Chemicals in Commerce Act
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 – 10:00am
Testimonial to include witness, Barry Cik, founder of Naturepedic, on behalf of the Companies for Safer Chemicals.
March 11th, 2014 by Heidi Baumgart
August 18th, 2012 by gloria
The United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recently approved the Safe Chemicals Act – which requires, among other things, that chemical manufacturers test their products for safety before they’re used commercially. This bill is the update of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. It was first proposed in 2005 and, although it still has to get through Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Environment and Public Works approval gets it one step closer to becoming law.
Why is this such an important issue from Naturepedic’s viewpoint? Because we’re all about protecting children – that’s why we started making organic crib mattresses in the first place – and that’s exactly what this law will do. Of course, it’s important to protect everyone from potentially toxic chemicals, but infants have almost zero defense. They are totally dependant on us to keep them safe.
If you’re not very educated on this subject and would like to be, here are a few references that are fairly brief:
Senator Frank Lautenberg made an video about it, which is posted on youtube: Lautenberg Introduces “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.”
There’s an excellent article in Huffington Post, Safe Chemicals Act Could Reverse Burden Of Proof For Toxic Chemicals, Protect Children. Here’s a quote: “The numbers can overwhelm any parent, or parent-to-be. Ninety-nine percent of pregnant American woman carry multiple manmade chemicals in their bodies, sharing that concoction through the umbilical cord.”
Another great video on Health Child Healthy World.
We’ve also written several blogs on the subject.
Even though getting the Act through the Committee on Environment and Public works did get us a step closer, it’s important that everyone who cares about this issue works on their Congressman/woman. Let them know how important it is to you to get this bill through all the way. The chemical industry has invested more than $10 million in opposing this bill and they’re not going to stop now. So, every voice is needed.
Help protect children, yourself and the environment: Contact your congressmen to ask for their support.
August 16th, 2012 by gloria
There are four different models: Serenade, Ensemble, Concerto, and Symphony. Go to the organic mattresses for adults page on our site for full information on each model and a chart that helps you compare the features.
In addition to organic cotton, some models contain latex and/or wool. Three of the four models also have customizable firmness, and three have Eurotops. Plenty of options – we hope you can find one that’s just right for you.
Just a note on the wool and latex: As you know, we don’t use latex or wool in our crib mattresses or others used for kids. That’s because they are potential allergens and you never know how they’re going to affect an infant or child. However, by the time you’re reached adulthood, you’ve probably had enough contact with latex and wool to know whether they’re a problem for you. If they are, you would, of course, choose our model that contains only organic cotton.
As with all our other mattresses, our adult organic mattresses are organic – including the wool and latex – with all the certifications you need: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), GREENGUARD (certified to the highest level), and Level III under the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) Environmental & Safety Program. In fact, we’re the only company offering mattresses that are documented as Level III.
And we think these mattresses are pretty nice looking – see the picture above.
Check out our website for more info, and give us a call directly at 800-917-3342 if you have questions.
June 17th, 2012 by gloria
Summer is upon us – it’s time for swimming pools, beaches, lots of sand, sun, and sunscreen. Of course, you don’t want your kids (or you) to get burned, but experts now advise that you really investigate the type of sunscreen you’re using. In fact, research shows that the chemicals in many sunscreens can cause serious health problems.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been investigating sunscreens for some years. They stay abreast of the latest research on the safety and efficacy of the ingredients and formulations and keep us informed. This year, EWG has compiled a list of little known facts about sunscreen, and they’re not pretty.
For example, here are a few important things you might not be aware of:
• There’s very little evidence that sunscreens prevent skin cancer.
• There is evidence that sunscreens may actually increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer.
• According to the FDA, there is an “absence of data demonstrating additional clinical benefit” of high SPF sunscreens.
• Using sunscreens could result in Vitamin D deficiency – which can cause bone pain and muscle weakness, increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and cancer. It can also contribute to diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.
• Vitamin A in sunscreens could speed the development of cancer.
And that’s not all. Read Sunscreens Exposed: Nine Surprising Truths to get the full scoop.
What can you do to protect your children?
