Archive for the ‘pesticides’ Category

Does Non-Organic Cotton Contain Pesticide Residues?

Monday, December 13th, 2010


pesticide residueMany parents have questions about cotton. Is regular cotton okay, or should you use organic? The major difference is pesticides – organic cotton is grown without pesticides; regular cotton is grown with them. Are residues from those pesticides still in the cotton clothing, sheets and blankets you’re using for your baby?

This is an important question if you’re concerned about your child’s health. Pesticides have been linked to several diseases and conditions, including asthma, autism, learning disabilities, birth defects, reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and several types of cancer. In fact, the President’s Cancer Panel recommends that we eat organic food in order to avoid pesticide poisoning. Here’s a quote from the latest President’s Cancer Panel Report.

“Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers…Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.”

But food is not our only exposure to pesticides. As with other chemicals, residue can also become airborne. And when they do, they are in the air our babies breathe.

More pesticides are used on cotton crops than any other crop in the world – a full 25% of all pesticides used are used on cotton crops.

The good news is that by the time those cotton crops become fabric, the pesticides are gone. However, according to Debra Lynn Dadd, Queen of Green and author of Home Safe Home, there are other problems with cotton, including the cotton batting sometimes used in crib mattresses:

“Cotton batting does contain pesticide residues, if it is not organic, as it is not as processed as cotton fabric. So it is imperative to buy organic cotton batting, as in a mattress or pillow.”

Finishes and dyes on some cotton fabrics can also be a problem:

“The problem with cotton fabric is the finishes, such as a permanent press finish, which releases formaldehyde. Most fabrics of any kind have a “sizing” applied, which washes out in the first wash. Five washes is plenty to remove sizing, but no amount of washing removes permanent press. Dyes are also not a concern if they are “colorfast,” that is, they don’t bleed when you wash them.”

According to Ms. Dadd, there are also environmental reasons to use organic cotton:

“The reason to buy organic cotton is that conventionally-grown cotton uses a huge amount of the most toxic chemicals, which get into our air and water and soil, and indirectly into our bodies.”

At Naturepedic, we use only organic cotton in our crib mattresses. So you know your baby is safe from pesticide residues and the residues of other chemicals that may be used on the crops or in processing.

As for your baby’s jammies, sheets, blankets and other goodies, regular cotton is probably fine. But do find out about the dyes used and treatments or finishes such as permanent press. If it looks like the chemicals used there might not be safe, go with organic.

New Pesticide Marketing Campaign May Be Confusing. What Should You Believe?

Thursday, October 7th, 2010


In the not too distant future you may see advertisements, information hand-outs, signs in the produce areas of grocery stores, you might even hear radio advertising, all promoting the idea that the pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables really aren’t harmful. If you’re concerned about pesticides – which would make you part of a whopping 90% majority of the U.S. population – you might wonder if other information you’ve received on the dangers of pesticides is actually true. Well, here’s the story behind the ads.

Recently, the Federal government approved $180,000 for the Alliance for Food and Farming to “help with a public education campaign to correct misconceptions that some produce items contain excessive amounts of pesticide residues.” The ‘produce items’ being referenced are those on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List – the top 12 on a list showing the pesticide residue on about 50 fruits and vegetables.

EWG suggests we buy organically-grown Dirty Dozens so we can avoid the pesticides. The Alliance group, on the other hand, says there is no evidence of a health risk.

The EWG information is based on analysis of 89,000 tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The tests were on fruits and vegetables that had already been washed and/or peeled – basically, in the same conditions under which they would normally be eaten.

So, there is no doubt that the pesticide residues are there.

Why does the Alliance say there is no health risk? One of the Alliance associates said the EPA rules protect us. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a rigorous, health-protective process for evaluating the potential risks of pesticides on food. This process includes considerations for fetuses, infants and children as well as adults.”

But, the EPA doesn’t have the same faith in their ability to protect us – as is clear from a speech given by EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, in her address to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco:

“A child born in America today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than a child from any other generation in our history. A 2005 study found 287 different chemicals in the cord blood of 10 newborn babies – chemicals from pesticides, fast food packaging, coal and gasoline emissions, and trash incineration. They were found in children in their most vulnerable stage. Our kids are getting steady infusions of industrial chemicals before we even give them solid food. Now, some chemicals may be risk-free at the levels we are seeing. I repeat: some chemical may be risk-free. But as more and more chemicals are found in our bodies and the environment, the public is understandably anxious and confused. Many are turning to government for assurance that chemicals have been assessed using the best available science, and that unacceptable risks haven’t been ignored.

