Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS‘Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals’ Are Not A Global Health Scourge<p> Yesterday, the Drudge Report featured an alarming story about endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are in nearly every product we use. <a href="">Yahoo News&rsquo; story</a> &ldquo;<a href="">Massive US health tab for hormone-disrupting chemicals</a>&ldquo; was just the sort of article that sends people into a panic and will cause many to toss out perfectly harmless and affordable everyday products.</p> <p> In summary: a new study alleges &ldquo;endocrine-disrupting chemicals&rdquo; cause ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, fertility problems, diabetes, and obesity. Holy cow! All that and cancer, too. &ldquo;So-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found in thousands of everyday products, ranging from plastic and metal food containers, to detergents, flame retardants, toys and cosmetics.&rdquo;</p> <p> Yet if you go to the leading experts on autism, ADHD disorders, and other neurological problems, those experts actually <em>don&rsquo;t know</em> the cause of many of these conditions (although most tend to think genetics plays a major role). As for diabetes and fertility problems, there&rsquo;s lots of chatter (and very bad studies) associating these conditions with chemicals in plastics, but no actual connections have ever been found.</p> <p> People who suffer from diabetes and fertility problems aren&rsquo;t told to live in a&nbsp;shack in the forest, far away from modern conveniences that might include plastics that contain chemicals. Doctors recommend a host of other treatments and lifestyle changes, but avoiding plastics doesn&rsquo;t make the list</p> <p> Likewise, the <a href="">American Cancer Society</a> lists several factors that increase the risk of cancer: genetics, tobacco use, diet and lack of physical activity, sun and UV exposure, radiation exposure, certain infectious diseases, and some pollutants (like diesel exhaust, secondhand smoke, lead, and radon). Want to know what&rsquo;s amazing? Endocrine disruptors are <em>not</em> on the list.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m the Only Doctor in the World Who Knows The Truth</p> <p> Sadly, while the media tends to hype these flawed studies, they rarely provide information on the safety record of these chemicals. Nor do they mention that the leading international health and safety regulatory agencies, drawing on thousands of studies, have concluded that chemicals used in manufacturing and as food preservatives are safe.</p> <p> For instance, the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been the subject of hundreds of safety studies over decades and it has been found (over and over again) to be safe. Those agencies include: The World Health Organization, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the European Union&rsquo;s Food Safety Authority, Japan&rsquo;s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Norway&rsquo;s Scienti?c Committee for Food Safety, France&rsquo;s Food Safety Agency, Germany&rsquo;s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Canada&rsquo;s Health Agency, Australia and New Zealand&rsquo;s Joint Food Standards Council.</p> <p> Yet apparently, in opposition to all the work done by these agencies and many independent toxicologists who have studied these issues, &ldquo;lead investigator&rdquo; Dr. Leonardo Trasande knows exactly what causes all these ailments: It&rsquo;s all plastics&rsquo; fault.</p> <p> Given Trasende&rsquo;s supposed command of nearly every medical field, I decided to take a closer look at him and his background. His biography reveals a great interest in both public policy and environmental issues. He has a master&rsquo;s degree in public policy, worked in the office of Sen. Hillary Clinton (where have I heard that name?) and has testified before the Senate&rsquo;s Environment and Public Works committee.</p> <p> Wait for the Kicker</p> <p> In what&rsquo;s left of Trasende&rsquo;s free time, <a href="">he&rsquo;s also an activist for environmental causes and is listed as an advisor to the Environmental Working Group</a> (EWG). Not familiar with the EWG? The EWG is a very influential and quite radical environmental organization that makes a ton of money scaring people with their yearly &ldquo;Dirty Dozen List.&rdquo;</p> <p> This list tells moms that conventionally grown fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores (conventional simply means farmers can use synthetic pesticides on their crops&mdash;you know, so they&rsquo;ll grow) have dangerous levels of pesticide residue on them and that, to be a good mom, they should buy the much more expensive organic produce (organic crops are also <a href="">grown with the use of pesticides</a>&mdash;a inconvenient fact the EWG always fails to disclose).</p> <p> While promoting this list, the EWG often leaves out some pretty important details, such as that there&rsquo;s <a href="">zero nutritional difference</a> between organic and conventionally grown food and that a child would have to eat 1,500 servings of, say, strawberries in a single sitting to&nbsp;<a href="">reach the safe level of exposure&nbsp;</a>of pesticide residue. That&rsquo;s right: my kid could gorge himself to the point of making himself sick on strawberries and he still wouldn&rsquo;t hit a dangerous level of exposure. Now tell me again why it&rsquo;s harmful for my child to eat three or four conventionally grown strawberries (that are far cheaper than the organic brand)?</p> <p> If Trasende is really concerned about public health, <a href="">here&rsquo;s another study he might want to read</a>:</p> <p> New&nbsp;<a href=";id=6fc3de165c&amp;e=36e1818900">peer reviewed research&nbsp;</a>published in&nbsp;Nutrition Today&nbsp;shows fear-based messaging tactics used by activist groups and some organic marketers that invoke safety concerns about non-organic produce may be having a negative impact on consumption of fruits and veggies among low-income consumers&hellip;</p> <p> &lsquo;We were surprised to see how informational content that named specific fruits and vegetables as having the highest pesticide residues increased the percentage of shoppers who said they would be unlikely to purchase any type of fruits and vegetables,&rsquo; says Britt Burton-Freeman, associate professor of food science and nutrition at ITT&rsquo;s Center for Nutrition Research.