Archive for the ‘Pesticides, Preservatives, etc.’ Category

Quality of bottled water questioned

Most people believe bottled water is better for you and contains less contaminants than tap water. After all, their advertising leads us to believe the water in the bottle comes from a beautiful and pure mountain stream and prices are often 1900 times that of tap water. According to a new study, this is simply not true. The Environmental Working Group recently tested 10 brands of bottled water and found alarming levels of contaminants known to cause cancer and other health issues. Contaminants include pesticide and fertilizer reside, pharmaceuticals, disinfection byproducts, caffeine, arsenic, industry chemicals and other contaminants.

It is important to note, that these levels exceed standard levels considered safe and several far exceed what California considers safe and allowable levels of certain by products, residues, etc.

EWG’s testing revealed chemical levels no different than tap water for Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Choice brand and Giant Supermarket’s Acadia brand.

“Several Sam’s Choice samples purchased in California exceeded legal limits for bottled water contaminants in that state. Cancer-causing contaminants in bottled water purchased in 5 states (North Carolina, California, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland) and the District of Columbia substantially exceeded the voluntary standards established by the bottled water industry.

Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing that it conducts. Instead, the industry hides behind the claim that bottled water is held to the same safety standards as tap water.”

Additionally, their testing showed:
“…10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand. More than one-third of the chemicals found are not regulated in bottled water.”

In 2007, the EPA issued this statement about bottled water:

“Some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all. Bottled water costs much more than tap water on a per gallon basis… Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste, or a certain method of treatment (EPA 2007b).”

The EWG also surveyed 228 brands of water (websites, labels, marketing materials) finding less than half named the water source or a description of how the water was treated, if treated at all.

Environmental Impacts
Of course, many people avoid bottled water because of the environmental impact. We have certainly limited the amount of bottled water we use at our house.

“Of the 36 billion bottles [of water] sold in 2006, only a fifth were recycled (Doss 2008). The rest ended up in landfills, incinerators, and as trash on land and in streams, rivers, and oceans. Water bottle production in the U.S. uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per every year, according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors’ resolution passed in 2007, enough energy to power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year (US Mayors 2007). As oil prices are continuing to skyrocket, the direct and indirect costs of making and shipping and landfilling the water bottles continue to rise as well (Gashler 2008, Hauter 2008).

Extracting water for bottling places a strain on rivers, streams, and community drinking water supplies as well. When the water is not bottled from a municipal supply, companies instead draw it from groundwater supplies, rivers, springs or streams. This “water mining,” as it is called, can remove substantial amounts of water that otherwise would have contributed to community water supplies or to the natural flow of streams and rivers (Boldt-Van Rooy 2003, Hyndman 2007, ECONorthwest, 2007).”

The EWG in their study of course recommended disclosure of contaminants in the bottled water, the water source and purification techniques, so we may become better consumers. I totally agree. I had heard a few years ago that many bottled water companies purely bottle tap water. I thought, what a scam!! Now I have proof it is.

It is important to note, not ALL bottled water is the same as or worse than tap water (except for the environmental impact), so we have not all been duped.

How do you avoid bottled water that contains contaminants?

If you want to still drink bottled water (which I am not saying to avoid it, though at least cutting back would help our planet!), it may require a little work if you really want to find the “best” and are willing to do a little work.

1. Only buy bottled water that names the water source. (extra credit: You can check that source to see if any contaminants are plentiful there.)
2. Only buy bottled water that along with the water source, lists the treatment techniques as well. Then determine what the process removes and how successful it is at removing contaminants. Note, not all treatments are created equal.
3. You could even call your favorite bottler and ask if the water has been tested for contaminants and ask for a copy of the findings.
4. Bring your own water that you filtered at home using a carbon filter. I bring my own cup to work, and have a stainless steel water bottle, like the Sigg or Klean Kanteen, that I can use on the go.
5. Get a LivePur filtered water bottle by Fit & Fresh. It removes many contaminates from tap water and you can refill the bottle anywhere you are and the water is filtered as you drink. 
 
Read the full report.

