Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great News! All blog posts and published articles on children's health moved to Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet website

Hi Everyone, To make life easier, I now have all the posts and published articles on how to improve the health of our children on the Saving Our Kids, Healing our Planet website. This is a great website with lots of wonderful information!

Please check it out, sign up for our newsletters and leave a comment at
I'd love to hear from you!

The best of health to you and your family,
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN
Cofounder Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Article on Preventing Autism Published on Age of Autism and Pathways Magazine

On Sunday March 28th the Age of Autism published an article I wrote entitled: What Can Be Done to Prevent Autism Now!  link:

        It will also appear in the June issue of Pathways Magazine.  Some think that writing about autism prevention is premature because we haven't found all of the answers as to the causes of this epidemic.  Without knowing the causes, they say, how can we possibly profess to know anything about prevention?  My response:  we know enough now to exercise the precautionary principle and have women of childbearing age minimize their exposure to the 87,000 chemicals in use, maximize their nutrition to optimize their own and their baby's health and make wise choices regarding vaccines.

       My intention for writing the article was this.  During the 33 years I have been a registered nurse as well as during the last 15 years of helping parents improve the symptoms associated with their child's autism, we've  all learned a few things along the way that may serve others in minimizing the likelihood of having a child develop autism.  We also have good research (which I referenced in the article) indicating much of what is going on with  children on the spectrum (GI disorders, oxidative stress, immune dysfunctions, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation etc) are identifiable, treatable and in some instances preventable. We also have reports from  thousands of parents who have improved their child's condition using the biomedical approach. With all that we do know, I'm suggesting that women of childbearing age take as many precautions as possible to ensure that their child has the best shot at optimal health and development.  

Please post a comment and let me know how you feel about this issue.

the article also appears on our website Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Organic Lifestyle.....then (when it was weird) and now!....

Back  in the era of the late 70's, some of  us "fringe folks" gravitated toward natural foods and what is now called "greener"  lifestyles.  We started food co-ops, delivered our babies with midwives, made our own baby foods from fresh produce and sent away for wooden toys and clothing for our kids,   The whole concept of "organic" was just starting out and not exactly popular....actually we were considered pretty  weird by the not so progressive mainstream thinkers of the time. None the less, we persisted and if truth be told we were a little self righteous about our alternative lifestyle . Now of course it's hip to buy organic and products and information on how to switch over to the green side abounds.      

But even in this enlightened age, I think the questions still it worth it to invest in organic food for my family? Should I really buy an organic mattress for my child's crib?   I don't want to give up my Tide detergent.  Are regular cleaning products really that bad?   Well with 87,000 chemicals in our food, air, water and vaccines, 1 in 6 kids being diagnosed with a behavioral, developmental or neurological disorder, 1 in 100 diagnosed with autism, 11 million with ADHD, Asthma cases more than doubled since the 80's and the big one.....childhood cancers are now the leading cause of deatth in children........the answer is an unequivical YES!  

You don't have to be wealthy to go organic....just smart.   Cook in batches, buy in bulk, get coupons from and, join a co-op, buy a share in a CSA farm where the farmer only grows  according to how many people purchase shares, grow herbs in pots on your windowsill or start a small garden and save tons.  Get the kids out there in the garden picking the produce and cooking up the tomato sauce.  Believe me I wasn't Martha Stewart when it comes to all this and you don't have to be either.....just know that anything you do to move in this direction will help your health, the health of your kids. and the health of the planet!

And just's not weird going the natural route any's actually the hip thing to do!

Here's an article sent to me today that you might find helpful....
Good health to you and yours
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Why Buy Local and Organic?

Does buying local, organic food really make a difference? Absolutely! Here are just a few reasons why you should try to buy local and organically grown food whenever possible. If you need help trying to locate local growers and organic markets, try using websites like to search for nearby sources of organic food.


In your grocery market you may notice one set of produce marked “organic”. Do these foods support sustainability and eco-friendly practices? Not necessarily. If the “organic” produce was grown in a distant farm and shipped through supply chains to your store, then it has probably consumed more energy and helped spread more emissions than any locally grown food, even if it comes without pesticides. Try for the winning match of both organic and locally grown!


Of course organic foods are healthier! They come naturally grown and without any dangerous hormone treatments or unhealthy pesticides. There is no genetic modifications that can cause unwanted side effects or threaten local ecologies. It is also much easier to ensure that local produce meets true organic standards, too, so the label “organic” is generally more dependable on foods grown in your area. Plus, they hardly take any time at all to ship, so your food tends to be fresher and better-tasting.
This sign is the best of both worlds!


