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April 2009 Feingold Email Newsletter
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Dear Feingold Association Members & Friends,
- The "Mothers Act" - not a Mother's Day Treat
- Coming in May Pure Facts
- DAN! Conference in Atlanta
- Bisphenol A
- Outreach Clinics - Atlanta & Charleston
- Conference in Dallas, Texas May 23-24
[ ] THE "MOTHERS ACT" - NOT A MOTHER'S DAY TREAT
There is a bill before the U.S. Senate calling for new laws intended to help new mothers who suffer from Postpartum Depression (PPD). Those who favor the bill and those who oppose it all agree that PPD is real and that these mothers need help, but a closer look at the bill raises some very disturbing questions.
For many mental health professionals and lawmakers the term "treatment" means antidepressants and other anti-psychotic drugs. The tone of the act appears to allow forcible medication even for those with mild baby blues - a condition experienced by 80% of new moms. Are we really going to say that 80% of new mothers have a "disorder?" Moreover, such drugs are not for everybody; they can have serious side effects, including depression, suicidal thoughts, and psychotic behaviors -- the very symptoms the drugs are supposed to relieve.
Another serious but obvious (to us) problem is that when you medicate pregnant women or nursing mothers, you are giving the same medicine to their babies. Antidepressants used by mothers have already caused thousands of infant deaths, birth defects and heart problems.
The prospect of being forced to take antipsychotic drugs or possibly lose custody of her baby, will not bring PPD out of the shadows as the proponents claim. Such Draconian measures will have the opposite effect; they will encourage mothers to hide their true feelings and suffer alone.
This bill is expected to be heard in the Senate before Mothers Day, May 10. If you object to its passage, there is a link to a petition in the attached article, as well as a link to a page where you can find contact information for your Senators.
[ ] COMING IN MAY PURE FACTS
The May issue of Pure Facts will be a special focus issue on eczema. If you or your children suffer from itchy dry skin or rashes, don't miss it.
[ ] DAN! CONFERENCE IN ATLANTA
I hope some of you have been able to attend the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) conference in Atlanta which is ongoing as I write this. Although primarily involved with autism, much of the information is useful and fascinating for everybody. If you have a child with ADHD, Tourette's, or almost any other learning or behavior problem (including normal adolescence), there will be something here for you.
Watch for these conferences in your city, and even if you don't feel it necessary or affordable to attend the whole conference, be sure to at least attend one of the free evening workshops. The 2-1/2 hour workshop last night called "Defending Your Child From a Toxic World" was so interesting that the time just flew by. The presenter, Dr. Stuart Freedenfeld of the Stockton Family Practice, Stockton, NJ, is very knowledgeable and an excellent speaker. I will be giving you tidbits from his workshop over the next few eNewsletters, starting today.
What impressed me most about him was his assertion that when treating a child with autism, he never gives up until the child has recovered. And that his greatest fear is that as our environment increases in toxicity, the day will come when he can no longer help these children recover. I can hardly wait for the workshop this evening - I chose the clinician roundtable. In fact, I am going to go early because they allow everybody to browse the exhibits. Many of the exhibitors are testing laboratories, compounding pharmacists, and special service providers - just talking to them and reading their materials is very educational.
[ ] BISPHENOL A
- from DAN! Conference workshop "Defending Your Child From a Toxic World."
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in hard plastics, including some Nalgene bottles, food containers, the lining of tin cans, and dental sealants. This otherwise useful chemical is associated with cancer of the breast and testicles, diabetes, hyperactivity, low sperm count, and obesity. Obesity? Yes - the BPA that a mother is exposed to while pregnant will encourage obesity not only in her own children, but even in THEIR children.
In doses 1000 times less than the usual exposure levels found, BPA has caused prostate and female genital abnormalities in lab animals. Monkeys exposed to levels of BPA considered safe for humans showed chemical interference with brain cell connections vital to memory, learning and mood. Moreover it is known to cause neurologic and developmental effects, to interfere with estrogen and thyroid function, and can cause infertility. 
So, we're going to ban it, right?
Wrong. We currently produce 2.3 millions tons of BPA per year, and are expected to increase this amount by 14% in the next few years.
If you are a new mom, protecting your baby from BPA is especially important because babies do not eliminate BPA very well, and they are more sensitive to it than adults. Unfortunately, BPA is found in most baby bottles - the following brands were tested in 2007 by the Environmental California Research and Policy Center, and all were found to leach BPA at levels high enough to cause harm in laboratory animals:
- Dr. Brown's
However, if you use one of these brands, don't panic - the tests were done by heating water in the bottles to a very high temperature and leaving them there overnight. When kept at room temperature, the level of BPA leached into the water was not detectable. If you must use these brands, be careful not to heat the formula to a high temperature or to boil water in the bottles.
To avoid possible exposure to BPA from bottles, you can use old-fashioned glass baby bottles, or switch to BORN FREE baby bottles, which are free of BPA. Avent also now sells a special bottle which they say is BPA-free. If other brands have not already come out with BPA-free bottles, they probably will soon.
Canned baby formula, however, is another story. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) did a survey of BPA in canned foods in the U.S. See the report. The EWG says that there are no government safety standards limiting the amount of BPA in canned food. The highest levels their survey found were in canned chicken soup, canned ravioli, and canned infant formula.
- If your dentist wants to use dental sealant for your child, ask him to provide a brand without BPA. While we're talking about dentists, if you are going to use a sealant or a "white" filling for your child's teeth, be aware that some contain fluoride. Read more about fluoride so that you can decide in advance whether you want it. According to the dentists I have called, such fluoride stays on the teeth and is not released by chewing.
- Chemical Exposures: Exploring Developmental Origins of Obesity, Graeme Stemp-Morlock, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2007 May; 115(5): A242.
- Bisphenol A prevents the synaptogenic response to estradiol in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of ovariectomized nonhuman primates, Leranth C, et al., Procedudres of the National Academy of Sciences, September 16, 2008 (cover story). This link is to the full text of the article.
[ ] OUTREACH CLINICS - ATLANTA & CHARLESTON
For Children and Adults with Autism, PDD, ADHD, Allergies, Immune Dysfunction, and Behavior Disorders - The Great Plains Laboratory will have two Outreach Clinics in the near future:
(1) Atlanta, GA, on Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2, 2009. The last day to register is April 29, 2009.
(2) Charleston, SC, Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14, 2009. The Last day to register is June 11, 2009.
Please contact Bryan Olson or Chasity Robinson at 913-341-8949 if you have any questions and/or to schedule appointments. Or visit their web site to register online and for frequently asked questions.
[ ] CONFERENCE IN DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 23-24
A conference on natural and biomedical approaches to Tourette's, Tics, OCD, and Depression - for practitioners, patients, and their families - will be held at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center in Dallas, TX, on May 23-24, 2009. See more information.
I will be hosting the Feingold exhibit, and I will also be speaking about the Feingold Program on the afternoon of the second day. If you attend the Conference, please come by the Feingold table and say Hello. If you would like to volunteer at our table, please let me know.