June 12, 2009

DT Friday Freakout: Playgrounds, Pregnant BPA & Asian Co-Sleeping Edition

Some over-reaching conclusions and alarming news stories from the worlds of science, safety, and parenting to ruin your weekend, especially if you were planning to go to a playground, or drink from a plastic bottle when you're pregnant:

  • "Safety Questions Raised About Playgrounds Made from Recycled Tires"! ""This is not about creating panic among parents or calling for the closure of fields made from synthetic turf,'' said the Connecticut politician in a make-and/or-report-the-controversy story about the EPA conducting preliminary analysis to determine whether they should conduct a real study to determine whether "rubber crumb" playground surfaces--"the same material used under the Obama family's new play set at the White House" [!!]--pose any risk of lead or chemical exposure. [from the very freakout-friendly new source, claimsjournal via dt reader dt]

  • The other takeaway--besides new vocabulary: "rubber crumb," "tire crumb"--is being reminded of the existence of the Synthetic Turf Council, which makes dadbloggers the only industry [sic] without a lobbying group. Anyone up for founding the Publishing And Media Parents' Roundtable with me?

  • You may remember this whole synthetic turf is poison! thing started last spring when state health investigators in New Jersey found high lead levels on some ghetto-busted old turf playground in Newark. Here are NJ DHSS's followup statements and requests to the CPSC. And in case you thought, after reading them, that the CPSC agreed with NJ's turf concerns, here's their actual press release, "CPSC Staff Finds Synthetic Turf Fields OK to Install, OK to Play On." And the details of their evaluation [pdf] which confirmed that the lead levels found in samples from a 9-yo outdoor playfield were plenty safe for kids--if you assume away 90% of them.

  • Speaking of lead, Mattel will pay a $2.3 million fine for its role in the Great Lead Toy Panic of '07. That works out to about a quarter per recalled toy. [claimsjournal again!]

  • The FDA is re-reviewing its review last year of the research on BPA. Says the newly appointed FDA Commissioner to congressmen's inquiries, it'll be a matter of "weeks not months." Those same congressmen also asked the Hellfire Club's Canned Food Cabal about their top secret no-girls-allowed BPA meeting. The Can Man's excellently spun reply: ""it was nothing more than an effort by industry to find a way to portray correctly the science about BPA that has been repeatedly ignored by the media.'' Try and truncate that quote, plastic-hating reporters! [where else? claimsjournal]

  • A brand new Yale study being presented this weekend found BPA exposure during pregnancy caused permanent fertility-related DNA changes in the fetus. Nothing jokey to say about that, wow. [sciencedaily]

  • Postpartum maternal stress causes delayed puberty in mice offspring. Wait, if BPA causes early onset puberty, would stressing about BPA exposure offset it? Problem solved! [sciencedaily]

  • Though it doesn't explain Ashton Kutcher, a new baboon study shows that the more Twitter followers you have, the better parent you are. [science daily]

  • Flu exposure during pregnancy causes schizophrenia. Or, actually, it was associated with cognitive test anomalies at age 7 in some people who later were diagnosed with schizophrenia as adults. "The good news is that most fetuses exposed to influenza virus while in the womb will not go on to develop schizophrenia." Whew. [sciencedaily]

  • A musical diaper helps daycare workers toilet train kids by alerting them to those most teachable moments, says a study in the latest issue of Neurology and Urodynamics. [sciencedaily]

  • White People Science says kids sleep better in their own room! Sleep researchers studying co-sleeping--who you think would know--"were surprised by the fact" that the vast majority of parents and babies in Asian countries slept in the same room. Pct of Caucasian country families co-sleeping: 11.8%, or sharing a room: 22%. Pct of Asian country families co-sleeping: 64.7%, or sharing a room: 86.5%. Trot that statistic out at your next co-sleeping argument. Wow. [science daily]

  • Kids inherit their mothers' love of cigarettes. [eurekalert]

  • Using a test they developed called Head-Toes-Shoulders-Knees, where kids are supposed to do the opposite of what they hear, researchers at UVA and Oregon State were able to accurately predict kindergarten behavior and math, reading, and vocabulary performance. Fascinating. Also, are they saying Head-Shoulders-Knees-Toes was invented at UMich? [eurekalert]

  • The BBC reports that a Christmas card photo posted on a Missouri family's "internet blog" was turned into a grocery store billboard in Prague without their permission. Obviously, family photos should only be posted to "paper blogs." [bbc via dt freakout correspondent sara]


We did the Japanese thing and co-slept for a few years, until I started getting tired of being head-kicked awake in the mornings around when the kid hit 3... I actually had a fair bit of separation anxiety, moreso than the kid even, when we finally got her a bed in the other room.

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Normally, I delete astroturf spam, but in this case, the irony's too awesome.

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