Archive for the ‘toxic chemicals’ Category

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.

Keeping Your Baby Safe in the Sun – Some Sunscreens May Be More Dangerous Than the Sun!

Saturday, July 24th, 2010


If you’re going to the beach with a newborn, it’s easy to keep them out of the sun. But once they’re mobile, they want to crawl in the sand, play with their little pail and shovel, make mud pies and splash in the water. How can you safely protect your active little one from the sun? This new guide will give you the skinny on protection, and tell you the truth about sunscreens.

The Environmental Working Group has compiled info on sun safety for you your kids, including research on 1400 different sunscreens (don’t worry, you don’t have to plough through all that research) to help you figure out which are safe and effective.

The new EWG sunscreen guide (read or download the guide by clicking the link), offers the following:

o A list of the top sunscreens – by which we mean the least toxic while still being effective.
o A searchable database in which you can find out about the sunscreen you’re using or others you have questions about.
o Sun Safety Tips for every age – from infant to adult.
o The Hall of Shame – your worst options, and why. Some of this product info might come as quite a surprise.
o Sunscreens exposed: The truth about sunscreens, what’s proven and what’s not, and how sunscreens could be causing more health problems, including skin cancer, than sunburns ever did.

This is vital information for your little guys, and for you. Especially the specifics on sunscreens. After all, if you won’t let your baby sleep on toxic chemicals (that’s why we make organic crib mattresses); you’re certainly not going to rub them into their skin!

Summer’s already fun. Now make it safe!

Check out Safer Chemicals Healthy Families’ New Video – By Moms, For Moms

Sunday, June 13th, 2010


Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, an organization dedicated to ensuring new safety standards for chemicals are established and met, has released a video made by Moms, for Moms to help educate families and organizations on the dangers of toxic chemicals. It’s called Moms Take Action Against Toxic Chemicals, and is available by following the link.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is a coalition representing more than 11 million people in the U.S. including parents, health professionals, advocates for people with learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive health advocates, environmentalists and businesses.

They provide a wealth of information and are working to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Act was written in 1976 and has not changed since that time despite growing evidence of the link between toxic chemicals and health. Chemicals have been linked to everything from diabetes to learning disabilities.

Naturepedic is also a member of the coalition. Our organic crib mattresses are designed to help prevent exposure to toxic chemicals, but we would like to see everyone, not just babies, living safer lives.

Check out the video and, while you’re on the site, also check the list of participating organizations. You may find quite a few in there that would help you find the resources you need to further your personal quest and answer your questions!

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.

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.

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!

Keeping Your Baby Safe at Bath Time

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010


safe bath and personal care products for kidsHaving your baby sleep on a Naturepedic baby crib mattress prevents exposure to many harmful chemicals, but exposure doesn’t end there. Check out this information on bath and personal care products.

While not every personal care product for babies and children contains harmful ingredients, two notable carcinogens that are by-products of the manufacturing and storage process are showing up in a majority of products tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition with several notable founding and sponsor members, including the Environmental Working Group. Parents should be aware of what these products are and how to avoid them.

The chemicals of concern are 1,4-dioxane (aka dioxane) and formaldehyde. They are not listed on labels because they are by-products, not ingredients.

Here’s the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics explanation of how they contaminate the products:

“Formaldehyde contaminates personal care products when common preservatives release formaldehyde over time in the container. Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.

“1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique called ethoxylation, in which cosmetic ingredients are processed with ethylene oxide. Manufacturers can easily remove the toxic byproduct, but are not required by law to do so. Common ingredients likely to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane include PEG-100 stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene and ceteareth-20.”

What Damage Can Be Caused by These Chemicals?

1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde are both known carcinogens.

1,4-dioxane has also been linked to damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys, and exposure has even been fatal to chemical workers. It readily absorbs into the bloodstream.

Formaldehyde can cause coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, itching, and skin irritations, has been linked to allergies and asthma in children, and to the development of leukemia as well as nose, lung, and brain cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Test Results

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 48 commonly used baby products including baby shampoos, bubble baths and baby lotions. Here’s a brief summary of what they found:

* 17 out of 28 products tested – 61 percent – contained both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane.
* 23 out of 28 products – 82 percent – contained formaldehyde at levels ranging from 54 to 610 parts per million (ppm).
* 32 out of 48 products – 67 percent – contained 1,4-dioxane at levels ranging from 0.27 to 35 ppm

The Campaign acknowledges that using just one of these products might not be a problem – but several of them are used several times a week for years. Add that to toxic chemical exposure from other sources, and that’s quite a load for a little, not as yet developed body.

More Information on the Tested Products and Safer Alternatives

Check out the report on the study, No More Toxic Tub, for a full list of the products tested, the results for each (including which ones tested as safe), more details on 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde, and additional data. It is an interesting and easy read.

If you’re looking for alternatives, check www.cosmeticsdatabase.com – a wonderful database that provides information on individual products. You can look for the safest products there as well seeing which ones you should avoid.

There are plenty of safe products out there for our kids, and you don’t have to be a chemist to find them. All it takes is a little education.

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!

New Safe Chemicals Act Shifts Accountability and Burden of Proof to Industry

Sunday, April 18th, 2010


Many people have complained about needing a degree in chemistry to understand which products are safe and which are not. New Safe Chemicals Act may enable the protection we need.

In February we wrote a blog about The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act, a new health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. See Toxic Chemicals Are Putting Your Children at Risk. The tireless efforts of many people have finally paid off – landmark legislation that completely overhauls the broken system used by government to protect us from toxic chemicals has been introduced in Congress.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Congressmen Bobby Rush (D-IL) and
Henry Waxman (D-CA) are the authors of the new Safe Chemicals Act, formerly known as the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act.

Here are some of the highlights to give you an idea of what the new law would do:

– (Finally) empower the EPA to regulate toxic chemicals, and act quickly when necessary.

– Ensure the EPA is provided with sufficient information to evaluate the safety of a chemical.

– Establish new research programs to help us understand the risk toxic industrial chemicals pose to children, ourselves, and the environment.

– Force industry to prove their products are safe, both those already on the market and those they introduce in the future. Formerly, the burden of proof was the responsibility of the EPA, which didn’t have the power, information or funding needed to fulfill the obligation.

– Provide the public with transparent and adequate information to make their own judgments and decisions.

– and more.

The Safe Chemicals Act will “breathe new life into a long-dead statute by empowering EPA to get tough on toxic chemicals,” said Senator Lautenberg.

And that’s exactly what we need to protect ourselves, our children, and our environment.

If you would like to read the bill in its entirety, it’s available here.

Stay tuned for updates!