EPA ignores the toxic threat in our drinking water

Well, isn’t this great… there is rocket fuel contaminating our drinking water, or at least in the ground water, drinking water and/or soil in 43 states.

The article states:
“Independent testing of milk nationwide has shown near universal perchlorate contamination, often at concentrations well above safe limits. In 2004 and 2008 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published studies revealing contamination of most of the nation’s food supply….

Small children and the unborn are the most vulnerable to perchlorate, which impairs endocrine function by interfering with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. Perchlorate crosses the placenta and shows up in breast milk, leaving infants and fetuses with even higher blood concentrations than their mothers. In even the most minute concentrations perchlorate can cause enough thyroid inhibition to impair proper neurologic and brain development in children.

Fantastic, right? There’s more. The CDC found significant effects on health at doses 5 times BELOW what the EPA considers “safe.” A 1 year old can consume more than the safe level, just from consuming food, not counting any water or milk he may drink that is also contaminated.

Another excerpt:
“One out of every six children nationwide has a learning disability or behavioral disorder severe enough to require therapy. Numerous environmental contaminants could be contributing to this alarming trend: mercury, radioactivity, generic air pollution and chemicals like bisphenol A, dioxins, PCBs and certainly perchlorate.”

Of course, like the BPA issue, it appears nothing is being done on this issue because of money and industry pressure. I love that economics is more important than human health and well-being, especially when children are most at risk; all the while learning disabilities and behavior disorders are at staggering numbers (as in affecting 1 in 6 children). Something is clearly wrong here.

And sadly, there is not much we can do. Even if we grow our own food or purchase organic, the rocket fuel may still exisit in the water these plants and animals received and the water and milk we drink.

This is one of those cases where we just need to write letters — to the EPA, to our senators, congressmen, etc. until someone will listen.

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Dangers of BPA, Phthalates and a host of other substances

No matter who you are, whether or not you have kids, you are male or female, old or young, everyone should check out this article. Especially if you use a computer, drink out of plastic cups, use a vinyl shower curtain, use soap, eat food, etc. I think I understand why I am often tired and my husband is losing more and more hair. LOL.

It’s a lengthy article, but contains a wealth of information on various chemicals, plastics and other toxins that we encounter daily and that are harming us in so many ways. The author cites scientific studies in each instance and what the findings were. It’s disturbing that yet again, the FDA fails to protect us. As companies are voluntarily phasing out certain substances in the products they sell, it should be a wakeup call to us all that there is a reason for this! Those substances cause all sorts of diseases, abnormalities, cancer, birth defects, low sperm counts, just to name a tiny few.

Additionally, it also affects our environment and the animals that live it in. Ironically that does include humans. But recently in Colorado, they discovered many of the fish living in the “purest” lake were transgender. Male fish had female traits. Studies link this as an affect to the presence of bisphenol-a, phthalates, prescriptions drugs and other substances in the water.

A scientist involved in the fish study said this:

“This particular study stands out because we’ve tried to address the question: What are the present compounds being broken down to?” Borch says. “It’s beyond the fact that these could have endocrine-disrupting effects.”

Check out this article. It’s well written and contains a wealth of eye-opening information.

http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/89453/?ses=2b135aa81b1a7d6b5e1b3017875dec7f

Some excerpts:

“Lab tests suggest that chronic, low-dose exposure to bisphenol-A — like drinking out of a coated cup or polycarbonate bottle daily — may cause women to have greater chances of breast cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome, a leading cause of infertility, and men to have increased odds of prostate cancer and reduced sperm counts.”

“As a computer warms up, particles inside start to fly and some catch a ride on dust. For years, I breathed in polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) from my laptop.”

“From 1979 to 2004, the EPA received more than 32,000 chemical applications, but agency personnel performed some level of review on fewer than one in eight cases. Eight out of every 10 applications are approved with no restrictions, often in less than three weeks. The agency has implemented restrictions on only five chemical classes, even though in the 1990s it reported that 16,000 compounds warranted concern because of their chemical structure or volume of use.”

