Friday, February 19, 2010

Gumbo Friday: Meat & Maternal Health & Maine

Meat: I decided that I will give up all meat for lent, but none of that vegan bullshit. I live in The Netherlands, honey. I survive off cheese sandwiches. I eat cheese sandwiches for one or two or three meals a day. . . not including my many snacks.

Maternal Health: Half the Sky is getting more and more depressing, but at least the rape stories have ended. I'm on maternal health, though rape is still huge piece of the story. Last night as I was cozied up in bed (aka smallest bed on the planet) I read this:

Humans are the only mammals that need assistance in birth, and some evolutionary psychologists and evolutionary biologists have argued that as a result perhaps the first 'profession' to emerge in prehistoric days was that of midwife. The risk to the mother varies with anatomy, and human pelvises are categorized by shapes that reflect alternate evoluationary compromises: gynecoid, andriod, anthropid, and platyelloid. There is some disagreement among specialist about how significant the pelvic distinctions are and the The Journal of Reproductive Medicine has suggested that they reflect childhood environmental factors as much as genetics.

In any case, the most common pelvis for women is gynecoid, which is most accomodating of the birth process (but is not found on great women runners) and is particularly common among Caucasian women. In contrast, the anthropoid pelvis is elongated, permits fast running and is more likely to result in obstructed labor. Data on pelvis shapes is poor, but African women seem disproportionately likely to have anthropoid pelvises, and some experts on maternal health offer that as one reason maternal mortality rates are so high in Africa.

This excerpt comes in a section about the four major factors of why so many women die during or right after childbirth. Those four factors are: biology (see above), lack of school, lack of rural health systems, and disregard for women. None of us are surprised by any of these factors, including the last one. Are you shocked to know that insurance covers Viagra but hardly covers birth control or that "During World War I, more American women died in childbirth than American men died in war". They also state that good laws don't necessary help solve some of these problems, but instead we must work to change the culture of how we treat women.

Maine: Yesterday was another good day for the good fight to put the health and safety of our communities above the profits of the chemical industry. The Maine Board of Environmental Protection unanimously adopted proposed regulations to implement Maine's landmark 2008 comprehensive chemical policy law. Interesting the definition of children was the last agreement made. Industry: 3,6, or 12 years old. People who have brains: 18 years old. It was agreed that children would be defined as 18 years old and younger.

The full regulations can be read here. It's really easy to read, take a look.

There are basically 5 parts to this.

(1) Chemicals of high concern - The State agrees to adopt a hazard-based list of Chemicals of High Concern that have been previously identified by other authoritative entities as being known to be a carcinogen, reproductive toxicant, endocrine disruptor or persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemical (PBT). This list of about 1,700 Chemicals of High Concern was published in June 2009.

(2) Priority Chemicals -
The state will develop a short list of priority chemicals by the end of 2010 that fit certain criteria. This list then is revised every three years.

(3) Chemical Use Reporting -
Manufactures must now TELL the state what priority chemicals are in their products, in what amounts, and for what purpose.

(4) Alternative Assessment - "The burden is further on the manufacturer to assess the availability of safer alternatives upon the request of the State according to specific criteria and through the use of modern alternatives assessment tools, such as the Green Screen, which are aimed at arriving at solutions. If the product manufacturer fails to produce an alternatives assessment to the satisfaction of the State, the State can contract out for an independent alternatives assessment that must be paid for by the product maker." (taken from a colleagues email)

(5)Substitution - "The State agency is authorized to prohibit the sale of a product containing a Priority Chemical providing that they demonstrate that children or other vulnerable populations are directly or indirectly exposed to the chemical in the product, and that a safer alternative is available at a comparable cost to the consumer. The phase-out of Priority Chemicals in products will be accomplished through rule-making." (taken from a colleagues email)

Well . . . Happy Friday.
Renee Claire

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