Archive for the ‘phthalates’ Category

Snackaby reusable snack and sandwich bags review

The sweet folks at Snackaby contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing a review of their reusable snack and sandwich bags. School was about to start and my hubby takes his lunch almost daily, so I was excited about the opportunity.

This was my first experience with reusable baggies. We usually used reusable containers, but sometimes those just are not practical – like taking sandwiches to the museum, or sending almonds with my husband. I really hate using ziplocks because I feel like I am throwing money away.

Snackabies are made by two moms who knew there was a better way than plastic, disposable bags. They wanted something safe, reusable and environmentally friendly. They accomplished just that.

I really like these bags. I was afraid that because they were not air-tight that the sandwiches would dry out, but that was not the case. I made a PB&J for my daughter and she only ate half, the other half stayed in the Snackaby bag in the fridge for a few days and the bread was as soft as when I made the sandwich. Love it!

The velcro closure is also easy for kids to use.

The best feature of these bags is the pull-out tab to clean the inside and outside of the bag at the same time. Genius! The bags can be washed this way in the dishwasher – another genius feature.

Of course Snackaby reusable bags are non-toxic – Snackabies are made of laminated cotton on the outside and a food-safe, polyurethane laminate that is free of DEHP, Phthalate and BPA plasticizers, on the inside.

Cons – Hmmm, if I HAD to come up with cons I’d say if you wash these by hand don’t submerge in water because they take forever to dry that way. These bags are also not completely air tight, thus not good for anything that may have liquid, like some fruits (i.e. berries, watermelon, pineapple).

Cost – $10 for the sandwich bag, $8 for the snack bag or $17 for a set. I probably spend around this a year, so it will be a cost-saver in the long-run.

But I have no reservations about recommending these bags. The pull out tab for washing is great and they wipe clean very easily too.

See all Snackabies on their Etsy site: www.snackaby.etsy.com
Visit them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Thank you Snackaby for the opportunity to try these great bags!

Lead, PVC and BPA free lunchboxes for back-to-school 2011

Lead as you know is toxic, which makes it surprising that it is in lunchboxes and backpacks. PVC is toxic as it contains phthalates and lead so it’s important for lunchboxes to be lead-free. And BPA is the hormone disrupting chemical found in plastics whose toxic effects have been hitting the news and blogs for the last several years. Kids are going to be touching the lunch box with their hands, then eat their food with their hands, so it is important for your child’s lunchbox to be free of these nasty chemicals.

Before purchasing a lunch box for your child, read the label. Make sure it is not made of PVC. Stainless steel, nylon, polypropelyne or cloth are much safer materials. Look for tags that say PVC-free (NOTE: PVC-free means the lead levels are below the amount deemed “safe” by a government agency). You also want to avoid BPA if you are purchasing a water bottle or food storage containers.

Here is a list of BPA, PVC and lead free lunch boxes.

Citizens Pip  You can customize your lunch box with accessories — separate food compartments, stainless steel bottle, cloth napkins, fork/spoon set, and of course the lunch box itself!

The Cool Tote is a replacement for the traditional brown bag. It’s made of nylon thus lead and other toxin-free.

Crocodile Creek. Traditional lunch box style that is well-made and have very cute traditional style, zippered lunch box and kid-friendly designs.

Laptop lunches are good for those who don’t like their food to touch. There are little compartments for separating food.

LL Bean has a critter lunch box line that is really cute and lead and PVC-free.  They would be great for a tween who wants something stylish without licensed characters.

LunchBots stainless steel containers. Several types to choose from. Does not have a bag though.

The Lunch Pak by Fleurville is a backpack design, but does have a handle to carry like a traditional lunch box. They also offer a lunch buddy which is more of a traditional lunch box style. (Note: 2 years ago they said their lead levels were “undetectable.” When I called this week, they said their lunch boxes were all lead and PVC-free. Slightly leery here, but they said they lead/PVC free, so they are on the list.)

Mimi the Sardine has cute cloth lunch totes that are PVC and lead free. There are several designs such as the ladybug, monkey/elephant/flower pattern, bugs and mice (my favorite).

