@GreenMoms Take On Cosmetics: Safe or Unsafe? And Should We Support the Safe Cosmetics Act?: It’s the Green Moms Carnival!
We’ve got a wonderful round-up of posts from members of the Green Moms Carnival, women who have been following the debate about cosmetics ingredients for years, and have interesting stories to share.
Let’s start off with Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse. Diane blogs “evidence is emerging that the cumulative use of these products may be contributing to asthma, the onset of puberty in girls as young as three years old, and even the feminization of baby boys. Because cosmetics, soaps and shampoos are washed down the drain, they get into our water system, where they’re wreaking havoc on wildlife. And what about their relationship to breast cancer?”
But Diane doesn’t leave us hanging – she gives three common-sense ways we can reduce our exposure to the potential risks of cumulative exposure to low doses of chemicals.
Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish tells the story of why she tried to get away from a cute seat mate on a recent flight. “His Axe cologne, or whatever heinous product he was wearing, made my eyes water, nose itch, throat close up, and left me with a throbbing headache.”
That’s something I’ve experienced as well. Once you stop using synthetic fragrances, it’s hard to even be around them. A walk down a grocery store aisle – or a whiff of last year’s BlogHer room drops – can leave you feeling miserable.
Lisa from Condo Blues recounts an interesting discussion with a research scientist from a personal care company.
“One of the biggest secrets about what chemicals (or not) is in a product is what makes up the product’s fragrance,” she notes. “Last summer, I had the chance to talk to a representative from a large personal care company. She claimed that even her company didn’t know what was in the fragrances of their products because they buy the fragrance from a special fragrance house that has a super secret formula and ironclad nondisclosure agreement that says the fragrance house won’t tell the company what’s in the signature scent of their brand of shampoo.”
Katy at Non-Toxic Kids makes a case for showing The Story of Cosmetics to friends who may be unfamiliar with the battle for safer cosmetics. As she puts it, “Why should you care? There is a growing body of research showing links between many of the chemicals in our personal care products and serious diseases and conditions. Chemicals like triclosan, phthalates, parabens are in most cosmetics. Phthalates are often labeled as “fragrance”. Triclosan is labeled as an “antibacterial.”
And no one is looking at their synergistic effect on our bodies, especially those who are developing and growing at rapid rates: our children. The companies who make these products are using many chemicals that have never been independently tested for safety. That’s right, never.”
Linda from Citizen Green presents a well researched post that follows-up on Katy’s assertion. As Linda blogs, “Only 11 percent of the 10,500 ingredients in personal care products have been assessed for safety by the cosmetics industry.”
And that’s the reason Deanna of Crunchy Chicken blogs, “Make sure you start checking your product labels!”
Karen of Best of Mother Earth pulls no punches when she asks, “How can cosmetic companies like Estee Lauder raise funds for cancer research and produce products with carcinogens in them? Shouldn’t they start in their own back yard and produce a safe cosmetic in the first place?”
I always especially enjoy the contributions of our Carnival members from outside the United States. In Amber’s post at Strocel.com, Story of Cosmetics: Canadian Edition, she blogs about the situation in Canada – how in some ways it parallels the situation in the US, and yet how there are subtle differences. For example, Canadian cosmetic makers are required to list ingredients – “but not all of them.” Huh? So what good does that do? But Amber’s main message is one that is universal:
“But we must recognize that the beauty industry is trying to sell us stuff, just like any other industry that markets consumer goods. They want us to believe that we are flawed and need their stuff. If we aren’t concerned about the state of our skin or the shininess of our hair, we’re not going to shell out for products to fix them. Even initiatives like the Dove Movement are marketing campaigns aimed to make us feel favourable towards a certain brand.
My daughter Hannah is 5 years old. I don’t want her to feel that she needs to coat herself with stuff to be OK, and I especially don’t want the stuff she coats herself with to contain toxins. That’s why I want to see change in the cosmetics industry.”
I always see myself in Micaela’s (aka Mindful Momma’s) posts. Maybe it’s because we have kids around the same age, and while we are passionately committed to living sustainably, too often our lives intersect with the real world of Toys R Us and Pokemon.
In her post, “Maybe I Just Bought the Wrong Stuff,” Micaela blogs, “In The Story of Cosmetics, Annie Leonard comes out and says what a lot of us might be thinking when it comes to buying cosmetics and personal care products: “maybe it’s my fault…maybe I just bought the wrong thing”…meaning it’s our own damn fault for buying personal care products loaded with toxins and petroleum products…because we didn’t take the time to research the hell out of them before we went to the store.
