Archive for the ‘Children’s Products’ Category

Safer Sunscreens 2009

It’s that time of year again — planning for beach trips, the pool, biking, or whatever outdoor activities interest you.

california-baby-spf-30-natural-sunscreen

Last year, the folks at the Environmental Working Group published a report on the effectiveness of sunscreens. They studied 952 common sunscreens and found 4 out of 5 do not do their job.  Additionally, 53% of sunscreen make claims on the bottle that are simply inaccurate and are terms the FDA has said are unacceptable terms or misleading. 

They also found zinc and titanium based formulas to be the most effective.

What to avoid. Avoid ingredients like those with anything “–paraben” in the name, fragrance (likely contains phthalates), PEG compounds, polyethylene, oxybenzone,  triethanolamine, BHT,  benzyl alcohol, and others. This is not a complete list, just some of the ones you may find. Definitely consult the EWG’s Cosmetic Databse for more information on specific ingredients.

Again, read those labels and remember formulas frequently change!

Here is a little summary on the EWG website, plus their recommended top 10 sunscreens that are safe and effective. They also offer a list of “common brand names” and specifically which product in that line is safe and effective. **A little disclaimer though about the cosmetic database.** I have personally found discrepencies in the ingredients they have listed in their database than what is actually listed on the bottle. This is because formulas change frequently and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with each and every product. So definitely still consult the databse as a guide, but as always read the labels before you buy!!

EWG’s recommended Top 10 sunscreens (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard)
1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30   0
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+  0
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+   0
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30       0
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum    1
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40     1
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35      1
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+      1
(there is also a Baby version)
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30     1
10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+  1

From 10 Common Brands (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard). If more than 1 product is listed for that entire brand’s line, I put the range, so be sure to get the ones specified below)
** Please note, these are safer common brands (meaning easier to find), does not mean they are free of harmful ingredients. Other than California Baby, I would personally NOT recommend any of the below or use these for myself or my family.
1. Blue Lizard anything without oxybenzone    (1-7)
2. California Baby anything with SPF 30+     (0-2)
3. CVS with zinc oxide       (2-7) 
4. Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock  (1-7)
5. Kiss My Face “Paraben Free” series     (2-7)
6. Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock     (2-7)
7. Olay Defense Daily UV Moisturizer (with zinc)    (2-7)
8. SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense     (2-3)
9. Solar Sense Clear Zinc for Face      (1-2)
10. Walgreens Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears   (1-7)

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of TruKids and California Baby. TruKids is a little less expensive. My husband and I both used it last year during our traditional week at the beach and I use California Baby on my then 2 year old. She enjoyed using the TruKids face stick on all 3 of our faces! None of us got burned, and our relatives who used Bull Frog did get burned.

Related Articles

California Baby Sunscreen: Product Review
TruKid Sunny Days Suncreen: Product Review
Add Sun Protection to You Clothes

Create an eco-nursery; County bans BPA baby bottles and Rubber mulch is toxic

Something new: Link Round up!

It’s difficult to post even weekly now with 2 kids and working full time, so I decided when I have several interesting topics at once, I will give a smaller summary and post the link to the article.

Eco-proof the nursery this is a great little article highlighting common concerns for today’s new parents (or new again). It shows how parents are concerned about the expense of raising a “green” baby and offers tips on how to go free for free or for very little money.

One NY County Bans BPA Baby bottles Hats off to them! I hope this catches on, though with manufacturers stopping the production of them and national retailers stopping the sale of them, bottles made with BPA will be hard to come by soon enough.

Rubber mulch is not non-toxic and contains metal fragments. And Obama just used it on his girl’s White House playground. Hopefully he will replace it. While it seems like a great idea to turn used tires into mulch for playgrounds and landscapes, it really is not non-toxic or safe for kids or the environment. Plus, rubber is highly flammable and difficult to extinguish once on fire.

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas 
The Real Story Behind BPA

No more BPA in food and beverage containers!

That’s what leaders from the House and Senate are proposing. The bill was introduced Friday and would establish a federal ban on the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers.

canned-foods

From the Washington Post:
The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it is now refusing to sell bisphenol A, known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound’s safety. Last week, six baby-bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles.

I am glad one of the big oil companies is taking a stand like this. Very impressive since the sale of BPA is a lucrative market for them.

