Tag Archives | synthetic chemicals

All-Natural Tips For Managing Childhood Eczema

The Mommy Footprint site began after I became frustrated with the medical advice being offered for my daughter’s eczema 2 years ago.  Only after I sent an email to 5 moms with kids that suffered with sensitive skin, did I get answers. My Isabella hasn’t had an outbreak in over a year and I have a ‘recipe’ of tips that have been very effective. I’m not a Doctor and don’t claim to have a cure for eczema, but because all of my suggestions are completely natural – there’s no harm in trying. After writing out the ‘eczema recipe’ for parents in stores, gymnastic facilities, and over email, it’s time to Mommy Footprint my routine in one article. I realized a few months ago when the routine changed, how effective it really was when Isabella’s skin started to react.  More on this later…

Step 1: Personal Care Products

Many traditional soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc. contain phthalates and synthetic chemicals. For this reason, they are not healthy for any one’s skin, but especially not a child with sensitive skin. For children with eczema, organic skin care is a must. And try to really streamline how often you are applying even organic products to a child’s body. Do you use soap or shampoo on your baby/child everyday? If so, this is just not necessary.  I never use soap on my daughter or very occasionally if she has paint or really dirty feet and I wash her hair once every 3 months. Even if you’ve sourced all organic care products – you don’t need to use them often on a young child. A child or baby with eczema should only bath in clear water – no bubble bath, paint tablets that change the color of the water, etc.  Also, a big step that I missed at the start of Isabella’s journey is proper maintenance of cleaning my bathtub. There are two problems to eliminate before your baby or child with eczema takes a bath: residue from mommy or daddy’s personal care products and residue from cleaning products. The solution is to wash the bathtub before your child takes a bath and only use organic cleaning solution with a microfiber cloth. Right now I use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps to clean my tub and a Norwex microfiber cloth. For the longest time I kept forgetting that my soap and shampoo/conditioner left residue in the bathtub and that would aggravate Isabella’s skin. This point was proven when I worked for 3 consecutive days and my husband was in charge of bath time. I was taking a bath each morning to get ready for work, then he was giving the kid’s their baths that evening without cleaning the tub first. For the first time in a year, Isabella started getting little red bumps and was on her way to having an eczema outbreak.

Step 2 Laundry Routine

The first question a Doctor will ask when you bring in a child with eczema is “do you use dryer sheets?” I’ve written before about how toxic dryer sheets are for the entire family and removing these from a home will immediately improve your home’s environment. But let’s take this a few steps further for children with eczema. Your laundry soap is important to change to no fragrance and no dyes. I love my Ecos liquid laundry detergent and yes, it’s okay for front loading washing machines. Ecos also has a built-in soy based fabric softener which eliminates the need to use dryer sheets or traditional fabric softener that is terrible for sensitive skin. If you can’t find Ecos (I buy mine at Costco or Planet Organic), find a detergent that is marketed for sensitive skin with no fragrance.

Step 3 Household Environmental

My girls like to help clean-up so I needed to ‘green’ those areas if Isabella was going to be helping. Hand soap for dishes was the first area because Isabella loves to play in the sink with bubbles and dirty dishes. I make sure I always have eco-friendly brands available and luckily, these are easy to source.  Isabella also loves helping wash windows. I would never let her spray Windex to ingest, but she uses the Norwex window cloth that only requires spraying water.

My organic cleaner and microfiber cloths have been an amazing solution to spraying toxic cleaners in my home. The Dr. Bronner’s solution is great for cleaning hard wood, counter tops with a microfiber cloth, is made with organic oils, and naturally deodorizes with a wonderful peppermint scent.

Step 4 Direct Skin Contact

If I could afford it, I would replace all my kids t-shirts and PJs with bamboo. But for now, I try to make sure only cotton is against Isabella’s skin.  This is especially important with PJs or nightgowns.

I always find skin irritation occurs when I use crappy sunscreen on Isabella’s skin. I try to only use non-toxic, organic sunscreen.  I never use lotion on her skin either. When she has an outbreak or rash I use Spectro cream because it’s so effective with dry skin.

We haven’t explored play makeup yet, but I invested in non-toxic face paints and they keep all of my kids totally entertained and rash free after we apply them.

This long road of trying to prevent eczema outbreaks and dry skin has been very successful by improving the condition of our home with replacing toxic products that contain chemicals. Isabella was my inspiration for starting Mommy Footprint, born from knowing there is real value in parents sharing experiences and lessons learned in their journey. The cortisone cream that I used on Isabella never worked and I wished I had tried the natural route first. I hope these tips help any parent that are currently watching their poor child or baby experience the discomfort that eczema causes.  If you have any tips to add, please post a comment to this article.

Related Articles:

Treatment for Childhood Eczema

Dryer Sheets & Fabric Softner – A Household Toxin

Are Cosmetics Killing Us?

