Saturday, April 18, 2009

Make a Change this Earth Day (April 22nd)

Earth Day is almost here. Have you made a commitment yet? On April 22nd, do something to show how much you care for Mother Earth - the planet we are borrowing from our children.

Decide to make a change by joining this year's Earth Day events in your community and, if you can, by changing one thing in your daily life.

Choose one simple thing that you and your family can commit to like hanging your clean clothes to dry on the line, turning off the water while brushing your teeth or leave the car in the garage and walk/bike instead as often as you can.

Be a good example for your children and show them just how important our planet is!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is Johnson & Johnson finally thinking of their consumers?

Not at all. J&J has recently announced that they are voluntarily phasing out Phthalates - but not until 2012. Why the 3 year delay? I have no idea. Not only that, this toxic ingredient is only one toxic ingredient found in their products. My opinion is that they are finally starting to be exposed for not actually living up to their claims of offering 'pure' products.

A study was recently conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (a well known & respected national coalition of nonprofit health and environmental organizations)on popular children's bath products that claim to be 'safe & gentle'. It exposed many popular brands with having toxic chemicals in their products that have been linked to major health conditions - and you will not even know that these products contain some of these ingredients!

However as you may already anticipate most of these large companies are not what they claim to be. Johnson & Johnson claims their shampoo to be a 'mild, tearless formula baby shampoo that is as gentle to the eyes as pure water' yet contain toxic ingredients including formaldehyde (a toxin banned in personal care products in both Japan and Sweden) and 1,4-dioxane. Both of these chemicals are by-products of chemical manufacturing and product formulation. So you will not find them on the ingredient list on any packaging.

This report is the first to document the widespread contamination of children’s products with formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. But it's not only J & J products that are toxic for your little one. Other products included in this study with the same results include Sesame Street Bubble Bath, Grins & Giggles Milk & Honey Baby Wash and Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash.

The greatest danger in terms of most studies conducted is that many companies do not test on repeated exposure to many of these toxins. So although some of these products only contain small amounts of these ingredients, the fact that our children are exposed to them through various sources is a reason to be alarmed. For example, there may only be trace amounts of Formaldehyde in your baby's shampoo however it may also be in their body wash and lotion. Formaldehyde is not only in personal care products but also in things like building products (including furniture), new clothes, etc. So our children are exposed to this toxin on a regular basis!

Our children cannot handle these chemicals like an adult can. That is why we need to take special care of their little bodies. Their immune system is not as strong and they are less able to detoxify their systems. That is why they need to be exposed to as many safe & natural products as possible. Unfortunately we really cannot trust these companies, especially with the most precious little people in this world. Know what you are exposing your children to - knowledge is the key to protecting them.

No More Toxic Tub Report

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Ban on Pesticides in Ontario

There seems to be quite a bit of controversy over the impending ban on cosmetic pesticides this coming Spring, especially in farming communities like Chatham-Kent. I want to know what the controversy is really about. The ban directly affects residential property for cosmetic purposes – which are sprayed more intensively than most farms.

Some people claim that it will contribute to the potential fall of the economy due to job loss in this industry. However many others claim that this ban will actually create jobs and enhance our economy as more manual labour will be needed. This method also requires some specialized knowledge of plant and soil ecology which homeowners often lack - hence the increased reliance on organic professionals. Many organic lawn products are also produced right here in Ontario, yet another way of creating more jobs. Not only that, a recent survey of Ontario lawn companies show that ‘the price of pesticide-free services is competitive with traditional services and is sometimes exactly the same.’

The most obvious factor is that chemicals are man-made chemicals that have interfered with the nature’s way. Pesticides have been blamed by many trusted sources for the downfall of species including diminishing numbers of frogs as well as bees. They have also been to blame for health conditions including cancer, ADD, infertility & birth defects. Pesticides are applied to lawns for cosmetic purposes. However while your lawn may look ‘perfect’, the rain washes it into local soil & water sources including streams & rivers killing not only frogs & bees but also fish, birds, earthworms, and other necessary species.

Lastly your children play in your yard. Children, because of their physiology and behaviour, are exposed to greater quantities of pesticides than adults, and are more vulnerable to their toxic effects. A National Cancer Institute survey in the US indicated that children are six times more likely to get childhood leukemia when pesticides are used in the home and garden.^ Not only that, the pesticides are then carried into your home allowing these chemicals to linger for months and even years contaminating things like furniture, carpets and even children’s toys. The Ontario College of Family Physicians conducted research on pesticide exposure and concluded that, “Our review has found evidence of serious harmful effects in several areas including cancer, reproductive effects and impacts on the nervous system. These effects are found in both occupational and home and garden exposures.”

Some feel that these claims are false. However even if there is a chance that pesticides are harmful to yourself, your pets and your children, why take this chance? As parents we cannot let others decide what is best for our children. Educate yourself & do what you can to live in a less toxic world.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is this toxin making you Fat?

I have talked about the toxic chemical, BPA (Bisphenol-A) and the fact that it is essentially a synthetic version of Estrogen. You have to know that anything 'synthetic' should not be consumed - our body is not built to break these types of substances down. So, what happens? Negative health issues like cancer.

However what I haven't mentioned in previous posts, is yet another condition that is linked with this toxin - obesity. BPA is believed to interfere with the body hormones that regulates fat levels and helps prevent obesity. Research has also shown that BPA may actually encourage the growth of fat cells.

Pregnant? According to recent research, women who are pregnant & who consume food/beverages wrapped in plastic or from plastic containers could give their unborn baby the obesity issues later in life. This is believed to be a concrete link to increased obesity, starting earlier in life, in our youth today. These damaging effects also seem to be permanent.

Now of course the chemical industry disputes these findings. They claim these synthetic chemicals are 'safe'. I just cannot imagine how anyone can believe this. However if everyone knew the truth, these companies would be out of business. Even if there is question in this - is it worth it to take the chance?


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Make this Year a Green One: Tips

So the holidays are over and life is starting to get back to normal. It's the beginning of a new year so why not start it right? You are obviously reading my blog because you want to educate yourself on how you can live a greener lifestyle. So I'm going to give you a few tips as to how you can so this. Just choose the tips you really think you can do - even if it's one. One may not seem like much but if you stick to it throughout 2009 the difference you will make overall will be huge.
  • Cards: How many cards do you think you & your family get each year? With birthdays, Valentine's Day and especially the holidays you are wasting a lot of paper (not to mention precious trees). So why not reuse them..? Your Christmas cards can be trimmed and used for next years gift tags. You can use these cut outs for scrapbooking or crafts. Be creative!
  • Packaging: Buy products that contain less packaging material. When shopping for your kids, opt for toys that don't contain a lot of plastic. Most often this plastic is not recyclable and it just ends up clogging up our landfills. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon to offer products with less waste. Buy from these companies whenever you can. Also try buying products that are refillable. For example, spend a bit more on a nice soap pump for your bathroom/kitchen and refill it with the large containers of liquid soap. It wastes less plastic and you'll also save money!
  • Recycled Goods: When you go to the grocery you'll now see more products that are created with biodegradable, sustainable and/or recycled elements. Make a resolution to switch at least one of your every day products to something more eco-friendly. Buy your kids a reusable lunch pail with a stainless steel bottle that can be filled with juice or water. You can buy anything from toilet paper made with recycled fibers to clothing produced from sustainable sources like bamboo (and it's safer for you & your family to wear organic clothing like bamboo as it's not sprayed with harmful chemicals).
  • Shop Local: Look for locally manufactured products. Produce is an easy thing to shop for locally when it's the right time of the year. Local is beneficial in many ways:
~ Puts money back into our ecomony
~ Less transportation is used - hence less emissions being released into the air we breathe - making it easier on our environment
~ Fresher is better. Did you know that more and more nutrients are lost in produce the longer it sits? So strawberries imported from Costa Rica will contain less valuable vitamins than a fruit stand selling strawberries from their fields on the side of a road
~ We can trust the source. Some people will buy organic because it's called organic. However, the regulations in Mexico are much different than our regulations. So an 'organic' tomato from Mexico may be less healthy for you than an apple purchased at a local apple orchard.

Please note: When trying to decide on which local produce market to buy from, don't be afraid to ask them how they grow their produce. They may spray only in the flowering stages or may spray the actual fruit/vegetable. Obviously the less pesticides, the better!

There are many more products you can buy that are created locally. Simply do an online search for what you are looking for before heading out the door - you might be surprised what is available in your region of the world. Also try to shop at local retailers. Chances are these stores will carry as many domestic products as they can.

For my new year's resolution for my blog, I vow to publish at least 1 post a week. If you have any suggestions as to what you would like to hear about, please let me know. Happy New Year!