Vaccinations Don’t Cause Autism~But there are a Thousand Toxic Substances the Just Might

Vaccinations Don't Cause Autism

Intro~ I am not a scientist or a doctor. I am a mom of 14 years and person who has been educating children for 24 years. I worry about my children as well as my students. I want their futures to be filled with endless possibilities and good health. I have observed greater health challenges to my students over the years in increasing numbers. I have spent a great deal of time researching the environment and what is surrounding our children. I wanted to get real facts, not pseudo science or jump on band wagon trends that are meaningless. I also learned that the more I learned the more I needed to learn as information is constantly changing and updating. 

I am not an expert, but I have some knowledge that I really want to share because I want all children to be safe and healthy.

I also felt that vaccines were getting falsely blamed. I teach in a district that has a huge population of foreign born and we service immigrants from around the world. Some days I feel like I teach at the United Nations. My classroom is filled with faces that are  many shades of brown, black, tan and ivory. The children of my classroom are beautiful. Some also come from third world countries that aren’t always as medically advanced. When my children were born the issue of their being vaccinated wasn’t an issue for me at all. I knew that I could carry home to my babies any number of potential illnesses and I wanted them protected. ~

Jonus SalkIn the 1950’s Jonas Salk was a hero. His vaccine changed the lives of people around the world. Huge crowds of people all over the US wait in lines to protect their children from the ravages of polio. Similar scenes played out over the course of history as different vaccines became available and people were desperate to protect their children. polio-vaccine-line-1956-chicago

Forward to 2015 and many Americans today have no memory of what a real “outbreak” looks like. Ebola came to the US with a big fanfare and quickly left with little more than a whisper. Many people were left asking, “That’s it! What was the big deal?”

In October of 2009 I was one of many parents standing in a line that lasted four hours to get the H1N1 vaccine shots for my children and for myself since I have a compromised immune system. Just a few nights before I had sat in front of the news and cried as they showed the beautiful faces of perfectly healthy children, who had been fine one minute and then fighting for their lives just a few hours later, before finally succumbing to the deadly flu virus. One little face had haunted me the most, a little blond hair boy with bright blue eyes, who reminded me of my own sweet little boy who was only two at the time.

But even H1N1 at the end of the day didn’t turn out to be big pandemic that people were expecting. So again people blamed the CDC and WHO of being the little boy who cried wolf. Still, in just 2009 there were 274,304 hospitalizations from H1N1 and 12,469 deaths attributed to the virus. That number might not seem that impressive to you, unless your loved one was on the list.

autismo-autismeBut back to my original argument, vaccines don’t cause autism. A simple statement of truth is that vaccines have been around for generations. Autism was first identified in 1943, and it was extremely rare, only eleven confirmed cases at the time.

If you look at the history of how long people have been getting their shots and consider those numbers globally, and then look at the history of the number of people affected by autism, the numbers just don’t add up.

Autism is a condition that has come to the national forefront only in the last two decades.  As a young teacher in the early 90’s I had never heard of autism, but I was very familiar with Down syndrome, Aspersers, fetal alcohol syndrome, and other cognitive impairments. In 1993, however, autism was unknown to me and my fellow teachers, yet every person I knew in 1993 had been vaccinated, as well as the children who attended my public elementary school. If they weren’t vaccinated they were excluded from school until they returned with proof of their shots.

In the past 25 years something has happened to our environment that has caused the number of cases of documented autism to skyrocket. Part of that may be better and earlier diagnosing of the condition, but that alone can’t explain why the numbers are now staggeringly high.

What has changed in the past two to three decades that has the power to reach everyone in this country, young and old, rich and poor, urban, suburban, and rural?

If you really stop to look at it, the biggest change to happen to the US and other first and second world countries is chemicals.

In 1976, President Ford signed into law the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA. At the time there were fewer than 62,000 registered chemicals in the US and the country was fresh off the DDT scare. The law was passed to protect people from existing chemicals and regulate the safety of future ones.

To say the law failed is an understatement. Lobbyists and Chemical companies spend millions to find every loop hole and to make sure those loop holes don’t get closed. Today there are 84,000 registered chemicals in the products we use. Do you know how many chemicals the US has banned? In all this time it has only banned 11. Australia and the European Union have banned more than 1,100 in just personal care products alone.

The US doesn’t require testing to be done on chemicals. If a certain product does make people sick the FDA can’t demand a recall, only suggest one, and the EPA has no recall power at all. These are the agencies that are in charge of keeping us safe! Agencies with essentially no real power at all.

Many of the products that are around today have little in common to the original formulas that came out decades ago. Detergents, shampoos, fabric softeners, and cleaning products that have been around for generations are all different. Every time a product comes out with the claim, “Cleans even better,” or “New and Improved” what it really means is they just added new chemicals to the product. Do the clothes look brighter? Yes. Is my floor shinier? Yes. Is my hair softer? Yes. Is my body wash creamier? Yes, but what is the cost to our health, to our reproductive systems, to our hormones, and most importantly to our children?

