6 Ways to Nix Pesticides at Home

yellow wine poured into glass against white backgroundWhen talking about limiting kids’ contact with pesticides, I’ve been accused of sounding like a broken record. But the reason behind my rant is so important: Pesticide exposure has been linked to asthma, allergies, neurological disorders, autism and even cancer—which is now the leading cause of death by disease for American kids.

Many people don’t know that most of our children’s pesticide exposure comes from the foods that they eat—but just one day of eating differently can completely remove many pesticides from their bodies.

And many more don’t realize that household exposure to pesticides—from pest eradication products and food—is now shown to have the same negative effects on pregnancy as cigarette smoking: lower birth weight and premature birth.

Unfortunately, just as doctors 50 years ago didn’t fault pregnant moms for smoking, today they don’t spend a lot of time talking with patients about pesticide exposure. I hope that as we all become more aware of the stakes, that too will change. [Read more…]

Truly Natural Sex Guide

man and woman's feet stick out from under the covers, with her leg on top of his.Are you having natural sex? You might think so, but you’re probably wrong.

Take lubricant, for example. Whether it’s coconut cream or mango delicious, that tube you stashed in your nightstand is probably chock-full of parabens, hormones, silicones and petroleum by-products which can cause irritation that makes you more susceptible to decidedly unsexy yeast infections. Ick.

So what about toys? C’mon, don’t pretend you haven’t tried them once or twice—or thrice. Since Shades of Gray came out, they’re practically selling sex toys at Barnes & Noble. But they also can be pretty toxic. [Read more…]

4 Steps to Natural Acne Remedy

beautiful model with red acne bumps on her cheek.A lucky handful of us get to kiss acne good-bye forever when we grow up. Me? Not so much. Particularly during periods (pun intended) of hormonal flux, I find myself fixated on the lumps and bumps that congregate around my chin.

I’m not alone. According to Total Beauty, 54 percent of women over 25 suffer from acne, in some form or another.

Unfortunately, most of us resort to a harsh chemical acne remedy to treat it. But it just doesn’t make sense that blemish-free skin would come from an acne remedy made with chemicals that irritate it, right? Or maybe it does, if you’re selling products to consumers that create the exact problem you’re claiming to solve, thus creating a perpetual market for what you’re selling. Hmmm…

Fortunately, I’ve found a skin-care regimen of kinder, gentler acne remedy products that actually work—without toxic chemicals.

[Read more…]

Air Fresheners Don’t Make Scents!

air freshener advertisement with flowers and butterflies coming out of the potFrom plug-ins to sprays, synthetic air fresheners are bad news. Chock-full of toxic ingredients, they typically contain phthalates linked to obesity and other problems, as well as potent allergens that lead to fragrance allergies—a condition that affects 34 million people in the U.S.

That’s why when I heard about this new campaign from Women’s Voices for the Earth, I knew I had to share. The campaign targets Glade air fresheners and employs some of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen as messengers. If SC Johnson can use cute babies to sell products, why can’t we use them to let people know about the air-polluting fragrances that are in their products? [Read more…]

4 Steps to Natural Self Tanning Without Sun

model spraying self tanning cream on her faceSpring is here and with it bare legs and arms. And although we all know we should just accept the skin we’re in and eschew that sun-kissed look, there’s something about pale and pasty that’s just downright bad for the old self-esteem.

Now, that doesn’t mean head up onto the roof with a bottle of baby oil and a roll of aluminum foil—that’s so junior year 1998. Nor does it mean slathering on some potentially carcinogenic self tanning chemicals that turn you orange.

Actually, the active ingredient in most self tanning creams isn’t so bad. Known as DHA, dihydroxyacetone is a sugar that can be derived naturally from beets; it ranks as a moderate hazard on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.

Unfortunately, most conventional self tanning creams are also chock full of synthetic dyes and other chemical ingredients. What’s the worst? [Read more…]

3 Steps to Avoid Flame Retardants

beautiful baby boy sleeping on a mattressThis could be the end of the line for flame retardants. As the EPA launched an investigation into the chemicals, Washington state banned flame retardants from kids’ products, and California announced a move to update the state’s flammability standards, pressured by those concerned about a policy that had exposed millions of people to toxic flame retardants—also known as PBDEs—in our homes.

What’s the big deal about California? Because the state represents such a large market, California’s flammability standards—governed by TB117, which was adopted by the state 40 years ago—have become a national standard, essentially forcing furniture and baby product manufacturers throughout North America to add chemical flame retardants to their products.

The problem is, these flame retardants—which focus on the flammability of foam, not fabric—don’t protect us from fires. [Read more…]

What is Teflon: The Infertility Connection

what is teflon coated frying panWe all do it. The minute we decide to move out to a home of our own, we’re  imagining creating the perfect meal in the perfect kitchen outfitted with the perfect pots and pans.

For most of us—myself included—that means a 10-piece set that includes everything from a giant roasting pan to a teeny-tiny frying pan, which goes from the box to the cupboard and never sees the light of day after that.

Typically, these inexpensive cooking sets are coated with a nonstick surface like Teflon. And we love them because we can make an egg and it’ll slide right off the pan onto the plate. But there’s something else that might come with those eggs: Infertility.

[Read more…]

What is Fracking? 4 Facts You Should Know

woman with fire coming out of her kitchen tapWhat is fracking? Here’s the short answer: Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a drilling practice that calls for injecting millions of gallons of a toxic mixture of chemicals, water and sand into the earth in order to create enough pressure to cracks open rocks and release oil or natural gas.

And here’s what you need to know:

1. The nearly 600 chemicals used in fracking include known carcinogens such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene, among others, which can leach into drinking water. [Read more…]