Archive | 2011

Holistic Dentistry & Mercury

It was very exciting to receive news this week that I’d be able to interview Dr. Ara Elmajian – an amazing resource for holistic dentistry practices. I had recorded the questions I’ve received from Mommy Footprint readers since July so I hope I’ve done justice to all of you wanting information on fluoride and mercury fillings. Let me start with my own thoughts on holistic dentistry. I’ve thought for awhile now that traditional dentistry would be the next area of major concern with chemical exposure. When I ask friends that are very green what they do to limit their chemical exposure with dentistry and they pause and answer “I’ve never thought of that before”, I get nervous. And my cause for concern is real because we as a society don’t think to ask what is being put into our mouth with dentistry. Or maybe they do think to ask, but it promoted by a health concern and the prevention stage for healthier dentistry is no longer relevant.  After talking to Dr. Elmajian, I’m 100% convinced that there are many cover-ups with mainstream dentistry and I thank him for being totally frank in this interview.  But since he’s had these beliefs for over 30 years, this new-age revelation of mine and so many other parents is old news. I thank him for his patience while I asked questions I’m sure he’s answered many times. Here are snippets of our conversation.

Dr. Elmajian started off by stating the US is considering banning mercury in dental work at the government’s level. Although he agreed with my thoughts that phasing out would be a slow process. Dr. Elmajian pointed out that dentists being trained today are still taught how to use mercury fillings in universities across North America. So the question of “is mercury/amalgam fillings still being used in dentistry today” is void. Yes. Dentists are using it, being taught how to use it, and it will be up to you to ask questions about what is going into your mouth. Many old fashioned dentists will continue, no matter what is legislated so it’s up to you. For me, I’ll start treating dentist visits like being a consumer, purchasing a product.  Ask questions and keep asking until you find out and understand what they are putting in your mouth.

 

“So what is the best alternative to fill a cavity or filling?” I asked. Dr. Elmajian answered that ideally it’s best to have compatibility testing done. Immune systems can be sensitive to many different materials. Lots of people have allergies to gold, white filling do contain a resin, etc., so compatibility testing can ensure your body is happy with the material being used with dentistry. Also, new ceramic materials are gaining in popularity. This testing is approx. $300 and you have blood drawn to decide what is the best material for your mouth. When I asked about people having major health problems, chronic infections, these can be caused when mercury and other metals combined leading to mercury vapors leaching into your mouth, that process is called oral galvanism. Dr. Elmajian mentioned the video called Smoking Tooth because it describes how with every time you chew, mercury vapors are escaping that could lead to cardiovascular, immune, arthritis problems and many health issues related to heavy metal toxicity.

 

One look at Dr. Elmajian’s website, www.draraelmajian.ca and you’ll be happy with the amount of information you’ll discover about detoxing the body of mercury, he is passionate about this subject. He advises that mercury fillings are always leaching. Always you might ask?  He will say always.  When you chew, drink water, and the 2nd video on his website you will see the vapors that escape from mercury when eating. He said that a filling can be in your mouth for 100 years and mercury vapors will still leach. So you can understand at this point why I stopped asking any questions related to “is mercury a dangerous material for dentistry?”  The answer every time will be yes. And the process to remove the mercury is also dangerous so it’s important to do your research and go to a facility that uses proper suction system and procedures. Dr. Elmajian’s website can give you more information on what is involved with a mercury filling removal – it is a treatment process, not just involving the removal. There is diagnostic work, the removal, and follow up detox processes. At this point in our conversation I asked “do you wait for an illness to occur before thinking about removing mercury?” Dr. Elmajian laughed because this is not a question he can answer. Neither can I. Only you can. Dr.Elmajian believes in individualized care because each person has their unique biochemical individuality including how much, for example heavy metals their bodies could tolerate. Also the rate of detoxification by our eliminating organs, such as the kidney, liver etc… differ in individuals. Therefor, you have to take all of that in consideration. He left me with the question of “why would you want your system burdened with putting a material such as mercury in the body?” The birth of neurological disease, Alzheimer’s surfaced 30-50 years ago – there is no doubt in Dr. Elmajian’s mind that the brain is loaded with heavy materials and dentistry and neurological disease have some relationship.