&nbsp;&lsquo;The concern is that depending on the structure of the communication about pesticides and fruits and vegetables this could turn people away from wanting to purchase any fresh produce.&rsquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s great work, EWG: making people who live at or under the poverty line (ya know, the folks with the <em>highest rates</em> of obesity) pass on healthy fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Well done!</p> <p> Ever Heard of &lsquo;Correlation, Not Causation&rsquo;?</p> <p> Trasende and his colleagues relied on computer models&mdash;a questionable and often flawed way to do scientific studies. Trasende also likes to draw correlations between a substance or environmental cause and a disease. A firm rule in scientific research is that correlations, while sometimes interesting and instructive, do not mean causation. In other words, just because two things are related, it does not mean A caused B.&nbsp;To see why correlation is not a good measure of causation, take a look at this graph.</p> <p> HERE</p> <p> The graph shows that as organic food consumption has gone up, so has the rate of autism diagnosis. Wow. That must mean organic food causes autism, right? Of course not.</p> <p> Yet, clearly, Trasende and his colleagues don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s important to inform people about the limits of his latest study. In fact, earlier this year, Trasende found a correlation between pre-term births and air pollution. His system is pretty simple. He looked at the number of pre-term births in a particular area and then looked to see if that area had a higher level of air pollution. And VIOLA! A connection!</p> <p> But in a well-designed scientific study, researchers consider other factors that could cause pre-term birth&mdash;like the health of the mother, her health during pregnancy, the mother&rsquo;s economic situation, her diet, and educational levels. Trasende doesn&rsquo;t bother to consider how these factors come into play. In fact, reporting on this study, the journal <a href=""><em>Nature</em></a> said the researchers tried to control for these factors:</p> <p> The authors of the latest study made efforts to control for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors that might skew the results. However, some of those adjustments had limitations. Not all centres included information about whether the mother smoked during pregnancy; maternal education and address were used as proxy measurements to give an idea of socioeconomic status; and the mothers&rsquo; exposure to air pollution during pregnancy was estimated rather than measured directly.</p> <p> So, basically, they made up data and succeeded in showing a connection between pollution and bad health outcomes. This isn&rsquo;t useful if you want to know if pollution actually causes the problem, or how to prevent such problems, but it serves its purpose if the real goal is to create frightening headlines that make air pollution seem like a huge and very costly problem.</p> <p> Trasende repeats this pattern with his latest study on endocrine disruption: suggesting these chemicals (and the diseases they cause) are responsible for $340 billion in health-related costs each year. Never mind that the study lacks actual evidence that the chemicals in question are actually contributing to these health problems.</p> <p> Trasende is an activist scientist, trotting out junk science at rapid speed to further his political, policy, and regulatory goals. That&rsquo;s not good science. It&rsquo;s a troubling trend that will create onerous, burdensome, and wholly unnecessary regulations. Systems are in place to protect consumers from coming into contact with harmful chemicals, and a great body of scientific work has already been done to confirm the safety of these chemicals in everyday products and food packaging.</p> <p> The scientific community must do more to reign in activist scientists and dubious scientific studies that create fear and alarm where no documented danger exists.</p> <p> <em>Julie Gunlock is a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and directs the organization&rsquo;s Culture of Alarmism Project. She is the author of &quot;From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back.&quot;</em></p> GunlockThu, 20 Oct 2016 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFact Sheet: Food Dyes<p> Today, moms pay close attention to what their kids eat. There&rsquo;s a lot of information out there, yet some information about food is misleading and unnecessarily frightening to shoppers.</p> <p> <a href=""><strong><span style="font-size:16px;">GET THE FACTS (PDF/DOWNLOAD) &gt;&gt;&gt;</span></strong></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"> <a href="" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Reasonable Mom: Fact Sheet Food Dyes on Scribd">Reasonable Mom: Fact Sheet Food Dyes</a></p> <p> <iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_53363" scrolling="no" src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-TfF8YWo4uEOg3753URAJ&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> GunlockTue, 18 Oct 2016 10:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #56 Reasonable Mom's Pushing Back On Food Alarmism<p> IWF&#39;s Julie Gunlock is joined by Kavin Senapathy in this week&#39;s podcast to discuss IWF&#39;s event Reasonable Mom&#39;s Unite. Kavin and Julie talked about the pressure moms are under to feed their kids in a certain way. Moms do not need to spend extra at the grocery store in order to feed their children nutritionally. The mom shaming and guilt tripping does nothing to help families but it does help the organic and boutique food companies that charge more for nutritionally equal food. Reasonable moms need to push back on this narrative and reassure moms that keeping a budget at the grocery store doesn&#39;t make you a bad mom. RSVP for the event here:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="">;ets-27995983741</a></p> GunlockMon, 17 Oct 2016 15:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Pressures of Parenting • Good Morning Washington GunlockMon, 17 Oct 2016 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow I Became a Reasonable Mom<p> Next week in Washington, DC, I&rsquo;m taking part in a panel discussion on&nbsp;what it means to be a reasonable mom. But I didn&rsquo;t exactly begin my &ldquo;mom life&rdquo; as anything resembling reasonable. There was a long period of time when I believed a good birth had to be a drug-free one, pitied formula feeders and gave serious side eye to moms who dared serve their children STORE BOUGHT CINNAMON ROLLS.