Daily Archives: October 22, 2017

Early Life and Childhood Prompt 1

Some of the most vulnerable consumers out there are parents and future parents. Everything from pre-conception, to pregnancy, to life after birth has some sort of regime that captures the attention of parents who only want the best for their children. After reading the material from this week’s slides and readings, it is clear that there are many companies who target parents and children specifically and use advertisements in order to lure the consumer in. New parents are especially vulnerable to this because they are both excited and worried and want their children to have everything they need. Parents will spend thousands preparing for their first child only to end up donating or throwing it all out after a few short years, and as time goes on, products improve and safety regulations are updated, requiring the consumers to continue buying the newest and safest products. I once read an article that suggested parents expecting a new born baby only need a handful amount of products such as diapers and wipes, carseats, and a crib. This contrasts with today’s ways where parents will buy anything and everything they think their child may like or need.

I believe that new parents and young parents would like to know about child health and maternal health in general, and also how to maintain a healthy family after birth. They should have reliable and unbiased sources of information whether that be a clinic, their doctor, of their family. I believe they would also like to be informed on what their child needs vs. what their child wants vs. what they think their child needs and wants. This can range from things such as strollers and carseats to vaccines and medications. Mothers to be should also be informed on all of their options for birth. The article from the LA Times regarding women who have had previous C-sections stated that 45% of women who have had C-sections were interested in vaginal birth for their next pregnancy, but of those, 57% were told “no” by their doctors. All options that are safe for the mother/consumer should be introduced to her, so that she can make the best decision for her child.

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CP & R Prompt One

How well do you believe you are protected as a consumer in that area? What do you know and not know? What agency or law would probably be most relevant to learn something about? What’s most important to share with other consumers about this issue area and the consumer protection it appears we have or don’t have?

Safety recalls are very important, and as a consumer I would hope that when there is a significant safety issue with a product that the solution would be put in place as soon as possible.  After reading a few of the articles I both do and do not feel protected as a consumer. I feel protected in that the safety regulations are being put in place, but the length of time it takes to implement updated safety regulations or fixes to products is a bit concerning. There is also the issue that companies generally do the bare minimum when dealing with a safety recall. For example, in reading about the recall of Toyota cars, I like that the solution has been put forth, but its implementation is taking a long time to actually solve the issue. It seems like the idea of the fix is there, but it has not been executed in a timely manner. As a consumer I know that products can be recalled, nothing is perfect. I also know that companies are consistently working to make things safer for consumers. A relevant source for learner further about this matter would be the NHTSA as they issue motor vehicle safety laws to Congress. If I were to educate another consumer on this issue I would provide them details regarding safety regulations and recalls, refer them to look into the NHTSA and current updates to safety laws, and I would express to them how important it is to pay attention as a consumer as safety regulations are generally a bare minimum effort to keep a company from falling into legal trouble.

Early Life and Childhood/Youth – Prompt 1

Being a mum-to-be I look closely at details when it comes to my unborn child. I look at safety and hazardous precautions as much as I can, given what is provided to me through labels and constant googling of things. In some way this to me confirms that people planning families are vulnerable to those selling them unneeded or unsafe stuff. For example, when I looked for best bottle recommendations or stroller recommendations you get a list of many. You find that some of the products are safe and some provide labels that are just beyond confusing to understand. So where does that leave you as a consumer? You then continue the search for every little thing on that label to ensure it is in fact safe and by the time you exalt all that energy into looking at every little speck on that label you finally just give in because well everyone is doing it. You see parents following the trends of what they see in the media or of others that surround them. You hope that people near and dear to them would give them great reviews of what are good and safe products, but those parents only know just as much if not a bit more than you because they’ve actually used the product. More and more products today are reaching the surface, but aren’t completely necessary; actually a lot are. In fact, I have come across many articles that find many products listed on registries unnecessary. In this society stuck in a media craze families are the most vulnerable audience to speak to because parents will do anything and everything to provide the best for their families. Even if that means getting them 20 different bottle sets, 3 different strollers, 2 types of car seats, 7 different pacifiers, 1 rocker, a bouncer and just about anything else you could imagine. Parents want to know that no matter what their child has it will be the best option in safety, preference and aesthetics. They want to know that they are giving their child the options while providing them what they think is the best in safety.

Early Life and Childhood Youth Prompt One

I think that parents or about-to-be parents are vulnerable to buying a lot of products or purchasing services that are not always going to be beneficial for them – especially younger (millennials) parents. I think that the younger generation of parents are more tempted/likely to buy products that they believe is better for the family or for the baby because they believe that anything will help. I think this because the age group for people having children seems to be decreasing every year. For example, I am 21 and about 60% of the people I know in my age group are having children or are expecting.

Younger parents have more access to research the kinds of products or services that they may need for their new life – but with that I feel they will try to get everything that they can get their hands on. More people in this age group are preferring the natural and organic products, however, those products come with a really high price that may not be ideal for the new family. With that being said, they will purchase the cheaper option because financially – that makes more sense, but it may not be the safest option. Cheaper products can have chemicals or preservatives that can affect the health of the parents and the child.

I think that parents or soon-to-be-parents should talk to people around them who have had kids or ask all the questions possible to their doctor. Parents or soon-to-be-parents would probably like to know more about how much it will cost to bring a child into this world and how much it will cost to raise them, what to do for each age of the child and how to prepare for them, and what products or services are truly going to benefit the family as a whole. Parents always want what is best for their kid and therefore should take the time and effort to do so.

Family Planning & Misconceptions

I know that, for sure, there’s misconceptions within the realm of family planning. Even if we disregard the fact that certain parts reproductive healthcare is stigmatized by one of the major US parties, as well as many religious institutions, even in medical spaces there’s rapid debate about what to do pre-and-postpartum when it comes to reproductive consensus. When should a mother go back on birth control after having a child if someone if planning on waiting to have another? What birth control is right for someone who doesn’t plan on having children at any point? Are there luxury products that may not be the best for reproductive health? Should a person be able to elect to have a C-Section?

 

Lambskin condoms are one thing, for example, that are essentially worthless (in my humble opinion). Billed as a luxury product, for monogamous couples and as birth control. Great – good to know theres something on the market for that. But it still is just that – luxury. Even for those who have latex allergies, non-latex condoms are an option. And with many monogamous couples, they just aren’t cost effective – I found them online, priced at about 3 USD per condom. Not to mention they’re made of an intestinal membrane, which is pretty disgusting.

And here’s another “boo” to a medical industry so driven by high cost: episiotomy is still high, and was even higher in the near past. C-Sections that may not be deemed necessary are still performed. I know I was an induced labor, and didn’t know that there’s a higher risk of quick fetal heartbeat then that happens – and my Mom, someone who refused to eat chocolate during her pregnancy due to worries that it’d mess with caffeine levels, may not have chosen to be induced if she was informed on that. 

Much of reproductive care, as well, is handled by those who may exhibit bias on certain regards – generally, doctors will not perform vasectomies or tubal litigation on those who are young and have not had children, even if they are sure they wouldn’t want to any time in their future. This is typically more common for women, to be refused a procedure.

Aside from that: the myth that womens eggs “begin to die” in their 30’s, leading to fertility clinic profits from performing women in their 20’s.

Generally: things that make money aren’t the best to be done, but because people are uninformed, predatory organizations may take advantage of this.

Morning Challenge

Wednesday: I have a routine of washing my face with cold water every morning to get rid of any oil or germs that might be on my sheets and to help wake myself up in the morning. Brushing my teeth and hair is also part of this morning routine I have. I usually don’t drink water until half an hour or an hour after getting out of bed, so this felt a little weird on my stomach on this day.

Thursday: The night before, I set a glass of water on my night stand so that I remembered to drink water right when I woke up. I continued with my routine of washing my face, and brushing my teeth and hair after waking up. I did spoil myself with coffee because my roommate brewed some that morning.

