The Green Queen Corner

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Organic Air Purifiers – Cheap and Natural Filters that Improve Indoor Air Quality February 26, 2007

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Tip! Bananas: Non-organic bananas from Central and South America are produced using benomyl (linked to birth defects) and chloropyrifos (neurotoxin).

NATURAL AIR FILTERS

Plants are the original organic air purifiers! In our constant societal quest for newer, faster, and better technologies we seem to often overlook time-tested and common sense solutions to some of our basic needs. In our fast paced society we are more likely to shell out hundreds of dollars on a quick fix to our problems that to step back and examine each situation in a broader context.

The equatorial rainforests of our planet are the living and organic air filtration systems for our Earth’s atmosphere. Without this delicate biological air purification system our global ecological systems would slowly deteriorate over time. You can harness the same natural benefits of biological air filtration on a much smaller scale by introducing plants into your indoor living space.

 

INDOOR AIR POLLUTION RISKS

With the rise in the amount of time most people now spend within indoor air environments it has become even more important to understand the threats and risks of prolonged exposure to indoor air pollution. Our indoor environments are littered with chemicals, compounds, and poisons that are continuously breaking down at a chemical level and “off-gassing” their irritants and by-products into the air we breathe.

Examples of common indoor pollutants include cigarette smoke, building materials, floor coverings, paints, adhesives and other sources. The situation becomes worse in office buildings with lots of other sources of pollutants. Tools such as printers, fax machines, photocopiers, paper and pressboard furniture emit different types of harmful contaminants. Those include ammonia, benzene, xylene, toluene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, etc. Regular exposure these contaminants leads to different types of disorders such as breathing problems, headaches, burning eyes and throat, lethargy and other allergy-like symptoms.

Tip! Join a food cooperative. A food co-op is kind of a buyers club for affordable, fresh, local organic and natural products.

PLANTS CAN HELP

The most natural way to fight indoor air pollution is to use plants. Besides brightening up a room, they have real benefits in improving the indoor air quality. They absorb various toxic emissions from the synthetic materials such as carpeting, paint and furniture. As a result, we can have cleaner and more pure air to breathe inside our homes or offices. NASA scientists have found out that indoor plants can extract volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from the air. They contain toxic vapors such as ammonia, benzene, xylene, toluene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, etc. Plants break down the chemicals after absorbing them into their leaves. They absorb the chemicals through stomata, the microscopic openings in the leaves. Then the toxins reach the root zone where the root microbes of the plants biodegrade the pollutants. The plants use these biodegraded pollutants as food.

Tip! Strawberries: 500 pounds of pesticide an acre is sprayed on non-organic strawberries.

However, you need to remember that some houseplants can be poisonous to your health. Therefore, you need to be very careful while choosing plants for your home or office. Read more on which plants are good organic air purifiers.

AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS CAN SUPPLEMENT PLANTS

Depending on the amount of indoor air space you have the number of plants required to filter your air may be impractical and take up too much of your living space. This is where it may make sense to research and find a decent air purification system that suits your indoor environment and help your plants with some of the air filtration duties. There are many types, styles and models to choose from so we encourage you to do your research and compare them carefully.

Tip! Failing to plan – Planning is crucial to a successful organic veggie garden. You need to consider the aspect of your plot/s.

About the Author

S.A. Smith is a freelance writer, contributor, and editor of the Air Purifiers Review information portal.

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Making Living Green, Organic, Non-toxic Easier for Mom, 14 Tips January 21, 2007

Many people ask me how to start going organic and live a healthy organic lifestyle? There are so many products, so much information they don’t know where to start. Other questions I get are: Do I need to buy everything organic, food, cleaning products, clothes, personal care and skin care products? Are you vegan? Do I have to throw everything away and start from scratch? Where do I start? It gets expensive. What does it mean by going organic?

Lets start with my definition of going organic and living an organic lifestyle. To me going organic is more than the food I eat. It is about making healthy choices with the food I eat, the products I use in my home, on my skin and body, and in my garden. To me organic, green, non-toxic living is about eliminating toxins from our homes and life. It is about the environment and ensuring that it is clean and healthy because last time I checked we are all earthlings which means we are part of the environment. If the environment is unhealthy then so are the earthlings. Finally, going organic, non-toxic and green is treading lightly on the earth so that I leave it better than I found it for future generations.

Here are some simple steps to help you transform your home from conventional, toxic to organic, non-toxic, safe, green and healthy. First I would like to say that it isn’t about being perfect or having everything in your life organic and green. A few simple changes will make a huge difference in the way you feel and in moving forward to an organic, green, non-toxic, healthy lifestyle. Take one step at a time and have fun.

There are a couple of different ways you can incorporate organic living into your lifestyle. One is to use the products you have now, finish them and replace them with healthy, organic choices as needed. The other choice is to throw everything away and replace your old choices with healthy new organic products. Either choice is awesome. Note: If you are throwing away cleaning products that are made with chemicals be sure to do it properly. Contact your local waste management company and ask them how to safely dispose of chemical products.