Munchlers look like zoo animals and they fold out into a placemat, which is great. They are insulated and come in several designs including a yellow tiger, white dog, green bunny and pink panda. My daughter has the white dog – very cute.

PlanetBox is by far the most pricey, but it’s a very cool system. It’s a bento-style box of stainless steel that is  dishwasher safe. You can customize with cute magnets. The deluxe set has 2 dipper bowls and a carry bag that has a place to store a water bottle and little extras. The main drawback is the hefty price: $59.99, plus almost $11 in shipping. However, it is something that is sure to last for years.

Lunchopolis is another zippered, traditional style, no-nonsense lunch box. The lunch box lining is aluminum which I don’t care for. Also available are BPA-free containers and water bottles.

Kid Konserve is a similar to Citizens Pip’s customizable lunch box system. You can get ala carte or as a system.

Thermapod is another similar concept to the laptop lunch.

ZAK Designs offers several licensed character insulated lunch boxes that are lead free and lined with PVC-free material. Note, they just mention “PVC-free lining” so leads me to believe the entire lunch box may not be PVC-free. But a phone call to ZAK confirmed they are entirely lead-free. Wal-Mart and Target carry Zak lunch boxes.

ReusableBags.com has a whole section also dedicated to lead, PVC, and BPA-free lunches. I bought two ACME lunch bags — one to carry bottles in for my son to daycare (it fits three Dr. Brown bottles) and one for me for the milk I pump for him at work (it fits six medela bottles).

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The health effects of Lysol

When my kids get sick, I want to reach for the Lysol spray, just as my mom did and as the marketers of Lysol tell me I should. But is it safe?

The Wiki page on Lysol states this:

The active ingredient in many of the Lysol products is benzalkonium chloride.[1] This ingredient is highly toxic to fish (LC50 = 280 μg ai/L), very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates (LC50 = 5.9 μg ai/L), moderately toxic to birds (LD50 = 136 mg/kg-bw), and slightly toxic (“safe”) to mammals (LD50 = 430 mg/kg-bw).

The former main chemical ingredient wass cresol, which does have toxicity at some levels. This version is still available commercially. Breathing high levels over a short period of time can cause irritation to the nose and throat. I experience this every time I spray Lysol. And though there is known toxicity at “high” levels, small exposure over a long period of time has not been studied.

In addition, there are other chemicals including Glycol Ethers, O-phenylphenol, formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid that all have health concerns. It is also important to note that Lysol’s formula is considered proprietary, thus the ingredients list may not be fully disclosed. Wonder what else is in there? Possibly phthalates since fragrances are used and these 2 typically go hand-in-hand, but again show knows?

Does this sound like something you want to spray all over your house, furniture, doorknobs, bathroom, nursery, toys, etc? I think I will pass, too.

Daycares overuse Lysol. When my kids were smaller, the thought of my children mouthing toys that have been sprayed so heavily with Lysol there was a film on them made me cringe, of course so did the thought of them mouthing the same toy 11 other babies just mouthed. Ah, the joys of daycare!

Bottom line: really occassional use my have no harmful effects at all (but then again, cummulative exposure has not been studied and chemicals surround most of us every day). Aside from health concerns, there are environmental concerns, like the toxicity to fish, aquadic invertebretes and birds. Concerned parents do have choices. Vote with your wallet! Don’t buy Lysol spray or any Lysol product until their products are reformulated and are truly non-toxic. Vinegar and water will disinfect a toy just as well, without the weird film and chemicals. Not to mention it’s much cheaper. You can also make your own disinfectant spray in seconds! I love it and am much happier with it than Lysol. Is smells so fresh – like a spa – and has no chemicals in it! It disinfects and it is something I actually want to smell!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Body Wash review and giveaway

Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Wash

When the Happy Mama wash first arrived from Earth Mama Angel Baby, I was not sure I liked the smell (but read on… :). I think I was expecting something similar to the baby wash (a vanilla-orange scent – oh so yummy!). The Happy Mama wash is a ginger-grapefruit scent.

