Archive for the ‘Chemicals in consumer products’ Category

Are Your Lawn and Garden Pesticides Poisoning You?

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

After a long, hard winter, gardening season is finally upon us. Naturally, we want to have the prettiest lawn and the most productive flower and vegetable gardens possible. And many of us rely on chemicals to achieve that. But did you know that the chemicals we use on our lawns and gardens are infiltrating our lungs, the food we eat and water we drink, and are even being absorbed through our skin?

The pesticides drift from our yards into the air in our homes, land on our tables, chairs, couches, beds and so on. Tests conducted on the levels of pesticides in our home have shown a 10-fold increase before and after outdoor application.

baby_lawnHow many people are affected by these chemicals? A study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did blood and urine testing for 23 pesticides on 9,282 people across the country. They found pesticides in 100% of those who did both the blood and urine testing. The average person carried 13 of 23 pesticides tested.

How Dangerous is the Presence of Pesticides in Our Body?

According to a June, 2013 beyondpesticides.com report – which consists of information gathered from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), The Pesticide Management Education Program at Cornell University, European Union Commission on the Environment, and several other noteworthy sources – 30 of the most commonly used pesticides are associated with various types of human toxicity.

• 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity
• 13 are linked with birth defects
• 21 with reproductive effects
• 26 with liver or kidney damage
• 15 with neurotoxicity
• 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system.

This might well be the answer to why the population of the U.S. is so ill compared to other countries.

And, of course, it’s even harder on children – whose immune systems are undeveloped and who tend to spend a lot more time on the grass, floors, chewing on their contaminated fingers and toys than we do.

Our homes, and the homes of our neighbors, are not the only places these pesticides wind up. Of those 30 pesticides in the beyondpesticides report, 17 are detected in groundwater, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds.

What Are Your Alternatives to Toxic Pesticides?

Eartheasy recommends compost, corn gluten, and offers a host of other natural lawn care tips. Check them out and see which ones work for you.

And enjoy your garden!!

Are You Getting the Whole Truth About Your Personal Body Care Products?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

 

Toxic chemicals in mom’s body pass through to the baby

warning dangerous chemicalsCreating a healthy environment for our kids doesn’t start with the food we feed them, the personal products we use to keep them clean, the air they breathe or the materials we use to clothe them.  It starts with their very first home – mom.

So many things in mom’s body pass through to the baby during development in the womb, it’s extremely important for mom to make the right decisions about her own food, her personal care products, the air she breathes and the materials she uses for clothes.

For the uninitiated, it might seem difficult to figure all that out. Especially with the rampant ‘green-washing’ – labels that make a product look safe for us and for the environment when, in fact, it’s not.

Let’s take personal body care products – soaps, lotions, shampoos, body lotions, cosmetics, and so on – as an example.

Are Body Care Products with Natural Ingredients Safe?

You’ve probably seen many personal body care product with special labels – not just the ingredients list, but a little special announcement on the front of the container. They say the product is made with or contains aloe vera, coconut oil, honey, natural botanical extracts, shea butter, lavender, milk, essential oils, Vitamin E, or any number of ingredients that seem, and may well be, natural, or even organic.

A perfect example of green-washing. And very effective on those who are not aware of green-washing techniques.

When I first saw these products on the shelf I was still uneducated in this arena. I bought them and used them, pretty proud of myself for taking the high road with my health.

Then I looked into things a little more and, what do you know, it turned out that the aloe vera, shea butter or botanical extracts only represented a tiny fraction of the ingredients. Many of the remaining ingredients were either proven to be toxic or were linked to diseases of various sorts – even though the cause and effect had not been fully established.

That ‘fully established’ thing can be really tricky. Sure, they haven’t proven it’s going to kill you, but when there’s a lot of evidence pointing in that direction, why take the chance?!

Don’t be Fooled by Green-washing – Read and Understand the Ingredients

Okay – reading the ingredients is one thing, pronouncing them another, and understanding their significance yet another. Fortunately, we don’t all have to quit our jobs and spend all of our time researching chemicals – plenty of others are already doing that, that’s their job.