As adults we come into contact with toxic substances every day, but our body mass helps to protect us. Think of medication. All meds are based on body weight, this is why you have adult and child sized doses. But a child takes the same bubble bath that an adult takes. A child uses the same amount of shampoo, the same amount of sunscreen. Children are actually exposed to greater amounts of cleaners because they spend so much time playing on the floor and on surfaces that adults don’t use.

Not only are these chemicals in our cleansers and hygiene products but they are in our food. We have all heard about how you can’t buy rainbow colored crackers in Europe, and that soda is made using cane sugar, and use of GMO crops has been limited thus far. I have heard more than one person grumble about how products are better in Europe and if companies can make healthier versions of their food for over there, why can’t they do it here?

That is a great question. If crackers can be colored using natural ingredients in the UK, why can’t the same natural ingredients be used in America. Why does American yogurt get colored using Red #5 and Blue #2 but British yogurt remain in its natural uncolored state? Personally I view it as an insult to American children that food, especially processed snack foods, must always be made into primary colors.

Children in Europe just might be benefitting from their countries stricter chemical laws. According to the Washington Time’s, autism rates in Europe have reached a plateau. Studies from 2010 have shown that the rates of new cases of autism in Europe have remained the same as 2004, where as  the US rates of new cases of autism in that same time span have continued to grow. The study does not focus on chemicals as the cause of autism, but then again, it is nearly impossible to find a study on chemicals and autism because the sheer numbers of chemicals is overwhelming. People are exposed to so many chemicals it is impossible to study a single chemical and its affects in isolation, which is essential to having concrete results.

This is why all the studies that have been done in the past few decades come out with results that say “it seems to suggest that this chemical causes cancer,” or “results show a correlation between chemical A and this illness.”

So what is a parent supposed to do? How do we protect our children from 84,000 registered chemicals?

The truth is you can’t do anything about the world beyond your front door. Even if people ban together and start to demand change from the government it will still be years and years before change is reflected in the environment surrounding us.

The only change you do have control over is what happens inside your own home and how you choose to spend your money. Nothing changes the way a company behaves faster than the spending patterns of the American consumer.

When it comes to food, buy as much organic and non-GMO as you can afford too. Once upon a time you could only do this at Whole Foods, but today Kroger, Costco, Meijer, and even Target have lines of organic foods available for a lot less than what it costs at Whole Foods. I’m not knocking Whole Foods, they were the front runner in the organic industry and we owe them a debt of gratitude, but the truth is you average person really can’t afford to shop there.

Also, always buy hormone free diary products and as much hormone free meat as you can afford to. Children’s bodies are entering puberty earlier than ever before because milk, cheese, and meats are loaded with growth hormones to make the animals produce more milk and meat. This is an example of chemicals being used where we can actually see the visible results right in front of us.

When it comes to cleaning stick with plant based cleaners as much as possible. Many great companies are out there working hard to produce amazing products that work and keep us safe. For laundry care, search out detergents that are formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane free. Also, only purchase products that are fragrance free or scented with essential oils.

In personal care products avoid: SLS (sodium lauryl  sulfate), parabens, pthalates, fragrance, dyes, sodium chlorides, formaldehyde, MEA (monoethanolamine), DEA (diethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine) and fragrance. There are many studies you can Google to show a correlation between these chemicals and endocrine illnesses, hormonal imbalances, and reproductive complications as well as others.

After reading all of this some of you may be feeling overwhelmed and clueless where to start and what to do next. Below you will find links to websites to help you get started in the next direction, as well as companies I find to be trustworthy.

Books to Read:

Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavin

Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World by Phillip Landrigan

The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba

Safer and Greener Products:

Earth Friendly Products at http://www.ecos.com/

Method at http://methodhome.com/

The Honest Company at http://www.honest.com

Tom’s of Maine at http://www.tomsofmainestore.com/

Burt’s Bees at http://www.burtsbees.com

Babyganics at http://babyganics.com

 I hope you find this information useful but more importantly I hope you don’t just take my word for it. Purchase the books listed above or click on the many references I cited below and find out for yourself. If you have more to add please share it in the comments. If you are too busy to do your own research but want to have a safer environment in your home then check out the websites I listed.  Most of these products are sold in stores as well as online. Many can be purchased at Target and I personally buy my Ecos laundry detergent and Honest Shampoo and Body Wash at Costco for much cheaper than what they sell it for elsewhere.

References:

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families www.saferchemical.org/resources/tsca.html

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org

Consumer Product Safety Commission www.cpsc.gov/businfo/8002.pdf

Food and Drug Administration www.safecosmetics.org/downloads/FDA-regulatory-short-comings_Cosmetics_Jul2010.pdf

FDA vs EU http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=346

Top 10 Chemicals Most Likely to Cause Autism and Learning Disabilities by Robyn O’Brien http://www.robynobrien.com/_blog/Inspiring_Ideas/post/Top_10_Chemicals_Most_Likely_to_Cause_Autism_and_Learning_Disabilities/

Autism rates rise in U.S., plateau in U.K. by Cheryl Wetzstein http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/16/rate-of-autism-rises-in-us-hits-plateau-in-uk/?page=all

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How I Got Rid of my Migraines

How I Got Rid of my Migraines

For years I have had to avoid perfumes because they triggered debilitating migraines.  I have had to actually send home students who came to school after playing in their parents perfume or even worse, after shave cologne.

