Posts Tagged ‘toxic plastics’

Prescription drugs contain phthalates

The Environmental Health News reported that high doses of phthalates were found in some prescription drugs that have a time-release coating. It was also found in over-the-counter medications like Prilosec. Only a few medications were tested, but many, many medications have a time-release coating.

Phthalates have been found to decrease the penis size and sperm count of male babies who were exposed to them in utero. It’s thought exposure leads to abnormal reproductive tracks and reduced testosterone.

I was angry when I read this article the other day. I had to let it simmer before I wrote this post. This really upsets me because I have been taking a prescription prenatal during my whole pregnancy and an OTC medicine for heartburn, and I have watched very closely to the products I use to make sure they didn’t contain phthalates. Of course I do not know for a fact that they do, but its looking like they do.

In August, Congress passed a law that would ban the substance in children’s products, including toys. However, the law will not take effect until Feb 2009 and does not include any product designed for the over 12 years of age demographic. So for the rest of us, it’s good old research, calling, etc. to learn how to protect ourselves from phthalates. And unfortunately, they continue to turn up in the most unsuspecting places – like prescription drugs.

Phthalates are plasticizers commonly found in vinyl, but are also common in personal care products (shampoo, etc.) that contain fragrance, paints, adhesives, fragrances and nail polish.

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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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Lead and Phthalate free, Non-toxic toys for Christmas, updated

Last updated: November 20, 2008

Because Christmas is right around the corner and the new bill protecting children from lead and phthalates will not go into effect until February 10, 2009, I am taking it upon myself to search for safe toys for Christmas 2008.

Here is the list I have come up with and will continue to add to it as I find new toys that meet the standards of being lead and phthalate free. If a toy has any of these toxins, I will not list them. I also did my best to steer clear of anything that contains BPA. Please note there are millions and millions of toys out there, so this is in no way a comprehensive list. If you are aware of another toy that is free of ALL lead, phthalates and BPA, please comment (along with a website or other evidence you may have if available) and I will add it to the list. Also, I will not list the obvious, like stuffed animals or books, but will do my best to include the obvious categories.

Also, some companies do have toys made with phthalate-free PVC. I have listed these and made a note by those toys. Although it would be great to avoid PVC altogether, as PVC can contain lead. 

Most of the products are linked so you can read reviews, get more information and even purchase online.

Brands who are promising that all their toys are lead and phthalate free:
Edushape
Haba
Kids Give
Lamaze Baby Toys
Lego Systems 
Little Tykes 
Lisa LeLeu 
Melissa & Doug (wood and plush toys) 
Mudpuppy 
Plan Toys 
Publications International 
Sckoon 
Selecta
Step 2
 
Tiny Love 
Under the Nile  

Art supplies/Crafts
(note: many art supplies, including Play Doh, contain trace amounts of arsenic. I did not list these products in the list. Unfortunately, it makes for a shorter list)
EcoTots Art time easel
Melissa and Doug Deluxe Easel
Melissa and Doug Paints
KidKraft Deluxe Easel
Leaf Press by Selecta
Organic Crafts (book), by Kimberly Monaghan
Plant colored pastel crayons

Blocks
Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks, Melissa & Doug
Mega Blocks
Legos   (all systems including Duplo)
Edushape (They had these at my daughter’s daycare and they are great! They are flexible so perfect for toddlers just learning to play with connecting type blocks.)
Kapla Wood Building Set
Wooden Animal Nesting Blocks, Melissa & Doug

Books
LIttle leaf house book, HABA

Cars/Vehicles
Automoblox mini’s (3 pack)
Automoblox vehicles
Baby Car, Plan Toys
Bulldozer Chunky Wooden Truck, FAO Schwartz
Cement Mixer Chunky wooden truck, FAO Scwartz
Discover Rig, Sprig Toys
Dump truck chunky wooden truck, FAO Schwartz
Firetruck Chuncky wooden truck, FAO Schwartz
Side Kick Vehicle, Rally Racer, Sprig Toys
Road Contruction Set, Plan Toys

Dolls
Babipouce Grenadine – 12″ Cloth Doll by Corolle 
BabiCorolle Sorbet Melodie Doll 
All Dolls by Corolle (made of PVC-free vinyl), including Tidoo, Calin, Chouquette Eva, and Poupette Lili  These dolls are all just BEAUTIFUL
Baby Stella by Manahattan Toy
Flippippi Fortune Butterfly Red by Kathe Kruse 
Kathe Kruse Dolls (some cloth, some PVC vinyl)
Keptin-Jr Dolls (some cloth, some PVC vinyl)
Keptin Jr – Organic Cotton Doll
Paola Soft Doll by Haba
Pottery Barn Kids Dolls and their Baby Dolls (though note, these are spot washable only, however cute they are)
Sweet Dolly by Baby Gund
The Earth Friends Doll Raji
Waldorf Flippippi Fortune Fairy by Kathe Kruse
Zapf Creation Dolls (made of PVC-free vinyl)

Whatever doll you choose, be sure the dolls are not treated with flame retardants, are free of heavy metals, and are painted with safe/non-toxic paints.

