Should My Family Be Using Silicone?

When food and products are put on the market without real testing, it’s up to parents and consumers to complete their own. Yes, silicone was FDA approved in 1979 but we are unsure if there’s been follow-up since as it’s really evolved as a ‘go-to’ material in recent years. Silicone is widely used in bake-ware, dishware, and freezer molds and the fun colors and price point have helped increase it’s popularity in family kitchens all across North America. There are many stores that promote and market silicone as a wonderful sustainable option… so is it?

The problem with using silicone to manufacture products is that it doesn’t have an end of life (EOL). The strategy of how to properly dispose or recycle silicone wasn’t implemented with the wide roll-out of silicone products. I called the largest recycling depots in the greenest cities I could think of across North America, I could not find one that recycles silicone. So when you market a product as waste-free, but it ends up in the trash, then landfill, is it sustainable? So the environmental effects of the silicone revolution in my opinion are not the best.

What about health effects? My research of silicone started from the fear it could possibility be leaching when heated at high temps or put in the freezer. For parents of pre-teens and older, we remember the recalls, uproar, and frustration when we discovered all plastics weren’t created equal. It turns out there are different types of silicone, but unlike plastic, silicone isn’t labelled or coded with symbols because there is no point to it having recycling codes.  To keep it brief, the type of silicone you want to be using is called platinum rather than tin based which are usually cheaper (price and quality), not suitable for skin contact, and cured pieces have a shorter life as they loose their elasticity.  Here are the benefits of platinum silicone:

- platinum is added as a catalyst and there are no by-products

- little shrinkage, high chemical resistance (dimensional stability)

- high resistance to high temperatures and aging

- environmental odorless and non-toxic

Silicone itself is a rubber material composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. With the different ways to form silicone, the difference is if fillers have been added to change properties and reduce cost. Many experts say if you twist your coloured silicone and see white bending than the silicone you are using contains fillers and is the cheaper quality (tin) silicone.  But if you are using silicone in the kitchen, especially heating it at high temps (microwave, dishwasher) or freezing (making ice or popsicles) it’s important to talk to the manufacturer and ask what type of silicone they’ve used to make the product. If they have NO idea, ask how the silicone is cured in the manufacturing process. The options I found for this process are : platinum-catalyzed cure system (or called an addition system), a condensation cure system (also called tin based cure system), a peroxide cure system (medical products produced from this system), or an oxime cure system.

Experts have been concerned that the process of adding colour to silicone might disrupt inert properties of the polymers, but manufacturers I’ve talked with that have tested for any breakdown from adding colour say that is incorrect. If this concerns you, stick to plain silicone commonly used to keep stainless steel or glass containers air-tight.

I hope this helps you answer the question “should my family be using silicone?” To summarize, if you are concerned about what happens to that silicone ice cube tray after it starts to smell or breakdown, you can not recycle silicone in most recycling depots in North America. There isn’t research to support how long silicone takes to decompose in a landfill. It’s a natural element made from sand and rock, but if containing fillers and colorants – I would assume these are a problem for the earth to absorb.

It also appears that similar to plastic, there are different types of silicone. It’s unfortunate for consumers that our Governments don’t mandate these types be coded at the bottom of all products. If you love using your silicone bake-ware, etc., take the time to call the manufacturer and inquire about what type of silicone is used. You are looking for the word platinum for a higher quality. Also, ask what the manufacturer is doing to close the loop of the end-of-life for silicone with recycling efforts.

silicone_WP

 

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Glyphosate and 2,4-D What You Should Know

When I started reading reports connecting something called Glyphosate to Parkinson’s I knew this article would be written. I watched my dad struggle and pass away from this disease earlier in the year, so I felt strong enough recently to be open to information linking new theories to this disease. I have to say after researching both Glyphosate and 2,4-D, I’m shocked. And to be honest, I’m scared. But I think we have enough of a community here with knowledge on pesticides and food system concerns to get through this. Are you ready?

Should we start at the beginning? Let’s do a quick review of GMOs and how this scary word glyphosate relates to both genetically modified food and conventional food.

GMO is food grown from genetically modified seed. The company that created them is called Monstanto. They created seeds that can withstand being sprayed with chemicals called Roundup to save farmers time with pulling weeds by hand. Basically the weeds would die, but the plant would remain intact which was celebrated news to farmers because they spend a lot of time weeding.

