Archive for 2009

Going Green in 2010 – A Few Simple Things With A Big Impact

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


GoingGreenNew Year’s Day is the traditional time to turn over a new leaf. It’s that time when we decide to lose a little weight, go for that promotion at work, or make some investments that will pay off. This year, a lot of people will be putting more effort into going green. Getting your child a new toddler or crib mattress that has been certified by GREENGUARD is a good start, but there are many other things you can do for your children and your entire family. Here’s a brief list.

  • Buy organic products. Everything from food to bed linens and carpets. In addition to protecting your family, organic food and organic products made in green facilities cause much less damage to the environment than other products. No pesticides for the food, and the potentially harmful chemicals used in other products and in the production process are significantly reduced if not completely eliminated.
  • Throw out your cleaning supplies and replace them with non-toxic, biodegradable alternatives. There are many products available in health food stores; even regular supermarkets are now adding them to their shelves. But the labels can fool you. Read more about what to look for on a label in Cleaning Products for the Non-Toxic Nursery. Of course, all the information also applies to the rest of the house!

  • Replace your beds. Babies spend 12 to 15 hours a day in bed, toddlers not much less and, for adults, it’s about a third of their life! There are so many beds out there made with potentially harmful chemicals. Some have even been banned. And with the changes being made in the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s a good chance more will be banned in the future. Start with getting your kids crib or toddler mattresses to help them get a healthy start in life. Then move onto your own.

There are hundreds of other things you can do to go green, but these are a very good start! Going green in 2010 will help create a safer, healthier home for your family, and for families around the world.

Update on Phthalates Ban in Crib Mattresses

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009


He loves his Naturepedic phthalates-free mattress!

He loves his phthalates-free natural crib mattress!

First, a brief recap:

(If you don’t know about the chemicals called phthalates, read our blogs Is Your Crib Mattress Phthalates Free? Why You Need to Find Out and New Phthalates Research Indicates Male Children Less Male in Play.)

As of February 9, 2009, certain products made for children – including crib mattresses – could no longer contain more than 1,000 parts per million of any of three types of phthalates. That’s 1,000 PPM per phthalate per item. The ban on those three types of phthalates is permanent.

A temporary ban was also put on three other phthalates, but only in products a child could put in his mouth, suck or chew. More research is to be done on the additional three phthalates to determine if they should also be permanently banned like the other three.

The Commission was supposed to post its procedures for accrediting labs to test for phthalates in June 2009 and, as of September, 2009, manufacturers were supposed to have their products certified as compliant with the phthalates limits based on third-party testing by accredited third-party laboratories.

However, the September 2009 certification date was extended to February 10, 2010, and, as of this month, has now been extended indefinitely. Why? Because no third-party labs have yet been CPSC accredited.

There are significant penalties for non-compliance but, since there’s no way of proving anything at this point, it’s hard to say how those penalties will be enforced.

Given that some companies have found it cheaper to pay fines than comply with laws, and given that many chemicals that were once determined safe at certain levels were later found to be hazardous, I’d personally feel safer with a product that uses no phthalates, and never has. Like Naturepedic.

And that’s just one big reason why Naturepedic crib mattresses are the only crib mattresses recommended by Healthy Child Healthy World.

Happy Holidays from Naturepedic!

Friday, December 25th, 2009


peace on earthThe holiday season is a time of love, warmth, giving and forgiveness. Friends and family members unite and reunite, celebrate their beliefs, let bygones by bygones, renew friendships, and find peace.

Our wish for you is that this same holiday spirit be with you throughout the year.

We hope this holiday season finds you happy, healthy, fulfilled, and surrounded with love, peace and harmony.

