ELIMINATING ARTIFICIAL ADDITIVES

I read with great interest the wonderful story by Sarita Sarvate (“No Artificial Colors, Please,” IC, May 2005). I also live in the Bay Area, and feel so fortunate to be able to readily access natural and organic foods.

For over five years my family has been on the Feingold Program, after my eldest son was diagnosed with hyperactivity. Imagine my surprise to find that when we eliminated artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and salicylates, my middle son’s asthma virtually cleared up!

Artificial flavors are but the tip of the iceberg. Yet, eliminating these additives was not as hard as I thought it would be. The Shopping Guide that I receive from the Feingold Association has been a blessing for our family. I am still able to cook the South Indian foods that I was raised on.

With the incidence of hyperactivity, asthma, and autism reaching all-time highs, more people will be interested to know that nonprofit, volunteer-run organizations like the Feingold Association of the United States (www.feingold.org; 1-800-321-FAUS) are out there to support parents and provide information and resources.

Esther Menezes Roberts, via the Internet

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IRRESPONSIBLE ADVERTISEMENT

I would like to draw your attention to the advertisement of Dr. Suresh R. Nayak on page 132 in the March 2005 issue of India Currents. He states, “The choice is yours … you can choose the gender of your baby.”

I found this advertisement to be particularly irresponsible given that segments of our community still prefer a son over a daughter. India has come a long way but we do not need these kinds of advertisements to make it easy for parents to avoid having female children. There is already a perceptible gender imbalance in India.
I acknowledge that this advertisement is not
illegal but it is not responsible, either. Surely, Nayak has other redeeming qualities that recommend him as a good obstetrician and gynecologist.

I request that India Currents, being the respectable publication that it is, withdraws support for this kind of advertisement, which makes it easier for would-be parents to discriminate against female children.

Monita Mohan, Fremont, Calif.

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LEAD IN PRESSURE COOKER VALVE

This is to report a serious product safety issue. We were cooking our family meal and one of the vessels on the stove was a pressure cooker. The pressure cooker has a main pressure relief valve and a secondary safety valve. This secondary safety valve consists of a lead solder plug, which can melt. In our case this plug melted and sprayed lead into the food in another vessel. We unknowingly consumed this lead, and only became aware of it while chewing the food. The whole family of three, including our 1-year-old son, were found to have several lead pieces in the gut.

These pressure cookers are sold freely in the United States and are available in most Indian stores. The particular brand involved was Marlex from India (www.marlexappliances.com).

Arjuna Karunaratne, Fremont, Calif.

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