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All you really good mommies, listen up! That antibacterial soap and preservatives in many personal hygiene products may be causing more harm than good for your very young offspring. Using products with these ingredients may be linked to more allergies for your kids.
Researchers say that the antibacterial agents and preservatives do not, themselves, cause the allergies. Studies conducted by researchers at John Hopkins released a study that stated that the use of antibacterial soaps and products may play a role in immune system development. In turn, this can cause children developing allergies.
“We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens,” said lead investigator Jessica Savage, M.D., M.H.S., an allergy and immunology fellow at Hopkins.
The study involved children 6 to 18. Their urine was tested for levels of triclosan, found in antibacterial soap, and parabens that a found in common personal hygiene products. Then, the levels of these ingredients were compared to levels of antibodies found in persons with environmental allergies.
“In the study, those with the highest urine levels of triclosan — an antibacterial agent used in soaps, mouthwash and toothpaste — had the highest levels of food IgE antibodies, and therefore the highest allergy risk, compared with children with the lowest triclosan levels. Children with the highest urinary levels of parabens — preservatives with antimicrobial properties used in cosmetics, food and medications — were more likely to have detectable levels of IgE antibodies to environmental allergens like pollen and pet dander, compared with those with low paraben levels.”
So, germaphobia is not the best thing for your kid’s immune system. Good old fashioned hand washing is fine and exposure to Mother Nature’s dirt may be the best. Yes, it’s OK for kids to be a little dirty and lick their pets.
But, I still don’t believe in the “three second rule.”
By Odd Man Out
“The stars are matter, we’re matter, but it doesn’t matter.” — Captain Beefheart
For years laymen have felt puzzled by the concept of “dark matter,” an unscientific term scientists use to describe the invisible substance that supposedly accounts for 83 percent of the matter in the universe. So it was less than comforting to read yesterday that scientists were and still are as puzzled as the rest of us. More here.
From Consumers Report, some advice for those of you who have lawns to maintain:
“It’s a sure sign of spring: The robins return and millions of lawn owners head out to apply fertilizer and weed-killers to their lawns–a rite widely known as ‘weed and feed’,” Rossi writes on his Cornell blog. But unless you have a history of weed problems, Rossi recommends skipping the whole thing. He says Memorial Day and Labor Day are better times to apply fertilizer.
In the “Slacker’s guide,” Rossi and several other turf experts offer advice that will save you at least 65 hours of work this season. But one place you shouldn’t skimp is on mower maintenance, according to Peter Sawchuk who conducts the mower testing at Consumer Reports. In addition to keeping a sharp blade, Sawchuk recommends using fresh gasoline, adding a stabilizer, checking the oil and changing the spark plugs if necessary.
There’s has been renewed interest in Pink Slime, also know as Lean Finely Trimmed Beef (LFTB.)
The USDA will give school lunch programs the choice of beef with the filler or without. That is good news. Here is a piece comparing the “other school meats” , that is, chicken nuggets and hot dogs to Pink Slime.
The safety concerns of the preservatives in these “other” processed meats have been a concern of nutritionists for some time.
I still like corn dogs.
Useful piece in the Times this week about how some colleges are adapting to an influx of veterans (and in some cases, not trying to adapt at all). It makes a big difference in whether the vet is going to succeed:
“There are some great colleges and universities that deserve an A+,” said Mr. Garcia, a former Marine. “But there are some colleges and universities that perform varying unscrupulous practices, and they deserve an F.” An area needing immediate improvement, according to Mr. Garcia, is career counseling. As of January, 9.1 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were unemployed, higher than the national rate of 8.3 percent.
Clearly, some schools deserve high marks for looking out for student-veterans. Columbia University, which banned the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1969 and allowed it back only in 2011, now ships out admissions staff members to military bases to recruit students.
And what a difference a war makes at the University of California, Berkeley. Rocked by violent antiwar protests during the Vietnam era, the school currently promotes its “military friendly” designation from G.I. Jobs magazine on its Web site for veterans.
Still, Gene van den Bosch, who founded the Arizona Veterans’ Education Foundation, frets that some schools pay student-veterans little more than lip service. “Perhaps some colleges are trying to maximize a public relations benefit and portray themselves as being military- or veteran-friendly,” Mr. van den Bosch said. “And yet when you investigate and say, ‘Define that,’ it turns out it may be in many cases, ‘We have somebody who’s going to help them process their G.I. Bill checks.’ ”
If you (or someone you know) is related to or knows an Iraq vet, pass this article along.