I’m telling you – that is often how I feel. And it’s very frustrating.”
Frustrating? Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green goes even farther when she blogs, “I don’t know about you but I’m pissed off at the amount of work I have to do to keep myself and my family safe from cancer causing chemicals. We need to change the whole system and work together to demand safer cosmetics.”
I’m with Lisa – the whole system needs to change, and in my opinion, that includes regulation. But I’m not so sure the Safe Cosmetics Act is the answer. Check my post out here, where I blog about what I’ve learned in two years of following these issues – the things people inside the industry have told me – and my surprise and concern about the backlash opposition to the Safe Cosmetics Act that is being led by small, independent cosmetics makers.
Jennifer Taggert of The Smart Mama (and an attorney) voices her concern that the Safe Cosmetics Act may mean for small businesses. Jennifer has a unique take on this, and her full post is worth a close read. Here’s an excerpt:
“I bring the CPSIA up after watching The Story of Cosmetics because well intentioned legislation can go badly wrong.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t urge you to understand what it is you are buying. To adopt the precautionary principle in your purchasing decisions.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t think we should advocate for sensible legislation and regulations.
But that’s it – the legislation and/or regulations must be sensible. And that is hard to do. The devil is in the details. Overbroad legislation has unintended consequences and collateral damage.
As said by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis:
The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
What do you think?
Leave a comment and let us know!
And did you know you can get ALL of our posts pushed out to you via Twitter? Just follow us here: http://www.twitter.com/GreenMoms
Copyright 2010 OrganicMania
Filed under Green moms, Organic Personal Care Products, Organic Product Needs, Uncategorized | Wordpress Comments (7) |
Yesterday I attended an amazing series of lectures by some of the world’s foremost experts on marine biology, alternative fuels, and more….People from California, New York, Boston, and elsewhere converged on the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in DC for TedxOilSpill. Running from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (and with a cocktail party still going strong when I begged off just before 9 p.m.), TedxOilSpill was a revelation. You can watch the videos as they’re uploaded here, read the #TedXOilSpill tweetstream or just check out my list below of the top 10 Things I learned (or was reminded of) at TedXOilSpill.
1. Women are brave. It was a female scientist – Dr. Susan Shaw – who said she was told she was crazy to swim in the Gulf. She wanted to know the impact of the oil on marine life. The impact on her? She got sick. Her throat felt like it was “on fire.” After a few days, she was fine. Unfortunately, the fish don’t get a chance to climb out of the Gulf’s waters. They won’t recover so easily. Instead, Dr. Shaw predicts a dire future for marine mammals exposed to so much oil: “chemical pneumonia,” liver and brain disease, tumors, lesions, and other horrible afflictions. If you want to watch one TedxOilSpill talk, I suggest you watch Dr. Shaw. (She speaks at 56:30).
2. Truly, no one has any idea of the impact of the dispersants used in the Gulf. Dr. Shaw said the toxicologists are going crazy trying to figure it out. Part of the problem is that industry is not required to disclose what is IN the dispersants. She showed the ingredients list the scientists finally obtained: full of “derivatives” and “distellants” – meaningless terms designed to protect trade secrets. Dr. Carl Safina demonstrated what happens when you mix a dispersant with oil and water: everything became a cloudy soup. The implication was clear: putting dispersants in the Gulf is only making things worse. No longer floating on top of the water, the oil is mixed throughout, along with chemicals of unknown origin, with unfathomable impact on marine life.
3. The environmental field is a broad one. I was surprised that with all the focus on chemicals, not one speaker mentioned that NOW is the time we can do something about the over-use of untested and unregulated chemicals by supporting overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Learn more here. The non-profits advocates fighting for TSCA reform – Healthy Child, Healthy World; Moms Rising; Environmental Working Group, and the broad-based Safer Chemicals Coalition -have been focusing on outreach to Moms, but the overuse of chemicals impacts us all. It’s time to call your Congressional representative. NOW.
4. Bad news about the environment and its impact on animals is usually underestimated. A chart showing the fall-out estimated from the Exxon Valdez was superimposed on a chart showing what actually happened. Suffice to say: not a pretty picture. (Some species, like the killer whales, never recovered.)
5. Did you know that 30% of all species of wildlife are expected to be extinct in the next 30 years? And that estimate was made BEFORE the oil spill.
6. I was reminded that the oil platform exploded on Earth Day. Talk about irony.
7. Not all biofuels are created equal. Remember the furor over corn-based biofuels? Algae provides another option for biofuel, and it doesn’t require the use of arable land or potable water.