One of the best sources of such information – which chemicals are safe in personal care products and which are not – is the Environmental Working Group.

Here’s a list from them – chemicals you should avoid in personal care products and cosmetics – which I edited for the sake of brevity. More info on these chemicals is available on a special page of EWG’s website, under “Shopping tips by ingredients”:

BHA: Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen (agent that causes cancer). Can cause skin depigmentation, liver damage, stomach cancers, reproductive and hormonal system malfunction.

Boric acid and Sodium borate: Disrupts hormones, harms the male reproductive system, causes testicular damage to mice, rats, and dogs in studies.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (including Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine): A known human carcinogen.

Formaldehyde: A known human carcinogen, causes asthma, neurotoxin, developmental toxin.

Formaldehyde releasers – Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15: They kill bacteria, but they also generate formaldehyde. Enough said.

Fragrance: Can contain hormone disruptors. Fragrances are also among the top 5 allergens in the world. Recent research from EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label.

Hydroquinone: Tumor development and a skin disease called ochronosis –blue-black lesions that, in the worst cases, become permanent black caviar-size bumps.

Lead: This neurotoxin relates mostly to men as it is found in Grecian Formula 16 and other men’s black hair dyes for men. But the lead from the dyes travels from hair to doorknobs, cabinets and other household items which when touched, may be absorbed through the skin of women and children.

Methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone and benzisothiazolinone: Preservatives. Among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact allergy. Lab studies on mammalian brain cells suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic.

Nanoparticles: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles appear to be among the safer and more effective active ingredients in U.S.-marketed sunscreen creams because they do not penetrate the skin. But avoid sprays and powders containing these nanoparticles, which could penetrate your lungs and enter your bloodstream.

Oxybenzone: Linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies. Can cause decreased birth weight among newborn baby girls and greater birth weight in newborn boys. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system.

Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens): Mimic estrogen, disrupting the endocrine system and causing reproductive and developmental disorders.

PEGs/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds: Frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a probable human carcinogen.

Petroleum distillates: May cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities.

Phthalates: Studies indicate damage to the male reproductive system.

Resorcinol: Skin irritant, toxic to the immune system and frequent cause of hair dye allergy. Can disrupt normal thyroid function.

Toluene: Generally found in nail polish, exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may impair fetal development. Associated with toxicity to the immune system, and possibly linked to malignant lymphoma.

Triclosan & Triclocarban: Disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones.

Vitamin A compounds (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinol): When applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase skin sensitivity. Sunlight breaks down vitamin A to produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and hasten skin lesions and tumors in lab animals.

Many of these chemicals stay in the body for a very long time. So, if you’re pregnant, or could become so, make sure you don’t fall for those green-washing labels. Instead, always check the ingredients in your personal care products and choose products that you know are safe for yourself and your baby.

In fact, everyone should do this. Why take a chance with potential poisons being absorbed into your body?

Want to Do Something About It? Get Into Grass Roots Chemical Reform

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

mind the store

Let’s face it, not too many corporations are socially conscious enough to make changes in the products they manufacture or sell just because they contain chemicals suspected of causing health problems. Changes can be expensive, so they’re not likely to happen, unless the government steps in with new laws and regulations that even the playing field for everyone. But even without that official pressure, big corporations can be moved in the right direction.

How?

There is one person who can exert enough pressure on a company to force them to do something – and that person is you.

On April 16, 2014, for example, the public – you – descended on 50 different Walgreens stores and returned products that contained toxic chemicals. They also delivered postcards to the managers. The move to get Walgreens to do more to get rid of these products has been ongoing for some time. In the last year, consumers and health professionals have sent Walgreens 60,000 letters on the subject. But today’s blitz was motivated by a recent study.

The study, for which 44 products were purchased from Walgreens and then analyzed for toxic chemicals, was conducted over the last few months.

What did the study find?

According to HealthyStuff.org, which conducted the study, the products contained chlorine, PVC, phthalates, antimony-based and brominated flame retardants, organotins (chemicals identified by Methyl and Butyl in their names – you’ve seen them on the shelves, and even lead. And all were present in amounts that set off alarms.