Fortunately, there are some sunscreens that are safe and do a good job. The EWG has compiled their 2012 list of 1800 sun protection products – including sunscreen and SPF lip balms, moisturizers and make-up. Obviously you won’t need the make-up info for your kids, but you might as well take advantage of this too!
You can search the EWG Cosmetics Database for the sunscreens you are using or considering, or peruse the entire list (it’s organized by level of toxicity) to find one that’s safe. For a small donation, you can even download and print out a guide you can take to the store when you go shopping.
Summer can be the happiest time of year for you and your kids. Using a non-toxic sunscreen helps take the worry out of sun exposure so you can make this summer the best yet!
May 6th, 2012 by gloria
In decades past, we rarely heard of children having autism, but now, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of one in 110 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many causes have been suggested but, still, most autism is considered idiopathic – which means, basically, that no one knows what really caused it. However, some experts believe it to be caused by heavy metals and environmental and household chemicals – some of which are even in crib mattresses.
Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor and chair of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York, compiled a list of 10 heavy metals and chemicals that are highly suspect.
Here’s the list:
• polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – EPA studies say everyone (literally) has them in their body
• organochlorine pesticides like DDT – DDT is banned, but other, similar, chemicals are still around
• automotive exhaust
• brominated flame retardants – found in furniture, electronics, household dust and even certain sodas and sports drinks
• polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – these are in some driveway sealants, in anti-dandruff shampoos, cigarette smoke, mothballs and meat cooked on the barbeque
• organophosphate pesticides – these pesticides have been banned for residential use, but they are still used on our fruits and vegetables
• hormone-disrupting chemicals – these include phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA) and are in hundreds of products we use every day, everything from soaps and cleaning products to air fresheners
• nonstick chemicals – these are used in cookware, as well as in stain protection for furniture and carpeting
According to Dr. Landrigan, “It’s now possible to connect early exposure to problems in childhood.” Problems such as autism, ADHD and learning disabilities. But a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group also found 300 chemicals, some of which are on this list, in newborns. So, while early childhood exposure is a pivotal factor, chemicals are also being transferred from mom to baby while baby is still in the womb.
What steps should you take to reduce the potentially dangerous chemicals in your environment? Some things are obvious, and you might even know about them already – furnish and decorate your nursery with an organic crib mattress and other organic products whenever possible, switch to natural household cleaning products and personal care products for both yourself and baby. And there is more.
For a full rundown on where the suspect chemicals are found and how to avoid them, check 10 Suspect Causes of Autism & Learning Disabilities for a very informative slide show that also features related articles that give you even more information.
Everyone may not agree that heavy metals and chemicals are a problem, but do we really need everyone to agree? After all, many experts think there is ample evidence that these chemicals are highly suspect and, when it comes right down to it, do we really want to take chances with our babies?
April 30th, 2012 by gloria
A recent experiment conducted by Good Morning America and Greenguard Environmental Institute, a nursery was set up with indoor-pollution monitoring equipment, then furnished and decorated. Within a week, the equipment found 300 different chemicals in the room – some of which are known to cause allergies, hormonal disruption, and even cancer.
Some of the products were particularly volatile. According to the results: “the rocker contained seven times California’s recommended level of formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer, and the crib mattress gave off more than 100 different chemicals, including industrial solvents and alcohols. The paint used on the nursery’s walls contained chemical gases at five times the recommended limit.”
Can this be normal? Is that what every nursery is like? Did they go out of their way to find products that were suspect? No, they just furnished the room the way any parent would.
It’s hard enough for adult bodies to process that kind of pollution, but it’s particularly hard for babies!
How do you outfit a nursery so that it is safe for your baby? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are a few tips:
• Get wooden furniture, rather than plastic, and go for brands that use non-toxic materials in the manufacturing of their products. Check online – they’re not hard to find.
• Instead of carpeting or laminate floors, used natural products like wood or cork, and, as with the furniture, ensure they aren’t manufactured or applied to the floor with toxic chemicals. Several different companies offer flooring that doesn’t emit VOCs. Check Debra’s List for a list. Search ‘flooring.’
• Use low- or no-VOCs paints. Several name brands now offer these kinds of paints. They may be a little more expensive than others, but not much, and they are well worth it.
