Archive for September, 2010

Some Kids’ Products from China Not in Compliance with Toxic Chemical Regulations

Thursday, September 30th, 2010


phthalates in kids productsAs of February 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) banned the use of phthalates, chemicals that soften PVC so it can be used as a waterproof vinyl covering in crib mattresses, in soft vinyl toys, pacificers and other baby and children’s products. The phthalates restriction applies to “children care articles” which are defined as “intended to facilitate sleep, feeding, sucking or teething for children aged 3 or younger”. Within that group, if the item can be placed in the mouth or sucked, then six phthalates are banned. If not, then only three are banned. Further review and study was to be done to determine whether a ban should also be placed on additional phthalates.

So … how goes the battle? Are our children’s products now free of these dangerous chemicals? One of the organizations used to find out this info is called AsiaInspection, a Hong Kong company formed in 2004 to test, inspect and generally run quality control on Asian goods for importers around the world.

Recently, AsiaInspection conducted tests on kids’ toys from China to determine if the goods meet the phthalates-content requirements.

How did they fare? About 25% of the kids’ toys they tested contained dangerous levels of phthalates and, therefore, did not conform to the U.S. and European chemical content regulations. In fact, one product, a toy first aid kit, contained 130 times the phthalates allowable under European law.

To conduct the tests, AsiaInspection randomly chose 35 toys made in China. They then tested the toys against the regulations contained in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in the U.S. and it’s European counterpart REACH (which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals).

What can we as parents do to ensure that our kids’ products are safe?

1. Check to see that labels or company websites state that their products are in compliance with CPSIA standards. If necessary, call and talk to them about it.

2. Find out exactly what organization certified the products for that company.

3. Check out the certifying organization to make sure it’s recognized and on the level.

Also, it’s a good idea to find manufacturers you trust and use them as much as possible. Naturepedic, for example, has all the right certifications and is a trusted name in crib mattresses, mattresses for cradles, bassinets and so on, changing pads, mattress pads and toppers, and bedding.

Look for your own trusted names in toys, clothing and other children’s articles and stick with them. Then you’ll never have to worry.

Which Chemicals Should You Avoid to Prevent Behavioral and Learning Problems?

Monday, September 27th, 2010


Are food additives making your child sick?

As you may be aware from some of our other blogs or research you’ve done, several studies have shown links to exposure to toxic chemicals and the symptoms known as ADD, ADHD, autism and hyperactivity in kids. Unfortunately, the chemicals in question are not esoteric – they aren’t the kind of chemicals you’re only exposed to if you work in certain industrial environments, for example. They are chemicals our kids come into contact with every day – in fact, they eat them, play with them, sleep in them, are dressed in them and, in many cases, are actually born with them in their body.

ADHD and the other symptoms I’ve mentioned are perhaps not the only side effects of toxic chemicals, but they do present a special set of difficulties. These include low self-esteem, nervousness, being disruptive or aggressive with others, and even reading and comprehension problems. These difficulties can really disrupt the lives of those involved and make it very difficult for kids to have a happy childhood.

Also, if your kids do have these symptoms, they may be exposed to even more toxic chemicals – drugs – which may bring on a whole new set of symptoms.

What can you do in addition to avoiding toxic chemicals in crib mattresses, kids toys, clothes, and the home environment?

Eat organically grown foods, including meat from animals grown without antibiotics or hormones, reduce sugar intake and make sure your kids are getting a balanced diet with eggs for breakfast instead of frosted cereals, and really watch out for food additives as covered in the Feingold Diet.

The Feingold Diet consists of a list of artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives and other food and packaging additives that have specifically been determined to cause the symptoms you want to avoid. Some of these chemicals are even disguised, on the labels, as things that sound good for us. The term ‘anti-oxidants’, for example, which also includes healthy substances like Vitamins C and E and Essential Fatty Acids, can sometimes be used to describe chemicals that prevent the fats in food from ‘oxidizing’ – meaning ‘becoming rancid’. This is a far cry from the role nutritional anti-oxidants play.

