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Hidden Dangers in Your Baby’s Nursery

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Is YOUR Fragrance on This List?

I really love things that smell good but in the past few years I’ve become keenly aware of just how toxic they can be and thus, I was compelled to search Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database and compile a list of the worst-scoring fragrances.

This means that based on their ingredients, these fragrances rated the highest in categories relating to cancer, allergies/immunotoxicity and/or developmental & reproductive toxicity—YIKES!

This list isn’t all inclusive of every fragrance out there and it only contains some of the ones that got the highest overall “hazard” scores (9 and 10) .

There are plenty that I didn’t list and many that have only slightly lower hazard scores so yourself a favor and check Skin Deep yourself to see where your scents and cosmetics rank. FYI…my fave scent scored a 6 out of 10 :(

And now…

THE LIST

Read the rest of this entry »

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School Uniform Shopping & Recycling

It’s back-to-school time and for us, that means it’s also time to get more school uniforms. Unfortunately, for the past few years, I’ve been coming across more and more brands of uniforms that are treated with anti-stain chemicals.

While the old formulation of Scotchgard stain repellent was discontinued because it was found to be bio-accumulative, persistent and basically unsafe for living things (as were other similar perfluorochemicals such as Teflon) there is a whole new crop of stain-resistance chemicals that are supposed to be safer. Why? Because they stay in the body for less time—and while it’s great that they stay in your body for less time, it’s still my preference that they not be in my body or the bodies of my children at all.

With that in mind, I always avoid clothing (as well as furniture and housewares) that touts it’s resistance to stains but it still concerns me that a lot of people don’t realize this isn’t necessarily the bonus it’s advertised to be. It’s a chemical that’s not really been proven 100% safe and it will be on your child’s skin five days a week for an entire school year.

Thanks but no thanks…

There are many brands of uniforms out there and I’ve definitely not researched them all but these are the brands I’ve opted not to buy because they have been treated with stain resistant chemicals:

Land’s End
Cherokee (Target)
George (WalMart)
Dickies
Classroom

These are the brands that do not, as far as I can tell, use stain-resistant chemicals:

Old Navy
Izod
Dockers
French Toast  (I saw one pair of French Toast pants being sold by an online uniform store that were treated with Scotchgard but none of the French Toast items I saw in stores or on the French Toast web site indicate any stain resistance treatment)

Recycle Those Uniforms

This spring, once it got warm, I took all my daughter’s winter khaki uniform pants and cut them into shorts and hemmed them with my sewing machine. I knew by the following winter they would be too short for her so this was an easy way to get more wear out of them. If you don’t sew, you can probably find an alteration shop that will do it for just a few dollars per pair.

I also look in consignment shops and thrift stores for gently worn khaki and navy pants and shorts for both kids and when the school has uniform swaps, I bring our too small stuff and trade up for bigger sizes.

While these things all save me money, they also conserve resources by employing the three R’s —reducing, reusing and recycling.

Happy non-toxic back to school!

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Action Alert: Toxic Susbtances

All children should be able to have a healthy start and yet too many are exposed to harmful chemicals in everyday products. The US is long overdue to modernize our chemical policies—it’s been OVER THIRTY YEARS. Thousands of new and unregulated chemicals have been created in that time and they’re all around us.

Our outdated system and weak chemical policies leave children exposed to countless toxic chemicals every day that put our families at risk for cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and more. Tell Congress to get moving and update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). The health and welfare for our most vulnerable citizens MUST be a priority.

Take action by clicking the link below and filling out the form to quickly send a personalized message to your Member of Congress and Senators based on your address. It couldn’t be easier and will only take a minute of your time. Thank you!

Take Action Now: MomsRising

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Extra Butter, Hold the Poison

41yn6dmffdl_ss260_.jpgButtery, salty, crunchy popcorn…mmmmm. I love the stuff and I used to really love the convenience of microwave popcorn — until I learned that it had Teflon inside the bag. Unfortunately, microwave popcorn is now regarded by toxicologists as a major source of PFOC, the toxic chemical found in traditional “non-stick” cookware. After giving up the bags, I searched high and low for a non-plastic microwave popcorn popper and I thought I’d never find one until a friend sent me a Silicone Zone Microware glass popcorn popper as a gift. It contains no plastic or Teflon and makes some really awesome popcorn, complete with butter, and takes no longer than it does to nuke a bag of microwave poison popcorn.

Find It Here: Silicone Zone Microware Popcorn Popper

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Safely Smelling Great

perfume.jpgSome time ago I’d heard that it was common for fragrances to contain petrochemicals and other toxins but in my ignorance, I didn’t allow this bad news to tear me away from my beloved Angel by Thierry Mugler. It smelled so completely unique and delicious that you could instantly zero in on another Angel wearer in a crowd, inevitably leading to this total perfume bonding moment in which we would gush over our mutual love of the scent.

