Natural Family News

January 31, 2006

Rickets: Is breastfeeding really to blame?

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Health — lking @ 7:53 pm

Another news article has been written that claims that rising breastfeeding rates are to blame for an increase in cases of rickets, and that all breastfed babies should be supplemented with vitamin D. I find this problematic for a number of reasons. First, it makes no biological sense. Breastmilk is the perfectly designed food for babies – it shouldn’t need to be supplemented. Second, while breastfeeding rates are improving, they are still pretty pitiful. Third, rickets is primarily a problem in darker-skinned individuals living in northern latitudes, so recommending supplementation across the board is unnecessary. So, if breastfeeding isn’t to blame, what is the cause? Largely it is due to individuals not receiving enough sunlight. Our society has become so sun-phobic that we cover up and slather on SPF 50 sunscreen every time we head outdoors. For fair skinned people, it really doesn’t take much time outside; a little over 15 minutes a day, without a hat or sunscreen, is sufficient. Dark skinned people need to spend more time outdoors to get the same effect; the problem is nobody has ever studied how much more time is needed. The other potential problem is an inadequate supply of vitamin D in the mother. Normally, babies are born with a store of vitamin D in their liver. But if mom is deficient, then baby may start off deficient as well.

If you’d like to read some more accurate information on vitamin D supplementation, breastfeeding and rickets, I suggest you check out the information on Kellymom’s website. There is an excellent discussion of the subject there, as well as links to a number of helpful resources.

Teflon gets another thumbs down

Filed under: Health — jmanty @ 8:34 am

Expert Panel Urges EPA to Strengthen Safety Review of Teflon Chemical
Majority Calls Widespread Pollutant “Likely Human Carcinogen”

(WASHINGTON, Jan. 30) — Today, a panel of outside experts gave draft comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) saying that an indestructible, toxic chemical that pollutes nearly every American’s blood is a “likely human carcinogen.” The panel urged the agency to adopt stricter guidelines to protect human health, according to a majority of its members. This announcement follows news just last week that the EPA signed a voluntary agreement with the chemical’s maker, DuPont, and seven other companies to reduce the chemical’s use in products by 95 percent over the next five years and aim for total elimination of its use by 2015.

“This indestructible nonstick chemical meets the government’s criteria of a ‘likely human carcinogen,’” said Tim Kropp, senior scientist at Environmental Working Group (EWG). “We are pleased that the Science Advisory Board (SAB) concurred with many of the concerns we have raised about the hazards of PFOA. There is growing consensus that health officials should err on the side of precaution with any industrial chemical that ends up in human blood, but especially chemicals like PFOA that are toxic and indestructible. We applaud the EPA for reaching an agreement with industry to dramatically lower the amount of this chemical in popular consumer products, and we urge the agency to adopt a similarly strong stance to protect the public from possible health risks associated with this chemical.”

Specifically, the EPA’s outside expert panel told the agency to:

Consider immune and nervous system effects on animals in its study of possible human health risks; and
Use a more health-protective and scientifically valid approach to studying human health risks from the chemical.
Most of the experts on the panel called PFOA a “likely human carcinogen,” not a “suggested human carcinogen,” as the EPA had proposed.

Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president, called on the EPA to bar from any future relationship with any EPA advisory panel two SAB panel members who are scientific advisors to the chemical industry front group the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). The two panel members, Michael Kamrin and Ernest Abel, have consistently downplayed the toxicity of PFOA, in stark contrast to the concerns expressed by the majority of panel members.

Gilbert Ross, ACSH’s medical director, was recently exposed as a convicted felon who served jail time for Medicaid fraud and perjury in the 1990s and lost his medical license in New York.

Teflon and other nonstick cookware; clothing and carpeting that have stain-repellent coatings; fast food packaging that repels grease and oil; cleaning products; cosmetics and many other consumer products are made with chemicals that break down into PFOA in our bodies.