&nbsp;</p> <p> Now,&nbsp;I may still be a little pretentious and particular&nbsp;about my baked goods, but somewhere along the way two realizations helped kick me in my sanctimommy tush: perfect moms are a myth (kind of like comfortable Spanx)&nbsp;and there are no experts on parenting.</p> <p> When I became pregnant with my son,&nbsp;I was living in Northern California, where prenatal yoga was critical&nbsp;but immunizations were&nbsp;optional, and I was expecting pregnancy to transform&nbsp;me into some kind of&nbsp;lactating, raw food eating, skinny with a cute bump,&nbsp;Lululemon wearing goddess.&nbsp;</p> <p> Reality? I couldn&rsquo;t sleep, my anxiety was through the roof and, thanks to my skyrocketing blood pressure, I had to deliver my son&nbsp;at 32 weeks. But even that rough road didn&rsquo;t persuade me to drop the quest for perfect-motherhood. In fact, I doubled down after that because I thought maybe if I just &ldquo;mommed harder,&rdquo; I could become the mama goddess of my dreams. I eventually breastfed exclusively, pursued a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and a midwife-led, drug-free birth. But, with the passage of time, a difficult&nbsp;pregnancy loss and a <a href="">really uneventful&nbsp;birth experience</a>&nbsp;(wait, that&rsquo;s it? Where&rsquo;s my VBAC gold medal???), I eventually realized that&nbsp;chasing perfection as a mom&nbsp;is a joyless and impossible quest.</p> <p> I also discovered skepticism&nbsp;and learned that &ldquo;parenting experts&rdquo; (as opposed to obstetricians, scientists, etcetera) aren&rsquo;t really a thing.&nbsp;For me as a mom, the internet made everything worse and then, eventually, better again. In the beginning, I loved that you could read everything you could ever possibly want to know about being a parent. Breastfeeding, childbirth, baby-wearing, what to feed your child &mdash; it&rsquo;s all right there on the screen every moment&nbsp;of the day and&nbsp;night!</p> <p> But, oh my god, it&rsquo;s all right there on the screen&nbsp;every&nbsp;moment of the day and&nbsp;night! I was suffering from information overload and what&nbsp;I really failed to&nbsp;grasp was just how easy it is&nbsp;to position yourself as an&nbsp;&ldquo;expert.&rdquo;</p> <p> Reading the <a href="">Skeptical OB blog</a> was the first time I read someone challenge the so-called natural parenting&nbsp;&ldquo;experts.&rdquo; Dr. Amy had the gall&nbsp;to argue epidurals aren&rsquo;t dangerous or&nbsp;damaging to the &ldquo;birth experience&rdquo; (and while we&rsquo;re at it, why does birth have to be an &ldquo;experience&rdquo; anyway?) and breastfeeding may not be best after all. Now, some people disagree with Dr. Amy or&nbsp;object to her tactics (although I dare you to listen to her on this&nbsp;<a href="">Science Enthusiast podcast</a> and call her extreme!), but, whatever&nbsp;you think about her tone or tactics, she was one of the first bloggers to write&nbsp;about birth and motherhood and&nbsp;insist we look at the&nbsp;facts and evidence.</p> <p> If you&rsquo;re going to tell me it&rsquo;s better to give birth without pain relief, show me the studies proving epidural use causes c-sections (you can&rsquo;t). If you&rsquo;re going to tell me I must breastfeed, let&rsquo;s talk about the <a href="">quality of the evidence</a>&nbsp;(yes, there are benefits but those benefits have long been overstated). It may sound wonky to some to get excited about&nbsp;facts and data, but it helped me&nbsp;find sanity in a world made crazy by the likes of the Food Babe and&nbsp;Modern Alternative Mama.&nbsp;</p> <p> These days, I write mostly about food but&nbsp;I didn&rsquo;t start out so reasonable on that score either. For a long time I believed and espoused that&nbsp;organic food must be better for my family and better for the environment. I thought &ldquo;clean&rdquo; eating was something to which we should all aspire. But <a href="">insisting on spending more for organic food, going the extra mile to earn my&nbsp;locavore mom scout badge and&nbsp;rejecting&nbsp;&ldquo;factory farms&rdquo; wasn&rsquo;t actually making my family or the planet any healthier.</a> Now, I focus on flavor, taste and ease, and everyone is much happier.&nbsp;</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve been reflecting on all of this in preparation for next week&rsquo;s panel, hosted by Julie Gunlock and the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum. Now, some of you may be thinking, IWF? I thought this writer was a liberal! Yes, I am, but one of the most interesting things about the pro-science community&nbsp;is the diversity in perspectives and political beliefs.</p> <p> For the most part, I relish my lefty urban bubble (relax, conservative friends, I don&rsquo;t actually spend my days sipping cappuccino and gazing at a picture of Hillary Clinton) but I also enjoy getting out of it. I&rsquo;ve met some incredible, smart and interesting&nbsp;conservative women who embrace science and reject fear and alarmism. Julie Gunlock is one of those women. Do Julie and I agree on everything? No. But if skeptics are going to challenge others to get outside their echo chamber, we have to be willing to do the same. It&rsquo;s actually kinda reasonable.&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>If you&rsquo;re around Washington, DC next week, October 19 at 6pm, please join us! psst&hellip;free range parents, Lenore Skenazy will be on this panel!