Posts Tagged ‘toxic plastic’

President Bush signs product safety bill to protect children

Yeah! Yesterday Bush signed a bill into law that would ban lead and phthalates from products aimed at children under the age of 12. This includes toys, clothes, bath products, etc.

The major provisions of the bill are:
• Increase funding for CPSC over five years — starting at $118 million in fiscal 2010, and ending at $136 million. For fiscal 2008, CPSC received $80 million
• Create whistleblower protections for employees of manufacturers, private labelers, retailers and distributors
• Require third-party testing of certain children’s products
• Authorize CPSC to inspect manufacturers’ proprietary laboratories
• Require CPSC to make new safety rules for toys
• Create a public database for consumer complaints
• Ban children’s toys or child care articles containing more than a trace amount of certain phthalates, and ban other phthalates on an interim basis pending a review
• Ban lead beyond a minute amount in products for children under 12

The number of toy recalls has been astounding and it’s great to see Congress finally take action.

I look forward to the day when I can also buy shampoo for my daughter without having to scrutinize and read between the lines on the product labels. While banning phthalates is a big step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go in this department — parabens and dioxanes anyone? Yeah, me neither.

But for today, great job Mr. President! I hope to see more like this from Congress to help protect Americans from other harmful substances.

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Nontoxic backpacks for back to school

I found this article with a great list and some tips for selecting non-toxic backpacks for back to school. My daughter is just 2, so I have not looked into this, but lucky for those who do have school-aged children, someone has already done the research for safe back pack options.

“While Congress has recently voted to ban toxic lead and phthalates from toys,  the legislation does not cover children’s backpacks, many of which are made of vinyl containing both toxic substances. Lead, high exposures of which cause learning problems (not so cool for back to school) and phthalates, linked to obesity and lower sperm counts, readily migrate out of vinyl and onto children’s fingers, and thence into their mouths. Phthalates also evaporate into the air and get inhaled; studies have shown they contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems in children.

When shopping for backpacks, make sure they’re PVC-free at a minimum, and made of recycled materials to get an E (for eco and excellence) plus. Here are some recommendations.”

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PVC and Lead-free lunch boxes

Vinyl shower curtains emit toxic chemicals

Those vinyl shower curtains that nearly every home has, can emit up to 100 different chemicals. That “new shower curtain” smell is actually the out-gassing of fumes given off by these chemicals.

I replaced my shower liners with fabric ones a few months ago after my husband whined about the smell making him feel sick. Now I know he was not just being a pansy, but there is definite truth that these toxic fumes make you sick. This includes nausea, headache and many of the compounds in these PVC liners are listed as known carcinogens by the EPA.

And according to a recent LA Times article

“The study found that PVC shower curtains contained high concentrations of phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive effects, and varying concentrations of organotins, which are compounds based on tin and hydrocarbons. One of the curtains tested released measurable quantities of as many as 108 volatile organic compounds into the air, some of which persisted for nearly a month.

Seven of these chemicals — toluene, ethylbenzene, phenol, methyl isobutyl ketone, xylene, acetophenone and cumene — have been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants, said Stephen Lester, the center’s science director and a coauthor of the report.

Potential health effects include developmental damage and harm to the liver and the central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, according to the report….

Vinyl chloride, which is a major building block of PVC, is a known human carcinogen that causes liver cancer, Lester said.”

Phthalates were recently banned in a new act pass by congress that will help protect children from such harmful substances.

If you have a vinyl shower curtain, get rid of it, preferably recycle it so it won’t end up in a landfill. And opt for a fabric version like this made from polyester or a cotton one like this. I actually really prefer them for more reasons than they are non-toxic. They look better, I feel like they are cleaner, you can toss them in the washer and of course, they don’t smell up the bathroom for weeks!

Is Melamine Safe?

A reader asked this as I was just looking into this myself. It looks like they are not the safestAnother mom has also researched this.

You cannot heat melamine plates/bowls in a microwave, because that’s wear the melamine can break down and leach toxins. My question is, if I reheat something on this plate for 20 seconds, it does not get that hot, so why is it safe to put these in a dishwasher where I know for a fact it gets heated more than my microwave???

Melamine dishware is often a combination of melanine and formaldehyde. Melamine is also suspected to be what contaminated pet food and caused kidney failure in so many pets last year. So, it’s not looking so good for melamine. And formaldehyde?? Well, that’s just not good either.

Melamine has also been found in our food supply.  It is sometimes used as a protein source in food additives.  The FDA says melamine is safe, but they were surprised by the pet food contamination, we also know they claim the safety of BPA, which we now know is not safe. So, in my opinion, they are not exactly a reliable source these days.

Looks like I will be looking for new dishware, as we do use melamine plates for our 2 year old. *sigh* It just never ends. I likely will just get a few small Corelle plates — all glass and hard to break. Plus you can run them through the dishwasher, microwave, etc. Or I will get the plastic ware from IKEA, but from a non-toxic standpoint, Corelle gets my vote.

Related articles:

BPA Free Bottles and Sippy Cups
FDA: Lead found in vitamins

BPA cheat sheet
US Government says BPA is harmful
Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
Today Show report on BPA & plastic safety
Canned foods and BPA

BPA is found in infant formula

BPA and other plastic safety

Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
Environmental Working Groups Report on BPA in Baby Formula
Breastmilk contains stem cells
Breastmilk cures
Can breastmilk cure cancer?

Bisphenol-A, BPA Cheatsheet

The Environmental Working Group posted a great little cheat sheet with helpful links to more information.

Their key points in limiting exposure are:

  • Limit canned foods. BPA leaches into canned food from the lining. When possible, and especially when pregnant or breastfeeding, limit the amount of canned food your family eats. Particularly avoid canned soup, pasta, and infant formula.
  • Avoid polycarbonate plastic. Hard, translucent plastic marked #7 is probably polycarbonate, which leaches BPA, especially when heated. Ditch your polycarbonate water bottles in favor of a stainless steel bottle. Don’t microwave plastic — use ceramic or glass instead.
  • If you’re formula feeding your infant, consider using powdered formulas packaged in non-steel cans. Also, choose baby bottles made from glass or specially-marked plastics that don’t leach BPA (like polypropylene or polyethylene).

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BPA free dishes for kids

The Soft Landing has a great guide for kid-friendly dishware that is BPA free. And more suggestions may be found here.

SafeMama also did a review of Bambu dishware. It looks like a cool set, though since it’s wood/bamboo, you can’t run it through the dishwasher.

Of course, you can also let your kids use your regular dishes, but that can be dangerous to those with toddlers who like to drop, er throw, things. We’ve stopped our daughter from throwing her plate, but she still uses her own for fear of an accident. I think I will get a few of the Ikea plates for her.

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Toys ‘R’ Us to phase out bisphenol A baby bottles

Great move for the baby giant!

“All baby bottles containing the controversial chemical bisphenol A will be pulled of Toys “R” Us shelves by the end of the year, the retailer said Monday.

The company’s move to phase out products with the chemical follows Friday’s federal government announcement that Canada will ban the import and sale of polycarbonate baby bottles containing bisphenol A (BPA). If the ban proceeds, Canada will be the first country in the world to limit BPA.”

Read More…

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