Archive | February, 2011

Stinky? Home-made Natural Deodorant Recipe Can Help

A few years ago I read something that prompted me to stop using deodorant. It was a quick little post from a mom on a website that she stopped using deodorant when breastfeeding because the thought of chemicals entering her body in the area where her baby was nursing made her uncomfortable. Since at the time I was tandem nursing twins ~ I felt the power of that statement and decided to go ‘au natural’! There of course, are also the rampant rumors of the connection between underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the link to breast cancer.  As I’m not a scientist, I checked with the National Cancer Institute’s website and they go on the record saying they haven’t received conclusive evidence of this fact.  Although they do point out an interesting fact about what scientists do know about the ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants. Here is the quote about aluminum-based compounds and parabans:

Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer. Some research has focused on parabens, which are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells.

So – although I’m no longer breast feeding, I’ve continued my journey in life not wearing deodorant. I have never tried an all-natural deodorant before; partially because nobody I know has been able to recommend a brand that actually works and until lately I didn’t think I needed any help. However in the last few months I think my body chemistry has changed and regulated to the fact I’m not using anything and I find myself needing some help. Particularly on the days I’m running around like a mad-woman with 4 kids in tow. No wonder I’m sweaty and stinky!

But being a creature set in my ways..I refused to go back to traditional deodorant. I’ve simply become wary of any mainstream beauty products. So I put out my question to the many people I connect with via Twitter and my answer came from Tanya @islandregency. She has been using the recipe from Passionate Homemaking. I finally tried the recipe with a few tweaks thanks to the comments on the recipe and Tanya’s agreement on the modifications ~ I’m very happy with the results. I can use this homemade deodorant and it not only lasts until I take a bath and wash it away, but it stops any underarm odor. I had my husband try it too since I’d like him to be a little more chemical sensitive, but he thinks it wore off by the end of the day for him. I can only speak for myself and since I found out the hard way after using his deodorant when we attended a Christmas party with dancing..that his does not work on me. So maybe the case can be made that women and men sweat and react to deodorants differently. I thought that women’s antiperspirants were rumored to be more toxic anyway with the aluminum agent so I encourage all my Mommy Footrprint readers to give this recipe a try! Thank you to Passionate Homemaking for posting and Tanya for sharing!

Ingredients:

5-6 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder. Then slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon until it maintains the substance you desire. The modifications to this recipe that Tanya suggested (and that I followed) are using 1/8 cup baking soda and 1/4 + 2 tbsp cornstarch instead of the half and half ratio that’s called for in the recipe. I keep the ball of deodorant in a sealed jar, wrapped in parchment paper so I don’t get my hands sticky when applying. Also, when it got a little melted in texture from our hot bathroom, I put it in the fridge to harden for a few hours.

As a side note to this article, a very cool tip was offered from Crystal Di Domizio via the Mommy Footprint facebook fan page. Crystal is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Prenatal Wellness Coach and Birth Doula and wrote an article about the many benefits of coconut oil. I had no idea that cooking with unrefined coconut oil is much healthier than olive oil. Crystal pointed out that olive oil should be used in low temperature recipes (salad dressings, etc.) and coconut oil is great to cook with because it doesn’t become damaged with heat. She wrote a great article that I’d like to share about coconut oil. I’ve since been using my coconut oil to cook with and it’s much kinder to the ‘sticking’ on my stainless steel pans than olive oil and you cannot taste a difference. Thank you for posting Crystal!

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Soft Plastic Toys Labelled Phthalate Free

This is a short post, but I’m hopeful to make a BIG point. I’m not a scientist, expert, or engineer, but I have researched PVC for a few years now and I swear I’m as confused today as 3 years ago. But I’m having a moment of clarity thanks to the Greenpeace website and want to share before my clarity is gone. I’ve long struggled with the fact I gave my boys soft plastic toys to play with in the bathtub and worse…I gave these same toys to my girls when their teething was really bad. Where did I get them from? I written about this before – the gift shop from my city’s aquarium. Did I assume they were anything other than dollar store type toys for them to play with? No, but my boys loved the shark, dolphin, sea life designs and I thought they’d make awesome bath toys. Well fast forward a couple of years and I get upset because I realize they soft plastic toys were toxic. Not just a little toxic, but made with PVC plastic that leach phthalates. To hear the history behind all this – you can read this post.