I took the slow less expensive root and used products until they were finished then I replaced them with green, organic choices. Products like food, cleaning products, personal care, skin care and gardening products were choices I started with when I went green. I took one step at a time to a green, organic lifestyle. It seems the more I do the more that I want to do.

Remember do what is right for you not what your friends and neighbors are doing. You and your family are the only factors to consider here. Also it isn’t about being perfect or who is doing the most or making the biggest changes. What matters is that you are giving your family healthy choices and every healthy choice you make for your family is one step closer to the short term and long term health goals you want to achieve.

Take one step at a time and notice how the changes are affecting your family and how you feel about these changes. Maybe keep a diary of why you want to live an organic, green, non-toxic lifestyle and then note in the diary the changes that you are making and how they are affecting your family’s health.

For example, maybe you have allergies or a member in your family has allergies and you decide that you want to change your cleaning products so that they are non-toxic in an effort to see if that clears the allergies. Write this in your diary and notice if the allergies subside and even if they go away.

Another example is maybe you change some of the foods you eat to organic and you notice that your children have more energy or they are more focused; write that in your diary. In a month or 2 go back to the diary I bet you will notice that a lot has changed with your families health. Lastly be sure to celebrate your successes. You deserve it. Remember it isn’t about being perfect it is about making a few simple changes here and there.

Below is a list that I created, especially for mom’s, to help them make the switch from conventional to organic, green and healthy.

1. Recycle
2. Reuse
3. Reduce your waste
4. Any food with High Fructose corn syrup is a big no! Especially if you are protecting your family against obesity. It gives the false feeling that you are still hungry even when your body is full and has zero nutritional value. It is not a necessary food ingredient ever. Read labels carefully as it is used often. You will be surprised how often it is used, even in foods labeled as natural or organic.
5. Eat as many organic foods as possible. If your family eats a lot of something like pasta, absolutely eat organic pasta instead of conventional. Chemicals and pesticides build up in your body over time. Children are most susceptible to pesticides and toxins from conception to 10 years old. Here is a list of foods that are a must avoid. If you only want to change some foods that you eat put these on your list:

· Strawberries

· Blueberries

· Raspberries

· Apples

· Grapes

· Raisins

· Juice – many also contain high fructose corn syrup so be careful and read labels.

· Peaches

· Nectarines

· Apricots

· Pears

· Cherries

· Lemons

· Limes

· Bananas

· Pineapple

· Cantaloupe

· Rice

· Oats – commonly used in cereal

· Milk

· Baby Foods – get baby started off right. Also baby’s immune systems are not yet fully developed so they are more susceptible to the adverse effects of toxins.