8. I keep hearing that electric vehicles will only be good for short trips. Not true. The Tesla can go 244 miles on a single charge. Sure, most of us can’t afford it, but Tesla Motors is using Tesla Technology to develop other, less expensive models such as a sedan, the S Model.
9. We all know it’s not just about the animals. It’s not just about the fish. It’s not just about the fishermen, or their way of life. Or the culture in the Gulf. But did you ever think of the history that lies at the ocean floor? I heard an AU professor tell us, with a catch in his voice, about the shipwrecks that will be decimated by the oil.
10. Christen Lien has composed (or more accurately) is composing an instrumental piece inspired by her visit to the Gulf. Listening to it, you can almost hear the animals crying for help and the oil rushing in. Viola, harmonica, synthesizer….it is incredible music. Her performance capped the end to the conference.
And do you know what? I really learned MORE than just these ten things…but that’s a post for a different night!
I’d love to know what you learned…or what you think about all this…please leave a comment and share!
Copyright 2010 OrganicManiaFiled under Uncategorized | Wordpress Comments (2) |
No one makes a habit of displaying the inside of their medicine cabinet. But I’m doing it to make a point.
The other night I took my skeptical husband to watch the filming of what’s being billed as “ ‘Inconvenient Truth’ for environmental health.” The Environmental Working Group’s President, Ken Cook, has presented “10 Americans” to countless groups across the country, and it’s even available on the web. But at this filming at DC’s Source Theatre, the EWG captured the reaction of a group of Washingtonians who gathered to hear that:
• 82,000 chemicals were declared safe for use in household and personal care products with little or no data to support their safety;
• the US has the highest cancer rate in the industrialized world;
• industrial chemicals are showing up in the womb. In other words, embryos are being exposed to chemicals in the mother’s body before birth;
• chemical exposures in people are increasingly associated with a range of serious diseases and conditions from childhood cancer, to autism, ADHD, learning deficits, infertility, and birth defects.
So why am I showing you my medicine cabinet? I’m like most Moms – my heart is “deep green,” but my buying patterns are a lighter shade of green. The items I buy organic and green are those that my family consumes most often, particularly those items that are most often used by my children. But we still buy plenty of conventional products (although we try to use them sparingly).
When I first learned about the linkages between probable human carcinogens and everyday personal care and household products, I was shocked. That’s why I reached out to industry representatives to get some reassurances, as you can read here. And their reaction? While they spend hundreds of thousands to court Mom bloggers at BlogHer and other conferences and launch fancy viral advertising campaigns, they still haven’t answered these three simple questions I posed here.
– What is your stance on the Kid Safe Chemical Act?
– What do you think about the adverse affects of long term exposure to the thousands of chemicals used in personal care products?
– Is this issue even being discussed at the industry level, through groups like the Personal Products Council?
In fact, as I blogged here, the Industry reps did everything they could to discredit the Moms asking these questions.
So now you know why I hope the EWG is wrong. Because like so many of you, I still use a lot of these products.
And as for my skeptical husband?
As he put it after watching Ken Cook in action,
“DDT used to be called safe too.”
Watch the video yourself and tell me what you think.
If you want to do something now that you’ve seen this video, visit the EWG’s Action Page.
And please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Cancer, Green Charities, Green moms, Organic Personal Care Products | Wordpress Comments (15) |
The other week I noticed that a somewhat-obscure scientific organization, The Endocrine Society, was meeting in Washington, DC. For a moment, I stopped and wondered if they too might weigh in on the bisphenol A (BPA) debate now raging in DC.
“Nah,” I thought. “They’re non-political. I’ve never heard about them. They’ll just report on research, but they won’t actually make a statement or engage in the debate.”
Wow. Was I wrong.
As I learned from – once again – the Environmental Working Group – The Endocrine Society actually issued its first ever scientific statement on BPA – the first in its 93-year-history. The Society warned that BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) “ have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism and obesity, and cardiovascular endocrinology.”
The Society also warned that “The Precautionary Principle is key to enhancing endocrine and reproductive health, and should be used to inform decisions about exposure to, and risk from, potential endocrine disruptors.”
You can access the entire Scientific Statement here. It’s dense reading, and I confess I haven’t made it all the way through as yet – but what I have read is troubling. The report documents possible links between endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA and a host of serious health issues such as cancer, ADHD, autism, and low sperm count.
In a separate action, EWG President Ken Cook sent a letter to Coca Cola’s CEO in which he noted “More than a decade ago, because of concerns about high levels of BPA in bioassays of teenagers and young adults, most Japanese food processing removed or dramatically reduced the use of BPA in can linings, switching to safer, less expensive PET(polyrthylene terephthalate) film lamination. As a result, a 2002 study found that BPA levels among Japanese students dropped by fully 50 percent between 1992 and 1999.”
