Archive | February, 2014

5 Tips To Reduce Chemicals In Clothing

Since learning about fast fashion, I’m determined to limit chemicals that exist in new clothing for my kids. The concept of stylish clothing or seasonal trends in children’s clothing exists in all larger brands resulting in cheaply and quickly produced fashion. Similar to fast food, fast fashion is produced without attention to detail or concern for ingredients or materials. It’s no wonder this Greenpeace report has raised awareness when twenty-seven products were sent to independent accredited laboratories and investigated for the presence of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), phthalates, per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). It’s freaky. We’ve been avoiding toys for our children that contain lead and other carcinogens, but we still think we’ve scored a bargin when buying that $2 t-shirt!

Here are 5 ways you can start minimizing the problem of toxic clothing in your home and it begins with shopping with a new set of rules.

1. Shift your mindset. Just like the clean, organic food we consume, there is a higher cost with buying new, quality made clothing. It’s not something to complain about because like food, you appreciate the quality and craftsmanship involved with a purchase. Once you adjust your mindset, it’s amazing how quickly you don’t mind the higher price tags. You gain a sense of peace and pride when bringing carefully selected clothing into your household to enjoy.

2. Buy less. We’ve taken off the blinders with so many aspects of healthier living. We understand that 1 box of organic cereal costs the same as 3 boxes of GMO, sugar filled cereals. We’ve accepted this with our food so why do we buy 5 t-shirts when they go on sale for $2 at a big box store? It’s scary to think that you can buy new cheaply made clothing for less than 2nd hand! We know that there is a cost to this low price. The people that have made the garments have been paid very little and the materials used to make a $2 t-shirt are cheap. So cheap that just maybe, that t-shirt contains harmful ink, pesticide treated fabric, and hormone disruptors or lead plastic decals and design. That cheap t-shirt suddenly isn’t so appealing and shouldn’t be seen as something exciting.

3. Shop local. It’s the question I get asked the most. Where can you find locally made clothes?  Well I’m happy to say it exists. More and more small and indie businesses are manufacturing locally made clothing and they are getting easier to find. If you are having trouble finding something, post a question on our Fan Page and we’ll find a designer for you. Rain gear, bathing suits and shoes are still pretty tough to find, but you can find certified Öko-Tex brands for rain protection.

4. Buy 2nd hand. I get it – I have four kids that go through stages of loving a t-shirt with Spiderman or a beloved character on the front. This doesn’t mean that you need to purchase new clothing.  Chemicals in clothing are lessoned with wear and washing, not to mention used clothing feels better for the same reasons. It would be impossible to afford all locally made or organic clothing so get in the habit of frequenting thrift stores, buy/sell sites, and clothing swap meets. Shopping used also removes the temptation to buy latest trends in fashion which has a shelf life. Rather, 2nd hand shopping promotes classic purchases that have longevity.

5. Read clothing labels. Checking a clothing label will tell you two things quickly – if the company is proud of where it’s manufactured (Made In Canada or USA is something clothing lines like to promote) and what the article of clothing is made from. Just like the habit of reading food labels, clothing labels deserve the same few minutes. Learn what it means to wear synthetic fabrics. The most cheaply made clothing I’ve seen contains polyester and this means flame retardants exists next to your child’s skin. This can easily be avoided by sticking with 2nd hand cotton clothing or new organic clothing lines.

I don’t think either of my daughters have ever worn a new pair of jeans – 2nd hand feels better. Pictured below is my 7 year old clothing label reading ninja. The first thing she wants to know when buying clothing is does it contain polyester. She has skin sensitivities so we’ve done our best to keep her in more natural fabrics since she was a baby. She also has sensory needs with clothing and prefers how 2nd hand clothing or locally made brands feel on her skin.

I hope the awareness expands for sustainable fashion in North America. The divide in price between big box and locally manufactured clothing is huge and the reason is demand. We have not yet wrapped our minds around the environmental toll fast fashion or big box fashion brands place on our planet. Maybe as parents, if we imagine that toll with our health, the shift will come. By reducing and shopping with a new set of rules for fashion, the planet and human health will benefit, while a new sector of locally made fashion will finally be able to flourish.

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What You Need To Know About GM Apples

Most of you live in Canada or the US. We believe there is freedom living in these two beautiful countries and Government will protect our basic need for clean food. But like it our not, North American food is turning into the most toxic in the world. Our countries have lost food exports because we are both top producers of genetically modified food.