This chemical pollutes over 95 percent of Americans’ blood, including all 10 newborns surveyed in a study EWG commissioned last summer. PFOA never breaks down in the environment, so every molecule of it produced since the 1950s or earlier will forever be in our air, water and bodies. In animals, PFOA causes cancer, birth defects and other health problems.


EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. The group’s five years’ worth of research on PFOA and related chemicals is available at

January 30, 2006

Indiana senator blocks midwifery legislation

Filed under: Homebirth,Natural Birth — lking @ 11:21 am

Indiana is one of nine states that requires midwives to be licensed to attend homebirths, but then provides no way for them to do so. The state does not recognize Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), a title awared by the North American Registry of midwives. Every year since 1993, legislation has been introduced into the Indiana senate to try to legalize CPMs, and every year it has been blocked by one senator who doesn’t want to see it happen. Senator Pat Miller (R) has been using her power as chair of the Senate Public Health Committee to kill the legislation in committee before it ever has a chance to go to the floor for a vote. Meanwhile, somwhere in the neighborhood of 50 CPMs continue to practice in Indiana, risking prosectution for practicing medicine without a license.

Energy efficiency and taxes

Filed under: Alternative Energy — jmanty @ 8:15 am

Did you buy energy efficient windows this year? How about a hybrid car? If you did, not only did you help the environment, but you may well have helped your tax responsibility. Many energy saving items are eligible for a tax credit, from $200 for Energy Star-labeled windows, to $250-$3,400 for a hybrid car. For more information, visit the Alliance to Save Energy.

January 29, 2006

At home preparation may decrease chance of episiotomy

Filed under: Natural Birth — jmanty @ 8:57 am

Perineal massage in the last four to five weeks before childbirth resulted in a 15% reduction in episiotomies, according to a new study. An additional benefit was less perineal pain after birth. Perhaps now that it’s made it into some medical studies, doctors will begin recommending what midwives have recommended all along.

January 28, 2006

Does height influence intelligence?

Filed under: Health — jmanty @ 5:37 pm

There’s a new study that says that slow physical growth may also mean slow mental growth. Hmmm. My oldest is short, but if being taller was going to make him smarter, I’m kind of glad he’s short. He’s already too smart for his own good sometime. I can see that if the height (or lack thereof) was a result of malnutrition there might be a correlation, but my son just got the short stick of the gene pool. His Dad is 5’8″, and I’m only 5’5″. Did we really expect him to be 6’4″?

January 27, 2006

One workout can help lift depression

Filed under: Health — jmanty @ 7:33 am

A new study says that a single 30 minute walk can help lift serious depression. Of course, when you’re depressed even a 30 minute walk can require a Herculean effort. But I thought this had some decent prospects for post-partum depression, as well. I, myself, have suffered from depression off and on, and I know I always feel better after a little exercise. Knowing that it’s not all in my head might be just the incentive I need to get myself off the couch the next time I’m feeling low.

January 26, 2006

Hospital offers postpartum massage

Filed under: Natural Birth — jmanty @ 7:34 am

A San Antonio hospital has added postpartum massage to the list of services offered to their new moms. I was supposed to have a massage therapist at my last birth, which was a homebirth, but that didn’t work out. But I think I might try harder next time to make it work, or to at least plan for a postpartum massage. It sounds great, and it’s nice to hear that hospitals are doing something other than dispensing pills to help with postpartum discomfort.

January 25, 2006

America’s Second Harvest teams up with organic florist

Filed under: Organic businesses — jmanty @ 7:40 am

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ — America’s Second Harvest – The
Nation’s Food Bank Network, which is the nation’s largest charitable
hunger-relief organization, has partnered with, the
internets first organic florist, to raise funds to help feed the nation’s

Organic Bouquet will donate 10 percent of each purchase made at In addition, Organic Bouquet will donate five
percent of it sales from its new “America’s Second Harvest Bouquet” — two
dozen certified organic roses — created especially to support the work of
(America’s Second Harvest?) and available in the Charitable Bouquet collection

“America’s Second Harvest is extremely grateful to Organic Bouquet for
their financial support of our efforts to help feed the nation’s hungry,” said
Robert Forney, president and CEO of America’s Second Harvest — The Nations
Food Bank Network. “Our Network of Food Banks will help feed more than 23
million Americans this year and we could not do this without the help of
Organic Bouquet and our other partners.”

