Tag Archives | PVC

Little Inkers – Growing PVC & Phthalate Free Kids

I’ve recently discovered a company that seemed to connect lots of little dots similar to my own journey of trying to reduce the amount of PVC and Phthalates that surround my family.  That unique company is called Little Inkers Alternative Naturals and they are so much more than a company that makes t-shirts ~ although they have managed to produce some of the most adorable t-shirts ever (!).  Little Inkers concept is so much deeper and the founder Airiane has shared similar light bulb moments that have launched her to produce amazing and sustainable clothing.

Little Inkers 
founder Airiane was a mom doing everything right; proud supporter of breast feeding, making organic baby food, avoiding painted toys because of lead, plastics, so when her son was born with vanishing testicle syndrome she began to research what could have caused this.  After watching the CBC documentary The Disappearing Male, she was dismayed to think his exposure to PVC and Phthalates could have attributed to this syndrome. What could have caused her son to have exposure to these chemicals/types of plastic that is known to cause testicular problems?  Inks.  Airiane’s partner had been working in production print shops using a type of ink called Plastisol ink for years.  After watching The Disappearing Male and spending countless hours researching male genital birth defects, the founder of Little Inkers was led to believe there’s a link between her partner printing with the Plastisol inks containing PVC/Phthalates and her son’s birth defects.  Read more of Airiane’s story via her blog.

Have you ever thought about PVC and Phthalates existing in our clothing?  In your children’s clothing?  I certainly hadn’t so I find the Little Inkers concept, mission, and final product very inspiring. They make their garments from sustainable fibers (bamboo, organic cotton, and soon to arrive ~ hemp) and each piece is hand printed using inks free from PVC and Phthalates.  This conception and story of this company is inspiring – but the  finished product can only be described as cool!  Check out a few of my favorite designs. The tree lungs print is awesome and a cool way to make a statement for kids of any age – adults included!

tree lungs

mama milk  booby

Little Inkers has recently moved to manufacturing their own garments in Canada and hand prints them in their own custom screen-printing company called Greenprint Studio.  Their Greenprint company only prints with inks that are free from PVC and Phthalates as well as soy and orange oil processing products.  The evolution of the children’s line Little Inkers Alternative Naturals fills a niche in the infant and children’s market by offering natural clothing printed with cute slogans promoting breastfeeding, attachment parenting, homeschooling, gay parenting, and political awareness. 

I really appreciate the time Airiane spent with back and forth emails sharing how you can find out if the clothes your purchase for your children contain PVC or phthalates.  First you can ask questions and although it’s a very frustrating undertaking to ask the clerk at Zellers, Walmart, GAP, Old Navy, etc. if their clothing (or any merchandise) is free of PVC and phthalates ~ it is important.  From my experience of never having a clerk able to answer my questions about stainless steel quality with water bottles in these stores ~ I can tell you that employees are simply not given this level of information. I’m sure the president of these stores cannot answer these questions! So what are some other clues to look for?  Price is a big one because safer dyes and inks cost more for printing and we know that bamboo and organic textiles are more expensive. Plastic patches or appliques, sparkle decals, and team numbers, etc. can often contain PVC and phthalates.  Where is the clothing made?  If it’s produced in Europe their laws about PVC and phthalates are much more strict than other countries so this is a good sign. I know I’ve given more than one employee a very large headache when leaving their store, but the more customers asking these questions, more will filter to store managers and owners.  If the public starts demanding safer products for our children that is PVC and Phthalate free, supply and demand will increase, inevitably driving every-one’s cost down.

I am very excited to have found Little Inkers and am inspired by their personal journey that has evolved into this special company. Finding their store has given me more knowledge and forced me to think (again!) about things that are touching my children. Since first looking at their site a few months ago, I’ve stopped dressing my kids in clothes and shoes that have plastic appliques, thinking about what is on their clothes and touching their skin.  I will start asking more questions and demanding more from the stores I frequent. I will also continue to feel good about my choices to not buy cheaply made clothing and think more about how and where it’s being manufactured and produced. Purchasing special items that have been so thoroughly researched and created deserves my business and I appreciate the research and emotion behind the Little Inkers brand. If you are interested in purchasing a onsie in the Little Inkers designs you can visit Grass Roots online or for t-shirts, yoga pant inquires of any size or design, simply contact the Little Inkers site and find out how to order.