So…imagine my shock and dismay upon learning that my most favorite perfume ever is allegedly made with the same ingredients found in pesticides & chemicals that attack the eyes, skin, central and peripheral nervous systems, respiratory, hepatic, hematological & reproductive systems along with damage to the DNA of sperm in adult males.

In fact , a class action suit is being considered for Nordstrom employees who were unknowingly and continuously exposed to the aformentioned toxic chemicals while selling Angel. Oy. I guess it’s a good thing I could never afford to wear my most beloved scent every day (and now, of course, I don’t wear it at all). But what about your favorite fragrances — just how safe or dangerous are they?

Our hardworking friends over at the Environmental Working Group have made it easy peasy for you to find out by consulting the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. In fact, there’s a section just for fragrances for both women and men and a number of very popular ones received the highest ranking possible for toxicity. Lucky for all of us, there are a number of very safely rated scents also listed because seriously, we shouldn’t have to make ourselves sick just so we can smell nice.

Find It Here: EWG Fragrance Safety Ratings for Women and Men

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Pretty Minus the Poison

n_1.jpgWhile I’m not much of a girly-girl, I confess to preferring my toenails polished over au naturale. My daughter, however, is far more fascinated by polished nails and asks me all the time to paint hers for her. There was a time when I would reluctantly give in and paint her nails with one coat of very light pink but after I found out how toxic nail polish actually is, I had to stop painting her fingernails and my toenails. Fortunately, there are now alternatives to conventional nail polish that are free of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde and toluene. According to the Breast Cancer Fund web site:

All three chemicals are on California’s Prop. 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Studies have linked DBP to underdeveloped genitals and other reproductive system problems in newborn boys. DBP is banned from cosmetics products in the European Union but the FDA has taken no such action in the United States.

In addition, the U.S. National Toxicology Program says formaldehyde is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen. The EPA, meanwhile, restricts toluene in drinking water because it can cause nervous system disorders and damage the liver and kidneys. The FDA does not require that cosmetics products be tested for safety before they are sold.

After reading the above, I’m just damned glad I wasn’t painting my nails when I was pregnant with my son. I’m also glad somebody took the initiative to create Suncoat, an award-winning, quick-drying. water-based nail polish that doesn’t contain phthalates (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde, acetates or FD&C dyes. And? It’s manufactured right here in North America. When I get my next pedicure, you can bet I’ll be bringing my Suncoat with me.

Find It Here: Suncoat

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A Dish Set That’s Not Plastic. Finally.

frog_set_large.jpgFinding a children’s dish set that’s not made of plastic is no easy chore. I was almost ready to give up my search when I stumbled upon this fun froggy dish set available from lifewithoutplastic.com. Okay, so the outside of this set is made of plastic, but the insides are made of high-quality stainless steel so your child’s food/drink will not touch plastic when using this set. The set comes with a stainless steel fork and spoon, bowl, plate, and cup. All that, plus a cute froggy design – fun!

Find it Here: Life Without Plastic

Congratulations to Bree T. of Washington, winner of the stainless steel dish set!

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We Like Our Juice Chemical-Free

Call me crazy but I don’t like the idea of my child ingesting chemicals with his juice or milk. So when I heard that Bisphenol-A is commonly found in plastic sippy cups and baby bottles, I was more than a bit perturbed. Especially since this nasty chemical has been linked to cancer, early-onset puberty, obesity, and Type II diabetes. If you are worried about your child’s exposure to Bisphenol-A, check out BornFree’s line of bottles and toddler cups, which are totally free of this chemical. We use the toddler cup at home and haven’t had any leaks – hooray! And if you want to avoid plastic altogether, BornFree also sells glass bottles.

Find It Here: BornFree

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Are Your Child’s Bath Products Safe?

babyproducts.jpgThere’s nothing scarier than learning that your baby’s bubble bath could contain cancer-causing agents. Thankfully, there’s a new resource that makes it easy to find out whether your children’s body products are safe. The Environmental Working Group just created the Safety Guide to Children’s Personal Care Products. This online guide features safe product recommendations in a number of categories — from shampoo to baby wipes. Virtually, every type of product you might put on your child is analyzed — even play make-up! And since the FDA does not regulate the safety of personal care products, this database is hugely beneficial to concerned parents. I know that I, for one, am heaving a huge sigh of relief!

Find It Here: Safety Guide to Children’s Personal Care Products

(Check out our Green Directory for more helpful resources.)

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