· Nuts

· Potatoes

· Corn

· Celery

· Cucumbers

· Spinach

· Lettuce

· Green & Red Bell Peppers

· Hot Peppers

· Green Beans

· Carrots

1. Use non chlorine bleach it works just the same as regular bleach without the toxins.
2. Body lotion for you, children and baby. Remember when you hold or play with your children they touch your skin and body thus toxins from you can rub off on them. Most personal care products contain a large list of toxic, unsafe chemicals like parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, DEA’s, TEA’s to name a few. Read labels carefully. Try to use products that are organic and free of chemicals. For more information on safe cosmetics and personal care products go to, http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep. They have information on popular baby products too.
3. Face lotion for you and children they also contain many toxic chemicals. A common ingredient used in skin care products especially those that claim anti aging ingredients is methylparaben. Methylparaben has been linked to accelerating aging. Isn’t it ironic?
4. Products that contain phthalates are an absolute must avoid, especially if you have children. They are found in perfume, nail polish, hair care products like hair spray, deodorant and lotions. Phthalates can be carcinogenic and have been linked to birth defects. They also damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system in laboratory animals according to the center for Disease Control. Phthalates are used many products but are not listed on labels in order to protect “trade secrets.” That is where confusion enters. So the best rule of thumb is avoid conventional perfumes, products with fragrance, conventional nail polish remover and nail polish. Don’t panic. The good news is that you don’t have to give up your favorite nail polish color to avoid toxins. There are non-toxic alternatives to all of the aforementioned products. For example, many perfumes and fragrance are made with pure, organic essential oils and are safe. There are non-toxic nail polishes and nail polish removers. Choose products that are fragrance free especially if you are using them on or around your children and baby. If you are pregnant or have children avoid products with phthalates at all costs. Your unborn child’s health and your children’s health are fragile. Before the age of 10 their immune systems aren’t yet fully developed thus chemicals stay in their tiny bodies where they can cause disease and even obesity.
5. Avoid cleaning products or any products that contain anti bacterial ingredients. Antibacterial ingredients contain pesticides. According to the EPA, http://www.epa.gov, pesticides are designed to kill living organisms. They don’t discriminate between pests and humans. The key word here is living organisms. The bacteria and viruses that anti bacterial products kill are also killed with simple warm soap and water. Don’t let marketing hype tell you that you need these products to kill germs in your home. If simple soap and water is good enough for hospitals then it is good enough to kill germs in your home. Why add a layer of pesticide to your surfaces, especially where children and pets play and spend time?
6. Stain remover for clothes is highly toxic use non-toxic. To treat a stain use simple soap and water. Immediately when you notice a stain pore clear liquid soap right on the stain add a little water and throw it in the dirty laundry until laundry day. In most cases the stain will come out. Stains set when they aren’t treated immediately and they are allowed to set into the material of clothing.
7. Conventional air freshener – contains carcinogens. This is a huge NO, especially if you have children. The toxins are inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Extremely dangerous. Instead eliminate the source of the odor. For example if the trash smells, take it out. On nice days open a window. If you must add fragrance to your home use pure, organic essential oils. A trick I use is to drop 3 to 5 drops on a light bulb that will be turned on. Or make your own air freshener using essential organic oils. Simply fill a 29 to 32 oz. spray bottle with distilled water and add 20 to 25 drops of essential oil. Spray the air, your furniture I even use it to iron with. Cook muffins or cookies to make the air in your home smell good. On a cold winter day make some apple cider on the stove and let it simmer on very low heat to add fragrance to your home.
8. Use organic mattresses or put heavy cotton over your conventional mattress – If you can’t or don’t want to replace all of your mattresses with organic then put heavy cotton material over the mattress under the fitted sheet. If possible use organic cotton material. Absolutely do this for your baby and children as they are more susceptible to the effects of toxins found in conventionally made mattresses, because their immune system and organs aren’t fully developed. Toxins found in synthetic mattresses include; phthalates, PBDE – flame retardants, polyurethane, foam, polyester, plastic, formaldehyde. They all emit dangerous toxins that your baby or children breathe in or absorb through the skin while sleeping. In many cases these toxic elements lead to insomnia, have been linked to brain development and thyroid problems, include eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing, fatigue, skin rash, severe allergic reactions and may cause cancer. In asthma suffers formaldehyde has been known to cause asthma attacks.
9. If you have children or pets and they will be on the floor playing use simple soap and water to mop your floors. Otherwise the children and animals are playing on a toxic surface where they are absorbing toxins into their skin and body.

If you find that your supermarket doesn’t carry organic, non-toxic products ask them to. Marketers and supermarkets know that women make the majority of the buying decisions in the US. Yes women you have the power, use it. Tell the supermarkets what you want. If they don’t get it right away, tell them again, and again and again until they carry the products you want. Ask your friends and family to chime in. Don’t give up, you can make a difference.

Remember take only the steps that are right for you at this time. Follow your instincts they are your guide, they are true to you. Once again I will say it; you don’t have to change everything if you don’t want to. Simple changes to start make a big difference. Take baby steps. For example, change the food that you eat to organic. Then change your cleaning products one by one. This is something that should be fun and enjoyable. After all you are protecting your health and your family’s health so that you have a long future together, that is something to smile about.

Good luck!

Another GreenQueen solution.

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Why are there toxic chemicals in your skin care, personal care products and cosmetics? November 19, 2006

I was inspired to write this entry by http://beaut.ie/blog/?p=577.

Cosmetic companies are minimally regulated which means they can put almost anything they want into your cosmetics, skin care and personal care products. All of your conventional personal care and beauty care products are filled with toxic chemicals.

Just think in the morning you shower and apply chemical shampoos, conditioners, shower gel. You get out of the shower dry off and put lotion all over your body then your face. You put on chemical filled make-up and even worse perfume. Layer after layer of chemicals are slathered onto your body. And if your products have fragrance the danger is increased.

Everyday you leave your home as a toxic chemical time bomb. On the outside you look hot in your Lucky Jeans, your high heal pumps, cool Ralph Lauren blouse and blazer. While underneath all day long your body is absorbing and storing the toxic chemicals that you applied as part of your daily regimen. Metabolizing them through your body, organs and blood. It isn’t your fault though. How could you know that you were applying a toxic cocktail of chemicals to your body daily when there aren’t warnings, or labels to tell you the truth about your products. You have been in the dark.

Why do cosmetic companies and personal body care companies use these chemicals? They say because it is cheaper and easier. How much cheaper is it when you need radiation to kill the cancer in your body. Furthermore, there are many companies that have great pure, natural products that are affordable like Dr. Haushka, and Aubrey Organics. If you use Mac, Bobby Brown, Lancome, Prescriptives and Clairins, to name a few, like I did then you know that they are not cheap! Where is the savings?!

Go to your bathroom cabinet right now, where you keep your skin care and personal care products and pull out products you use everyday, input the name of the product into the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep data base at http://ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/index.php to rate the toxicity of your products.

You can go to the same website and input the chemicals that are on the labels of your products into the data base to learn if they have health affects. After you have rated your products and learned about the health affects, notice how many layers of chemicals that you are slathering onto your body daily and what health affects have been linked to these products. Count the layers of chemicals how many do you wear underneath your Lucky Jeans everyday?

