Tag Archives | toxic to human health

Going Forward From Earth Day – 5 Tips

We know I’m not one for keeping it short, but I figure I’ve expanded on posts dear to my heart already within the article so I’ll include the link if you’d like more information. I honestly believe that at this point we are all making conscience decisions in our everyday lives and maybe that’s why Earth Day felt a little less hyped this year. If that is the case – that is awesome. If you are new to the process of ‘greening’ your life, here are 5 tips that will help you. Also remember, anything that is harmful to the environment is also toxic to human health. So if you’re not quite ready to change your lifestyle or consumerism for the planet, think about making these changes to help your family live a longer and healthier life.  Here we go!

1) Vow to never again use the self cleaning option on your oven. This convenience based option is known to kill household pets. Non-stick surfaces combined with very high heat produces a terrible toxic off-gassing that is not healthy for your household. Read more here.

2) Take an hour and review your personal care products on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This is the best resource for identifying cosmetics, sunscreen, personal care products that might contain toxic ingredients. This is a valuable resource to check before you go shopping for that next bottle of shampoo or item for baby. With the number of options out there today, check out how your cosmetics score and switch over to non-toxic, organic products.

3) Think about your family’s fragrance. What does this mean? When you go out in public – is there any part of you that could cause a reaction to someone sensitive to synthetic scents? I get a reaction from people that use dryer sheets or fabric softener. Think about the synthetic scents you omit in public including perfumes, deodorants, household cleaners/air fresheners, and laundry routine. For more information click here.

4) Let the outdoors in! Did you know that the inside of your home is probably filled with more toxins that the outdoors? Ban all room deodorizers and simply open a window. Let the fresh air truly ‘freshen’ your home and eliminate odors. For more information click here.

5) Consumerism…this one’s important. It’s the biggest problem with the environment and the clutter taking over our homes. You need to think about every purchase you make. Where will it end up? Where was it manufactured? What is it made from? These are the questions we should ask every time we purchase that next Easter gift, birthday gift, clothing shop, etc. If nothing else, you asking these questions will promote change. I have personally witnessed this shift in consumerism mentality. I know parents love to ask “where is this product manufactured?” I know from asking hundreds of parents that they will pay more for having something made locally and supporting a local artist or toy maker. Let’s keep this shift in how we shop going and reach every industry and let them know it’s important. We want locally manufactured goods that are safe for our families. Period. It’s no longer acceptable to produce toxic toys overseas and have our children play and wear toxic chemicals. My hope is that by this day next year, Earth Day is only symbolic of what we incorporate into our lives everyday and that we ask ourselves these questions everyday.

I read an article by Lisa Frack from EWG that made me really think about Earth Day changes and wanted to share. For more information on changes you can make that will help your health and planet, read her article called If You’ve Done One Thing, You’ve Done Something. I for one will be looking into a water filter. I also have a few idea I’ll be implementing at my kid’s school that I’ll share. What about you?

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Abeego Flats – Natural Alternative To Plastic Wrap

I can eliminate one toxic product from my kitchen now that I’ve tested Abeego Flats. What is the item I’ll be eliminating since I know it leeches chemicals directly into my food?  That would be plastic wrap.  I don’t use it for much anymore but I hadn’t found a way to seal my brick of cheese (even though it makes me cringe), to cover plates with leftover food in bowls, and cut fruit (like melons) that need a cover to stay fresh. What are Abeego Flats?  They are Eco food packaging sold in squares made from hemp/cotton fabric infused with beeswax and plant extracts.  You can smell and feel the beeswax on this product and it’s glorious. How does it look on a brick of cheese?  Check out the picture from the Abeego fan page and I’ve included it because my brick of cheese looks just like this! It’s so much better than using plastic food wrap that should never directly touch food.

