Friday, July 10, 2009

The Newest Trend in Vitamins

For years, we've been taking vitamins. Most of us have been taking those little tablets since we were young children, with the exception of babies. Babies get their vitamins in liquid form because they can't swallow pills.

Now, adults also have the option of taking their vitamin supplements in liquid form.

You've probably seen all those bottles in your pharmacy and didn't know what they were. The idea of taking vitamins with an eyedropper and dropping it on your tongue probably never crossed your mind.

However, it is now a choice you can make.In fact, it's a choice that has been made by most people that take vitamins. In addition to all the benefits you're about to read about here, liquid vitamins also taste great, being available in different flavors.

Popularity of Liquid Vitamins
In addition to being popular for its ease, taking liquid vitamins has other benefits as well.

The traditional method of taking vitamins was in taking little pills that looked like aspirin. While there is nothing wrong with taking these little vitamin pills, liquid vitamins have many positive points as well. Many individuals that take vitamin pills have problems digesting them and develop heartburn or acid indigestion. They don't always absorb very quickly because they have to break down from their capsule form before they can be dispersed into your blood and throughout your body. This is one advantage of liquid vitamins. They get absorbed almost immediately.

To many people it may not matter how quickly the vitamin absorbs into their system. Most people are in a rush in the morning on their way to work or school. They barely have a chance to do more than drink a quick glass of juice or cup of coffee to wash their vitamin down and they're out the door. They certainly don't have the time to wonder where and what their vitamin pill is doing once they've swallowed it!

Unfortunately, some of the vitamin pills that we swallow go through our body and out again without ever being absorbed in the system where they can help us. It's almost as if we never took the vitamin. What good is that? However, with liquid vitamin supplements, we never have that worry as it begins being absorbed as soon as it's in our mouth. This gives it a huge advantage over vitamin pills.

Liquid vitamins are more popular than they've ever been in the past. This is also a great way to get children to take their vitamins more freely. They'll love the taste of them and love doing what they see their parents doing
Be Healthy,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Are there any symptoms of lead exposure that parents should look for?

Answer: Most lead exposure is asymptomatic, which means there are no symptoms at all.

Lead can be detected at levels that are hazardous for brain development, but are without overt symptoms.

At higher levels of lead exposure, children can develop stomach aches or other gastrointestinal symptoms, feelings of lethargy, head aches or anemia. But those higher lead levels are pretty unusual.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Are There Other Lead Risks For Children Besides Toys?

Answer: The most common lead problem is still lead-based paint, even though it’s no longer used in this country. Homes built prior to a 1978 law may contain lead-based paint. Lead dust is liberated from older lead-based paint when the home has been poorly maintained or when remodeling or demolition is done in the home, such as removing woodwork or walls.

Lead dust is a risk for young children and adults. Lead can sometimes be found in the drinking water of older homes that used lead in the plumbing, although this is a less common cause of lead toxicity.

I used to work for the state health department in California. We had a report of a child who was lead-poisoned from a baby monitor. The child had bonded to the baby monitor as his transitional object and carried it around with him all the time and “mouthed” it. Here is a plastic object in the child’s environment that’s not a toy, yet has lead on the surface that is accessible to a small child. My belief is that anything that is designed to be close to or around children should not have lead on the surface or lead that is easily accessible or chewable.

In another case that I saw, a child was poisoned from lead that was used in the solder to connect an ice maker in a refrigerator to the water supply in a house. Just one gob of solder was enough to poison the child since the parents were making drinks for the kids with the water and ice from the refrigerator.

It doesn’t take a large amount of lead to cause a problem, and any use around children can cause poisoning.

Until next time,


Thursday, March 26, 2009

How serious a problem is lead in children’s toys?

Answer: Lead contamination of imported toys is an emerging issue and has been going on for a long time. We’ve seen lead in colorants used in imported candy from Mexico and in cans of imported juices from countries where they still use lead in the solder. Lead was also detected in children’s jewelry imported from China, which resulted in at least one death.

I think what it comes down to is that we need closer tracking of the products that come into the country. We need to pay attention to and insist on better quality from suppliers in other countries. Even though this has been a problem for some time, it seems to be a more significant problem now because so many products are coming from other countries. Most of the toys sold in U.S. stores today are imported.

We have to realize that we have trading partners that do not have regulatory systems in place that assure product safety. Some rethinking is needed, because only so much can be done in terms of the U.S. testing everything that comes across the border. It’s encouraging when companies step up to the plate. Wal-Mart volunteered to test the jewelry it buys from China to ensure it was lead-safe for kids.