This study, and the recent events at Walgreens, are part of a Safer Chemicals Healthy Families project called Mind the Store – a project that is working towards getting the 10 largest retailers to change their ways when it comes to serving up potentially dangerous chemicals.

The specific chemicals Mind the Store focuses on are the Hazardous 100+, which have been linked to everything from cancer to endocrine disruption and developmental and reproductive abnormalities. Here’s a full list of the chemicals and the references regarding their toxicity.

A lot of progress has been made, but since Walgreens was lagging a bit behind, Mind the Store decided to step up the pressure with today’s actions.

Not that Walgreens has been stagnant by any means. The company even developed their own ‘green’ brand, called Ology.

Across the board, most of the progress made on getting rid of toxic chemicals in consumer goods has been the result of consumer demand.

At Naturepedic, we involve ourselves in many such projects. In just the last few weeks, Barry Cik, our founder, spoke at the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference and our David Anthony (you may have seen him at one of our events) lobbied the White House (see his blog Meet Me at the White House). We also joined Companies for Safer Chemicals. That’s just a few of the projects we’re involved in.

You CAN affect the changes you’re looking for. You CAN affect the laws, and you CAN motivate retailers.

All you have to do is find and support a grassroots activity – to whatever extent works for you. Every bit counts.

Meet Me at the White House

Friday, April 11th, 2014

(c) wikipedia

Many years ago, I had the chance to meet the President of the United States. The honor and reverence that the Presidency deserves also applies to other distinctly American offices, buildings, and processes. So, when I had the chance to lobby at The White House before The White House Environmental Council, my patriotism swelled and I took the assignment more serious than any other effort. Speaking of serious, I was fortunate to be discussing one of the most serious and important issues facing our nation and our citizens . . . potential reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1976. Just to put that into perspective, in 1976 gas was $.59 a gallon, Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford for the Presidency, Nadia Comaneci was winning gold in the Olympics, and some upstart named Sylvester Stallone was in a new movie called “Rocky.”

TSCA was supposed to regulate the introduction of new or already existing chemicals. Many have viewed it as a tremendous failure mostly due to the fact that it grandfathered most existing chemicals at the time – while also giving chemical manufacturers a long period of time to introduce new, untested chemicals before the new law took effect.

Bottom line, it is absurd and scary the lack of impact this legislation has had in protecting our fellow Americans. Seriously… is this a joke… our government leaders haven’t addressed the use of dangerous chemicals in our lives and consumer products in nearly 40 years?

Last year, the bipartisan team of Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced legislation to start the TSCA review process. Tragically, Lautenberg died a short time later but there is still activity in Congress to get something done in 2014 with either modified or new TSCA related bills.

Although these efforts are good news, the devil is in the details and concerned citizens should push for TSCA reform that protects consumers. The chemical industry also claims to be supportive of TSCA reform but that should be greeted with a raised eyebrow. The bad bills that are currently introduced could actually do more harm than good. A bad bill supported by the chemical industry could give them tremendous protections, remove concerns about current state requirements, all the while giving them the chance to feign being a good corporate citizen.

newlogoOur company, Naturepedic, is a great story: we make organic crib and adult mattresses. We were founded 10 years ago when our owner, an environmental scientist with a prolific chemical background, went into a baby store to buy a crib mattress for his grandchild. Thanks to his technical science background, he knew it was ludicrous to put a baby on a mattress made with plasticizers, flame retardants and other questionable chemicals.

In a life changing moment, upon his questioning, the clerk stated, “Well, it must be safe or else the government wouldn’t allow us to sell it.” The truth is, there are around 80,000 chemicals in use today with only a miniscule fraction that have truly been tested for their potentially dangerous impacts. Most average citizens have no idea what chemicals they are exposing themselves to and the government has failed them.

The good news is there are some great companies leading the fight. As stated, Naturepedic doesn’t want you or your baby sleeping on a pile of chemicals.

The American Sustainable Business Council is leading the fight to remove harmful chemicals from consumer products. Naturepedic and Lullaby Earth support this initiative. Other responsible companies like, for example, Seventh Generation and Ben and Jerry’s, have also joined with the ASBC to remove harmful chemicals from consumer products.

