What’s wrong with conventional cotton?

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Dressing your new baby can be one of the most enjoyable jobs as a parent. Those tiny onesies, sweet pajamas, and itty bitty socks are irresistible. First item on my agenda when I found out I was having a little girl was to purchase her welcome home outfit and every outfit for the next 6 weeks. I might have gone a little overboard in the beginning.

In the midst of all of the excitement of a new baby or when you are buying a gift for someone else, you may not consider what’s in the fabric you are purchasing. With my first child I didn’t think twice about the fabric initially. Not until my son starting showing signs of skin irritation. Since clothing is in constant contact with a baby’s delicate skin, I now choose items made of organic cotton and non-toxic dyes.

When shopping for baby’s clothing, you’ll find that most items are made out of cotton and/or synthetic fibers that are manufactured with petrochemicals, acrylic (polycrylonitriles), PVC, and esters. Cotton is often treated with harmful chemicals that can’t always be washed away. Which means the chemicals could be absorbed by your baby’s skin.

How is organic cotton better?

Organic cotton represents a return to safe and sustainable practices. It is grown with natural fertilizers and is free from toxic chemicals.

Organic farmers rely on crop rotation to replenish and maintain soil fertility. Mechanical cultivation and botanical or biological means are used to control pests and weeds.

A field must be pesticide-free for at least three years to be certified organic, and the cotton must be processed according to international organic standards.

The standards also set strict guidelines for transportation and storage to avoid cross-contamination. In the U.S., cotton labelled as organic has to be certified by an independent agency recognized by the USDA’s National Organic Program.

What should you keep in mind when shopping or buying gifts?

Choosing clothing made of sustainable fibers with non-toxic dyes are the safest and will keep harmful chemicals and toxins away from your baby’s skin.  Look for clothing that is made out of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, wool, cashmere, or silk and check the label for no chemical finishes, non-toxic dyes and inks.

How do you find affordable and safe clothing for your kids?

Our favorite brand is Babinca which is handmade with organic cotton by a mom in Israel. We are proud to have partnered with Babinca to bring you not only safe but adorable organic cotton items for your baby. If you’re looking for products for older children check out Kate Quinn Organics.

Why Green Toys Are Important

GREEN TOYS

Parents want to keep their children at bay from diseases as much as possible. While giving them organic foods and vitamins and supplements are two proven ways to boost their health, giving them green toys is another way to make sure that they’re not at risk from the toxic chemicals, specifically lead, BPA, and phthalates, used in most toys these days. While plastic-made toys are cheap and very accessible, they are not always the best choice for our children. The plastic can contain chemical compounds that are found to trigger cancer, asthma, and other degenerative and respiratory ailments. To avoid your child from getting sick start replacing plastic toys with quality green toys by considering play sets manufactured with plant based materials.

 

When it comes to green toys, almost everybody knows about Green Toys, one of the leading manufacturers of toys made from eco-friendly materials and spearheaded by Robert von Goeben. If you think the name rings a bell, it should because he is also the founder of Propellerhead Studios, a top notch company that specializes in the creation electronic toys and games. All products from Green Toys are made of recycled materials specifically plastic milk jugs and sustainable pieces that help reduce wastes in landfills. They also use natural ingredients including its packaging and label, so anxious parents are guaranteed that Green Toys have no traces of toxic substances that may put their children’s health at risk. Aside from that, the toys are locally made in California, and are processed using environment-friendly techniques that require lower amount of energy only. Shop Green Toys here.

 

Green Sprouts promotes holistic early child development with functional feeding and toys. They are made from safe materials designed to protect the health and safety of children. Because babies explore by putting objects in their mouths, only quality materials are used in the manufacturing of Green Sprouts. Shop Green Sprouts here.

How to pick the right sunscreen

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So many sunscreens on the market which one is right for you and your family? Sunscreens contain chemical and/or physical active ingredients. Physical ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide reflect or scatter ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Chemical ingredients like avobenzone or oxybenzone absorb UV radiation, dissipating it as heat.  I do not want to use any chemicals on myself or my children. Our family uses EltaMD and loves it.

All EltaMD sunscreens are formulated with zinc oxide, a natural, mineral compound. Because zinc maintains its protective ability in the sun, it is more photostable than some chemical ingredients that may degrade. Zinc reflects and reduces the broadest range of UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) ultraviolet rays. EltaMD broad-spectrum sunscreens helps protect skin against burning, sun-induced early skin aging and risk of skin cancer. Zinc is safe for even the most sensitive skin types, even that of children 6 months or older.