Well – two years later, today actually, I visit my local aquarium again with my beautiful kids. They have really made some great changes with carrying Under The Nile (organic cotton) toys, etc. but I notice those damn plastic toys again. You know the kind…the soft plastic dolphin that squeaks when you squeeze it. But now the package has a sticker on it labeled ‘phthalate free’.  I guess with phthalates being the next new buzz word among green parents (next to BPA) that enough would be said. Although I’m still confused. The price on these toys is still inexpensive, the toy is made from bendy plastic, but they are phthalate free?  Here is what I’m going to say.  Unless a soft plastic toy ~ that may end up in a child’s mouth or bathtub is labeled PVC-free, don’t buy it. If a toy is produced from PVC – it doesn’t matter if it’s phthalate-free, an additive (chemical) has been added to soften it otherwise it would be brittle/hard plastic. Just as dangerous because phthalates are just one class of chemicals. I’m sure I’ll get a call from the aquarium telling me that the toy is PVC-free.  I say prove it first. If a company is going through all the expense to not use PVC – they would market that fact and tag the product as such. I’m done wasting my time trying to contact manufacturers and big box stores (hello Toys R Us!) to ask them if they use PVC in the products they sell.  I know they do and they know they do.   Now here is the quote that gave me clarity.  Thank you Greenpeace!!

The emerging science on the hazards of plasticizers used in soft PVC products provides substantive evidence that soft PVC presents unacceptable risks during use. Additives, such as plasticizers and stabilizers, are a necessary component of all PVC formulations. Without these additives, PVC is brittle, degrades easily, and is unversatile. Softeners are not chemically bound to the PVC polymer, but rather float around the polymer, like water in a sponge, giving the plastic the flexibility required. As a result, it is evident that plasticizers used in PVC will leach, volatilize, or migrate from a product over time. This has long been recognized by the PVC industry itself. Pressure on a PVC product will increase leaching substantially. Of most concern is the leaching of plasticizers resulting from sucking or chewing on soft PVC toys, representing a direct bodily dose of these chemicals to the infant or child.

Read more of this article here. Greenpeace has excellent information on PVC and phthalates – I’m very grateful for their research. Seriously – why isn’t the government mandating that any stores selling PVC products to children be closed?  Doing phase out strategies is not working….toys are just being shuffled around to countries that are/aren’t regulating it. We are North America for god’s sake!  This shouldn’t be another problem parents need to educate themselves with.  Uh oh…rant coming on. I’ll stop and just encourage you to push and ask questions. Let’s get to the bottom of what plastic surrounds our children and finally get PVC away from them!

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Mommy Footprint’s New Format

Hello! With this post you’ll notice a new look to Mommy Footprint. After three years of growing this website, it has become a database containing hundreds of articles geared to parents on a greener journey with raising children. To mark Mommy Footprint’s third year, my friend and co-worker for the site recommended a make-over. I’m thrilled with the results and I think the site has a much cleaner, easier to read layout. I’d like to thank the countless subscribers and people that have supported this blog over the years – it’s very close to my heart and will always remain a place that is driven by content & research. I will always cover companies and products that are fabulous and I usually have a sponsor that I like to support with links to their site. These sponsors are compatible with my blog because I’ve found their products to be safe and I’m passionate about supporting them.

I’d like to say a special thanks to Dave Zille for 3 years of encouragement and technical support with Mommy Footprint. I often get asked by moms where they can get a blog template just like mine – Dave would be the person to contact…from setting up your own domain and working with you to customize your website requirements. Also a huge thanks to Marina Duque for the custom banner and new Twitter background that truly reflects where the focus of my writing comes from – my children. She’s very creative and works quickly…thank you so much!

Three years later I can answer my site’s tag-line “…what will your legacy be?” I hope my legacy will include children that learn respect for the environment and seek to find ways to improve the world they were born into. And for myself…everytime I learn about a new place chemicals exist – I think there couldn’t possibly be more. But there always is and wait for the day our children look at us proud that our generation turned the tide and made a difference for future generations with chemical exposure. Becoming a parent shouldn’t involve so much research and self-doubt about everything that surrounds our children. One day products sold on store shelves will be properly regulated and something toxic that’s a known carcinogen will not be sold! Before I feel a rant coming….I’ll stop. And just say “thank you” for the encouragement to keep writing and finding my own journey.

