A reloaded post is a quick-clipped summary of a bunch of small things from the past few days. I want to write them down, but I am either lacking in (a) details or (b) time. That?s just how it goes sometimes. Enjoy.
We acquired a hand-me-down chest of drawers from Karin’s grandparents as a result of their quasi-recent move. It was one of those not-quite-antique, but real-wood that you can’t seem to buy at your average furniture store anymore pieces. The problem was, as a multi-decade-aged piece, it had been around the refinishing track a couple times previous and had encountered a variety of coats that didn’t quite match up with the styles of a nearly-five-year-old little girl. So, we opened the garage door and got to work with some nasty chemicals, paint removers, and sandpaper.
Despite the hail-fail set back of early last month, the garden pulled a moderately impressive recovery and started producing some actual edible vegetables in the last week. I pulled a few eight-inch carrots from the ground (though most are still finger-sized) and was able to start harvesting some of the second (replanted) batch of lettuce. The peas and potatoes were spotty, but we managed to get a couple meals (so far) from those crops and there is promise of more harvest in the upcoming weeks.
Claire got it into her head that her and I needed to go on a candy run to the local convenience store. I made the mistake of using it as a bargaining chip at lunch on Sunday — as in, eat your lunch or we won’t go, kinda bargaining chip — so I was bound up in my promise as Sunday afternoon loomed. As such, we wandered over to the Macs and bought a couple bucks worth of sugary fun, and had a bit of a daddy-daughter walk in the process… which really did balance out the parenting faux pas.
My appreciation of this round of the Olympics was fostered a little more delicately as I willfully ignored the corporate, police-state schmozzle and got all empathathetically warm-and-fuzzy compassionate for the athletes — to whom I can pretend to moderately relate given my personal, not-nearly-Olympic and only-fractionally-as-painful training of the last five months — as they triumphed and toiled. (Six days to my HALF marathon, by the way!) We streamed the closing ceremonies onto the iPad as we prepped dinner last night, Claire cheering in the background that “those boring old Olympics” were finally over and she could have the TV back.
As a conclusion to our furniture stripping adventures, we wandered over to the hardware store and picked up a couple cans of paint. Claire got to pick out the colours, and — in royal sacrilege to years of advocating for natural finishes and antique-style stains to bring out elegant wood grains — we let her choose an eggshell white and a grape-coloured purple (for the drawers) in an effort to make the chest a little more “girly” as it will ultimately reside in her room. She helped with the painting… for a few minutes until it was “too boring” and she went inside to play. Another coat is impending, but I’ll admit, the white and purple didn’t turn out so bad, actually.
It was all over the news yesterday that WE’RE KILLING OUR BABIES WITH SHAMPOO! Chemical leach through their precious skin and melt their reproductive organs. It’s the end of the world. It will be just like that movie Children of Men and it’s all due to us and our fascination with… AHHHHH!
Take a deep breath. Calm down.
I actually hunted down the research article in question and read it through in its entirety last night. In something of a cross/post (with absolutely no apologies to that glory-hogging cynic who originally posted it) here is what I found out:
Who was studied?
A small group of infants less than eight months of age who\’s parents had agreed to routinely provide the researchers with a wet diaper and some general information about the care products they were using. Conclusions were drawn based on urine samples and some basic data about care product usage.
What was found?
Simply that infants whose parents used baby shampoos, baby lotions, and baby powders had higher levels of phthalates in their urine.
What are phthalates?
Phthalates are chemicals that are added to numerous consumer products and act as chemical stabilizers. They ensure that colors stay colors and scents don\’t degrade too quickly. They are found in personal care products, food packaging, construction materials, plastics, and other common manufactured household objects. Also, it seems that phthalates are slowly released into the air from these products, meaning that most of us routinely ingest, inhale, or absorb through our skin these chemicals.
Why the fuss?
Some recent animal studies have shown that there might be a negative link associated between mammalian reproductive systems and exposure to phthalates. This is not a well understood risk and warrants more study, but nevertheless the researchers have pointed this out as an area of concern. And manufacturers are not required to list concentrations of these chemicals in their products.
Should we toss out our inventories of baby care products?
Well, you do what you need to do to sleep at night, but keep in mind a few additional thoughts on the subject please: First, all the links and connections that have been drawn with regard to health are hypothetical and theoretical extrapolations from similar research and have never officially been studied. Second, there are literally hundreds of household sources of these chemicals in the home and they can be absorbed, inhaled, ingested, or whatever through virtually every cell in our bodies. Third, in my humble opinion, the kinds of parents who slather their babies in powders, creams, lotions, and other manufactured products are the same folks who have air fresheners plugged into every room of their house, spray febreeze on every surface, and routinely coat themselves with lotions, gels, creams, moisturizers, and scents — and are more likely exposing their kids to the chemicals though the air or their own clothing than through relatively minor application to their kids. I don’t think the study accounted for this cultural deviancy.
I sound like some kind of shill for the baby product industry, but I’ve been noticing lately that we as a culture panic and over-react every time some makes a noise. Yeah, sometimes it really is a gunshot, but mostly it’s just a car backfiring.