• Get a Naturepedic organic crib mattress. Our mattresses are GREENGUARD certified to the highest standard, and they are certified organic by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) – the only certification that guarantees a truly organic product. See more about this in our blog “Is Your Crib Mattress Really Organic?”
• Textiles – bedding, throw rugs, curtains – should be made with organic cotton, linen or silk. If you are going to use non-organic cotton or other natural materials, make sure you don’t get something that’s wrinkle-resistant, wash and wear, or no-iron. Wrinkle-free products are made that way with formaldehyde.
• Cleaning products and laundry detergents should also be natural and free of fragrance, phthalates or other chemicals. They’re available in health food stores but, for cleaning, vinegar, water and baking soda works on just about anything.
• To give the room a boost and help clean the air, try plants. See our blog “Cleaning Baby’s Nursery Air with House Plants”, for a list of the specific plants that are most beneficial.
Give your baby a good start in life by eliminating any chemicals they have to cope with as they try to develop into healthy children and adults.
April 3rd, 2012 by gloria
Have you ever seen the word ‘organic’ on a product you bought only to find out later that it is not actually organic? I’ve had that happen plenty of times. The label says organic, I read the ingredients or materials list – if there is one – and see that it contains a certain amount of organic materials but, otherwise, is basically the same as any other product I could have bought for half the price.
Sometimes the label correctly reflects the ingredients and is not misleading; and at other times the manufacturers are trying to take advantage of the selling potential of organic products by making things look a little more organic than they actually are – this is known as ‘greenwashing.’
Figuring out whether or not a manufacturer is greenwashing can take quite a bit of research. But even with those manufacturers who are right up front about their products, we can still be confused. That’s because we don’t actually know the definitions and legalities of labeling terminology or the various certifications required by different types of products.
To make a very long story short, here are the basic labeling requirements for food and other agricultural products:
If something contains less than 70% organic ingredients, it cannot be labeled organic.
Products containing between 70% and 95% organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients.”
If everything in a product is organic, the label can state “100% USDA Organic”
However, both the USDA Organic and 100% USDA Organic seals only apply to agricultural products in a relatively raw state. When cotton is harvested, cleaned and formed into cotton balls, it’s still considered an agricultural product. But to turn that cotton into fabric, various processes are used that are beyond the USDA certification limitations.
So, with a Naturepedic crib mattress, for example, the USDA organic certification would apply to the cotton interior, but not to the steel used for the springs or the food-grade polyethylene used for the waterproof covering, and so on.
Truth be told, both USDA and GOTS certification standards are full of a lot of little details we don’t really need to know – like whether or not it’s necessary to sew a product using organic cotton thread. Suffice it to say that if you’re talking about crib mattresses, the only certification that really says organic is GOTS.
Naturepedic is proud to display the GOTS seal. And, I must say, we are on a very, very short list of manufacturers who can say the same.
January 23rd, 2012 by gloria
Three years ago, Healthy Child Healthy World started their “Mom on a Mission” awards. Every month from January to August they choose one mom as a finalist, and the winner is announced in November. The winning Mom on a Mission gets a prize. For 2012, the fourth year of the awards, the prize is a special event in New York City. How does Healthy Child find these wonderful moms? From you: You submit your nominations to Healthy Child.
What’s Mom on a Mission all about? In the words of Healthy Child: Mom on a Mission is about “Celebrating special and inspiring American parents who are dedicated to creating healthier and happier environments for children and families. Our 4th Annual Mom on a Mission campaign is designed to shed light on those who put our words into action.”
Last year’s winner was Tamara Rubin. Tamara’s children were diagnosed with acute lead poisoning – the result of a painting contractor’s use of unsafe paint removal methods. Tamara not only got into action, she was even instrumental in the passing of a new law – The Federal EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. Read more about Tamara’s fascinating story.
Many moms, and dads, started their education about the relationship between toxins and health when they found out they were about to have a baby. They went looking for a crib mattress, did a little research, and wound up buying organic. Naturepedic is proud to have been the top choice for many. From there, parents continued to educate themselves and some even got more involved in making big changes. Some are even be actively changing laws, like Tamara Rubin.