Games
Bamboo Art, ages 18 months+
Battelo (memory and strategy game, age 4+, made of Bamboo)
Cagola Balancing Game, Bamboo Collection, ages 4+
Colora Magnetic Design, Bamboo Collection
Dominos, Bamboo Collection
Hasbro Bamboo Matching game (I saw at Wal-Mart, but cannot find online anywhere. It’s cute though.)
Natural Wood Memory Game by Selecta

Interactive Toys
Battino Pounding Bench, Selecta
City Beads (wood), Wonderworld
Click Clack by Plan Toys
Click Clack Ball Track by HABA
Hammer Balls by Plan Toys
Pounding Tower, Plan Toys
Ryan the Zebra Activity Center, by K’s Kids 
Wood Baby Gym, Selecta
Wooden Ball Track Set by Selecta

Kitchen Sets
Guidecraft Deluxe Kitchen 
Guidecraft Wooden Kitchen
Plan Toys Kitchen Center
Plan Toys Kitchen Set
Pink stove top by Plan Toys and Red stove top
Dishwasher by Plan Toys
Refrigerator
by Plan Toys
Melissa and Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen


Musical Instruments
Banjo, Plan Toys
Deluxe Band Set, Melissa and Doug
Drum Set, Plan Toys
Pine wood train whistle, maple and Marks
Hohner harmonica, Rosie’s Hippo
Mini Red Piano, Schylling
Melissa and Doug Band in a Box
Oval Xylophone, Plan Toys

Push/Pull Toys
Bird Family Pull Toy, Rosie’s Hippo
Circo Pull Toy, HABA
Dancing Alligator, Plan Toys
Frolicking Frog Wooden Pull Toy, Melissa and Doug
Trotto Wooden Push Toy by Selecta
Mini Pull along Giraffe by Sevi
Natural Wood Push Toy, Pedella, by Selecta
Sorting Train, Plan Toys
Walk and Roll, Plan Toys
Wooden Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy, Melissa and Doug
Zoo Animals Pull Along, Melissa and Doug

Play Food/Cookware
Alex Toys Deluxe Cooking Set
Bambu Kids Cooking Utensils
Erzi play food: Erzi Assorted Vegetables Box; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box; Erzi Assorted VegetablesErzi Assorted Fruit; Erzi Assorted Fruit Box Tropical FruitsErzi Assorted Tropical Fruits 
Learning Resources – Made of PVC and polyethylene, but is lead and phthalate free
Lunch With Friends” wood tea party set by Djeco
Melissa and Doug: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Play Food – 10 Piece Set; Melissa & Doug Sandwich making set; Melissa and Doug Deluxe Wooden Spice Rack Set; Melissa and Doug Cutting Food Box
Melissa and Doug Food Groups; Melissa and Doug Pizza Party; Melissa and Doug Birthday Cake; Sushi 
Plan Toys: Fruit and Vegetables, Breakfast Menu (with tray), Birthday Cake with candles, Vegetable pairs 
Plan Toys Toaster
Plan Toys Microwave
Shopping cart by Plan Toys
Cookware set by Plan Toys
Tableware set by Plan Toys
Tea set (wood), Plan Toys
Tupperware Childs Kids Mini Baking Set
Tupperware Kids Cake Taker, Plates, & Spatula
Tupperware Kids Mini Party Set with Mini Cake Taker

Playmat (Infant Activity Mat)
Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe – Lights & Music  
Wood Play Gym by Selecta

Pretend Play – Barn
Farm Animals, Plan Toys
Folding Barn, Melissa and Doug
Folding Horse Stable, Melissa and Doug
Plan Toys Country Barn
Plan Toys Wood barn

Pretend Play – Castles
Dragonstone Castle With Inhabitants  by Haba
Princess Castle by Melissa and Doug
Folding Midevil Castle by Melissa and Doug 
Dolls for Melissa and Doug Play Castles

Pretend Play – Playhouse
Neat & Tidy Cottage by Step2 (my daughter LOVES this house)
Daisy’s Market, Djeco

Pretend Play – Dollhouse
Plan Toys Chalet Dollhouse with furniture
Plan Toys My First Dollhouse
Plan Terrace Dollhouse
Plan Toys Contemporary Dollhouse
Plan Toys Victorian Dollhouse (I want this one!)
Plan Toys Modern Dollhouse
Colonial Dollhouse by Plan Toys
Deluxe Wooden Furnished Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug
Dollhouse furniture by Plan Toys
Dollhouse Furniture, Melissa and Doug
Farm House, Plan Toys
Fold and Go Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug
Victorian Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug
Wooden Doll Family for Dollhouse, Melissa and Doug

