Posts Tagged ‘pesticides’

Does Non-Organic Cotton Contain Pesticide Residues?

Monday, December 13th, 2010


pesticide residueMany parents have questions about cotton. Is regular cotton okay, or should you use organic? The major difference is pesticides – organic cotton is grown without pesticides; regular cotton is grown with them. Are residues from those pesticides still in the cotton clothing, sheets and blankets you’re using for your baby?

This is an important question if you’re concerned about your child’s health. Pesticides have been linked to several diseases and conditions, including asthma, autism, learning disabilities, birth defects, reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and several types of cancer. In fact, the President’s Cancer Panel recommends that we eat organic food in order to avoid pesticide poisoning. Here’s a quote from the latest President’s Cancer Panel Report.

“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.”

But food is not our only exposure to pesticides. As with other chemicals, residue can also become airborne. And when they do, they are in the air our babies breathe.

More pesticides are used on cotton crops than any other crop in the world – a full 25% of all pesticides used are used on cotton crops.

The good news is that by the time those cotton crops become fabric, the pesticides are gone. However, according to Debra Lynn Dadd, Queen of Green and author of Home Safe Home, there are other problems with cotton, including the cotton batting sometimes used in crib mattresses:

“Cotton batting does contain pesticide residues, if it is not organic, as it is not as processed as cotton fabric. So it is imperative to buy organic cotton batting, as in a mattress or pillow.”

Finishes and dyes on some cotton fabrics can also be a problem:

“The problem with cotton fabric is the finishes, such as a permanent press finish, which releases formaldehyde. Most fabrics of any kind have a “sizing” applied, which washes out in the first wash. Five washes is plenty to remove sizing, but no amount of washing removes permanent press. Dyes are also not a concern if they are “colorfast,” that is, they don’t bleed when you wash them.”

According to Ms. Dadd, there are also environmental reasons to use organic cotton:

“The reason to buy organic cotton is that conventionally-grown cotton uses a huge amount of the most toxic chemicals, which get into our air and water and soil, and indirectly into our bodies.”

At Naturepedic, we use only organic cotton in our crib mattresses. So you know your baby is safe from pesticide residues and the residues of other chemicals that may be used on the crops or in processing.

As for your baby’s jammies, sheets, blankets and other goodies, regular cotton is probably fine. But do find out about the dyes used and treatments or finishes such as permanent press. If it looks like the chemicals used there might not be safe, go with organic.

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.

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!

Going Green in 2010 – A Few Simple Things With A Big Impact

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


GoingGreenNew Year’s Day is the traditional time to turn over a new leaf. It’s that time when we decide to lose a little weight, go for that promotion at work, or make some investments that will pay off. This year, a lot of people will be putting more effort into going green. Getting your child a new toddler or crib mattress that has been certified by GREENGUARD is a good start, but there are many other things you can do for your children and your entire family. Here’s a brief list.

  • Buy organic products. Everything from food to bed linens and carpets. In addition to protecting your family, organic food and organic products made in green facilities cause much less damage to the environment than other products. No pesticides for the food, and the potentially harmful chemicals used in other products and in the production process are significantly reduced if not completely eliminated.
  • Throw out your cleaning supplies and replace them with non-toxic, biodegradable alternatives. There are many products available in health food stores; even regular supermarkets are now adding them to their shelves. But the labels can fool you. Read more about what to look for on a label in Cleaning Products for the Non-Toxic Nursery. Of course, all the information also applies to the rest of the house!

  • Replace your beds. Babies spend 12 to 15 hours a day in bed, toddlers not much less and, for adults, it’s about a third of their life! There are so many beds out there made with potentially harmful chemicals. Some have even been banned. And with the changes being made in the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s a good chance more will be banned in the future. Start with getting your kids crib or toddler mattresses to help them get a healthy start in life. Then move onto your own.

There are hundreds of other things you can do to go green, but these are a very good start! Going green in 2010 will help create a safer, healthier home for your family, and for families around the world.

Organic Cotton Industry Takes Off Despite Economy

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009


In an economy that’s only recently showing signs of coming out of a tailspin, you would think every industry would be suffering. However, that’s far from the case. The organic cotton industry, for example, is thriving. During the fall/winter holiday season of 2008, retail outlet suppliers were actually running out of stock – despite the fact that they’d ordered about 150% more than they had in the previous year.

Organic cotton more in demand than ever

Organic cotton more in demand than ever

Organic Exchange reported a 152% increase in the amount of organic cotton grown in 2007 – 2008, and it still wasn’t enough to keep up with the demand.

Why is this happening at a time when everyone’s tightening their belt? Because if there’s one issue weighing just as heavily as the economy on the minds of many Americans, and people around the world, it’s the environment. Actually, there are two issues – concerns about the health of the planet and concerns about our personal health.

Many studies have proven that pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, dyes, petroleum-based products, and so on (the list goes on and on), just aren’t good for us. After years of protecting our health and the environment being somewhat of a fringe activity, despite volumes of rhetoric, it’s finally starting to show up in a mainstream bottom line – when people start putting their money where their mouth is, you know you’ve created an impact.

The fact that this is happening at a time when people are being careful to spend their money on essentials rather than luxuries further demonstrates that this is something consumers are really serious about.

We’re proud to be ahead of the curve in this issue. When it comes to organic cotton crib mattresses, we were the first, and we’re still the best.

Why We Use Organic Cotton in Our Crib Mattresses

Friday, August 7th, 2009
Why We Use Organic Cotton in Crib Mattresses

Why We Use Organic Cotton in Crib Mattresses

We use organic cotton in all our crib mattresses because we want babies and kids to sleep on something that is safe and healthy. No synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals – nothing harmful whatsoever. But it’s not only babies who are affected by these toxins.

 

My father, for example, just turned 81 and was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago. He’s on chemo and responding quite well.

 

The type of cancer he has is called multiple myeloma. It starts in the blood cells and collects in the marrow and other parts of the bone. Like other cancers, it can kill you. But many people with multiple myeloma live for a long time – although the condition generally roller-coasters between long periods of apparent remission and acute episodes.

 

What’s different about multiple myeloma is that it is acknowledged as being related to pesticide and herbicide exposure. As with all cancers, there are several other risk factors but, according to The Collaborative on Health and the Environment, pesticides and herbicides are high on the list of those stemming from the environment.

 

The Collaborative for Health and the Environment

The Collaborative for Health and the Environment

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment, by the way, is a very useful resource. It’s a network of 3000 individuals and organizations in 45 countries, including representation in 48 U.S. states, which has as its mission to “advance knowledge and effective action to address growing concerns about the links between human health and environmental factors.” Check out their database for information on the strength of the evidence connecting multiple myeloma, pesticides and herbicides, as well as links between other diseases and their environmental risk factors.

 

My father has lived for years in a community that controls pests and weeds with regular use of chemicals. I have never once seen a mosquito at my father’s house, even though he lives right on a canal which should be a strong breeding ground. Nor have I ever seen a weed in my father’s lawn.

 

If just a few years of living in that kind of environment can contribute to a healthy and robust adult getting cancer, imagine what your baby is up against.

 

At Naturepedic, we help you avoid the sometimes disastrous effects of pesticide and herbicide exposure by using organic cotton in our crib mattresses and other products. But we also hope to influence the use of toxins overall. If we can accomplish that, more babies and children will be safe, and more grandparents will be around to see them grow up.

 

Gloria
The Naturepedic Blog Maven