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Should you be concerned with what your child is coming in contact with? Absolutely. It seems that there are so many harmful chemicals, genetically modified foods, and scary environmental concerns these days — you just can’t ignore it and bury your head in the sand. Did you know that there is BPA on most receipts from stores?
Did you know that:
- There are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the U.S., but comprehensive pre-market safety testing of these chemicals is not required under any federal law.
- In the European Union (EU), 1,328 chemicals have been banned for use in personal care products. In the U.S., only 11 chemicals have been banned or restricted by the FDA.
- Scientific evidence continues to point to the chemicals we are exposed to in our daily lives as causing or contributing to the rise in childhood behavioral disorders and diseases.
- Cancer is now the leading cause of child-related death in the U.S., exceeded only by injury.
- The primary U.S. law that regulates chemicals in everyday products hasn’t been updated in more than 35 years.
Scary stats, right? (Read More after the jump).
Did you also know that:
- Kids are even more susceptible to the risks of chemical exposures than adults; their smaller body size and rapid physical development make them more vulnerable to exposure to pesticide residues and other chemicals.
- Studies have shown that children begin environmental chemical exposure while still in the womb.
- Environmental chemical exposure persists throughout childhood.
- In a study of 10 minority newborns, more than 232 chemicals were found in umbilical cord blood.
- In a study of 10 children’s face paints, all 10 tested positive for lead.
- Studies have found flame-retardants, bisphenol-A and other environmental chemicals in breast milk.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled children’s toys and jewelry for high lead content
Healthy Child, Healthy World offers five simple, affordable actions families can take daily at home to decrease chemical exposure:
1. Take off your shoes at the door: 85 percent of the dirt in our homes is tracked inside on the bottom of our shoes. It’s not just dirt, but toxics like lead, pesticides, gasoline residue and more. Keep your home safer by taking off your shoes. It’s the public health equivalent of washing your hands.
2. Buy safer body care: Children are exposed to an average of 27 care product ingredients on a daily basis that have not been found safe for developing bodies. Protect your family’s health by avoiding products with ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrances & triclosan.
3. Open a window: People spend about 90 percent of their time inside, but indoor air is typically far more polluted than outside. So, open those windows! Even a few minutes a day can improve indoor air quality.
4. Eat more whole foods: Processed foods may be convenient, but they’re also loaded with sweeteners, artificial flavors and colorings, and synthetic preservatives. These lack nutrients and many are also linked to health issues like ADHD and even cancer.
- Research from the University of Washington suggests you can immediately and dramatically reduce the pesticide content in a child’s body by switching to organic foods.
- If you choose organic, you’re staying away from:
- Synthetic hormones
- Toxic Persistent Pesticides
- Artificial Ingredients
5. Ban the can: Bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that has been linked to everything from obesity to cancer, is in the plastic resin that lines most canned goods—from soups to sodas. Look for foods packaged in glass or eat fresh, dried, and frozen options.
For more easy steps, visit www.healthychild.org/easysteps
What are the main ingredients in products that you should steer clear of if you’re trying to keep a healthy home for your baby?
Parabens, Phthalates, and Triclosan. You should also avoid Formaldehyde-releasers, and there is a long list of these (they usually have long names like DMDM hydantoin). The problem with these is that the ingredient itself isn’t formaldehyde, but it releases formaldyhede into the product, which ends up on your skin. You can read Seventh Generation’s Label Reading Guide here.
How do you prioritize being green with babies and kids when you have a budget?
Look at your budget and decide beforehand what you will do. Consider starting to do things like taking shoes off at the door – that’s free and it will make a difference!
Then start with the products and food you purchase. You can follow the Environmental Working Group to see which fruits and vegetables are the least contaminated and start by eating those.
You can do things like buy one more expensive green cleaning product and then make another product yourself, like natural dish soap, so that they balance each other out.
Being green is about buying less stuff, and the less money you spend, the more money you are able to use on a little bit more expensive and green products.
What products are safe to use to clean my child’s plastic booster seat and my vinyl tablecloth?
You can use a disinfectant, but it is important to know that not all disinfectants are created equal. If you’re cleaning food residue, choose one with an active ingredient that you recognize. Seventh Generation uses the ingredient Thymol (from the plant Thymol, which you use to cook), a great disinfectant that kills germs and fungi. If you’re just cleaning regular grease or dirt, you can use an all-purpose cleaner.
Vinyl tablecloths are not recommended because of the toxins they contain. Vinyl is known as the “poison plastic,” so if you can, choose a cloth tablecloth or another alternative!
How should I wash fruits and vegetables to make sure they are clean?
Use water! If you’re using a certain kind of food cleaner, you might actually be adding chemicals to the foods that you are about to eat. If you want something more than just water, you can add a little bit of vinegar to the water to wash the produce.
What are the best natural tips for cleaning carpet and keeping your home healthy for your kids?
To remove stains, you want to look for a stain remover that is an oxygen-based stain remover. Seventh Generation has a very versatile powdered, oxygen-based cleaning product. You simply dilute it, make a little bit of paste and put it on the stain. A little bit of this is powerful and will remove stains like motor oil and red wine! Remember to read your labels and understand what you’re dealing with.
If you’re looking for a rug, choose a rag or cotton rug that you can easily throw into the washing machine. If you have to have carpet, choose a natural fiber without plastic backing. You also want one that is nailed to your floors instead of glued to your floors.
What products are the safest for cleaning hardwood floors while babies and toddlers are crawling and toddling around?
Seventh Generation dish soap with a little bit of water works very well! The Free & Clear Natural Dish Soap (no fragrance) is recommended.
What are the top three issues parents should be aware of in the home?
- Make sure your house doesn’t have lead paint and that your radon level in your basement is acceptable. Think of the big issues in the environment of the home, and take care of them.
- Take control of what is going into your kids’ mouths. For babies, think about safer bottles (glass instead of plastic) and pacifiers. For older children, purchase and begin eating whole and organic foods.
- Be aware of your indoor air quality. The air inside is usually more polluted than outside! A few changes you can make to help include: open house windows more, take off your shoes inside and don’t use a vinyl shower curtain.
Thank you to Healthy Child, Healthy World, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farms and The Motherhood. for sponsoring this virtual party. I learned a lot about how to make things safer for my children. As always, all opinions are my own.