Archive for May, 2010

How the Chemicals in Your Life Are Affecting Your Unborn Children

Sunday, May 30th, 2010


eliminate toxic chemicals if you're pregnantIf you’ve been reading our blog, or keeping up with news items (including a piece on 60 Minutes that aired just a week ago), you will know that many of the items in our everyday lives contain potentially harmful chemicals. This is even more of a problem for kids than adults, because kids’ bodies are still developing. But the problem starts long before the kids are born. In fact, it’s immediately after conception. Check out this resource that shows you exactly when and in what part of the body chemicals affect your unborn child.

The resource is a chart on the website of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX). TEDX is a non-profit organization that studies the effects of low-dose exposure to endocrine disruptors, chemicals that effect fetal development and human health. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, bisphenol A (BPA), dioxin, and phthalates.

The chart is called Critical Windows of Development. It lists the various systems, organs and so on within the body and shows the stages of development during each weeks and trimesters in the womb. On the upper right of the chart, it shows checkboxes for ‘All Chemicals’, ‘Bisphenol A’, ‘Dioxin’, and ‘Phthalates’. Check ‘Phthalates’, for example, and red lines appear on the chart that show you which systems they affect, and at what period of pregnancy.

There are also little triangles on the chart that provide the names of studies that support the information.

One thing is clear: If we want to give our kids the best chance at being healthy as children and throughout their lives, expectant Mothers need to be free of these chemicals.

Pass this on to anyone you know who is pregnant, or may be in the future, so they can start doing something about it now.

What do they do about it? Eliminate the chemicals from their lives as much as possible. Many of our blog posts show you how to do that, and Debra Lynn Dadd’s book Home Safe Home has a wealth of information on what chemicals are in what products and suggestions on healthy alternatives. But, basically, just go organic, go toxin-free.

And once your baby is born, make sure you continue your toxic-free life. Get the baby a safe crib and baby crib mattress, made with non-toxic materials, swaddle them in organic cotton, feed them organic food, get them glass baby bottles and diapers and toys that are not made of harmful plastics or other potentially harmful chemicals.

Study Links Pesticides to ADHD – Are They in Your Child’s Crib Mattress?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010


Naturepedic organic cotton crib mattresses no pesticidesYet another study has linked ADHD to chemicals – this time it’s the group of pesticides known as organophosphates. Organophosphates are commonly used on cotton crops, which is why we use only organic cotton in our baby crib mattresses.

The list of symptoms now labeled ‘ADHD’ – forgetfulness, difficulty focusing or concentrating, inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and, often, learning disorders – can be a real trial for kids and parents.

A significant number of kids with these symptoms have trouble with school and relationships, are more prone to accidents and injury and, as they get older, are more likely to get involved in drinking and driving and other social problems.

Of course, some of this is ‘normal’ kid stuff. But organophosphate pesticides, which disrupt the brains and nervous systems of insects very effectively, have been proven to have a similar effect on humans. They have even been used in nerve gas and other chemical weapons for precisely that reason.

Do we really want to expose our kids to these chemicals?

ADHD symptoms can also be very costly for a family. Estimates show that the average cost to a household with a child with ADHD is between $12,000 and $17,000 a year. That includes treatment and other health support, lost work days, trips to the ER, and so on.

Many kids take drugs to control the symptoms. But drugs have their own long list of problems. If a healthy solution can be found – in this case, that would be the elimination of pesticides and other harmful chemicals from our kids’ lives – everyone would be much better off.

The new study examined about 1,100 children, 119 of whom have had an ADHD diagnosis. Urine tests looked for organophosphate metabolites – the products of the breakdown of the pesticides in the body – and found that the higher the level of metabolites, the more severe the ADHD.

Researchers concluded that the risk of ADHD is almost double in children with high levels of organophosphate pesticide breakdown products. Considering that organophosphates account for nearly 40% of the pesticides used around the world, we can pretty much count on them being in our bodies to some extent.

Check out the study, entitled Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides, in the journal Pediatrics for more info..

Sometimes it may feel that there’s no end to the dangers of chemicals but, really, this is good news. It opens the door to a possible solution for millions of kids!

At Naturepedic, we make our baby crib mattresses with organic cotton – no pesticides in the materials = no pesticide exposure for kids. We made them for the kids in our own family. Now they’re available for yours.

President’s Cancer Panel Warns Against Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

non-toxic chemicals make a happy healthy family

Happy, Healthy Family Lives a Toxin-Free Life

The President’s Cancer Panel released their annual report last Thursday. I can’t begin to tell you what a breakthrough it is to have this icon of the medical establishment acknowledge the role chemicals play in our health. Cancer is not the only consequence of chemical exposure but, of course, it is the focus of the report.


Did you know that 41% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives? Scary, but those are the statistics. The President’s Cancer Panel wants to do something about it.

To give you an idea of how serious they are, check out this quote from the Panel’s cover letter to the President:

“The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”

There’s much more to read in the report itself, but even reading just the cover letter to the President makes things pretty clear. See Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now for both the letter and the complete report.

The authors provide outlines of policy, research and programs to bring about the changes they believe are necessary to keep us safe. But they also provide recommendations we can use in our daily lives, now, to reduce our exposure.

Here are the highlights of their recommendations:

1. Because children’s under-developed bodies are especially susceptible to toxins, both parents should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to conception, during pregnancy and throughout a child’s early life. They also advise we choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces (this would include cribs and baby crib mattresses – check out Naturepedic), toys, medicines and medical tests that limit exposure.

2. If one works in an environmental that contains potentially harmful chemicals, remove work shoes and wash work clothes immediately upon entering the house so as not to contaminate the home environment.

3. Drink filtered tap water. Avoid bottles of water – BPA in plastics is a big issue – unless it is known that tap or well water is contaminated, or that the plastic is BPA-free and otherwise tested for safety.

4. Buy organic food – food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Eat meat from free-range animals that have not been given growth hormones or antibiotics. Avoid processed, charred and well-done meats.

5. Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, paints and similar materials. And, when possible, choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally-safe chemicals.

6. Reduce exposure to radiation (they give specifics), and get your home tested for radon.

7. Become a voice in your community.

The report covers many different types of exposure, including radiation from medical testing. For example, did you know that the radiation from one CT scan is equivalent to over 1,000 chest x-rays? To read the complete report, which is lengthy but easy to read and very interesting, check Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now.

This is great news! Not only is the issue getting more mainstream medical attention, the information is now in the oval office. And with fairly simple recommendations we can put into action in our daily lives, we really can do something about our own health and the health of our children, now!