Janet DeMaria Skadoosie

Parents Are Thankful for This Designer’s Contemporary Spin on the ‘Onesie’ | Janet Demaria

Designer-turned-entrepreneur Janet DeMaria saw that infant bodysuits had not changed in decades and came up with the idea for the “Skadoosie,” a onesie that does away with the need for buttons, snaps, and zippers. A lifelong learner and creative, Janet reimagined a modern and functional take on a parenting staple. Now, Janet hopes to drive change and inspire others to pursue their dreams.


New York Declares State of Emergency After Finding Polio Virus in Wastewater

New York declared a state of emergency Friday after detecting polio virus in Long Island wastewater. The discovery in Nassau County, Long Island, signals a more extensive virus spread within the state’s population.

In July, Rockland County confirmed the first case of polio in the United States since 1993. The county is less than 50 miles from New York City. Officials began testing waters in surrounding counties shortly after and found the virus in Orange and Sullivan counties’ wastewater.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T Basset warns that one observed case of the paralytic disease usually signals hundreds of asymptomatic infected individuals. Even if an infected individual is asymptomatic, they may be contagious for days to weeks.

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected.”

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Polio is highly contagious. If infected, most people will have mild or no symptoms. A smaller percentage of infected individuals may develop more severe symptoms that affect the brain and spinal cord. According to the state’s health department, “New Yorkers should know that paralysis is the most severe symptom associated with polio because it can lead to permanent disability and death.”

The World Health Organization states that one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among the most vulnerable are children under five, who comprise a large percentage of the infected population.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order Friday to expand the medical personnel who can administer the vaccine. EMS workers, midwives and pharmacists will be able to vaccinate individuals. Health care providers will also need to send immunization data to the New York State Department of Health so that officials can determine which counties are at the most risk and have the highest vaccine demand.

Officials are urging the public to vaccinate if they have not already done so. Dr. Basset told the public Friday, “do not wait to vaccinate” and “on polio, we simply cannot roll the dice.”

“If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real.”

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Children can be vaccinated if they are two months or older. The statewide polio vaccination rate sits at around 79%. The counties with contaminated wastewater all had lower rates of vaccinations, and the confirmed case in July was in an unvaccinated adult.

Polio spreads through person-to-person contact. In the 1940s, polio disabled an average of more than 35,000 individuals and caused 15,000 cases of paralysis a year. Due to a widespread vaccine campaign beginning in 1955, polio cases fell to less than 100 in the 1960s.

People most susceptible to infection are those who never had the polio vaccine, who never completed the vaccine regimen or those who will be traveling to areas that could put them at a high risk of catching the virus.

Baby Food

Toxic Metals Found In Major Baby Food Brands, Congressional Report Finds 

Levels of arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals, that have been proven to harm brain development, have been found in many popular baby food brands, according to a congressional report. The report, which was released this Thursday, showed proof of a US House Subcommittee requesting internal data from seven major companies after Healthy Babies Bright Futures, a nonprofit, published results of the testing they performed on various baby foods. 

Of all the companies requested to share internal data, Gerber, Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best Organics maker Hain Celestial, and Happy Family Organics maker Nurture Inc. were the only to comply. Walmart, Sprout Foods and Campbell Soup Company, which makes Plum Organics baby food, have not been as cooperative. 

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Arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are all metals that the US Food and Drug Administration consider to be harmful to human health. According to senior staff scientist at Consumer Reports, Michael Hansen, those metals can remain in the environment for decades past any pesticide and herbicide use. 

“Toxic metals might be more common in baby foods because of the vitamins and minerals added to those foods during processing.” 

Hansen claims that rice is a common ingredient in baby foods that tend to have a high level of arsenic due to the fact that it’s grown in water, and the arsenic from the soil dissolves when it comes in contact with water. The fact that these metals are being found in baby food is highly concerning considering a baby’s brain is obviously constantly developing. 

By the time behavioral issues or any other symptoms appear within the child, it may be difficult to trace the cause back to baby food, so Hansen recommends concerned parents switch to unprocessed fruits and vegetables. The FDA also recommends feeding babies a variety of grain-based cereals, not just those made with rice. 

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Last August the FDA finalized guidance for infant rice cereal, recommending that it contain no more than 100 parts per billion of arsenic. The congressional report revealed that Beech-Nut used some ingredients that tested as high as 913 parts per billion for arsenic, and Earth’s Best Organics used ingredients that tested around 309 parts per billion. 

The report found instances where manufacturers tested ingredients, but not final products, which is extremely dangerous considering toxic metals can have higher levels in a final product. The FDA released a statement this Thursday in which they claimed that any time a food supply is exposed to something toxic they treat it very seriously. 

“We acknowledge that there is more work to be done, but the FDA reiterates its strong commitment to continue to reduce consumer exposure to toxic elements and other contaminants.”

Campbell Soup Company claimed that it responded to all the sub committee’s questions, but also noted that the FDA currently has no standards when it comes to heavy metals in baby food, but when it tests certain products they come back as having an acceptable amount of metal in the food itself. Hansen believes that the FDA needs to require all baby food companies to test their final products and make those results available to the general public. This is especially important for organic brands that claim to be all natural, and are able to charge a higher price point for that “quality.”