The next morning I gave it a whirl. Now, I do not know if my sniffer was having a moment when the Happy Mama wash first arrived, or if the hot steam in the shower had anything to do with it, but the scent was awesome!!! I truly felt like I was at a spa. The ginger scent is supposed to be great for those with morning sickness and since the EMAB products are rated zero (0) on the EWG’s database, it’s completely safe during pregnancy and beyond. Good to know because I had horrible morning sickness with both my kids – just in case the Lord blesses us with a third. Being non-toxic is so important as chemicals can be absorbed into your skin. So this wash is safe for the entire family!

The Mama Wash is made of essential oils and comes in a foam pump, which I really love. The soap is hydrating, so does not dry out my sensitive skin like some soaps. The packaging is really sweet and the ingredients are spelled out clearly and you can pronounce them, which is a must in my book.

The only negative I have is that the suds do not last long, but admit that could more so be because we have hard water. I use a loofa and have to reload with a few pumps of the wash several times during the cleansing process. While my son’s wash has lasted 3-4 months, I don’t think this bottle will last this long, maybe half that. Being on a tight budget, I will probably keep this as a special treat one or twice a week, and use my olive oil soap in between. It smells so wonderful though, I fully expect I will cheat….

From EMAB
Happy Mama Wash
NEW for mamas and the whole family! USDA Certified Made With Organic Ingredients

  • Rated All Zeros on the Skin Deep toxin database, the best rating a product can receive
  • With fresh Ginger to combat queasiness, and organic Pink Grapefruit essential oils to give spirits a lift
  • Naturally safe organic olive oil castile soap base
  • No harsh detergents and zero toxins mean that it’s safe enough for pregnant women, so it’s safe enough for the whole family!
  • A morning sickness busting companion with Happy Mama Spray
  • Certified vegan and cruelty‐free

The Mamas at EMAB are also amazing! They really know their stuff and have an amazing product line. And customer service is top notch.

Win some Happy Mama Wash for yourself.

OK, here are the rules. Contest is open to US and Canadian Mama’s only.

Ways to enter
1. Go to the EMAB website and tell us which product you would love to try (or which is your favorite if you are already a fan).
2. Follow @greenparenting on twitter and leave a comment here
3. Follow @earthmamahq on twitter and leave a comment here
4. Sign up for the EMAB newsletter and leave a comment here
5. RT this giveaway and leave a comment. One tweet per day allowed. Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Wash review and #giveaway will make your sniffer happy! via @greenparenting http://bit.ly/aRSlK6

Contest ends at midnight CST on November 14.

Or if you don’t want to wait, hop on over to the EMAB website and pick some up for yourself, while there, don’t forget about baby and get the Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash, Angel Baby Bottom Balm and Angel Baby Lotion too. The lotion is amazing for eczema – I use it on my son as well.

Disclaimer: EMAB sent a bottle of the Happy Mama Wash in exchange for a honest review. All opinions here are my own and in no way is reflected by receiving this product – not how I operate!

Safe school supplies 2010

It’s back-to-school time again! Time to shop for those school supplies and of course you want them to be safe from ickies like PVC. Kids are going to be using school supplies and lunch boxes on a daily basis and kids are more greatly affected by toxins than adults. So we want to make sure we are sending them off with items that are safe.

So, what should you all avoid this back-to-school season?
1. PVC – polyvinyl chloride. PVC causes cancer, and is notorious for containing lead which can cause irreversible brain damage with too much exposure.

How to avoid PVC, the poison plastic. The CHEJ gives these quick tips:

  • PVC products are often labeled with the words “vinyl” on the packaging, such as vinyl 3-ring binders
  • PVC packaging can be identified by looking for the number “3” inside, or the letters “V” or “PVC” underneath, the universal recycling symbol, indicating the product is made out of PVC. Just remember – bad news comes in #3’s, don’t buy PVC
  • Some products are not properly labeled, making it tough to determine whether they contain PVC. If you’re uncertain, e-mail or call the 1-800 number of the manufacturer or retailer and ask what type of plastic their product is made of. You have a right to know.

