First, the article. I knew that a growing number of parents are choosing not to vaccinate, but what I hadn't thought of was how this was going to be distributed demographically. This article was fascinating- it is predominately middle to upper class white parents who choose not to vaccinate thier children, in contrast to times in the past when it was lower class minority parents who didn't vaccinate their children (due to either cost or lack of knowledge, not due to choice). The article pointed out that in more affluent neighborhoods, specifically in non-catholic private schools and charter schools, the likelihood of a dangerous outbreak of the measles (like last year in San Diego) or another life threatening disease is high. They pointed out that what so many non-vaxing parents count on- herd immunity- is becoming non-existent in some communities because so many children aren't vaccinated. One school in Del Rey had over 50% of it's entering kindergardeners for the past two years non-vaxed.
Now, I totally understand why many parents choose not to vax. While I find the diseases they prevent scary, the thought of autism as a side effect is terrifying because it's uncurable. I choose (based on what I've read) not to believe that vaccines are such a huge factor in autism. But I still understand why some parents go the other way.
HOWEVER... part of the reason this works is because of what I said before- herd immunity. It's a totally legit thing. As long as the vast majority do vaccinate their children. But I have two questions.
If you're considering not vaxing, would you still choose not to if you know that around fifty percent of your child's peers were also not going to be vaccinating? I know that many of the parents whose kids are now entering kindergarden probably didn't know that when they made the choice, though.
And secondly, the thing that baffles me most, if you did choose not to vaccinate your child, wouldn't you be extra careful? Like, say, if you were going to take your child to Switzerland wouldn't you do a little research first to make sure there had been no wide spread cases of things like measles? I say that because the outbreak in San Diego was caused by a child who had just returned from Switzerland, where apparently there have been several outbreaks of measles. Wouldn't you do that, then either choose not to go or vet your child vaccinated before the trip?
Just some thoughts on that.
And then on Jenny McCarthy this morning. I usually think her rants are a little, um, over the top. But this morning I was listening to what she was saying (mostly what the doctor with her was saying, actually) and I was like "yes!" They talked about toxins in the environment and in our homes and how these toxins are very likely causing things like autism, allergies, asthma, and possibly other childhood ailments. Things like VOC's and pthalates that pollute our indoor air and come from virtually everything in our home- furniture, carpet, cleaning supplies, AIR FRESHENERS (I have a very serious distaste for air fresheners, particularly the aeresol kind), candles, anything made out of PVC (like, for example, most cold water pipes), paint, cribs, mattresses...
But what can we do about all of these chemicals? I mean, most of us can't afford to clear out everything dangerous in our homes and replace it all with organic, non VOC, or otherwise safe stuff. So what do we do?
Well, unless you've just gotten new carpets or furniture, it's probably fine (or at least better) NOW. New furniture and carpets tend to off gas the most when it's new, and although it continues to do so the chemicals released decrease over time.
The prime offender in furniture is usually the formaldehyde in particle board. Particle board furniture is hard to avoid because it's much cheaper than solid wood. If you have furniture with exposed particle board you can seal it with laminate or varnish (both of which would also require some off gassing.
If you are looking to buy something new, look into antiques, or at least used furniture. At the very lease, these have off gassed significantly. In the best case you may find something made of actual wood! Older furniture tends to contain more natural woods and fibers, which makes it safer.
If you do buy something new, let it sit outside to off gas as long as possible, and continue to ventilate your home after you bring it inside. Wash or wipe anything new to remove surface chemicals.
Get plants! Plants are the best natural air filters, and they freshen the air as well, which leads me to...
...skipping the air fresheners and chemical laden cleaning supplies! Anything that smells strongly most definately contains VOC's. I have never liked the smell of air fresheners, even before I was green. But if you need scented air, look for safer ways to achieve it. I like to boil some apple juice with cinnamon and cloves in the winter for a festive smell. Or look for safe candles- soy candles with natural fragrances and non-metal wicks (Etsy has great candles, just make sure you check the contents). There's also this citrus spray that we used to be able to use at the first child care I worked at that was supposedly safer, but I've never looked into whether it is or not.
Skip plastic when possible. Especially when it comes to toys, I try to stick to fabric or wood.
That was a much longer post than I intended, and it kinda went off topic:)