America’s Second Harvest has a Network of more than 200 Member food banks
and food-rescue organizations serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia
and Puerto Rico. Its primary role is supporting the 215 food banks that are a
part of its network and providing food throughout the year, as well as in the
wake of a national disaster, to those in need. During the recent hurricane
season, it sent more than 66 million pounds of food to the effected areas and
locations housing evacuees. This was in addition to the nearly two billion
pounds moved by the network annually.

“We are very proud to support America’s Second Harvest in its vital
efforts in the fight against hunger,” said Gerald Prolman, CEO of Organic
Bouquet. “Purchasing our flowers not only provides long lasting enjoyment for
the recipient, but is safe for farm workers, the environment and helps people
in need. Everyone benefits.”

Organic Bouquet has pioneered the organic flower market, working with
growers around the world who are committed to the highest social and
environmental standards. Flowers are grown and harvested using practices that
aim to improve the quality of farm working conditions, minimize damage to
ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enhance environmental quality for
future generations.

January 24, 2006

Not really news, but I thought you’d like to know

Filed under: Blogroll,Organic businesses — jmanty @ 7:35 am

In this month’s Vegetarian Times, I read a brief mention of maple fudge made by Krueger-Norton Family Sugarhouse. It sounds absolutely delicious, and it contains only organic maple syrup, Vermont cream and walnuts. It sounds like a great sweet treat. For more information or to order maple fudge, syrup or candies, visit their site.

January 23, 2006

Verizon honored as breastfeeding friendly workplace

Filed under: Uncategorized — jmanty @ 9:35 am

BEDMINSTER, N.J., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ — In a continuing effort to honor
corporations that support employees who are breastfeeding mothers, the New
Jersey Breastfeeding Task Force has selected Verizon Wireless to receive the
first Breastfeeding Friendly Award of 2006. Dr. Amy Kotler, chair of the
American Academy of Pediatrics New Jersey Chapter Breastfeeding and Nutrition
Committee, member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and mother of two
breastfed children, presented the award to Verizon Wireless today at its
corporate headquarters in Bedminster, NJ.
Verizon Wireless was recognized for its innovative programs that
facilitate breastfeeding, including the availability of lactation rooms at all
major corporate facilities from coast to coast. The company currently
provides lactation rooms at eight locations throughout the Northeast, seven
throughout the South Area, four in the Midwest and four throughout the West
Area. These rooms enable breastfeeding mothers to pump during work breaks.
The lactation rooms are just one of the many benefits Verizon Wireless
offers to working mothers. Verizon Wireless’s company-wide Enhanced Healthy
Babies Program, which provides incentives to employees who adopt healthy
actions during and after their pregnancy, reimburses employees for lactation
consultant services, the purchase or rental of a breast pump, and
Lamaze/Birthing classes. In addition, Verizon Wireless conducts online
Webinars featuring important information regarding pregnancy and the benefits
of breastfeeding.
Ellen Maughan, president of the New Jersey Breastfeeding Task Force,
praises Verizon Wireless for the creation of the lactation room as a model for
other corporations. “We are delighted to honor Verizon Wireless for its
comprehensive approach to supporting breastfeeding employees. Helping mothers
to continue breastfeeding is good for both the employee’s family, in that it
helps them to enjoy the abundant health and emotional benefits of
breastfeeding for mother and child, and for employers, because it helps them
retain valuable employees.”

January 21, 2006

Yet another reason to breastfeed

Filed under: Breastfeeding — jmanty @ 5:36 pm

I know you don’t really need another reason, but in case you’re still on the fence about whether breastfeeding is a good idea… A recent study shows that people who were breastfed are less likely to develop celiac disease. Celiac sufferers can’t eat wheat and gluten. Continuing to breastfeed while introducing products that contain wheat seems to result in about a 50% reduction in the incidence of the disease.

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