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Teflon Lined Diaper Bags

A recent question from Pearl on the Mommy Footprint fan page had me interested from the moment I read it.  Thank you for asking about Teflon lined diaper bags Pearl!  I had no idea that some of the many popular diaper bag options sold are lined with Teflon. Since reading Pearl’s question, I’ve spent a few hours researching the article from the standpoint “if I was to purchase a bag with Teflon lining, how would I dispose of this material at the end of the bags life?”.  Well, I cannot find a way for an owner of a diaper bag to dispose of the Teflon after the bag’s use is over. Not only that, most articles about Teflon lined diaper bags think it’s okay to use this material since the bag won’t be licked or eaten from. I’m not a chemist or scientist but the problem with Teflon is when the material is heated. So why would you worry about that in a diaper bag? I go back to my initial argument about how you’ll dispose of the bag once it’s cracked and smelly? You cannot recycle the materials it’s made from so it’s going into the garbage. What happens to garbage? It gets incinerated. The toxic chemicals that teflon omits are called Perfluoinated Teflon Pollutants: PFOA and PFOS. You have no doubt heard of these compounds because environmentalists have been suggesting for years to not cook with Teflon frying pans because of PFOA and PFOS. Why are these chemicals such a big deal?  They are some of the worst chemicals in the environment today because once they are released they never go away. They can be found in all humans (babies still in utero), whales, and polar bears in the arctic that have never made themselves eggs using a Teflon pan. This fact shows how destructive these chemicals are to the environment and to our children! These chemicals are causing infertility, tumors, thyroid disruption and weakened immune systems.   Even if your diaper bag doesn’t end up in the incinerator – PFOA is released into the environment when produced. Like PVC, it is toxic from the time it’s produced and there is no way to dispose of it without causing further harm to the environment and human health.

It’s long been documented that DuPont who creates Teflon in their Virginia plant has had to compensate their employees for their elevated levels of rare cancers and birth defects with their children.  Let’s take a moment to remember that there is a rule when trying to decide as a consumer if a product should enter your home. If something is bad for the environment – it is bad for human health. I’ve said this many time on Mommy Footprint and if there is a material or chemical that meets this criteria, it’s Teflon. So in my mind, it doesn’t matter if a baby or mom is licking the diaper bag because it’s lined with one of the most environmentally damaging materials in use today. Do I want this material in my home, on my shoulder, or close to my baby?

A few other random checkpoints came up while I was looking at different models of diaper bags. Many models talk about a ‘foam’ or memory foam that is inside the change mat for added comfort. Here is a Mommy Footprint test. What question as consumers do we always have to ask when a product has foam and it’s going to be near our baby?  Synthetic foam is a highly flammable material so what needs to be added so it passes North American regulation?  If you answered flame retardants you have been listening!  I would mark this as another question to ask when purchasing a diaper bag with a change pad. Has the foam inside the diaper bag or change pad been treated with flame retardants?  If they cannot answer this question, you’ve got your answer.

Lastly, a covering of scotch guard or antibacterial coating or protection on a diaper bag might be marketed as an amazing feature. Yes, children poo, throw-up, and more around a diaper bag, but doesn’t it make more sense to create a product that is washable rather than coated with chemicals to ‘protect’ against germs?  Scotchgard has the same effect on the environment as Teflon by distributing PFOA into the environment with devastating consequences.  We also know that products that are marketed as containing an antimicrobial agent – you are looking at nanoparticles that are largely unknown for health effects and destroying healthy and bad germs that it comes into contact with. I would recommend always avoiding these marketing tactics because chemicals that belong in hospitals for their strong level of antibac properties can contain triclosan and the concern over the rise in bacterial resistance in our children.

So thank you Pearl for asking me a question that in your heart you already knew the answer.  I felt very emotional researching this topic because once again products geared to mothers, breast feeding mothers, and babies often contain chemicals that are extremely toxic to nature and health. I always like to give examples of where I would shop or point someone looking for safer alternatives in wet bags or diaper bags. Let me introduce an amazing woman that creates hand-sewn, one of a kind creations and bags…

Pip’ n’ Milly Creations is Fiona’s store and she makes diaper bags with lots of functional pockets from natural materials that are washable.  I love that you can pick your own fabrics and work with an artist to create a hand-crafted work of art for a diaper bag!  Working with an artist that can make you a diaper bag ensures you know the materials being used. A really easy cheat sheet when researching diaper bags to narrow down synthetic materials is to ask:

Does this bag contain:

~ flame retardants in the foam?
~ teflon in the liner?
~ PVC in the liner?
~ antibacterial or scotchgard on outer fabric?

If a company cannot answer these questions, you are not purchasing a chemical free diaper bag. Diaper bags cost a lot of money!  Make it an important aspect of planning a baby shower or wish list for gifts and research the key items…not only for the effects that product will have on baby, but on the world they are inheriting!