From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Scientists and environmentalists praised the move as an acknowledgment of the chemical’s danger, but some worried that more needs to be done to study how humans are exposed to the chemical.BPA is found lurking in many places including baby bottles, plastic containers (even some labeled microwave safe), food and beverage containers, eyeglasses, CDs, dental sealants and many other places.

“It may represent just the tip of a much larger iceberg,” said Pat Hunt, the professor from Washington State University whose work led to the discovery of the effects of BPA on animals more than 10 years ago.

“Recent work suggests that contaminated food and beverages alone aren’t sufficient to account for the levels reported in human blood. Thus, it’s clear that we need to know a lot more about how we are exposed to this chemical.”

 

BPA has been linked to behavioral problems, obesity, certain cancers, diabetes, miscarriage, low sperm counts, hyperactivity, heart disease, has been found to interfere with chemotherapy in breast cancer patients, and many other problems.

Why the FDA still considers BPA “safe” is beyond me. I mean other than they are in bed with the plastic industry folks. Hey, money talks. But its certainly infuriating as a parent knowing that hundreds of studies, another Federal Health agency and now even a BPA manufacturer all find there is enough evidence that this stuff does cause harm even in small amounts.

There are ways to avoid BPA in food and beverages. We do not use canned foods/beverages in our house, and I do not miss it or find it any harder to make dinner. I get fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. For soup, we make our own from scratch –it’s healthier and it tastes much better. If I really need canned something, which is usually just beans for taco night, I use Eden Organics whose cans are not lined with BPA (except tomatoes, which are too acidic). Even chicken and beef stock can be bought in a boxed form allowing you to avoid cans. Cream of whatever soups are the only other thing I use and I know there are recipes out there to make your own. For beverages, go for glass bottles (though the tops may be lined with BPA), or plastic (which is a whole other concern. We just gave up soft drinks all together a few years ago – there is no nutritional benefit to drinking it, it’s full of bad stuff and its not cheap.

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Follow me on Twitter!

Sources:
JSOnline
Washington Post

BPA investigation: To read the Journal Sentinel’s ongoing investigation “Chemical Fallout,” go to www jsonline.com/chemicalfallout. JSOnAir Meg Kissinger on BPA To see Meg Kissinger talk about the national attention the Journal Sentinel is getting for its research into bisphenol A, go to jsonline.com/jsonair.

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas 
The Real Story Behind BPA

Diapers on sale!

Diapers.com is having a sale on diapers. Check out their great sale. Save an additional $10 by using coupon code AMOMS10 at checkout! Code applies to new customers.

Diapers.com has expanded their offerings and now offers all kinds of gear, trinkets and whatnot for babies, including feeding supplies for breastfeeding, bottle feeding and solids; cloth diapering; strollers and other gear; toys including wood; formula and so much more!

Don’t forget to use coupon code AMOMS10 to save $10! Oh, and if you spend $49+ you will also get free 2 day shipping! 

Shop now because the sale ends at the end of February!

BPA mimics estrogen and phthalates block testosterone

This article sums up pretty much what we already know, but it does a good job of showing how BPA acts like estrogen and phthalates block testosterone. I did learn that BPA exposure to babies in the womb have a greater negative effect on girls than boys, causing more reproductive harm than I thought.

Mice that were exposed to BPA as fetuses developed abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, and vagina, Dr. Taylor said. Other murine studies found genetic abnormalities in eggs, an increased risk of mammary cancers, and early puberty in females.

The list of problems was shorter for male mice exposed to the chemical, with reduced sperm production and increased prostate size at the top.

And for phthalates…

Studies in male animals have found reduced sperm production, undescended testes, hypospadias, decreased testosterone production, and reduced anogenital distance.

The chemical’s effects on female reproduction were far fewer, with murine studies linking it to delayed or premature puberty.

They touch on the FDA’s stance that BPA is safe, where the FDA states they did not have sufficient evidence. However, human studies would be difficult. For one, a human study on either substance would be difficult since the entire population is exposed to both chemicals. Also, subjecting humans to high levels of this stuff would be unethical.

“Sometimes you just have to make decisions based on ‘inadequate’ evidence,” Dr. Lustig said regarding the FDA’s investigation of BPA, and potentially phthalates. “You just [make them] based on the right thing to do.”

