Archive | April, 2009

Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray Give-away!

The ultimate spring contest give-away is here at Mommy Footprint with summer backyard BBQs quickly approaching.  Stainless steel ice cube trays are also the perfect gift for new moms that want to freeze home-made baby food and not worry about freezing food in plastic with the worry of BPA and phthalates.  Just in time for sunny days, complete the below contest form and I’ll draw a winner May 3rd.  Thank you to our friends at The Tickle Trunk for donating this awesome give-away.  We are talking high end stainless steel, food grade 18/8, and BPA-free ice cube trays.  Feel safe about making ice cubes again and these trays have the easy-to-use handle that quickly pops out the cubes.  Mommy Footprint especially loves stainless steel for freezing food or liquids.  Here is the link for this contest – enter and at the same time, share the word about Mommy Footprint with your friends.

http://mommyfootprint.com/mommyfootprint-referral-form/#usermessagea

 Picture courtesy of The Tickle Trunk site:

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Dioxins ~ The Last Place You Want Them

Okay male Mommy Footprint readers, just grit your teeth and we’ll all get through this article.  It’s not one you need to commit to memory, but you do need to forward it to the women in your life. Tampons and sanitary pads are not a topic even moms chat openly about.  After wondering what makes tampons so white (suspecting bleach), I’ve done some digging and am again surprised at why so many products are toxic to women’s heath ~ makeup, deodorant, personal care are others to list a few. 

The only negative I’d heard about tampons before researching this article is the small risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome if the tampon is not managed properly.  Well this is not the only concern women should have and I’ve learned most brands actually produce toxic tampons!  Non-organic brands are made of rayon (a derivative of wood pulp) or rayon cotton blends that is chlorine bleached to make them look clean and white.  By using this method of bleaching, dioxins are produced and are a known carcinogen (cancer).  Could dioxin exposure actually be the cause of endometriosis, fertility problems, reproductive disease, cancer, fibroids as the growth of these diseases climbs? 

Facts that we know about tampons and the dioxins non-organic tampon brands produce:

› The process of chlorine bleaching to make tampons appear clean and white produce dioxin.

› Dioxin collects in the fatty cells/tissues of animals and humans and stays there for the rest of our lives.

› Synthetic fibers remain inside a woman’s uterus after a tampon’s been removed.

› Only trace amounts of dioxins remain from tampons, but these amounts add up and remain over time and a typical woman uses 12,000 tampons in her lifetime.

Learning this stopped me from ever using one of these chlorine bleached products again.  I won’t be using up my left-over Tampax and went to Planet Organic today to purchase chlorine-free organic cotton tampons and pads. Yes, it’s not the most fun topic I’ve posted at Mommy Footprint, but it might be one of the most important.  Read the facts and replace traditional sanitary pads and tampons with a safer alternative.  7th Generation can also be found at Whole Foods and provides tampons free of rayon, whitened without chlorine, made with 100% organic cotton.  And although pads are not absorbed inside your body, I would recommend replacing pads too because they are treated and whitened with the same process as tampons.

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Earth Day ~ What Will Your Legacy Be?

With 200 articles in the Mommy Footprint vault I’m hopeful I’ve shared all of my Earth Day tips over the last year.  I’ve kept a few tips up my sleeve in time for an Earth Day article and hope you enjoy. <wink>

The tag line on the Mommy Footprint site is “what will your legacy be?” and that is still the driving force behind this blog.  Changing small acts in everyday life is what will impact our world the most.  A few upcoming acts I pledge to write about include:

~ starting a database for readers of where PVC plastic lurks that effects children in their household, classroom, etc.

~ Talking about products that are next to the skin or worse (!) inside our bodies that are produced with chlorine, dioxins, and chemicals.

~ Trying to convince high-end, educational facilities to eliminate toys or products that young children can mouth or bath with that are made from PVC; my goal is to have it completely removed from the Vancouver aquarium gift shop because of the precedent it should uphold to the marine life it educates the public about. 

