 27th, 2010


Are food additives making your child sick?

As you may be aware from some of our other blogs or research you’ve done, several studies have shown links to exposure to toxic chemicals and the symptoms known as ADD, ADHD, autism and hyperactivity in kids. Unfortunately, the chemicals in question are not esoteric – they aren’t the kind of chemicals you’re only exposed to if you work in certain industrial environments, for example. They are chemicals our kids come into contact with every day – in fact, they eat them, play with them, sleep in them, are dressed in them and, in many cases, are actually born with them in their body.

ADHD and the other symptoms I’ve mentioned are perhaps not the only side effects of toxic chemicals, but they do present a special set of difficulties. These include low self-esteem, nervousness, being disruptive or aggressive with others, and even reading and comprehension problems. These difficulties can really disrupt the lives of those involved and make it very difficult for kids to have a happy childhood.

Also, if your kids do have these symptoms, they may be exposed to even more toxic chemicals – drugs – which may bring on a whole new set of symptoms.

What can you do in addition to avoiding toxic chemicals in crib mattresses, kids toys, clothes, and the home environment?

Eat organically grown foods, including meat from animals grown without antibiotics or hormones, reduce sugar intake and make sure your kids are getting a balanced diet with eggs for breakfast instead of frosted cereals, and really watch out for food additives as covered in the Feingold Diet.

The Feingold Diet consists of a list of artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives and other food and packaging additives that have specifically been determined to cause the symptoms you want to avoid. Some of these chemicals are even disguised, on the labels, as things that sound good for us. The term ‘anti-oxidants’, for example, which also includes healthy substances like Vitamins C and E and Essential Fatty Acids, can sometimes be used to describe chemicals that prevent the fats in food from ‘oxidizing’ – meaning ‘becoming rancid’. This is a far cry from the role nutritional anti-oxidants play.

In addition to ingesting, absorbing and inhaling untold amounts of chemicals over the last few decades – things we rarely had to contend with in earlier times – food additives have become part and parcel of our everyday diets. Here’s a sampling of Feingold’s take on the differences between what our kids ate in the 1940’s, compared to the present:

In the 1940s kids brushed their teeth with white toothpaste, ate oatmeal, corn flakes or toast and butter with jam for breakfast. Now they brush with multi-colored toothpastes (attained with the use of food colorings), instant oatmeal with additives that can even make the oatmeal turn blue when milk is added, colored cereals and pop tarts. All made with artificial flavoring and coloring. Even cocoa with whipped cream isn’t safe – today it’s topped with Cool Whip.

Is it any wonder that so many kids are having trouble?

If you want your kids to sleep easy and grow up happy and healthy, start with avoiding chemicals and eating well yourself (the chemicals can pass from parent to unborn child), green your nursery with non-toxic materials and a crib mattress that’s certified as not emitting harmful chemical gases, and eliminate food additives as recommended by Feingold Diet. All the info you need is on the Feingold site, including the research.

Study Links Pesticides to ADHD – Are They in Your Child’s Crib Mattress?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010


Naturepedic organic cotton crib mattresses no pesticidesYet another study has linked ADHD to chemicals – this time it’s the group of pesticides known as organophosphates. Organophosphates are commonly used on cotton crops, which is why we use only organic cotton in our baby crib mattresses.

The list of symptoms now labeled ‘ADHD’ – forgetfulness, difficulty focusing or concentrating, inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and, often, learning disorders – can be a real trial for kids and parents.

A significant number of kids with these symptoms have trouble with school and relationships, are more prone to accidents and injury and, as they get older, are more likely to get involved in drinking and driving and other social problems.

Of course, some of this is ‘normal’ kid stuff. But organophosphate pesticides, which disrupt the brains and nervous systems of insects very effectively, have been proven to have a similar effect on humans. They have even been used in nerve gas and other chemical weapons for precisely that reason.

Do we really want to expose our kids to these chemicals?

ADHD symptoms can also be very costly for a family. Estimates show that the average cost to a household with a child with ADHD is between $12,000 and $17,000 a year. That includes treatment and other health support, lost work days, trips to the ER, and so on.

Many kids take drugs to control the symptoms. But drugs have their own long list of problems. If a healthy solution can be found – in this case, that would be the elimination of pesticides and other harmful chemicals from our kids’ lives – everyone would be much better off.

The new study examined about 1,100 children, 119 of whom have had an ADHD diagnosis. Urine tests looked for organophosphate metabolites – the products of the breakdown of the pesticides in the body – and found that the higher the level of metabolites, the more severe the ADHD.

Researchers concluded that the risk of ADHD is almost double in children with high levels of organophosphate pesticide breakdown products. Considering that organophosphates account for nearly 40% of the pesticides used around the world, we can pretty much count on them being in our bodies to some extent.

Check out the study, entitled Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides, in the journal Pediatrics for more info..

Sometimes it may feel that there’s no end to the dangers of chemicals but, really, this is good news. It opens the door to a possible solution for millions of kids!

At Naturepedic, we make our baby crib mattresses with organic cotton – no pesticides in the materials = no pesticide exposure for kids. We made them for the kids in our own family. Now they’re available for yours.

Toxic Chemicals Are Putting Your Children at Risk

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Check out the startling details in a new health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

The results of a compilation and analysis of 30 years of environment studies, recently published as a health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, revealed startling details about the increase in disease in the U.S. over the last 35 years, and the link to toxic chemicals.

Here are some of the statistics from the report:

  • Leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers, have increased by more than 20% since 1975.
  • Breast cancer went up by 40% between 1973 and 1998 and, while breast cancer rates have declined since 2003, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now one in eight, up from one in ten in 1973.
  • The incidence of asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995 and has stayed at the elevated rate.
  • Difficulty in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. For woman aged 18 – 25, the incidence of reported difficulty has almost doubled.
  • The birth defect resulting in undescended testes increased 200% between 1970 and 1993.
  • Diagnosed autism has increased more than 10 times in the last 15 years.

According to the report, there is a growing consensus that chemicals are playing a role in the incidence and prevalence of these diseases.

The birth defect resulting in undescended testes, for example, as well as other hormonal problems with young boys, could be the result of exposure to phthalates – the plasticizer chemicals used to soften PVC/Vinyl so it can be used as a waterproof covering in crib mattresses – which is one of the reasons three phthalates were banned in baby mattresses and other kids products. One study even found that the school-age boys of women who tested positive for phthalates in their urine while pregnant played in ways that were not typical of young boys – no trucks, rough housing, and so on.

What’s being done about the chemical problem?

Although the EPA has admitted they’ve failed to protect the public from the dangers of toxic chemicals, and is currently making changes, the track record is abysmal: Since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted 34 years ago, only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals that have since been produced and used in the U.S. have been tested by the EPA, and only five have been regulated.

Health care reform is currently the subject of intense controversy. But real reform will come when we start getting rid of the chemicals suspected of exacerbating, if not causing, illness.

Chemical policy reform would also free up a lot of health care dollars: If reducing exposure to chemicals resulted in healthier people, it would only take one tenth of one percent in health savings to free up $5 billion every year.

Read more details in the report, The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families also has a campaign to help eliminate toxic chemicals. There are many facets to their campaign, including Parents for Non-Toxic Alternatives and several others directly concerned with toxic chemicals and the relationship to child safety. Check them out, you may want to become involved.

If you’re concerned about your child’s safety and want to do something about it right now, consider getting a Naturepedic toddler or crib mattress, along with our safe child and baby bedding and pillows. Also, check out the book Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd for thousands of safe alternatives for just about every chemical in your household.