</strong></p> <p> Event&nbsp;info:&nbsp;<a href="">Event Registration (free!)</a>&nbsp;and <a href="">Facebook event link</a></p> GunlockThu, 13 Oct 2016 13:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat It Means To Be A Reasonable Mom + Nuisance Alarmist Litigation • Garrison GunlockThu, 13 Oct 2016 12:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumChat With Julie Gunlock<p> It used to be that agriculture&rsquo;s biggest concern was overzealous regulators on the&nbsp;local, state, and federal level. But with the advent of social media and new technologies, the creation of fear-based food marketing has been on the rise. Unfortunately, the target of that marketing is usually young moms. Of course, that doesn&rsquo;t mean that farmers can disregard the political aspect of our industry either.&nbsp;Julie Gunlock is uniquely qualified to talk about both issues &ndash; politics and motherhood. With extensive experience in politics and having 3 kids, I was excited to talk to Julie about how it all relates.</p> <p> <strong>Agriculture is a pretty heavily regulated industry, which means farmers have to be particularly tuned in to what our elected officials are doing. But those opposed to modern farm production methods are also tuned in and speaking loudly. Having worked in legislative offices, what is the best way for farmers to reach out to their elected officials and actually be heard?</strong></p> <p> I&rsquo;m not sure people understand that congressman and senators actually do care what their&nbsp;constituents have to say. There&rsquo;s a bit of cynicism about elected officials these days and a widely held belief that elected representatives don&rsquo;t care what the people want. That might be true for some but not all. For instance, I worked for Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) for several years in the 1990s and each and every day&ndash;sometimes several times a day&ndash;the Senator would walk down to the front office and speak to the receptionists about the calls his office was getting. The receptionists were required to log every call&ndash;the reason for the call and the name and contact information for the caller. The Senator was obsessive about collecting that information. He wanted to know how people felt&ndash;at home, in his state. He wanted to know how they felt about a particular issue. That resonated with me. It showed me that the simple act of calling your senator&rsquo;s office can really have an impact on their vote. I worked for several members after Senator DeWine and each member cared deeply about the thoughts and wishes of the electorate. Of course lobbyists came to the office each day and large organizations who had an ax to grind. But it was those individual calls that seemed to matter most to my bosses.</p> <p> <strong>You&rsquo;ve done a lot of work regarding the so-called &ldquo;culture of alarmism,&rdquo; which exposes the strategy some groups use to scare the general public about everything, including food! What made you initially take notice of these tactics, especially about food and farming, and how did that develop into the work you&rsquo;re doing now?</strong></p> <p> Having my first child really opened my eyes up to the fear-based marketing tactics utilized by activist organizations. They&rsquo;re very smart&ndash;using moms and mom bloggers to promote the idea that grocery stores are filled with toxic food and that farmers are irresponsible land and animal abusers. It worked on me at first&ndash;I became completely paranoid about food and wellness issues and I sort of fell into conspiratorial thinking where I convinced myself that Big Food and Big Ag were somehow to blame for all the world&rsquo;s problems. But as I educated myself more on these issues (read more about why farmers do what they do&ndash;crating, antibiotic use, caging vs. free ranging chickens, CAFOs use, spraying pesticides, use GMO seed) I started to see the pattern emerge. The specific issue didn&rsquo;t matter, the alarmism was the same. The message was clear: You and your kids will be harmed by modern life&ndash;be it modern farming, food distribution and production, manufacturing, medicine, etc. Modernity and technology were the enemies and moms and kids were the victims. This message has penetrated nearly every area of our culture. Moms are fed a constant diet of danger, danger, danger. This creates needless worry and stress and makes parenting harder and less enjoyable.</p> <p> <strong>You previously worked as a staff member for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and on the House Homeland Security Committee. What role do you think agriculture plays on the international stage?</strong></p> <p> I think food and agriculture policy is critical to national security, particularly when it comes to American trade policy. Free and vigorous trade with other nations is the best form of international humanitarian aid the United States can provide and it&rsquo;s one of the best anti-terror measures. By providing a marketplace, the US can help developing nations create and grow industries that will generate jobs and a higher standard of living. Consider Pakistan&ndash;an important partner on the war on terror and a &nbsp;major producer of textiles. That industry&rsquo;s&rsquo; growth is critical to Pakistan&rsquo;s continued development yet US imposed import quotas and tariffs block Pakistan&rsquo;s access to our marketplace. The same is true for some food imports. From a national security standpoint, the west can and should do more to encourage global commerce, especially with developing nations.</p> <p> <strong>In addition to all of the political work and writing that you do, you&rsquo;re also a boy mom of three! Unfortunately, so many marketers target young moms with fear-mongering messages. What advice do you have for moms that want to know what&rsquo;s best for their kids, but are getting confused about all the conflicting information available?