Posts Tagged ‘phthalates’

Beware Phthalates: They’re Not Just in Crib Mattresses

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
The Truth About Phthalates

The Truth About Phthalates

In case you’re not up to date on this, changes have been made in the EPA. Finally, it looks like the agency is going to have the resources and power necessary to do something about hazardous chemicals like phthalates. This is not the only chemical the agency will focus on in the near future, but it certainly is one of the most widely used, and dangerous. Why?

Our Stolen Future, a book about phthalates, outlines the animal and human studies that have been done – and the picture is bleak. But, there’s good news as well – it looks like some of the health concerns that have become more common over the last few decades may actually be caused by phthalates, which opens the door to a possible reversal of the prevalence of these conditions.

The effects on the male reproductive system are fairly well known at this point, and they are serious and have very serious implications, but did you know that phthalates may also have something to do with the greatly increased incidence of allergies? A study was done on DEHP’s (one type of phthalates) ability to exacerbate allergic reactions to an allergen. The author of the book said this might provide a “possible clue as to why allergy rates have gone up so much in the developed world.” But the list of potential effects goes on.

We don’t use phthalates in our crib mattresses so, on that front, your baby is safe. But phthalates are used in other flexible vinyl products – flooring and wall coverings, food contact applications, and medical devices. They are also used in personal care products (like perfumes, lotions and cosmetics), as solvents and plasticizers for cellulose acetate, and in making lacquers, varnishes, and coatings, including those used to provide timed release in some pharmaceuticals.

Phthalates are big news, and definitely something we should stay away from. Here’s a list of some of the most common names you’ll see on labels so you know what to look for:

  • DEHP, also known as di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. Used as a softener in PVC products, such as IV bags, tubing, and other medical devices.
  • BzBP, or benzylbutyl phthalate. Used in vinyl flooring, car-care products, and personal care products.
  • DBP, or di-n-butyl phthalate. Used in nail polish and other personal care products.
  • DEP, or diethyl phthalate. Used in personal care products such as deodorants, perfume, cologne, aftershave lotion, shampoo, hair gel and hand lotion.
  • DMP, or dimethyl phthalate. Used in insect repellants, plastics, and solid rocket propellant.

However, those are not the only names to look for. You should also include DnOP, DnHP, and several others.

Do yourself a favor and start reading the labels to look for phthalates. And just don’t use them.

How Did Dangerous Chemicals Like Phthalates Slip Past Science?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009


Test-Tube_250x250You can’t help but wonder how all these toxins are slipping by us. One after another, we find that chemicals we thought were safe are not. We use them in good faith, then find out they are implicated in very serious health conditions. You begin to lose your faith in science. How does this happen?

There are many reasons behind it, but one problem is the testing protocols: for the most part, the chemicals (when tested at all) are tested for high level exposure (a large quantity in a short period of time), or occupational exposure (the level isn’t as high, but it is continual for eight or so hours every day.)

What they have not traditionally checked for is the effects of continuous, low level exposure in a non-occupational setting. Which is one of the reasons why, after a chemical that has been tested with traditional protocols, found to be safe, and has even been on the market for years, it is found to cause serious health conditions.

Fortunately, it is now beginning to be widely recognized that the ‘standard’ approach to toxicology testing just doesn’t cut it. This recognition is, I believe, reflected in the changes being made at the EPA. The EPA knows they have not been providing the service we expect from them – to protect us and the environment – and they want to do something about it.

In the meantime, there are testing services that go beyond traditional protocol; testing done with the recognition that exposure other than high level or occupational can also be dangerous. These services are largely offered by companies and foundations that are considered ‘environmental’.

At Naturepedic, we have our crib mattresses tested and certified by GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. Our own kids sleep on them; we know they’re safe.

Naturepedic May Make You a Customized Mattress or Pad

Friday, November 13th, 2009

BABY-IN-STROLLER

Did you know that at Naturepedic we make custom-made pads? Sometimes babies spend a lot of time in their playpen – they might hang out there most of the day, with the playpen in the living room where mom can see them – or in their carriage. When I was younger, babies would be put in their carriage in the fresh outside air on the front porch for a nap. They could be there for a couple of hours.

Babies can also spend a lot of time in portable cribs when they go to visit family, friends or even the babysitter. And some spend hours every day in the equivalent of a car seat – the kind that can be taken out of the car to rest on tables or floors, can change positions so the baby can lie down and so on. It’s an easy way for mom to keep the baby with her no matter what she’s doing – taking the baby to the laundry room, the kitchen and so on, lets mom get things done while also spending time with the baby.

Naturepedic will make custom pads for many of these items. We’ll make them with the same materials we use for our toddler and crib mattresses so you can be sure you’re baby is not exposed to potentially toxic chemicals like PVC/vinyl or phthalates, and all the other stuff that many other brands of toddler, crib mattresses and pads contain.

Just contact us by phone or email and we’ll discuss what you need.

Can A Naturepedic Crib Mattress Help Mom Get More Sleep?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

BK22835

When I was pregnant with my son, I had very unreal expectations in the sleep department. I was told the baby would sleep 12 to 15 hours a day and would be eating about every four hours. That added up fine for me – baby eats at 8:00 p.m., sleeps until midnight, eats again, sleeps until 4:00 a.m., eats again, sleeps until 8:00 a.m. – I shouldn’t have any trouble fitting 7 or 8 hours of sleep in there, right? Wrong; oh so very wrong.

In case you’re not initiated, it goes more like this: baby eats then gets to sleep about 8:30 p.m. You have some things to finish up; you hit the sack at 11:00. Baby wakes up hungry at midnight. You feed him, but he’s tired and keeps falling asleep. So the eating process is very slow. An hour later, he’s fed. But now he’s awake, smiling and gurgling, and he wants to play! An hour later, he’s ready to go back to sleep. Now there’s two hours left until the 4:00 a.m. feeding. You have a little trouble getting back to sleep and, an hour after you finally doze off, it’s feeding time again. This time it doesn’t take quite as long but, still, it’s 5:30 before you get back to sleep. At 7:00 a.m. you’re woken by your husband getting ready for work, and the 8:00 a.m. feeding follows shortly thereafter.

You’ve had since 8:30 p.m. the night before to get 7 or 8 hours sleep, but you’ve only slept 3 ½ hours! And this could go on for months. Obviously, the solution is to get the baby on your schedule as soon as possible so he, and you, can sleep through the night.

Can a Naturepedic crib mattress help? While I certainly can’t say an organic cotton crib mattress free of PVC/vinyl, phthalates and other potentially harmful chemicals will help a baby sleep through the night, look at it this way: Studies have linked phthalates to a lot of health problems: hormonal and structural reproductive development in boys, asthma and rhinitis in both male and female children, and effects on the pituitary, thyroid, thymus, ovaries, testes, lung, kidneys, liver, and blood in animal studies – more human studies are needed.

Really, how well would you sleep with that going on?

p.s.  If you’re interested in a print of the fabulous painting above, “Sleeping Mother” by Christian Krohg, click the image.

Chemicals in Crib Mattresses to be Reviewed by EPA

Friday, October 2nd, 2009


epasealLate in September, Obama asked Congress to draft a tougher law to regulate chemicals. The current law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is woefully inadequate: There are literally tens of thousands of chemicals being used that have never been tested and found safe. And some are in our children’s crib mattresses and other goods they come into contact with everyday.

What’s wrong with the current law? Just a couple of the highlights:

  • Chemical manufacturers are not required to give the EPA the information needed to determine whether a chemical is safe – the burden of proof is on the EPA.
  • Some health and safety information is suspected of being unjustifiably classified as Confidential Business Information (CBI) and is thereby protected from the pubic eye.

Read the principles congress was given as guidelines for the new law and you’ll get a good idea of why the current law doesn’t work well.

On an immediate basis the EPA will review six controversial chemicals, including phthalates. Three of the seven phthalates were recently banned in some children’s goods, including crib mattresses and some toys. We hope the remaining four will be included in the imminent review.

In case you don’t know, phthalates are chemicals used to make PVC/Vinyl more pliable so it can be used to make children’s toys, the waterproof covering on most crib mattresses, and many other goods.

Naturepedic mattresses do not contain phthalates–they never have and never will. Our waterproof covering is made from food-grade polyethylene.

The EPA is supposed to release their first plan of action to deal with these chemicals in December. We’ll keep you updated.