Have you ever noticed that during summer vacation kids are happier and have fewer colds? And that going back to school brings on illness and behavior problems for many kids?
Let's take a look at what some psychologists and doctors are discovering about the relationship between a child's environment and behavior problems.
According to research done by Doctors Lendon Smith and Marshall Mandell, some children return to school and are highly sensitive to the cafeteria's, chemically-laden, overly processed foods, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and sprays, newly waxed floors, recently painted rooms, bathroom disinfectants and other commercial cleansers, cleaners and soap. One type of chemical sensitivity is to the hydrocarbons that are present in smog and the items listed above. One of the most common uses of hydrocarbons is to bind perfumed scents to liquid and bar soaps, cleaners, lotions, deodorant, toilet paper, etc.
So Johnny and Janie go back to a spick 'n span school. Before we consider what happens when Janie return to school in the fall, we can learn much from looking at her vacation environment. As soon as school was out, she and her family headed for the hills. The mountain air near the lake contained an abundance of negative ions which are far healthier than the positive ions found in dry, heated, smoggy or air-conditioned air. Research by Dr. Albert Paul Krueger, U.C. Berkeley professor emeritus, showed that office workers and students were more productive, happier and enjoyed less "down-time" when the air was charged with the negative ions from an air ionizer.
The family camped in a tent-trailer which allowed them to breathe fresh, clean air while they slept. This kept oxygen going to their brains and helped to build new, healthier cell tissues. They used the trailer's stove, thus eliminating hydrocarbons from wood smoke or charcoal-starter fluid.
Mom used a citronella candle and a non-aerosol, natural mosquito repellent when necessary. This was far different than her home environment where she used chemically-loaded bug killer and as many as fifteen perfumed household sprays and preparations for everything from cleaning the oven to polishing the furniture.
In addition to the fresh mountain air, Johnny and Janie ate fresh fruits and vegetables from the camp store, and since it was hot, they often ate salads for dinner. The water, too, was untreated with chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. Unlike their school and home swimming pools, the lake and creek's water was chlorine-free and pure. When given a choice of highly-sugared soda pop or water, Janie and her brother often chose the refreshing and thirst quenching spring water. They liked that it was nice and cool and sweet-tasting.
Combine these physical, environmental factors with lots of light and sunshine (the sun gives us Vitamin D for calm nerves), less mental and emotional stress and plenty of freshly caught fish*.
Back home now, the kids continued to spend many hours outside in the sun. However, she swam in chlorinated pools on hot, smoggy days which caused her to cough, helped her mom polish the furniture and clean house. She also went back to drinking pop. She and her brother said that they'd rather drink soda than that "yukky tasting" tap water. Her behavior began slipping and her parents wondered about the maturity they observed during those three weeks in the mountains. At backyard barbecues she would be especially "wild."
Janie and Johnny entered third grade in the fall with several new synthetic and acrylic outfits which Dr. Mandell mentions in his book, "Dr. Mandell's Five Day Allergy Relief System' as being the cause of some allergic reactions in sensitive people. She spent six hours a day in highly polished, chemically cleaned, freshly painted school rooms under fluorescent lights. These lights have been found to cause reactions ranging from headaches and fatigue to hyperactivity and irritability according to research by Dr. John Ott. Also see the 1974 issue of SCIENCE NEWS. Either their subliminal flicker reacting on the brain's cerebral cortex of the susceptible person or their lack of full-spectrum color is the source of these problems. (Editor's note: Full-spectrum - gro-lux bulbs can be found in most hardware, discount or garden supply stores).
Her teacher, a smoker, often used copious amounts of perfume to camouflage the smoke smell in her clothing. As he leaned over Janie's desk to help her, she had no choice but breathe in the noxious, toxic odors. Janie also noticed and liked the teacher's felt tip pen.
At lunch, the cafeteria smelled like a combination of floor wax, cleaners, disinfectant, clothes softener, new shoes and clothes and hot dogs (with nitrates and preservatives and additives to keep them "fresh and colorful"). Even the vegetables, fruits and salads are full of artificial fertilizers and pesticides! After a lunch of highly refined, low-fiber starches, including instant potatoes which are loaded with preservatives and chemicals to keep them white and soft, Janie and her friends went to the vending machine for sugar "treats" and sodas.
Is it any wonder Johnny and Janie have trouble concentrating and sitting still in class? Their teachers complain of their "constant fidgeting, talking and disrupting the class."
Janie has been interviewed by the school psychologist who feels that there is a mother-daughter conflict in the home and that perhaps a male teacher would be able to control her behavior. This does not help much either, even though Janie really likes Mr. Smith, "he's so cute and has neat aftershave lotion!"
For Janie and countless other children, an undetected chemical sensitivity to hydrocarbons, chemicals and preservatives could well be causing major problems in her life. If untreated, they face needless personal, social and educational problems. Dr. Lendon Smith states in his book, "Improving Your Child's Behavior Chemistry, that if we can change a child's behavior chemistry at an early age, there is less chance of a deep-seated psychology problem developing.
Just how many chemicals do WE combine in our homes, schools and work? Does this careless combination cause health hazards? Would it be in your best interest to substitute natural products for chemically loaded ones?
NOTE: This article is an excerpt of Nanci's "Quick & Easy Ways to Natural Health," a compilation of many varied and interesting health topics.
*Editor's Note: Fish is known for its abundance of omega 3 oil and trace minerals and vitamins.
Guess What? Yes we do sell health items.