”Right now, we are failing to get this job done. Our oversight of the 21st century chemical industry is based on the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. It was an important step forward at the time – part of a number of environmental wins from the 1970s, like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, not to mention the formation of the EPA. But over the years, not only has TSCA fallen behind the industry it’s supposed to regulate – it’s been proven an inadequate tool for providing the protection against chemical risks that the public rightfully expects.”

Add to that the revelations and recommendations made in the 2010 President’s Cancer Panel Report, entitled Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now:

“Many known or suspected carcinogens first identified through studies of industrial and agricultural occupational exposures have since found their way into soil, air, water and numerous consumer products…Some of these chemicals have been found in maternal blood, placental tissue, and breast milk samples from pregnant women and mothers who recently gave birth. Thus, chemical contaminants are being passed on to the next generation, both prenatally and during breastfeeding.”

“Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers…Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.”

It’s pretty clear from the EPA and President’s Cancer Panel statements that the pesticide concerns of 90% of the U.S. population are well-founded.

I hope this information helps you in the decision making process if the marketing campaign that $180,000 is supposed to pay for ever does become a reality.

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!

Mom is Baby’s First House. Is Your Body Kid-Safe?

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010


non-toxic chemicals in MomCouples hoping to start a family or have a new baby often start planning well into the future. Moving into a new place that has room for the baby, is in a safe, family environment, decor, clothing, even what school the kids will go to are sometimes decided years in advance. Prospective parents who are in-the-know would also be searching for the best organic crib mattress and other non-toxic furniture. But sometimes we forget to make sure the baby’s very first house – Mom – is up to par.

Many recent studies have shown that kids whose Moms’ bodies contain chemicals are born with those chemicals in their body. One study found 287 chemicals in newborns’ umbilical cords.

Many experts believe this is a real health hazard because children’s under-developed bodies are especially susceptible to toxins. Even the President’s Cancer Panel suggests that 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.

How can you safeguard your baby?

The first order of business would be, of course, to eliminate chemicals from your environment as much as possible. You can do a lot with just a few changes in:

Personal care products and cosmetics,
Household cleaning products and laundry items, and
Food that contains chemical additives or was grown (like chicken and beef) with added hormones, antibiotics, and so forth.

But it is also a good idea to see a health practitioner and get tested for the chemicals in your body and, if needed, do a detox. There are many different types of detox programs – your health care specialist can recommend one that’s best for you.

A chemical-free environment for your baby to come home to is important – everything from clothing to crib mattresses. But a good detox for Mom and Dad gives your baby an excellent start right from conception.

Study Links Pesticides to ADHD – Are They in Your Child’s Crib Mattress?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010


Naturepedic organic cotton crib mattresses no pesticidesYet another study has linked ADHD to chemicals – this time it’s the group of pesticides known as organophosphates. Organophosphates are commonly used on cotton crops, which is why we use only organic cotton in our baby crib mattresses.

The list of symptoms now labeled ‘ADHD’ – forgetfulness, difficulty focusing or concentrating, inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and, often, learning disorders – can be a real trial for kids and parents.

A significant number of kids with these symptoms have trouble with school and relationships, are more prone to accidents and injury and, as they get older, are more likely to get involved in drinking and driving and other social problems.

Of course, some of this is ‘normal’ kid stuff. But organophosphate pesticides, which disrupt the brains and nervous systems of insects very effectively, have been proven to have a similar effect on humans. They have even been used in nerve gas and other chemical weapons for precisely that reason.

Do we really want to expose our kids to these chemicals?

ADHD symptoms can also be very costly for a family. Estimates show that the average cost to a household with a child with ADHD is between $12,000 and $17,000 a year. That includes treatment and other health support, lost work days, trips to the ER, and so on.

Many kids take drugs to control the symptoms. But drugs have their own long list of problems. If a healthy solution can be found – in this case, that would be the elimination of pesticides and other harmful chemicals from our kids’ lives – everyone would be much better off.

The new study examined about 1,100 children, 119 of whom have had an ADHD diagnosis. Urine tests looked for organophosphate metabolites – the products of the breakdown of the pesticides in the body – and found that the higher the level of metabolites, the more severe the ADHD.

Researchers concluded that the risk of ADHD is almost double in children with high levels of organophosphate pesticide breakdown products. Considering that organophosphates account for nearly 40% of the pesticides used around the world, we can pretty much count on them being in our bodies to some extent.

Check out the study, entitled Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides, in the journal Pediatrics for more info..

Sometimes it may feel that there’s no end to the dangers of chemicals but, really, this is good news. It opens the door to a possible solution for millions of kids!

At Naturepedic, we make our baby crib mattresses with organic cotton – no pesticides in the materials = no pesticide exposure for kids. We made them for the kids in our own family. Now they’re available for yours.