Friday, June 6, 2008

Wanted: Bubble

Remember the good ole days? When KFC was still Kentucky Fried Chicken? When restaurants had smoking sections that were in the same open space as non-smoking? When kids could stretch out in the back window of the Buick during a long car trip?

Okay, maybe those weren't the good ole days after all. We were practically sticking our tongues out at death on a daily basis. It's a wonder we managed to live this long really.

So now we avoid trans fats and second hand smoke. Our cars have air bags and car seats have five point harnesses. The world is once again safe. Right?


Losing a child to cancer could easily send me into a downward spiral of germ phobia. And yes, I am admittedly more germ phobic than most. But I'm not quite ready to give up indoor plumbing for a life apart from civilization in the great outdoors. A girl has her limits. There are so many things that we know cause cancer. The aforementioned second hand smoke for example. Naturally, we avoid those clearly identified cancer causers. Naturally. But what is a girl to do when everything seems to carry a cancer warning label? EVERYTHING I tell you.

I belong to a yahoo group through our adoption agency and recently someone asked about the risks of nightlights. Apparently they heard that they were bad for kids but couldn't remember why. Being the complete moron that I am, I turned to the almighty world wide web for answers and promptly googled "nightlight dangers". And of course the words "may cause cancer" immediately popped up on the screen. What else would I expect? I think I could google* "butterfly dangers" and "may cause cancer" would appear. But back to nightlights. It seems that our bodies need darkness to produce melatonin, a hormone that prevents cancerous growth formation and development. Permanent bright light suppresses the production of melatonin. Now logic would say that nightlights are not bright lights. And logic would also say that a study conducted by the Russian Ministry of Healthcare should not be trusted. But logic, my friends, disappeared somewhere around the time my darling girl was diagnosed with cancer. So bye bye nightlight.

Next came the Canadian study revealing the risks of Bisphenol A (BPA). Apparently the lovely little ingredient that makes polycarbonate plastic clear and shatter-proof also has this minor side effect of causing cancer. And since most parents enjoy a clear, shatter-proof baby bottle, most manufacturers use polycarbonate plastic in their baby bottles. Again, I turn to my friend the world wide web for answers. With Lillian, we used the BPA-filled, fancy schmanzy Avent bottles recommended by our pediatrician. Our son, being the lazy sucker that he is, refused to use these hand me down bottles and instead uses the economical Playtex drop-ins. Not even the more expensive Playtex Premium drop in system, just the plain ole original bottles. Well two pats on the back for being cheap...uh I mean, being FRUGAL, because low and behold, our bottles do not contain BPA. Phew.

Then last week I decided to check out a package of Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free diapers. The earth-loving members of the adoption yahoo group had many discussions on their love of 7th Gen diapers. Apparently they work great and are better for the environment. So for once, I turned to the package for answers instead of the world wide web. But the same stupid words - "cancer causing" - practically reached off the package and slapped me in the face. Apparently the chlorine used to make our dear Huggies a beautiful shade of white also produces dioxin, a known cancer causing pollutant. So we are, of course, now the proud owners of a package of chlorine free diapers. And chlorine free wipes may be next! So much for those great bulk buys from Costco.

If we have learned so much since the good ole days, just imagine how the world will change by the time our children are parents. They will look back and wonder how they managed to live through their childhoods filled with polycarbonate bottles, chlorine bleached diapers, nightlights and WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE!!!

I will try to stay sane but not take unnecessary risks. Believe me, that is a very fine line. Does anyone know of a bubble for sale that we can live in? Anyone?

*I have to giggle that the blogspot spell checker indicates "google" is mis-spelled. Blogspot is a service of Google. Shouldn't they recognize the spelling of their own company?


Emily June 6, 2008 at 2:54 PM  

That is silly about the spell check not recognizing google!
Anyhoo, thank you for your wise words concerning things that can cause cancer. I too don't like taking any unnecessary risks. Actually, just a week ago my mom informed me that using deodorant after shaving has been found to cause breast cancer. Awhile ago a friend offered me some gum but somebody said that that kind of gum causes cancer. What the heck?? Who would make gum that would cause cancer. My dad said it's probably not true, but still I like to be on the safe side I now don't like to chew any gum besides one brand.
Anyways, thanks again - I will have to pass that along to my aunt who has a 3 and 1 year old. I'm sure she would like to know.

The Tucson Gang June 6, 2008 at 3:11 PM  

Geeeshhh. It is amazing isn't?!? You could drive yourself nuts trying to live according to all the warnings...and yet, which one is the right one!??! Ah...this is why they pay us sooo much to be parents, right?!?! heehee. :-)

Becci June 6, 2008 at 10:58 PM  

also, burger king fries may cause cancer. shockingly. there is a big sign in their establishment that advertises this fact. which leads me to think... what other french fries cause cancer? i think it's the combo of the batter they dip them in and how they're cooked... but isn't it scary to think back on all the BK fries i've enjoyed in my past? cancer sucks!!

btw, i found ruby slippers today and my coworker got me some legs for the wicked witch, now all i need is striped stockings!!! :)

Beth June 7, 2008 at 7:27 AM  

It is too crazy what all can cause cancer. I guess we are kind of doomed! Both my kids used Huggies & Pampers for 2 years and Avent bottles for 1 year! At least we are now done with diapers except at bedtime. I am bummed to hear about BK fries as I enjoy them :) It is definately enough to drive people crazy thinking about all these things!

Emily June 7, 2008 at 3:13 PM  

Wow...I was sad that gum could cause cancer, it's even more depressing now that I know BK's fries can cause that as well.
Also so is it like any kind of light on while sleeping that can cause it? I didn't know, but last night I was staying with a friend and her clock always glows this bright blue. After we settled down for bed she all of a sudden said "do you think that can cause it?" (I told her about the things that can lead to cancer) We didn't know so just to be safe threw a blanket over the clock to cover it.

LCM June 8, 2008 at 7:21 PM  

Gosh, I thought about cancer causing stuff that I would keep my girls from. I was totally going to lecture them about tanning beds and smoking...who knew I had to worry about other things. What about them saying that the Willamette Valley has Benzene problems and that's what cause leukemia (and in turn lymphoma)ugh.
I thought it was bad enough that nightlights might make your kids blind...

Lori June 11, 2008 at 10:13 AM  

In the absence of answers, we make them up! It's human nature. That is why everything comes with a warning label. The point of this post wasn't to scare anyone. But rather to point out that while we know more now than we did 30 years ago, we don't know as much as our kids will know in 30 years. We just have to make good choices with the information that we have right now and pray for the best!

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