“I have roughly 700 different synthetic chemicals in my body. That number probably won’t be going down any time soon. Every single day, the United States produces or imports 42 billion pounds of chemicals, about 140 pounds for every American. I also am what I eat out of, and with, and around.”

“Rather than yielding a regulatory hammer, the EPA generally allows the chemical industry to set its own standards voluntarily and conduct its own evaluations on endocrine disruption and chemical impacts on children. In cases where chemicals have gone through formal reviews, the results haven’t always panned out for public health and safety.

The Environmental Working Group recently exposed that the EPA had removed a government scientist from an external-review panel of deca-brominated diphenyl ester, one of the fire-retardant PBDEs, after the American Chemistry Council complained about her “appearance of bias.” “

“The public depends on EPA peer-review panels to help ensure the products they use every day are safe,” says Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., the committee chair. “The EPA seems to have a backwards way of composing these panels. The EPA is disallowing scientists who have valid public-health concerns about products, while encouraging participation by so-called experts who are paid by the chemical industry.”

Have we found the cause of SIDS?

I recently bought the book Raising Baby Green by Dr. Alan Greene. I found his brief information on infant crib mattresses to be very interesting and a little disturbing. I researched more online and then found the number of chemicals used in crib mattresses to be alarming. Then I found a study that actually LINKED these toxins in crib mattresses to infants who died of SIDS. This is alarming.

I found this article summarizing a study done on crib mattresses and SIDS. In short, Dr. Spoutt believed that crib death was caused by toxic gases released from the crib mattress. If a baby breathed or absorbed a lethal does of these gasses, the central nervous system would shut down, stop breathing and stop heart function. All this without struggle or waking the baby. A normal autopsy would not reveal signs of poisoning.

New Zealand for the past 11 years has had a 100% success rate in preventing crib deaths with an ongoing campaign by advising parents to wrap the mattress in a special cover that prevents leaching of toxic gasses. Over 100,000 infants slept on protected crib mattresses and not a single SIDS case has been reported by this group using the special mattress cover. Prior to the wrapping campaign, New Zeland had the highest SIDS rate in the world at 2.1 deaths per 1000 live births. Since the campaign, SIDS rates have dropped 70%.

I highly recommend reading the entire article. It’s very fascinating and educational. Certainly makes me feel better about wanting to spend 2-3 times as much on an organic mattress for our new baby, due in November.

It’s terrible that more parents do not know about this. The cover is inexpensive, at about $35. Who would not spend at least that to protect an existing mattress? So it’s not about parents not wanting safer alternatives, it’s that our government is keeping this information from us.

The best solution is to purchase a new 100% organic crib mattress. HealthyChild.com seems to be gung-ho about the NaturePedic line of organic crib mattresses.

Organic Crib Mattresses

Naturepedic: all have 100% organic cotton filing
No-Compromise Organic Cotton Classic $259
No-Compromise Organic Cotton Ultra $359
2 in 1 Organic Cotton Ultra $399
Quilted Organic Cotton Deluxe (note, does not have a waterproof cover) $339 
Port a crib pad $149 

Natural Mat
Latex Mat $385 Made of organic latex, organic lambswool and double organic cotton cover 
Mohair Mat $625 (mohair is from horsetail, which naturally springs back to its original shape). Also made of coir (from coconuts), organic lambswool and organic cotton. 
Coco Mat $375 Made of coir (from coconuts), organic lambswool and organic cotton.

Pure Rest
Organic Crib Mattress Innerspring with Edge Supports
Organic Innerspring Crib Mattress (Cotton & Wool) $299 242 coils, organic cotton filling, organic wool batting.

Eco Baby has a variety of mattresses ranging from $299 – $399

Pixel Organics
REFILL mattress is an interesting product in that it recycles food grade plastic bottles into filling for this crib mattress. Also uses organic cotton and wool. $170
Natural Rubber and Organic Wool $150
100% Organic 510 Coil Inner Spring Crib Mattress $342
100% Organic Natural Rubber Crib Mattress $490. Also uses organic cotton and wool.

