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April 2008 Feingold Email Newsletter
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Dear Feingold Association Members & Friends,

The American Heart Association is now recommending that all children taking stimulant medications should get an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). Children newly diagnosed with ADHD should have a cardiovascular screening before beginning stimulant medications. See more . . .

It has long been known that stimulants raise blood pressure; almost 20 years ago it was found that African-American children were more at risk than others and should be carefully monitored (Brown 1989). When the Feingold Association brought this to the attention of the American Heart Association in 2000, they said they had no knowledge of it. At that time, they had a prominent notice on their website, assuring parents that children on Ritalin did not need any cardiac monitoring. They did remove their notice from their home page at that time, but declined to suggest monitoring. We are pleased to see that they have caught up to some of the science.

What an EKG may not reveal, however, is something called "small vessel disease" which does not allow enough oxygen to reach the heart muscle, causing small lesions on the heart wall. One symptom is shortness of breath upon exercising. If you have a child on stimulants who experiences shortness of breath or rapid heartbeat after being active, take it seriously and see a pediatric cardiologist. If your child is involved in sports, you may want to look into non-stimulant medication or other options such as the Feingold diet. Animal studies have been unable to find a dose of stimulant medication that does not cause lesions in the heart muscle of rats and mice. (Henderson 1995). See more . . .

Fast Food

Kids' changing diets may be, in part, responsible for the worldwide increase in asthma. A study published in the September 2000 issue of Thorax looked at the demographics and skin test results of children with and without asthma. They found that the more vegetables, fiber, and nutrients such as vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium the kids ate, the lower their risk of developing asthma.

Unsurprisingly (to Feingolders), the more often the children ate at fast food restaurants, the more likely they were to wheeze. This study was done in Saudi Arabia, where many people still use their traditional (and additive-free) diets, and fast food restaurants are a recent development. The authors conclude that diet plays a role in asthma.

The entire study is available in PDF format here.

baby lotion

Having just become a grandma for the first time, I have been looking at baby products more than usual. And along came an article advising parents of newborns to buy phthalate-free baby products and "limit [phthalate] exposures to the lowest amount possible."

See the article here (or here if the first link doesn't work).

Apparently this barely-pronounceable chemical is capable of damaging the future reproductive function in male babies, and in 2004 a joint Swedish-Danish research team found a very strong link between allergies in children and certain phthalates.

Recently, a study published in Pediatrics has looked at actual exposure sources for babies, and found that a major source is baby lotion, shampoo, and powder. See the study.

John Bailey, chief scientist at the Personal Care Products Council, representing makers of baby care products, does not agree. He claims that the one phthalate used in baby products is safe, and that this is not good advice to give to mothers.

Meanwhile, what does a grandma do? I will be advising my grandson's parents to buy all-natural products, of course, and not to use powder or lotion more than absolutely necessary. Of course, powder (even from the health food store) should not be sprinkled on - the baby must not inhale it - but these chemicals can also be absorbed through the skin.

For those of you who have found some good solutions -- now would be a good time to tell me about it, and I will share some of your replies here next month.

Jennifer from Virginia sent us some interesting information following our January 2008 article about formaldehyde and ADHD.

She reminds us that formaldehyde is one of the ingredients in the DTaP, Td, Polio, and Hepatitis vaccines. Here is a link to a number of website references on formaldehyde and vaccines.

Also, an interesting thing she had learned after joining La Leche League, is that breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months will give children enough antibodies to protect them from many of the diseases addressed by vaccines. And the blood-brain barrier doesn't sufficiently form until a baby is at least 6 months old, sometime older. So what that means is that if your newborn is given a vaccine with heavy metals or toxic chemicals, they will enter into the brain. However, if you wait for at least 6 months to a year, those same chemicals will be blocked from entering into the brain.

Dr. Bob Sears has written a vaccine book called The Vaccine Book that discusses alternative or delayed vaccine schedules.

On his website, Dr. Sears also maintains a list of doctors willing to work with parents who want to delay, spread out, or decline vaccinations. Go to the link above and scroll down the page.

Pesticides, including mold and mildew cleaners, disinfectants, weed killers and pool chemicals, can be used safely - but only if consumers recognize them as toxic chemicals, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. See sevem stories of pesticide blunders in California.

If you would like to read more of this blog "The Bug Stops Here" by Stephen Tvedten, an integrated pest management expert, click here.

You may also download for free any chapter (or all) of his very comprehensive book, The Best Control: Encyclopedia of Integrated Pest Management.

Most of us know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but you may not know that onions, grapes, and raisins are also. While my dog never complained about the occasional grape the kids slipped her, I had no idea they were so dangerous. So when I received the email about it, I went straight to Snopes, where I was shocked to read it is all true. If your children are just beginning the Feingold Program, it may help them to understand that while they will shortly enjoy at least some Stage Two items, their pets must remain on Stage One always. More . . .

Charice de Vidal in Florida is interested in starting a Feingold Support Group in the combined North Florida / South Georgia area. She is located in Jacksonville, FL. You may reach Charice at

One of our Feingold members, Reggie Dockham, is the dad of a young man with autistic tendencies and sensory issues. His son John, now 26 years old, is non-verbal and is developmentally at about age 3. He has multiple food sensitivities, so the family follows a gluten-free, casein-free diet and uses various nutritional supplements. The Dockhams have acquired a lot of information as they have worked to help their son, and would like to swap ideas with other families who are dealing with similar challenges, including behavioral issues. You can reach Reggie at his home in Wyoming at (307) 856-8250.

Julie writes, "Our son is 4 and we have had trouble in all sorts of group daycare situations. We just started this diet 2 weeks ago and it is like night and day. I am so amazed."

Let us hear from you, too.

We would be interested in hearing from new members who joined as a result of seeing the recent Chicago and Philadelphia TV spots, and are having good results. I would love to let the producer know this. Who knows? They might want to do a follow up. You may write me by REPLY.

Omnivore's Dilemma
In the April Feingold Association's newsletter, Pure Facts, the lead article was a review of the interesting book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, about corn and the factory-raised cattle that are fed corn, hormones, and drugs in today's giant agricultural farm businesses.

One of our readers has complained that this book is not presenting both sides of the situation. Read the other side of the story.