Amen to that.

Read the entire article here.

Follow me on Twitter!

See my lists of BPA free items for children and some for mom too.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage

Related Articles
Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas 
The Real Story Behind BPA

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/

The Real Story Behind Bisphenol A

How a handful of consultants used Big Tobacco’s tactics to sow doubt about science and hold off regulation of BPA, a chemical in hundreds of products that could be harming an entire generation.

I always liked FastCompany magazine. There are always great articles. Well, they have recently looked into the BPA controversy / debate as well and published an article here last week. They looked at both sides, the history, how the studies were done, what the FDA reviewed and who funded the studies, etc. Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about the BPA issue. They interviewed several folks from both sides. It’s a very long, but very interesting read.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article:
“The United States has a long tradition of keeping harmful substances — lead, DDT, tobacco, PCBs — on the market for decades after scientists find adverse effects.”

“Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who has launched numerous investigations into the agency, contends, “The FDA has got to be a watchdog, not a business partner with industry.”

“If these low-dose findings were counterintuitive to toxicologists, they made perfect sense to developmental biologists. After all, BPA is a synthetic hormone. Any physician knows that at small doses, most hormones are extremely powerful in stimulating their target organs, while at higher doses — above a certain threshold — they can paralyze these same organs. (Testosterone powers the male sex drive, for instance, but at high doses causes impotence.)”

Very interesting indeed. I could pull more quotes, but then I may as well copy the whole article! They have uncovered what many of us already know – there is enough evidence that it may cause harm at any dose so it is best to just avoid BPA altogether. Retailers such as Babies R Us, Wal-Mart and Target had said they would stop selling polycarbonate baby bottles at the end of 2008 (though I have seen them on the shelves as of last week). Nalgene has gone to a BPA-free plastic water bottle as consumers demand a safer product and the FDA sits and takes money from the plastic industry and tries to convince us that BPA is safe when there are over 100 studies not funded by the plastics that claim otherwise.

BPA, or Bisphenol A, is a hormone-mimicking chemical found in plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, water bottles, dental filings, in the lining of canned foods, etc. Even at low doses it can affect the endocrine system. Learn more here

I have several lists with safer alternatives to polycarbonate plastics.
BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
BPA and phthalate free pacifiers
BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles
 
BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage for kids

And I am finishing up my BPA free food storage list in between nursing my newborn, so please check back!

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Harmful plastics with BPA
Lead and PVC-free lunch boxes
Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas

Prince Lionheart Introduces Silicone baby bottle

In response to recent concerns over the BPA in plastic baby bottles, industry leader Prince Lionheart has released an innovative new product, Prince Lionheart’s Silicone Baby Bottles. The bottle is the world’s first pure silicone baby bottle for a safer way to feed baby.

“Prince Lionheart created a new feeding line using silicone, a natural substance that contains no chemicals and is 100% safe for babies,” said Kelly Griffiths, President and CEO of Prince Lionheart. “Now, parents who are concerned about the health of their babies have a safe and natural alternative to plastic baby bottles.”

Prince Lionheart has committed to using only those materials that are 100% free of BPA, Phthalates, lead and PVC in their entire feeding product line, thus making it the safe and smart choice for parents everywhere.

Read more about it here.

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BPA Free dishes, utensils, snack containers, and food storage for kids

I have been working on this list for months. Giving birth, caring for a newborn and having a toddler to chase on top of that sure takes a lot more time. I know I need to answer a few questions too and will get to those as soon as I can. 

Here I have compiled a list of kids BPA free dishes, utensils, snack containers and food storage containers for kids.

DISHES (plates, bowls, tumblers)
Arrow Frostware Dishes and Bowls; Section plates, Sip-a-bowl, Sip-a-cup, Juice sipper, Tumblers, Bowls, plates 
Bany Cie 5 piece luncheon set 
BabyBjorn Plate & Spoon 