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Toxins found in infant crib mattresses cause health problems

For many new parents, finding a good crib mattress seems to be a trivial thing. You just need to make sure the mattress is firm, not soft and fits snugly in the crib, right?

Well, there are a whole lot of reasons to dig a little deeper and ditch the conventional crib mattresses. When we bring home our new bundle of joy, we want to put them in a safe environment. But crib mattresses are loaded with toxic chemicals, many of which can leach and outgas, having possible negative health effects. And considering infants spend most of their young lives asleep in their beds, it’s certainly a very important and critical element to consider.

Scientists also recently discovered the chemicals in traditional crib mattresses may cause SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). One reason why the back-to-bed campaign has been so successful at reduces the instances of SIDS, is that babies faces are no longer directly against the mattress breathing higher concentrations of the toxic chemicals.

Common toxins in conventional crib mattresses are:

PVC – polyvinylchloride found nearly everywhere in our environment. releases toxins such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats.
Phthalates – a synthetic substance just banned in children’s products by the US government. It’s associated with asthma, reproductive issues and cancer.
DEHP – the most common phthalate used in crib mattresses has been banned in Europe for years.
Polyurethane foam – a highly flammable, cheap substance highly treated with a host of chemicals to make it flame retardant. Not only does it easily ignite, it releases deadly gases when it is ignited. 
pentaBDE – The most common chemical fire retardant used to made polyurethane foam flame retardant, is a toxin associated with hyperactivity and neuro-behavioral alterations. PentaBDE is not bound to the foam, and leaches out into the surrounding air. It’s been banned in Europe for many years and in California since 2006.
Antimony – used as a flame retardant
Pesticides and boric acid – used to treat cotton in the mattress
Latex treated with pesticides

HealthyChild.com also offers detailed information on why traditional crib mattresses post significant health risks to infants and toddlers.

“… EPA has determined that infants up to age two are, on average, ten times more vulnerable to carcinogenic chemicals than adults, and for some cancer causing agents are up to 65 times more vulnerable… children accumulate up to 50 percent of their lifetime cancer risk by their second birthday… many chemicals linked to mutagenic activity are commonly used in consumer products and can contribute to children’s exposure to carcinogens.”
(Children’s Health Policy Review: “EPA Cancer Policy Revisions Highlight Risks to Children.” 3 Mar. 2003.
Environmental Working Group. www.ewg.org/issues/risk_assessment/20030303/index.php)

 

But never fear, there are safe, organic mattresses on the market that are free of these substances. Organic wool is naturally flame resistant so no chemicals are needed. It’s also naturally resistant to dust mites, mold, mildew and bacteria. Organic cotton is also a great alternative because it gives better air circulation allowing the baby to breathe better.

Do read the fine print and ensure the mattress is 100% organic and no where on the labeling or website does it list any of the toxins mentioned above. You can also call the Organic Consumer’s Association to get a list of stores that carry all-organic mattresses.

Here is a snippet from another article, it’s very disturbing, and once again proves how our government organizations are not protecting us from toxins:

“According to the CPSC risk assessment, they state that EVERY night, the average person (and infant) will absorb the following chemicals:
.802 mg Antimony (similar to arsenic – a known poison)
.081 mg Boric Acid (the active ingredient in Roach Killer)
.073 mg DBDPO (also known as DECA, a suspected carcinogen)
However, the CPSC stands by its controversial decision and says, this is level of chemical absorption is safe and poses no known health risks.

However, they excluded children under five years of age from their risk assessment by assuming all these children will be protected by a vinyl sheet over their mattresses, due to bedwetting problem. Their assumption is that this vinyl covering will protect them from the FRC’s in their mattress.

However, antimony has been proven by European researchers to leech through vinyl covers, and has been found in high concentrations in infants livers, who have succumbed to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Fearing a possible link, these same researchers looked at all cases of SIDS in their country and were able to statistically link this to the high levels of antimony in the crib mattresses. In fact, high levels of antimony were found in the livers of dissected human infants killed by SIDS.