While sadly, some safer school supplies are harder to find, if you keep looking, you should still be able to find PVC free supplies. Here is a pocket guide to help you along and a full list of PVC-free school supplies. Though, for many of these supplies on the full list, you will have to do your shopping online and those sites are noted on CHEJ’s guide, which is certainly more appealing to me than battling the back-to-school crowds in stores. Luckily, I have 1 more year before I need to worry about that.

Some of my favorite PVC-free items for back to school are

So, where can you find PVC-free school supplies? If you are like me and prefer not to battle the last minute back-to-school shoppers, check out the eco-friendly selection at Amazon for

Or consult CHEJ’s well researched list with websites of manufacturers and how to buy.

2. BPA – bisphenol A. Common in Polycarbonate (PC) #7 plastic. A hormone disruptor that interferes with the developing breast and prostate in the womb and out, as well as affecting brain development and behavior. Has also in recent studies been linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

See my BPA-free list here to find BPA-free water bottles, dishes, snack bowls, etc. or shop at The Soft Landing.

3. Polystyrene #6 plastic. Styrene can cause nerve system damage and is listed as a probable human carcinogen (causes cancer). Commonly found in Styrofoam containers, as well as other food containers, cups, cutlery, CD’s, packing peanuts, etc.

4. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Kids and alcohol just don’t mix, so opt for something safer such as CleanWell Hand Sanitizer.

5. Triclosan and items labeled with “Microban Technology.” Triclosan is the common ingredient in many antibacterial products, including most liquid hand soaps, and is toxic. Really anything labeled antimicrobial, antibacterial, keeps food fresh longer, and other such claims could contain Triclosan. Avoid it. SafeMama has a good article on Microban and I agree with their stance that it seems unnecessary and because there is not sufficient evidence one way or another, it’s best to steer clear if possible. I make my own foaming hand soap and love it!

Does your school make the environmental health grade? Use the CHEJ’s environmental checklist to find out.

That should you do if your school list has items on it that you feel strongly against (i.e. alchohol based hand sanitizer like Purell)? Tiffany at Nature Mom’s Blog did a write up last year with a letter she sent to her son’s teacher explaining some of the deviations she provided from the required list.

Hope these tips make your back to school year a little healthier! Happy shopping!

RELATED POSTS

BPA, PVC and lead free lunch boxes for back to school

The Baby Dipper Bowl Review and Giveaway

The first night I used this bowl, I was totally geeking out about it. I LOVED it. My determined-to-self-feed son spilled very little of his dinner on the table thus most of his dinner made it to his mouth – success! Just to be fair, I decided to use the bowl a few more times before writing the review just to be sure it continued to live up to its expectations, and it has!

The contoured shape is great. It helps guide food onto the spoon. I was a little worried that my son would get a heaping spoonful and still spill food all over the table, but I think because the bowl only holds 4 ounces, it helps him get the proper amount on the spoon, so spilling is very minimal. And he does not throw this bowl like he does his plates.

This bowl should be on every baby registry – a must-have for anyone with a baby or toddler in the house.

Pros:

  • Very good at helping babies learn to self feed with the innovative shape of the bowl and rubber base to keep bowl in place
  • Utensils are just the right size and shape for little hands to easily grasp
  • Most of the food stays in the bowl or on the spoon 
  • If you are holding baby and feeding with 1 hand, the bowl stays put with the rubber base 
  • Free of all the ickies – BPA, phthalate, lead and PVC 
  • Can be washed in dishwasher (top-rack ONLY!) 
  • Mom-invented and I love that!

Cons

  • I wish the bowl was available in a bigger size – it only holds 4 ounces, so I have to refill his bowl 3 times to fill his growing belly – but it is not a huge issue, as I mentioned above, I think the size helps him get a reasonable amount onto his spoon 
  • It’s a little expensive at $12.95 per set (bowl, spoon, fork) 
  • Other spoons/forks may not work as well with this bowl unless they are the same size and shape as the Baby Dipper set. Meaning you will want to use the set together every time to prevent having to use an alternate spoon. (hard for DH to grasp, though my almost-4-year-old seems to get it)

I love the bowl so much that I gave one to a friend for her baby shower. I think this will be my new baby gift staple.

Want one?? Enter to win!

There are multiple ways to enter. And enter as many ways as you wish, just follow the rules!

