Posts Tagged ‘Debra Lynn Dadd’

What’s ‘Greenwashing’ and How Can I Tell if Something is Really Green, Natural or Non-Toxic?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012


It’s time for New Year’s resolutions! The perfect time to get started on going green and natural and providing a healthy environment for you and your family – an environment free of toxic, or potentially toxic, chemicals. But embarking on such a journey can be confusing; you may have already experienced the let down of buying something that is labeled ‘green’, ‘natural’, ‘eco’, or ‘non-toxic’, only to find out that there’s very little difference between that product and its toxic competitors. That kind of marketing is now known as ‘greenwashing.’

‘Greenwashing’ is a relatively new term. It’s an adaptation of ‘whitewashing’, which is defined in Encarta as a “cover-up: a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context.”

The same dictionary defines ‘greenwashing’ as “bogus environmentalism: public relations’ initiatives by a business or organization, e.g. advertising or public consultation, that purport to show concern for the environmental impact of its activities.”

Examples of ‘greenwashing’ aren’t hard to find:

• Cosmetics that add a little aloe vera or Vitamin E and label their products ‘natural’, even though they have made no changes in the rest of their ingredients.

• Laundry detergents or cleaning products that add baking soda or enzymes to their products and display in big, bold letters on the box that they ‘clean with natural enzyme action’, but they fail to mention that they also contain phthalates, sodium laurel sulphate, and so on.

• With crib mattresses, and mattresses for adults, you might see something labeled as ‘eco-…’ or ‘soy-based’, giving you the idea that the foam they use is made from soybeans – what could be more natural? In fact, the soybean content is minimal, and the rest of the materials are the same as they used to be.

We couldn’t possibly put all the examples of ‘greenwashing’ in this blog, nor can we give you all the information on each chemical and its level of toxicity. But we can give you some information on where to find out this kind of information relatively quickly and easily. Here are some of our favorites resources:

Healthy Child Healthy World – A wealth of data, and a good search engine. Just type in the chemical you’re concerned about, or another question, and you’ll find answers.

Environmental Working Group – This site really keeps you up to date with what’s going on in the world of toxics and creating a safe home and environment. It also has a great menu system and search engine.

Cosmetics Database – This is a wonderful tool for information on the toxicity of the ingredients for cosmetics and personal care products – everything from baby shampoo to anti-aging serums. Lots of detail. You can use this database to find out about the healthiest choices in these kinds of products.

Home Safe Home and Toxic Free – Two excellent books by Debra Lynn Dadd. What chemicals to watch out for in what products, healthy alternatives, and more. Informative, complete, well-organized, fun and easy to read – you’ll want to read them cover to cover and keep them for easy reference.

As for baby crib mattresses and crib mattress bedding, check our website pages “What’s In” and “What’s Not In” for lists of the materials we use and don’t use, and why.

Of course, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of other sources of information, but with the few listed above, you should be able to find out just about everything you need to know. And they will help you cut through the greenwashing propaganda like a pro!

We’re looking forward to a happy, healthy, 2012 and wish the same for you and your family. Let’s make all our resolutions a reality!

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.

Finding Non-Toxic Cribs for Your Organic Crib Mattress

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010


non-toxic crib for organic crib mattressGetting an organic crib mattress is easy – just call up Naturepedic and it will be at your doorstep before you can say “where’s my stuff?” But getting a non-toxic crib is another matter. What is a parent to do?

A recent discussion on Debra Lynn Dadd’s (aka the Queen of Green) Green Living Q & A blog highlights the problems involved in finding a truly non-toxic crib. One reader even said they bought a crib that was allegedly non-toxic only to find out later that the glue used to hold it together contained three times the amount of formaldehyde recommended as safe. Boy, you just can’t leave any stone unturned!

What are the parameters to keep in mind?

* The crib should be made of solid wood – not particle board, a laminate or veneer. And not PVC or some other form of plastic.
* The glue used to hold the crib together should be non-toxic.
* Ideally, the crib should either be unfinished – which includes clear, colorless finishes, unless you know they are non-toxic – or, if painted, ensure the paint used doesn’t contain toxic solvents, dyes and so on.

For more info on specific brands others have found (and/or eliminated), check out Non Toxic Baby Cribs – the aforementioned discussion on Debra Lynn Dadd’s website.

Truthfully, it can take some research to find what you’re looking for. They’re also not the least expensive cribs on the market, so don’t expect to find one for $59.99. It will be a little more – consider getting one that converts to a toddler bed so you’ll have years of use and get more out of your investment.

Whichever crib you choose, it’s worth the time, effort and expense to get something that’s non-toxic because you know your baby will be safe.

Organic cotton crib mattress from Naturepedic, non-toxic crib and toddler bed (check out our mattresses that convert to toddler as well), organic cotton sheets and other bedding – all you need is some nice non-toxic paint for the walls and some cotton throw rugs and you’ve got yourself a very nice, very safe, welcome home nursery for your baby.

Toxic Chemicals Are Putting Your Children at Risk

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Check out the startling details in a new health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

The results of a compilation and analysis of 30 years of environment studies, recently published as a health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, revealed startling details about the increase in disease in the U.S. over the last 35 years, and the link to toxic chemicals.