Pretend Play – Other
Children’s Broom, Camden Rose
Pet and accessories, Plan Toys
Plan City Parking Garage
Pirate Ship, Plan Toys
Tree House, Plan Toys
Doctor’s kit, HABA

Puzzles
Animal Alphabet, Imagiplay (3D puzzle)
Clutching Puzzle Sunny Land by haba 
Counting Bunnies 3D puzzle
Melissa & Doug wood sound puzzles
Nativity Puzzle, Imagiplay (3D puzzle)
Wood Animal Puzzle by Selecta

Riding Toys
4×4 WD Adventure Car, Plan Toys
Arabian Rocking Horse by Plan Toys 
Lights and sound fire engine, Wonderworld
Pony rocking horse by Plan Toys
Puffy Dragon Ride On, Wonderworld
Rocking Cater, Wonderworld
Sports Car by Plan Toys (this is super cute!)
Trike Rider by Brio

Sports/Interactive
Wooden Bowling Set by Sevi 
Ball Track Roll ‘N Roll ‘N Roll by Haba  

Stacking Toys
Fun Stacker, Plan Toys
German Stacking Tower, HABA
Monkey Ring Stacker, miYim
Rainbow Tower, HABA
Rokkolina Wood Stacking Toy, Selecta (cute flower pot design)
Stacking Rings, Plan Toys
Witty Worm Stacker, Rosie’s Hippo
Wooden Rainbow Stacking Tower, Nunoorganic
Rocky Color Cone, Holgate Toys 

Stuffed Animals
Andrew the Hippo, miYim Organic
Baby Victoria the Bunny, miYim Organic
Chikos the Hen, Deglingos
Cuddlekin Bunny Molly, HABA
Natural Friends Sheep Musical Toy 
Pikos the Hedgehog, Deglingos
Ronronos the Cat, Deglingos
Sandwich Striped Cat Doll by Blabla
Solid Red Goose, Lana Organic
White Goose, Lana Organic

Teethers for Baby
Please see my post here: BPA and phthalate free teethers and rattles

Tools
Handyman Tool Box (wood), Wonderworld
My first tool set, Educo

Trains, Vehicles and other accessories
Alex Activity Mat
Brio
Maple and Marks
Melissa and Doug 
Plan Toys
Super City Wooden Railways from Heros! 

Companies with no phthalates (PVC) – Note: I have not yet determined if they are making the same claim for being lead-free. Also note that not all Evenflo, Gerber or Sassy products are BPA free.
Brio 
Chicco 
Evenflo 
Gerber 
International Playthings
Sassy 

Watch for these companies:
Leap Frog (Phthalate-free; some toys contain PVC; most packaging in boxes) 
Manhattan Toy (Use phthalate-free PVC)
Vtech (Use phthalate-free PVC) 
Sassy (Use phthalate-free PVC (since 2000), working to eliminate BPA and eventually, PVC) 
Fisher Price (Frequently use PVC (including teething rings), only toys for kids under age 3 are phthalate-free)
Mattel (Frequently use PVC) 
Playskool (Frequently use PVC)
Baby Einstein /Disney /Kids II (Frequently use PVC)
KidKraft (Claims all painted toys will have some amount of lead, anything wood is fine)
Especially for Baby @ Babies R Us (Geoffrey Inc.) (Frequently use PVC, including teething rings)

Gaming Consoles
XBox and Playstation 3 contain high levels of phthalates, though they are NOT considered toys so will not be affected by the new law banning phthalates in children’s products. Read more about it here.

Another cool site with eco-friendly toys is http://www.euphoriababy.com/

Please check back as I will be updating this post until Christmas is here! Happy shopping!

For more information or to research specific toys not listed, visit these sites:
http://www.healthytoys.org/product.searchtype.php
http://toyportfolio.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/update-complying-companies/
 
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Baby products packaged in PVC

So we know products like teethers made with PVC is bad not only for humans, but for the environment as well. But the question here is for those products packaged in PVC, does it transfer to the PVC-free item contained in the package?

Alicia Voorhees at the Soft Landing wrote this great article on the very subject. Read about it here. She offers great tips to avoid PVC packaging or how to clean the toys/teethers/pacifiers if you are unsure of what the packaging is made of.

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Government leaders ask baby bottle makers to ban BPA in their products

Attorneys general from three states, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware, are asking makers of baby bottles to stop using bisphenol A, a chemical used to make hard, clear plastic that has been found to cause a  host of health problems in labatory animals.

The public officers sent letters to baby bottle makers calling the preventable release of toxic chemicals into “unconscionable and intolerable.” 