Warmest wishes,

The Naturepedic Team

Planning on Refreshing Your Nursery with a New Coat of Paint? What Paint is Safe, and What’s Not?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


greenseallogoThe subject of ‘safe’ paint can be pretty daunting. There are so many types of paint available, and so many varying degrees of safety, it’s hard to get to the bottom line. While there’s a lot to know about the subject, one of the most important health concerns is the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are the solvents used in paint that carry the pigment. As the paint dries, the VOCs evaporate and give off that recognizable new paint smell. But the smell is not just a smell, it’s also an indication that the VOCs are in the air we breathe. VOCs have been linked to asthma attacks, throat and eye irritation, nausea, headaches, and a number of other health problems. Long term exposure can lead to cancer and kidney and liver disease.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulations about VOCs, many experts think they don’t go far enough. For example, the EPA allows 250 grams of VOCs per liter of paint (g/L) while Green Seal, which evaluates, tests and certifies paint (among other things) as safe, only certifies those paints below 50 g/L.

Some experts believe that even 50 g/L is too high and recommend 15/20 g/L as the limit.

The VOC level is on the label so you can check it out. Your best bet is probably to go with “no VOC” paint – that way you don’t have to worry about which experts are right, you just know you’re protected.

Regardless of the fact that you may want paint that exceeds Green Seal standards regarding VOCs, I would still recommend getting paints that are at least Green Seal certified; many chemicals other than VOCs could still be in the paint and may be hazardous to our health and to the environment. There’s a list of at least a dozen such chemicals that are prohibited by Green Seal.

So, long and short of it, if you get natural pigment/no VOC paints that are also certified by Green Seal (you’ll see it on the label), you’re pretty much covered.

Have fun redecorating!

Non-Toxic Children’s Gifts for the Holiday Season

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

natural doll

No matter what your religion or culture, there’s a good chance you’re going to be doing some gift-giving this holiday season, even if it’s only to children. A lot of the big toy stores have an eco-friendly toys collection, but there are plenty of online possibilities as well.

Either way you go, if you’ve gone to the trouble of getting or even considering an organic crib mattress, you probably want to make sure your child is also playing with safe toys. So, what can you give a child that will be safe and fun? Here’s a brief list of possibilities:

  • Remember when trains were made of wood? You might think your kids want the big electric version but, really, kids still like making things move with their hands. A lot of wooden train sets are also built to be easily constructed by kids. What kid doesn’t want to build their own railroad? (Okay, I confess, I want to build one, too.) Have a look at these wooden trains to get an idea of what’s available.
  • Dolls and dollhouses are another great option. And if you want to teach your child how to live with environmentally sound materials and practices, you can even buy eco-friendly dollhouses. Here’s a luxury natural dollhouse that includes a wind turbine and solar cell panel, recycle bins and a rain barrel for collecting rain.
  • Online stores sell everything from non-toxic dump trucks to tea sets, and just about everything in between. For a list of websites that sell natural and environmentally safe toys, check out the sites on Debra’s List. Eco-Mall and Our Green House also has a great toy selection.

We aren’t familiar with everything on these sites so we can’t make any guarantees, but they’re a good place to start.

Organic and environmentally-safe toys also tend to last longer than the usual fare, so you can pass them on to other children. And there’s nothing quite like knowing you’re doing the best for your kids.

Happy hunting, and happy holidays!

p.s. the photo is Nicki Baby Waldorf Toy from Three Sisters Toys. We found the store on Debra’s List.

New Phthalates Research Indicates Male Children Less Male in Play

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009


Thumbs up for no phthalates!

Thumbs up for no phthalates!

A new study shows that kids don’t have to sleep on crib mattress with phthalates in them or play with phthalates-laden toys to suffer the consequences of these dangerous chemicals. It’s getting into their bodies while they’re still in the womb.

Phthalates are in a long list of products: perfumes, fragrances, cosmetics, scented lotions, shampoos, aftershaves, nail polish, hair spray, food packaging, adhesives, car interiors, medical devices like blood IV bags and tubing, vinyl flooring, vinyl wallpaper, vinyl shower curtains – the list is very long.

So long, in fact, that it would be hard to find a mom who wasn’t exposed to phthalates during or before her pregnancy.

The new study, published in the International Journal of Andrology, tested the urine of women during the 28th week of pregnancy and divided them into four groups based on the concentration of phthalate metabolites or breakdown products. Then they assessed the play behavior of their 145 children when they reached age 3 to 6.

