Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 186 - Girls

Thought of the day:  PBS Newshour is broadcasting a 6-part series called Autism Now reported by Robert MacNeil.  Robert came out of retirement to do the series because his grandson had autism so he had seen the ailment and the impact of it on the family first hand.  The story of his grandson was told in part-1 of the series and it was deeply touching. Autism is definitely on the rise.  It's now affecting 1 in every 110 children in America - that's a large number of kids every year - and it has been declared a national health emergency.  One part of the series explored the plausible causes of the rise of autism.  Only a small part of could be explained by a better detection and reporting of this disorder.  The main plausible cause for the rise lied in the toxicity of the environment - the 70,000 commonly used chemicals, some of which used directly on our bodies, could have an accumulative, unexpected effects on our health starting from the moment we were conceived, and in some cases long before that.  The long term effect of Agent Orange on Vietnamese kids is one dramatic example, but there could be many other not-so-obvious interactions between the environment and our body that we're not aware of.  One expert attributed autism to a genetic predisposition triggered by chemicals in our environment that broke down or overwhelmed our immune system.  The same thing could likely explain the rise of allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, multiple chemical sensitivities, infertility, cancer, and other ailments that we hear more and more of every day.  Our individual genetic make-up is playing a Russian roulette with the chemicals we are exposed to every day - it's scary to think about it this way but I don't see any positive way of describing the situation.  We can try our best to protect ourselves and our families and push through environmental regulations.  However, there's a lot that we don't have control of at this point in time, and the consequence is a human cost of development that is just impossible to bear.

Photo of the day:
Girls on the bike on Greenbriar.  Lila was napping on the bike seat.  The concern for our children can turn each one of us into an environmentalist like nothing else can.

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