Environmental Bogeymen: -Ates and -Ides and -Oses, Oh My!


Many people think there is a relationship between the environment and the increasing rates of neurological disorders, including autism.  When my daughter was diagnosed with autism more than 5 years ago, my husband started to become consumed with her exposures to such toxins.

But it seems that we hear about new bogeymen in our environment on at least a weekly basis.  You could drive yourself crazy reacting to each and every one, and my husband does.  Drive me crazy, that is.

 I thought that I would create a laundry list to drive home the sheer volume of these perceived threats to our health and well-being.  If I could have figured out how to do it, I would have highlighted the bogeymen in some kind of dripping green font...instead, you'll have to settle for large, bold, and emergency-vehicle RED.

Everyone knows about gluten and casein.  Pfffft.  GFCF is for amateurs.  Many store-bought GFCF foods are still loaded with refined sugars and other simple carbohydrates.  And of course anything with HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup) is out of the question.

Hot dogs and deli meats are technically GFCF, but full of nitrates or other chemicals such as MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate).  Like-wise French fries and potato chips are GFCF, but are loaded with toxic acrylamides that are released during the frying process.

Even some fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli and strawberries, should be limited if you are sensitive to phenols.  Needless to say there are few non-organic foods in our house, nor grain-fed beef or farmed fish or whatever the opposite of free-range chicken is...cooped-up chicken?

Microwave usage is verboten.  I can't explain it.  The food molecules go helter-skelter, grow horns, and attack your brain cells with cleavers.  Or something.  We have a $1,000 water ionizer and any other non-ionized or tap water is frowned upon.

My husband's latest bogeymen are EMF's or Electromagnetic Fields.  He goes around the house at night unplugging the computer router, the cordless phones, and putting our cell phones into airplane mode.  

Summer time is interesting.  Hubby is very concerned about a lack of exposure to sunlight so he wants Audrey to be outside a lot, but disapproves of sunscreens.  Notice that the words "skin" and "cancer" are not in large, bold, red letters here.  Totally not a bogeyman.  Pool chemicals are, but the trade off of getting exercise and sunlight is OK.  Apparently, the sunlight naturally dissipates much of the chemicals.  Which means that indoor pools and water parks are not allowed.

The scarier thing to me is that I could actually go on and on and on, but this is already getting long and annoying the shit out of me.  So I will just jam in all of the other household items such as anti-bacterial soaps, cheap shampoos and bubble baths, fabric softeners, carpet chemicals, cleaning supplies, "bad" air in the house, etc.

I know that he's right about some of this stuff.  There have been billions of new chemicals introduced into our environment in just the last few decades.  Some question our ability as a species to adjust to this onslaught and process all of these new toxins...and I don't discount the theory that this may be a contributing factor in the epidemic levels of autism in that same time frame.  

But how do you balance this with living your life and not making yourself crazy with paranoia over everything you come into contact with?  Well?  Tell me!

Lynn Hudoba blogs at "My Life As An Ungraceful, Unhinged, and Unwilling Draftee Into the Autism Army" at http://www.autismarmymom.com


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