Related Articles: Phthalates & BPA Chemicals ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Part II ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary



Graze Organic – Ditch Plastic Sandwich Bags Forever!

Oh I love this review. Another practical, but cute product was recently introduced to me and I’ve been testing them out for weeks with my kids.  Graze Organic is a new company from California that has put an original spin on reusable sandwich and snack bags.  They’ve created kid-friendly designs (that parents will love too) that are generous in size, made with a strong Velcro seal that should ensure food staying fresh.   My Graze Organic bags have saved me time, money, and gives me a great feeling since I’ve completely eliminated plastic wrap, plastic sandwich bags, and wax paper with getting snacks and lunch ready. These will be a staple with September quickly approaching with back-to-school lunch planning. The obvious use for the bags are for sandwiches but you can eliminate plastic bags and wrap if you start planning alternatives for cut veggies, fruit, and snacks.  The founders of Graze Organic have thought of everything with bags labeled ‘sandwich’, ‘fruit’, vegetables’, ‘snack’ and the favorite ‘surprise!’ My boys think the surprise bag is simply the best thing ever and always have high expectations when this bag is opened at lunch. Check out how fun these prints are! 

I laugh because I’m sure the founders of Graze Organic get asked on a regular basis ‘what are they lined with’?  Well folks ~ that is the point.  There is no lining because that would mean something synthetic is touching your child’s food. These bags are made from 100% organic cotton and they go a step further with printing the illustrations by hand with silk-screen using water based inks. Graze Organic has also found a way to produce their product line with a local footprint – proudly made in the USA.

This September, when your kids are going back-to-school, think about supporting and teaching them ‘litterless’ lunch habits, but also protect them from soft plastic wrap that contains PVC, plasticizers, and chemicals.  There is no longer any excuse to not reuse lunchtime containers. The co-founder Leslie, was lovely enough to walk me through the washing instructions so I can reiterate how easy caring for these bags really is. Only if the bags get really messy (jam sandwich, etc.) the bags should be turned inside out to machine wash. If there are only a few crumbs, just knock those out and machine or hand wash right-side out.  They can be thrown in with Jeans, towels, and other light weight fabrics.  Hey – even I can handle that and I appreciate another avenue to wash lunch time products since my dishwasher is always packed with stainless steel containers and water bottles. I also measured the bags before and after I washed them for the first time – almost no shrinkage which is awesome news for the roomy sandwich bags!

Also, thank you to Heather and Leslie for offering a set of 3 snack/sandwich bags for a back-to-school contest at Mommy Footprint.  They will ship the winner a set of 3 sandwich, veggie & snack or surprise bags. These reusable bags are a wonderful prize for any parent sourcing back-to-school lunch items.  Click on this link and complete the Referral Form to be entered to win. Contest closes August 28/09.





Reusable, Hip, PVC-Free Snack & Food Bag Alternatives

Since writing my articles about PVC and having a newly heightened awareness of not wanting ‘poison plastic’ (#3) touching my kid’s food, I’ve been seeking alternatives.  The most immediate solution was to start using wax paper to wrap sandwiches (I was using cling wrap before!) and using it as a barrier when wrapping left over cheese, watermelon, etc. . . anything so my food is not touching the cling wrap.  This is working well from a toxic standpoint, but is very wasteful.  Well a beautiful and functional alternative came my way from Plum Creek Mercantile and I’m happy to have a great cloth alternative.  Photo of Sorbet Swirl Snack Bag courtesy of Plum Creek Mercantile site:

We all know I’m a huge fan of stainless steel lunch containers, but I wanted to give cloth snack bags a try.  They are a great option for sandwiches, dry snacks, and veggies.  I’m always on the go and with 4 children to keep snacks readily available for, I can’t fit a laptop lunchbox or tiered lunchbox into my purse. Well my new cotton snack bags have solved this problem!  They are the perfect size for crackers, sandwiches, trail mix, veggie sticks, and more. . . they also have very strong velcro closures so I’m not worried about loosing my snacks.  They are also made from the softest, most hip and beautiful fabrics I’ve seen in PVC-free snack bags!  These bags are made of 100% organic and regular cotton in a variety of fabric choices ~ perfect for boys or girls with Cool Robot or Sorbet Swirl designs.

