Friday, 10 June 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

**Warning – Reading this post may result in the loss of blissful ignorance, and the ingestion of large amounts of chocolate may be required to return you to your previous blissful state.  Read at your own risk. **
Every time I turn on the T.V, read a newspaper or go on the internet there is some new study that is saying that such-and-such will kill you.  If I wasn`t a mom, I probably wouldn`t spare much attention, as I am not that concerned about myself.  However, my kids are a different matter and require the best of everything, so I am forced to take notes and try to adjust my life accordingly.
Case in point – we are currently trying to find a new house.  Simple enough right?  Not even close.  Trying to find a house that is not within 2 kilometres of high voltage lines, radio towers or cell towers is proving damn near impossible.  Why do I want to avoid all of these locations?  Because apparently living in those areas can kill you.
Not right away of course.  But from what I have read, if you live near high voltage lines, cell phone or radio towers for more than 3-5 years it greatly increases the risk of developing cancer – especially in children.  You may think that it would be pretty easy to avoid these things – they are big and fairly obvious right?  Wrong.  I just read an editorial in my local newspaper that revealed that a flagpole in front of a senior’s complex in our area was actually a radio tower in disguise.  Apparently someone in the government figured that seniors are going to die soon anyway so it didn’t really matter if they live within a few meters of a major source of radiation – yet what really bothers me is that they went to the trouble of disguising it – and as a patriotic symbol no less. 
Even if we are lucky enough to find a place that is not next to major power lines or towers, there are lots of other things out there waiting to get us.  Like Zoodles, or any other food out of a can for that matter.  You may remember a few years back there was a big outcry (in Canada at least) because it was discovered that a known carcinogen called BPA was in baby bottles.  So the government banned all baby bottles containing BPA (or Bisphenol A) so that the chemical could not leak out into the baby’s milk, as had been happening upon heating.  Yet BPA is used in every canned food product as a lining to stop your food from tasting like metal.  And has anyone noticed that baby formula COMES IN CANS!!!  Seriously people – what good is it to take the BPA out of the baby bottles if you are going to leave it in the formula!  And in every other canned good that people eat.  Again, BPA will supposedly affect kids faster and to a greater extent than it will adults but I don’t think being poisoned slowly is that much better than being poisoned quickly, so why is it ok that BPA is in so many adult products?  Can somebody please take the BPA out of cans so I can eat some damn Zoodles already? 
So to recap, the damn health reports have lead me on the house hunt from hell and caused me to ban canned food products.  If that was all, I probably wouldn’t be complaining to you now.  The next report I read told me that I had to avoid food or cosmetics with propylene glycol in it.  This is a chemical used in anti-freeze and brake fluid and it is found in way more foods than you would expect.  Many ice creams, frozen cakes, low fat salad dressings, soups and sour cream are just a few of the foods I have found it in.  It is commonly used to thicken low fat products without adding extra fat or calories.  And if there are any fans of Desperate Housewives out there you will know that anti-freeze is something you use to poison your enemies when you want to give them a slow and painful death.  So it is not something you want to be eating frequently– or putting on your skin or hair.  In Europe they have actually banned the use of propylene glycol in food products, though it does not look like the government will be doing that here anytime soon.  While propylene glycol has not yet been linked to cancer in clinical studies it has been linked to skin, liver and kidney damage and again, impacts children and especially fetuses to a greater extent.  Just what I needed to find out after the ice cream addiction I had during my last pregnancy. 
Then, as a final kick in the ass I find out that many of the appliances and electronic devises in our home can also be detrimental to my kid’s health.  I had known of course about the rumours that cell phones cause brain tumours, microwaves cause cancer, and even computers and televisions give off low amounts of radiation.  However, I recently learned that wireless internet can cause infertility in men especially when exposed as children for a long period of time.  This is especially concerning to me as the mother of two boys.  I would like grandkids someday you know.  In our area they are actually considering taking Wi-Fi out of schools because of this.  Considering that I am currently talking on my cell phone while watching T.V and posting this to the internet on my laptop using Wi-Fi, I am surprised I have not keeled over yet.
My conclusions?  Ignorance is bliss. Sometimes I would love to just erase all my memories of these disturbing facts so I wouldn’t have to worry so damn much.  However, as much as this would be awesome for me, in the long run it is better to know all this crap for my kid’s sake.  Imagine if I didn’t know and somehow contributed to some future health problem in them unknowingly.  It would be horrible to find out later that there was something I could have done that was a simple as avoiding certain things that could have saved my child.  That being said, I do try to take these studies with a grain of salt and not let them rule my life.  As long as my family is not living off of canned veggies, spam and ice cream we will probably be ok.  They say knowledge is power, but it can be an awful burden too. 

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