Why You Should Care About Chemical Safety

capitol building with white clouds behind itAutism, ADHD, asthma and allergies — increasingly, they’re all being linked to chemicals in our environment. Babies are now born pre-polluted with more than 200 industrial chemicals in their blood, just from pre-natal exposure. How can that not have an effect?

Yet the manufacturing industry’s position remains firm, lobbying that regulating chemicals will hurt small businesses, leading to increased production costs and job losses.

As a result, there are still 84,000 chemicals used in commerce that have never been tested for children’s safety. They are supposed to be regulated by the Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TSCA) but it doesn’t have a lot to do with chemical safety.

Guess how many chemicals have been restricted since TSCA was passed in 1976? Five. Yes, you read that right. Five. But luckily, there are changes afoot. [Read more…]

2 Steps to Eliminate Food Dyes Linked to ADHD

adhd inducing food dyes in bright colored candyDo your kids get hyper after eating candy? It might not be the sugar—but could be the color. Studies have found a link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children.

Some even see a link between food dyes—which trigger the release of histamines, part of the body’s immune system—and allergies, as well as ADHD, which affects 5.2 million American children.

Yet in 2012, an FDA advisory committee determined that the science was too weak to support a ban on artificial food dyes or a warning label on foods that contain them.

Apparently, that’s not the case in Europe, where regulations require such a warning label, forcing European companies to substitute natural colors for dyes. [Read more…]

Want a Natural Pregnancy? 12 Tips to Protect Your Baby for Life

little girl listening to her mom's natural pregnancy bellyGetting ready for baby—or pregnancy? Congratulations! Going green for your growing belly—or for when you bring that baby home—sounds good on paper, but is a natural pregnancy doable in reality? Yes! Here’s how:

1. Eat organic: The dangers of common pesticide exposure are equal to those of smoking during pregnancy: low birth weight and early labor. Studies have shown that eating organic for just five days can eliminate many of the pesticides—linked to cancer, among other health problems—in our bodies. Following the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists can reduce your family’s exposure by 80 percent. [Read more…]

3 Tips to Ditch Dangerous Sunscreen

brunette girl sitting in beach chair applies sunscreen from a bottleIt’s sunscreen season—there are aisles devoted to it in drugstores and stacks at supermarket checkout stands.

A new study published in Pediatrics shows that melanoma rates have increased among children and teens at two percent a year from 1973 to 2009—the American Cancer Society predicts that the condition will affect nearly 80,000 people in 2013.

Yes you know that UVA fights aging and UVB combats burning. But do you know what’s safe—and what works? You could get a degree in toxicology and try to decipher the ingredient list on the back of the bottle, or you could take the lazy mom’s way out. [Read more…]

4 Steps to Keep Your Family Safe From Cell Phone Radiation

teen girl smiling while looking at cell phone and lying on her bedA few years back my son embarked on the bright and shiny adventure known as Middle School. Suddenly, his academic world quadrupled in size to a 2,000-kid student body. So my husband and I did what any responsible parents would do: We got him a phone.

According to the non-profit Teens Turning Green, of the more than four billion people who have cell phones, half are under the age of 20.

Yet because of their thinner skulls, children receive double the cell phone radiation exposure as adults, according to the Environmental Health Trust.

Long-term cell phone use significantly increases brain tumor risk. And those who began using cell phones as teens have four to five times greater risk of developing malignant brain tumors. [Read more…]

Body by Vegan

alicia silverstone in short shorts and strawberry t-shirtA few years ago, a friend forwarded me a picture of Alicia Silverstone. The subject line was simple: body by vegan.

It got my attention. Because even though I try to exercise two or three times a week, there remains that stubborn five pounds of fat that took hold right below my belly button while I was pregnant and never came off.

Now I know that I’m active and healthy, and I knock wood daily for that. But there is a vain teenager inside of every woman. And on the day that my friend sent me Alicia Silverstone’s picture, that teen spoke up. I wanted to have a body by vegan. Desperately.

The photo-sending friend happens to be a vegan, mind you. And she also happens to be very thin, which may have less to do with the fact that she doesn’t eat animal products, and more to do with the fact that when you don’t eat animal products there is really very little that you can eat. Why live like that? [Read more…]

Head Lice Repelling Secrets, Revealed

health-parent-eco-organic-lice-haircut-mommy-greenest-photoIf you have a child in school, chances are she will get head lice at some point or another. You can be the most vigilant hair-washer on the planet, your kid’s head could practically sparkle, but one day you’ll look over and she’ll be scratchy-scratching at her scalp.

My daughter had it first. Now, this is not entirely surprising. Despite the tightness of my braiding, the firmness of my pony tailing and the sternness with which I lectured that she’d get lice if she didn’t keep her hair back, she always came home from school with it loose. [Read more…]

Great Garlic Made Easy

garlic clovesEverything is better with garlic—even your health. Studies prove the herb can reduce high blood pressure and fight off infections; some even show evidence that fresh garlic can kill antibiotic-resistant staph, E. coli and salmonella bacteria.

Who knew?

The best way to get garlic into your diet is to keep it pre-prepared so that you don’t have to stink up your hands each time you want to cook with it. [Read more…]