Use the Heavy Metal Screen Test to check for metals in food, water, toys, and your own body.

Until next time,

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mercury & The Environment

Ever wonder where the old saying "mad as a hatter" came from? Or, what made the Mad Hatter in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (Lewis Carroll's 1865 classic) "mad"? Why did these hat makers or "hatters" have a reputation for strange, unpredictable behavior?

The answer is, they were suffering from mercury poisoning.

In the 1800's, mercury nitrate was used in the felting process. Exposure to the chemical affected the workers nervous systems, causing them to display symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning: excitability, mental instability, a tendency to weep, fine tremors of the hands and feet, and personality changes.

Mercury is no longer used in the felting process, but it is still a common ingredient in many household and workplace items. If these items are broken or managed improperly, they can release mercury vapors into our homes, workplace, and environment.

Mercury affects the brain, spinal cord, kidneys, and liver. It affects the ability to feel, see, taste, and move. Long-term exposure to mercury can result in symptoms that get progressively worse and lead to personality changes, stupor, and coma.

Mercury is the only metal that is a liquid. It is a nerve toxin that can impair the way we see, hear, walk and talk. Mercury released from broken devices can vaporize, contaminate the air in our homes, and sometimes go down the drain. Mercury vapor eventually reaches the atmosphere. From there, mercury can mix with rain and snow and fall into lakes and waterways were it can mix with bacteria and be converted into methyl mercury.

Methyl mercury contaminates the food chain and builds up in the tissue of fish and of wildlife and humans who eat the fish. Because of high mercury concentrations in the fish, many states issue advisories cautioning people to limit how much fish they eat.

About two-thirds of the mercury in the atmosphere comes from human-made sources like fossil fuel-burning power plants. The remaining mercury comes from natural sources, such as volcanoes and forest fires.

The most common routes of exposure are inhalation and ingestionInhalation exposure can occur while cleaning up a broken mercury-containing item. Ingestion usually occurs from eating contaminated fish.

Large, long-lived fish meat can contain toxic methyl mercuryOnce in a water body, bacteria can transform mercury into its most toxic form, methyl mercury. Mercury does not break down; it only accumulates as it moves up the food chain toward humans. Since it's in the tissue (not the fat) trimming and cooking don't affect it.

This does not mean you should stop eating fish. It's a good source of protein and low in saturated fat. Moderation according to the type of fish, its origin, and your health status is the key.
Pregnant women should exercise extra caution as the fetus is highly susceptible to methyl mercury poisoning. Affected children show lowered intelligence, impaired hearing, and poor coordination.

For more information about fish consumption advisories, please check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Fish Consumption Advisory Database.

The FDA has recommended that pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and young children avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish/ocean whitefish. FDA advises these women to select a variety of other kinds of fish - including shellfish, canned fish (including tuna), smaller ocean fish or farm-raised fish - and that these women can safely eat 12 ounces per week of cooked fish.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Toxic Legacy: Synthetic Toxins in the Food, Water and Air of American Cities

Product Description:(Hardcover)

Any professional examination of existing or potential new toxins in a population must account for those already present from past problems and natural conditions.

Toxic Legacy provides extensive information on the occurrence of chemical hazards and their potential dangers in combinations in the food, water and air in cities around the United States. The book illustrates consumer preferences for specific food and water products, as well as particular diets and discusses the toxicity and risks associated with our exposure to synthetic chemicals.

The authors offer unique guidance to environmental engineers, scientists, process engineers, and planners and specify what steps can be taken to limit exposure to complex chemical mixtures.

*Includes strategies for minimizing our exposure to chemical mixtures*Provides detailed analysis of hazards associated with exposure to chemical mixtures from multiple sources* Presents chemical data on the food, water and air for 36 metropolitan areas in the United States

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Should kids be tested for lead exposure?

Answer: I think they should.
I would be particularly concerned that a child be tested who is a “mouther,” a finger-sucker, or a child who frequently is putting toys in the mouth.

I would also want to test children under age 4 who have been playing with these toys if it were my child. I think you would want to do that just for peace of mind.

When I was at the EPA, we did an observational study of toddler behavior. We found that toddlers were putting their hands to their mouths anywhere up to 26 times an hour, the mean was 9.5.

They are not necessarily sucking their thumbs, but there is a lot of hand-to-mouth behavior.

We were surprised by the findings and had to rethink the way we were looking at risks for little kids.

Until next time,