For this reason, Europe has been moving away from using flame retardants in their mattresses and requires them be proven safe before being used. Many countries in Europe have even banned them. As a result, SIDS deaths have decreased over much of Europe.

Even New Zealand has virtually eliminated most cases of SIDS by preventing these mattress toxins from being absorbed by the infants, via a special mattress covering. They instituted a nationwide policy in 1994 to “wrap” crib mattresses with a special blanket to prevent the mattress toxins from poisoning the infants. It has been demonstrated that no infant has ever died of SIDS when sleeping on a “wrapped” mattress.”

Pretty infuriating isn’t it? For these reasons, I am getting an organic mattress for my son, who’s arrival is expected in just 12 weeks. My daughter also sleeps on a standard crib mattress in her toddler bed, and I likely will replace hers as well. I hate to think she has been exposed to these toxins for nearly 2.5 years.

I have researched and found these mattresses that are 100% organic. Please note this is not a comprehensive list! If you know of other 100% organic mattresses, please let me know and I will add them to this list. 

Naturepedic: all have 100% organic cotton filing
No-Compromise Organic Cotton Classic $259
No-Compromise Organic Cotton Ultra $359
2 in 1 Organic Cotton Ultra $399
Quilted Organic Cotton Deluxe (note, does not have a waterproof cover) $339 
Port a crib pad $149 

Natural Mat
Latex Mat $385 Made of organic latex, organic lambswool and double organic cotton cover 
Mohair Mat $625 (mohair is from horsetail, which naturally springs back to its original shape). Also made of coir (from coconuts), organic lambswool and organic cotton. 
Coco Mat $375 Made of coir (from coconuts), organic lambswool and organic cotton.

Pure Rest
Organic Crib Mattress Innerspring with Edge Supports
Organic Innerspring Crib Mattress (Cotton & Wool) $299 242 coils, organic cotton filling, organic wool batting.

Eco Baby has a variety of mattresses ranging from $299 – $399

Pixel Organics
REFILL mattress is an interesting product in that it recycles food grade plastic bottles into filling for this crib mattress. Also uses organic cotton and wool. $170
Natural Rubber and Organic Wool $150
100% Organic 510 Coil Inner Spring Crib Mattress $342
100% Organic Natural Rubber Crib Mattress $490. Also uses organic cotton and wool.

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California Baby Line: Products Review

OK, so I kept running into California Baby in my research and for some reason it was not my first, but second choice in a baby product for my daughter. I saw the products at Target and Whole Foods, and the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database had all products listed as either a 1, 2, or 3. The contain no parabens, phthalates, SLS, synthetic fragrances, and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. They also ensure none of their oils are processed in a facility that also processes nuts. They are very stringent with guidelines and only use the best ingredients.

So, for my first go round, I tried the California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo & Body Wash, which the EWG rated a 1 out of 10, so low hazard. It’s unscented, as in it is not only fragrance-free, but there really is no scent. My sensitive husband likes this. It’s also an all-in-one shampoo and body wash, which I love! And it’s tear-free, which is another great thing!

The Super Sensitive Body Lotion is very soft and smooth. It also does not have a scent.

Now if you want a scented product, California Baby does have several wonderful options. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Calming Shampoo & Body Wash, Hair Conditioner, and Diaper Area Wash. There is a face and body lotion, Diaper Rash Cream, Baby Powder, Massage Oil, Bubble Bath, and Hair Detangler all also in the Calming scent. Did I mention I love this scent? It really is very calming and I wish I could smell like this all the time.

The Non-Burning and Calming Diaper Area Wash is becoming one of my favorite products. My daughter (2.5 years) actually asks for this now. She had a little redness last night so I spritzed this on her and this morning it was fine! I even used it on her lightly skinned knees to help cleans the area.

There are many other products in the California Baby line. I also really loved the California Baby Mineral Sunscreen. Price wise, California Baby is not the cheapest of the safe stuff, but certainly not the most expensive. And the great thing is you can purchase the shampoo and body wash in a larger version as well which will help save a little money!

I give California Baby and A+!

