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Concerned about symptoms in your child?

Parents, are you concerned about changes you’ve observed in your child since the start of school?  Parents have contacted the coalition from across the district about rashes, headaches and more, wondering, “Should I be worried?”

Above all, you have to trust your intuition. You know your child better than anyone else.  Nonetheless, when symptoms of daily toxic exposures become chronic, it can become hard to distinguish them from “normal” health. Pay attention to any contrast between the weekend and Monday.  Be especially vigilant after a holiday. 


It can be easy to forget symptoms that may seem minor and become “normal” over time. Take pictures, videos or keep a little log book to identify patterns. Smart phones are great tools for citizen science.


Some symptoms of environmental sensitivity are more obvious (headaches, red eyes, nausea, rashes), but toxic exposures can trigger other neurological changes (handwriting decline, irritability)…. Environmental pediatrician Dr. Doris Rapp has written several books on the subject.  She writes about both food and environmental allergies because they can often go hand in hand.  A short video here discusses the behavioral consequences.  Copies of her classic book, “Is This Your Child’s World” can be found used at low prices.  The main symptoms (in no particular order) that she emphasizes are:

● worsened asthma & allergies
● problems concentrating (spaciness)
● Irritated eyes
● dark circles under the eyes
● thirst
● exhaustion
● sensitivity to odors
● swollen belly and abdominal pain
● eczema, rash or itching
● dandruff or loss of hair
● loss or weight gain
● flu-like symptoms
● body pain and especially
● back and neck pain

● memory loss
● disorders of the nervous system
● unusual depression
● irritability
● spasms and seizures
● sinus swelling and hearing loss  
● irritation of the respiratory tract
● diarrhea, etc.

MDs receive little to no training in med school about environmental illnesses.  Even in places like Flint, Michigan with epic rates of childhood lead, doctors may not track environmental issues.  Or take Woburn, Massachusetts—the town made famous by the book-turned-Hollywood film, A Civil Action, which suffered a cluster of pediatric hematological cancers that were traced to emissions from a nearby tannery—an aftermath study found that local physicians were no more likely to ask about a patient’s environmental exposure than doctors elsewhere.


However, you can find courageous and open-minded medical practitioners. Ask around.

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