Prevention is the key. We have the information, now we need to prevent. I asked what parents can do when their children have been told they have cavities (as mine do). He said the composite can be used, but with caution. When I asked about using Gold in an adult’s mouth he said there are many people that react to gold because of allergies and that the new ceramics that are emerging are good alternatives and yes, then are adhered with a thin bonding material. Dr. Elmajian also shared that parents across North America that are looking for answers or resources to contact, can log onto the following sites: www.IABDM.com  or www.IAOMT.com (great site – you can find dentists in your province and state that don’t use mercury!).

The discussion of fluoride was also a very passionate topic with Dr. Elmajian. For over 25 years, fluoride has been an unnecessary addition into our bodies. Because it’s in the food chain, we are still getting access to it – even if it’s not in our drinking water, toothpaste, or dental routine. He agreed that xylitol is good with combating the ‘bugs’ that cause tooth decay. Simple to understand: acid = decay. Bugs eat the xylitol and therefor don’t produce the acid. In addition to using xylitol, genetic makeup says a lot about the condition of your teeth, proper hygiene is huge (proper plaque removal), and taking a good liquid form of minerals to absorb into the body. Liquid minerals, Dr. Elmajian explained are very important because we don’t get enough minerals in our food. Also proper brushing and flossing is important because plaque is composed of many colonies of millions of microbes of different genetic make up. Some are known to cause cardiovascular disease and auto immune disease. The decay causing microbe is called strep mutans. The microbes that create acid can destroy our tooth enamel. When plaque is removed, these steps won’t occur.  I called Planet Organic and they told me that liquid minerals are available (their brand is called Liquid Mineral Concentrace) and although minerals are available in tablet, the system will absorb the liquid form more quickly.

 

I’d like to thank Dr. Elmajian for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to talk with me. It must be very rewarding for Dr. Elmajian to be a pioneer in the world of holistic approaches with dentistry. Traditional dentistry seems to have some ‘old boys club’ type characteristics and it is up to you to question your dentist. It’s no longer the greenie hippies talking about the dangers of fluoride and mercury. Talk to your doctor, talk to a holistic doctor, and talk to your naturopath until you are comfortable with the answers given for dental care. We need to think about what is being put in a porous area of our body and what the effects are with heat, cold, grinding, and age. Wow – such an enlightening day and although this journey can be scary, I always like to embrace the knowledge that certain professions and traditional ‘experts’ don’t have the answers. Rather, many beliefs in dentistry seem out of date and downright dangerous if these people aren’t questioned. Thank you Dr. Elmajian – I hope to be back with more questions…thank you for the last 30 years of holistic dentistry & knowledge.

 

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Nursing Buckwheat Pillow via Organically Hatched

I’ve had babies on my mind. It’s not a huge secret I could very easily be talked into having one more baby.  I also like to keep informed on what’s evolving in baby products so I can write and I have lots of nieces having babies. I love to peek on baby registries to see if I can spot green washing or products to talk with them about…I very rarely make purchases on the big box store registries.  One of the latest products to catch my attention was an ‘organic’ crib mattress my niece purchased. It’s sad that big box stores can market a crib mattress as organic when it’s made from organic cotton on top – but what about the flame retardants inside the mattress?  Unless there is wool or natural latex in the mattress, we know that the flame retardant element is probably synthetic.  This got me thinking about other products for baby that contain a ‘stuffing’ or batting interior. After spending weeks thinking of a gift that would be really special for my niece, I started researching a sustainable breast feeding pillow.  A truly organic option. And it gets better. Thanks to Organically Hatched, I found a breast feeding pillow that is beautiful (incredible fabric and design), manufactured in Canada, stuffed with buckwheat, and something that a baby truly needs!  Whatever method you decide to feed your baby, a nursing pillow with great support will save your back and baby spends a lot of time snuggled into the pillow and later napping when they get older. Here are some images of the Mayukori Organic Buckwheat Nursing Pillow – isn’t it lovely?

