What Are Phthalates? Nix Them in 3 Easy Steps

rubber duckCan a rubber ducky make your kids fat? A 2012 study found a connection between a chemical found in PVC and kids’ obesity: Children with the highest level of the common phthalate di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) in their blood were nearly five times as likely to be obese as children with the lowest levels.

But what are phthalates? These chemicals, also known as plasticizers, are used to soften plastic. (Want to know why that your old ball gets brittle? That’s because phthalates have leached out of it.) They also serve to help personal care products penetrate the skin, as well as preserve synthetic fragrances. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

When to Toss An Off Gassing Toy

young brunette girl holding blonde dollYes, I admit it. I killed Baby Ava.

Now of course we’re not talking homicide—I’m a mother of three myself. No, this was far more insidious. Baby Ava was a doll. A Christmas doll that my daughter had grabbed from under the tree and didn’t let go.

My daughter adored Baby Ava with a love bordering on obsession. Wanted to hold her in her arms during the day and sleep with her at night. Never let the doll out of her sight.

The innocent little blue-eyed plastic wonder was a gift from my dad, who doesn’t think about potentially lethal lead poisoning or organic cotton options. Like most grandfathers, he just wants to make my daughter happy. And he thought happy came in a big pink box shipped straight from Beijing. [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…]

1 Minute + 3 Ingredients = How to Make Perfume, Naturally

beautiful blonde model sniffing her wrist with a perfume bottle in handThere’s nothing like meeting your future mother-in-law only to realize that you wear the same perfume.

Not only does this mean that your fantastically expensive bottle of sweet nothings must go straight to the recycling bin, but it also brings to mind a whole host of questions.

Does he not know and has some some sort of olfactory problem? Does he just not care and would love you even if you smelled like you hadn’t showered for a week? Or maybe he likes the fact that you and his mom would be indistinguishable in a blindfolded sniff test—and in that case, you’re in a whole lotta trouble, sister.

[Read more…]

3 Steps to Natural Beauty

red-haired model in drugstore aisle looking at a labelGot a minute? Take a look at your bathroom shelves. If you’re like most women, you’re using about 12 different beauty products each day.

Now flip to the ingredients panel of your favorite product—a lotion, perhaps, or sunscreen—and settle in for a good read. Do the ingredients number a dozen or more? Probably. Can you pronounce them? Probably not.

Yet those 12 beauty products deliver an average 168 potentially toxic ingredients to your body each and every day.  [Read more…]

Natural Deodorant Secret to Daily Dryness + DIY

model using natural deodorantFor a long time, I used natural deodorants every day, but for a big meeting or a hot date, I couldn’t risk soaking through my sleeves.

Because let’s face it: Natural deodorants simply do not work as well as antiperspirants at controlling wetness. To do that, you have to block pores with a coating of potentially carcinogenic chemicals.

But I soon learned that there’s a secret (pun intended) to using natural deodorant to control odor. Want to know more? Read on! [Read more…]