What you will find is that many ingredients in your products are cancerous. These ingredients are listed among the first 5 ingredients on the ingredient label which means they have the largest quantity in the product.

And what the cosmetic industry doesn’t tell you is that mixing one chemical with another can be carcinogenic. The chemical alone may be safe but when it is mixed with another chemical from another product the combination becomes lethal. You have to be a scientist to get ready in the morning

Furthermore, the EPA says that some chemicals like phthalates are safe in cosmetics because they are at safe levels for humans. However, what the EPA doesn’t consider or evaluate is that chemicals like phthalates are used in many cosmetics and personal care products like, fragrance-containing soaps, shampoos and perfumes. They are also used in plastics like your shower curtain, flooring, baby bottles and nipples, toys to name a few. Thus you are exposed daily to many layers of phthalates found in many products not just one product. This increases the level of exposure pushing it over the safe level and making the levels unsafe for humans.

Furthermore, not only are you absorbing these chemicals into your largest organ, your skin, but you breath them in, they may get into your mouth and nose which means you ingest them. Everyday you layer then onto your body. That means that the layers of chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis increase with every layer. Thus the levels that you are exposed are at unsafe levels. Phthalates have been linked to reduced sperm count in men, genital abnormalities in boys, premature birth, sperm damage to name a few.

To illistrate my point, in September 2000, the US Centers for Disease Control released it’s assessment of the levels of phthalates in the bodies of the American public. After studying urine samples they found the levels of phthalates to be high. One demographic of concern was women of child-bearing age where they found the levels to be especially high in a disproportionately large number of women. This is of concern because the fetus is extremely vulnerable to the adverse affects of phthalates. Furthermore, this demographic is the one that should avoid exposer to phthalates. Phthalates are banned in the EU.

Another common dangerous chemical found in skin care, personal care products and cosmetics is parabens. It is used as a preservative and is found in breast cancer patients. You will find parabens in your shampoo, conditioner, lotions, body washes and make-ups to list a few. That means that they are also layered onto your body. Go to Skin Deep for more information, http://ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/index.php.

To add insult to injury, there is controversy surrounding nano chemicals in our beauty products, ingredients engineered at the molecular scale. They aren’t listed on the ingredient lists and they aren’t regulated. They are harmful to your health and environment. For more information check out this link, http://action.foe.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=5475&msource=foe11006&tr=y&auid=2072979

I am very passionate about this and bewildered that our country and government would allow chemicals to be in our everyday personal care products. The increase in disease in our country is continuously on the rise. At this time in history 1 out of 2 women will have cancer. Think about it, that means that your friend, sister or mother or you will contract this terrible disease. The EU is banning one chemical after another to protect their citizens why isn’t the US? Why is the EPA constantly avoiding chemical matters when it comes to our skin care, cosmetics and personal care products? Isn’t it their job to protect us?

I strongly recommend that you visit http://ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/index.php, to learn more about the toxic chemicals that are in your everyday skin care and personal care products and evaluate the products that you use.

There are safe solutions to skin care, cosmetics and personal cae products many are listed at Skin Deep. A couple of my favorite products are Dr. Hauschka and Aubrey Organics. A great way to try Aubrey Organics or Dr. Hauschka is their kits: Dr.Hauschka Daily Face Care Kit and Aubrey Organics – Silken Earth Makeup Kit, 1 kit

However don’t take my word for it or Skin Deeps anyones for that matter. Take your health care into your own hands and do your research, read the labels of all products before you buy and know what you are putting onto your skin, hair, body…

Look for my upcoming post on how to choose safe skin care products and personal care products and more product suggestions so that you can take matters into your own hands and protect your health. I will give tips on how to read through the hype and how to read between the lines on labels.

Thanks again for reading. Another toxic problem revealed.

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Toxic News About Plastic Baby Bottles November 15, 2006

I am shocked to learn that most baby bottles on the market today are highly toxic because of the materials they are commonly made with, and because mom’s are taught to heat them in hot water to sterilize them and to heat milk. Moreover, many moms’s put bottles in the microwave to heat the milk even though they know it is a big NO, NO. I also learned that the alternative to plastic is glass; however, glass bottles are scarce. Furthermore, once baby starts holding their own bottle glass becomes dangerous.

What you need to know about plastic before you use one more baby bottle
A common plastic used to make baby bottles is polycarbonate plastic. Studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Consumers Union and researchers at Nagasaki University in Japan show that when baby bottles made with polycarbonate plastic, recycle #7, are heated a hormone-disrupting chemical called, bisphenol-A (BPA), is released. That hormone leaches into the milk in the bottle. The same scientists found that used bottles leached up to double the amount of chemicals as new bottles because the plastic is less stable than in new bottles.