 

The fabric of these Mayukori pillows are so hip. For mamas that don’t know the gender of the baby they are having, I think the above fabric is perfect. I love chocolate brown mixed with pretty much any color!  Because the filling of the pillow is buckwheat – the pillows are hypoallergenic and naturally dust mite resistant!

Next I’m coveting the everyday organic buckwheat pillows from Organically Hatched for the kids. It’s that time again where pillows need to be replaced in our house and I will be trying buckwheat options next for their pillow interior. And these pillows being made in Canada and filled with buckwheat from an organic Canadian farm is a pretty great story. I also like the subtle fabric selections…a style my boys would be happy with.  Pillows are filled to maximum capacity, then you remove the access hulls to achieve your proper ergonomic fit. Very cool – the kids would like customizing their pillows too!  This is also how these pillows are washed; pillow stuffing is removed then the case is washed, then buckwheat is added back into the pillow. Thanks for having these great options Organically Hatched – another great store that can answer your questions regarding products safe for baby!

Related Articles:

Is Your Child’s Crib or Bed Toxic?

Tips To Immediately Remove Toxins In Your Bedroom

Natural Tips To Improve Bedroom Air Quality

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Eco-Friendly Dolls for Christmas

I’ve been asked this questions many times over the last few weeks with parents getting ready for Christmas: “What is an Eco-friendly doll?”  Greener dolls are often called Waldorf dolls because historically they didn’t contain facial expressions to further enhance imaginative play for children. I believe the definition of Eco-friendly dolls include ‘manufactured locally’, ‘stuffed and made with natural materials’; no plastic or polyfill preferably.  I prefer a face on the Waldorf dolls when I was searching for my twins because children become quickly accustomed to how ‘real’ many of the plastic dolls look.  But we know that plastic dolls are far from Eco-friendly. I have yet to find a plastic doll that’s make from a recyclable plastic or from ‘rubber tree’ design like the toy Sophie the Giraffe.  When I think of an Eco-friendly doll, my first thought are Bambolettas or Dragonfly’s Hallow dolls. I was lucky enough to purchase two Bamboletta dolls for my daughters but it took me close to a year. Why a year?  The demand for these hand-made dolls is so high, you are very lucky to actually get the opportunity to purchase one. Both doll makers handcraft these beautiful dolls, step by step, from dying the wool to create the magical hair, use wool stuffing, hand-embroidered faces, even the doll’s clothing is made the by the respective store. They are unique, one-of-a-kind, and like nothing you will find in a traditional store. They are truly Eco-friendly.  Follow either of the Facebook pages for a few days and you will get the feel of how much work and time goes into creating these dolls. Here is the link to my article on Bamboletta Dolls from last year. Here is one of my girls snuggling their Bambo.


By now you’ve fallen in love and your chances are low to purchase a doll in time for Christmas. That wasn’t my intention – honest! There is hope, with getting a doll. I’ve also just become a fan of Crazy Baby Accessories doll’s called Gumdrop Kids and asked her about her beautiful waldorf dolls. I wanted to know what the dolls were stuffed with and the dolls listed in the shop are a mix of wool and polyester, but can be custom ordered 100% organic for an extra $20.  I can’t believe there is actually a listing this time of year – walk don’t run mamas!

