January 13, 2012

Anti radiation aprons

Grace wears an apron to work. No she's not a chef or a housemaid, she's an office worker. And the apron is not a traditional apron, it's an anti-electromagnetic radiation apron. Every time we see one of these aprons, we know one thing for sure, someone is pregnant.

As we talk with our friends about the aprons, they are completely surprised to learn that M'Lynn didn't wear one with either pregnancy. Scandalous!
Anti-electromagnetic radiation jumpers are just as necessary for a modern Chinese pregnancy as folic acid supplements. This is despite any scientific evidence proving that electromagnetic radiation harms fetuses -- some Chinese families simply believe that it does.1
Our friends are even more surprised to learn we've never heard of the aprons until we came to China and that no one in America wears the things. The aprons have been in the news recently and caused quite the uproar when the "safety" of the aprons was called into question. Apparently they block only 90% of the radiation instead of the advertised 99.999%. Chinese parents-to-be are uber concerned with doing what's best for their child (as really any parent-to-be should be) and as the aprons are found out to be less than advertised, many Chinese mothers may begin to rethink their use of anti radiation maternity aprons.
In the end, it may not be science that destroys China’s anti-electromagnetic radiation maternity-wear industry, but rather the public's realization that expectant mothers in the West don’t wear the stuff. China often measures itself against the West to judge its own progress, which is why the Dec. 28 Beijing Evening News segment titled, “Foreign Women Have Never Heard of Anti-Radiation Clothing,” had a strong impact on other leading newspapers and websites.

Featured in the segment was a Chinese mother who lives in Switzerland -- a country idealized in China as a place of precision, good sense and cleanliness. She told reporters that when she asked her Swiss gynecologist where she could purchase an anti-radiation suit in Switzerland, “...the doctor was at a loss to answer because he had never heard of such a thing." He told her, "The amount of radiation thrown off by a computer is less than what is thrown off by the sun’s rays."

It’s a simple and true point that a television news magazine, or a government agency, shouldn't have to make.1

You can read more about the anti-radiation maternity-wear industry in this article by Adam Minter and if you find yourself concerned enough, we'll bring an apron home for you.
1 "China's Mothers Rethink Anti-Radiation Clothing: Adam Minter" by Adam Minter. Posted on Bloomberg on December 31, 2011.

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