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Study Links MSG With Being Overweight

This is one reason why in our house, we avoid MSG, high frutose corn syrup, other synthetics and too much processed food in general. It’s not healthy and there is increasing evidence that supports this. MSG is no exception…

Study Links MSG With Being Overweight
The Herald-Sun
August 18, 2008

If you use MSG — monosodium glutamate — as a flavor enhancer in your food, you are more likely than people who don’t use it to be overweight or obese.

That’s the conclusion of a study by UNC researchers at the School of Public Health published this month in the journal Obesity. The study noted that those who use MSG are more likely to be obese even though they have the same amount of physical activity and total caloric intake as those who don’t.

Researchers at UNC and in China studied more than 750 Chinese men and women, aged between 40 and 59, in three rural villages in north and south China. The majority of study participants prepared their meals at home without commercially processed foods.

About 82 percent of the participants used MSG in their food. Those users were divided into three groups, based on the amount of MSG they used. The third who used the most MSG were nearly three times more likely to be overweight than non-users.

“Animal studies have indicated for years that MSG might be associated with weight gain,” said Ka He, M.D., assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. “Ours is the first study to show a link between MSG use and weight in humans.”

Wide Use

Because MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, studying its potential effect on humans has been difficult. He and his colleagues chose study participants living in rural Chinese villages because they used very little commercially processed food, but many regularly used MSG in food preparation.

“We found that prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in MSG users than in non-users,” He said. “We saw this risk even when we controlled for physical activity, total calorie intake and other possible explanations for the difference in body mass. The positive associations between MSG intake and overweight were consistent with data from animal studies.”

As the percentage of overweight and obese people around the world continues to increase, He said, finding clues to the cause could be very important.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other health organizations around the world have concluded that MSG is safe,” He said, “but the question remains — is it healthy?”

Grass-fed beef is healthier

Beef has typically been flagged as unhealthy with high saturated fat and total fat content, not to mention high amounts of cholesterol. But grass-fed beef devotees claim it is as low in fat as skinless chicken breasts and even contains the same omega-3 compounds as fish.

Health experts tend to agree. 

“A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2006 found that compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is lower in both saturated and total fat, has higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, and “sometimes” higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.

According to the study, “The three omega-3 fatty acids — the so-called beneficial fatty acids — have been shown in many studies to improve health and prevent disease in humans.”

“It has 100 percent the same health benefits as salmon,” Castonguay said.”

Today, most cattle are grain fed and even some grass-fed cattle are given grain in the weeks before slaughtering.

 

Not only is grass-fed cattle better for human health compared to grain-fed cattle, it’s also better for the environment. Typically the grain is treated with pesticides, which we ingest through the beef and through drinking water as pesticides run off the fields and into our water ways.

 

Additionally, grass-fed cattle are not typically given antibiotics. Animals grassing in the pasture rarely get sick, while grain-fed cattle that spend their days in confined and crowded feed lots, often do get sick.

 

This also brings up the point that grass-fed cattle are more likely to be raised and live in more humane and healthy conditions.

 

Grass-fed beef is not much more expensive than grain-fed beef, and it’s naturally leaner. In my area, the difference is roughly 50 cents per pound. If you take into consideration grass-fed is naturally leaner, then comparing that way, there is very little difference in price.

 

We have been eating grass-fed beef for over a year, and now I am glad we made the switch when we did.

Is your organic food really organic?

“When you buy food with a “USDA organic” label, do you know what you’re getting? Now is a good time to ask such a question, as the USDA just announced Monday it was putting 15 out of 30 federally accredited organic certifiers they audited on probation, allowing them 12 months to make corrections or lose their accreditation. At the heart of the audit for several certifiers were imported foods and ingredients from other countries, including China.” Read the entire article here.

Well, that comes as no surprise – Chinese imports are not up to standards. The main problem here is China does not allow foreign inspectors, and since they have already proven they cannot be trusted to made toys without lead, why in the world would we trust them to meet, or preferably exceed, USDA standards for organic food.

