I was reading this morning about a fairlynew discovery…lead in our faux leather and vinyl handbags. Last year, the Center for Environmental Health conducted research in California stores on many brands of purses only to find that most of those included in the study contained high levels of lead. The majority of the highest levels were found in bags with orange, yellow and green pigments.And much to my dismay, I’ve discovered thata few of my handbags hit the mark and will now have to be disposed of. I guess being fashion-forward (and, well…cheap) carries a high cost.(For a current list of known retailers and brands, visit the CEH website.) Due to the findings of this research,the Center has reached legal agreements with four of the major retailers to eliminate this potential hazard andplans on pursuing agreements with remaining retailers.
Reading this story this morning has got me thinking…has anyone noticed that it is becoming increasingly hard to liveaworry-free life? Thatsomething as relatively simpleand an act I consider as normal as brushing your teeth, to carry a purse, is nowa cause for panic?That thereare consumer watchgroups forming by the second,their mission to protectus from ourselves? Is nothing safe out there anymore?
Let me take a step back. I remember that blissful time as a child when my biggest concern was whether Barbie and Ken should buy a horse or not. Should they upgrade their pool furniture or wait until Ken’s next payday? Perhaps they should ditch the furniture idea and invest in mutual funds? Okay, so maybe I worried a teensy bit. Some personality traits are unavoidable (and kind of disturbing.) But whether it was safe or not for any future Barbie babies to lick the patiochaise lounge never entered my mind.
Fast forward to adulthood, particularly recently, when worrying reaches whole new levels. You can’t goa single day without reading, watching or hearing about some harmful substance which has been unleashed on the unsuspecting consumer. I should know. Because of my apparent genetic propensity for worrying, I’m one of those who likes to remain blissfully unaware. My morningnews is brought to me by Joel McHale and the Daily Soup.I pick up most of my online information from message boards and the Huffington Post. Don’t be impressed just yet. It’s actually the ‘Entertainment’ section that I have bookmarked. Front-door delivery of the New York Times? Negative. My daily read typically consists of magazines with the really important news, like Entertainment Weekly.And if I’m feeling particularly intellectual, Glamour.
Ignorant? No. Tired of inundating myself with negativity? You betcha. And even with my self-inflicted defense against harsh reality I would have to have my head in the sand to not know about the different dangers in our world. And, quite honestly, it scares me.
Lead in our housepaint, mercury in our vaccines, pesticides in our lawns,harmful chemicals in our plastics and cosmetics, pollutants in our air…the list goes on and on. Atfirst thought I’m inclined to do the following: remove all of our housepaint,foregovaccinations, lay down gravel, adopt a glass-only food storage policy and rock the au’natural look (this one sends shivers down my spine),apply a face mask to my children before leaving the houseand…move my entire family into a bubble.Or better yet,perhaps there are vacancies open in the Biosphere in Arizona.
On second thought, I’m not sure my family is entirely ready for life in a bubble. We can hardly handle an extended period together in a hotel room let alone a lifetime of bubble bliss. I could just see the headlines now, “Family of Four Admitted to Insane Asylum…Doctors Blame the Bubble.”
The fact of the matter is, a completely worry-free life is a pipe dream. Sure, there are proactive steps we could (and should) be taking to avoid exposure to some of the more nefarious of threats but it’s impossible and unhealthyto completely shelter ourselves from fully living on this beautiful God-given planet.
Whereas, I will nowbe a more discerning consumer, I suppose I’ll put off the move to the Biosphere and rip up my Bubble-of-the-Month club membership. Life is way too short to view it from the inside of eco-friendly plastic.
Yes, I do believe you worry too much. But we all still luv ya!
We have become a nation, if not a world, of disinfect-everything, protect-ourselves-from-ourselves worrywarts. How can we ever teach our kids how to discern for themselves where real dangers may lie, if we don’t allow them to make mistakes, and even become injured? Did our parents clear a path for us every time we walked out the door? Did we live?
Even this whole mess of using anti-bacterial everything is ridiculous, and dangerous! How will our children’s bodies ever learn how to fight off disease and illness, if they’re not given the tools to do so? If we kill every itty-bitty microbe before it ever comes within a 10 mile radius of our children, our bodies will be shocked and overwhelmed when we inadvertently come into contact with something. And it won’t know how to fight it. And we’ll end up severely sick. Possible death.
Not trying to be morbid or preachy. Just realistic. We can’t protect everyone from everything. Nor should we try.