Fast forward a few years and those weeds are becoming resistant to the Roundup. So now farmers have to use a lot more Roundup to try and kill the weeds. The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate. Later in the article you’ll hear what diseases are linked to glyphosate and why it should be avoided, but when crops started to become resistant, Roundup switched to a stronger chemical called 2,4-D, which Health Canada approved in 2012. If the name 2,4-D sounds familiar, it’s because this was an ingredient in Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War.

I recently learned that Canada is 5th in the world as a top producer of GMO crops. The US is number one. 2,4-D is the second most used herbicide in the Canada Prairie agriculture after glyphosate. I had no idea Soy, Corn, and Canola were such large industries in Canada but all it takes is turning over a packaged food item to check out the ingredients to see that corn and soy fillers are used in most processed food that is not organic.

One large area of mis-information with GMOs is wheat. And I think I know why. Farmers use Roundup to grow wheat. This doesn’t mean that wheat is grown from GMO seeds, but it does mean that the wheat is treated with either glyphosate or 2,4-D before it’s harvested. If you are an advocate for clean food, this would mean the wheat is now chemical food and really makes you wonder if glyphosate is more of a problem than gluten. I’m sure that farmers growing food both locally and imported – widely use Roundup on crops even though that food is not grown from GMO seed (or called Roundup ready crop). And if the Roundup contains the chemical 2,4-D we are talking about a chemical that was used in a war that had devastating effects on agriculture, people and animals. This chemical is routinely used in pre-sowing and pre-harvest application of crops to control insects, weeds, and plant disease. And again, the crops don’t have to be GMO in order to be treated with Roundup pesticide.

And being really new to the topic of glyphosate, I needed a source to start at the beginning. And I found that with Tony Mitra and a recent podcast he taped with Stephanie Seneff who is a senior research scientist. She is controversial for her studies linking connections between glyphosate and a host of disorders but what I liked about this podcast was both Tony and Stephanie are easy to understand. The interview is scary, but not overly scientific and I recommend it for someone wanting the basics on pesticides if they are already uncomfortable with the idea of food containing chemicals. Here are some basic points from the podcast (you will quickly find how controversial Stephanie’s studies are, but the links between glyphosate and autism in particular are hard to ignore):

- glyphosate disrupts gut bateria. This active ingredient in Roundup starts a consequence of disruptions in our bodies that starts with gut bacteria.

- in 1970, 1 in 10,0000 kids were diagnosed with autism. By next year, she predicts that 1 in 30 boys will be diagnosed. She believes the direct connection are roundup ready soy and corn crops.

- the direct correlation between the amount of Roundup used on food and the rise in Autism can be connected.

- glyphosate creates an imbalance in the gut which leads to leaky gut.

- your body is dependent on enzymes and minerals that are important to the body as they are reactive.

- glyphosate is partially responsible for kids getting violent reactions from vaccines. She believes it isn’t the mercury and aluminium in vaccines alone causing reactions such as autism. She believes that it’s the glyphosate in a child’s body that triggers a much more toxic reaction from the aluminium in vaccines.

- gut bacteria is unique for every person and therefore how a body reacts to glyphosate is different.

- Roundup can be linked to global declines in starfish, monarch butterflies, ladybugs, bees and colony collapses, and bats.

- the next of the Monsanto chemicals to enter our food system will be 2,4-D which was an ingredient in Agent Orange.

- as the level of 2,4-D increases, so will the number and frequency of diseases. It’s a chemical treadmill.

- her end of interview advice for people concerned about Roundup? Eat organic food as if your life depends on it.

stephanie

So biggest learning point of this research for me personally? Learning that Roundup is connected with GMO crops but can also be spayed and used on crops that aren’t GMO (grown with genetically altered seed). So until now, I have not been worried about wheat or cane sugar because they are not GMOs, but that is wrong because huge amounts of Roundup is used to treat these crops before it’s harvested. Organic – it’s the only way to beat this. The Canadian and US Governments have and will continue to fail it’s citizens with how ruined our food system has become. The only way to save it is through consumer pressure to grow food with organic farming standards.

My thanks to Dr. Thierry Vrain, Dr. Shiv Chopra, and Tony Mitra who have toured and spoken out against the impact of GE foods. From the first time I’ve listed to Dr. Vrain speak until now, I feel like I’ve learned so much but I know I have a long way to go. It’s a scary journey and these men will be the first to tell you that. As a mom that is trying to protect herself and family from the diseases knocking on doors around us, I feel like this is my journey to learn so I can try to teach and protect the people I care about. This stuff has never sounded far fetched to me, rather the opposite. The connections to disease and the timelines surrounding the spikes when Monsanto was allowed to take over our food system fit. They can’t be ignored, we all just need to plug into it, like no generation has ever done before. Which is scary and seems like a lot of work at first. But what alternative do we have?