Gaia Natural Baby Lends A Hand With Childhood Eczema

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Toxic Lipsticks & EWG Kid-Safe Video

Back in February, the Environmental Working Group wrote about lead showing up in popular lipstick brands.  The article ‘The Kiss Of Lead’ stated that 61% of the lipsticks tested, contained lead.   And don’t try looking on the lipstick packaging for lead listed as an ingredient because it wasn’t there.  To put the amount of lead found in perspective, the FDA allows 0.1 ppm (parts per million) limit for lead in candy.  The lipstick with the highest level of lead “L’Oreal Colour Riche – True Red” tested 0.65 ppm of lead.  

Then Canada helped put another toxic spin on lipstick last month by banning 2 chemicals used in lipstick and other personal care products: D4 and D5 siloxanes.  They are found in household items such as lotions, hair care, soaps, baby bottle nipples, cookware and cleaning products.  Their effects on animals include the usual damage to the female reproduction system and uterine tumors.  Solution for lipstick lovers?  Checking the Skin Deep database on the EWG site to research earth-friendly, non-toxic lipstick alternatives.  I did note with interest that many of the MAC products rated 3 for hazard score – that’s not a bad score considering I wouldn’t know where to find most of the products rating a 0 or 1.

Canada’s actions with this current ban of D4 & D5 and taking a stand on banning BPA in baby products last year, shows the Government has real concerns about chemicals and where they are being used. As quoted by the EWGThis action paves the way for possible mandates requiring that companies phase these chemicals out of use, is the first environmental or health-based determination concerning the chemicals issued by any nation”.  I feel reassured by Canada emerging as one of the world’s leaders for protecting it’s consumers from synthetic chemicals.  One of the most chilling messages that has stuck in my head after watching the documentary The Disappearing Male is that we’ve spent the last 100 years creating man-made (untested for effects on human health) synthetic chemicals and we’ll spend the next 100 years finding ways to combat the damage they’ve done to human health and the environment.   We have built our material world using synthetic chemicals with 80,000 of them in use.  85% of these chemicals have not been tested for their effect on human beings ~ very scary statistic.  We need to continue to encourage our governments to lobby for change with targeting and testing synthetic chemicals and their side-effects with human health. 

For my many US readers, I understand you’re not able to view the Disappearing Male documentary (restrictions from the Canadian site).  But, here is another eye-opeing video from the EWG site called Kid-Safe Chemicals Act: 10 Americans Video.  The speaker in the video is Ken Cook (co-founder and president of EWG) in July 2008 speaking about a research project the Environmental Working Group funded that involved checking the blood of 10 random Americans.  They checked each blood sample for 413 toxic chemicals.  Each subject tested positive for an average of 200 chemicals and some pesticides found in their blood were banned more than 30+ years ago.  It is fascinating when Ken reveals who the 10 Americans actually are and how they were selected.  This video is very entertaining and packed with awesome information!

Related articles:

Phthalates & BPA Chemicals ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Part II ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Quick Reference Guide When Shopping For Personal Care Products

Are Cosmetics Killing Us?

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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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Phthalates & BPA Chemicals ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Have you heard about the CBC documentary called The Disappearing Male? A completely fascinating study with experts contributing to the idea that the thousands of man-made chemicals produced in the last 100 years are contributing to boys suffering from a decrease in sperm production, sperm abnormalities, cancer, and genital deformities.  As a mother of two boys, I was totally glued to this 45 minute documentary.  I took notes throughout the film and would like to share the many things I learned.  This topic is so interesting because the 2 chemicals the documentary focused on are BPA and Phthalates – two chemicals I too believe need more attention than only being banned from baby bottles.  There are some scary statistics and harsh realities with watching this video, that I really believe all parents should watch.  Your awareness of how much plastic affects your health will be heightened.  To watch the two minute trailer click here.  Canadians, to watch the 45 min film click here.  Canadians and Americans, to watch the film in 5 chopped up clips, here is the link on YouTube.  I learned so much information, I’m spreading this topic over two Mommy Footprint articles ~ I feel so strongly about this topic and don’t want to overload with too much information within one article.

Part 1: What Is Happening To Boy’s Reproduction and The Human Experiment At Aamjiwnaang

According to the documentary The Disappearing Male, there is a growing body of evidence that something is wrong with the sexual health of human males worldwide.  In the last 50 years, sperm counts have been cut in half ~ scientists believe that boys today, produce 1/2 the sperm their fathers did.  Accompanied with increased rates of male infertility and testicular cancer more than doubled in recent years and why?  Scientists believe that man-made synthetic chemicals are to blame.  In the last 60 years, thousands of man-made compounds have been produced and most have not been tested for how they affect humans.  Examples of these chemicals are BPA, produced to make plastic hard and phthalates to make plastic soft.  It’s not only human scientists noticing these scary trends, but environmental scientists studying animals are finding the same thing…vastly reduced amounts of all male species when living in polluted habitats.  Continue Reading →

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