Earlier this year, a federal panel from the National Toxicology Program said the chemical poses “some concern” to the health and development of children, infants and fetuses. Canada has proposed declaring bisphenol A to be a toxin and banning it from children’s products. Retailers such as Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Sears and others will stop selling baby products containing BPA by the end of 2008. 

Nalgene, the popular reusable water bottle maker, has also phased out the use of BPA due to the numerous studies showing the negative health effects of BPA and largely due to consumer demand.

Despite all the research, demand from consumers, etc., the FDA is still trying to convince us that BPA is safe.

Please check back later this week. I am working on a list for BPA free dishes to complement the other BPA free lists I have! As well as a list of food storage containers that are BPA-free.

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BPA linked to chemotherapy resistance

New research show BPA can reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. Not surprising since previous research shows BPA can cause cancer.

“In tests on breast cancer cells, researchers from the University of Cincinnati found that Bisphenol A (BPA) may protect cancer cells from dying off when they are exposed to anti-cancer drugs.”

UC researchers used the same low-dose amounts of BPA that are found in the normal adult.

“They found that BPA acts on cancer cells in a similar manner to estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the creation of proteins that protect cancer cells from chemotherapy drugs.
Researchers have long known about this estrogen-induced effect on chemotherapy. However, they have been puzzled by the fact that some women who have less estrogen in their system, such as post-menopausal women, can still be resistant to anti-cancer medications.

The researchers said the findings will help scientists determine why these and other cancer patients, such as those with advanced stages of the disease, are resistant to chemotherapy.”

Very interesting findings. Wonder what the FDA and their cronies in the plastics industry will say to dismiss this?

This is yet another study, in a long and growing list, that shows BPA is indeed harmful at even low doses considered “safe” by the FDA.

Banning BPA will certainly send a message to manufacturers (who are already feeling the pinch in the baby product industry) and the government, that we will not stand for this. BPA is commonly found in the lining of canned foods and soda cans, dental fillings, polycarbonate water bottles, polycarbonate baby bottles and likely lurks in other areas we do not even think about – medical equipment for one.

How do you avoid BPA? Typically, BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic containers – look at the bottom of the container, if a recycle #7 symbol is there, it very likely contains BPA. However, it does not ALWAYS mean BPA is present – i.e. some of those single serve fruit contains are layered plastic and must be labeled as #7. But if the plastic is translucent and hard like glass, it’s more than likely made of BPA. Avoid canned foods (except the Eden Organics line which use another technology and their cans are BPA-free) and canned sodas. If you formula feed—watch out, many formula cans are lined with BPA, so at minimum use a powdered formula and not a liquid.

Sources: CTV.ca, Science Daily and the Daily Green

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Similac SimplePac – Is it BPA-free or not?

This the the question SafeMama posed to the formula maker Similac.

Here is what SafeMama found out, or rather what they didn’t find out since Similac really didn’t fully answer their question:

Here is what we know and what Similac is allowing us to know.  The new SimplePac™ container and lid is made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which indicated to me that the plastic container itself is BPA Free.  That much I know.  Here is where it gets tricky.  The representatives I spoke to, and I spoke to at least 3 because they kept transferring me when I pressed them for more information, will say this and only this:

“No portion of the container that comes in contact with the formula contains BPA.”

See the part I underlined?  That’s what concerns me.  They will not deviate from this scripted statement that I am sure their very expensive legal team created for them.  After the second rep transferred me to Pam, the Customer Relations representative specialist or whatever, I pressed further because I am not satisfied unless they say “Yes Ma’am, rest assured the whole thing is BPA Free.”

I asked Pam about the foil seal that typically is present in formula containers to preserve the product on the shelf.  I had no idea if this product even had one, but she confirmed it does.  She would not however provide me with any information regarding the foil seal, what it was made of and whether or not the foil is coated with an epoxy resin.  Many times those coatings do contain BPA.  She told me:

“We don’t have any information about that, I’m sorry.” And refused to delve any further claiming ignorance and denying she had any information to give me on the matter.  No information?  That sounds weird considering the company most CERTAINLY knows what its made of and whats on or not on it.   They don’t have any information they want parents to know is what it really means to me.

The main problem I have with their statement is that I don’t know what “comes in contact with the formula” means if they are being so strict in what they tell consumers.  Does it mean “only if you don’t turn it upside down so the formula doesn’t rest on the foil seal” count too?  Their resistance to disclose the materials on the foil seal makes me wonder.

Pam informed me that I should encourage our readers to call Similac if they have any questions.  Do go ahead and do that SafeParents.   Similac has a toll free number 1-800-232-7677 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., CST/CDT.  They would rather tell you, the ignorant consumer who doesn’t understand what HDPE is, themselves and bank on the fact that no one will ask the questions we really want answers to.

Bottom Line: To answer the original question “Is the new Similac SimplePac packaging BPA free?”  The answer for now is “Maybe.”  Or in Similac’s words “the part that comes in contact with the formula” is.

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