Bisphenol – A is an artificial estrogen and researches have known for years that it is harmful to animals and humans alike, especially during fetal development. Scientists have found and presented the dangers of BPA to the Environmental Protection Agency, who hasn’t yet banned it from the market place despite the health risks that have been identified. The dangers include decreased sperm production in males, prostate hyperplasia — excessive growth of prostate tissue, early onset of puberty, chromosome damage in female ovaries and a variety of behavioral changes.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), recycle #7, is another common plastic used to make baby bottles. It is the most toxic plastic to human health and the environment. PVC has been linked to IQ deficiencies, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, and reduced attention spans, as well as other behavior problems.

In general plastics like Tupperware and other storage containers that are commonly made with polycarbonate plastic or polyvinyl chloride are a dangerous place to store food, use glass containers. They leach toxic chemicals into the items they store, like the food that you eat. The dangers further increase when food is heated in these plastic containers, since the heat breaks down the plastic and destabilizes it, thus increasing the release of toxic chemicals into your food. An even more dangerous situation is heating food in plastic containers in the microwave; this further accelerates the release of toxic chemicals into the contents of the container, just don’t do it.

Safety concerns behind plastic pacifiers, teethers and nipples
Also beware of, plastic pacifiers, teethers, and nipples because they can be made with plastics that contains phthalates. Phthalates is a commonly used chemical that is found in nail polish, make up, soft plastics and much more. Because it is fat soluble it collects in fatty tissue of humans where it is stored. It is absorbed through the skin, lungs and by ingesting. It has adverse health affects in the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the reproductive system. It has been associated with premature breast development in young girls, adverse effects on genital development in male children, as well as reduced sperm count in adult males.

Beware because infants receive large doses of these chemicals because they spend most of their time indoors and breathe, metabolize, and ingest faster than adults do. Furthermore, these plastics are found in many household products, cosmetics, vinyl and toys. Additionally, food is contaminated by these chemicals through packaging.

So what do mom’s do to solve this problem and protect their babies from exposure to plastic?

  • When baby is old enough to hold the bottle then switch to a plastic bottle made with polyethylene or polypropylene they have the recycle #’s 1, 2, 4 or 5. Gerber, Evenflo and Rubbermade all make these kinds of bottles so they will be easy to find. Stay with the silicone nipples. Make sure that the bottle and nipples don’t have any cracks where bacteria can live. If they do don’t buy them or throw them into the trash.
  • Don’t purchase the bottles that have decorations on the inside of the bottle as they leach off into babies milk.
  • Never heat babies formula or any bottle in the microwave!!! If you are using a plastic bottle you are accelerating the leaching of chemicals into babies formula but you are also destroying and breaking down the nutritional value of the formula.
  • Don’t heat formula in the plastic bottle even when heating in a pan of hot water. Instead heat formula in a non-Teflon pan and then poor it into the bottle when it is warm not hot. (Teflon when heated gives off carcinogens, and is linked to birth defects and is found in 95% of humans. The dangerous chemical found in Teflon is not going to be used after 2015.)

Congratulations on another toxic problem overcome. Together we can make a difference in our children’s lives and our future generation’s lives. Let’s leave the earth a little better than we found it.

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The Complete Organic Baby on the Today Show November 3, 2006

Check it out. On the Today Show 2 women, Deirdre Dolan, Alexandra Zissu, talk about their new book, “The Complete Organic Pregnancy.” The book talks about organic non-toxic living and your baby, here is the link to NBC Today Show, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032633/. Find the book at Amazon.com.

The book discusses remodeling, beauty products, organic food, toxic cleaning products in your home, furniture, carpet and more. Sounds like it is comprehensive and it offers simple solutions that you can implement in your home. Here is a link to a chapter in their book. http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/TVNews/Today%20show/PDF/OrganicPregnancy.pdf

When you read it let me know what you think. I will also put my review here. I watched their interview on the Today Show and it seems like they really know what they are talking about. They offer simple inexpensive solutions to common toxic problems like new furniture. They also agree that when having a new baby it is wise not to remodel unless you absolutely have to. Check it out I can’t wait to read it and hear what you have to say.

 

6 Reasons To Eat Dark, Organic Chocolate November 2, 2006

Not many of us need a reason to eat chocolate, but here are the six reasons to only eat dark, organic chocolate:

Unless chocolate is organic it contains pesticide residue. Here is what those FDA approved levels of residues do to you:

• Glyphosate — effects on digestive system tissue, genetic damage, effects on reproduction, carcinogenicity

• Hydrogen Cyanide — acute toxicity, thyroid effects, nerve degeneration

• Naled — central nervous system disruption; headaches, nausea and diarrhea

• Pyrethrins — carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity

• Methyl Bromide — prostate cancer, kidney and liver effects, neurological effects

Dark chocolate has been proven to improve blood pressure.

Dark chocolate can improve glucose metabolism/diabetic control.

Dark chocolate contains high levels of naturally occurring plant flavonoids called polyphenols. These flavonoids are antioxidants.