Another great product from Plum Creek Mercantile is their bulk food bags. These cloth bags are perfectly suited for people that shop from bulk bins. Naturally beautifully selected cotton with a functional, non-toxic clear window so you can see what’s in the bag.  You are able to easily record a bin number or expiry date written with a grease pencil or dry erase marker that can easily be removed later. If you want some inexpensive Martha Stewart flair on your kitchen countertops ~ check out these affordable, stylish food bags. 



We all love a bargain and Plum Creek Mercantile is selling slightly dinged food bags for a discounted price!  A set of two bags in the organic tea dye fabric are only $15.99 (picture directly above).  Take advantage of bags that merely have creases in the window or uneven sewing.  The structure of the bag is still intact, making this bargain perfect for someone wanting to try out this new system for dry food storage.  Enjoy almost $10 in saving on the two bags!

So think of all those times you reach into your kitchen drawer to pull out the cling wrap or plastic sandwich bags when preparing snacks and lunch.  After introducing these reusable cloth snack bags into your routine, you will be amazed and delighted at the savings.  Not only are the bags wonderful for the environment, but you keep PVC plastic away from snacks, meals, and stored dry food that your children consume. What an incredible product to introduce to your family this summer and watch how kids naturally understand and embrace how another part of their lives changed from disposable to reusable in a fun, easy way!

Related Articles:

PVC Items In Your Every-Day Life

PVC Plastic ~ The Poison Plastic In Your Home



What You Don’t Know About Plastic Toys Made From PVC

I’ve had an epiphany of sorts over the last few months at Mommy Footprint. The last time I experienced this, I was listening to a dietitian named Jen talk ~ things started clicking together and I made changes. My sudden insight of late comes after many hours reading what the experts at EWG have to say, watching the Disappearing Male documentary, and getting many opinions from moms I trust that are focused on non-toxic households. It’s a feeling that actually saddens me because anyone that knows me is aware I love toys. Not at a normal level ~ I enjoy buying them more than my kids enjoy receiving them. I really thought this made me a good mom.

When my Mommy Footprint journey began, many things changed in our household. I began to experience a new awakening of the environment and also an understanding that I need to check products for myself before trusting that big name companies were watching out for my children. Because of financial reasons and having a house that is filled with too much ‘stuff’ I’ve been scaling back for the better part of 11 months and feel quite ashamed of my access in the last 6 years of being a parent. I’ve also realized that many things in my house are indeed toxic; cleaning supplies, personal care products, and toys. My focus with this article is toys and the important lesson for consumers that purchase toys for small children.

There is so much confusion with the terms PVC, phthalates, plasticizers, types of plastic, etc., it still has me scratching my head at times. There are a few things I’ve learned and it would have altered the course of my parenting had I known that most soft plastic toys are toxic. If you knew that a child simply mouthing a PVC plastic toy could be compared to a child sucking chemicals from a sponge wouldn’t you call poison control and find out what the effects were? Well the European Union really had a grasp of this problem back in the 1990’s and banned a lot of products that continue to be sold in Canada and the US ~ why? In 1997 Austria, France, Greece, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden all banned phthalates (one of the most common chemicals used to make plastic soft) from being used in toys.  Why is North America so much slower to react?

PVC is one of the most widely used forms of plastic, but it’s known as a human carcinogen. What would possess a toy manufacturer to use it in toys? We know that during the processing of PVC, dioxins, one of the most toxic chemicals known are created and released. Over the course of it’s lifetime, PVC plastic leaks harmful additives and because it’s not recyclable, PVC ends up being burned or sits in a landfill. Burning this plastic is very harmful because dioxins are further released (air pollution), so it most likely ends up sitting in the landfill where it further pollutes our soil.

