Archive for January, 2011

Toxic Flea Collars on Pets are also Toxic to Your Kids

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011


toxic flea collar can hurt babyThere’s nothing much cuter than babies and puppies. But did you know that some flea collars can also be dangerous for your kids? Even touching them can transfer the toxins to your baby. The toxins can be absorbed through the skin or, heaven forbid, your baby touches the flea collar and then puts those little fingers in his mouth.

The flea collar situation is bad. Here’s a summary from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) blog:

“Last summer, EPA quietly conducted a risk assessment of flea collars with propoxur and found that normal use of these collars on pets could pose significant health risks to children. Despite these findings, EPA has still not taken any action six months after their risk assessment, and we have since discovered that EPA’s assessment had major flaws that seriously underestimate the health risks from these products. In other words, these flea collars are even more dangerous than previously believed.”

The blog goes on to detail the ‘flaws’ mentioned. One of them increased the EPA risk assessment by 56 times! You can read more about it on the NRDC blog post, EPA Continues to Lag in Protecting Kids and Pets from Toxic Flea Collars or read the supplement to the petition (a heavier and more complex read than the blog.)

You do not want your children around these flea collars.

The offending toxic chemical, Propoxur, is classified as a human carcinogen and is toxic to the human nervous system. In California – where flea collars containing Propoxur must have a warning on the label – Propoxur is classified as a cancer-causing agent by the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.

To see whether Propoxur is in a flea collar you’re looking at buying, check the label for propoxur, tetrachlorvinphos, amitraz or carbaryl.

It has also been sold as Arprocarb, Bay 9010, Baygon, Bayer 39007, Bifex, Blattanex, Brifur, Bolfo, BO Q 5812315, ENT 25671, Invisi-Gard, OMS 33, PHC, Pillargon, Prentox Carbamate, Propogon, Proprotox, Propyon, Rhoden, Sendran, Suncide, Tendex, Tugen, Unden, and Undene – this is an older list and I doubt any of these are available anymore but, just in case, you know what to look for.

Some of the flea collars that contain Propoxur are:

Adam’s brand “Plus” collars
Bio Spot brand collars
Sentry brand “Dual Action” collars
Sergeant’s brand “Sendran” collars
Sergeant’s brand “Triple Protection” collars
Vet Kem brand “Tick Away” collars
Zodiac collars

That might not be all of them, so make sure you check the labels. Also, for a list of different brands of flea collars and their levels of toxicity, check the Greenpaws database.

Also, you can sometimes control fleas without chemicals.

Kids and puppies are cute, but you want to make sure you protect your child by getting flea collars that are safe – for both the puppy and the baby.

Chemicals in Mom’s Body Can Pass to Babies – Even If You Switched to Organic Some Time Ago

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011


detox before pregnancyMany women stop eating certain foods, smoking, drinking alcohol, and so on, after they find out they’re pregnant. They want to make sure they’re doing the best for their baby. But chemicals that we ingest, inhale or absorb can actually stay in the body long after mom has started making healthier choices. Sometimes just changing your lifestyle isn’t enough.

Here’s the story of Molly Gray: After several miscarriages, Molly switched to organic food, avoided fish high in mercury, stopped using plastic food storage containers, and switched to non-toxic cleaning products. But despite these radical changes, high levels of 13 toxic chemicals were found in her blood when she tested during pregnancy.

In fact, some of these chemicals could stay in your body for your entire life. And there may not even be a big difference in how much is in there over very long periods of time – many years.

So, what can a mom-to-be do about this?

Really, the best solution is probably a detoxification program. Detox programs flush toxic chemicals, and a few other things you don’t want, out of your body.

There are many different detox programs. They use different methods, different substances, and some focus on specific parts of the body. It’s important to do the right one(s), in the right sequence for your particular situation. So, really, the only right way to do a detox is with the help of a professional.

We checked with Debra Lynn Dadd, whose journey to Queen of Green started with her attempts to get rid of toxic chemicals in her home and her body, to find out which professionals really know about detox.