Another type of polyphenol found in chocolate prevents fat-like substances in our bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging arteries, making blood platelets less sticky to each other.

The fat in chocolate is comprised of heart healthy oleic acid, stearic acid (which neither raises nor lowers cholesterol) and palmitic acid, which raise cholesterol. (only 1/3 of the fat raises cholesterol!)

The above benefits are negated when you eat milk chocolate. The proteins in milk bind antioxidants and make them less available to be absorbed. Also, most light colored chocolates contain large amounts of sugar, which can adversely affect the immune system. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce its naturally pungent taste. Flavonoids (polyphenols) provide this pungent taste. The more chocolate is processed (such as fermentation, alkalizing, roasting), the more flavonoids are lost. Remember, those are antioxidants being processed away!

Research done on an isolated island showed inhabitants rarely had high blood pressure, even though they drank about five cups of cocoa each day and incorporated it into many of their recipes. Their cocoa though was not sprayed with pesticides, was not processed and did not have added milk, sugar or soy lecithin as an emulsifier.

That chewy, caramel-marshmallow, nut-covered milk chocolate bar that you feel guilty about has no health benefits and can only add to health problems. If you want to have your chocolate and eat it too, then choose dark, organic chocolate. A square of dark organic chocolate a day just may help keep the doctor away. Now, that’s the best reason of all!

© Page Remick – All Rights reserved http://www.purezing.com

Page Remick is lead reviewer for Pure Zing, the Internet’s only natural and organic products review site. Remick and the PZ team search for unique and artisanal products that are not mass-produced and found on every grocery store or health food store shelf in the country.

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Toxic Mistakes Expectant Mothers Make When Redecorating Babies Nursery October 19, 2006

At no other time in history have there been more toxic chemicals in our environment. The most toxic environments are indoors. Of the indoor environments our homes are the most toxic and pose the most danger to humans because we spend 65% of their time indoors. New mom’s and babies are at greater risk of long term exposed to toxic chemicals in the home because they spend 95% of their time at home. That is why it is important to start now protecting yourself and you newborn baby. The best place to start is now and in the nursery.

 

If you are like most expectant mothers you want to create, design, and decorate a special place for your baby, a place that speaks from your heart that it is safe, comfortable, it is just for baby from you.

 

However, your good intentions could be endangering your new born. What most new mom’s don’t know is that redecorating means brand new paint, new carpet, washable vinyl, wallpaper, new crib with synthetic mattress, new no iron sheets, new easy care synthetic clothing, disinfectants, scented baby lotions, powders, synthetic fiber stuffed animals, plastic rattles all of which are potential health risks to your new baby.

 

Children and babies are more susceptible than adults to the adverse health affects of toxins because pound for pound since they are growing their little bodies are metabolizing faster than adults, they breath faster, their blood brain barrier that protects adults from toxins, is not yet fully developed, their detox system, the liver and kidneys are still developing which means that their bodies have a difficult time eliminating toxins so they are stored in the fatty tissue.

 

Furthermore, babies and small children play and crawl on the floor and ground where many toxins are found. They put their hands and toys into their mouths which increases their exposure to toxic elements in the home. They don’t know what is toxic and what is safe.

 

By planning now for your child’s safety and health you will be protecting them from dangerous house hold toxins. To get started follow the easy suggestions below, I have also included some shopping resources at the end to get you started. Many of the resources have more information about toxins and safe products.

I’m going to start with the crib because in the beginning your baby spends most of it’s time in the crib thus being exposed to toxic chemicals for prolonged periods. Chemicals like phthalates and PBDE – flame retardants, polyurethane, foam, polyester, plastic, formaldehyde all emit dangerous toxins that your baby breathes in or absorbs through the skin.

Some examples of the dangerous chemicals mentioned above and the adverse health risks:

  • Phthalates. Studies show they have been linked to damage of the liver, kidney and lungs, harmful to the reproductive system, and developing testicles.
  • PBDE, fire retardant, has been linked to brain development and thyroid problems in lab rats. PBDE is found in most furniture fabrics and woods, cabinets, beds and on children’s pajamas.
  • According to the EPA the health effects of formaldehyde include eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing, fatigue, skin rash, severe allergic reactions and may cause cancer. In asthma suffers formaldehyde has been known to cause asthma attacks.

However, don’t worry there are many solutions for a safe crib. Look for mattresses made of natural cotton or wool. Find blankets, sheets, clothing, and toys that are made of natural or organic cottons and wools. A good rule of thumb to follow is to find out if they are using natural materials or synthetic materials to make the bed, linens, clothing etc. Synthetic materials are manufactured with chemicals. When buying natural buy organic, when possible.

 

Furthermore, when buying the crib be sure to buy something with a safe non-toxic finish. Maple is said to be the least toxic wood. See if you can find a crib made of maple with a non-toxic finish. See below for some resources, they are a great way to learn more about safe alternatives.

 

Do not ever paint the room yourself. Breathing in the toxic fumes from the paint can harm your unborn child even if the paint is no or low VOC (volatile organic compounds).