The article states the best way to get truly organic food is from a local farmer where you can visit the farm yourself. Either way, purchasing from the local farmers market is a good thing. You support local agriculture and reduce the amount of pollution that goes into the air when this produce needs to be transported across the country. Many local farmers also go beyond produce and offer a variety of meats, milk and eggs.

While I shop at Whole Foods each week, I am definitely going to start being more serious about going to the local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. Plus, the ones in my city go beyond produce stands and have entertainment, stands with other homemade goods and more. So I am certain my 2 year old will also have fun and something we will be able to enjoy as a family.

I am also going to sign us up (well hope to) for the farm co-op. I have been wanting to do this for some time, but was concerned if we would be able to eat everything before it went bad. And with the rising cost of food, now would be a good time to sign on up.

We have also planted a small garden, so I KNOW that will be organic, but I can’t grow everything!

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Safe, ‘Green’ Insecticides Can Reduce Chemical Exposure in Homes and Gardens

Awesome! I have been looking for a safe alternative for pest control. I hate paying Terminix. One because they are expensive and two because I hate spraying harmful chemicals around. Additionally, these chemicals cannot be sprayed in homes with young infants (usually less than 6 weeks) which is also a concern. I will definitely check out this product, it sounds pretty good and right up my alley!

Safe, ‘Green’ Insecticides Can Reduce Chemical Exposure in Homes and Gardens
 
ATLANTA, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — With organic food and eco-friendly cleaning supplies now widely available, being ‘green’ at home is getting easier. When it comes to killing bugs, however, most people still reach for chemical insecticides because they are not aware that safe and effective botanical alternatives exist.

“Most Americans don’t realize that they can kill household insects without using conventional pesticides that leave behind a harmful chemical residue,” said Steven Bessette, the president of EcoSMART Technologies, which makes organic insecticides that are safe to use around children and pets, and are recommended by the non-profit group Healthy Child, Healthy World.

EcoSMART’s university-tested botanical pesticides kill bugs as effectively as synthetic pesticides, but their formulation is based on the centuries-old natural defenses that plants and trees use for their self-protection against insects and pathogens — essential oils. EcoSMART’s unique blends of essential oils block specific neural pathways in insects that regulate insect movement, behavior and metabolism. This results in instant immobilization and/or knockdown followed by the insect’s death. Because these neural pathways do not exist in mammals, the formulations are completely safe to use around children, animals, birds and fish.

“There are many smart and affordable ways to create a safer, healthier environment for children,” said Christopher Gavigan, CEO / Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World, which offers free information and expertise to help create healthy environments for families and children.

At its website, http://www.healthychild.org, parents can find tips such as these for healthier pest control:

    —  Prevent pests through good sanitation and food storage habits

    —  Remove shoes and wash hands immediately after playing outside to

        prevent tracking dirt indoors.

    —  Seal cracks and install door sweeps

    —  Use or fix window screens

    —  Manage outdoor lights to prevent insects gathering

    —  Eliminate moisture problems to keep the home dry

    —  Properly store all food

    —  Use non-toxic products

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recent reports indicate at least one pesticide product is used indoors by 75 percent of U.S. households each year and that 80 percent of the average person’s exposure to pesticides occurs indoors EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pesticid.html.

The active and inert ingredients in EcoSMART products are exempt from EPA registration and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These oils are commonly used to add flavor and aroma to many cosmetic, beverage and food products.

The new 14-ounce aerosols, available in Wal-Mart, Albertsons and other large retailers, include Ant & Roach Killer, Flying Insect Killer and Wasp & Hornet Killer. Consumers can also buy EcoSMART products online at http://www.ecosmart.com.

“EcoSMART has made it easier to protect children by reducing their exposure to harmful chemical pesticide residues while keeping homes clean and bugs under control,” Gavigan said.

In the spring of 2008, EcoSMART will also launch a highly effective 6 oz personal insect repellent that provides 2-3 hours of protection against mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies and no-see-ums. It is DEET-free and safe for kids.

For more information, visit http://www.ecosmart.com or call (877) 667-0006.