EltaMD Pure 47 is for families who want natural, chemical-free active ingredients. UV Pure is the ideal daily sunscreen for children and adults. The gentle formula glides on wet or dry skin and rubs in quickly. UV Pure is formulated with purely physical active ingredients which are photostable. Best of all it is water resistant, fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, sensitivity-free, dye-free, gluten-free and noncomedogenic. What more could a eco-friendly mom ask for!

The 5 Worst Ingredients in Kids’ Body Care Products

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From shampoo to toothpaste, sunscreen and lotion, the average child is exposed to numerous chemical ingredients every day through common body care products.

Where can concerned parents start to reduce that exposure?

Here are the five most worrisome ingredients in body care products for kids.

Healthy Child Healthy World breaks down the risks – and how to avoid them.

1.     Methylisothiazolinone (MI and MCI)

This preservative – common in sunscreens marketed to children – is a potent allergen that has been linked to serious skin reactions and painful rashes.

What you can do: Look out for methylisothiazolinone in sunscreens, baby wipes and products labeled “hypoallergenic.” Visit EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens to find products made without it and steer clear of these 11 Worst Sunscreens for Kids.

2.     2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol (bronopol) and DMDM Hydantoin

These antimicrobial preservatives work by releasing formaldehyde, a human carcinogen. They are also linked to allergies and skin irritation and may be toxic to internal organs.

What you can do: Look out for bronopol on ingredient lists for CVS diaper wipes and cosmetics products such as facial cleansers, nail polish and moisturizer. Look out for DMDM Hydantoin in hair styling products, shampoos, conditioner and body washes. Visit EWG’s Skin DeepCosmetics Database to find products made without them.

3.     Oxybenzone

This active ingredient in sunscreens can disrupt hormones and cause allergic skin reactions. Oxybenzone is used in more than half of all sunscreens on the market.

What you can do: Look out for oxybenzone under “active ingredients” on labels of SPF-rated sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers. Visit EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens to find products made without it and steer clear of these 11 Worst Sunscreens for Kids.

4.     Triclosan

An antibacterial agent in liquid hand soap and dishwashing soap, triclosan harms the liver and thyroid. Because it ends up in waste and rinse water, it also harms the environment. Triclocarban, used in bar soaps, has similar effects.

What you can do: Avoid using antibacterial soap and reach for plain soap instead. Look out for triclosan in deodorant or acne treatments and any body product marketed as “antibacterial.” Visit EWG’S Guide to Triclosan to learn more.

5.     Retinyl palmitate

This form of vitamin A – common in sunscreens and lip products – can cause UV-related skin damage and potential overdosing on vitamin A (particularly dangerous for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women).

What you can do: Look out for sunscreens and SPF-rated skin or lip products that list retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate or retinoic acid on the label. Visit EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to find products made without them and read The Problem with Vitamin Ato learn more.

Remember: using fewer products and using them less often is an effective way to reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals of all kinds.

Safer alternatives for a non-toxic Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day can be a tad commercial, but it’s so sweet to celebrate love with young kids, this can be easily overlooked. Far more distasteful than commercialization is the handful of hidden surprises that come with this annual public display of affection. Here are a few Valentine’s traditions to be wary of, and safer alternatives.

Commercial candy can fill the day with sugar overdoses, but for once that’s the least of its issues. Candy is also packed with artificial dyes, preservatives, and other unhealthy food additives. High fructose corn syrup can be contaminated by mercury. Pamper loved ones with the treat of organic fair trade dark chocolate instead. Need an excuse? It supplies key antioxidants called flavonoids and can literally help prevent broken hearts.

Costume and children’s jewelry is a common Valentine’s Day gift, but it can be contaminated with lead. If these and other similar trinkets are part of your family’s celebration, play it safe and give something else. Make bracelets out of paper!

Flowers are another ubiquitous Valentine’s pleasure, but conventional cut flowers are typically grown with pesticides and treated with hazardous chemicals to ensure longer lasting blooms. Help a healthier love blossom by handing out organic varieties instead. Houseplants last longer than cut flowers and they might even help filter the air.

School celebrations can be a minefield of less-than-lovely offerings on Valentine’s Day. From sugary cupcakes to candy and even temporary heart tattoos, there’s a lot to monitor. Talk to your school, teachers, or the PTA about instituting a card-only policy. Or offer to bring the treats in yourself and supply the class with healthier alternatives.