Parents Campaign Promotes Awareness and Focuses on Finding Solutions to Childhood Health Epidemics

Eileen Iorio and Mary Toulouse have joined forces with other area parents striving to find solutions to a wide range of what they term “childhood health epidemics.” 

a8 health
Published March 14, 2013 5:00 AM
4 min read


a8 healthEileen Iorio and Mary Toulouse have joined forces with other area parents striving to find solutions to a wide range of what they term “childhood health epidemics.” 


By Bill Lawyer  


a8 healthEileen Iorio and Mary Toulouse have joined forces with other area parents striving to find solutions to a wide range of what they term “childhood health epidemics.” 


The group is focusing on four specific types of health problems: asthma, ADHD, allergies, and autism. They cite statistics showing these illnesses have increased from 300 to 1,500 percent in the last two decades. 


All of these parents have experienced at least one of the illnesses firsthand – among their own children.  


At a recent meeting at Toulouse’s house, Ioria and two other parents – Annalise Stack and Michelle Tortora — shared their stories and all the highs and lows they’ve experienced in dealing with their children’s often horrifying behaviors and symptoms. 


As Iorio put it: “My 1-year-old went from being completely healthy to seriously autistic. I thought to myself: ‘Will I be able to bear a lifetime of dysfunction?’” Frequently, doctors told them their children could not be cured – only managed. 


In their search for help, they have joined forces with author and health-care consultant Beth Lambert, who was also at the meeting. Lambert is the executive director of a nonprofit organization, Parents Ending America’s Childhood Epidemics (PEACE). Her children suffered from chronic food allergies.


In 2010, Lambert wrote “A Compromised Generation: The Epidemic of Chronic Illness in America’s Children.” Much of the book spells out the causes of the four epidemics, and describes the children’s inability to function. She asserts that underlying all the various aspects of these epidemics is one basic factor – gut dysbiosis – the intestinal tract cannot handle the presence of toxins, and it gets even worse because of over-reliance upon antibiotics. 


While much of the book is educational, it can also seem fairly overwhelming. But in the final section — “healing the children” – Lambert accentuates the positive.


She presents case studies of six specific children: Jack, who suffered from peanut anaphylaxis; Cole, who suffered from various food intolerances; Roger, who suffered from environmental allergies; and, Johnny, Nate, and Leo who suffered from autism. 


Each case study ends with the child functioning normally – or “in recovery” as Lambert puts it. “Today, Leo is a completely ‘normal’ and typical kid. He scores above average on standardized testing and was reevaluated by Yale researchers, who determined that he no longer meets any of the diagnostic criteria for autism.” 


In her conclusion, she lists five general steps parents can take to help children with chronic illnesses. These range from dietary changes to careful dealing with environmental exposure and use of pharmaceutical products. 


Through the help of Dr. Shelese Pratt, a naturopathic physician, and a team of treatment specialists, Iorio’s son is now in recovery. In order to help other parents of epidemic children, she arranged to have Lambert speak at the Rye Free Reading Room last November. The room was packed. 


Out of that meeting many parents began getting together to share information and ideas. As Tortora put it, “Our goals were education and empowerment.” By empowerment she referred to taking an active role in their children’s care – not just blindly accepting what traditional medicine might prescribe. 


Toulouse is working with Dr. Nancy O’Hara, an M.D. who practices integrative and holistic care. While her son Connor is still not in recovery, she is not daunted. She says: “Even though we still have a long road ahead of us, I know he knows we will not give up.”


The group is seeking to expand their efforts to find cures for the chronic illness epidemics. Working as a separate “Epidemic Answers” nonprofit organization, they are preparing to produce a documentary film entitled “Canary Kids: A Film For Our Children.” The Epidemic Answers website includes helpful information and many links to people who can be of direct help.  For example, people can read Tortora’s detailed description of her children’s illnesses and how they were treated. 


Lambert will be the executive producer, and award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio will be the director. Among her many highly praised films are “A Hero For Daisy,” “Ten9Eight,” and “The Apple Pushers.” 


After outlining the key factors that have contributed to the epidemic of chronic illness, the film will demonstrate that children can recover from conditions as varied as asthma and autism by stepping outside the conventional Western medical paradigm.


Epidemic Answers will be sponsoring up to seven families to receive free healing and recovery services as participants in the film project. The film will follow the families on their journeys to recovery and wellness. View the trailer on


To raise funds for the project, Epidemic Answers is holding a cocktail party on Saturday, April 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The J House, 1114 E. Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Director Mazzio is the guest of honor. 


Tickets are $195, which includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a $100 donation to the Epidemic Answers Film Project. To purchase tickets, go to


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