Activist Mommy











{August 12, 2007}   Women In The News


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baby bottleLast night I was watching the news when a story came on about baby bottles and a chemical called bisphenol A. A short story on the chemical found in plastics is here. Honestly, it seems a bit redundent that it needs to be said. We alrady know that bottled water is unhealthy and that is in part to the plastic bottle itself. The chemicals in the plastic bottles are leached out into the water you drink. And, obviously, the same thing happens to your baby’s formula in that plastic bottle. Bisphenol A has been linked in tests to “problems such as obesity, early puberty, hyperactivity, and abnormal sexual behavior and reproductive cycles”. That is a pretty scary list of issues that could come using a baby bottle. I especially wonder about the hyperactivity link with the number of children diagnosed with hyperactivity rising.

I hate to get on my high horse, but this is just one more reason I am so glad that I made the choice to breastfeed. I sat on the couch watching women on the news making comments about not knowing what to do and all I could think of was how ingrained the “baby bottle” mentality is in most Americans. Because obviously breasts are for selling cars and pleasing men. I wonder if the ones who say “Ewww” to the thought of breastfeeding thinks that exposing kids to 10 times the safe amount of an artificial sex hormone is less “disgusting”?

Edited to add that I was sent a link to a great article on this that also contains a rebuttal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). You can read it here. They of course say that bottles are completely safe and that there is no concern from bisphenol A. Call me cynical, but isn’t that about like asking the fox if it’s safe to let him guard the henhouse? I mean the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers says that toys with PVC are safe, because saying otherwise loses them money. So what of the JPMA?

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JPMA) is a national trade organization representing 95% of the $7.3 billion industry.

Does anyone else smell a hint of money in their denial of health risks from bisphenol A? I know I would sure like to see what studies they have done, how it was researched, and who funded it.


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I was sent an email about the latest toy recall from Fisher-Price. What seemed ironic to me is the same day I recived a package from Fisher-Price trying to convince me to buy thier latest toys, Planet Heroes. What better way to divert my attention from the dangerous toys then a free DVD and a poster coverd in new and exciting toys. Or not.

There is a great article on How do our kids get so caught up in consumerism? over at Kids and Commercialism. I think about it everytime we get advertisements in the mail, an effort to catch those who aren’t watching nonstop TV and eating at McDonalds and other toy-ridden so-called food places. Buy, buy, buy! And if a few toys get recalled we’ll just make more for you to buy. And kids just eat them up, the bright colors and fun advertising made to catch their eye.

Before a child enters first grade science class, and before entering in any real way into our religious ceremonies, a child will have soaked in 30,000 advertisements.

Here is the email I was sent on the Fisher-Price toy recall and more information on what you can do about it.

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I was trying to watch the news last night, I know a terrible habit, but my boys were bouncing off the walls (and each other). So most of what I heard was a few muffled words as they paused to breath before the roaring screams began again. Somewhere in all of that I heard mention of Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. It instantly caught my attention, but I was unable to hear the rest of the story. Showing how out of the loop I am I got angry that Wal-Mart was coming up with another way to kill off small businesses andmake more moeny for themselves. But a quick search online revealed that this scheme has been in operation since 1998 and already operates in several countries. OK, so there isn’t one under this rock I keep hiding beneath. There’s my excuse for not knowing about these.

Reed Warbler feeding baby CuckcooBut I’m still angry. Wal-Mart creates huge super-centers that offer everything you could imagine in one giant store for a fraction of the cost. This wipes out most of the small businesses trying to make it. So then, once these small Mom&Pop stores are closed Wal-Mart swoops in to stick their own “neighborhood markets” in their place. Much like the Common Cuckcoo who lays their eggs in another bird’s nest. See the mother Cuckcoo flies down, kicks out an egg, and lays her own. Once the baby hatches it begs for food from the new adopted mother, growing at a rate much faster than the bird’s real babies. Thus they starve and die while the cuckcoo lives on to steal another’s nest. Wal-Mart is like a huge mother cuckcoo, and these Neighborhood Markets are the seemingly inocent eggs lying in the wrong nest. Pretty soon those eggs are going to hatch and begin demanding food, and it’s the few remaining real neighborhood shops who are going to pay.

Already the stores are being revamped to appeal to more people. This older article (from Jan. ’07) from EarthTimes.org says so much. Wal-Mart Enhances Neighborhood Market Design They are trying out new tricks such as “an increased selections in organics and produce” and “earth-toned colors with natural woods that define each store department that creates a ‘store within a store’ feel”. These Neighborhood Markets are supposed to “creates a more personal experience for the shopper”. Unlike the personal experience one could get by, say, shopping at a family store that has been open your entire life and run by people you grew up with. I suppose the same could almost be said here, except with Wal-Mart those people work behind the counter for less pay, less benefits, and they have to wear those ugly vests.

Wal-Mart Neighborhood MarketIt certainly does seem  as if Wal-Mart is trying to edge in on a friendlier image. A new green logo, earth toned colors, a softer look. I mean, that’s not at all like laying eggs that match the eggs in the nest you are invading. Is it?


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I found that I was being linked to a blog called Downwiththekids so I desided to check it out. I was pretty excited to read one of the recent posts, and not just because I was mentined. No, what got my grinning from ear to ear was this great post on the state of the world, Optimism – the only way. With all the negative news it’s nice to read something positive for a change.