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This Valentines Season – Check Your Sex Toys

I’m always talking about PVC at Mommy Footprint. Usually I’m talking about PVC in childrens toys or everyday household products, but with Valentines approaching I’m going to stray from my regular tips and focus on an area that  contains PVC and phthalates this Valentines…sex toys. Probably one of the last products that will get banned if it contains PVC or phthalates (the chemicals used to soften PVC) because the subject isn’t talked about and hasn’t been ‘proven’ as dangerous for the government to regulate. I don’t have specific brands to recommend, but I believe sex toys are one of those products, if you didn’t intentionally purchase, labeled as eco-friendly, PVC-free, or phthalate-free – you might want to start researching your brand. One main reason I’ll quote from this informative and entertaining Tree Hugger video says it all “Labeling products as ‘novelty’, a gag gift not intended for actual use, allows manufacturers to elude responsibility for potentially harmful materials, and to evade government regulation.“  This is extremely valuable information because many of the novelty gift stores do very well on Valentines or people shopping for stag/stagette gifts and props.   Just like my post on tampons, think about how absorbent an area these toys are being placed in. Now think about a dangerous chemical leaching into your body’s porous areas. Jelly rubber is a very popular material used to make sex toys that contains phthalates – think of the new, stinky bathroom liner you’ve purchased and you’ve got the chemical that will off-gas from this cheap material. Sex toy experts or stores that are aware of the harm from these chemicals will actually recommend a condom to help protect you from absorbing chemicals….I mean that is just truly disgusting. Phthalates are already thought to cause reproduction problems/damage to the reproduction system and cancer.  These facts prompted me to write this article and I encourage you to spread the word among friends and family. Sex toys are one of those ‘not talked about’ products and where there are toxic chemicals hiding.

After doing my research it’s amazing to find out what is considered safer options with food storage is encouraged with new production of sex toys; stainless steel, glass, and silicone. These materials are all recommended for freezing food – I guess it makes sense that they’d be recommended materials to manufacture safer sex toys. Sensitive skin with organic lubricants would be a new area of concern for consumers. If you are looking for organic lubricant that doesn’t contain synthetic ingredients, Saffron Rouge can help with their brand of oil-based organic lubricant.  Thanks everyone, glad we could be grown-up and talk about this. ;)

Related Articles:

Dioxins… The Last Place You Want Them

Starting With The Bathroom, It’s Time To Chemical Detox!

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Walnut Boats Made By Joel – Great Craft!

I’m always in awe of talented people that create incredible hand-made items, but then to blog, design, photograph their creations and share their talents is very special. When visiting the Made By Joel blog, hours will pass and feel like minutes because you just keep clicking to read through his posts and you’ll feel very inspired to try Joel’s creations… even the ‘crafty challenged’. I’m always so motivated to buy power tools after visiting Joel’s blog but back in April when I read his post about Walnut boats I thought “finally, something very attainable for myself! Whoot!” It’s a classic craft perfect for keeping the kids entertained (it does involve flame after all) and the end product is a safe bath toy (harder and more expensive to find that you think). So after 9 months keeping my eyes to the ground trying to find discarded Walnut shells, we tried making walnut boats last weekend and it’s an awesome craft for kids. Even the older crowd that are tougher to entice with crafting enjoy it because mention lighting a candle and zoom – both my boys were in like a flash!

Any nut shell would work with this craft (the deeper the shell the better) even little acorns. But sticking with the tutorial we used walnut shells the squirrels at the park were nice enough to leave us, melted an old candle for wax, stuck in the toothpick and the kids drew really cute pirate skullies for the paper sail. After we had finished, they all immediately went flying off to sinks and the bathtub to try them out and I loved the result. Finally something that could go into the bath and I didn’t have to worry what they were bathing with. I wonder if beeswax candles would work this craft? I’ll have to try that next. One of my all time favorite crafts..quick and easy and keeps the kids attention. And the boats are a great little toy – even after the paper sails became wet and my girls pulled out their toothpicks, I saw my girls using the walnut shell (still filled with wax) and dropping them into their teapot and calling the boats their sugar cubes for tea. I loved listening to their dialogue as they clinked their tea cups, played in the bath tub, and sipped away.

I’ve attached a picture of Joel’s boats because his photography is stunning. These pictures are from the Made By Joel blog – I can’t wait to buy his book that is coming out Fall 2011 and will be keeping up with his work via his Facebook Fan page. Thanks for recording all the precious moments enjoying your talent with your kids Joel – awesome!

Related posts by Joel that I will try because he makes it look possible (haha we’ll see) are Branch Trees and Zip Line Toy. You know…we just might have a few Harry Potter figures kicking around here somewhere <wink> …and the zip line is just cool!

~

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