A consumer advocacy group called on the Food and Drug Administration Tuesday to ban the use of eight artificial colorings in food because the additives may cause hyperactivity and behavior problems in some children.

Controlled studies conducted over three decades have shown that children’s behavior can be worsened by some artificial dyes, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The colorings the center seeks to ban are: Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6. The group noted the British government is successfully pressuring food manufacturers to switch to safer colorings.

Over the years, the FDA has consistently disputed the center’s assertion. Read the rest of this entry »

by Roman Bystrianyk/Health Sentinel

Autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, mental retardation, lowered IQ and other learning and behavior disorders are very common in today’s American children. The occurrence of these learning and developmental disabilities (LDDs) appears to be rising with between 5 to 15 percent of all children under the age of 18 in the United States affected. In general, these disabilities have significantly increased over the past 40 years and now affect more than 12 million children in the United States.

On February 20, 2008 The Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative published a Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorder. This statement signed by more than 50 national and international health professionals and scientists summarizes the most recent science about environmental contaminants associated with learning and developmental disabilities. The report that was drafted by this prestigious group contains over 200 scientific references.

“We know enough now to move on with taking steps to protect our children. This document pulls that knowledge together to further this vital effort,” said reviewer Martha Herbert, PhD, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurologist with subspecialty certification in neurodevelopmental disabilities at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Exposure to a wide variety of chemicals is now an unavoidable fact of modern life. Approximately 3,000 chemicals are manufactured in amounts over 1,000,000 pounds each year. Read the rest of this entry »

  • The National School Lunch Program served more than 5 billion lunches in 2007.
  • The average cost of a lunch for the last school year was $1.80.
  • The Department of Agriculture has not changed rules about the nutritional content of federally subsidized school lunches in 30 years.
  • School lunches must meet the applicable recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individuals calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Fewer than 1/3 of public school lunches meet these standards.
  • Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents, and only 2% of children eat a diet that is healthy according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) criteria.

Read the rest of this entry »

Results of year long study found children who ate a variety of conventional foods also ingested measurable and concerning amounts of organophosphates, widely used chemicals that kill insects by disrupting their brains and nervous systems.

When the same children ate organic fruits, vegetables and juices, signs of pesticides were not found.

“Once you switch from conventional food to organic, the pesticides (malathion and chlorpyrifos) that we measured in the urine disappeared. The level returns immediately when you go back to the conventional diets,” said Lu, a professor at Emory University’s School of Public Health and a leading authority on pesticides and children. Read the rest of this entry »

A new study led by University of Michigan researchers found that when it comes to their kid’s weight, many parents don’t want to admit there’s a problem. After surveying over 2,000 adults and taking height and weight measurements of their children, the study found that among parents with an obese or extremely overweight child between the ages of 6 and 11:
  • 43 percent said their child was “about the right weight,”
  • 37 percent believed the child was “slightly overweight”
  • 13 percent said “very overweight”
  • A smaller percentage said the child was “slightly underweight”

“It suggests to me that parents of younger kids believe that their children will grow out of their obesity, or something will change at older ages,” said Dr. Matthew M. Davis, a professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at University of Michigan, who led the study. Read the rest of this entry »