</strong></p> <p> The best advice I have for new moms is DO NOT read mommy blogs or activist websites to get information about food and nutrition. There&rsquo;s just too much garbage information out there. It&rsquo;s overwhelming. The other advice I would give is to check your sources! Have questions about vaccines? Ask a doctor. Have questions about food and how it&rsquo;s grown? Ask a farmer or someone who works in the agriculture field (like you!). Have questions about parenting? Ask your mom! Online &ldquo;experts&rdquo; might mean well but they often cause confusion and fear and they encourage many moms to stop trusting their own instincts. The phrase &ldquo;mom knows best&rdquo; might seem cliche but it&rsquo;s true. Moms need to trust their own instincts, choose good sources for health information, and tune out all the other nonsense.</p> <p> <strong>What question do people never ask that you wished they did ask, and what is your answer to that question?</strong></p> <p> What&rsquo;s your secret to looking so young and beautiful? HA! I&rsquo;m kidding. I sometimes wish people would simply ask for sources. I hear people say the most bizarre things about food and agriculture and when I ask for their sources they often don&rsquo;t have one or they dismiss my questions with &ldquo;I saw it on TV!&rdquo; That&rsquo;s not a source! There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about food and agriculture yet people are less inclined these days to seek out good information. When I argue a point&ndash;for instance, when I tell moms that there&rsquo;s zero nutritional difference between organic and conventionally grown food, I am always able to back up my claim with scientific sources (in this case, I point to the Stanford study). Sadly, rarely am I asked for sources. People listen and nod and are polite but they don&rsquo;t seem to demand sourcing as they should. I hope this changes.</p> GunlockWed, 12 Oct 2016 14:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFact Sheet: Bisphenol-A (BPA)<p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Consumers hear a lot about chemicals used in manufacturing - and the phrase &quot;chemical-free&quot; has become a popular marketing term. People are encouraged to believe that chemical-free products are superior. And many companies are responding by removing certain chemicals from their products.</p> <p> Yet before consumers embrace the idea that &quot;chemical-free&quot; is the way to go, they should learn more about the chemicals involved and why they were used in the first place. They will learn that removing chemicals often won&#39;t make the product any safer or better. In fact, in many cases, removing a harmless chemical during manufacturing or packaging compromises the product&#39;s safety and quality. One of the most commonly used and most misunderstood chemicals is called bisphenol-A.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:16px;"><a href="">GET THE FACTS (PDF/DOWNLOAD) &gt;&gt;&gt;</a></span></strong><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"> <a href="" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Reasonable Mom: Fact Sheet BPA on Scribd">Reasonable Mom: Fact Sheet BPA</a></p> <p> <iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_81048" scrolling="no" src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-BZDEmOT2NtbGpHNp8bbW&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> GunlockWed, 12 Oct 2016 12:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFact Sheet: Genetically Modified Food (GMOs)<p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Today, consumers are more concerned than ever about the food they eat. Much has been said about genetically modified organisms, which are commonly known as GMOs, yet there&#39;s a lot of misleading information out there that&#39;s unnecessarily frightening shoppers.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:20px;"><strong><a href="">GET THE FACTS (PDF/DOWNLOAD) &gt;&gt;&gt;</a></strong></span></p> <p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"> <a href="" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Reasonable Mom: Fact Sheet GMOs on Scribd">Reasonable Mom: Fact Sheet GMOs</a></p> <p> <iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_43909" scrolling="no" src=";view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-wQdWMiCnjIZqdTmbCt1b&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> GunlockWed, 12 Oct 2016 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLets All Be Reasonable Moms<p> The media and Internet seem to put Moms into two categories: good moms and bad moms. Hollywood is even getting in on this game, with the release of the movie&nbsp;<em>Bad Moms</em>, and fueling the idea that women belong exclusively in either group.&nbsp;</p> <p> You get the idea. &ldquo;Good&rdquo; moms are June Cleaver-types. These mythical creatures (I have yet to actually see one) are always pleasant with their children (they never yell), and know how to cook nutritious (organic, locally produced) meals. They keep their homes (and often their own bodies) shipshape and don&rsquo;t ever let the laundry pile up. The &ldquo;bad&rdquo; moms are, well&hellip;the other ones&mdash;those that work too much, barely manage to cook or clean the house. They&rsquo;re frazzled, sometimes disheveled, and often quite short tempered with the kids.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet actual moms rarely fall squarely into these tidy categories. Instead, moms tend to weave in and out of these archetypes. Of course, no one wants to be a bad mom, but few can meet the demanding criteria of what it takes to be a good mom these days. That&rsquo;s why I think we need a new category: <strong>The Reasonable Mom.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p> Reasonable moms make some mistakes, but they try to do their best with the resources and&nbsp;time&nbsp;they have. They guiltlessly take short cuts when it comes to feeding their kids, while still trying to make nutritious choices most of the&nbsp;time. They scan but don&rsquo;t obsess over the latest parenting studies and expert-provided guidance.&nbsp;</p> <p> Reasonable moms find parenting exhausting, entertaining, frustrating and rewarding all at the same&nbsp;time.&nbsp;&nbsp;They need some&nbsp;time&nbsp;for themselves too and don&rsquo;t want to spend every minute with their kids. And they know kids need space and unsupervised&nbsp;time&nbsp;to just be kids too.