Archive for the ‘phthalates’ Category

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.

Some Kids’ Products from China Not in Compliance with Toxic Chemical Regulations

Thursday, September 30th, 2010


phthalates in kids productsAs of February 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) banned the use of phthalates, chemicals that soften PVC so it can be used as a waterproof vinyl covering in crib mattresses, in soft vinyl toys, pacificers and other baby and children’s products. The phthalates restriction applies to “children care articles” which are defined as “intended to facilitate sleep, feeding, sucking or teething for children aged 3 or younger”. Within that group, if the item can be placed in the mouth or sucked, then six phthalates are banned. If not, then only three are banned. Further review and study was to be done to determine whether a ban should also be placed on additional phthalates.

So … how goes the battle? Are our children’s products now free of these dangerous chemicals? One of the organizations used to find out this info is called AsiaInspection, a Hong Kong company formed in 2004 to test, inspect and generally run quality control on Asian goods for importers around the world.

Recently, AsiaInspection conducted tests on kids’ toys from China to determine if the goods meet the phthalates-content requirements.

How did they fare? About 25% of the kids’ toys they tested contained dangerous levels of phthalates and, therefore, did not conform to the U.S. and European chemical content regulations. In fact, one product, a toy first aid kit, contained 130 times the phthalates allowable under European law.

To conduct the tests, AsiaInspection randomly chose 35 toys made in China. They then tested the toys against the regulations contained in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in the U.S. and it’s European counterpart REACH (which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals).

What can we as parents do to ensure that our kids’ products are safe?

1. Check to see that labels or company websites state that their products are in compliance with CPSIA standards. If necessary, call and talk to them about it.

2. Find out exactly what organization certified the products for that company.

3. Check out the certifying organization to make sure it’s recognized and on the level.

Also, it’s a good idea to find manufacturers you trust and use them as much as possible. Naturepedic, for example, has all the right certifications and is a trusted name in crib mattresses, mattresses for cradles, bassinets and so on, changing pads, mattress pads and toppers, and bedding.

Look for your own trusted names in toys, clothing and other children’s articles and stick with them. Then you’ll never have to worry.

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!

You Can Help Make Crib Mattresses Safe for Every Child, Including Your Own

Monday, August 23rd, 2010


moms can help babies sleep on safe crib mattressesOur founder, Barry Cik, recently had an article published in greenbiz.com. Chemical Regulations and the Modern Mattress: The Stuff of Nightmares.

Barry hadn’t intended to start a company that makes crib mattresses. But six years ago, when he went shopping to find a crib mattress for his first grandchild, he was appalled at the toxic chemicals in the mattresses he found. And as an environmental engineer, he really understood the risks.

“My grandfather slept on straw. I’ll have my grandchildren sleep on straw before I let them sleep on these mattresses,” he told a salesperson.

And, so, Naturepedic began.

“I know from experience that once people realize that their kids’ beds, mattresses, toys and bottles may contain toxic chemicals, they start reading labels and put their trust in brands that can demonstrate safety,” said Barry. “But not everyone can afford to act on this knowledge. Consider families living paycheck to paycheck that can’t always afford to buy the least toxic choice. Our next challenge is to turn frustrated consumers into vocal citizens who will support Congress in making non-toxic the norm, not a market niche.”

If you would like to become a vocal citizen and protect kids from toxic chemicals, consider joining the 100,000+ people who have signed the Environmental Working Group’s petition to demand that Congress take action to make chemicals in consumer products kid-safe.

And to find out more about Naturepedic crib mattresses, the mattresses Barry made for his grandchildren that are now available for your family, check out our website.

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!

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.

How the Chemicals in Your Life Are Affecting Your Unborn Children

Sunday, May 30th, 2010


eliminate toxic chemicals if you're pregnantIf you’ve been reading our blog, or keeping up with news items (including a piece on 60 Minutes that aired just a week ago), you will know that many of the items in our everyday lives contain potentially harmful chemicals. This is even more of a problem for kids than adults, because kids’ bodies are still developing. But the problem starts long before the kids are born. In fact, it’s immediately after conception. Check out this resource that shows you exactly when and in what part of the body chemicals affect your unborn child.

The resource is a chart on the website of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX). TEDX is a non-profit organization that studies the effects of low-dose exposure to endocrine disruptors, chemicals that effect fetal development and human health. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, bisphenol A (BPA), dioxin, and phthalates.

The chart is called Critical Windows of Development. It lists the various systems, organs and so on within the body and shows the stages of development during each weeks and trimesters in the womb. On the upper right of the chart, it shows checkboxes for ‘All Chemicals’, ‘Bisphenol A’, ‘Dioxin’, and ‘Phthalates’. Check ‘Phthalates’, for example, and red lines appear on the chart that show you which systems they affect, and at what period of pregnancy.

There are also little triangles on the chart that provide the names of studies that support the information.

One thing is clear: If we want to give our kids the best chance at being healthy as children and throughout their lives, expectant Mothers need to be free of these chemicals.

Pass this on to anyone you know who is pregnant, or may be in the future, so they can start doing something about it now.

What do they do about it? Eliminate the chemicals from their lives as much as possible. Many of our blog posts show you how to do that, and Debra Lynn Dadd’s book Home Safe Home has a wealth of information on what chemicals are in what products and suggestions on healthy alternatives. But, basically, just go organic, go toxin-free.

And once your baby is born, make sure you continue your toxic-free life. Get the baby a safe crib and baby crib mattress, made with non-toxic materials, swaddle them in organic cotton, feed them organic food, get them glass baby bottles and diapers and toys that are not made of harmful plastics or other potentially harmful chemicals.