As more people get involved making a change in the world seems more likely. Not only are celebs taking up the torch, but ordinary people are also working to make the world a better place. Maybe it’s just the coffee talking this morning, but thinking about it makes me feel a little warm and tingling. Knowing that more and more people are choosing to take an active role instead of sitting there on the sidelines complaining. As she puts it

Don’t get me wrong, there is still massive injustice, particularly when you compare the first world to the third world, but when else in history have you had such awareness and concern about the issues?

Philanthropists of the scale of Bill Gates, a charitable industry that is growing by the year, artists like Bono and Bob Geldof devoting their power and influence to enormous humanitarian objectives? Sure there’s a long way to go, and it’s a bumpy road, but if I look back over human history am I crazy to think we are moving in the right direction?

Maybe she is crazy, but I’ve never had a problem with crazy. And at least this is a “stars in my eyes” kind of crazy. I can dig that. And I’m not alone. All over the world we are seeing people coming around to a different way of thinking. From poachers reformingtheir ways to families learning to love biodeisel it seems that more and more people are making changes that make the world a better place. And who knows, it might just happen.


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Everyone has been a buzz about China executing the man in charge of their food and drug safety administration. Food from China has been getting some negative press lately. You know, what with it being toxic and all. Knowing that you could be eating food shipped over from China in who knows what condition is a bit unnerving, but I don’t know that I’d kill the guy for it. Of course, like the Daily Kos points out that doesn’t mean that we can breath a sigh of relief. If anything we may be discovering that the problem is about to get worse.

I can’t help but get a little crosseyed trying to work out the differences between the execution of Zheng Xiaoyu and the release of Scooter Libby here in the US. I mean both applied for leniency, yet one was denied and the other walked free (or close enough). I don’t even want to begin to wrap my head around the politics right now. I’m afriad I might get lost and never found again. But don’t let my fear stop you, if you want to wind yourself up in the polical maze I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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bottled waterCan I say “duh”?

It was on my Yahoo.com front page this morning, that bottled water is bad for the earth. I’m a bit confused that more people haven’t figured this out, but sometimes I forget that not everyone cares where the stuff they buy comes from or goes to. Before I go on I’ll admit that I do have a small collection of water bottles in my fridge. I use them when I take my sons to the park so that I don’t have to buy drinks from the machine or let them drink out of the rusted fountain. Or for long car rides I’ll grab a couple bottles out of the fridge rather than stopping and buying something along the way. I have about 6 bottles, most of them at least 2 years old. Several of my friends have actually went to using glass bottles instead of plastic, in fact a lot of them use glass everything instead of plastic. However I can’t get this image out of my head of my boys breaking them over each other’s head. I know I should look into some of the better reusable bottles for drinks, I just haven’t got to it yet. I will, I promise!

 The news really isn’t anything new. Back in 2005 ABC News did a report on whether bottled water was healthier and tasted better than tap. The results came back that tap water and bottled water really aren’t that different. Except for, you know, the fuel used transporting the bottles of water, the pollution made by the factories making the bottles, the trash that piles up from all the bottles being tossed, and the chemicals leeching out of the bottles into your body. Or as the New York Times puts it The Unintended Consequences of Hyperhydration.

I read some frightening statistics this morning on the whole bottled water company. Buying the cute little bottle of water can leave a big, gaping hole in its place. There is a link there to a great article where the statisitcs come from. It is definitely worth the read. Or you can head over to No Impact Man and see how he deals with the reusable water bottle craze. He’s got some pretty shocking statistics up also.

In the end here are my ideas for reducing the bottled water problems:

  • Reuse the water bottles that you already have. Rinse them out, refill them, and pop them in the fridge or freezer until next time.
  • Recycle your bottles insteadof tossing them out.
  • If you find yourself in need of a drink buy brands that aren’t shipped from other countries.
  • Get reusable bottles that you can use for all of your drinks rather than buying packaged drinks over and over again.
  • Turn on the tap to get your drink.
  • Put a jap on your counter and put the money you would be spending on bottled water in there instead. When the jar is full, donate the money.


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I found an interesting, and frightening, post last night about the Chinese food scandal and how it affects our health. To read about how heavy doses of fertilizers, poisons, toxins, and heavy metals could be sitting in my fridge right now leaves me feeling a bit uneasy. I’ll admit to having a creeping panic attack at the thought of feeding any of that to my children. Thanks to a loophole in the laws dealing with the labeling of food sources and the FDA not testing for metals in imported foods there is almost no way to know if the food you are about to eat is contaminated or not.

Suddenly Local Foods month has a whole new meaning.  Sure, making sure the foods you eat are organic and locally grown can be a bit more work. And to some it’s even anti-feminist.  But feeling a little more safe about the products my children are eating is worth it to me. And hey, someone has to be alive and healthy to run the country in 30 years when everyone else has cancer or brain damage from heavy metal poisoning and toxic chemicals.


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Real journalists like Mika Brzezinski who realise how petty and ignorant it is to talk about a talentless blonde bimbo who’s only claim to fame is making a sex video. Hello people! There is real news going on out there! People are dying, companies are polutting, politicians are lying. And Paris Hilton gets the lead story? No, no, no.

Too bad her two male co-anchers couldn’t be bothers to be journalists. Instead of standing up for journalistic integrity they made snide comments and fawned over a video clip of Paris leaving jail. What is our world coming to when this kind of senseless celebrity pandering is the most important thing they had to talk about? What is the fate of American media when not only does this rubish get top billing, but two “professional” men go on to act like sexist jerks on national television?

“She’s not a journalist anymore, is she?”

No, sir. I think she’s the last real journalist America may have left. Mika Brzezinski I applaud you.


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et cetera