There’s nothing like supporting small local businesses, especially in these more trying economic times. Local producers work hard to grow their food organically, and they should be supported in their endeavors. Whatever money you spend buying local food will stay in your town or city, supporting local growth and development. Local farms also tend to spend your money in wiser and more eco-friendly ways than large suppliers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's not "fear mongering" when researchers publish finding that fruit Juices can contain harmful substances.

Fruit juice cancer warning as scientists find harmful chemical in 16 drinks

By Sophie Borland

Child drinking orange
Scientists have found many fruit juices and squashes contain too much antimony, a potentially lethal substance. (Posed by model)
Fruit juices drunk by millions of children each day could contain a harmful chemical linked to cancer, scientists have warned.
Researchers have found high levels of antimony - which can be lethal in large doses - in many popular brands.
Scientists from the University of Copenhagen found that bottles of fruit juice and squash contained up to 2.5 times more of the substance as is deemed 'safe' in tap water, under EU guidelines.
In some cases the levels of antimony were ten times higher.
The scientists believe that the chemical is leaching its way into the fruit juice from the plastic bottles which hold it.
Previous research found traces of the chemical in bottled mineral water which experts believed was leaching in from the plastic container.
The team has expressed 'concern' over their findings, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, which they say raises fears for the health of millions of children.
They have called for an investigation 'straight away'. The substance can cause cancer, heart and lung problems, according to previous studies.
Although the scientists have not specifically named any brands, the chemicals are believed to have been found in 16 of the most popular blackcurrant and strawberry squash and fruit drinks consumed by children.

Claus Hansen, a PhD student at the department of pharmacology, who took part in the research, speculated that the citric acid in the fruit juices could speed up the leaching process.
He said: 'The antimony concentrations in the products tested exceed the limit of drinking water but no legalisation exists for foodstuffs so no legislation has been broken.


Antimony is used in the making of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, the type favoured by most mineral-water sellers. It is a silvery-white semi-metal that is also used in electronics and flame-proofing materials. Furthermore, it can be used as a medicine to treat people infected with parasites. The recommended EU limit for antimony in drinking water is five micrograms per litre. However, no limits exist for foodstuffs.
Levels above this could cause nausea and vomiting however the effects of long-term exposure are unknown.
'However we cannot be sure that the antimony levels are harmless.
'It would be a good idea to have some more research to get a better impression of what the antimony limit should be in fruit drinks.
'You would have to drink a lot of blackcurrant juice to go beyond the recommended maximum dose which is why there's no antimony limits for drinking water or soft drinks.
'But we can't be sure the high level we  found is not harmful.'
The Royal Society of Chemistry added: 'Marketing, certainly for the cordial products, is geared towards children. It's a children's drink.
'This means they are more likely to drink it and more likely to be at risk.'
The scientists looked at 42 different red fruit juice drinks from Denmark, Scotland and Greece including blackcurrant, strawberry, raspberry and sour cherry and found concentrations 17 times higher than previously studied.
Soft Drinks.jpg
Fruit juices and juice drinks are safe, said a spokesman. 'It is not uncommon that different product types should have different regulatory requirements'
The report, published in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring, said that more research was needed to find out whether it was present during the manufacturing process.
Previous research in Germany in 2006 found antimony was leaching into bottled mineral waters from their plastic containers.
In 2005 Volvic mineral water was at the centre of a health scare after a potentially harmful chemical was found in some of its bottles.
Danone Waters, which produces Volvic, launched an investigation after a mother of two reported a strong 'burning' chemical taste to the Food Standards Agency.
It found the water, which is advertised as being filtered through volcanic rocks, contained naphthalene – a chemical which can cause liver damage in high doses.
Responding to the research, the British Soft Drinks Association today defended the industry.
'Fruit juices and juice drinks are safe,' said a spokesman. 'There is no read across between the levels of antimony permitted in drinking water and those that might be acceptable in a fruit juice or a juice drink.
'It is not uncommon that different product types should have different regulatory requirements.'
He added: 'The packaging is safe.  The data in the study does not confirm any conclusions about the packaging: the authors themselves conclude that "further studies are warranted".'
'All ingredients and packaging are carefully regulated to make sure that soft drinks are safe to drink.'

