I think our society tends towards a dichotomy -- XTreme precautions, to the point that you can't buy a real chemistry set anymore and laws are being proposed to restrict fast food; and on the other hand, simple neglect or indifference to a toxic environment. Everyone has to find their own balance for their own family and children. But there is a golden mean between any two extremes, and it seems to me that children learn more about risk by learning to handle it to some extent according to their maturity than by being kept from it altogether.
When I read this tonight I went Yes! with a capital y. Just this month when my parents were visiting this whole controversy about plastic water bottles was in our paper every day (front page). I generally am a little more than neglectful about reading the paper, but my mom and dad read it and so they were informing me of the daily saga. We all have those Nalgene water bottles (I purchased them a while back thinking that they were good because they were hard plastic) but the paper was now saying they were no good. Probably that we would all have cancer by next week. Day by day it went on, describing the ills that await those of us who consume our liquids in these 'unfit' bottles and so on. I explained to anyone who wanted to hear that I think all this fuss about the water bottles is severely missing the point: as a society we drink milk full of drugs and residual pesticides, we drive around our vehicles way too much, we consume too much. Right here in this same city who puts the evils of number 7 bottles on the front page of the paper, the whole city is sprayed with poison to lessen our mosquito population.
Maybe this has turned into a bit of a rant. But it just seems like more and more we are growing away from a our own practical sense and wisdom into this chaos of complete dichotomies.
Following up on the newspaper, by day 4 or 5 we got to the point where now it was alright for people to drink out of the bottles, just don't give them to really young kids and don't put really hot stuff in them.
Maybe I am just a skeptic. Maybe I need to go to sleep. Probably it is a little bit of both.
If you want to read a good thought provoking read on this 'golden mean' visit Willa, from whom I quoted above.