children playing

A society of nervous wrecks

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Bruce, Alec
Publication Date: 
7 Apr 2010

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The federal Conservative government's preference for home-based
child care is nauseatingly familiar, but must it also scare hapless
moms and dads witless with research about the perils of choosing the

A Canadian Press report last week claimed the Tories, "want to
know if dust could be exposing children to harmful chemicals as they
crawl around daycare centres. Health Canada is seeking scientists to
collect and analyze dust at hundreds of daycares to scan for
potentially dangerous substances. A call for proposals on a government
tenders website says kids could be exposed to many chemicals that
settle on indoor dust."

Sure, and if I take a stroll in the woods, there's a chance a
tree may fall on my head. But since this actually happened to one of my
forbears, the odds of a repeat occurrence in my bloodline are pretty

I'm far more likely to choke on $300,000 federal studies about the dangers of dust bunnies to Canadian toddlers.

When, exactly, did we become a society of nervous wrecks,
fretting about every possible threat -- imagined or real -- to our
personal well being?

Is this another manifestation of our arched sense of entitlement in the breaking years of the 21st Century?

Not only do we have a right to good schools and excellent health
care. Now, we demand that our periodic panic disorders be properly
monetized with tax dollars.

What's next?


In fact, the real problem with health scares is that so many of
them turn out to be much ado about little, if not always nothing.


My favourite is the recent debunking of research linking
vaccines for common childhood ailments to autism. According to a report
in, "In 1998, a paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and
colleagues, published in The Lancet, claimed to have found a link
between the MMR vaccine and autism. Eventually, The Lancet and several
of the study's authors withdrew their support of Wakefield's article
due to its questionable assumptions and weak findings . . . There are
no scientific data to support the theory that vaccines cause autism."

I don't know where daycare dust bunnies will rank on the list of
over-hyped health scares. But I'm reasonably certain the best and most
cost-effective way of preventing juvenile illness is to teach the
little rug-rats not to lick the damn floor.

-reprinted from the Times & Transcript