 

Sanding the walls and scraping may expose you to lead dust which can be extremely dangerous to your unborn child as their brains and central nervous system aren’t yet fully developed. Furthermore, your child may store the lead in fatty tissue in their body because their liver and kidney’s aren’t yet fully developed and able to eliminate it. Even children under the age of 6 are vulnerable to lead poisoning because their organs aren’t yet fully developed. Exposure to low levels of lead have produced adverse health affects like low IQ, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, stunted growth, attention deficit disorder (ADD), impaired hearing, and kidney damage. High levels of lead exposure have contributed to mental retardation, a coma and even death.

 

Get someone else to paint and sand the room for you. Make sure they use water based or low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. See resources below. I thought that you might like to know that due to increased environmental regulations by the EPA (http://www.epa.gov/ttn/uatw/183e/aim/aimpg.html) paint and stain companies have been forced to reduce the VOC’s in their products. However, the VOC levels are still dangerous in conventional paints so make sure that you ask for low or no VOC paint or stain. Most paint companies carry this kind of paint. See below for some resources.

 

What are VOC’s? For years conventional paints needed VOC’s to perform. These VOC’s are toxic and have contributed to indoor air pollution. Paints with high VOC’s emit low levels of VOC’s into the air for many years to come. Moreover, VOC’s have been linked to nausea, cancer, damage to liver and kidney, headaches, nose and throat irritation to name a few. For more information go to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html#Health%20Effects

 

Be sure that you finish painting at least one month before baby is born. To dry paint use a room space heater. By drying the paint you will help the paint to harden so it doesn’t release toxins into the air.

 

Absolutely stay away from new carpet and flooring, keep what is already in your home. New carpet is among the most toxic material in your home, it is treated with many different chemicals. If you absolutely have to put down new flooring use pre-finished hardwood or natural linoleum. The best finish is water based as it is less toxic than oil based finishes. When you are shopping ask the manufacture if the finish is water or oil based. Below are resources for safe flooring and finishes.

 

Toys are difficult because you want to give your child everything. However, most toys are made with plastics which can be toxic. The best bet is to do what Toucan Sam says, “Follow your nose.” If the toy smells weird or toxic don’t buy it. The best toys are wood or made of natural fibers like cotton or wool. See below for some resources.

 

Diapers. Beware of disposable diapers. They are made of plastics and synthetic fibers. Some companies add unknown deodorizing chemicals that can be irritating to your baby’s skin.

 

Common health problems linked to disposable diapers are diaper rash; chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors, and babies pull diapers apart and put them into their mouths and noses. The synthetic, plastic materials don’t allow babies skin to breath and thus contribute to diaper rash. Furthermore, because disposable diapers feel dryer than cloth to parents and many parents postpone changing the diaper longer which means the bacteria from the urine remains in contact with babies delicate skin longer. This also contributes to increased cases of diaper rash.

 

Because disposable diapers don’t breathe and provide proper circulation of air, ammonia from the bacterial breakdown of urine is unable to escape causing further irritation to your baby’s delicate skin. In addition, disposable diapers that have been bleached are known to have dioxins, which studies show can cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and immune system suppression. Moreover, once dioxins enter the body they are stored in the fatty tissue and they are there to stay because they aren’t able to breakdown and dissolve in fats and they are a “rock solid” stable chemical. Quote from World Health Organization at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/index.html.

 

On the other hand diapers made from natural materials breathe and give proper circulation to baby’s skin and parents change them more often so they contribute to your baby’s health and comfort. Furthermore, the natural fabric is soft and comfortable against baby’s fragile skin. There are many companies that sell natural diapers and have diaper services, see resource list below.

 

Avoid toxic nail polish, perfumes, hair spray and deodorant while pregnant. I would avoid them altogether even after your pregnant, but particularly while you are pregnant. Conventional nail polishs and perfumes contain phthalates that can be absorbed by inhaling, through the skin, and ingested when they contaminate food. Phthalates are banned from nail polish in Europe. Phthalates have been linked to liver and kidney damage, damage of the lungs and the reproductive system, especially the developing testes.

 

Stay away from conventional hair sprays, hair gels and deodorants they contain toxic chemicals that can harm your baby. I full discussion of personal care products and make-up are subjects in themselves and are another installment, stay tuned. In the mean time for information on safe cosmetics go to http://www.ewg.org/. There are safe alternatives see resource list below. Again if it smells toxic it is so avoid it.

 

Avoid conventional cleaning and laundry products all have toxic chemicals. There are so many toxins in cleaning and laundry products that I will have to save that for another installment too. The most toxic products are air fresheners, stain removers for clothes, anything that says anti bacterial as it contains a pesticide which is intended to be toxic and kill, chlorine bleach, ammonia and anything that smells toxic and strong. Again “follow your nose” and if it smells toxic, it is.