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#NoGMapple Twitter Party April 23

Did you know our apples are under threat? A small BC company called Okanagan Specialty Fruits has asked the Canadian and US governments to approve a genetically modified “non-browning” apple. Normally when an apple is first cut, it will brown, but this GM apple will not brown for 15 to 18 days!

NEW TO TWITTER PARTIES?

First – RSVP here!

 

Over $600 in Prizes!

DETAILS:

Date: Wednesday April 23, 2014
Time: 6-7 pm PST
Twitter Party Hashtag: #NoGMapple

Panelists: @biotechaction @eatingarainbow  @NaturesPath @GMOFreeCanada @LeftCoastFoods @RachelsNews @GEFreeBC

Moderator: @Mommyfootprint

Prize Sponsors:  @RaEnergyFoods @Gogobags @LeftCoastFoods @lc_organics @NaturesPath @WestCoastSeeds @Silver_Hills @eatingarainbow

Prizing: @EcoBravoBlog

(Please follow these Twitter handles before the party starts)

If you are new to twitter parties then you might want to use the TWUBS Twitter Party Platform. Create an account, sign into twitter and click on our twubs Page: http://twubs.com/NOGMapple

#NoGMappleprizesponsorlogos

MORE INFO ON THE GM APPLE

Back to the non-browning apple and why it needs to be stopped. Who wants a non-browning apple? Apple growers don’t want it. Consumers don’t want to buy it. But the GM apple could be approved this year. It would be the first genetically modified apple in the world and first GM fruit grown in Canada.

Consumers feel that a non-browning apple is deceptive – it will  look fresh when they are not. And because neither the company nor Health Canada has conducted animal feeding trials to test the safety of eating GM apples, we are relying on one company’s opinion that it’s safe.

We need to raise awareness and get petitions signed so that our Government doesn’t approve it. Spread the word! Across Canada we need your action and if you live in BC, we need five thousand signatures in hard copy form by May 6th. Print off a copy of this petition, make sure your complete address and postal code are recorded, and mail to the address listed at the base of the petition.

Related Articles:

What You Need To Know About GM Apples

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Miou Kids – Fair Trade KnitWear

We have learned fast fashion comes at a price. It’s not displayed on the price tag, rather it’s the dark side of clothing consumers don’t see;  poor manufacturing practices resulting in chemical residue left on clothes. So it’s a pleasure to introduce you to Miou Kids’s line of clothing that has turned knitwear into beautiful, handmade fair trade collections made from baby alpaca wool and organic cotton. The Spring/Summer collection of organic cotton is their current hot seller and perfect for that special Easter outfit. article miou We have teamed up with Miou Kids for a contest and couldn’t decide between the adorable options owner Christine gave us for a contest prize (see above). Which one is your favourite? The lucky winner gets to pick. Here is more on Miou and what makes their collections different and earth friendly.

None can deny that making something from hand rather than machine is special. Both lines of alpaca and organic cotton Miou Collections are made by a certified fair trade company and knitters in Peru receive a fair wage and are able to knit from home while caring for their children. Organic cotton is used and any dyes are eco-friendly. So I guess Miou Kids would be the opposite of fast fashion. Designed by West Coast owner Christine, these collections are produced with nothing but safety, quality, and beautiful manufacturing practises. If I could get people thinking about the true cost of clothing, the question everyone needs to be asking is “why does Big Box clothing costs so little?” There is always a hidden cost to cheap clothing and it’s up to consumers to question what this cost is . . manufacturing practices, chemicals, environmental footprint, etc?

The photographer from Lark Rise Horse House that captured my twins Ecoparty, hosts Beatrix Potter and Easter portraits filled with tea parties, bunnies, chicks, and classic portraits. Any of the Miou line would be a stunning compliment for Easter or Beatrix photos.  Miou and Beatrix Potter are the perfect match – the knit bonnets are so beautiful they would make a special accessory for Easter this month. Before you enter our contest, here are a couple of interesting tips on ‘slow fashion’ from Miou that I through were very interesting. Did you know?

