We are engaged in a battle to save a generation of children from the present trend of deteriorating mental and physical health. Allergic diseases such as asthma and eczema are increasing in frequency and severity. One survey showed a 46% increase nationwide in deaths from asthma between 1977 and 1991. In some areas, asthma has increased 200% over the past 20 years. Ear, throat, sinus, and bronchial infections are occurring on a scale unknown in earlier generations. Corresponding increases have taken place in behavioral disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and autism.
Toxic environmental chemicals, commercial food processing, and overuse of antibiotics are largely responsible for the downward spiral in children’s health. Air pollution involves a class of chemicals known as “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs), which include petrochemicals and a vast number of commercial, solvent-types of chemicals. The production of the latter has increased 150-fold in the past fifty to sixty years. VOCs are fat- or lipid-soluble and therefore have an affinity for the fatty tissues of the body. The brain and mucous membranes are prime targets. It has been estimated that fetuses and children may be up to ten times more vulnerable to the toxic effects of VOCs than adults … Part of the problem with toxic environmental chemicals is the process of “synergism,” whereby combinations of chemicals may have far more than additive effects. Two chemicals in combination, each at low levels, may increase their toxicities 10-fold over each of the chemicals when separate, and three chemicals may increase toxicities 100-fold.
The topic of commercial food processing and adulteration is too vast to address here. Only the older generation today can remember the patterns of sitdown, prepared family meals of simple, unprocessed foods. Nutritionists have estimated that today’s highly processed foods may in some respects have less than 20% of the vital nutrients of earlier times…. Good nutrition is notnecessarily more expensive; it does require a return to simple, unadulterated foods of earlier times.
Regarding antibiotics, authorities at leading medical centers have estimated that over 50% of antibiotic prescriptions should never have been written. And in a study of 460 children with middle ear infections, those treated with antibiotics were two to six times more likely to come down with another ear infection in the next six weeks than those treated with placebos.
More controversial than these topics is evidence [from an animal study] that suggests fluoride in its various forms can lower [intelligence], so it must be added as another potential cause of the increasing incidence of learning problems. A small but growing minority of professionals and laypersons are coming to believe that childhood immunizations, in their present forms and schedules, are another causative factor in immunologic and neurobehavioral problems.
The scope of the problem equals or in some respects exceeds other notable crises in American history. Time is running out for our children, and decisive action must be taken on their behalf.
We can and must save our children.