 

You know many people say to me, ya, ya but families have been doing it this way for generations and they are fine. I say to them that it might seem like it but that doesn’t explain why asthma in children has increased 40% since the 80’s and it is being linked to environmental toxins and dioxins in disposable diapers. There has been a rise in non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (a type of cancer that is unpredictable), and it can be linked to toxins in the environment among other causes. Moreover, there has been a measured increase in the presence of pesticides in human blood. Remember this is dangerous because pesticides are created to kill. Every 2 to 5 years levels of PBDE’s, fire retardants have been doubling. In North America the levels are 40 times higher than on other continents. As mentioned above PBDE’s are linked to brain and thyroid problems in lab rats and are stored in fatty tissue.

 

 

Let me ask you something, do you know someone who has asthma or cancer? Maybe you know someone with a thyroid condition. If you don’t know someone go to a hospital you will meet plenty of people there that can talk to you about their illness, disease and what it is like to be a prisoner of the health care system. Believe me you do not want get sucked into the health care system.

 

Your health is all you have and protecting yourself and your new born from toxic chemicals in your home is an added layer of health insurance and added peace of mind. As a new mom you have enough to worry about, it is your job to protect and keep your child safe. If your home is toxic free that is one less thing to worry about.

As I said when I opened, never before in history has the environment been polluted with more toxic chemicals then it is now. According to wikipedia.com toxic = poison. The good news it that you can do something about it and protect your family with the easy steps outlined above.

 

I hope that this helps you to ease your mind and make safe non-toxic decisions while creating a wonderful space for your newborn.

 

Thank you for reading and see below for some helpful resources. Please feel free to comment or ask questions, I would love to help in anyway that I can. I will answer your questions promptly.

 

I always love to know what your thinking, what your most burning questions or frustrations are when it comes to health, green living, organic, and eco-living. When I know what you are thinking I can answer your questions or concerns. Also if you use the resources below let me know what you think.

 

Until next time

 

 

“Think and go green”

 

 

 

Resource center:

For new born organic Moses basket

http://www.organic-gift-shop.com/s.nl/it.A/id.811/.f?sc=14&category=116

 

 

Beds, sheets, blankets –

http://www.allergybuyersclubshopping.com/baby.html

 

http://www.healthychild.com/natural-baby-crib-mattress.htm

 

http://www.nontoxic.com/beds/crib.html

 

http://www.lifekind.com/

 

http://www.tomorrowsworld.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=56

 

http://www.ourgreenhouse.com/foundations/store/shopcart.asp

 

 

Non-toxic furniture for baby:

 

http://www.allergybuyersclubshopping.com/ba-furn.html?psysVid=0aqzzr9y

 

http://www.thenewparentsguide.com/baby-cribs-canopy-1.htm

 

http://www.ourgreenhouse.com/foundations/store/shopcart.asp

 

 

 

For the expectant mother:

 

http://www.organicauthority.com/guide/guide.html – a buying guide for non-toxic living.

 

http://www.ecochoices.com/ – here there are many eco choices for clothes, household items, kitchen, candles etc. Although it isn’t focused on baby there are many great choices for mom.

 

 

Non-toxic paints and stains:

http://www.healthyhome.com/Site/ProductCategory.asp?ProductCategory_ID=6&gclid=CMilzrnQg4gCFSGRYAodcGywEg

 

http://www.ecosafetyproducts.com/Non-Toxic-Paint-s/1.htm?gclid=CPGYprvQg4gCFRBMGAodnBARGw

 

http://www.bioshieldpaint.com/

 

http://www.alerg.com/page/A/CTGY/MF-AFM?gclid=CN2Zyc_Sg4gCFR6UYAod-mHXEg

 

http://www.afmsafecoat.com/

 

http://www.safepaint.net/

 

 

Natural Diapers:

This is a link to amazon.com. If you don’t find the diapers there just type in natural diapers. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=blended&field-keywords=natural%20diapers&results-process=default&dispatch=search/ref=pd_sl_aw_tops-1_blended_11429821_2&results-process=default?tag2=amd-google-20

 

http://www.punkinbutt.com/index.asp

 

http://www.ecomall.com/biz/baby.htm

 

http://www.seventhgeneration.com/our_products/baby.php

 

 

Eco Mall is a great place to find eco friendly non-toxic items. They have everything from furniture to diapers.

http://www.ecomall.com/

 

 

For safe cleaning and laundry products:

http://www.seventhgeneration.com/index.php

 

http://www.ecomall.com/biz/cleaning.htm

 

http://www.begleysbest.com/

 

http://www.ecover.com/Default.aspx?nc=y

 

 

Toys etc for baby and young children

http://www.organic-gift-shop.com/s.nl/sc.14/category.40/.f

 

http://www.surprise.com/personality/responsible/environmentally_friendly_toys.cfm?srcLocal=GAWTA&gclid=CMXhlIb7g4gCFTaVFQod3zDv9A

 

http://www.ecotoytown.com/wooden/index.html

 

http://www.ecomall.com/biz/toys.htm