Archive for April, 2014

Making Better Decisions Mondays

Monday, April 7th, 2014

I’m a busy mom, wife, daughter, employee. Errand-running often serves as leisure time too. I consider myself a “professional consumer.” I love to see what brands my favorite store offers and how they’re packaged and merchandized on the shelf. When I really love a product, I love to tell people. I like converting others to better products that I’ve discovered. My mom (who is pretty classically set in her ways of purchases) is my favorite person to convince.

With that said, chemistry was my worst subject in high school, and I took general science classes in college to avoid the subject all together. I don’t want to have to be a board-certified chemical engineer in order to buy my family’s snacks or shampoo. But I still want the safest or healthiest products I possibly can find… and can afford.

Since coming on board with the Naturepedic team, I’m lucky to hear about brands who are making better products, just like we are. Some brands I even get to work with often, thanks to Naturepedic’s work with the Companies for Safer Chemicals coalition.  I’m told there are 80,000 chemicals out there, and something like 5 have been regulated by the government. (Zoinks.) Again, no chemistry background here. I have a degree in advertising, so I what I do know is some brand’s “natural” or “safer” or “fat-free” or whatever schtick is purely marketing.

So, what should I buy when I go to the store? Which products in my house are really toxic? Which products in my house does my toddler have the most contact with? Which products or foods are safer and won’t break my grocery budget!?

It’s overwhelming. So just like any big project I take on, I decided to start small. A few small changes can lead to bigger, better ones. After all, a marathon starts with a few steps. Stop back on Mondays to hear about the small changes my family and I have made to Make Better Decisions.

Until then, Healthy Child Healthy World put together this beautiful inspirational video for all of us who want to join the movement of a healthier world for our kids and all future generations:

 

Naturepedic at 2014 Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference

Friday, April 4th, 2014

2014-logo

Naturepedic Founder Barry Cik was a panelist speaker at the 2014 Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference, held in Cleveland, Ohio April 1-3. This year’s focus was “Innovating for Success in Green Chemistry”.

Active in organizations at both the national and local levels, Cik has long been a champion of finding safer, healthier alternatives for companies to make products and conduct business.

Barry_GLGCC

Naturepedic founder Barry Cik takes the podium at the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference in Cleveland, Ohio

The conference explored how innovations in green chemistry can accelerate change in the Great Lakes Region (where Naturepedic is based), not just in business, but also in policy and public health and safety. The conference looked at ways to promote collaboration between business, academia, and legislators.

Naturepedic was previously recognized by an award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) as a charter member for its 2025 Safer Chemistry Challenge Program.

The Challenge Program, began by NPPR in collaboration with the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference and Clean Production Action, recognizes company operations that reduce the use of hazardous and toxic chemicals by finding and selecting alternative, safer materials and chemistries.

 

Naturepedic Certified Organic Mattresses: How They’re Made

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

 

People love to see things built.  Shows like Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made cater to our fascination to watch finished products emerge from raw materials.

Having an office near the Naturepedic manufacturing floor, I often watch giant rolls of organic cotton, wool and other materials turn into finished mattresses at the hands of talented craftspeople.  Like a sunset, I don’t tire of watching it.

Thanks to agency Flourish Inc. you can spend 2-1/2 minutes experiencing the cool factor of our factory in Luxury Organic Mattresses: A Behind The Scenes Look.  As a result of Flourish’s brilliant vision and execution in creating this video, you can truly get a sense of the craftsmanship and pride that goes into each of our mattresses.

The video is so amazing it earned Flourish a 2013 Gold Addy award from the American Advertising Federation – Cleveland.  Watch it and you’ll see why.

Take a break and step into our factory for a few minutes.  You’ll leave refreshed!

When Does “No Flame Retardants” NOT Actually Mean “No Flame Retardants”?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

 

Many commonly used flame retardant chemicals are being connected to health and developmental issues.  Want a mattress without flame retardant chemicals?  Get a certified organic mattress.  Otherwise, flame retardants will probably be in that mattress, even if greenwashing marketing suggests otherwise, and you’re going to need to guess what they are.

It's not easy to find out what flame retardants are in your mattress

It’s not easy to find out what flame retardants are in your mattress

Let me explain with a little compare and contrast.

We say “Naturepedic mattresses meet all government flammability standards without flame barriers and other flame retardant chemicals.”

So why don’t we shorten that to “No flame retardants added” and call it a day?  That would mean the same thing, right?

Wrong.

Sure, when WE talk about not using flame retardants, we actually mean what we say.  We mean these chemicals are not in our mattress. Anywhere.

This straight-forward approach is not the case with most mattresses, however.  The loophole occurs with synthetic fabrics.

Now if a mattress maker would take a finished mattress and spray it with flame retardants, the mattress would have a flame retardant “added”.

If the mattress, however, includes synthetic fabrics originally manufactured with flame retardant chemicals, this is different.  Why?  Because the flame retardant chemicals are considered an integral or constituent part of the fabric.  These fabrics can be on the outside of the mattress or in flame barriers on the inside.  Regardless, the mattress maker can state, “No flame retardant chemicals added.”

But, you say, those chemicals are IN the mattress!

Yes, but the chemicals were integral to the flame barriers or fabric from the beginning. The greenwashing trick lies in the word added.  The chemicals weren’t added to the mattress!

Even worse?  These chemicals inserted into the fabric will likely not be disclosed to the consumer, so if you want to know the flame retardant used, you’ll probably need to guess.Flame retardants

Understand, this deceptive practice is not illegal.  I would argue immoral, but not illegal.

Who needs it?

But, you ask, why do manufacturers add (regardless of how it’s “added”) flame retardants into mattresses to begin with?  Who needs it?  Well, here is the bottom line – if you didn’t fill the mattress with highly flammable materials, then, in fact, you don’t need flame retardant chemicals!

But most mattresses are filled – to one degree or another – with polyurethane foam, which is a highly flammable material.  Some manufacturers add some soybean oil or castor oil and call the fill “soybean foam” or “eco-foam” or similar, but it’s still basically polyurethane foam.  And, when ignited, it can reach temperatures of 1400 degrees within minutes.

The only practical way to avoid flame retardant chemicals is to use certified organic products to ensure these chemicals have not been worked into fabrics and barriers.  Organic certification requires a level of disclosure that just doesn’t currently exist for fabrics.

Otherwise, you’re left guessing what flame retardants are in your mattress, and your health shouldn’t be left to guesswork.