Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today's toxin

Today's scary headline,
"Scientists find 'baffling' link between autism and vinyl floors"
sent me running back in time to my son's room in 1996.
Did we have vinyl? When was the Pergo installed?
Does it matter now? Did it matter then?
Probably not, says Dr. Phillip Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Landrigan has "no doubt that environmental exposures are involved in causation of autism," but he suspects the most significant exposures occur not in childhood, but early in pregnancy, "when the basic architecture of the brain is still being established."

There were no vinyl floors here in 1995. But the range of toxins we are exposed to is so broad, there's no telling what triggered the autism in my son.

There's nothing I could have done personally to prevent it. In a world as contaminated as ours, you can't shop your way to safety. Buy all the organic produce you can. You're still exposed to pesticides in the air you breathe and the water you drink. Drink from a stainless steel bottle. You're still exposed to phthalates from carpeting in the doctor's office. Or brominated fire retardants in the couch. Chlorine in the pool. Mercury in your dinner.

Or the vinyl blinds, which hung in our home even before he was born.

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