Here’s a list of the types of practitioners she recommended, along with websites where you can find out more about each type of practitioner and find someone in your area.

Note: Not all of these docs know about detox, but they are more likely to know about it than others. Ask them; they’ll tell you if they can help you.

A naturopathic doctor: Naturopathic doctors use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting edge natural therapies along with modern medical science to restore health. To learn more about Naturopathy or find a practitioner in your area check the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

A doctor who practices environmental medicine: Doctors who practice environmental medicine are medical professionals who treat illnesses that are related to toxic chemical exposures. See the American Academy of Environmental Medicine or Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics.

A doctor who practices functional medicine: Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques. Check the Institute for Functional Medicine for more information.

A doctor who practices anti-aging medicine: Anti-aging doctors use advanced scientific and medical technologies for early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related diseases and a prolonged healthy lifespan. See the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.

A Certified Clinical Nutritionist: A Certified Cliniical Nutritionist uses nutrition to achieve normal physiological function. More info at The International & American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists.

A Chiropractor: Doctors of Chiropractic focus on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. However, many also offer other complementary natural remedies including nutrition and detoxification. Check the American Chiropractic Association or American Chiropractic Council on Nutrition.

A biologic dentist: Biologic dentists work closely with other healthcare professionals—nutritionists, chiropractors, bodyworkers, naturopaths, and environmental doctors—to reduce the toxic burden to the body as a result of toxic materials used in dental work. Check Consumers for Dental Choice, Holistic Dental Association, International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, or the International Association of Mercury Free Dentists.

I know that’s quite a bit of information, but if you’re concerned about what your baby will inherit from your body – which you should be; see more info on Molly’s story at US doctors say chemicals can cause cancer – check out getting tested for toxicity and the possibility of doing a detox program.

Over One Third of Children’s Toys and Products Contain Chemicals that are Linked to Learning and Developmental Disabilities

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011


non-toxic safe baby toysWe all like buying toys for our kids. We usually have several in the toy chest even before the baby is born. Shortly after birth little boys are often presented with footballs and miniature hockey sticks; little girls with what we hope will be their favorite dolls; and both get the teddy bears and rubber duckies.

But before you go out on a shopping spree, you should have more information on which toys are actually safe. We’re not talking about the usual safety concerns – small parts in a baby’s mouth, we’re talking about chemicals.

We already know that rubber duckies, or any toy made of vinyl, may well contain phthalates or other chemicals you really don’t want your baby to ingest. But phthalates aren’t the only toxic chemicals you have to worry about.

In fact, according to the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health, over one third of children’s toys and products contain chemicals that are linked to learning and developmental disabilities?

How’s that for a scary statistic?

To help handle the problem and make sure parents are informed about which toys are safe and which aren’t, Senator Roger Kahn of Michigan is drafting legislation designed to “to protect your kids from toxic chemicals found in their most popular toys.”

Says Senator Kahn, “I don’t want them to get poisoned from cadmium or zinc or arsenic or anything.”

If you’re in Michigan, you’re in luck. You have a Senator that recognizes the problem and cares enough to do something about it.

At Naturepedic, we protect children by making crib mattresses that have been independently tested and certified so we, and you, can be sure our products don’t emit any harmful chemical fumes your baby might breathe while spending 15 or so hours in the crib everyday.

But it doesn’t stop with the crib. Toys are a very big concern.

Find out more about the chemicals in toys on the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health. There is also information in our blog Unsafe Toys 2010: What Toys To Avoid this Holiday Season, and What to Buy that you may find useful.

If you would like information on specific toys and children’s products, check out HealthyStuff.org’s very helpful list. It categorizes products with ‘None,’ ‘Low,’ ‘Medium,’ and ‘High’ levels of concern.

You can also find a list of websites with safe and fun toys on the Toys page of Debra’s List.

Do your baby and yourself a favor: Get them safe toys.