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  • Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Drama Mama: Product, parenting and paranoia
June 26, 2008 - 9:17pm

Recently I’ve been reading news reports on studies that link autism with multiple immunizations administered on the same day. This is a common place practice at my pediatrician’s office. In addition to this there are phthalates in 90% of my son’s toys. These are his favorite toys, the ones he’d rather die then give up. There is sodium laurel sulfate in his bubble bath, baby lotion and shampoo. These are all items marked “gentle for your baby.” As I pack up my life to move across state lines, I have been re-examining our “stuff” and what I have been using to keep me and my son happy, healthy and hygienic.

An old friend of mine whom I reconnected with recently (loving facebook) asked me about what I thought about the immunization issue. I had no idea what she was talking about. I just pretty much do what my kid’s doctor tells me to do. Why would she not act in his best interest? That’s her job right? After speaking with more of my pregnant friends – I realized that may not be the case. I read in another friend’s phenomenal blog (facebook reconnection again) about how she found sodium laurel sulfate in her face scrub and how it is not only a possible carcinogen but lends to the killing of marine life as well. I checked all my labels and most of my products including the kid products contain this and/or other cancer causing ingredients, like artificial fragrances. I like fragrances. I used to buy shampoo after sniffing the bottles for the best smell. So sad it all might be toxic. And that new car/shower curtain smell? Toxic. Last month I threw out or got rid of all my plastic dishes and toddler cups and bought all glass and ceramic. We have had some breaks, but not surprisingly it was me and not my son who dropped them.

Lately, I find myself swinging between two distinct paradigms. One is the “Well, its one paranoia or another here in America” and perhaps all these chemicals are not evil, that health scares sell news reports and we grew up fine on Mr. Bubble and Pantene. But then other times I feel like there is a huge government/big business conspiracy trying to kill me and my offspring – slowly, while making a profit. And why is organic food and product so expensive? Okay, pragmatically I understand why but philosophically – WHY? It’s all so overwhelming and disheartening. When I was telling my mother about this last month she laughed. She told me a story about how they used to use, (and often still do) stainless steel cups and plates in India – no plastic. How on one trip to India she bought one of those cups back for my brother to give to his friend as a souvenir. When the friend showed his mother she was very upset and said “You do not drink out of metal cups! Only plastic!” My mother felt very embarrassed about the whole thing back then. I think my plastic cup expulsion made her day. Well, at least product paranoia is nothing new. I wonder what that friend’s mother thinks now.


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