We might not all be able to change laws, but what each of us does, no matter how little, makes a difference. Or, as Healthy Child puts it: No one can do everything. Everyone can do something.
We all want a healthier environment, and boy do we need it! Public acknowledgment of the work being done towards achieving a healthy world is important, It educates more people, and it inspires them to do as much as they can to create a healthy life for their children, themselves and every one of us.
So, pick a mom who’s doing something – maybe it’s even you, or your mom – and get her info to Healthy Child.
January 14th, 2012 by gloria
I can’t tell you how many times parents who have a Naturepedic baby crib mattress said they wish they had a Naturepedic mattress for themselves!
We do make twin, double and queen mattresses, but they’re still made for young, growing bodies – a little too firm for most adults. The good news is that we now have a new product that provides all the comfort older kids and adults are looking for – our new Comfort Topper.
The comfort topper is 3 inches thick and made with a stretch knit organic cotton fabric, an organic cotton filling, and a deluxe pocket coil system for pressure point relief and full body contouring. And, of course, there are no potentially toxic materials or wool, latex and other potential allergens.
The Comfort Topper works with Naturepedic mattresses, or any other mattress you’d like to cover with something soft, luxurious and organic!
Check out other organic toppers for comparison and you’ll find the price is right!
January 5th, 2012 by gloria
It’s time for New Year’s resolutions! The perfect time to get started on going green and natural and providing a healthy environment for you and your family – an environment free of toxic, or potentially toxic, chemicals. But embarking on such a journey can be confusing; you may have already experienced the let down of buying something that is labeled ‘green’, ‘natural’, ‘eco’, or ‘non-toxic’, only to find out that there’s very little difference between that product and its toxic competitors. That kind of marketing is now known as ‘greenwashing.’
‘Greenwashing’ is a relatively new term. It’s an adaptation of ‘whitewashing’, which is defined in Encarta as a “cover-up: a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context.”
The same dictionary defines ‘greenwashing’ as “bogus environmentalism: public relations’ initiatives by a business or organization, e.g. advertising or public consultation, that purport to show concern for the environmental impact of its activities.”
Examples of ‘greenwashing’ aren’t hard to find:
• Cosmetics that add a little aloe vera or Vitamin E and label their products ‘natural’, even though they have made no changes in the rest of their ingredients.
• Laundry detergents or cleaning products that add baking soda or enzymes to their products and display in big, bold letters on the box that they ‘clean with natural enzyme action’, but they fail to mention that they also contain phthalates, sodium laurel sulphate, and so on.
• With crib mattresses, and mattresses for adults, you might see something labeled as ‘eco-…’ or ‘soy-based’, giving you the idea that the foam they use is made from soybeans – what could be more natural? In fact, the soybean content is minimal, and the rest of the materials are the same as they used to be.
We couldn’t possibly put all the examples of ‘greenwashing’ in this blog, nor can we give you all the information on each chemical and its level of toxicity. But we can give you some information on where to find out this kind of information relatively quickly and easily. Here are some of our favorites resources:
• Healthy Child Healthy World – A wealth of data, and a good search engine. Just type in the chemical you’re concerned about, or another question, and you’ll find answers.
• Environmental Working Group – This site really keeps you up to date with what’s going on in the world of toxics and creating a safe home and environment. It also has a great menu system and search engine.
• Cosmetics Database – This is a wonderful tool for information on the toxicity of the ingredients for cosmetics and personal care products – everything from baby shampoo to anti-aging serums. Lots of detail. You can use this database to find out about the healthiest choices in these kinds of products.
• Home Safe Home and Toxic Free – Two excellent books by Debra Lynn Dadd. What chemicals to watch out for in what products, healthy alternatives, and more. Informative, complete, well-organized, fun and easy to read – you’ll want to read them cover to cover and keep them for easy reference.
Of course, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of other sources of information, but with the few listed above, you should be able to find out just about everything you need to know. And they will help you cut through the greenwashing propaganda like a pro!
We’re looking forward to a happy, healthy, 2012 and wish the same for you and your family. Let’s make all our resolutions a reality!