Posts Tagged ‘infants’

Seeking safer packaging to eliminate BPA

According to a new study, not many companies are seeking alternatives to replacing BPA in their packaged foods.

The survey was conducted by sending letters to 20 leading publicly-traded packaged food companies to inquire on the actions they are taking to address concerns over BPA. Fourteen companies responded and the scores were determined based on these responses.

The main findings of the study concluded:

(Excerpt)
• All companies surveyed use BPA and are taking insufficient steps to move toward alternatives.

• Hain Celestial, Heinz, and Nestlé received the top scores because all three companies are involved in researching and testing of alternatives to BPA and all have plans to phase out the chemical in some products.

• Heinz stands out as a leader as it is the only company surveyed that is currently using an alternative to BPA in some of its can linings.

• Three of the companies that responded to our questions, Del Monte, Hershey, and J.M. Smucker, are not taking action beyond monitoring the industry to identify or implement alternatives to BPA as a packaging material. 

Eden Foods is privately held so was not listed in the surevy, however, all their canned foods are BPA-free with the exception of tomatoes which are too acidic for any BPA alternative.

Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow conducted the study and they provide acceptable alternatives to BPA in food packaging. Read the entire article.

 What can you do?

Arm yourself with information.

Avoid companies who are not doing anything on the BPA issue, and write letters to them letting them know you will not buy from them until they offer BPA free products

Support companies who are moving to alternatives to BPA by purchasing their BPA-free products

If you need canned foods, opt for Eden Foods, which are BPA free (except tomatoes)

Ditch canned foods and opt for fresh or frozen

View my lists of BPA-free cups, dishes, bottles and more

Never microwave plastic as it could still leach BPA

Write your congressmen and encourage them to support the call to ban BPA altogether.

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Link between Autism and vinyl floors?

Certainly more research is needed, but a Swedish study concluded that an infant/toddler with vinyl flooring in their bedrooms were twice as likely to have autism 5 years later than those with wood or linoleum flooring. For parents who smoked, autism rates were also twice as those who’s parents did not smoke. More research is absolutely needed, but interesting nonetheless. 
Vinyl can emit phthalates, which are chemicals used to make soft plastic that have also been connected to allergies and asthma. The scientists, lead by Carl-Gustav Bornehag of Karlstad University in Sweden, call the data “far from conclusive” and say further studies with a larger group of children are needed to confirm a link.

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Would you feed your baby rocket fuel?

You may be feeding your baby rocket fuel and not know it. baby-bottle
 
The CDC has tested several samples of infant formula and found traces of perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel.  If the powdered formula was also mixed with water also contaminated with perchlorate, it could exceed levels considered safe for adults.
 
“No tests have ever shown the chemical caused health problems, but scientists have said significant amounts of perchlorate can affect thyroid function. The thyroid helps set the body’s metabolism. Thyroid problems can impact fetal and infant brain development.”
 
The brands of formula tested were not released.
 
Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was considering setting new limits on the amount of perchlorate that would be acceptable in drinking water. A few states have already set their own limits.

The EPA has checked nearly 4,000 public water supplies serving 10,000 people or more. About 160 of the water systems had detectable levels of perchlorate, and 31 had levels high enough to exceed a new safety level the EPA is considering.

This is just really sad. I breastfeed, so I don’t have to worry about the formula contamination, but I have friends who formula feed, and this is a stress they don’t need on their plate. I do worry about the water contamination. I don’t really want to be drinking rocket fuel, even if at a “safe” level. Just like I
 
What can you do?
– Don’t freak out and don’t stop giving your baby formula
– Breastfeed if you can
– Since the brands tested were not disclosed, choosing a different formula is not helpful (and you should consult your pediatrician before doing so in any case).
– Install a water filtration system capable of removing perchlorate for use of mixing with formula (and drinking of course!)
– If you do a little homework, you can probably find bottled water that has used one of the above methods. But note: Not all bottled water is the same! Several manufacturers simply bottle filtered tap water. Know what you are buying.
– Since the food we eat could be irrigated with water contaminated with perchlorate, buy produce from areas that do not use contaminated water to irrigate.
Check this table for areas contaminated with perchlorate 
And a map from the EPA
And sites known to manufacturer or use perchlorate
– And write letters – write letters to your congressmen, formula manufacturers, the FDA, the president – anyone who could have influence. Let them know rocket fuel in formula and in drinking water is not acceptable.