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Reasonable moms reject dogmatic allegiance to any particular parenting style, preferring instead to borrow from this strategy and that approach. They might hover over certain things their children do, while choosing a more free-range approach with other activities. They&rsquo;re the &ldquo;do what needs to be done to meet the demands of the day&rdquo; types who generally dismiss calls to &ldquo;mother better&rdquo; and &ldquo;mother harder,&rdquo; which is the message promoted by so much of the blogosphere.&nbsp;</p> <p> It isn&rsquo;t always easy to be a reasonable mom:&nbsp;&nbsp;the crushing pressure to pursue the impossible ideals of parenting can be hard to ignore. And now, shame is utilized by certain mommy bloggers, health advocates and activist organizations to push moms into spending and doing more for their children.&nbsp;</p> <p> This pressure on&nbsp;parents&nbsp;exacts a big toll.&nbsp;&nbsp;Kids are growing up more cosseted than ever before.&nbsp;Parents are more stressed and miserable. Families are struggling to meet the economic costs associated with modern parenting success, spending more money than necessary on overpriced specialty foods and chemical-free alternatives that are actually no healthier or safer. And our society as a whole suffers too. Studies increasingly show a connection between over-parenting and increasing cases of anxiety and depression among college students, who simply cannot transition to independent life. Childhood obesity continues to be a problem, in part because of confusing messages about food and nutrition.&nbsp;Parents&nbsp;are too often heeding the advice of online &ldquo;experts&rdquo; who are really profiteering from needless fear about food, medicine, agriculture and manufacturing, overlooking solid and sensible guidelines based on sound science.</p> <p> How much longer will&nbsp;parents&nbsp;stand for this untenable and entirely unpleasant reality? Reasonable moms (and dads) need to push back on this parenting trend and expose the thriving industry built on making them feel inadequate, lazy, and underperforming.&nbsp;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s&nbsp;time&nbsp;to put an end to this. Let&rsquo;s all embrace rationality and common sense. Let&rsquo;s reject the sputtering conspiracy theories of online activists. Let&rsquo;s bring joy and normalcy back to parenting.&nbsp;</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s all strive to be reasonable moms.&nbsp;</p> GunlockWed, 12 Oct 2016 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #55 Reasonable Moms Unite: How To Fight The Culture That Demands We Worry About Everything<p> Freelance writer Julie Kelly and IWF&#39;s Julie Gunlock discuss their own evolution from nervous moms to reasonable moms. Discussing food fads and nutrition scares and all the various ways mom bloggers, activists, the media and food marketers like to frighted consumers, these two moms discuss why they refuse to bow to alarmism. If you are interested in attending IWF&#39;s Reasonable Mom launch event, please visit&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title=""></a>&nbsp;to RSVP.</p> GunlockTue, 11 Oct 2016 15:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumActivists working to 'freak out' moms is fueling litigation, says director of 'Culture of Alarmism Project'<p> SACRAMENTO - Courts in the Northern District of California are fertile ground for consumer class actions that take aim at commonly known products or brands that have been around for generations:</p> <p> - Pepsi <a href="">was accused</a> of not disclosing the risks of a caramel color ingredient that exceeded the state&#39;s &quot;no significant risk level&quot; intake of 29 micrograms of a known carcinogen. (One microgram is one millionth of a gram).</p> <p> - Post Foods <a href="">allegedly failed to disclose</a> that its Shredded Wheat contained a synthetic ingredient used as a drying agent on wheat before it is harvested.</p> <p> -Hostess was <a href="">alleged to have fraudulently induced</a> consumers to buy maple-glazed mini doughnuts that did not contain maple syrup or sugar.</p> <p> -Colgate-Palmolive <a href="">allegedly made false promises</a> that its Optic White toothpaste cleans more than just the surface of teeth. Plaintiffs, however, say the toothpaste only reaches surface stains by abrading teeth instead of the &quot;deeply&quot; whitening claims as advertised.</p> <p> These few cases are among many dozens of consumer lawsuits settled or currently making their way through federal courts of Northern California.</p> <p> Are they worthy of attention or just clogging the court system?</p> <p> Lawsuit reform supporters suggest that many consumer class actions are instigated by activists who prey upon fears of consumers and a powerful and well-financed trial bar.</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Julie Gunlock, director of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum in Washington, said that it&rsquo;s no wonder the American consumer, and particularly women, &ldquo;are freaked out&rdquo; and nervous about choosing products.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> She said the behavior of women and moms is &ldquo;incredibly important to activists&rdquo; because in nine of 10 households women are the primary shoppers. They&rsquo;re also the primary caretakers of households and children.</p> <p> &ldquo;Things matter to women,&rdquo; she said, especially the reliability of products.</p> <p> Research that her group has conducted found that:</p> <p> - 68 percent of women said the world is becoming a more dangerous place;</p> <p> - 66 percent of women said they are not doing enough to provide them and their families healthy food;</p> <p> - 83 percent of women said they have trouble telling the difference between a legitimate scientific study and one designed to scare them; and</p> <p> - 87 percent of women say they have a tough time finding sources for health and wellness information that they can trust.</p> <p> Gunlock said that consumer activists work to induce anxiety in moms in order to get more funding.