Related Articles:

Antibacterial Products Heading Back To School


Car Seats and Flame Retardants


Is You’re Child’s Bed or Crib Toxic?


Self Cleaning Oven – Toxic for Humans Or Only Birds?

 

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Eco-Cleaning Made Easy

Have you thought about switching over your traditional cleaning products but find it overwhelming thinking about cost and confused by the number of ‘eco cleaning products’ on the market? If you are still using Windex spray and traditional chemical cleaning agents for your bathroom, kitchen, floors, etc., put them away in a big box, high up where little hands can’t reach them and replace with very few products. The total cost can be under $20…in addition to pantry items that help like baking soda, olive oil, and vinegar. You will notice immediate improvements with your health from removing products that off-gas with ‘cleaning’ chemicals and fragrances.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castile Soap

I can’t say it enough how much I love this brand. They’ve been around forever, USDA certified organic, making fair trade and wonderful organic products for 60 years.  I’ve used their classic liquid soap for a few years now – my favorite is the Peppermint Liquid Soap because the scent is like you’ve cleaned with candy canes. <smile> There are so many uses for Dr. Bronner’s soaps but it’s been a life saver for me with replacing all of my store bought traditional cleaning supplies. I use it in the bathroom, kitchen, floors (even hard wood), and to dust with (diluted in water). The price tag for this product is on the higher end in the greener stores but if you’re eliminating all other products…it’s so worth it.

The combination of ingredients from Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap are organic extra virgin coconut, organic olive, jojoba and hemp oils, with pure essential oils. Doesn’t that sound lovely to inhale and ingest while you’re cleaning rather than toxic fumes? The essential oils added to the liquid soaps are for those that still enjoy scent associated with cleaning – without the headaches that a chemical fragrance will give. You will also notice that their isn’t the action of foaming or bubbles because it doesn’t contain synthetic foaming agents. From an environmental standpoint, Dr. Bronner’s is fantastic because they are completely biodegradable and vegetable-based. So not only will you enjoy better health for your family, but the environment will also be improved from you making this switch.

Microfiber Cloths

Norwex isn’t the only company that sells microfiber cloths, but with the number of Nowex representatives in most communities, it’s easy to find someone selling these products. I was introduced to Norwex over 2 years ago by my friend Michelle and I was the mom at the meeting asking “But HOW does it clean?”  I didn’t get it. The idea that a microfiber cloth + water will clean your house is hard to wrap your mind around at first. But once you try the cloths – there’s not going back. The silver agent in the cloths traps the bacteria and dirt and these cloths will last literally years. I clean my walls, kitchen, bathroom, countertops with a dab of Dr. Bronner’s and my microfiber cloth. For my windows I use water and the microfiber window cloth (Norwex brand too).  I can’t imagine using Windex to clean glass or my windows – the thought literally makes me sick.

Norwex and Nanoparticles

I have written about Norwex products a few times, but recently did some investigation about Norwex and their rumoured link to nanoparticles after being asked by a friend about the products. I always want to write in full disclosure when recommending a company or product. I could not find anything linking Norwex to Nanoparticles. I saw a few articles from respected sites questioning if the two are related because of the antibacterial properties within the cloths. Here is the article from the Treehugger forum and an interview with Adria Vasil author of Ecoholic. Norwex has publicly stated that their products use micro-silver technology rather than nano-silver and that cloths do not leach silver while being used.

I also agree with the mind-set that while the technology is still widely untested (the world of nano-particles and micro) – I appreciate the fact I’ve been using a reusable product that has saved me money and my health with eliminating traditional cleaning products containing chemicals.

Baking Soda

I can’t believe how much baking soda I use on a daily basis. In additional to freshening up my laundry with a sprinkle, I use on tough-to-clean stains, sprinkle on my carpet before vacuuming, make paste to clean my oven, and over the last few month…I’ve been using it to wash my hair. Baking soda is such an effective odor removing product – it’s a great arsenal with household cleaning products.

Vinegar

Vinegar is great for everyday cleaning. Household cleaning recipes that contain vinegar have been around forever and the list of vinegar solutions continues to grow every year. My favorite uses for white vinegar is to kill weeds along my driveway (fill up a spray bottle and let the kids have fun), fixing CDs or DVDs when they’ve started to skip (wet a rag with vinegar and wipe the CD and dry), along with baking soda to unclog drains, and a natural fabric softener.

Olive Oil

The only way to clean stainless steel, pour olive oil on a paper towel or rag and wipe along the grain of your stainless steel appliances. This is the most effective way I’ve found to clean stainless steel. It’s not cheap, since olive oil is rather expensive, but the results are fabulous and you are polishing without chemicals.

Related Articles:

Home Made & Eco Friendly Cleaning Solutions

Self Cleaning Oven – Toxic for Humans or Only Birds?

Home-Made & Natural Home Air Fresheners

No Poo Anyone?

Tips to Improve Carpet Health

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