Isnin, 5 Mei 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Children exposed to toxic pesticides

Posted: 04 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

A study shows that several children from agricultural areas in France have been exposed to harmful chemicals.

French children in agricultural areas are being exposed to a dangerous cocktail of pesticides, some of them banned, a French health and environment group has claimed.

Generations Futures carried out independent analysis of the hair of young people living or studying near farms or vineyards after parents expressed concern about their children being exposed to poisons that could disrupt their endocrine system. The group, a non-profit organisation specialising in the use and effects of pesticides on humans and the environment, says its findings confirmed their fears.

Researchers took hair samples from a selected group of children aged between three and 10 living or attending schools between 50m and 200m from different agricultural zones. It sent the samples to an independent laboratory in Luxembourg that used methods similar to those employed by detectives investigating poisoning cases.

A total of 624 pesticide traces were found in the 29 samples tested – one sample was deemed of insufficient quantity – suggesting that 80% of the children had been exposed to agricultural pesticides in the previous three months. In total, the laboratory found traces of 53 pesticides believed to affect the hormone system of mammals, leading to cancerous tumours, birth defects, developmental disorders and learning disabilities in humans.

An average of 21.52 different pesticides were found for each child, 35 so-called "endocrine disruptor" pesticides were found at least once, while 13 were discovered in every hair sample. Just under three-quarters of the children ate organic produce regularly, suggesting the contamination came from an outside source and not their food.

"The presence of more than 21 pesticides, on average, that are endocrine disruptors in the hair that was analysed shows that our children are exposed to a significant cocktail of these substances," said Francois Veillerette, a spokesperson for Generations Futures. "Now the European Commission must finally make public a clear and protective definition of the endocrine disruptors that have to be banned."

The group's report urges urgent action. "Our demand is simple and based on an ambitious goal: no organism should contain endocrine disruptors, in order to protect the health of unborn children."

The group says the French government's own national strategy to deal with endocrine disruptors has reached a dead end. The plan was originally to be published in 2013, but has been repeatedly postponed until the end of this month.

"Because children are part of the population especially vulnerable to the dangers of endocrine disruptors, they should not be exposed to them," it said.

The research showed that several children had been exposed to harmful chemicals banned in agricultural use but still used in parasite treatments for pet animals.

Jean-Charles Bocquet, director of the European Association of Plant Protection Product Manufacturers, dismissed the research. "The presence of pesticide traces is not necessarily indicative of a health danger, especially in infinitely small doses. I'm sure you'd find traces of diesel in our hair if you looked for it," he said.

Veillerette disagreed. "It's not the dose that's the problem, but the accumulation of pesticides causing a cocktail effect," he said. Generations Futures says it has sent its findings to a specialised university research team for further analysis. – Guardian News & Media

Dear Thelma: I like her, but does she like me?

Posted: 03 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Dear Thelma,

I GOT to know this woman through the Internet, but I haven't met her in person yet. I am in love with her and would like her to be the one in my life. She is very busy at work. I don't know whether she is sincere or not, as she has a lot of friends. How can I know whether she is loyal to me, as I only communicate with her through e-mail and phone?


It is difficult to ascertain from your letter what her feelings are for you. This is because there is no information on how long you have known each other. Also, you have not revealed why you love her. What aspects of her drew you to her? Out of all the profiles available on the Internet, why did you choose her? Have you shared your feelings about her and your thoughts about your future together?

Also, what are her feelings for you? Has she revealed this to you? What are her conversations with you like?

There is no doubt that you can fall in love with a person without meeting him or her. In fact, this kind of relationship may be more "sincere" as your feelings are not inspired or affected by physical attributes. Far too often, people confuse physical attraction for romantic love and the confusion leads to disastrous events.

But, what reasons do you have to doubt her loyalty? You say she has a lot of friends. What does this mean?

Do you expect her to be with you and you alone? Or, do you expect her to be close only to you? It is very important for you to be clear about this.

As much as people in love think that they are all each other needs, it is extremely unhealthy. There is no question that the two people concerned must be close. This means the ability to talk to each other freely without fear of repercussion. Closeness also means that in time, you will learn enough about each other's behaviour, tone of voice, use of language and small variations in body language to ascertain what that person's mood is. You cannot read the other person's mind; and neither can that person read yours. You can only hope for an educated guess.

A healthy relationship means that the two persons concerned are able to have healthy and meaningful relationships – friendships and family bonds – outside of the said relationship. There should be no jealousy or any reason to doubt the other person.

Developing this kind of relationship takes time, maturity and trust. But, to start it off, there needs to be communication. Talk to her – by e-mail or phone – and be open and honest with her about the way you feel. Share with her your hopes for the future. The best way to know if she feels the same way about you is to ask her.

It will be tempting to try and figure out what she is doing, who she is meeting, where she is going via Facebook or other forms of social media. Gather all your strength to make sure you do not do this. This is a sure fire way of sabotaging your relationship with her. It is a betrayal of her trust in you and your relationship.

And, despite your reasons for wanting to avoid it, you have to meet with her in person. No matter how good a person is at writing or communicating on the telephone, there is nothing like speaking to someone face to face. Their facial expressions and body language will speak volumes and often will tell you more than what mere words can.

If you do love her, you have to trust this relationship you have built with her and bite the bullet. You will never know until you find out.


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