The rectangle in the above picture is what your brick of cheese will look like after it’s removed from the plastic packaging and replaced with Abeego. You just re-wrap it after each use. It’s long been my peeve that the texture of my cheese is glossy on the parts that rub against the soft plastic it’s purchased in – I actually cut off the outside because I’m convinced the plastic has leeched into the cheese because the texture has been altered…spongy rather than firm like the rest of the cheese. So I’m pretty excited that these Abeego Flats actually work!  It could have easily been a disappointment – looking too good to believe, but I’ve watched this company develop over the last few years and I’m very happy with the results. Being able to replace more of the places in my kitchen where I use plastic wrap is awesome. It honestly makes me feel like a pioneer from many years ago – like I’m using a secret, old school method of food storage. I’m sure before the revolution of plastic, people used cloth to keep food fresh and the few seconds longer it take me to cover food with Abeego gives me a feeling of pride.  I really, really, really dislike PVC and don’t understand how it’s legal for companies to put it in products we use – especially with our food and products our children are in contact with.  PVC is known as the ‘poison’ plastic and I’m very happy to have this very ‘green’ product to replace PVC or plastic containing phthalates or plasticizers directly touching my food.  Isn’t the below example of covering food beautiful?

To place an Abeego flat around a bowl like the examples above, you just pinch around the edge of the bowl and you’ll feel the beeswax mold around the dish. Please understand that Abeego can replace plastic wrap – but doesn’t necessarily apply to dishes the exact same as plastic wrap.  Like most toxic products – plastic wrap was introduced and marketed to moms promising to make their life easier and more efficient. The act of applying cling wrap is very quick and if the plastic wrap you use is super clingy  – that means there’s lots of chemicals that have been applied to the wrap. These chemicals are toxic to human health.  The Abeego flats take a few extra seconds to use and the seal won’t feel the exact same. But – the desired affect of keeping food fresh does work. I used my Abeego flat on one huge brick of cheese for weeks and it stayed more fresh than using cling wrap. I also used it to wrap cut fruit and have replaced it completely with keeping left-over plates or sauce fresh in my fridge.

Would I buy more of these flats?   Yes.  I don’t know how long they’ll last for – I’ve been using mine for over a month and they are still in great shape.  Funny enough you wash them in cold water in order for them to bounce back into their original shape before using them again.  Would I recommend giving them to a person who loves plastic, has no idea that wrapping food in plastic is a bad thing and loves Saran Wrap?  No. This special product needs to be purchased or given to a person on the road to a greener path. I think most moms are trying to reduce the amount of plastic in their life and know soft plastic should not directly touch food and would love this item.  I haven’t tried Abeego’s sandwich wraps or snack holders but I will because I love the scent, texture and concept of the Abeego line. The below picture is of an Abeego Wrap – perfect size for a sandwich to eliminate a plastic bag.

And while this last note is a little off-topic – I had the pleasure of meeting Abeego owner Toni at a local craft show. I’m normally not a fan of business cards – I think in our world of social media that they are a waste of money and resources. Well I looked down at Toni’s business cards for Abeego and noticed they were made from a tiny square of fabric sealed in beeswax.  I took this unique card and still have it in my kitchen cupboard.  I love the scent of beeswax and I think it’s so cool she infused her logo into this material.

Related articles:

A Plastic Rant

PVC Items In Your Every-Day Life

PVC Plastic ~ The Poison Plastic In Your Home

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Is Your Child’s Bed or Crib Toxic?

A disturbing subject and confusing topic for parents is the toxic sleep environment their children’s mattress or pillows might be creating. I’ve avoided writing this article for many months because I wanted to properly research and frankly, my head couldn’t take any more surprises. I regret procrastinating for so long because once you read this article, you’ll want to make changes.  After spending hours talking with Chelsea, the co-founder of Sleepy Sheep, I have valuable information that can help you determine, rectify, and shop for healthy alternatives if you want your beds to become a truly healthy place where your children, babies, and family can get a restful sleep.

If you are purchasing duvets, mattresses, pillows or simply checking labels on current products in your home, 3 main categories need to be looked at – especially with researching mattresses and pillows! Questions to ask include what materials are used in the production of the ‘outside’ of the product, ‘inside’ of the product and ‘treatment’ of the product – and I don’t mean asking it how they are feeling… <grin>  I mean if the product has been chemically treated.

Outside:

The slippery coating on the outside of a crib mattress could be PVC, otherwise known as vinyl. This coating will off-gas because phthalates and plasticizers have been added to the PVC to make it bendy.  Phthalates are problematic within your baby or child’s bed because they are toxic to human health, can cause reproductive complications (developmentally in boys and fertility in both genders), and cause life-long allergies or asthma problems that begin as babies.