One of my favorite things about these dolls is the interchangeable clothing options that become available after you own a doll. There are many stores that make clothing for these dolls and the clothing is also mama-made and totally unique! One of my favorite waldorf doll clothing suppliers is Reggies Dolls. She is a very sweet person and the clothing she makes Waldorf Dolls is awesome. I purchased some mermaid tails for my daughter’s Bambos and it solved my dilemma of trying to find a Waldorf mermaid. It transformed the Bambo from a doll into a mermaid and was easy for my girls to pull onto their dolls. With different clothing options your children will play with these dolls longer. It’s kind of neat to add to the dolls wardrobe and see how adding PJs, bathing suits, mermaid tails, etc. keeps the dolls in more demand by the child. Also promotes reusing with the doll because instead of buying more dolls to change things up, you are just adding clothing.

I’ve also carried dolls stuffed with wool and bamboo at Green Planet Parties – trying to make an affordable option for Eco-friendly dolls.  Also for Christmas I love the Sweetie Petites that are fabric panels, ready to be sewed to create a little doll and yes, they come with carded wool stuffing! They are a completely different designs from the Waldorf dolls I’ve talked about, but also a very nice option for greener gifts.

 

I hope this explanation of an Eco-friendly dolls gives you some options. You will most likely not find these in a store – check online by using Google and the phrase ‘Waldorf Doll’, checking out winter markets, or checking out my above recommendations. I love the Bamboletta and Dragonsfly Hollow blogs so much because they are able to breakdown and educate us why these dolls are so special, why they cost what they do, and why it’s important to support how they are made…it’s mama powered and mama created!  That’s important.

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Holistic Birth Plan Additions

After writing the article about Johnson & Johnson and their deception with using preservatives that contain carcinogens in their baby products, I started thinking of other places that might use J&J because of it’s long shelf life. I asked new moms on the Mommy Footprint fan page if anyone had a baby recently – what did the hospital use to bathe baby? Based from the feedback it seems (like everything) it’s not a regulated decision within hospitals and everyone uses something different. I wanted to write this article and tell expectant moms when you’re writing your birth plans or going to on hospital tours, these types of questions belong under your birth requests. Two items that might be not be talked about unless you have enlisted holistic professionals with your birth or mid-wives are:

Request “Do Not Wash” For Your Baby

The easiest way to get around the issue of washing your baby in the hospital is to request your baby not be washed. Many people in the holistic world will tell you the benefits of leaving the vernix coating on a newborn. This is the white coating babies are born with – this study suggests that antimicrobial properties of amniotic fluid and vernix caseosa are similar to those found in breast milk. A coating that is so rich in nutrients – what is our rush to wash it off? Treating a newborn’s skin is very different to ours…it is much weaker and is very absorbent with what is put on it. It’s very important to research and find all natural skin care for your baby – definitely without chemicals.

Delayed Cord Clamping:

While researching The Whiteout Movement for this article, I learned about Delayed Cord Clamping. I had never heard of this before!  Talk to your Dr. and see if this is another note for your birth plan!  The below quote has been taken from Dr. Greene’s Whiteout FAQ.

Unfortunately, in the 20th century it became vogue to quickly clamp the umbilical cord within 10-15 seconds after the head is delivered. If cord clamping isn’t rushed, and takes place when the umbilical cord stops pulsing (~60 to 180 seconds), the baby gets several tablespoons more blood, which could be enough iron to tide them over for an additional 3 months later on when they are starting solids. Thankfully, what the medical community calls “delayed” cord clamping is now becoming more common.

A picture says so many words. Here is a picture of one of my twins having her first hospital bath:

Two little notes that I only thought about recently that I think are wonderful additions to a birth plan or to discuss with the trusted birthing assistants you’ll have if you’re an expecting mom.  If you have birth plan addition that’s holistic in nature, please comment on this post.

 

Related Articles can be found in Baby’s Favorite Things category

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Johnson & Johnson – Building A Brand With Carcinogens

It became mainstream news today that Johnson & Johnson Baby Products contain carcinogenic chemicals (formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane) in their products sold on store shelves. We’ve talked about staying clear from Johnson & Johnson products at Mommy Footprint in this article, this article, and here. Here is the scoop on what’s gone down with Johnson and Johnson in the media today.

