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are we doing enough to protect the unborn?
July 14, 2005 12:22 PM   Subscribe

are we doing enough to protect the unborn?
where are the demonstrations at the gates of petro-chemical companies?
posted by specialk420 (34 comments total)

 
What if it's the mother's choice to expose her body to chemicals?

Hypothetically...
posted by dios at 12:35 PM on July 14, 2005


Wait, the sample size of babies was 10? That's a disingenuously low number, considering the fear-mongering tone of the article.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:37 PM on July 14, 2005


This is old news. They've been finding all those horrifying chemicals in breast milk for forever. The earth is polluted.
posted by Specklet at 12:40 PM on July 14, 2005


I'd hardly call pollution a "choice" dios, but nice attempt.
posted by iamck at 12:42 PM on July 14, 2005


...babies carry pollutants...

Maybe it's good for them...sort of like growing up around pets and developing resistance to allergies and such?

(one-link yahoo news post...nah, forget it...)
posted by tpl1212 at 12:46 PM on July 14, 2005


iamck,
Did you read the article? Another possible source of the one pollutant was from eating seafood. I am sure there are collateral sources for all 270 chemicals they found. I think it is a legitimate question to ask. If I answer that more should be done to prevent babies from toxins, the source of the toxins seems important (both passive pollution and active substance take by the mother).
posted by dios at 12:47 PM on July 14, 2005


What if it's the mother's choice to expose her body to chemicals?

A non sequitor with respect to specialk420's point, but since we already go after moms who make that choice, and we enacted a special law to prosecute Scott Peterson for killing a fetus, consistency would seem to demand we protect fetuses from chemical attacks by petrochemical companies which deliberately circumvent pollution standards and controls.
posted by Rothko at 12:47 PM on July 14, 2005


When DDT was used, it was at detectable levels in the blood of 100% of the population.
posted by 517 at 12:47 PM on July 14, 2005


if the christian right is worried about protecting the "unborn" - how about protecting the "unborn" then...?
posted by specialk420 at 12:48 PM on July 14, 2005


What do the Christian Rightâ„¢ have to do with the article?
posted by dhoyt at 12:51 PM on July 14, 2005


I am sure there are collateral sources for all 270 chemicals they found.

You are?
posted by Specklet at 12:57 PM on July 14, 2005


"I have auto exhaust fumes, flame retardant chemicals, and in all, some 271 harmful substances pulsing through my veins. That's hardly the picture of health I had hoped for, but I've been living in an industrial society for over 70 years."

If you made it to seventy, then perhaps all those "harmful substances" aren't necessarily all that harmful.

Sharp axe by now, I'd wager.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:01 PM on July 14, 2005


perhaps all those "harmful substances" aren't necessarily all that harmful.

So what percentage would you suspect to be non-harmful? 10%? 20%?
posted by Space Coyote at 1:04 PM on July 14, 2005


I like the "hypothetical" brought up by dios. One of the reasons that these pollutants exsist is that we as consumers want things to be cheap, efficent, easy to clean etc. They're a byproduct of our way of life. Individuals can do more to reduce exposure to pollutants and by making different choices about the products they use and by not buying products manufactured by companies who pollute.
posted by boymilo at 1:05 PM on July 14, 2005


Who gives a rat's ass about the "unborn"? What about those of us who are already sentient, ferchrissake? These "think of the children!!" campaigns really get my panties in a knot.
posted by scratch at 1:06 PM on July 14, 2005


So what percentage would you suspect to be non-harmful? 10%? 20%?

Are you trying to be clever? Or does the absurdity of an ambulatory seventysomething woman who moans about the danger of commonplace, everyday chemical exposure escape you?
posted by Kwantsar at 1:12 PM on July 14, 2005


Oh SweetJesus, where did the sample size of 10 come from? Ten?
posted by buzzman at 1:14 PM on July 14, 2005


Kwanstar has a point: Slaughter's comment does come off as a bit silly; cart-before-the-horse and all.

The fact is that the effects of long-term low-level exposure to many of these chemicals are unknown. Experience, however, should advise caution: it makes sense to minimize exposure to industrial chemicals with unknown physiological effects whenever possible. Unfortunately, saying this is not as rhetorically effective as analyzing blood samples and counting chemicals. As far as I can tell, this work is, in fact, for primarily rhetorical purposes.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:30 PM on July 14, 2005


It sounds like all we need to do is breed fuel-babies to ween us off our dependence on foreign oil.
posted by tpl1212 at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2005


That's hardly the picture of health I had hoped for, but I've been living in an industrial society for over 70 years.