As for your purses … are you or your children sucking on them or using them as a surface on which to serve or store food? (I’m assuming the answer is “no”) Then you’re probably ok to continue to use them. 😉
If you want to know how far I took this in my personal life – back at the end of the 90’s, when my Son was still a toddler, and his sisters were both in early elementary school, our school district was about to start the new policy of not allowing children in school without the Chicken Pox vaccine. None of the kids had contracted the disease yet. I told the girls that they had to seek out a child who currently had the Pox, and do whatever necessary to have as much contact with them as possible. I even went so far as to say to them, “lick the child if you need to, just be sure to come home with Chicken Pox!”. My reasoning: the research on the vaccine didn’t convince me that they’d have lifelong immunity from the disease, and may have to get a booster vaccine later in life, which would increase the possibility of complications. I’d rather them do it naturally. Needless to say, all 3 of mine had the Pox at the same time. Natural immunity. 🙂
You’re absolutely right, Shelli! I do worry about these things a bit too much but I’m working on that! That being said, there are some pretty scary realities out there right now…making it pretty easy for worry-warts like me to get even more worry-wartier. =)
There have been a number of times in my life when I have purposely forgone all news – local, national, print, television.
I, like you, have an overactive worry gene. I also have an overactive imagination. And much like the unshakable belief a horror movie will give me that axe murderers are abroad in Wine Country, so – on occasional – can the nightly news.
When all I hear or read about is the murderer, the rapist, the gone-postal postal worker, it’s so easy to forget that for each of these horribly damaged and violent people are a million or so who are not. A million or so people whose greatest crime is not sorting their glass from their plastic and who would happily open a door for me if they saw me at the supermarket. I will honest-to-goodness forget about all those people if I watch the news too much.
And I feel your pain about the seemingly ever-increasing list of don’t-eat, don’t-touch, don’t-breath, don’t-sit-to-close-to’s. It’s enough to make you want to forage for nuts and berries and send the kids to school covered in Saran Wrap.
But I do think the kids would complain. Not so much about the nuts and berries, but I think the Saran Wrap would get to them.
Lori – it sounds like you and I are soul sisters. =)
And the first problem is finding an eco-friendly plastic bubble! Seriously, they give us more and more to worry about every day!
I know…right? Next thing we know we’ll find out how toxic all this eco-friendly stuff is. Oy. =)
Did you notice that do to Google Adsense all the ads on the side of your page are for handbags??! I think that’s the double edged sword of our lives. It seems like the minute they give us a new product to get excited about, they turn around and tell us why it’s bad for us. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?!
I just don’t think you can spend all your time worrying. Unfortunately, you can’t protect them from everything.
Amen, Spot! This weekend we were at a museum and I looked down to discover my son licking the handrail. It took everything I had to not pour bleach on the kids tongue. God. =)
I’m a worrier. It’s okay, we’ll survive. If generations of people survived with lead paint and lead pipes in their houses, I think we will all be okay too. 🙂
You’re absolutely right! Now…how to convince myself of this when the creepy guy at the checkout is coughing all over me and my kids?! =)
Thanks for bring this to my worrywart attention! Just one more thing to put on my list of don’t buy and go through the ones I have. Not that I have bought a purse lately. I bet some of the fifties purses I have, are riddled with lead.
Those fifties purses could probably survive a nuclear fallout! =)
This is a symptom of how relatively easy our lives have become. Now we worry about all these issues that really are not worthy of being worried about. Plastic bottles? Avian flu? Our chances of death from these kinds of things is minuscule!! But fatalities from car wrecks? Astronomical! A commercial airline jet would have to crash every single day to equal the same number of people who die each year in car wrecks. Hmm, have I made your day yet? Seriously, I wouldn’t worry too much about handbags. If you’re like me, I switch mine out too quickly to be exposed to too much toxicity. I’m not much of a shopper, but I have a thing for purses/bags!!!
Me too, Marly! I have a couple of Coach purses and being that Coach didn’t make the watchlist I convinced my husband it was a worthwhile purchase! =) And you’re absolutely right about the needless worrying being a product of our privileged, easy lives. Get a grip, Mindy! =)
I just found you! Crud, now I have to worry about my handbag that is over 2 years old, but I can’t find one that’s big enough and satchel-y enough with the right color that’s CHEAP enough for me to buy it!
Hey Andi! Thanks for stopping by! And I year ya on the cheap trendy satchel/bags…I have a couple. I’m just now afraid to use them. =)