Friday: I had a glass of water on my night stand again and it’s getting a little easier to drink it in the morning. I don’t have class on Friday’s, so after doing the usual morning routine I went to the gym and kept myself hydrated with lots of water.

Saturday: Weekends are when I sleep in, so I didn’t get to drink my water or do anything until before noon. I still stayed away from coffee or sugary drinks and stuck with my water while I went to the gym that day.

Sunday: I didn’t sleep in as much on this day because I had assignments and online quizzes to do, but drinking water is easier in the mornings. I did get a coffee on this day to keep myself a little more awake while doing school work.

Challange: “Green” Clean

My challenge is to clean one or more rooms in your house. Cleaning has shown to improve both mental and physical health. But instead of using potentially harmful chemicals, I want you to use healthier alternatives (I’ll provide a recipe below)! Write about your experience using natural cleaners. Some questions to think about: Do you think we should be concerned with the ingredients in household cleaning solutions? Which cleaners (natural vs. chemical) do you feel safer using? What chemicals are in your products?

Cleaning is good for you!

One study (Keith, 2013) found that there was a correlation between clean houses and healthy people [though, I do feel the need to point out that that healthy people, will have an easier time maintaining their home than a sick individual.] Decluttering your space can have a positive impact on your ability to focus and increases productivity. Cleaning has been shown to decrease stress levels and promotes physical activity. Frequent cleaning will also help allergy issues; I need to change my sheets often due to my cats. This is an interesting article regarding the psychology of cleanliness.

Cleaning products are a consumer health concern, and many contain detrimental toxic chemicals.  I will provide a list below of 5 common cleaning ingredients and their health impacts. You might also want to check out this cleaner “hall of shame” too.

So, what can you use to clean that is not a determinate to your health or the environment?

Alternatives to Store-bought Chemical Cleaners

White vinegar is one of my favorite cleaning products. It has a multitude of uses and gets rid of most household germs, including the flu virus. To create the disinfectant, you mix a solution of 50-50 water-vinegar in an empty spray bottle. You can also add lemon or tea tree oil for extra cleaning power and scent (just make sure the oils are pure and don’t have added chemicals). You should use dish soap to clean areas contaminated with raw meat, as it does a better job against salmonella than white vinegar.

If you are interested, I encourage you to look up natural DIY cleaning products. I like DIY over store-bought “natural” or “green”, as their labels often misleading. Making the solutions at home is also cheaper. This article is a good place to start!

5 Common Chemicals in Cleaning Products

Phthalates

Found in: Air fresheners, dish soap, toilet paper, shampoo, hair spray, “fragrance” labeled items. Companies do not have to disclose the presence of phthalates due to proprietary laws. If it is labeled “fragranced” there is a good chance they will be in the product.

Health Concerns: The long-term effects of phthalates are currently unknown. Phthalates can cause endocannabinoid system (Albert, Guy & Marzo, 2014). One study found phthalates may be endocrine disruptors (Albert & Jegou, 2013. High phthalate metabolites have been correlated with obesity and insulin resistance (Desvergne & Casals-Casas, 2009). High amounts of phthalates have been shown to damage the liver and testes of rodents in lab studies (CDC, 2007).

Perchloroethylene (PERC)

Found in: dry cleaning solutions, stain remover, carpet cleaner

Health risk: Can affect the neurological and raspatory system. NTP, EPA and IARC have found it is likely to be carcinogenic to humans (CDC, 2011).

Triclosan

Found in: liquid dishwashing detergent, antibacterial hand soaps, toothpaste, toys

Health Risk: Triclosan has been classified as a contaminant of emerging concern (CEC); this means it is currently being investigated for risks to public health (USGS, 2016). Some studies found that high doses lead to levels of decreased thyroid hormones. Triclosan also may be contributing to the antimicrobial resistance issue (FDA, 2016).

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Found in: disinfectants, fabric softener

Health Risks: Contact dermatitis, asthma trigger. Possibly contributes to cancers, reproductive problems and endocrine but not enough research has been conducted to be sure (SCOH, 2015).

Chlorine

Found in: dishwasher detergent, toilet bowl cleaner, disinfectants, pools

Health Concerns: Body reacts to chlorine (inhalation/digestion/topical) exposure by producing acid. These acids destroy and damage cells in the body. Symptoms include blurred vision, skin irritation, coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, fluid in the lungs. High concentrations of chlorine may cause chronic respiratory complications (CDC, 2013).  Long-term health effects have not been properly researched at this time. Some sites mentioned that chlorine may contribute to thyroid disorders, but I want unable to find any peer-reviewed studies on the subject.

 

Works Cited

Albert, O., Jegou, B. (2013). A critical assessment of the endocrine susceptibility of the human testis to phthalates from fetal life to adulthood. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/20/2/231/664157/A-critical-assessment-of-the-endocrine

Centers for Disease Control. (2007). Third National Report of Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20070401141153/http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/thirdreport.pdf

Centers for Disease Control. (2011). Tetrachloroethylene (PERC). Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxsubstance.asp?toxid=48

Centers for Disease Control. (2013). Facts about Chlorine. Retrieved from https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/chlorine/basics/facts.asp

Desvergne, B., Casals-Casas, C. (2009). PPAR-mediated activity of phthalates: A link to the obesity epidemic? Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030372070900149X?via%3Dihub

The Food and Drug Administration. (2016). 5 Things to Know About Triclosan. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm205999.htm

McPartland, J., Guy, G., Marzo, V. (2014). Care and Feeding of the Endocannabinoid System: A Systematic Review of Potential Clinical Interventions that Upregulate the Endocannabinoid System. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951193/

Keith, N. (2013). Tidier homes, fitter bodies? Retrieved from http://newsinfo.iu.edu/web/page/normal/14627.html

United States Geological Survey. (2016). Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Environment. Retrieved from https://toxics.usgs.gov/investigations/cec/index.php

Selifkoff Centers for Occupational Health. (2015). Quaternary Ammonium Compounds in Cleaning Products: Health & Safety Information for Public Health Professionals. Retrieved from https://med.nyu.edu/pophealth/sites/default/files/pophealth/QACs%20Info%20for%20Physicians_18.pdf

Challenge: Snakes on a Plane.

I’m sure we all know about the concept of ‘snakes on a plane’ – the movie in which venomous snakes are purposefully let into a plane cabin. The movie was something of a joke, but here’s the interesting thing about it: it’s not just about the idea of snakes literally being on a plane, but it’s also a common saying for “c’est la vie” or “it happens”. We tend to accept ‘snakes on our plane’ in a multitude of different things – and a lot of the time, it happens with the ethical consequences of what we choose to consume in our culture.

This challenge revolves around identifying the snakes in your plane – or the things in your life that you overlook their ethical consequences for in light of tangible enjoyment. This is incredibly broad, but to give you examples, I’ll let my “snakes” out of the luggage storage.

I think my biggest snake is my consumption of leather goods – I generally try to avoid dairy when I can, and have never had beef in my life. I’m aware that the dairy industry is thoroughly messed up and that generally, cows are terrible for the environment. Yet, I overlook this ethical dilemma when I’m buying a purse or a pair of shoes. While I know that in some ways, leather is better for the environment than plastic, I still consume a good that has a lot of terrible effects on the ozone layer and the environment in general, due to the methane gas that cows create.

That doesn’t make it a snake: but rather, the justifications that I make up for continuing to buy new, leather goods, are the snake on a plane portion. I typically say “oh, leather eventually are broken down, unlike plastic goods that live forever in landfills once used” – other justifications are that they last longer, are more likely to be quality and are using every part of the animal. Though, this can be flawed logic, as I don’t KNOW the true environmental impact of the pair of boots, or the handbag, or the jacket.

I challenge you to look at your consumption patterns and find an item or items you know are morally sketchy – whether it be due to human rights violations, animal rights, environmental factors, the works, find something in your life that you recognize as a “snake on a plane” that you are complacent with, then identify your justifications. This not only gives you an idea of how producers may justify the creation of products, but also to know that not everyone has perfect consumption habits.