</p> <p> What of the organically grown food industry?</p> <p> &ldquo;You&#39;re poisoning your family if you&#39;re feeding them conventionally grown food&hellip;canned food is poison,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> &ldquo;GMOs are killing machines.&rdquo;</p> <p> Indeed, there is at least one anti-GMO lawsuit ongoing in the Northern District of California. In a case filed in April, <a href="">consumers blame Chipotle Mexican Grill </a>for advertising that it serves non-GMO ingredients, when meat allegedly has been raised on GMO feed and its dairy products were made from the milk from cows fed GMO feed.</p> <p> &ldquo;If you aren&rsquo;t worrying about everything,&rdquo; you are a bad parent, she said.</p> <p> Gunlock was a featured speaker at &ldquo;The Nuisance of Misguided Public Nuisance Litigation&rdquo; held by the Civil Justice Association of California last week in Sacramento.</p> <p> She said that &ldquo;dangerously inaccurate&quot; information often gets put out to the public by activists or leaders of litigation, something that is especially true in the state&rsquo;s lead paint public nuisance case.</p> <p> <a href="">The case</a>, in which paint manufacturers were ordered to abate lead paint inside millions of private residences across, awaits hearing on appeal.</p> <p> What the court has ordered and what public offices list on their websites for safe handling of lead paint are at odds and looks like &ldquo;complete schizophrenia,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> &ldquo;Many public health officials do not recommend removing lead off of walls,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They have instructions on how to safely manage it on their websites..</p> <p> &ldquo;But that&#39;s directly opposite from what you see in this lawsuit.&rdquo;</p> <p> She said that another harm from this litigation is leaving an impression with the public that the only way one would be exposed to lead would be through paint.</p> <p> &ldquo;But, there are a variety of ways,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Take a look at Flint, Michigan.&rdquo;</p> <p> Lead also is in soil.</p> <p> &ldquo;So when your kids come in with mud on their feet&hellip;they could be exposed that way,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Moms should hear that.&rdquo;</p> <p> But the &ldquo;saddest thing&rdquo; about the lead paint scare is that parents are led to believe that if a child is exposed to lead then they are damaged permanently.</p> <p> &ldquo;That is a false narrative and it is psychologically damaging,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p> Before joining the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, Gunlock served on staff at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and on the House Homeland Committee. She also served on the staffs of Ohio Sens. Mike DeWine, George Voinovich and Tom Coburn.</p> <p> She is a regular contributor to National Review Online, BlogHer and Huffington Post.</p> GunlockThu, 6 Oct 2016 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWomen in the White House & "Amplification" + Alarmist Litigation • Cam & Company GunlockWed, 5 Oct 2016 15:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Nuisance Of Alarmist Litigation<p> Nuisance litigation&mdash;the nice way of saying &ldquo;frivolous lawsuits&rdquo;&mdash;can be long, tedious, and quite expensive to defend. Many cases are so laughable that judges just throw them out. Yet, other, more well financed cases continue to pop up against&nbsp;<a href="">cities</a>, businesses, manufacturers, and individuals.</p> <p> Much time and many resources have been diverted from more productive uses to contend with public nuisance litigation. Yet, there&rsquo;s another victim: parents who hear about this type of litigation and assume there&rsquo;s reason to worry about the health and safety of their children. That&rsquo;s the real nuisance.</p> <p> Consider the ongoing litigation against companies that long ago sold lead-based pigments sometime used in residential paints (which has been out of the marketplace since the early 1970s). In one California case, plaintiff&rsquo;s lawyers argued that because lead-pigmented paint still exists in some residential buildings, a public nuisance exists. In an unprecedented decision, the judge ruled in their favor, saying that all lead paint on the inside or outside of every residential building in ten of the largest California cities and counties is a &ldquo;public nuisance.&rdquo; He then ordered three former white lead pigment producers to pay to inspect every residence built before 1981 and then to abate or remove the lead paint.</p> <p> Yet, this is in direct opposition to what public health officials advise on lead paint. Instead of stripping it off walls, which could then create an airborne lead dust biohazard, officials advise keeping the lead paint intact under other layers of paint, and applying regular coats of paint to ensure the lead paint remains underneath. Lead pigments cannot migrate through layers of non-lead paint; a hazard arises when owners negligently allow paint to flake, peel, and chip off. The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) even states that living in a house with lead paint is fine as long you&nbsp;maintain the paint and&nbsp;do basic house cleaning and upkeep to your house&mdash;something most mothers do on a daily basis.</p> <p> Public health officials know that lead paint can&rsquo;t hurt anyone when it&rsquo;s buried under multiple layers of newer paint. They also know that scientific studies show that lead exposure may come from lead particles in&nbsp;<a href="">soil either blown into homes through open windows or carried into the home by a person&rsquo;s own feet&mdash;not from intact paint on the walls.</a>&nbsp;Yet, if the court has its way, people would face new health risks as layers of paint are removed and scraped off&mdash;leading to leaded dust and chips.