Misplaced Priorities: What are you doing to protect your children?

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Misplaced Priorities: What are you doing to protect your children?

A book review of Sandra Steingraber's Raising Elijah  by Tim Wolcott

Teach Peace Now

A great book is sometimes difficult to read.  However, the author often propels you along its enlightened path using earth-shaking examples that strike home.  Such is the case with Raising Elijah, the story of how toxic chemicals are affecting our children.

Ms. Steingraber’s empirically-based, maternally-centered thesis is poignantly powerful, because it raises these questions:   Why are we more willing to consider radical interventions like anti-hormone injections for six-year old girls developing breasts rather than demand preventative regulation of chemicals based on the precautionary principle?  Why do we consent to toxic chemical trespass into our innocent children’s lungs, brains and genitalia when science has shown irreversible damage occurs?  Why do the U.S. chemical regulatory agencies seemingly ignore data that the Canadian and European agencies act on?

Pediatric science is clear on these points:

  1. The developing brain is more vulnerable than the adult brain, and the earlier the toxic exposure, the greater the severity of the effect.
  2. Neurotoxins, including lead, mercury from coal, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons fro tail pipes and power plants, as well as tobacco can create cumulative effects in a growing child.
  3. A child’s social and nutritional environment (i.e. poverty and family stress) can magnify the effects of exposure to chemical toxins.
  4. At levels common among children, pesticides like atrazine (the second most widely used herbicide in the US) and plastics that include bisphenol A or phthalates contribute to asthma, cognition problems, ADHD as well as disruptions in sexual development.

So what does our government advise parents to do? -- ’Prevent your children from putting things into their mouths’. Yeah, that will work.  NOT!  Parents cannot stop the wind from blowing into their homes, yards or communities.  When our government suggests consumer-based, parent-led protection against neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors, it is counterproductive, and it ignores their own governmental responsibility.

Flint, Michigan is just the tip of the iceberg. The time has come for us to demand that our government work for the people, not the corporations.

All parents need to read to read this book.

All people who care about our future need to read this book

All politicians need to read this book.

And then take action!

Please do--

‘What you can, When you can and Where you are’

Teach Peace Now
Teach Peace Now

We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.

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