Source: FoxNews

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I’m on Twitter

So I am getting on board with all this keeping in touch technology and am now on Twitter. Follow me at www.twitter.com/amomsblog 

Tweet, Tweet!

Britax Car Seat Sale!

Amazon is having a rare sale on Britax car seats, which are touted as being among the best/safest car seats available. I have one and LOVE it. Yes they are a little bigger and heavier than most, but they have performed better than other car seats in crash tests.

The sale is for one week only, so don’t delay, click here to view the sale items! It looks like all Britax seats will also receive free shipping! When I purchased my Britax, all prices were very similar, so free shipping was important to me. But now there is a sale AND free shipping! Can’t beat that!

Britax offers a wide variety of car seats — convertibles, boosters — and in different models with different features. I have the Boulevard, which offers true side impact protection. I have a Civic, so that was an important feature to me. It also had a knob on the side allowing you to adjust the straps to where YOU want them all without having to remove the straps or the seat.

Britax also has a new seat — the Click and Safe seat which provides and audible click to let you k now when the restraints are tight enough to keep your child safe.

Another thing to watch for is weight limits. The Boulevard is rear-facing up to 35 lbs and forward facing up to 65 pounds. The Roundabout is rear-facing also to 35 lbs, but only forward facing to 40 lbs.

The most important thing about car seats it to make sure they are properly installed!! I NEVER install my own seats. There is a technician at one of the fire stations here who is recommended by Children’s Hospital. He is certified and does hundreds of installations every year. The fact is, death from improper use or installation of car seats is the leading cause of death in infants and children. It’s so not worth it — get it professionally installed fire stations will do this for free, so cost is not an excuse, just takes a few minutes. Your child is worth it!

Other tips for safe car seats and usage:

1. Make sure the seat fits your car and fits your child. It does not matter how safe the seat is if it does not properly fit the car or child.

2. Keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. This has nothing to do with age or how long your child’s legs are. Rear-facing is the safest position up to the weight limit of the seat or until his head reaches the top of the seat.

3. Use the seat every time! NEVER go anywhere without your child properly restrained in an approved car seat. Surprisingly, nearly half of all child deaths and injuries related to car accidents are from parents not using a restraint. Don’t do this — buckle up your child before you even start the car.

4. Watch for recalls, especially important if you are using a second-hand seat. Car seats come with a registration card. Fill it out and send it in so the manufacturer can send you any recall information.

5. Lifetime of a seat is about 6 years, at which time a new seat should be purchased, because the plastic starts to breakdown. Again, especially important if you are using a second hand seat.

6. Use a 5 point harrness, LATCH system and tethers.

7. Inspect the seat regularly to ensure it is still secured properly (ideally you would do this each time before putting the child in the seat). Very important as one day I discovered the car seat belt came undone on my daughter’s infant seat. Scared me to death to think what could have happened if I had not checked.

8. Make sure the straps are tight and secure each time you buckle up your child and that the chest clip is in the middle of your child’s sternum.

9. Children up to 80 pounds, 4’9″ and 8-10 years old need to be in some restraint system.

10. Don’t buckle in your child when she is wearing a heavy coat. It can create gaps and your child could fly out of the seat on impact. Instead buckle your child in then use blankets for warmth.

Go to the sale NOW! Before it’s too late….

Other resources:

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/

http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm

http://car-seat.org/

Breastfeeding advocacy shirt giveaways

Judy at Mother’s Boutique recently starting blogging about breastfeeding and other mommy news like getting your child to take a nap! To kick off the new year, she is giving away breastfeeding advocacy shirts for mom or baby. Visit her blog here to learn how to enter this great giveaway.

She is also having a Valentine’s Day special on pink and red maternity and nursing items in her boutique, so don’t forget to visit her store to save 25% on pink and red items with promotion code VALENTINES25.

