Archive for the ‘going green’ Category

New Toxic Chemicals Act Didn’t Pass in Congress – But Don’t Give Up!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010


For parents and others concerned about the toxic chemical ingredients and materials in products we use every day, the new Toxic Substances Control Act not getting enacted in Congress is quite a disappointment (read more at Reform of Toxic Chemicals Law Collapses as Industry Flexes Its Muscles). Discouraging as it may be, the real truth is this: no matter who flexes their muscles, we, each of us, are still in control. And there is hope on the horizon.

The bill, as it was worded, had the potential for real protection – one provision of the bill, for example, was that companies would be made responsible for ensuring that the chemicals they use in their products aren’t harmful. A very big change from the way things have been done, and that’s only one section of the bill.

The bill will be re-worked and presented again, and change will happen. The many individuals and groups, too numerous to mention, who have worked so long and hard on getting things this far will continue, along with others who join the ranks, and there will be progress.

But government tends to change slowly and, for now, we’re still on our own. It’s not illegal to give consumers toxic chemicals and that’s unlikely to change in the near future. So, we’re still living our lives with ‘buyer beware’ as our mantra and we have to be vigilant.

In all truth, we can live and consume safely. There are hundreds or thousands of companies that choose not to use toxic chemicals in the materials, manufacturing and finishing of their goods.

At Naturepedic, for example, we choose to make crib mattresses and other goods without toxic chemicals. We founded the company with that purpose in mind and we will continue to fulfill that purpose. That is what parents want, and that’s not going to change.

Companies that have that purpose will continue to thrive, more will start up, and still others will adopt that purpose. Eventually, the government will catch up. And industry will get the idea that toxic chemicals are just not acceptable.

Sometimes things have to be done over and over again in order to create change – don’t be discouraged. It will happen.

In the meantime, check sites like Debra’s List to find companies that are dedicated to providing non-toxic products.

GREENGUARD Contest Helps You Provide Clean, Non-Toxic Indoor Air for Your Child

Monday, October 11th, 2010


Click to Enter in Paragraph 2 of This Blog

There are several cities that provide a pollution index on news and weather stations. The index is used to let people know when the air is so polluted that it’s safer to stay indoors. But these indexes don’t take into account the studies that have shown indoor air to be potentially far more polluted than the air outside. Would you like a nursery for your child that is full of clean air? Here’s your chance. A new contest!


This new contest from GREENGUARD offers the winner a chance to hand-pick each item in their child’s nursery from a selection of GREENGUARD-certified (which means no off-gassing of harmful chemicals) items. All you have to do is enter the GREENGUARD Big Bundle of Joy $10,000 Nursery Giveaway. You don’t even have to buy anything!

This is a great opportunity. You’re not just getting $10,000 worth of ‘stuff’, it’s $10,000 worth of some of the best, healthiest, safest stuff available for kids. You can do your entire nursery in attractive, high quality goods and materials that will not off-gas potentially harmful vapors in the room. Your child’s room will look great – and you will have peace of mind!

You can win a crib mattress from Naturepedic, cribs and other furniture from Q collection junior, hardwood flooring from Anderson, and more.

Even if you’re not the grand prize winner, it’s still worth entering the contest: five second-place winners will get a Naturepedic mattress, and 30 third-place winners get Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaning System.

Although the GREENGUARD guys are probably full of heart, there’s another reason they’re doing this contest: they want to raise the awareness of indoor pollution. In the words of GREENGUARD’s Executive Director, Henning Bloech:

“Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and up to 100 times more polluted following renovation or new construction. Much of that pollution comes from chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which can off-gas from furniture, furnishings, cleaning products, and other materials.

“Exposure to airborne contaminants like VOCs can cause or exacerbate a multitude of short- and long-term health complications—including asthma, the world’s fastest growing incurable chronic disease among children. Other chemicals to which children are regularly exposed have not been thoroughly studied, so their potential health impacts are currently unknown. And because children’s bodies are still developing, and because they inhale more air more rapidly than adults do, children are especially vulnerable.

Really, this isn’t just about a game or a sweepstakes,” Mr. Bloech added. “It’s about the health of our children and the quality of the air they breathe.”

The contest is over 1/31/2011. Take advantage of it, and tell your friends!

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.

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!