In addition to ingesting, absorbing and inhaling untold amounts of chemicals over the last few decades – things we rarely had to contend with in earlier times – food additives have become part and parcel of our everyday diets. Here’s a sampling of Feingold’s take on the differences between what our kids ate in the 1940’s, compared to the present:

In the 1940s kids brushed their teeth with white toothpaste, ate oatmeal, corn flakes or toast and butter with jam for breakfast. Now they brush with multi-colored toothpastes (attained with the use of food colorings), instant oatmeal with additives that can even make the oatmeal turn blue when milk is added, colored cereals and pop tarts. All made with artificial flavoring and coloring. Even cocoa with whipped cream isn’t safe – today it’s topped with Cool Whip.

Is it any wonder that so many kids are having trouble?

If you want your kids to sleep easy and grow up happy and healthy, start with avoiding chemicals and eating well yourself (the chemicals can pass from parent to unborn child), green your nursery with non-toxic materials and a crib mattress that’s certified as not emitting harmful chemical gases, and eliminate food additives as recommended by Feingold Diet. All the info you need is on the Feingold site, including the research.

Are You Going to be a Mom Soon? Protect Your Baby’s Health by Making Changes Now.

Monday, September 20th, 2010


It used to be a usual thing that soon-to-be moms would quit drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. A wise choice. But these days we have much more to worry about in terms of toxins. In fact, study after study has shown traces of toxic chemicals in breast milk and the blood and urine of pregnant moms. And we now know that these chemicals transfer to the baby. What can you do to protect your child from the chemical onslaught?

In addition to getting your baby a crib, crib mattress, changing pad, clothing, linens and food that is free of toxic chemicals, it’s time to change other things in your household to help you stop accumulating toxins in your own body. Here’s a list of simple things you can do to remove general toxins from your environment.

Get rid of your PVC vinyl shower curtain. These shower curtains off-gas toxic chemicals. Instead, switch to cotton or hemp. They work just as well, although you do have to make sure the ventilation is good and they are washed frequently. You could also consider a glass shower door. They’re relatively easy to install and cost less than $100.

Start eating organic fruits and vegetables and meat from animals fed the way they used to be before commercial feeds became popular. For beef and lamb, for example, that was grass. Also, make sure they haven’t been fed antibiotics or hormones. Those substances go straight into your body, and into your baby’s.

Change your cleaning products to something non-toxic or, better still, use old-fashioned remedies like baking soda and vinegar. In fact, you could pretty much clean your whole house with just these two products. Whatever products you choose, make sure they do not contain fragrance. Synthetic fragrances are high on the list of toxic chemicals.

Do the same with your personal care products and cosmetics. A lot of chemicals are absorbed through the skin.

If you’re not yet pregnant, but there’s a chance you might become pregnant, all the same things apply for your husband. His body influences the baby’s, too.

Make sure your indoor air is clean by removing toxic chemicals from the household and using an air purifier. Did you know that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor? You can change that.

Remember, whatever’s in your body might pass through to the baby. If you would like more information on that, watch 10 Americans, a very interesting video about a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group.

These few changes will help protect your baby, and you. It can take a while to get toxins out of your body so whether you’re planning on motherhood in the near future or far, now is a good time to start.

More Toxic Chemicals Your Baby Can Do Without

Monday, September 13th, 2010


We live busy lives. Moms and Dads are often out to work, even when children are very young. Of course, we look for time-saving products and conveniences – one of which is the disposable diaper. They work, but are they a healthy option?

In case you haven’t looked into it, here are the facts:

Many disposable diapers are bleached white with chlorine. A by-product of the bleaching process, when chlorine is used, is a very nasty chemical known as dioxin.

Continuous exposure to dioxin, with one disposable diaper after another being used for about a year, causes the dioxin to accumulate in the baby’s body.