About a Mother’s Boutique
When it comes to preparing for your new baby, A Mother’s Boutique is here to help. We carry everything you need from maternity clothing to breastfeeding clothing, nursing bras, breast pumps, slings and breastfeeding accessories.

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Kids Lungs Benefit from Longer Breastfeeding

I thought this study was very interesting. In a nutshell, the study concluded that children breastfed exclusively for at least 4 months, had greater lung capacity and airflow than those children who were bottle fed. The study surveyed 1033 10 year olds, in 3 different groups. One was exclusively breastfed, the other exclusively bottle fed and the last group a mix of breast and bottle.

The greatest benefit was among those who were breastfed the longest and no benefits was shown for those breastfed less than 4 months.

The interesting part is the benefit is not believed to be from the breastmilk, but from the act of suckling since it takes more effort to extract milk from the breast than the bottle.

“The physical exercise caused by suckling at the breast – about six times daily on average for more than 4 months — may result in increased lung capacity and increased airflow in breast-fed children compared with bottle-fed children,” Dr. Ikechukwu U. Ogbuanu told Reuters Health.

Read the entire article here.

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Safety First for Holiday Toys – USA Today

A USA Today article today discussed the challenge of finding safe toys this holiday season. The government recently passed a law which would ban some toxic substances from children’s products, however, the ban does not take effect until February 10, 2008, allowing retailers and manufacturers to sell off toys this Christmas Season that do not meet the new standards.

Unfortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said they will allow toys containing phthalates, one of the newly banned chemicals that affects the reproductive system, to be sold indefinitely. (I find it ironic they have “safety” in their name when they make a decision like this.)

Luckily, many reliable toys manufacturers already meet these new standards, and wooden toys are making a comeback as well. You can see some of these manufacturers and a list of toys that are lead, phthalate and BPA-free here. Other companies, like Fisher-Price, can’t tell you which, if any, of their toys are free of any of these substances.

Shop smart! My list of non-toxic toys and my Amazon store are great places to start.

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Is it safe to microwave plastic?

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Sentinel conducted a study on the safety of microwaving plastics. Surprisingly, BPA (bisphenol-A) was found to be leaching from many types of plastic, not just polycarbonate. And these plastic containers are labeled “microwave safe,” a claim that is commonly used yet not regulated.

Excerpt:
“The amounts detected were at levels that scientists have found cause neurological and developmental damage in laboratory animals,” the paper reports. “The problems include genital defects, behavioral changes and abnormal development of mammary glands. The changes to the mammary glands were identical to those observed in women at higher risk for breast cancer.”

Makes me glad I recently ditched my plastic for glass, and I usually remove the plastic lid before putting in the microwave and ensure no plastic is touching food in the microwave.

BPA was also found in the plastic trays of microwavable meals, microwavable soup containers and plastic baby food packaging. Even in plastics labeled #1, 2 and 5, which are generally considered safe and typically BPA-free.

This researcher simply states
“There is no such thing as safe microwaveable plastic,” said Frederick vom Saal, a University of Missouri researcher who oversaw the newspaper’s testing.

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FDA ruling on BPA Flawed

So I am a little late posting this. But in a Washington Post article on Oct 29, several scientists and government agencies state the FDA did not take into consideration all the evidence regarding the safety of BPA. An except from the article states:

“In a highly critical report to be released today, the panel of scientists from government and academia said the FDA did not take into consideration scores of studies that have linked bisphenol A (BPA) to prostate cancer, diabetes and other health problems in animals when it completed a draft risk assessment of the chemical last month. The panel said the FDA didn’t use enough infant formula samples and didn’t adequately account for variations among the samples.”

This is no shock to say the least, but it is very, very troubling that the government agency who is supposed to protect consumers from toxins, sides with the plastics industry time and time again. The studies ignored in the FDA’s assessment reaffirms that BPA has no place in infant products, or in any other form that would ever come in contact with foods and beverage.

Canada has declared BPA a hazardous substance and has banned BPA in baby bottles.   Retailers including Target, Wal-Mart and Babies R Us have promised to stop selling baby bottles containing BPA.

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