Why You Should Care About Chemical Safety

capitol building with white clouds behind itAutism, ADHD, asthma and allergies — increasingly, they’re all being linked to chemicals in our environment. Babies are now born pre-polluted with more than 200 industrial chemicals in their blood, just from pre-natal exposure. How can that not have an effect?

Yet the manufacturing industry’s position remains firm, lobbying that regulating chemicals will hurt small businesses, leading to increased production costs and job losses.

As a result, there are still 84,000 chemicals used in commerce that have never been tested for children’s safety. They are supposed to be regulated by the Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TSCA) but it doesn’t have a lot to do with chemical safety.

Guess how many chemicals have been restricted since TSCA was passed in 1976? Five. Yes, you read that right. Five. But luckily, there are changes afoot. [Read more…]

2 Steps to Eliminate Food Dyes Linked to ADHD

adhd inducing food dyes in bright colored candyDo your kids get hyper after eating candy? It might not be the sugar—but could be the color. Studies have found a link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children.

Some even see a link between food dyes—which trigger the release of histamines, part of the body’s immune system—and allergies, as well as ADHD, which affects 5.2 million American children.

Yet in 2012, an FDA advisory committee determined that the science was too weak to support a ban on artificial food dyes or a warning label on foods that contain them.

Apparently, that’s not the case in Europe, where regulations require such a warning label, forcing European companies to substitute natural colors for dyes. [Read more…]

Want a Natural Pregnancy? 12 Tips to Protect Your Baby for Life

little girl listening to her mom's natural pregnancy bellyGetting ready for baby—or pregnancy? Congratulations! Going green for your growing belly—or for when you bring that baby home—sounds good on paper, but is a natural pregnancy doable in reality? Yes! Here’s how:

1. Eat organic: The dangers of common pesticide exposure are equal to those of smoking during pregnancy: low birth weight and early labor. Studies have shown that eating organic for just five days can eliminate many of the pesticides—linked to cancer, among other health problems—in our bodies. Following the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists can reduce your family’s exposure by 80 percent. [Read more…]

What is BPA? 6 Ways to Ditch It for Good

open can of tomato soup with spoon in itIn 2012, the FDA announced a nation-wide ban on BPA in bottles and sippy cups. The following year, California placed the chemical on its Proposition 65 list, officially recognizing it as a reproductive hazard.

So what is BPA? Simply put, it’s a chemical used to harden plastics, especially polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

Despite federal and statewide action, our kids are still being exposed to BPA on a daily basis. The substance is still found in hard plastics, food-can linings and cash register receipts. In that year alone, studies linked BPA to:

1. Obesity: White children with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were six times more likely to be obese.

2. Anxiety: Exposure to BPA early in life resulted in high levels of anxiety in children.

3.  Reproductive problems: BPA exposure can damage a woman’s reproductive system causing infertility, miscarriages and birth defects.  [Read more…]

When to Toss An Off Gassing Toy

young brunette girl holding blonde dollYes, I admit it. I killed Baby Ava.

Now of course we’re not talking homicide—I’m a mother of three myself. No, this was far more insidious. Baby Ava was a doll. A Christmas doll that my daughter had grabbed from under the tree and didn’t let go.

My daughter adored Baby Ava with a love bordering on obsession. Wanted to hold her in her arms during the day and sleep with her at night. Never let the doll out of her sight.

The innocent little blue-eyed plastic wonder was a gift from my dad, who doesn’t think about potentially lethal lead poisoning or organic cotton options. Like most grandfathers, he just wants to make my daughter happy. And he thought happy came in a big pink box shipped straight from Beijing. [Read more…]

3 Tips to Ditch Dangerous Sunscreen

brunette girl sitting in beach chair applies sunscreen from a bottleIt’s sunscreen season—there are aisles devoted to it in drugstores and stacks at supermarket checkout stands.

A new study published in Pediatrics shows that melanoma rates have increased among children and teens at two percent a year from 1973 to 2009—the American Cancer Society predicts that the condition will affect nearly 80,000 people in 2013.

Yes you know that UVA fights aging and UVB combats burning. But do you know what’s safe—and what works? You could get a degree in toxicology and try to decipher the ingredient list on the back of the bottle, or you could take the lazy mom’s way out. [Read more…]

4 Steps to Keep Your Family Safe From Cell Phone Radiation

teen girl smiling while looking at cell phone and lying on her bedA few years back my son embarked on the bright and shiny adventure known as Middle School. Suddenly, his academic world quadrupled in size to a 2,000-kid student body. So my husband and I did what any responsible parents would do: We got him a phone.

According to the non-profit Teens Turning Green, of the more than four billion people who have cell phones, half are under the age of 20.

Yet because of their thinner skulls, children receive double the cell phone radiation exposure as adults, according to the Environmental Health Trust.

Long-term cell phone use significantly increases brain tumor risk. And those who began using cell phones as teens have four to five times greater risk of developing malignant brain tumors. [Read more…]

Body by Vegan

alicia silverstone in short shorts and strawberry t-shirtA few years ago, a friend forwarded me a picture of Alicia Silverstone. The subject line was simple: body by vegan.

It got my attention. Because even though I try to exercise two or three times a week, there remains that stubborn five pounds of fat that took hold right below my belly button while I was pregnant and never came off.

Now I know that I’m active and healthy, and I knock wood daily for that. But there is a vain teenager inside of every woman. And on the day that my friend sent me Alicia Silverstone’s picture, that teen spoke up. I wanted to have a body by vegan. Desperately.

The photo-sending friend happens to be a vegan, mind you. And she also happens to be very thin, which may have less to do with the fact that she doesn’t eat animal products, and more to do with the fact that when you don’t eat animal products there is really very little that you can eat. Why live like that? [Read more…]