1. Leave a comment here and tell us your favorite thing about the bowl (1 entry)

2. Follow @greenparenting on Twitter, leave a comment below (1 entry)

3. Follow @babydipper on Twitter, leave a comment below (1 entry)

4. Subscribe to the Baby Dipper newsletter, leave a comment below (1 entry, to be verified)

5. Follow the Baby Dipper blog, leave a comment below (1 entry, to be verified) 

6. Tweet about the giveaway: Enter to win! Baby Dipper bowl review and #giveaway http://bit.ly/cDIH9G (via @greenparenting) 1 tweet per day, post link to status in comments

You can also keep up with the latest news from the Baby Dipper on Facebook (though following does not count as an extra entry).

Contest ends at midnight CST, April 12, 2010. Winner will be notified via email and must respond within 2 days. If no response, a new winner will be chosen. Baby Dipper LLC will provide shipping to a winner in the US or Canada.

Disclaimers: Previous winners of the Baby Dipper bowl giveaways sponsored by Baby Dipper, LLC are not eligible. I received the bowl from the Baby Dipper LLC, though the views expressed in my review are those of my own experience with the bowl. No other compensation was or will be received.

Top picks for eco-friendly toys 2009

Here is my list of the best eco-friendly toys for Christmas 2009! No lead, no BPA, no PVC, no phthalates, or other toxic paints, plastics or glues. Many of these are toys we have purchased ourselves and they have been personally tested by my kids.

(imagines coming)

Birth+
Fish teetherby Natersutten Great traditional style cool-it teether, but free of all the yuckies like phthalates, PVC and BPA. Little bumps on the teether are soothing for your little teether.

Sophie the Giraffe Teether, by Vulli This is my favorite. It’s just adorable. Sophie is the perfect size for little hands and there are lots of teethable areas – legs, ears, neck. It’s made of all natural rubber and painted with food quality paint.

Veggies in a Crate, by Under the Nile This has always been one of my favorites. Made or organic Egyptian cotton and certified Fair Trade. There is also a fruit version.

Organic Plush Sleepytime Charlotte, by miYim  This adorable little bear stands 12” tall and is perfect for baby to cuddle. And you can feel good about it too – it’s made of organic materials, chemical-free and uses non-toxic dyes for color – just what you would want baby to snuggle with!

Eco-friendly plush giraffe, by Sevi

Hammer Balls, by Plan Toys Another favorite of my kids. I was skeptical at first, as this seemed too simplistic to be any fun, but it got rave reviews. And for great reason – it’s a fun twist to the traditional hammer and peg toy. Even at 6 months my son was using the little hammer to try and hit the balls. When you hit the balls, they roll out and across the room making it a fun game of chase for 2 – one to hit the balls and the other to catch them and put them back.

12 months+
Cone Sorting, by Plan Toys My son has been playing with this since 6 months and my 3 year old loves it as well. The colors are great and putting it together is lots of fun. My son has claimed the center piece as a teether.

Activity Walker, by EverEarth This great toy is as much fun stationary as it is in motion. There are many great toys on the front and sides of the walker for baby to explore even before he can walk. When he can walk with support, he can push the walker to his delight. The paint is water-based and lead-free; and the wood is from sustainable forests.

Dancing Alligator pull toy, by Plan Toys – Hands down, this is my 11 month old’s favorite toy. Again, my 3 year old loves this too. It’s as cute as it is fun. It dances as you pull it and makes a fun click-clack sound. It’s made of all natural rubber wood and all natural dyes.

Bingo Bed Hammer Toy, Holgate Toys  Non-toxic, rave reviews, wood, time-tested and heirloom quality. What’s not to love? One thing I really like about the Bingo Bed compared to other hammer and peg toys, is with this one, the pegs are different sizes, making it a little more challenging.

Ring-A-Thing, by HABA This toy is a great first game to help your toddler learn colors, sizes and how to take turns. There are 3 basic game ideas and is appropriate for 1-3 players.

Toddler +
Dolphin Adventure Explorer Boatby Sprig Toys My son is getting this for Christmas. The boat is safe for land and water play. Even though this is made from wood, it’s very lightweight Sprig wood.