Can you believe it? Those numbers are stunning.
When I started OrganicMania, I thought the main health issue we Moms faced was the food we put in our bodies. Little did I know it was just the tip of the iceberg. Plastic bottles, cans, household cleaners, make-up, baby shampoos, lotions and potions – I’ve learned that substances like these contain minute amounts of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and other chemicals. Scientists and regulators are still sorting out the cumulative effects of all these exposures. As for me, there’s enough evidence there to follow the Precautionary Principle. That means sticking to simple, basic foods, make-up and personal care products, buying organic and natural whenever possible, and avoiding synthetic compounds.
I’ll be blogging a lot more about these issues in the future. I feel like the scales have fallen off my eyes. It’s not just about the food. It’s about so much more than that. What do you think? Leave a comment and share.
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Cancer, Food, Green Charities, Green Cleaning Products | Wordpress Comments (3) |
In my last post, I thanked the anonymous leaker who let us into the behind the scenes machinations at the Cosmos Club meeting of the BPA lobby.
Then I asked – Now What?
Well, Here’s What:
– Congress is not amused. Check out this link to a letter from Congressman Henry Waxman, demanding that NAMPA supply to Congress a complete list of background materials pertaining to the meetings held by the BPA Joint Trade Association in April and May, as well as a list of attendees at the meetings and the names of the members of the BPA Joint Trade Association;
– The FDA announced it will be conducting a full review of BPA’s safety, and will have its results “within weeks, not months” (as is typical);
– Surprise, surprise, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NAMPA has hired a crisis communications specialist. Let’s hope this “specialist” doesn’t leave annoying comments on green blogs, like the crisis people hired by the formaldehyde lobby when we blogged about toxins in baby products; and
– NAMPA announced on its home page and in a press statement that ” a blatantly inaccurate and fabricated memo purportedly reporting on the discussion in that meeting is now being waved as evidence that the industry is colluding to cover up the facts. The Journal’s attempt to pass off this illegitimate
memo from an unidentified source as proof that industry is trying to manipulate the process is
shoddy journalism at best and a breach of journalistic ethics at worst. The fact is, despite the best efforts of the Journal to portray the meeting as something sinister, it was nothing more than an effort by industry to
find a way to portray correctly the science about BPA that has been repeatedly ignored by the media.”
(Note: The Washington Post reported that a NAMPA lobbyist confirmed the accuracy of the memo, although she did point out that it was a “brainstorming session.”)
Check out these great posts for more info:
– Enviroblog has a terrific round-up of all the news here at “The Week from Hell for BPA;”
– The Smart Mama has her usual great take on the issue here with her post “Fall-out from Industry Memo Seeking Pregnant Women to Promote Bisphenol A.” Jennifer Taggert, aka The Smart Mama, has been covering this issue – along with a host of other environmental toxin issues for years – and she’s got great insights into what’s going on;
– Clementine W takes a practical stance with 10 Ways to Avoid BPA; and
– The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has this “Chemical Fallout” breaking news feed you can subscribe to for breaking news on this issue as it unfolds.
Just hours ago, the Environmental Working Group released this link as part of an action alert asking people to call Coke and Del Monte, two of the companies present at the infamous BPA meeting, to tell them to stop using BPA.
I can’t/won’t keep up with this issue on a near-daily basis – just wanted to pass along the news about how speedily things are being addressed, and direct you to The Smart Mama, Enviroblog, and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for breaking news updates.
Progress! What a nice change from how things have been handled in the past!
Copyright OrganicMania 2009
.Filed under Uncategorized | Wordpress Comments (2) |
Thank you to whomever had the gumption to send the now infamous Bisphenol A (BPA) meeting notes over to The Washington Post. Notes that exposed discussion about developing a PR plan to restore BPA’s luster and to block proposed bans on the controversial chemical. BPA is used in the linings of canned foods and beverages in the US, yet has been linked in numerous independent studies to myriad health concerns such as endocrine disruption, cancer, diabetes and heart disease (as I’ve previously blogged here.) (You can read the meeting notes from the Cosmos Club discussions with Coca-Cola, Alcoa, Del Monte, Crown, the American Chemistry Council, the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, Inc. and the Grocery Manufacturers Associations here at the Environmental Working Group’s website.)
There’s nothing unusual about industry insiders sitting down to craft an image campaign to bolster a failing product’s allure. These steps outlined in the memo are standard marketing tactics: Fund a consumer perception study. Craft some new messages. Find a marketable spokesperson (in this case a pregnant woman).