There are “better” chemicals . . . and there are better ways of doing things without some chemicals . . . and if done correctly, TSCA reform could be one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed. Congress still teeters around 18% approval ratings. Here is a bipartisan effort that both sides could agree on that would mean everything to the safety of our people . . . whether they knew it or not. Editorial boards across the country need to become engaged and use their influence to let Congress know this is one issue they better get right.

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.

 

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.

 

 

Naturepedic Joins “Companies for Safer Chemicals Coalition”

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

When Lisa Jackson took over as EPA administrator in 2009, she expressed strong views about exposure to toxins.

“A child born in America today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than a child from any other generation in our history…Our kids are getting steady infusions of industrial chemicals before we even give them solid food…Today, advances in toxicology and analytical chemistry are revealing new pathways of exposure…There are subtle and troubling effects of chemicals on hormone systems, human reproduction, intellectual development and cognition.”

Jackson promised to focus on reforming the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, also known as TSCA, which regulates the introduction of chemicals into the marketplace.  She said “The law and the structure of the law in no way is modern enough or has enough teeth.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Jackson resigned from her position without seeing the reform she had envisioned, and forward motion on getting control over the chemicals we’re ingesting, inhaling and absorbing is currently rife with opposition.

American Sustainable Business Council logoTo spark forward momentum for TSCA reform, Seventh Generation and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) formed the Companies for Safer Chemicals Coalition. As of the publishing of this post, more than 70 companies and organizations had already joined the coalition. The group has been supporting and promoting passage of new legislation to help protect the public from harmful chemicals.

Naturepedic is proud to be a founding member of the coalition.

A major reason for opposition to reform is the belief that changing ingredients to less harmful alternatives will be cost prohibitive.  The Coalition is working to present a business case that shows other companies that it can be done — and to the benefit of each company, their customers, and the environment.

According to a recent poll conducted by the ASBC, small business is behind making these changes.chemicals2

“Most business owners explicitly support government regulations of the products companies buy and sell, and nearly three out of four support a proposed reform of the Toxic Substances Reform Act requiring manufacturers to show their chemicals are safe.”

For more information, or to join the coalition, see the ASBC website.

Naturepedic Goes to Washington for TSCA Reform

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

 

The energy is building to remove harmful chemicals from everyday products, and last week you showed your enthusiasm.

On Wednesday, March 12, Naturepedic founder Barry A. Cik testified before a Congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C. The hearing concerned potential reform to the outdated and ineffective Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), originally created to regulate chemicals for consumer products.

At the hearing were key House representatives making up the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. This was a powerful audience who can seriously promote, or hinder, needed chemical reform. The hearing specifically examined Chairman John Shimkus’ proposed Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA).

Barry spoke ardently on behalf of Naturepedic as well as the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and its advocacy campaign the Companies for Safer Chemicals coalition. Urging greater transparency for chemical use and the ability for government to actually remove toxic chemicals from products, Barry told how chemicals are largely unregulated today. His testimony asked lawmakers to particularly consider implications for children.

Throughout the hearing, you lit up the social media world with your comments and support, with many of you retweeting our updates with hashtags #KickTSCA and #RealReform. We could feel the momentum!

We know Barry made a positive impact and were proud to watch him vocally stand behind our beliefs in front of key legislators. We hope legislators will move forward and do the right thing in better protecting the health of our families.

The discussion and dynamism from you, however, shows you are ready for change and transparency regarding chemicals.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who wished us support and encouragement! We appreciate it deeply, and promise to continue working to earn and keep your trust.

 

See Barry Cik, founder of Naturepedic, passionately fight for you and your family: mins. 29:20 – 35:50

Don’t let the momentum stop now! Tell your congressperson you demand real TSCA reform.     Click here to sign an online letter from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.

 

Keep Your Kids Healthy with Safe Sunscreen

Sunday, June 17th, 2012


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!

Experts Say Everyday Chemicals Can Cause Autism – and Some of Them are in Crib Mattresses

Sunday, May 6th, 2012


chemicals suspected of causing autismIn 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:

• lead
• mercury
• 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?