~ Hold companies accountable for the products they sell to consumers when they are manufactured and sold containing harmful chemicals or materials.

~ Encouraging parents to create eco-friendlier events for children like birthday parties, family BBQs and special events; a guest or child from these get-togethers will always notice something different and the ball of education starts to roll.

~ And always watching for new ideas or concepts to engage children with nature.  Like anything in life – children bore easily so it’s up to parents to keep creative ideas flowing even if we feel exhausted and struggle ourselves.  There is no greater accomplishment in my life than having all my children engaged and joyful in nature…and no matter how tired I feel, the fresh air has always been healing for my body and soul.

Enough about me.  Here are some ideas for unique ways to celebrate or kick-off family goals this Earth Day:

Show kids recycling codes on plastic. Post a chart with each resin code with a child friendly description and let kids take on the task of sorting household plastics for recycling.  It’s like an easy math problem or game that kids would love.  Incorporate the topic of plastic packaging into this new activity.  Teach your child about the massive amounts of plastic that cannot be recycled and how as a family you can reduce and purchase products more responsibly.

Mark storm drains in your neighborhood or surrounding community at your school.  I’ve talked about this activity a lot because it was the highlight of my summer last year with my sons.  I got 1-1 time with them to talk, and they loved telling people why they were doing it and putting documentation on door knobs.  Then of course hammering the decal into the pavement ~ what child wouldn’t enjoy this?  For more information read Ultimate Eco Activity For Your Family.

The Hummingbirds are out and hungry in my neighborhood.  What a treat to still have Black Capped Chickadees to watch in our back-yard and Blue Jays in our front ~ and to now have Hummingbirds join the crowd. Too fun!  If you don’t have a bird feeder, purchase a cheap one.  Guaranteed your local thrift store will have a hummingbird feeder for sale.

Plant one vegetable in a pot or garden with your child.  Teach your family the power of one small act and the many positives that result from a household garden.; no pesticides, no cost to purchase from the store, better taste, and the pride of growing something yourself.  Make a pledge to add a vegetable to the garden every earth day – imagine what it will look like in a few years.

Write a quiz for your kids on products that can or can’t be recycled.  Have samples of these materials and test their recycling knowledge and ask them to pick out items that can or cannot be recycled.

For a list of adorable Earth Day crafts, check out the Crafting Our Way To A Greener World article on the Kids Stuff World site.  I especially love the globe cookies and egg carton owls.  I wish you a wonderful day on Earth Day (April 22nd, 2009) and hope you find joy and a bit of magic, with discussions and conversations with friends, family, and children about why celebrating the earth’s health is so important.

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PVC Plastic ~ The Poison Plastic In Your Home

I had a light bulb moment today with PVC plastic – time to get my head out of the sand with this plastic known as ‘the poison plastic’ and realize it’s in more places than I care to realize in my home.  It is crazy why BPA gets all the media attention when Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or vinyl) is the worst known plastic for our health releasing chemicals that cause cancer and other known health problems.  Many household products are still made from this plastic: plastic food wrap, fake Christmas trees, lunch kits, flooring, clothing, etc. It’s not just shower curtains that need to be reviewed and replaced – we are talking about everyday household items! In many opinions, this plastic is devastating to human health (a known carcinogen) and proven to cause cancer and I want it as far away from my children as possible.  Would you continue to use a product that has a warning across the packaging “using this product may cause cancer” and keep it in close contact with your family members?  Of course not, but it’s finding out where it’s lurking in your home.

It’s overwhelming to wrap your mind around all the places that may contain PVC.  I downloaded the PVC-free guide called Pass Up The Poison Plastic produced by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice and it was very helpful and something all parents should read.  After going through this document, I can guarantee you’ll discover items in your life that you didn’t know contained PVC.