Here are some of the statistics from the report:

  • Leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers, have increased by more than 20% since 1975.
  • Breast cancer went up by 40% between 1973 and 1998 and, while breast cancer rates have declined since 2003, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now one in eight, up from one in ten in 1973.
  • The incidence of asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995 and has stayed at the elevated rate.
  • Difficulty in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. For woman aged 18 – 25, the incidence of reported difficulty has almost doubled.
  • The birth defect resulting in undescended testes increased 200% between 1970 and 1993.
  • Diagnosed autism has increased more than 10 times in the last 15 years.

According to the report, there is a growing consensus that chemicals are playing a role in the incidence and prevalence of these diseases.

The birth defect resulting in undescended testes, for example, as well as other hormonal problems with young boys, could be the result of exposure to phthalates – the plasticizer chemicals used to soften PVC/Vinyl so it can be used as a waterproof covering in crib mattresses – which is one of the reasons three phthalates were banned in baby mattresses and other kids products. One study even found that the school-age boys of women who tested positive for phthalates in their urine while pregnant played in ways that were not typical of young boys – no trucks, rough housing, and so on.

What’s being done about the chemical problem?

Although the EPA has admitted they’ve failed to protect the public from the dangers of toxic chemicals, and is currently making changes, the track record is abysmal: Since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted 34 years ago, only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals that have since been produced and used in the U.S. have been tested by the EPA, and only five have been regulated.

Health care reform is currently the subject of intense controversy. But real reform will come when we start getting rid of the chemicals suspected of exacerbating, if not causing, illness.

Chemical policy reform would also free up a lot of health care dollars: If reducing exposure to chemicals resulted in healthier people, it would only take one tenth of one percent in health savings to free up $5 billion every year.

Read more details in the report, The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families also has a campaign to help eliminate toxic chemicals. There are many facets to their campaign, including Parents for Non-Toxic Alternatives and several others directly concerned with toxic chemicals and the relationship to child safety. Check them out, you may want to become involved.

If you’re concerned about your child’s safety and want to do something about it right now, consider getting a Naturepedic toddler or crib mattress, along with our safe child and baby bedding and pillows. Also, check out the book Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd for thousands of safe alternatives for just about every chemical in your household.

Q & A: Creating a Toxin-Free Nursery – What’s After Getting an Organic Crib Mattress?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009


Q: I am going to be a new mother in about two months. I am now the proud owner of a Naturepedic crib mattress, but I’m not sure what my next priority should be to make sure our nursery is free of toxins.

A: Congratulations on the soon-to-be new arrival! And on your new Naturepedic organic crib mattress. Your next step to creating a toxin-free nursery really depends on your current environment. If you have just installed new carpeting or just painted the nursery, your first priority right now would be opening windows and/or installing a heavy duty air purifier.

To hasten the off-gassing process, you can also ‘cure’ your nursery – to see exact steps, read the Curing a Sick House section in our recent blog.

You also want to make sure the baby’s bedding and clothes are free of toxic dyes and other chemicals. Organic cotton is your best bet. Fortunately, more and more stores are selling organic cotton clothing for babies so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. By the way, if you’re looking for info on natural products, check out Debra’s List. She’s the Queen of Green – knows just about everything.

I seem to be referencing materials from Debra Lynn Dadd quite frequently of late. No, she’s not paying me. But she does excellent research and has volumes of helpful info on living without harmful chemicals.

Also, it’s very important to make sure your cleaning products aren’t toxic. See our blog on non-toxic cleaning products for more info.

Gloria
The Naturepedic Blog Maven

Cleaning Products for the Non-Toxic Nursery

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


Bacteria, or cleaning products with toxic chemicals? Hmmmm. Tough choice. But, really, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many non-toxic cleaning products available in health food stores and even in supermarkets – although you do have to watch the labels carefully in the supermarket products – some say ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ but have simply had something organic or natural added to them, without eliminating the toxic ingredients.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products from Your Kitchen

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products from Your Kitchen

We don’t recommend specific products, there are far too many to keep track of, and we’re kind of busy making our wonderful organic crib mattresses, but here is an outline of what to look for to ensure you’re getting something safe. Courtesy of Debra Lynn Dadd, Queen of Green.

“If a cleaning product contains a chemical that is hazardous, it must by law specify the hazard. Look at your cleaning product labels and see if you find any of these words:

Toxic/Highly Toxic: poisonous if you happen to drink it, if you breathe the fumes, or if it is absorbed through your skin.

Extremely flammable/Flammable/Combustible
: can catch fire if exposed to a flame or an electric spark.

Corrosive: will eat away your skin or cause inflammation of mucous membranes.

Strong Sensitizer: may provoke an allergic reaction.

Hazardous cleaning products also must prominently display the degree of toxicity with one of the following signal words:

Danger (or Poison, with skull and crossbones): could kill an adult if only a tiny pinch is ingested.

Warning: could kill an adult if about a teaspoon is ingested

Caution: will not kill until an amount from 2 tablespoons to 2 cups is ingested.”

Additionally, your kitchen is actually loaded with the ingredients for just about every cleaning need. The short list includes vinegar, water, lemon, cornstarch, table salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. If you’re interested in making your own cleaning products – it’s very easy and fast – check Home Safe Home, Debra Lynn Dadd’s indispensable guide to non-toxic living.

Gloria
The Naturepedic Blog Maven