The Environmental Protection Agency says dioxin is highly carcinogenic and, per the World Health Organization, it may cause skin reactions, altered reproductive and liver function, and damage to the immune system, nervous system and endocrine system.

That’s definitely serious enough to warrant considering other options, but dioxin is only one chemical on the list of those contained in disposable diapers.

For a more complete list of these chemicals, read Chemicals in Disposable Diapers.

Environmentally speaking, disposable diapers are also a problem: About 92% end up in landfills. Estimate for decomposition? 200 to 500 years.

Cotton diapers, on the other hand, are safe, and after about 150 washes, become cleaning cloths. They take a little more effort, but your baby is safe. If you don’t have time for the extra laundry, you might consider a diaper service. They pick them up and drop them off. Just make sure you use a company that cleans the diapers with non-toxic laundry products.

Our Naturepedic crib mattresses help your kids sleep in a healthy environment. Switching to cotton diapers is a fairly easy transition to make to give your kids an even healthier start in life!

Germs or Toxic Chemicals – Do We Really Have to Make that Choice?

Saturday, September 11th, 2010


What lengths should you go to to protect your children from germs? When Louis Pasteur postulated that minute creatures, invisible to the human eye, were floating in the air, entering our body through our nose and mouth and causing serious illness, he wasn’t met with a very keen reception. People thought he was nuts. Now, more than a century later, the ‘germ theory of disease’ is the basis of modern pathology. But did Pasteur realize at the time that some of the solutions later invented to inhibit the spread of germs could disrupt the endocrine system, interfere with normal development and reproduction and, in fact, endanger the health of all who came into contact with them?

Not likely. But, in fact, that is exactly what happened. Two major alleged germ-fighting chemicals – triclosan and triclocarban, found in anti-bacterial soaps, cleansers, toothpastes and a variety of other products we use every day – have been suspected as dangerous for decades and virtually nothing has been done about it by regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration.

Although the FDA first started looking into triclosan and triclocarbon more than 30 years ago, and in 1978 proposed a ruling that both be banned from soaps, no final ruling on the matter was ever made. Now, 32 years later, it is still in the ‘proposed’ stage.

In the meantime, studies have shown that 75 percent of Americans over the age of six now have triclosan residues in their body.

To make matters worse, it has been scientifically determined that products containing triclosan and triclocarbon aren’t any more effective at fighting germs than regular soap and water.

So, we’re being poisoned for nothing – the chemical has been found in blood, urine and even breast milk.

To remedy this situation, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) last month filed suit against the FDA for failing to issue a final ruling that would regulate the use of triclosan and triclocarbon.

Read the full story, Lawsuit Seeks Final Rule on ‘Antibacterial’ Chemicals After 32-Year Delay, on non-toxickids.net.

It’s taken years to even put a dent in the laws regulating the chemicals used in crib mattresses, and the progress so far has been limited to the ban of just a few types of phthalates, also endocrine disruptors. Let’s hope the NRDC lawsuit motivates the FDA to take further action on triclosan and triclocarbon.

How careful do you have to be about germs with your children? You have to remember that Pasteur lived in an era where sanitation wasn’t what it is today: Most people bathed once a week, at most, and the whole family bathed in the same tub. Dad first, then mom, then the kids – all in the same water. Also, Pasteur was literally trying to convince doctors that it might be a good idea to wash their hands before they plunged them into someone’s open wound.

Today, we’re in much better shape. Almost all of us have bathrooms, bathtubs, soap and clean water. Studies show that’s really all we need – as long as we use them and take normal precautions.

Thanks to companies that make organic and natural personal care and cleaning products, we also have many non-toxic choices available for killing germs.

To keep your kids safe – from both toxic chemicals and germs – check ingredients lists for your personal care and cleaning products on labels and websites, switch to brands that don’t contain harmful chemicals, and make judicious use of the products that are available to keep your home and body clean.