“The Sky is Falling”

Society claims that flavor chemists are “people who add chemicals to foods” and that food safety specialists are “people who worry too much”. In a recent Food Safety program I attended, one professor stated “food safety professionals can be compared to Chicken Little running around claiming the sky is falling”. Worry can be un-healthy, but exists for a reason.

My daughter suffers from excess worry and anxiety, something normal for a child that has endured a major illness. Something normal for a child whose parent has anxiety issues. My daughter had a brain tumor at age two and  I worried excessively during her treatments. At one point I couldn’t stand straight or walk because of excessive worry. Unfortunately, after diagnosis, worrying was of little help for my daughter’s treatment. It was too late.

Worrying would have beneficial at an earlier/preventive time. If I wore gloves at all points in my career as a flavor chemist, would I have prevented my daughters illness? Did something I handle get passed on to her and affect her developing body?
I have been told  that my daughter’s tumor was most likely formed close to the day she was conceived.

In hindsight, worrying earlier might have been beneficial.

1) wear gloves and use adequate ventilation when handling chemicals

2) wash your hands to avoid the spread of disease

3)  use a car seat for children under 8 years old

4) wear a helmet and protective gear when biking

5) get annual doctor & dentist exams

6) drive the speed limit and use seat belts

Small steps like the ones listed above, take nothing from your life.  They may however, save your life or a loved ones  in the future.  The sky is not falling; it’s merely a reasonable precaution.

As a parent, one can spend hours, days, years feeling guilty for their child’s illness.  It isn’t productive to try to guess at the reason.  There is no data and there is no clear evidence about why children with brain tumors suffer so.  Please help scientists get facts by donating to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.


My daughter recovering from one of two craniotomies

On the path to recovery








Age 12-Mother Daughter Selfie

Age 12-Mother Daughter Selfie

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