Seventy years? I guess those chemicals can't be too deadly, then.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:56 PM on July 14, 2005


I think it would be interesting to compare modern blood samples to blood samples of individuals from other eras, if possible. While individuals living in an industrial society are surrounded by environmental pollutants, so were humans from other eras. It would be interesting to see whether an ancient Roman's environment was more polluted, less polluted or about the same.
posted by hellx at 2:03 PM on July 14, 2005


Well, promoting babies as innocent victims is always an attention getter. Babies or not, it's more than a little depressing to think about all the junk in our systems and not know exactly what effect it's having or not having. That's the problem, that we just don't know, but we're blithely ingesting/inhaling all these substances anyway.

Dios, do you mean that walking down the street to the grocery store to buy the food you need to survive, and indavertantly inhaling exhaust fumes is a choice? Or eating tuna in the several years before anyone knew about mercury exposure? I mean, so any woman who doesn't raise all her own organic food, in non-polluted soil, inside an air-purified bubble, which she can never leave (assuming this would even work) should therefore not complain about any environmental pollutants that end up in her or her baby's bloodstream. Yes? I mean, unknowingly ingesting pollutants is not exactly the same as choosing to shoot up heroin while pregnant, here.
posted by emjaybee at 2:10 PM on July 14, 2005


Dios, do you mean that walking down the street to the grocery store to buy the food you need to survive, and indavertantly inhaling exhaust fumes is a choice?

Probably not "choice" so much as the fact that without the exhaust fumes there would be no grocery store since trucks are the only way to get food in sufficient quantities to cities. (Horsedrawn carriages, while quaint, still pollute in their own way that has a slightly different smell).

"Protesting at the gates of the petrochem companies" to stop selling fuel would be at best counter-productive, at worst no more sensical than protesting plate techtonics.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:34 PM on July 14, 2005


all good republicans should go live near coal-fired power plants, to show those liberal pussies that real, manly, red-blooded Americans aren't afraid of a few chemicals.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:07 PM on July 14, 2005


Were the chemicals that they found present in sufficiently high concentration to be dangerous? Neither the article nor the original study seem to address this.

Also, there are many naturally occuring carcinogens -- I wonder what the relative percentages are.
posted by event at 3:18 PM on July 14, 2005


Touché Dios.
posted by caddis at 3:37 PM on July 14, 2005


The New Jesus is a capitalist.

You may have missed the memo when you were following the Olden Rule.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 4:35 PM on July 14, 2005


so why are people so hard on smokers?
posted by brandz at 5:19 PM on July 14, 2005


It would be interesting to see whether an ancient Roman's environment was more polluted, less polluted or about the same.

Much higher levels of lead, arsenic, and mercury, I imagine.

Can't imagine they were suffering from much else, though: they weren't synthesizing much of anything.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:15 PM on July 14, 2005


Unborn U.S. babies are soaking in a stew of chemicals, including mercury, gasoline byproducts and pesticides...

Sorry.. didn't finish the article because that sentence made me so hungry I had to go get a snack.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:15 PM on July 14, 2005


On further reading: the study this article is based on is just crap. Even ignoring some dubious aspects of their methodology, the simple fact is that their conclusions aren't supported by their data.

Their conclusions may be correct, but that dataset isn't enough to get you there. This is poor science.
posted by event at 12:04 AM on July 15, 2005


"Protesting at the gates of the petrochem companies" to stop selling fuel would be at best counter-productive, at worst no more sensical than protesting plate techtonics.

No, plate tectonics are a natural phenomenon; it is a fundamental property of the planet. It happens whether humans want it to or not, whether humans are even here or not. Petrochem companies are not natural phenomena. Humans do not have to have petroleum or any of the thousands of other (mostly toxic) chemicals we produce and use every day. We did fine without them for millions of years.

While I agree that protesting at the gates of the petrochem companies to stop selling fuel is silly and at least non-productive if not counterproductive, your analogy is rather poor. :)
posted by krash2fast at 7:36 AM on July 15, 2005


This study seems to raise more questions than it answers, and if the cost of testing was $10,000 per newborn, I definitely understand the limited sample size. The consistency of the results is alarming.

If the government required the chemical industry to release everything they know about the health effects of their products -- or, better, required them to actually study the potential health and environmental consequences -- industry wouldn't be able to hid behind a cloak of ignorance.
posted by FontMasterTim at 9:05 AM on July 15, 2005


Unborn babies carry pollutants?! There's only one solution. ABORT! ABORT!
posted by Decani at 10:14 AM on July 15, 2005


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