I clearly remember my mother scrubbing and cleaning every square inch of the house when I was a kid.  She loved Spic & Span for cleaning the floors and Formula 409 for washing the walls.  Next would come out the Pledge furniture polish and she would make every wood finish in the house shine so that you could see your reflection on the surface.

Next came several loads of towels and linens all washed with bleach and then hung outside to dry.  By the end of her spring or fall cleaning she would sit back and breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy her sanitized home.  I, on the other hand, would be in my bed in a pitch black room in agony from a headache so strong it would make me nauseous.

As I got older this reaction to strong smells never went away.  All those lovely smelling soaps and beauty products, I can’t use them.  The only scented candle I can tolerate is Macintosh Apple from the Yankee Candle Store.  Everything else will make me horribly sick.

When my youngest was born he often broke out in rashes.  I learned to use only Free & Clear Type detergents on his soft skin, but even then he would still break out, just to lesser degrees.

Then, a few months ago my oldest son started to have migraines too!  That really was the last straw for me.  I started to do a lot of research on fragrances, chemicals, and what the heck was really in the cleaning products, toothpaste, laundry detergent and shampoo we were all using.

What I found out scared the hell out of me, and if you knew everything it would scare you too!  Suddenly I understood why 1 out of every 6 couples is experiencing infertility issues.  Suddenly I understood why ADHD seems to affect half of my class room every year.  Suddenly I understood why every single adult I know takes a medication for some condition or illness.

I have since made a lot of changes in our house.  All kinds of new products showed up, some from Costco, some from the drug store, and some from The Honest Company.  (I know there is a major dispute between The Honest Toddler and The Honest Company.  For the record I support the Honest Toddler in her copyright claim.  However, I can not deny my happiness with The Honest Company products that I have brought into my home.  I sincerely hope both sides can come to a happy conclusion.)

Below are the new products that we have been using for several months now and they are all performing very well.

In the Laundry Room

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I love ECOS laundry detergent.  It is free of all toxic ingredients and scented only with essential oils (think aroma therapy).  It really does get our clothes clean with a tiny little amount.  I love that this item is sold in bulk size at Costco.  If you have read my previous posts you know we are Costco lovers here.  So I can do 210 loads of clothes for $12.99.  That is a great price.

If I am doing an extremely dirty load (grass stains and car oil) then I will toss in an Honest Oxy Boost.  Bye-bye stains.  I also buy the Honest Laundry 4 in 1 pods, but I mostly use those for going up north.  I toss a few pods in a sandwich bag and we are good to go.  I don’t have to worry about spills in the trunk.

In the Kitchen

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I love the Honest Dish Soap.  It cleans the dishes and the Grapefruit Oil does not cause a migraine.  Apparently my brain can handle real smells, just not chemically concocted ones.  I have the Honest Hand Soap as well.  This one takes some getting used to.  I was using Method Foaming Hand Soap from Target and will probably switched back.  This is a low suds soap and even though I don’t mind it the kids and my husband are not a fan.

In the Bathroom

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It will probably surprise you to learn that I use the exact same products my kids use for the most part.  (Casey uses Tom’s of Maine Strawberry Toothpaste, I use Peppermint)

When it comes to oral care I love Tom’s of Maine.  The toothpastes are flavored with real mint extract and nothing else.  No dyes or artificial chemicals.  The same is true for the mouth wash which is minty but with no burn.

The sunscreen I apply every day is Babyganics SPF50.  Yes, I use baby sunscreen and it works perfectly on my pasty white easily burning skin.  The stick version goes on nice and even on top of my makeup without wiping my makeup off.

I use Honest Shampoo & Body Wash and Honest Conditioner on my hair.  They do the job just fine and because they are so gentle they don’t strip my hair color away.  After a shower I add a few drops of Honest Body Oil to a little bit of Honest Face and Body Lotion and rub it all in.  It leaves your skin feeling soft and dewy but not slimy or sticky.

I used to use Olay Daily Facial Clothes but have since switched to Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleaning Clothes.  I can’t tell a difference.  I am make-up free when I am done.

Did you know women eat about 7 pounds of lipstick over the course of a lifetime?  Since I can’t give up lipstick I switched to Burt’s Bees 100% natural Lip Shimmers.  Great color and totally non-toxic.  Top it off with a little gloss and you are date night ready.

When it comes to Antiperspirant I had to make a compromise.  I tried Tom’s of Maine Aluminum Free version and after two hours I stunk.  I can’t walk around being smelly, it just isn’t going to happen.  So I switched to Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry Unscented.  It is free of all toxins EXCEPT aluminum.  No more pit sweat and no more stinky.

I hope this review of these products motivates you to try some of them and remove a bunch of chemicals from your home and life.

Also, since we made the switch there has been no rashes on Casey and AJ has had only one migraine.

If you have discovered great products please share below.  I am really interested in what cosmetic brands you have found to be chemical free or organic yet actually work.
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