Inside:

What is your mattress, duvet, or pillows filled with? A popular material inside all mattresses, including crib mattresses is polyurethane foam.  Don’t let another long ‘p’ word from the plastics world confuse you. Just think of polyurethane foam as plastic, made with petroleum that is highly flammable. I was having a hard time picturing this material and then I knew how to explain it to parents.  Most or you have received or purchased a Disney licensed foam chair or fold out couch. We’ve had a Pooh Bear chair for years and once had a Sesame Street foldout couch. The foam chairs are fuzzy on the outside, and then you notice the breakdown of yellow chunks coming out the bottom as the foam breaks down… this is polyurethane foam and it’s really disgusting. Not only highly flammable, polyurethane foam off gasses VOCs (volatile organic compounds), especially toluene, formaldehyde which are toxic chemicals found in stinky nail polish.  And with the flammability issue being a problem with fire regulations and the government – question number 3 comes along about what the filling is treated with.

Treatment:

Now that we’ve determined that the filling is flammable, what is it treated with? Besides the chemicals that are already in the filler (polyester, polyurethane foam, etc.) it is now also treated with flame retardants. We are protecting our children from a flammability issue by adding very toxic chemicals to our bed. Our mattresses and pillows are off-gassing us while we sleep. Exposure to flame retardants are so toxic they are a known cause of cancer – just Google brominated flame retardants and ask yourself if these chemicals should be anywhere near a child – especially a baby.  I was shocked to find out from Chelsea that wool is naturally flame retardant and therefore is not subject to chemical flame retardant treatments when it’s used to create mattresses, etc.

I know, I’ve stressed out every parent reading this. If it makes you feel better, I flipped over the queen mattress my younger son has slept on for the last 4 years and everything I’ve just written about was confirmed with reading the mattress tag…polyurethane foam as the only material listed. I also rounded up pillows until I found one with the tag still on it and saw 100% polyester. My nemesis of late – polyester!  Meaning we’ve all had our heads on plastic that has flame retardants in my house!  So trust me that I feel your pain and have equally stressed myself as well.

But all is not doom and gloom since I had several light-bulb moments while talking with Sleepy Sheep’s co-founder yesterday.  Chelsea gave me two very easy and low-cost steps you can make right away that will assist every bed in your home to become a healthier place….without having to budget for a wool mattress (not yet anyway).

Did you know that wool is naturally anti-bacterial, naturally flame resistant (!!), naturally breathable, and a natural allergen prohibitor because it’s a bad host to irritants such as dust mites?  Wool is the superior material used in organic or natural bedding, mattresses, and pillows because of these wonderfully natural properties. I find it so hard to believe that chemical flame retardants could be eliminated in our beds if they simply contained wool, rather than synthetic materials. I loved learning that if Chelsea could recommend one change for a family to improve the ‘health’ of their bed it would be to replace your pillows with wool batting interior. And really, that makes a lot of sense. Think of the hours you spend with your nose and mouth inhaling the material of whatever your pillow is made from. Most pillows are made with polyester fill (plastic) which is not healthy and Sleepy Sheep sells pillows made with wool balls called knops. These are little balls of wool and you can choose your level of fullness and voila ~ you’ve made a very inexpensive change to creating a healthier sleep environment.

Another great insight from Chelsea was that their number one selling product are organic mattress toppers for crib mattresses and adult size mattresses. That tells me that people at some level know how disgusting the inside of a mattress is and want a barrier between their bodies and a traditional mattress.  Check out this awesome tidbit from Chelsea – organic mattress toppers allow airflow around your body and because the interior of the topper contains wool, it’s fibers wick away a person’s sweat, and this moisture actually absorbs toxins that are off-gassing from a traditional mattress and causes the toxins to evaporate. I thought this was cool! The seal between your body and the traditional mattress is not 100% of course, but this alternative is obviously better than continuing to sleep on a mattress that is toxic to your heath. These toppers are a great alternative for parents just not ready to commit to the financial investment of an organic mattress.

When talking about a crib or child’s mattress, I really believe there is no financial compromise with their health. When new parents are spending $500 easily on strollers, I don’t think $250 is expensive for a healthy crib mattress where your baby will spend most of it’s time. Especially for a first baby – I think an organic mattress needs to be at the top of the list for people having baby showers. What better gift for a baby than the gift of health and a truly restful place to sleep.

I have more information that I will save for Part II and III of this series of toxic beds. There is a lot to learn and I encourage you to post comments to this article and share what you discovered once you started reading mattress, pillow, and duvet tags.  Let’s try to get through the information together.

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