Now we have an opportunity to change this. And it may sound funny, but it’s going to start with an apple. The fruit that we’ve told our children “eat an apple a day, keep the Dr. away”, is on the verge of being genetically modified and we won’t be able to stop the damage once this science is approved by the Canadian Government.

banner stop gm apple

There is a company in the Okanagan valley of BC  ** Okanagan Specialty Fruits ** that has reached the Federal Government of Canada to pass a non-browning apple. They will not be using ‘hybrid’ cross pollination to come up with one type of non-browning apple. The science behind this GM apple is a technology done by the browning gene being silenced by inserting a new genetic sequence from 3 different species of apple cells with apple DNA that has had a plant virus and 2 bacteria genes inserted – otherwise known as genetic modification.  And the misconception is that 1 or two types of non-browning apples will soon be available in your supermarket for you to choose (nestled between the apples that do brown). THIS IS NOT THE CASE because any type of apple could be grown with the technology and North America doesn’t label GMO food! The term non-browning is a technology that if planted, will effect any type of apple (Gala, Ambrosia, Granny Smith, etc.) grown. And the problem won’t be that farmers are lined up to grow apples this way, the problem will be contamination. Bees pollinate apple trees. If this technology is approved by the Canadian Government and even a few farmers start to use non-browning technology on apples, we will have a contamination problem that will only increase with time.

Do you honestly think it’s healthy to stop a naturally occurring process like fruit showing decay?  The GM apple doesn’t start browning until 15 days after it’s been cut. Talk about deception. . . rotting apples that still look fresh. It’s not natural and if we loose our fight for genetically modified apples, our food system will be open to attack. We have no idea what information or studies Okanagan Specialty Fruits presented to the Canadian Government or if it’s factual. Yes, they are allowed to keep that secret. What we do know is there have been no 3rd party studies done by Health Canada or CFIA- the two bodies that are in place to protect Canadian health. Okanagan Specialty Fruits has not done any animal feeding studies on their technology. They are not submitting such studies and Health Canada will not ask for them which is terrifying.

Apples are a big deal in my Province of BC. We produce 30% of the apples grown in Canada, which is about 80% of all BC tree fruit production and the growers and apple farmers of BC don’t want this technology to be approved. In 2001 Okanagan farmers protested and chased Okanagan Specialty Fruits out of the Okanagan so the trials were done in Washington and New York. How do my US readers feel about that? GM apple trials were run in two of your states. Remember what happened when one field of GM wheat tested positive in Oregon? Japan immediately canceled a 25,000-ton import from the US. Contamination and GM food causes that much harm to our exports. This is why many feel like this is an attack on BC’s apple and will damage the reputation of all North American apples. Think how you viewed corn after it became the poster child for GMO. Do we want this to happen to the apple?

So what is currently a BC and Canadian problem will ultimately become a problem for all of North America. The Canadian and American food system are so deeply intertwined and the issue of contamination is a fact. So this is a much bigger problem and we need everyone involved to stop the GM apple. We know that it’s consumers that can change the food system and culture in our country. You are not only helping your families and protecting our food system, but the farmers also do not want this technology. Organic and traditional apple growers in BC and Washington have publicly said they don’t want this technology approved.

CBAN (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network) is leading the charge but they need our help. They have issued three steps for how we can help our Government say ‘no’ to the GM apple. Please share these images, take action, and raise awareness about our battle for clean food. Don’t forget what an impact you have personally when you share information with your friends and family by talking or through social media. We have until April 15th to fight this through hard copy petitions. If you live in BC, here is a link to the petition you can print from the CBAN website. Also share the three actions outlined below:

Action-1-web

 Action-2-web

Action-3-web

My thanks to Teresa from GE Free BC for taking the time to explain this issue. Please follow this Facebook Fan Page, in addition to CBAN and GMO Free Canada. These are the groups that will distribute information first on the topic of the GM apple. Let’s push and do our part to stop untested science that affects our food system. There are many people in our countries spending large amounts of their time to fight this cause. It’s time for us to stand with them. I hope my children never eat an apple made by science instead of the proud hands of a farmer.

What to learn more about GMOs? Read these related articles:

Navigating GMO Food

Tips For Avoiding GMO Food

Sole Food Farms – Urban Farming Solution

What Are GMOs?

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