So I’ve written about soft plastic toys previously because my children have all mouthed and bathed with soft plastic toys their entire lives. What do I know about these toys to date? The chemicals used to make these toys soft pose potential health problems with mainly reproduction and cancer. That’s not a good feeling. I’ve spoken with toy manufacturers and taking the first step would be researching toys that are ‘phthalate free’. But ~ I would go one step further and purchase PVC free toys. If you are purchasing a tubby toy or teething toy, there should not be PVC plastic anywhere near it. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at sites for non-toxic bath toys (because all my children love playing in the tub) and in all my research, I’ve managed to find only 2 brands/products I would feel 100% comfortable with: Green Toys and Boon.

Another product line I’ve talked about in the past that has been a savior with my kids is Green Toys. I can’t tell you the peace of mind I have when I watch my twins (every night) have a tea party with their Green Toys tea set. Made from recycled Becel containers, I’ve been able to rest assured that chemicals aren’t leeching from the cups, spoons, saucers, and tea pot they play with every night. My best purchase to date for my girls and they’ve just turned three!

I’ve struggled of late with plastic. You think you’ve got your mind wrapped around BPA, phthalates, PVC. etc., then something new comes along and it’s overwhelming. I wish I could zap myself back in time and change many things with my children. Understanding more about toxic products would have really helped me. I’m trying not to be really angry when I read articles published by Greenpeace about the danger of PVC and toys back in 1999. I join their fight against toxic, environmentally destructive, and dangerous toys 10 years later, where I feel like nothing has really changed. I’ve even learned that PVC hard plastic exists with many toys and wonder if Barbie is still made from PVC, like the Greenpeace website confirms. She turned 50 this year ~ I wonder if the manufactures know that there are now alternatives to traditional plastic, like corn or natural rubber.

** Side note to this article ** I did call the Vancouver Aquarium because I wanted to know how their soft PVC plastic toys were produced because of my concerns about phthalates and toxic tubby toys. The manager told me that as of Sept/08, they confirmed that their soft plastic toys were made phthalate free. This made me feel better until my friend posed the question ~ what chemical plasticizers did they use to get the PVC plastic soft? It’s just so true, they have to put some sort of checimal into hard plastic to make it soft, so my advice would be to by-pass all PVC products and stick to non-toxic alternatives.



Part II ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Part II of my summary on the Canadian documentary The Disappearing Male has been particularly interesting because of the focus on two chemicals that we’ve talked about a lot over the last year at Mommy Footprint, BPA & Phthalates. For those that think BPA is only a concern for people with babies (ie baby bottles) ~ this will help you see this isn’t the case. Also, that the chemical Phthalate is just as scary and needs equal attention that BPA gets from the media with educating parents on hidden toxins. The following is a summary from the documentary The Disappearing Male, click here to view Part 1…I’ve used many quotes from the clip, so the source for this article is from CBC Documentaries. Here we go…it’s a long one, and not meant to freak parents out, but to help us gain understanding that the plastic and disposable world we live in needs to be evaluated by our government and changes needs to come swiftly.

The Disappearing Male: Part II <US readers can click here to access the documentary on YouTube>

Children live in state of constant exposure from being surrounded by more than 1000 synthetic chemicals in your home. Chemicals are found in bedding, clothing, toys, furniture, our air, and water. Pollution has become a background chemistry in our bodies and it’s accumulating quickly. A common class of petrol chemicals is Phthalates and is widely used in everything from soft toys, to IV tubing, to food packaging, to 3/4 of all personal care products. Dr. Swan, who is interviewed and quoted throughout this documentary, first started studying Phthalates when she realized, according to the Center of Disease Control, that almost every person in the US, contains this chemical in their body. Also that the chemical seemed more prevalent in woman of reproductive age, along with new data showing they caused significant differences in male offspring. She refers to term called the ‘Phthalates Syndrome’ and these changes in boy babies include testes not descending properly, smaller genitals, and interruptions in sexual development. Along with the well documented fact that Phthalates leech from soft toys, this chemical is used in almost all traditional cosmetics because they cling to the skin and hold fragrance.

There is one Phthalate in particular that is used in PVC plastic causing extreme alarm because of where it is used and who it is used on. Continue Reading →



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