Baby Dipper bowl and spoon set
Bambu Kids Organic Bamboo Dishes, Bowls 
Boon: Groovy interlocking plate and bowl, Snack plateCatch bowl  
Camden Rose “Cheery” Wooden Bowl and Spoon set 
Correlle dishware (“unbreakable,” made of glass)
The Dombo cup 
First years: take and toss set, Double duty plates
Frostware: plates, bowls and tumblers 
Gerber: bunch of bowls with lids, Lil Trainer tableware Plates and Utensils, Divide and Dine Plates, Tossables Disposable Plates, Lil Snackin’ Bowl, Snap N’ Store Plates  
Green Sprouts Eco-Friendly cornstarch divided plates, cornstarch bowl, warming plate, Baby food mill, Baby food grinder bowl
Guyot Designs Squishy Bowl & Cup Set 
Gund Tender beginnings ceramic dish set pink  and blue 
IKEA: Kalas Plates, Bowls & Tumblers; MATA 4 piece Dinnerware set (frog, comes in 4 colors)  (note: IKEA’s other kid dishes are mostly made of melamine and another set has a polycarbonate cup)
Kidco Travel Dish with Spoon , Baby food mill
Land of Nod: Ceramic Kids Dishware

Little Tikes: 4 piece turtle mealtime set, Cozy Coup bowl with lid, Turtle Bowl with lid 
Munchkin: Multi Plates & Bowls, Toddler Plates, 3 Pack Stayput Suction Bowls, Stayput Suction Toddler Bowls  
Nuby: Wash or Toss Dishes, Snack Cup and Spoon, Microwaveable Bowl with Lid
ORE Originals Baby Face ABC Ceramic Dish Set (REALLY cute!)
Recycline 10” dinner plates, 7” salad platescups all made of polypropylene
Sassy: Less mess toddler feeding bowl, Feeding plate set, Warming dish, Perfect size snack cups, On-the-go feeding set, Feeding bowl set, Insulated feeding pots, NEW BPA-free line coming soon! 
Skip*Hop Mate Dish Set (note other Skip Hop dishes are made of melamine, so are BPA free, but the safety of melamine in dishware is debatable right now)
TreBimbi Dinnerware Sets: 6 piece Puppet Club  and 5 piece Party set    very cute and would make mealtime fun
Tupperware – all products marketed for kids are BPA-free, including Bell Tumbler Sippy Cups with Seals Set of 4, Divided Dish Set with Easy Grip Handle, Ideal Little Kids Bowls, set of 3, Feeding set for Kids 
Stainless Steel dishware 
Think Baby stainless steel feeding set 
Trendykid Stackable Steady Cup 
ZAK Designs  Many of the dinnerware sets are made of melamine.
 
UTENSILS
Bambu Kids Organic Bamboo Utensils 
Boon: Benders Fork & Spoon, Modware Toddler Utensils, Polka Dot Fork and Spoon, Squirt Food Dispensing Spoon 
First Years forks and spoons
Gerber: Infant Spoons, Toddler Spoons, Fork and Spoon Set, Graduates Kiddy kutlery (SO cute with fork, spoon and knife), Scoopin’ Spoons (my daughter loves these), Tossables Disposable Utensils
Green Sprouts Eco-Friendly Cornstarch fork and spoon, silicone toddler spoon
IKEA: Kalas 18 Piece Cutlery set 
Munchkin: Soft-Tip Infant Spoons
Nuby: hot safe feeding spoon, Nibbler, Easy grip fork and spoon set, Spoon and Fork with Soft Handle, Fun Feeding Spoons with Toys and Sounds,
One Step Ahead: My Very Own Flatware stainless steel (3 and up)
Recycline cutlery made of polypropylene
Sassy: Less mess feeding spoon, toddler feeding spoon, Teether feeder, travel case w/fork and spoon
TreBimbi Dinnerware Utensils
Williams Sonoma: Kids Stainless Flatware

SNACK CONTAINERS
Boon Snack Ball
Little Tikes 3 piece turtle snack set 
Munchkin: Snack Catcher, Snack n’ Serve Cups, Snack Dispenser
RazBaBY formula and snack dispensers 
Snack Trap 
The First Years: take and toss snack savers, 6 pack of snack cups

FOOD STORAGE – Baby
Baby Cubes baby food storage system
BornFree Thermal Food Jar
Gerber Bunch of Bowls with Lids
Green Sprouts Baby food grinder bowlsilicone freezer tray
MunchkinBaby Food Grinder, Fresh Food Feeder 
So Easy Fresh Baby Food Kit 
Thermos Food Jars  

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BPA free bottles, sippy cups and food storage
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Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas

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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Non-Toxic Toys for Christmas