Deluxe Wooden Railway Set and the activity table (sold separately), by Melissa and Doug While this is not as high quality as the Plan Toys train sets, it’s still a great set, it’s available locally at Smith’s Variety and you cannot beat the price!

Eco-friendly handy doctor set by Wonderworld

Christina’s Kitchen, by Nova Natural Toys  – Forget the kids, I want this for me! This all wood kitchen is so simple, yet adorable! It has a stainless steel sink that can be removed, 4 burners, an oven, cabinet space and even counter space. All your little cook needs is the accessories. They also have a matching wooden fridge. Nova Natural Toys and Crafts are my new favorite. Great quality, natural, non-toxic toys and crafts that you can feel good about giving and receiving!

Dish Set, by Green Toys Inc.  This is new for 2009 and goes great with the award winning Green Toys tea set  and the new Chef Set. This is a great company as they use plastic milk jugs to make their toys and they are manufactured in California!

Green Toddler Picnic Table, by Tick-n-Thistle Every child needs a picnic table and this one is as eco-friendly as they come. They do not use treated wood, formaldehyde glues or paint. They also have many sizes of this table for kids up to roughly age 12.

Butterfly Alphabet puzzle, by imagiPLAY This wood puzzle is perfect for little ones to learn the alphabet, letter recognition and a great way to learn puzzles. Once the puzzle is complete, you can stand it up and brighten up any room! imagiPLAY wooden toys are made from beech wood and use lead-free paint.

Skuut balance bike  What a really great idea! The Skuut Balance bike does not have pedals or chains. Kids use their feet to learn to move the bike. Teaches natural motion to move the bike and a much easier way to learn to balance on two wheels.

Discover Rig, by Sprig Toys  I am so impressed with Sprig Toys. The quality is great, and of course, they are eco-friendly! I just LOVE this ATV-style vehicle. It’s as cute as it is fun and green! It has lights and sounds, but is battery-free (something any parent will love!). Sprig Toys are made of sprig wood (plastic bottles/milk jugs and reclaimed saw dust), yet are surprisingly lighter than you expect. Pair it up with the Side Kick Vehicle and Rally Racer  for endless fun.

Mini It’s Me Doll, by Kathy Kruse Kathy Kruse dolls are adorable – period! These dolls are handcrafted in Germany from natural materials and as I mentioned, they are really adorable!

Preschool Toys

Victorian Doll House, by Plan Toys  This is a great option if you have lots of room and want a big doll house. There is also an extra floor you can add to make this 4 floors of fun! The only downside is you need to purchase the dolls and furniture separately.

The Green Dollhouse, by Plan Toys is a smaller scale house that comes with furniture. Like all Plan Toys, it is made of all natural rubber wood, dyed with vegetable and soy dyes, and assembled with formaldehyde-free glue. This adorable house teaches eco-friendly practices with green features such as recycle bins, a wind turbine, rain barrel and solar panels.

Sprig Toys Story Builders Playset I’m holding out to get the Castle version for my daughter’s birthday since I’m maxed out on her Christmas. This is brilliant! My 3 year old has a big imagination and I love toys that will spark that. This is a configurable set to allow your child to make up stories. There are several sets: the castle, a barn yard, Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs. You can check out all 4 versions on the Sprig Toys Web site.

Plan Toy Balancing Cactus – This game gets my vote for safety of course, but also for promoting teamwork. You work together to add colorful pieces to the cactus without it falling over. The game promotes math skills and analytical thinking as you estimate the size and weight of each piece and determine the best placement to keep the game in play. It’s a great game where everyone is a winner.

Eco-Friendly Hand Puppets, by Cate and Levi Hand puppets are a fantastic way to encourage imagination. Just type ‘eco-friendly hand puppets’ into a Google search and these are the first ones that appear. And rightfully so, these puppets are colorful and fun! There are several animals to choose from and all are handmade in Canada, so each one is unique. All Cate and Levi products are handmade of reclaimed wool and are free from chemicals like flame retardants.

See also:
How to find eco-friendly toys
Toys made in the USA
Where to find eco-friendly toys in Birmingham, AL

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