Archive | Ask Suzanne Questions

BPA In Dental Fillings and Sealants

I received a question via ‘Ask Suzanne’ from a parent concerned about BPA being placed in their children’s cavity fillings.  Thanks for this question!

With the debates regarding BPA usually targeting baby bottles or canned food items, the topic of BPA in our dental work may have flown under your radar. (I mean really, how much BPA information is one parent able to retain?)   I’ve heard grumblings on other blogs about this issue, but the information on BPA leaching from household plasticsfar outways this topic.  Studies have found detectable levels of BPA in the saliva of patients after they received sealants or fillings.  Maybe not a big deal for adults who have a larger mass to absorb chemicals, but what about a toddler or child that requires dental work?  The thought of BPA leaching even a miniscule amount into my kid’s mouth is a horrible thought.

Most pediatric dentists have said the affect of this is minuscule – no affect.   See more on these opinions via this news clip from CTV news.  But the words of Aaron Freemen, policy director of Environmental Defence, from the same interview, put me on edge. 

“Regardless of how low the exposure level may be, BPA is a toxic substance that shouldn’t be used in any consumer products.  This is not the sort of chemical that we should be putting in people’s mouths, particularly children’s mouths.”

BPA is, after all, the chemical that Canada declared dangerous. Would you want something toxic put in your mouth?  Of course not.

So as parents, what can we do?  If your child (or yourself) is getting a cavity filled, ask your dentist if the sealant or filling contains BPA.  Remember, we’ve just stopped using mercury-based amalgam fillings after years of controversy.  Hopefully your dentist can put you at ease.  If your dentist is using BPA what are the alternatives?  Alastair Nicoll, president of the British Columbia Dental Association says, “derivatives of BPA are still the most common ingredient in sealants and fillings because alternatives such as porcelain don’t work as well and aren’t as practical.”

Health Canada is compiling a list of all materials that contain BPA, but as a mother of 4, I don’t know if I’m more scared or curious to see the next place this chemical is lurking.

BPA another place to worry.

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Home Made & Eco Friendly Cleaning Solutions

A great question arrived recently via ‘Ask Suzanne’.  Here is a snippet:

“My kids love helping me clean the house, but I usually tell them that I am happy for their help but I don’t want them handling all those yucky cleaning products.  Do you know any good recipes for home made, eco and kid friendly cleaning solutions?”

I could not agree more.  I would love to hand my kids a rag when they follow me around wanting to help clean, but I don’t want them inhaling toxic products.  We all probably know the most common home made cleaning product – vinegar, but I’ve also included recipes that include baking soda, lemon juice, olive oil, and rubbing alcohol.  If anyone has other home made cleaning recipes that are favorites, please post them using the ‘comment’ feature.

I’m giddy after researching this question, because I had no idea vinegar has so many different uses.  I had no idea you can use it to kill weeds!  The front of my house is in need of a dandelion bombing, but I didn’t want to use toxic weed poison so this information is timely!  I’ll just fill up some squirt bottles with vinegar and let my boys have target practice….another eco friendly kid’s project.  Here are some other uses for vinegar:

Glass/window cleaner.  Mix 2 teaspoons white vinegar with 1 litre warm water to clean glass.  Use a soft cloth or crumbled newspaper to clean.  

Ant Repellent.  If you’re looking for an ant deterrent, white distilled vinegar is a natural product for this purpose when used to wipe counter tops, cabinets and floors.

Stainless steel appliance cleaner.  Apply vinegar to shammy or soft cloth and apply.

Fabric Softener.  Vinegar works great as a fabric softener substitute because it cuts detergent residue.  Add 1 cup of undiluted white vinegar in the rinse cycle – this is a good tip if you have a person with sensitive skin in your family.

Vinegar works as a deodorizer.  1 cup of apple vinegar set in a glass in the fridge will remove smells in 2 days.  Boil 1/4 cup white vinegar and mix with 1 cup water in the microwave and use to loosen food and it will deodorize at the same time.

White vinegar can be used to clean soap residue, bathtub film,  and toilet bowl stains.  3 cups of white distilled vinegar will deodorize your toilet if left for 1/2 hour.  Here is a recipe for toilet bowl cleaner:

Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar.
Pour into bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Scrub.

This has nothing to do with cleaning, but I thought this was brilliant!  Apparently vinegar can fix a worn DVD that has begun to skip or suffers from freeze-frame (seriously!).  You apply vinegar to a soft cloth and wipe the DVD, ensure it’s dry, then insert into DVD player.  Good god, could it be this easy?  This one I’ll be trying tomorrow…stay tuned.

Baking soda is another commonly used home made cleaning product.  Get your child to sit on your kitchen floor, give him/her cups of vinegar and a box of baking soda.  They will believe they are mixing a ‘magic potion’ because of the fizzle/mild explosion effect.  The bigger the mess, the better, because you can clean your floors with the spills after play time is over.  Angelo washed his pennies doing little potions for over an hour last week.  It was a great way for him to pass the time and it forced mommy to wash the floors. Continue Reading →

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