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!

President’s Cancer Panel Warns Against Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

non-toxic chemicals make a happy healthy family

Happy, Healthy Family Lives a Toxin-Free Life

The President’s Cancer Panel released their annual report last Thursday. I can’t begin to tell you what a breakthrough it is to have this icon of the medical establishment acknowledge the role chemicals play in our health. Cancer is not the only consequence of chemical exposure but, of course, it is the focus of the report.


Did you know that 41% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives? Scary, but those are the statistics. The President’s Cancer Panel wants to do something about it.

To give you an idea of how serious they are, check out this quote from the Panel’s cover letter to the President:

“The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”

There’s much more to read in the report itself, but even reading just the cover letter to the President makes things pretty clear. See Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now for both the letter and the complete report.

The authors provide outlines of policy, research and programs to bring about the changes they believe are necessary to keep us safe. But they also provide recommendations we can use in our daily lives, now, to reduce our exposure.

Here are the highlights of their recommendations:

1. Because children’s under-developed bodies are especially susceptible to toxins, both parents should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to conception, during pregnancy and throughout a child’s early life. They also advise we choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces (this would include cribs and baby crib mattresses – check out Naturepedic), toys, medicines and medical tests that limit exposure.

2. If one works in an environmental that contains potentially harmful chemicals, remove work shoes and wash work clothes immediately upon entering the house so as not to contaminate the home environment.

3. Drink filtered tap water. Avoid bottles of water – BPA in plastics is a big issue – unless it is known that tap or well water is contaminated, or that the plastic is BPA-free and otherwise tested for safety.

4. Buy organic food – food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Eat meat from free-range animals that have not been given growth hormones or antibiotics. Avoid processed, charred and well-done meats.

5. Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, paints and similar materials. And, when possible, choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally-safe chemicals.

6. Reduce exposure to radiation (they give specifics), and get your home tested for radon.

7. Become a voice in your community.

The report covers many different types of exposure, including radiation from medical testing. For example, did you know that the radiation from one CT scan is equivalent to over 1,000 chest x-rays? To read the complete report, which is lengthy but easy to read and very interesting, check Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now.

This is great news! Not only is the issue getting more mainstream medical attention, the information is now in the oval office. And with fairly simple recommendations we can put into action in our daily lives, we really can do something about our own health and the health of our children, now!

This Earth Day Celebrates a Major Accomplishment

Saturday, April 24th, 2010


Earth Day was officially on 22 April, but in many communities and countries around the world it’s celebrated for the entire week or month. Earth Day was founded 40 years ago by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. His goal was to create a grassroots movement that would show the government just how concerned Americans were about the environment and get laws enacted that would enforce protection of the earth and its inhabitants – us.

By the end of that year, in December 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors. A very good start.

Since that time, there have been many years when there has been little to celebrate. Although there has been continual progress, including some milestones, there have also been pretty serious setbacks. For example, of the 80,000 chemicals that have been produced and used in the U.S. since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted 34 years ago, only 200 have been tested by the EPA, and only five have been regulated.

But in the last year, the EPA has undergone some equally serious reform. Finally, the agency is really buckling down on toxic chemicals, both in the environment and in consumer goods.

There is special attention on children, as it should be. Children are most susceptible to toxic chemicals because their bodies are still growing. In the not too distant future, it is our children and grandchildren, the little ones asleep in their cribs right now, who will lead the way in politics, as teachers, as firefighters, artists, business owners and so on, and so on.

To do their jobs well, to achieve their goals and have a satisfying, happy and productive life, they need to be healthy.

At Naturepedic, we celebrate Earth Day every day. We give children a healthy start in life by manufacturing our award-winning organic baby crib mattresses that are certified by GREENGUARD and enjoy the unique distinction of being the only crib mattress recommended by Healthy Child Healthy World.

Do you have a Naturepedic mattress for your infant or toddler? If not, you might want to celebrate Earth Day/Week/Month by checking them out at http://www.Naturepedic.com.

You can also celebrate Earth Day by working on creating a personal environment that is more chemical-free. It really doesn’t take much to get a good start. Read Going Green in 2010 – A Few Simple Things With A Big Impact for some helpful hints that make a real difference.

Start now, and next year your family will also have even more to celebrate on Earth Day!