 1) Huge quantities of fossil fuel are needed to create machine knitted garment.
 2) Cotton is the most pesticide intensive crop in the world.
 3) Natural fibres not only have a smaller carbon footprint then synthetic but also have the advantage of being biodegradable.
 4) Alpaca is one of the most eco-friendly wool available.
Our thanks to Miou Kids for working with us to showcase clothing that’s produced with love and environmental commitment.  Good luck to all of you with the contest – I definitely want to see pictures from the winner! This contest is open to all residents in North America and will close midnight April 12th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** Contest entry note ** I’m excited that my friends from Groovy Green Livin, Bit Of Mom Sense, and I Don’t Blog are on board to help spread the word about Miou and this contest. They are the extra entries on the Rafflecopter post so please give them some love and follow their blogs.

Related Posts:

5 Tips To Reduce Chemicals In Clothing

5 Tips For Hosting An Eco Party

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Jane Goodall’s Message of Hope

A very special opportunity was given to myself and son Angelo when Nature’s Path asked if we wanted to attend Jane Goodall’s lecture in Vancouver. My answer, in a heart beat was yes (!), and I’m most appreciative to Nature’s Path. This brand follows a beautiful manufacturing process, clean ingredient list and they are 3rd party GMO-free verified. Thank you for giving us an experience we’ll always remember. Here are the highlights from Jane Goodall’s lecture last week and fun contest details.

Jane entered the stage at Vancouver’s Orpheum theatre and my first thought was how much I love her ponytail. I have a new view of my own ponytail, with greying hair at the temples, as one to be worn with pride. My 10 year old son reported that she was a ‘comedian’ and he loved her chimpanzee stories and humour throughout the lecture. Don’t feel sad that you missed the opportunity because her Ted Talk contains many of these wonderful stories and information about how kids can be involved within her Roots and Shoots organization.

I felt it important to write about the experience because I left feeling hopeful. Jane Goodall has seen deforestation and destruction at the maximum degree and yet her lecture is one filled with hope. She talks about how we make decisions using only our brains and the environmental disconnect might be happening because we aren’t thinking with our brain and heart combined. We are such a clever species but we are destroying the only planet we have. Interesting that it’s empathy we teach children in school to combat bullying, and this emotion of connecting the brain and heart will also help our environment. Making small steps to connect children with nature, disconnecting them from electronic overload, and guiding their love for our earth is important. Jane’s quote “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” ― she really lends to the fact that if kids don’t care about the world around them, they will do nothing to nurture or care for it.

Many large, global issues cause my brain to really shut down because of the enormity. Examples of this are terms like global warming, ocean, air, soil pollution and habitat loss. I’m not alone in feeling like these huge environmental problems are just too far out of reach for one person to help fix. It was amazing to hear Jane say she believes the small changes we control in our everyday lives do make a difference and are very important. Asking questions about things you don’t believe are right like factory farming and being proactive with engaging children with nature, unplugging, growing a garden, kindness, etc. These are all acts that can make a difference; what level is up to you, but participate with small ones because it helps. Jane’s message is one of hope. And it was so refreshing to hear in her 80 years of life, she looks to our children to continue her voyage to get the earth back and repair the damage we’ve inflicted.

Heading into Earth month, I feel her hope and will do all I can with spreading the message. As we stood up to leave the lecture, Jane suddenly came back to the microphone and told us to Google ‘Wounda’. Thank you to Nature’s Path for helping me remember the video she wanted us to watch which is about a chimpanzee named Wounda (meaning close to death) that is nursed back to health and released into a chimpanzee sanctuary. Grab your children and enjoy the magic at minute 3 between Jane and Wounda – it is amazing. I’ve embedded it for you to watch here:

In addition to giving me a voice to spread the word about Jane Goodall’s journey of hope, Nature’s Path offered MommyFootprint,  EcoBravo and Spokesmama a cereal prize package so we are teaming up for a really fun contest! My household loves and eats Nature’s Path granola and cereal  ~ does yours? We want to see your Nature’s Path breakfast.  To gain a contest entry, simply take a picture of your Nature’s Path breakfast and/or share the below graphic on Instagram and/or Twitter and include hashtag #Envirokidzbox. With each hashtag, you’ll be entered to win (feel free to enter daily). Here are my accounts to follow if you need contest reminders: Instagram and Twitter.

Envirokidz-prize-instragram-2

Thanks again to Nature’s Path for including Angelo and myself in this beautiful opportunity to hear Jane speak. I can’t help but believe this is another feather in Angelo’s wings to soar and fly with inspiration to help our environment. We will use the experience to give back.

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