If mothers were in the highest concentration group, the chance that their boys had a less masculine score was five times greater than mothers in the lowest concentration group. They just didn’t do the things that are considered typical for little boys.

One of the researchers, Dr. Shanna Swan, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Center for Reproductive Epidemiology, and an expert on phthalates, said she and other experts suspect that exposure to phthalates affects the level of testosterone crucial for the development not only of male reproductive organs, but also the masculine brain. ”We now suspect that the phthalate [exposure] affects the entire body, not just the reproductive tract,” she told Web MD.

The researchers studied only two types of phthalates, DEHP and DBP, both of which have been permanently banned in certain children’s products – including crib mattresses – as of February 2009. Which doesn’t mean those products aren’t still on the shelves, they just can’t be in products manufactured after that date.

Any woman who is pregnant or considering become pregnant would be wise to look into this. It’s crucial to her health – read Is Your Crib Mattress Phthalates Free? Why You Need to Find Out for more info on the potential health hazards to adults and children – and her baby’s.

We don’t use phthalates in Naturepedic crib mattresses – never have, never will.

Is Your Crib Mattress Phthalates Free? Why You Need to Find Out.

Thursday, December 10th, 2009


Cute? Yes. But what about phthalates?

Cute? Yes. But what about phthalates?

As of February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) banned the manufacture of child care articles and toys containing phthalates (pronounced “thalates”). Phthalates are plasticizer chemicals commonly used in crib mattresses and mattress pads: they soften PVC/vinyl to make it pliable so it can be used as a waterproof surface.

They’re also used in many kids’ toys.

Although we’ve never used phthalates in Naturepedic crib mattresses, they have been used for decades by just about every other crib mattress manufacturer out there.

So why the big hullabaloo over chemicals that have been used in baby and child products for decades? Because we now know (have for many years, actually) that phthalates leach out of vinyl over time where they can reach your baby or child. And that is dangerous with a capital D.

Research has linked phthalates to hormonal and endocrine system problems, especially in boys. In 1997, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer found a high risk of testicular cancer associated with exposure to PVC products.

Other research has also linked phthalates to other types of cancer, and to liver problems.

Numerous U.S. government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The U.S. Department of Health, the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued public safety statements concerning the use of phthalates.

Also, a study done by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concluded that phthalates are animal carcinogens and can cause fetal death, malformations and problems with the endocrine system. The AAP went on to say that the risk to children was even greater because their bodies and organ systems are still developing.

Phthalates have been banned in some European countries for 10 years – finally, the U.S. is catching up.

Read more about phthalates and the phthalates ban on our site.

Phthalates, by the way, are not just in crib mattresses. They can also be found in perfumes and fragrances, cosmetics, scented lotions, shampoos, aftershaves, nail polish, hair spray, toys, car interiors, medical devices like blood IV bags and tubing, vinyl flooring, vinyl wallpaper, and vinyl shower curtains – to name just a few of the most common types of products.

What can you do about? Get educated, get rid of crib mattresses and toys containing phthalates and, in general, get phthalates out of your life. An ounce of prevention ….

You Have a New Organic Crib Mattress – But How Do You Get Your Baby to Sleep?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009


living_sleeping_babyPeople have come up with literally hundreds of ideas on how to get babies to sleep through the night. Everything from teddy bears that breathe and vibrators that make a crib feel like a moving car to just letting the baby “cry it out.”

Some experts feel that these techniques – called ‘sleep trainers’ – actually undermine your relationship with your child and prevent you from understanding what’s really going on with them. If a baby is crying, for example, it could be because he’s hungry, needs changing or something’s too tight. Or, he’s frightened. Maybe he has nothing to be frightened about, but that doesn’t mean he’s not frightened. Or he might be lonely.

He might even be reacting to something in his environment (an allergy to the latex in his crib mattress, new paint or carpeting that’s off-gassing), or a sense of turbulence in the home.

He could also have a medical condition that hasn’t yet been diagnosed.