Still not convinced that you need to rid your life of PVC plastic?  It’s recently been written that PVC vinyl flooring might be linked with autism in children.  That is pretty powerful  – here is the article from Eco Child’s Play.  Still not convinced?  To quote the Center For Health, Environment, Justice:

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl, is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created.  PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash.  Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats.  When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.

How did the realization just come about for me personally?  I discovered the cling wrap I use is made from PVC and I’ve been using it to wrap the kid’s food for lunches.  Should it be touching my kid’s food?  No. Why did I not already know this when I’m entrenched with green products and issues on a daily basis? I can’t answer that either. You just don’t see as much reported about PVC – more about the harm caused by phthalates and BPA. I learned this week that I need to become more diligent about sourcing healthy PVC-free alternatives in my home.  Action items I took away from researching the article is to find out what kind of flooring is at my kid’s schools, find out if products (like my Christmas tree) continue to leech air-borne phthalates every time they are used even when they are several years old, research more food storage ideas that are PVC free, and purchase a PVC-free (non-vinyl) water hose for this summer because my kids always drink from it.

When it comes to children’s products and toys, it’s also not clear-cut which are made from PVC because most don’t have the PVC resin code stamped clearly on the product. The recycling code for PVC plastic is number 3 (with chasing arrows around it). I use the term ‘recycling code’ loosely though because you cannot recycle PVC plastic, which has a colossal impact to the environment because of it’s wide use. Actually, one PVC plastic bottle can contaminate a recycling load of 100,000 PET bottles because of the many different toxic additives used to soften PVC (phthalates, plastizers, etc.), so if you think a product is made from this plastic, you might be doing more harm by tossing it into the recycling bin. If this is still confusing, try watching the ‘Sam Suds and the case of PVC’ video on the Campaign for Safe, Healthy Consumer Product’s site. It’s even okay for kids to watch because it’s a cartoon and an entertaining and basic introduction to learning about PVC. Another great video that is timely with Earth Day quickly approaching is The Story About Stuff. It’s only 20 minutes and Annie Leonard exposes the connections between environmental and social issues and will forever change the way you view ‘the stuff’ in your life.

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‘Greening’ The Easter Bunny

Looking for a last minute Easter activity that is a little ‘greener’ than traditional egg hunts?  If the idea of stuffing plastic eggs with tiny plastic trinkets or giving out massive boxes of chocolate wrapped in plastic has you cringing, you’ll enjoy this idea. 

Gather the left over plastic eggs from last year and create an easy egg hunt that will leave a large imprint in your child’s memory this Easter.  Within each plastic egg, leave a trail of clues leading to one sustainable special gift at the end.  We’ve done this for years and my boys LOVE it.  When they wake up in the morning, they find a plastic egg in their room.  Inside the first egg is a picture of the sofa, or fridge, or dishwasher, etc. that I’ve taken with our digital camera, downloaded, then printed a small picture of.  I put these pictures inside the eggs and once they proceed to the item in the picture they find another egg with again, a picture of something else in our house.  I take pictures of toys, furniture, any nook or cranny in house.  The older my kids get the more difficult you can angle the picture for them to guess where to go next.  At the very end of the hunt (I do maybe 12-15 eggs with clues) there is one special gift and it’s not chocolate.  Last year they got a DVD and this year it wil be headlamps so they can go exploring around the house in the dark to practice for camping or cave exploring this summer.  They’ll love this idea and they are a great price point for under $20.

When I was little I remember having egg hunts similar to what I described above, but the pictures were hand drawn.  If you are short on time (Easter is tomorrow) just sketch out some objects in your house and send your children on a scavenger hunt.  With or without a present at the end ~ they’ll love it.  Another idea I’ve read about is filling up plastic eggs with individual puzzle pieces so at the end of the egg hunt the child has a new puzzle to complete.  There are so many great ideas and this one I’ll be doing my children’s entire lives because they talk about it all year in anticipation.  This is a great way to ‘recycle’ your plastic eggs each year and show your kids even the Easter Bunny got a little greener this year.

Happy Easter everyone.

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