Let’s Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is in just a few days. Hard to believe that it’s already here. Sometimes it seems like ole Turkey Day gets sideswiped by the gift buying and holiday madness the day after. It’s almost as if Thanksgiving is a part of the countdown to holidays in December. People can sometimes forget to slow down and actually remember what it’s all about. A time to give thanks.

One of the traditions in my family growing up was to write down what we were thankful for. We would write simple things down on slips of paper and place them into a pilgrim boat craft made by one of the grandkids long ago. After stuffing our faces and sitting around the table enjoying each other’s company, we would pass the slips around the table and everyone would read one out loud. Granted, several of the slips ended up being more humorous than anything. Sometimes it turned into a game to figure out who wrote what, but we all smiled and laughed and said ‘aw’ at heartfelt responses. We were together. And we all were thankful for that. And while this year we are all spread out across the country and not reading our paper slips, I know that we still have a lot to be thankful for, including one another. Not to mention, our stomachs were thankful for all of the food that we stuffed ourselves with.

As you begin preparing your feast in a couple of days, I thought it might be prudent to bring up some facts about pesticides. It is important to note that infants and children may be especially sensitive to health risks from pesticides because their internal organs are still developing and maturing, they eat and drink more than adults in relation to their body weight, and certain behaviors like crawling on the ground or putting objects in their mouths may increase a children’s exposure to pesticides. Pesticides can harm children by blocking absorption of nutrients from food and can also cause harm if a child’s excretory system is not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides. Under the Food Quality Protection Act (1996), EPA evaluates children’s exposure to pesticide residues in and on foods they most commonly eat. The EPA ensures the pesticide residues on foods are safe for children. To learn more about why children may be especially sensitive to pesticides you can visit this website. Some consumers are purchasing organically grown foods to reduce their exposure to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Other ways to reduce pesticides on food include washing, peeling and trimming food, and selecting a variety of foods. You can learn more about what organic means to you and your family by clicking here. You can also purchase food from local farmer’s markets to reduce harmful emissions into the air. So as you begin your preparations for Thursday, take the time to eliminate risks for pesticides. That’s one thing you and your family can always be thankful for.

About the author: Emily Bruckmann is an intern at the Office of Children’s Health Protection. She is a senior attending Indiana University who will graduate with a degree in public health this spring.