</p> <p> Sadly, what parents don&rsquo;t hear is the good news. According to the CDC&rsquo;s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES),&nbsp;<a href="">Americans show consistent declines in blood lead levels in every segment of the population</a>. Even President Obama&nbsp;<a href="">urged caution about fears of lead exposure</a>, reminding the citizens of Flint, Michigan after their water supply was found to have elevated levels of lead that &ldquo;&hellip; it wasn&rsquo;t until the &lsquo;80s where we started banning lead in paint, lead in toys, lead in gasoline,&rdquo; adding &ldquo;&hellip;if you are my age, or older, or maybe even a little bit younger, you got some lead in your system when you were growing up&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p> That&rsquo;s a message parents need to hear.&nbsp;&nbsp;Too bad our legal system so often pushes in the wrong direction and contributes to a culture of needless alarmism. Parents deserve better and Californians deserve a legal system that distinguishes between a naked grab for money and real cases worthy of attention.</p> <p> <em>Julie Gunlock is a mom of three and a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> GunlockTue, 27 Sep 2016 12:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Unsung Virtues of the Old-Fashioned Family Photo Album<p> I have roughly 10,000 photos sitting on my iPhone. I&rsquo;ve never downloaded them because my computer doesn&rsquo;t have enough memory to hold all the photos. Last year, I downloaded around 7,000 photos to a separate memory drive. It sits in a drawer. The pictures are never seen.</p> <p> Sometimes I scroll through the most recent photos still sitting on my phone but my kids only see them if they happen to be sitting with me, and those photos only cover the last 6-months or so of activities. As for pictures of past birthdays, vacations, Christmases, and other big family events, my kids almost never see them. Their baby photos? They each have one, sitting in a frame, on a bookshelf. That&rsquo;s their only concept of what they looked like as a baby.</p> <p> This is very different from how I grew up. My mother kept dozens of photo albums on the shelves in the living room. Sometimes when I was bored (and that was often, growing up in the early 80s when we only had three television channels and no Xbox or Wii with which to distract ourselves), I would leaf through the albums, laughing at the pictures of me as a chubby baby; marveling at my beautiful, youthful mom; fascinated that my dad once had hair.</p> <p> Yet, my mom&rsquo;s responsible habit of putting together photo albums had little to do with her superiority as a parent. She simply had to organize these albums, as she didn&rsquo;t want piles of developed photos lying around the house. Photos albums were a necessity&mdash;simply a storage facility for those dozens of 3&times;5 glossies.</p> <p> Today, one doesn&rsquo;t need albums, as you can view photos without going that extra step of actually developing the pictures. And that&rsquo;s precisely one of the problems. Why develop photos when you can endlessly scroll, right? Except that my kids can&rsquo;t scroll. They don&rsquo;t have access to my phone, and even if they did, they would choose Angry Birds over looking at last year&rsquo;s Christmas photos.</p> <p> Of course, I&rsquo;ve tried. I really have tried to download the photos. I&rsquo;ve visited all the websites that claim they&rsquo;ll make it easy for you to organize all your photos. That&rsquo;s largely a lie. Until they figure out a way for me to simply plug in my iPhone and poof! a nice organized book appears three days later, the process is not easy. Ever.</p> <p> Usually, I start out enthusiastically. I&rsquo;ll make a cup of coffee and sit down at the dining room table, ready to organize the photos. I&rsquo;m in a good mood, hopeful and ambitious. Three hours later, I&rsquo;m crying and frustrated. I become overwhelmed, something goes wrong, like the downloading freezes and I have to repeat hours of work, or things just get in the way. It quickly becomes clear: I simply have no way of dedicating hours to a project like organizing tens of thousands of photos. So, I put everything away and move on to other projects, filled with guilt that yet another attempt has failed.</p> <p> Part of the problem, of course, is that technology, while a blessing in many ways, is really a curse when it comes to photo documenting your children&rsquo;s lives. Today, I take dozens of photos a day&mdash;for the most mundane activities. Oh, look! He picked a flower! Gotta capture this tender moment. Oh, look! He&rsquo;s smiling so sweetly as he eats his lunch. That&rsquo;s a keeper! Look! He&rsquo;s licking the sidewalk. Hilarious! Snap, snap, snap. And of course, one photo won&rsquo;t suffice. I take dozens for each event. Scrolling through them later, I realize there&rsquo;s hardly any difference between the photos. Yet, I continue this wasteful photo binging behavior. There must be a support group for this. I&rsquo;ll Google that later.</p> <p> This makes the process of downloading even more of a hassle, as one first needs to go through and organize which ones you actually want. Do I trash the others? Do I move the ones I want to develop to a &ldquo;good photos&rdquo; folder and still keep the rest of them? Do I just give up, admit defeat, become Amish and swear off all technology for the rest of my life? Sometimes that feels like the best path.</p> <p> My mother never dealt with this issue. She didn&rsquo;t take dozens of pictures of exactly the same thing. She took one picture since, forty years ago, camera film was pretty expensive. You didn&rsquo;t waste film trying to take the perfect photo. Instead, you waited for a good enough shot, steadied yourself, clicked once and hoped it came out. And of course, the photos were developed because there was no other way to see the photos. I can still remember the heart pounding anticipation of getting that envelope of developed photos from the drug store, when one-hour photo development was considered an amazing leap in modern technology.</p> <p> Today my kids are surprised if I take fewer than seven photos before breakfast. I&rsquo;m always documenting their lives, though I&rsquo;m still not sure who is ever going to see it.</p> GunlockFri, 23 Sep 2016 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum