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Week of May 17, '99


Monday Blues Chaser

The Jig is Up!

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Keeping Our Children Safe


1 Hasten
4 Pointed end
9 Hansom
10 Horse-drawn vehicle in India
11 Implore
12 Front part of the leg
13 Showing unusual talent
14 Exclamation of surprise
16 Honey insect
17 Engraver
18 1920s decorative art
20 Highest mountain in Crete
22 Kill
25 Trigonometric function
27 Chocolate cake
31 7th letter of the Greek alphabet
32 Wispy
33 Serpents
34 Gust of wind

Solution Next Week


2 Titanic sinker
3 Sharp-eyed baby
5 Exclamation of disgust
6 Religion of Japan
7 Metal container used for frying
8 Curved
11 Small yeast cake
14 Kent State state
15 Toward the mouth
17 Molting
19 Roy's wife
21 Cruising
22 Crack
23 Beige
24 Rainy
26 Neuter possessive
28 Curve
29 Did possess
30 Commie

What you can do to protect them from hazards in the air they breathe, the foods they eat, and more
Part 2 of a 5 part weekly series

by Jim Gould

The good news is that the weight of evidence has led the public health community to sound a wake-up call. Parents who want to reduce the risks to their own children now have wider access to organic foods, nonchemical alternatives to pesticides, and information about polluters.

And this month the federal government is issuing its own report, which spells out the ways in which a child's health is threatened by the endless combinations of environmental hazards. "We have failed to account for the most vulnerable, our children," says Carol M. Browner, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The agency's National Agenda to Protect Children's Health from Environmental Threats calls for reversing this deadly trend through fundamental changes in our thinking, starting with the scientific community. For decades, safety levels for pesticides and other toxic substances were determined on the basis of what was safe for an adult male. But researchers have learned that children are much more susceptible to environmental health threats. Because they're still growing, children literally breathe more air, eat more food, and drink more fluids per pound of body weight than adults. They generally have weaker immune systems and immature organs and tissues, all of which makes them particularly vulnerable to chemical exposures at certain stages of their development. Plus infants and toddlers routinely crawl on floors or the ground, and ingest dust, dirt, and other foreign objects, which exposes them to more hazards than those faced by adults.

About three years ago, the EPA began requiring manufacturers of pesticides to meet standards that use children's safety as a measure rather than the safety of adult males. Now the agency also proposes to reevaluate some of the thousands of chemicals already on the market under that tougher standard. However, the process could take at least a decade.

Given the extent of the problem, the task of protecting children may seem overwhelming. But environmentalists say parents can limit exposure to toxic substances. "There are some simple things you can do that are fairly significant," says Browner, who has an 8-year-old son. "I try to give my son fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, and I buy organic or pesticide-free produce when I can. We don't use any pesticide sprays or things like that in our home or on our lawn or in our vegetable garden. My son is young and those chemicals affect him differently than they would affect an adult, and I take that seriously."

Next week: Part 3 - Pesticides

Solution to last week's crossword:

Start the Ball Rolling

Critic's Corner

"Election: The Movie " by AlxWho

I highly recommend this fun and funny movie that also surprisingly left me with something to think about days later.

It's great to see Ferris Beuler on the other side of the desk (I think they added some fake grey hair which made me feel better about probably being his age myself) playing a dedicated teacher who has problems at home and problems with an overeager overachiever Reese Witherspoon. She does prissy teenage church lady to a "t", down to her sucked in nostrils and constipated gait, and her facial gestures are awesome. Balancing her are a very nice, though popular, football player running against her in the student council presidential election, and his lesbian sister who is also running for a very interesting reason.

Surprisingly, sex figures in the plot which I guess explains the R rating. I found the movie to be full of pleasant surprises as well, which is great when so many movies are predictable.

But besides all the fun, there's a very real nugget to think about: the costs and possible benefits of a success at all costs mentality. Nothing preachy, not a "message", but something to chew on besides your popcorn.

Calling all armchair critics! Do you want your voice to be heard?
Send your book, film or CD review to
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