Too Clean for Our Children’s Good? – The New York Times

Too Clean for Our Children’s Good? – The New York Times

Yet another reason to move to the country! –

Many parents, quite reasonably, worry about germs and dirt finding their way into a child’s mouth. But many have also heard in recent years of the “hygiene hypothesis,” which holds that some exposure to germs and microorganisms in early childhood is actually good for us because it helps develop the immune system. A 2013 Swedish study, for example, showed that children whose parents just sucked their pacifiers clean had a lower risk of developing eczema.

When we talk about the hygiene hypothesis, the collection of theories that address the possible problems that can be associated with growing up less exposed to germs and dirt, we are essentially talking about growing up indoors. We’re talking about living in a world of relatively clean and controlled surfaces, where even small children who are constantly picking things up and putting them in their mouths are not going to come into contact with a very wide variety of exposures.

“The built environment is the place in which our children grow up,” said Jack Gilbert, the director of the Microbiome Center and a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago. He was one of the authors of a well-known 2016 study in The New England Journal of Medicine which compared the immune profiles of Amish children, growing up on small single-family farms, and Hutterite children, who are similar genetically but grow up on large, industrialized farms. The Amish, living in an environment described as “rich in microbes,” or alternatively, full of barnyard dust, had strikingly low rates of asthma.

Source: Too Clean for Our Children’s Good? – The New York Times

Are scented candles polluting your home? 

Nothing beats fresh air! –

The scented candle has become a favourite gift, used to freshen living rooms or add a gentle glow to bathtimes. But that flickering flame might not seem quite so relaxing once you know it is spreading pollution around your home. Candles release carbon and metal particles which could raise the risk of heart and lung problems, a study has warned. The scented candle has become a favourite gift, used to freshen living rooms or add a gentle glow to bathtimes. But the US study found burning candles of any type in the home increases particles of pollution by 30 percent – and opening doors and windows does very little to help.

Source: Are scented candles polluting your home? | IOL

Flame retardant chemicals may affect social behavior in young children | Oregon State University

More and more evidence as to how chemicals affect those very little developing brains! –

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Some chemicals added to furniture, electronics and numerous other goods to prevent fires may have unintended developmental consequences for young children, according to a pilot study released today.

Researchers from Oregon State University found a significant relationship between social behaviors among children and their exposure to widely used flame retardants, said Molly Kile, an environmental epidemiologist and associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.“

When we analyzed behavior assessments and exposure levels, we observed that the children who had more exposure to certain types of the flame retardant were more likely to exhibit externalizing behaviors such as aggression, defiance, hyperactivity, inattention and bullying,” said Kile, the corresponding author of the study, which was published today in the journal Environmental Health.

Source: Flame retardant chemicals may affect social behavior in young children | News and Research Communications | Oregon State University

How to Green Your Kid’s Room (NYMetroParents)

We love these tips, and couldn’t agree more! –

Wash Your Hands

Get rid of the hand sanitizer by the changing mat and don’t use it on your kids’ hands. It may contain triclosan, trilocarbon, or fragrances, which are suspected carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Triclosan was recently banned by the Food and Drug Administration and is also found in antibacterial soap.

Lose the Air Fresheners

Throw away the air freshener, as it may contain phthalates among other nasties. James recommends a low-fi option: activated charcoal bags. Charcoal is a natural air purifier and may absorb some toxins, as well as bad odors. If you want to go one step further, buy an air filter such as the Austin Air Healthmate, which filters gases, odors, and particles. Finally remember to open windows often, as indoor air often contains higher levels of VOCs such as formaldehyde.

Source: How to Green Your Kids Room (NYMetroParents)