After lots of folks posted their opinion stating that this research was merely "fear mongering", I posted the following comment:

How can anyone dismiss these types of reports as "scare or fear mongering"... Of course the researchers are going to say more research is needed and the report isn't 100% conclusive, that's a standard statement they all make.   The problem is there are 87,000 chemicals in widespread use and less than 15% have been tested for safety.  Cancer in children is the leading cause of death, autism is now 1 in 100 kids with more research coming out every day linking environmental toxins to this epidemic. Incidence of Asthma has more than doubled since the 1980s, ADHD, name it, it's on the rise.    It's certainly a challenge limiting the amount of toxins kids are exposed to.   But, it's our job as the adults who have polluted this world for convenience sake to do all we can to ensure the safety and health of our children. 
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet www.SOKHOP.comn  

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chronic Illness on the Rise in Children.....Why?

Did you see the article in the LA Times today on how chronic illnesses are on the rise in children?  If not, it's at,0,456579.story. 
When I taught childbirth classes and worked in labor and delivery back in the 80's, my coworkers thought I was a little nuts because my ongoing slogan to all the parents was "don't abdicate responsibility for the health of your kids to your pediatrician". They have their place ...broken legs, appendicitis....but when did they become the sole authorities on childrens' health? Of course there are some wonderful pediatricians: Liz Mumper, Sid Baker, Larry Rosen, Nancy O'Hara etc, but they've broken from the pack. What distinguishes them from the average doc is the fact that they actually listen, respect and honor what parents tell them. We are the authorities on our children and through doing our own homework, feeding out kids optimal diets, learning about herbs and natural healing for colds, ear infections, stomach viruses, we can minimize the use of antibiotics, drugs used for the ever growing psychiatric illnesses being diagnosed in children and invasive procedures that have damaged this generation of children. I feel it from many parents, they are taking back their power. We just have to wake the rest of the world up!
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why the Push to Make Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Wakefield the Bad Guys?

I think the advertisement for the drug Concerta placed directly below the summary of the article about Jenny McCarthy says quite a bit about this question.  See, if we are made to think that the only tool available to us is a hammer (vaccines and drugs), they just have to convince us that all our illnesses are nails.  It's brilliant and  this is exactly what the propaganda created by the profit driven pharmaceutical industry wants us to believe. Your child has ADD: don't look at their chemically laden, sugar rich diet, just use the Concerta hammer. If your child has the possibility of developing an illness, don't worry about making their immune systems strong through good nutrition, fresh air and exercise (and God forbid don't use vitamins or herbs), just think Hammer.....more vaccines! Come on folks,  it's time to take our critical thinking beyond the sound bytes and look at the real motives at play here. If we buy into the distorted messages sent through the media regarding this complex issue without doing our own homework, the campaign to dumb us down will  have worked.. Although it would be nice for this to be a simple matter, for Jenny's voice to be ridiculed and silenced and  Dr. Wakefield (a brilliant pediatric surgeon) to be discredited, it's not that black and white.  The vaccine autism connection has not been put to rest just because the media attempts to convince us erroneously that "all" the studies have proven this or that Jenny and Wakefield are lunatics. There's so much more to this story:  The world is polluted with 87,000 chemicals, most of our food is void of nutrients needed to support health and  create strong immune systems, and vaccines although they might have their place, are not completely safe and should not be the main solution offered for keeping our kids healthy.   They also carry a risk for genetically susceptible kids period!  Making Jenny and Wakefield the bad guys is part of the strategy to convince us that vaccines have nothing to do with autism.  However besides these two sacrificial lambs, there are thousands of parents who know their children regressed after vaccines.   Try telling the public Toyota cars are totally won't work because the injured passengers are not going away and in defense of our injured children and future generations of children, neither are we.
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Read articles on Safer Ways to Vaccinate and What Can Be Done To Prevent Autism Now! at
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet

Friday, February 19, 2010

Please sign a petition in defense of Dr. Wakefield:

From Dr. David Berger, MD  Wholistic Pediatrics

About Dr Andrew Wakefield
As most of you know, the British General Medical Council placed a serious reprimand on Andy Wakefield, and as a result journals have started to withdraw his research on vaccines from the medical literature.  Research that has nothing to do with his original 1998 journal article is being redacted. Now there is growing concern that scientists will be hesitant to do more research on vaccine safety.
I have known Andy for almost 10 years, and have seen the serious research that he has produced (over 30 publications) . His research can be viewed here:

A petition of support for Dr. Wakefield has been authored by leading Biomedical Autism physician Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless. She is hoping to obtain as many signatures as possible, which will be presented as part of Andy's appeal.  The petition can be viewed at I would encourage everyone to read the petition and sign it if they agree. Also, please forward this link to anyone who you feel would be interested in reading it.

Thank you Dr. Berger for writing this request and Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless for authoring the petition
Please send this to anyone interested in protecting our children and preventing the personal and professional persecution of a researcher simply because he challenges the safety of certain vaccines.  
Maureen H. McDonnell, RN 
Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet