Posts Tagged ‘PVC’

Unsafe Toys 2010: What Toys To Avoid this Holiday Season, and What to Buy

Monday, December 20th, 2010


Since we don’t have the advantage of being able to test for potentially dangerous chemicals in kids’ toys, it’s fortunate that others do – and will give us the results. Each year, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) publishes Trouble in Toyland, the report of an investigation into the safety of children’s toys. They go to stores, get lab reports, check recalls (their research has led to more than 150 recalls), and let us know what we definitely should not buy for our kids. They also give us guidance on what we should buy.

Following the most recent President’s Cancer Panel Report – which focused on the relationship between chemicals and cancer – Trouble in Toyland’s focus this year was on chemicals (although things that can be choked on are included as well – always an issue). Their list of what toys not to buy is in the Trouble in Toyland report (very worth reading all the way through), but you can get also a quick look on their Unsafe Toy List 2010.

There are only eight unsafe toys on the list, but they are definitely very popular items likely to attract many buyers and kids – including you, and yours. Check the list for the names, photographs, and so on.

What does PIRG recommend?

Avoid PVC/vinyl toys and brightly colored plastics.

Stay away from toys with small parts and from toys small enough for kids to choke on if they put it in their mouths. This includes small balls and balloons, which can completely block your child’s airway and suffocate them.

Choose toys made with unpainted wood and other natural materials like wood or cotton.

Anything colored should be verified as having used nontoxic dyes or paints.

Don’t buy costume jewelry for kids. It usually contains lead or other harmful chemicals.

Knowing your child will be safe with the toys you select for the holidays makes giving even more fun.

Enjoy!!

New Study Reveals Toxic Chemicals in Flooring and Wallpaper. Are They in Your Child’s Nursery?

Monday, October 25th, 2010


Whether you’re a DIY’er or having your child’s nursery (or any other part of your home) renovated or decorated professionally, you might want to take a look at the recent study done by HealthyStuff.org and the Ecology Center on the toxic chemicals found in flooring and wallpaper.

HealthyStuff.org tested a whopping 3,300 home improvement products – 1,106 samples of flooring, and 2,312 samples of wallpaper.

None of the products tested are currently subject to any regulation regarding toxic chemical contents. In fact, the database of the results is the largest publicly available database of toxic chemicals in home improvement products.

The results were pretty amazing. Here are the overall findings from the horse’s mouth:

“Heavy metals and other additives are commonly found in residential flooring and wallpaper. These chemicals include lead, cadmium, flame retardants, tin compounds and phthalates — harmful chemicals that are linked to asthma, reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone problems and cancer.

“Home improvement products are largely unregulated for chemical hazards and contain hazardous chemicals additives, called phthalates, at levels prohibited in children’s products by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC prohibits the presence of 6 phthalates in children’s products at levels greater then 1,000 ppm.

“PVC building materials were 7-times more likely to contain hazardous additives, compared to non-vinyl alternatives tested in this study. All PVC materials tested – 1,350 of 3,019 contained hazardous additives; Non-PVC materials – 18 of 273.

“Over 1/2 (53% – 1,234 of 2,312) and 15% (119 of 793) of flooring had one or more hazardous chemical additives.

“Levels of hazardous chemical additives in flooring and wallpaper are commonly found in household air and dust at levels 5-100 times higher then outdoor concentrations.”

You’ll probably recognize ‘phthalates’ – they were recently banned in crib mattresses and other children’s products. Three types of phthalates were banned in some types of children’s products, and six in others (anything a child under 12 might put in their mouth.) The ban covers a wide range of products – everything from the vinyl waterproof covering on many crib mattresses (not in Naturepedic crib mattresses, of course) to the rubber ducky your little one plays with in the bath. According to the study, nearly half of the PVC/vinyl products tested contained hazardous additives – which would include phthalates – so it’s not just the products that were banned we have to worry about.

Looking at renos? Watch out for hazardous chemicals. Your best bet is to look for companies that don’t use them in their products. Also, check out the full HealthyStuff.org study. You can search the product results by brand, type and levels of detection.

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.

New Study Links Phthalates to ADHD – One More Reason to Use Organic Crib Mattresses

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010


cdc_logoIt is troubling to see how many children are suffering from ‘learning disorders.’ Parents are tearing their hair out trying to find solutions, and often resort to putting their kids on drugs when they see no other solution. However, a new study linking ADHD to the chemical plasticizers ‘phthalates’ may offer some hope.

The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, found that the higher the concentration of phthalates in the urine, the more apt the children were to have ADHD symptoms. The researchers also found “significant relationships” between urine concentrations and errors in continuous performance tests (CPTs), which measure the child’s sustained and selective attention – the ability to focus on the right things at the right times – and impulsivity. CPT is used to support an ADHD diagnosis.

So, where are these phthalates coming from?

According to other studies, it starts in the womb: phthalates in mom’s body transfer to the child. Mom may have gotten them into her body via her hand lotion, nail polish, or a variety of other personal care products, or from food containers and packaging, laundry detergents or even the enteric coating on pharmaceuticals.

So, the kids get off to a bad start. Then, right from infancy, they sleep on crib mattresses with PVC/vinyl waterproof coverings made pliable by the use of phthalates. We’ve never used phthalates in our Naturepedic crib mattresses, and we never will.

From the crib mattress, the very long list of products containing phthalates continues: Plastic toys, building materials, textiles, the same liquid soap and detergent used by mom – it goes on and on.

According to a study published in Atmospheric Environment in 2008, manufacturers produce about 800 million pounds of phthalates each year (those figures are from 2004, the latest available at the time), and they contribute 10-60% of plastic products by weight.

Fortunately, the U.S. government is getting wise to phthalates. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned phthalates in crib mattresses and some children’s products last year – although only three phthalates were banned and several others are still used. Both the CPSC and the EPA are doing further investigation, and the EPA now has a Phthalates Action Plan by which they hope to determine the degree to which these chemicals should be restricted – or perhaps banned altogether.

But, unlike Europe – where phthalates were banned a decade ago – we’re a long way from full protection.

What is the answer? The obvious solution is to avoid them. Fortunately, there are more and more products out there that do not contain phthalates. Look for them. If you have questions about specific products, contact the manufacturer. If they can’t guarantee ‘no phthalates,’ switch to a brand that can.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 10% of U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Wouldn’t it be great if an environment free of phthalates and other dangerous chemicals could change that?

Is Your Crib Mattress Phthalates Free? Why You Need to Find Out.

Thursday, December 10th, 2009


Cute? Yes. But what about phthalates?

Cute? Yes. But what about phthalates?

As of February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) banned the manufacture of child care articles and toys containing phthalates (pronounced “thalates”). Phthalates are plasticizer chemicals commonly used in crib mattresses and mattress pads: they soften PVC/vinyl to make it pliable so it can be used as a waterproof surface.

They’re also used in many kids’ toys.

Although we’ve never used phthalates in Naturepedic crib mattresses, they have been used for decades by just about every other crib mattress manufacturer out there.

So why the big hullabaloo over chemicals that have been used in baby and child products for decades? Because we now know (have for many years, actually) that phthalates leach out of vinyl over time where they can reach your baby or child. And that is dangerous with a capital D.

Research has linked phthalates to hormonal and endocrine system problems, especially in boys. In 1997, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer found a high risk of testicular cancer associated with exposure to PVC products.

Other research has also linked phthalates to other types of cancer, and to liver problems.

Numerous U.S. government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The U.S. Department of Health, the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued public safety statements concerning the use of phthalates.

Also, a study done by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concluded that phthalates are animal carcinogens and can cause fetal death, malformations and problems with the endocrine system. The AAP went on to say that the risk to children was even greater because their bodies and organ systems are still developing.

Phthalates have been banned in some European countries for 10 years – finally, the U.S. is catching up.

Read more about phthalates and the phthalates ban on our site.

Phthalates, by the way, are not just in crib mattresses. They can also be found in perfumes and fragrances, cosmetics, scented lotions, shampoos, aftershaves, nail polish, hair spray, toys, car interiors, medical devices like blood IV bags and tubing, vinyl flooring, vinyl wallpaper, and vinyl shower curtains – to name just a few of the most common types of products.

What can you do about? Get educated, get rid of crib mattresses and toys containing phthalates and, in general, get phthalates out of your life. An ounce of prevention ….

Organic, Natural, PVC/Vinyl-Free, Phthalates-Free, and Chlorine-Free Baby Products

Friday, November 20th, 2009

10-baby-products-to-buy-organic1

I read an article a few days ago called 10 baby products to keep baby safe. It listed ‘10 healthy baby things you should own.’ Interestingly enough, the top three products on the list were made by us (the Naturepedic Quilted Organic Cotton Deluxe Crib Mattress, the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Contoured Changing Pad, and our Naturepedic Waterproof Flat Crib Pad), but there were several other great products as well: Organic baby food and infant formula, a PVC/vinyl and phthalates-free bib, a very sweet little teddy bear, and more. Check them out here.

By the way, the Naturepedic products featured there are not the only ones we offer. We carry other toddler and crib mattress styles, mattresses for cradles, bassinets – just about every type of mattress or pad you might need. And we offer organic bedding. To see all our products, check the Naturepedic website.

Back to School Supplies without PVC?

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

 

You’ve been working hard to keep your child healthy – maybe they’ve even slept on a Naturepedic organic cotton crib mattress! Now it’s time for school, and you’re faced with PVC-laden school supplies. Everything from pretty pink backpacks with images of their favorite characters to Spidey lunchboxes and modeling clay. Chances are they’re made with PVC or PVC/vinyl – one of the very things you’ve been trying to avoid!

 

PVC-Free School Supplies

To help you keep up all the good work you’ve been doing to keep your kids safe, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) has just released a new handy wallet guide (although you have to fold it quite a bit to fit it into your wallet) listing the types of back-to-school supplies that are likely to contain PVC.

 

Even better, the CHEJ took things a step further and also made us a great list of PVC-free school supplies. It contains just about everything – pens and pencils, binders, lunch bags, food wraps, and a lot more. Even cell phones, computer monitors, rain gear and sneakers.

 

The CHEJ is also a great resource for information on PVC and other toxins that may be harming our environment and our health. Check them out.