For two years, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been requesting that Johnson & Johnson reformulate their flagship products….you see them at every baby shower and I’m sure they are still in hospitals and are used for a baby’s first bath:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And every time I’ve seen them at a baby shower I’ve stumbled through an awkward speech of why they shouldn’t be used on a baby.  Me “that shampoo has chemicals that really irritate baby’s skin”.  It’s an argument that really isn’t remembered by many new moms. Well thank you to mainstream media today, Forbes magazine, Healthy Child Healthy World, The Campaign For Safer Cosmetics, etc. are all writing the scary facts about these products: they contain cancer causing chemicals. And the sickest part of this is Johnson & Johnson knows how to produce formaldehyde-free products because the products they sell in many European countries, Japan, and South Africa are without these carcinogens. Yup – the formaldehyde ingredient called Quaternium-15 is found in the products sold in the U.S., Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia. So here is fact number one they know how to not manufacture not using Formaldehyde and a second chemical, 1,4-dioxane, that is considered a likely carcinogen. 1,4 in short is dioxin and a byproduct of a process for making chemicals more soluble and gentler on the skin. Fact number two that Johnson & Johnson knows how to make a product without carcinogens is their brand “Johnson’s Natural”. This more natural version of the Johnson & Johnson products don’t contain these chemicals, but the products are double in cost.

Do you know that Aveeno is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson?  This is likely the brand your family Doctor will recommend when you tell them your baby or child’s skin is inflamed or they appear to have the onset of eczema.  Brands like Oatmeal Baby Wash, Moisture Care Baby Wash and Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash also contain 1,4-dioxane. It’s terrible that a known side effect of formaldehyde is also a skin irritant. Ask around parent groups and see how many babies, toddlers, and children suffer from eczema and asthma – the numbers are out of control.  So many toxic products targeting babies and the bottom line is money. Johnson & Johnson has proved it by creating a product that doesn’t contain formaldehyde but continues to sell the products 1/2 the price of the more natural version.  It’s sick.  And even once they remove these ingredients, know that it wouldn’t have been done without the watch dog groups I’ve listed at the start of this article. It is these groups looking out for our children – not the companies.

Bottom Line?  Reward the companies that do care with your consumer dollars. Do not allow one more bottle of this sub-par product come into your home or purchased as a gift. Pull that expectant mom aside at the baby shower and quietly mention that the yellow bottle of shampoo contains cancer causing chemicals. Be blunt because words like ‘skin irritant’ and ‘product with chemicals’ doesn’t get people’s attention. Over the years, I’ve mentioned many companies that are doing the right thing by our families with producing safer skin care products for our children. Most of these companies are listed under the category called Childhood Eczema. If you don’t have time to read through the tips in these articles – here are some great places to start:

My Little Green Shop – They are offering 10% discount for Mommy Footprint readers. Just type MF10 at checkout for a discount.

Nayla Natural Care
– One stop shopping for trusted advice and products.

Saffron Rouge – Many great products and they offer low shipping and free samples.

Lalabee Bathworks
– Goat Milk and Essential Oils.

Green Beaver – Canadian made and with trusted ingredients.

There are so many  small companies that deserve and have earned your consumer dollars with their research and product knowledge. Sad that the huge companies are not looking out for customers, even though they are aware of what is going into their products. I know my site has many green minded parents that don’t find this information to be new, but check out the Facebook Fan page for Johnson & Johnson and you’ll see the connection they have with new parents, grandparents, etc.  They are a brand that is trusted and there is a tradition that comes with shopping at Johnson & Johnson..you can see it in the consumer relationships they’ve built.

So like always I struggle with the fine line of stressing out expectant or new parents with information like this – but I’d want to know. Wouldn’t you?

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