Archive for the ‘toxic chemicals in kids’ products’ Category

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.

Get Prepared Now for a Safe, Non-Toxic Halloween

Monday, October 4th, 2010


non-toxic halloween costumeHalloween is just around the corner and many of us are going to be dressing our kids up and taking them out trick-or-treating. But did you know that the make-up, facemasks, synthetic hair and even costumes can contain toxic materials?

Lipsticks and face paint, for example, often contain lead – which can impair brain development even at low levels.

Nail polish could contain phthalates and toluene – both of which have been linked to hormone disruption and cancer.

But don’t despair! There are also plenty of safe products that will do the trick.

If you’re getting your little guys out there for Halloween, do it safely. Read more about what to avoid and safe, non-toxic alternatives at Tips to Green Your Halloween.

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.

More Toxic Chemicals Your Baby Can Do Without

Monday, September 13th, 2010


We live busy lives. Moms and Dads are often out to work, even when children are very young. Of course, we look for time-saving products and conveniences – one of which is the disposable diaper. They work, but are they a healthy option?

In case you haven’t looked into it, here are the facts:

Many disposable diapers are bleached white with chlorine. A by-product of the bleaching process, when chlorine is used, is a very nasty chemical known as dioxin.

Continuous exposure to dioxin, with one disposable diaper after another being used for about a year, causes the dioxin to accumulate in the baby’s body.

The Environmental Protection Agency says dioxin is highly carcinogenic and, per the World Health Organization, it may cause skin reactions, altered reproductive and liver function, and damage to the immune system, nervous system and endocrine system.

That’s definitely serious enough to warrant considering other options, but dioxin is only one chemical on the list of those contained in disposable diapers.

For a more complete list of these chemicals, read Chemicals in Disposable Diapers.

Environmentally speaking, disposable diapers are also a problem: About 92% end up in landfills. Estimate for decomposition? 200 to 500 years.

Cotton diapers, on the other hand, are safe, and after about 150 washes, become cleaning cloths. They take a little more effort, but your baby is safe. If you don’t have time for the extra laundry, you might consider a diaper service. They pick them up and drop them off. Just make sure you use a company that cleans the diapers with non-toxic laundry products.

Our Naturepedic crib mattresses help your kids sleep in a healthy environment. Switching to cotton diapers is a fairly easy transition to make to give your kids an even healthier start in life!

Germs or Toxic Chemicals – Do We Really Have to Make that Choice?

Saturday, September 11th, 2010


What lengths should you go to to protect your children from germs? When Louis Pasteur postulated that minute creatures, invisible to the human eye, were floating in the air, entering our body through our nose and mouth and causing serious illness, he wasn’t met with a very keen reception. People thought he was nuts. Now, more than a century later, the ‘germ theory of disease’ is the basis of modern pathology. But did Pasteur realize at the time that some of the solutions later invented to inhibit the spread of germs could disrupt the endocrine system, interfere with normal development and reproduction and, in fact, endanger the health of all who came into contact with them?

Not likely. But, in fact, that is exactly what happened. Two major alleged germ-fighting chemicals – triclosan and triclocarban, found in anti-bacterial soaps, cleansers, toothpastes and a variety of other products we use every day – have been suspected as dangerous for decades and virtually nothing has been done about it by regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration.

Although the FDA first started looking into triclosan and triclocarbon more than 30 years ago, and in 1978 proposed a ruling that both be banned from soaps, no final ruling on the matter was ever made. Now, 32 years later, it is still in the ‘proposed’ stage.

In the meantime, studies have shown that 75 percent of Americans over the age of six now have triclosan residues in their body.

To make matters worse, it has been scientifically determined that products containing triclosan and triclocarbon aren’t any more effective at fighting germs than regular soap and water.

So, we’re being poisoned for nothing – the chemical has been found in blood, urine and even breast milk.

To remedy this situation, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) last month filed suit against the FDA for failing to issue a final ruling that would regulate the use of triclosan and triclocarbon.

Read the full story, Lawsuit Seeks Final Rule on ‘Antibacterial’ Chemicals After 32-Year Delay, on non-toxickids.net.

It’s taken years to even put a dent in the laws regulating the chemicals used in crib mattresses, and the progress so far has been limited to the ban of just a few types of phthalates, also endocrine disruptors. Let’s hope the NRDC lawsuit motivates the FDA to take further action on triclosan and triclocarbon.

How careful do you have to be about germs with your children? You have to remember that Pasteur lived in an era where sanitation wasn’t what it is today: Most people bathed once a week, at most, and the whole family bathed in the same tub. Dad first, then mom, then the kids – all in the same water. Also, Pasteur was literally trying to convince doctors that it might be a good idea to wash their hands before they plunged them into someone’s open wound.

Today, we’re in much better shape. Almost all of us have bathrooms, bathtubs, soap and clean water. Studies show that’s really all we need – as long as we use them and take normal precautions.

Thanks to companies that make organic and natural personal care and cleaning products, we also have many non-toxic choices available for killing germs.

To keep your kids safe – from both toxic chemicals and germs – check ingredients lists for your personal care and cleaning products on labels and websites, switch to brands that don’t contain harmful chemicals, and make judicious use of the products that are available to keep your home and body clean.

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!

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!

Kellogg’s Massive Cereal Recall – What’s in the Packaging?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010


If you ever feed your kids Kellogg’s cereals, you should know there may be a hidden danger in the packaging. In fact, complaints from customers motivated Kellogg’s to recall a whopping 28 million boxes of Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks after customer complaints.

The customers had no idea the packaging was the problem. They said the cereal smelled bad, tasted ‘off” and, after eating or smelling it, they felt nauseous, vomited, or had diarrhea.

Kellogg’s didn’t disclose the precise information about the cause, but said they had found “slightly elevated levels” of a food packaging “substance” in the box liners.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) contacted Kellogg’s for more information and was told that the substance was methylnaphthalene, a petroleum-based chemical that had “leached” into the cereal from the package liner. A nurse at Kellogg’s, the one who gave EWG the information, also said that methylnaphthalene has a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) rating from the FDA. But when EWG staff checked the FDA’s GRAS listings online, it was nowhere to be found.

Methylnaphthalene is a component of crude oil and coal tar, and a combustion byproduct of tobacco, wood, petroleum-based fuels and coal. It has been the subject of testing and investigation for some time, but almost nothing is known about its safety.

Nevertheless, it’s produced in great quantities in the U.S., is apparently FDA approved, and is used in packaging our food and as a coating on cheese, raw fruits and vegetables.

One more reason to go organic. Find out more details on the research-to-date, along with the EPA and FDA position on the EWG site.