August 8, 2018 – This month the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published reports that bring up safety concerns about a group of chemicals commonly referred to as food additives.
These are chemicals that are very commonly used with processed foods
Chemicals of Concern
There are two types of food additives.
- Direct food additives – chemicals added during the processing of foods
- Indirect food additives – these chemicals may contact food as part of packaging or processing
Many of these chemicals have a designation known as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). This GRAS designation allows many chemicals to be used without FDA approval or notification. They are designated as safe by company employees or hired consultants. In its policy statement, the AAP is recommending a reassessment of this process.
Attempting to Clarify the Concern:
The AAP has produced two documents to add some clarity and direction toward reducing possible risks:
- AAP Policy statement:
- Describes the chemicals of concern
- Regulatory framework
- Recommends practical steps for reducing exposure to these substances
- Recommendations for policy makers and government
- AAP Technical report (from the AAP Council on Environmental Health):
- More specifics regarding the chemicals of concern
Practical Steps: Reduce Exposure to Chemicals of Concern
Frankly, it is difficult to avoid some of these chemicals completely. Here are known practical steps to reduce exposure (as published in the above AAP Policy Statement):
- Prioritize consumption of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables when possible, and support that effort by developing a list of low-cost sources for fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid processed meats, especially maternal consumption during pregnancy.
- Avoid microwaving food or beverages (including infant formula and pumped human milk) in plastic, if possible.
- Avoid placing plastics in the dishwasher.
- Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.
- Look at the recycling code on the bottom of products to find the plastic type, and avoid plastics with recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) unless plastics are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating that they are made from corn and do not contain bisphenols.
- Encourage hand-washing before handling foods and/or drinks, and wash all fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled.
March 20, 2018 – Some recommendations include so much common sense it almost feels silly to make the recommendation – until you are presented with the statistic listed below.
60,000 is a large number – particularly for something that should be close to 100% preventable.
Today is the day to put medications up and away – out of reach and out of sight.
Today is the day to go to the Up and Away website and review practical tips for taking control of this significant safety concern in your home.
December 14, 2016 – Beneath the RCAM Official Image for Flu Season 2016-2017, we make the following announcement:
RCAM now has enough both state and private flu vaccine to cover our flu vaccine clinics for all our patients. If you haven’t already done so, call today and set up an appointment for your child to get their flu vaccine.
- It is not too late: So far – and this is similar to most years – we have seen very few cases of influenza (flu) in our office. We are in the single digits at RCAM for total flu cases …so far. January and February are typically when we see the most patients with flu. For this reason, there is still time to get your child the best protection that we know of against the flu.
- Yes, it is later than usual for us to begin widely offering state flu vaccine (but see #1; not too late): By report, the flooding in the east greatly delayed the shipment of state flu vaccine – at Raleigh Childrens and throughout North Carolina. Our allotments came in small numbers – only enough to keep up with patients who happened to be here for a checkup or similar. Yesterday we finally received a more typical volume of state flu vaccine and therefore today we make this announcement.
Unfortunately, there are unpleasant things about the winter that we can’t do much to prevent. Things like ‘cold’ viruses, ice storms, the fact that every morning your bed feels so much better than wherever you need to be – these are things that just can’t be stopped.
Flu vaccine is the best thing we know to limit your chance of catching a difficult if not dangerous respiratory illness. Get your child vaccinated.
May 30, 2016 – From today’s News & Observer, a local story about a young accident victim who inspires after losing a leg in a lawn mower accident.
He is in a video that will be shown nation-wide to educate about lawn mower safety:
Some ideas about lawn mower safety from HealthyChildren.org
May 1,2016 – Yesterday a group from Raleigh Childrens participated in the annual March of Dimes March for Babies in Morrisville at Perimeter Park.
Our choice to support for the March of Dimes was not a hard sale.
We work with the families of premature infants everyday and recognize that when we prevent a premature birth – when a pregnancy is able to go to full term – that is good medicine.
The March of Dimes makes that its important mission. It is an easy cause around which to rally the RCAM-ily.
If you would like to support the March of Dimes, their website details lots of opportunities to get involved.
February 11, 2016 – Spring seems so far away.
Of course, as we know in North Carolina, that warm, sunny weather is always just around the corner.
With that time of year almost upon us and all the talk of Zika virus, it is always time to address bug bite prevention.
(Plus the CDC recently published a cool infographic pictured below)
Right now we are experiencing one foolproof way to prevent bug bites. This week’s forecast is a perfect example and is shown to the right: cold temperatures pretty effectively limit bug activity.