Archive for August, 2010

Safe Alternatives for Cribs and Other Baby Furniture

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010


toxic chemicals in plywoodIf you’re concerned about the materials used in your child’s crib mattress, you should also have a very close look at the toxic chemical content of cribs, dressers, changing tables, and even outdoor furniture and decking. Fortunately, there are easy alternatives to using these chemicals, including building materials that may have fallen under your radar.

What toxic chemicals do you have to worry about in furniture? One of the primary offenders is formaldehyde.

Plywoods and particleboard, which are often included in furniture even if they don’t comprise the entire structure, are glued together with formaldehyde-based resins or urea-formaldehyde (UF) glue.

Formaldehyde, which off-gasses for years into the air you and your children breath, has been classified by the EPA as a probable carcinogen.

Healthy Child Healthy World recently published a list of alternatives:

Certified-sustainable hardwood cabinets and furniture utilizing traditional joinery and stainless steel drawer bottoms, salvaged wood, UF-free fiberboard, or baked-enamel metal, which emit less chemical vapor into the air. Or, reject permanent cabinetry altogether, and use freestanding hardwood tables, shelves and hooks.

Formaldehyde-free medium density fiberboard (MDF) in place of plywood for outdoor areas. Fiberboard can be made from recycled wood, paper or plant fiber waste, which is compressed and molded into boards without adhesives.

Look for an “exterior glue” stamp on regular plywood, which means it contains phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin, which off-gasses at a much slower rate than UF glues.

If particleboard can’t be avoided, finish with a low-toxicity sealant (latex paint won’t seal in vapors).

With the demand for toxic-chemical-free homes, and in the environment, these materials are becoming more available even in regular stores – especially the wood. If you’re having trouble finding a sealant, Debra Lynn Dadd, the Queen of Green, recommends Safe Seal made by AFM Safecoat. Also, for an excellent in-depth discussion with Debra and her readers about non-toxic baby cribs and where to get them, check Non-Toxic Baby Cribs.

Just think how wonderful it would be to not have to worry about you and the kids breathing formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals! You can rest easy.

Educating Family and Friends on Protecting Children from Chemicals

Saturday, August 28th, 2010


We’re pretty lucky here at Naturepedic – everyone is on the same page. We want all children to have a healthy sleep and our organic cotton crib mattresses provide a way to accomplish that goal. But some people, you may be one of them, are surrounded with others who don’t understand the importance of living a toxic chemical-free life.

If you’re looking for a way to spread the word, to educate friends and family about the danger of toxic chemicals and what can be done about it, you might want to start with this new video from Healthy Child Healthy World.

You can direct people you would like to educate to this blog to see the video, or send them right to Healthy Child Healthy World. If you have your own website or blog, you can even display the video yourself. Just click ‘Share’ and follow the instructions. This could be just what you need to start the ball rolling!

You Can Help Make Crib Mattresses Safe for Every Child, Including Your Own

Monday, August 23rd, 2010


moms can help babies sleep on safe crib mattressesOur founder, Barry Cik, recently had an article published in greenbiz.com. Chemical Regulations and the Modern Mattress: The Stuff of Nightmares.

Barry hadn’t intended to start a company that makes crib mattresses. But six years ago, when he went shopping to find a crib mattress for his first grandchild, he was appalled at the toxic chemicals in the mattresses he found. And as an environmental engineer, he really understood the risks.

“My grandfather slept on straw. I’ll have my grandchildren sleep on straw before I let them sleep on these mattresses,” he told a salesperson.

And, so, Naturepedic began.

“I know from experience that once people realize that their kids’ beds, mattresses, toys and bottles may contain toxic chemicals, they start reading labels and put their trust in brands that can demonstrate safety,” said Barry. “But not everyone can afford to act on this knowledge. Consider families living paycheck to paycheck that can’t always afford to buy the least toxic choice. Our next challenge is to turn frustrated consumers into vocal citizens who will support Congress in making non-toxic the norm, not a market niche.”

If you would like to become a vocal citizen and protect kids from toxic chemicals, consider joining the 100,000+ people who have signed the Environmental Working Group’s petition to demand that Congress take action to make chemicals in consumer products kid-safe.

And to find out more about Naturepedic crib mattresses, the mattresses Barry made for his grandchildren that are now available for your family, check out our website.

Are Your Kids’ Back-to-School Supplies Made with Toxic Chemicals? Read This Before You Shop.

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010


Back to school shopping can be expensive: The average American family spends $606 per child every year. Of course, we don’t mind spending the money on our kids and it can be a lot of fun. But when you consider how many of the school supplies we purchase are made with toxic chemicals, it can take the joy right out of it and make you feel like you’re throwing good money after bad. Do we have alternatives? Absolutely.

For the third year in a row, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice has published their Back to School Guide for PVC-Free School Supplies. This year’s guide covers over 30 categories of products, everything from art supplies, paper clips and backpacks to food wrap and lunch boxes.

Using this guide could help you avoid exposing your children to lead, cadmium, phthalates and other harmful chemicals. Products containing these chemicals can emit harmful fumes into the air that can seriously affect undeveloped bodies.

The guide also offers a lot more information, including how to identify PVC, how to avoid it, a list of product categories that can be harmful and a list of retailers and manufacturers who sell PVC-free products, including the specifics on which ones they sell. A wealth of information.

Some of the suppliers are mainstream – smart retailers are jumping on the bandwagon – so shopping at Staples, Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Office Max and so on is not out of the question. The Guide tells you exactly what products you can buy in which store.

The Guide also has listings for things like eyeglasses, clothing, wristwatches, cell phones and computers. You might be surprised at how many companies are now manufacturing PVC-free products!

Download and checkout the Guide before you go shopping.

By the way, if you’re also looking to save a little money on school supplies, remember that several States have tax-free days this time of year. The goods that are exempt include clothing, shoes, school supplies and more. You can check your State here, or ask the stores. One way or another, they always have good sales this time of year. Maybe you can get some great, healthy products for your kids and save money!

Kellogg’s Massive Cereal Recall – What’s in the Packaging?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010


If you ever feed your kids Kellogg’s cereals, you should know there may be a hidden danger in the packaging. In fact, complaints from customers motivated Kellogg’s to recall a whopping 28 million boxes of Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks after customer complaints.

The customers had no idea the packaging was the problem. They said the cereal smelled bad, tasted ‘off” and, after eating or smelling it, they felt nauseous, vomited, or had diarrhea.

Kellogg’s didn’t disclose the precise information about the cause, but said they had found “slightly elevated levels” of a food packaging “substance” in the box liners.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) contacted Kellogg’s for more information and was told that the substance was methylnaphthalene, a petroleum-based chemical that had “leached” into the cereal from the package liner. A nurse at Kellogg’s, the one who gave EWG the information, also said that methylnaphthalene has a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) rating from the FDA. But when EWG staff checked the FDA’s GRAS listings online, it was nowhere to be found.

Methylnaphthalene is a component of crude oil and coal tar, and a combustion byproduct of tobacco, wood, petroleum-based fuels and coal. It has been the subject of testing and investigation for some time, but almost nothing is known about its safety.

Nevertheless, it’s produced in great quantities in the U.S., is apparently FDA approved, and is used in packaging our food and as a coating on cheese, raw fruits and vegetables.

One more reason to go organic. Find out more details on the research-to-date, along with the EPA and FDA position on the EWG site.