Whatever the case, the question remains – do you want your baby to get used to turning to a ‘sleep trainer’ machine when he’s hungry, lonely or in pain? Or do you want to learn about and understand the problems your child is having and show him he can trust you to do so and help him through it?

No question there, really. All parents want that with their child.

That said, how do you get some sleep??!!! Read 31 Ways To Get Your Baby To Go To Sleep and Stay Asleep Easier for some great ideas.

Beware Phthalates: They’re Not Just in Crib Mattresses

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
The Truth About Phthalates

The Truth About Phthalates

In case you’re not up to date on this, changes have been made in the EPA. Finally, it looks like the agency is going to have the resources and power necessary to do something about hazardous chemicals like phthalates. This is not the only chemical the agency will focus on in the near future, but it certainly is one of the most widely used, and dangerous. Why?

Our Stolen Future, a book about phthalates, outlines the animal and human studies that have been done – and the picture is bleak. But, there’s good news as well – it looks like some of the health concerns that have become more common over the last few decades may actually be caused by phthalates, which opens the door to a possible reversal of the prevalence of these conditions.

The effects on the male reproductive system are fairly well known at this point, and they are serious and have very serious implications, but did you know that phthalates may also have something to do with the greatly increased incidence of allergies? A study was done on DEHP’s (one type of phthalates) ability to exacerbate allergic reactions to an allergen. The author of the book said this might provide a “possible clue as to why allergy rates have gone up so much in the developed world.” But the list of potential effects goes on.

We don’t use phthalates in our crib mattresses so, on that front, your baby is safe. But phthalates are used in other flexible vinyl products – flooring and wall coverings, food contact applications, and medical devices. They are also used in personal care products (like perfumes, lotions and cosmetics), as solvents and plasticizers for cellulose acetate, and in making lacquers, varnishes, and coatings, including those used to provide timed release in some pharmaceuticals.

Phthalates are big news, and definitely something we should stay away from. Here’s a list of some of the most common names you’ll see on labels so you know what to look for:

  • DEHP, also known as di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. Used as a softener in PVC products, such as IV bags, tubing, and other medical devices.
  • BzBP, or benzylbutyl phthalate. Used in vinyl flooring, car-care products, and personal care products.
  • DBP, or di-n-butyl phthalate. Used in nail polish and other personal care products.
  • DEP, or diethyl phthalate. Used in personal care products such as deodorants, perfume, cologne, aftershave lotion, shampoo, hair gel and hand lotion.
  • DMP, or dimethyl phthalate. Used in insect repellants, plastics, and solid rocket propellant.

However, those are not the only names to look for. You should also include DnOP, DnHP, and several others.

Do yourself a favor and start reading the labels to look for phthalates. And just don’t use them.

Happy Thanksgiving from Naturepedic’s Family to Yours

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!! While it’s true there are improvements needed in the world, the things we have to be thankful for surpass them by orders of magnitude. I’m sitting in my home office looking out the window as the sun filters through the leaves and into the house. My family is coming to an early dinner, and we may drop in on friends later in the day. Millions of people around the world are doing the same.

At Naturepedic we are also fortunate to have the opportunity to create child and crib mattresses and other products that make life a little better, a little safer, a little healthier, and give others the possibility of a better future. Not many people get to do something like that for a living, and we consider ourselves blessed.

But others aren’t so fortunate: Some are spending Thanksgiving with infirm parents, grandparents and even children; thankful they’re still here, even if their time together has been too short.

And some holiday dinners are being eaten in soup kitchens; some people will eat more than they’ve had in a month. Some won’t eat at all.

We can’t help all these people, but we can help some. There are literally thousands of ways to do it – it’s surprising how little it takes to change someone’s life. There are charities, for example, that manage to feed, house, clothe and educate a child for $12 a month.

But if all you have is a kind word and a smile, that will mean the world to someone. Don’t keep those kind words and smiles to yourself – splurge!

Have a joyous Thanksgiving and, where you can, help someone else a little, too. They will be thankful for you.