But was is unusual is this: for a chemical that is supposed to be so safe, why do the notes show no discussion about the overlooked benefits of BPA? If the problem truly is “perception,” why didn’t the participants spend their time talking about the key points supporting their position that BPA is safe? And why did someone feel compelled to leak the notes if everything truly was on the up-and-up?
According to the notes, the accuracy of which were verifed by a NAMPA spokesperson in The Post article, the attendees spent their time discussing budget ($500,000 for the campaign) and tactics. Funny thing is, they’ve already had a big PR firm, Stanton Communications, representing them. According to O’Dwyers, Stanton also represents The Formaledehyde Council, coincidentally the same group that left snarky comments on Mom blogs after we blogged about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ Toxic Tub report.
Now, in this recession, in this town, $500,000 is a lot of money for PR work. NAMPA and its allies can secure the finest communications council DC has to offer for that princely sum. But according NAMPA’s website, Stanton already reported in February that “In just the first four weeks of 2009, more than 150 articles have been published in various trade, environmental, health, and consumer media. While the specific content of the articles has varied, the underlying message is the same — BPA found in plastic products and metal cans is harmful to people and should be avoided or eliminated. .. . This underscores the need for swift and consistent response to articles as they appear, to set the record straight on BPA, specifically in relation to its critical usage in metal packaged food and beverage products.”
In NAMPA’s response to The Post story, also posted on their website, they state, ”The use of BPA-based epoxy liners in metal food and beverage cans serves a critical function by preventing a myriad of contaminants from penetrating into the food, affording longer shelf life and significant nutrition, convenience, and economy. Unfortunately, the one-sided reporting so commonplace in the media has left consumers to conclude that rather than preventing health impacts, the epoxy liner itself causes problems because it contains infinitesimal amounts of BPA.”
So is this their entire defense? BPA prevents contamination from penetrating into food and it’s approved by the FDA. NAMPA appears to imply that we should ignore advice such as this one issued on May 21st from Harvard’s School of Public Health: “With increasing evidence of the potential harmful effects of BPA in humans, the authors believe further research is needed on the effect of BPA on infants and on reproductive disorders and on breast cancer in adults.”
Hmmm…how do they sell Coke in Japan? The Japanese, who banned BPA, must have found a suitable alternative that does not contaminate the food supply. And while it’s true that BPA is not banned in Europe, it’s also true that countries around the world are reviewing their laws. From NAMPA’s own May e-newsletter I read “NAMPA has learned that the Danish Parliament has proposed a law to ban BPA in baby bottles and other consumer products. The proposal acknowledges the European Food Safety Agency’s (EFSA) approval of the use of BPA in 2008, but dismisses this finding and indicates its
unsuccessful efforts to have EFSA apply more severe rules governing BPA.”
Here’s an offer. When NAMPA gets its act together, I’d love to talk to their new high-priced PR firm to get answers to my questions. I’m sure I could get some other Mom bloggers to join me, those who’ve just posted their own reactions to the specter of a pregnant woman hawking BPA products: The Smart Mama, Green and Clean Mom, Nature Moms, Safe Mama, Non Toxic Kids, The Soft Landing, Jenn Savedge of Mother Nature Network and The Green Parent, Retro Housewife Goes Green , and Leslie aka La Mama Naturale over at Eco Childs Play. How about a blogger conference call?
To round it out, let’s invite Consumer Reports too – as their blog says, “We have repeatedly called for BPA to be banned from food and beverage containers, and for the government to take immediate action to protect infants and children from BPA exposure. Some manufacturers and retailers have already begun removing BPA from their products. We hope that more will follow that example rather than relying on cynical public relations gimmicks.”
What do you think? Leave a comment and share.
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Cancer, Green Ideas & Stuff, Green moms, Product Recommendations, Sustainable Packaging | Wordpress Comments (15) |
Green and Organic Savings Friday: CVS “Organic” Make-up, Late Night Specials at Whole Foods, Organic Baby Food and More!
Last night OrganicMania discovered an advantage to waiting until the absolute last minute to pick up groceries. Never before had I heard the voice booming across Whole Foods announcing, “Two-for-one Special! Buy One, Get One Free!” Buy what? Where the heck was I? For a second, I thought I was back in Germany, where at Kaufhalle a flashing blue siren goes off before a voice announces “Sonderangebot!”
But no, it was the gorgeous sandwiches in the prepared food section that were on sale. Every night at about 9:55 p.m. you can pick up two sandwiches for the price of one. OrganicMania nabbed two gorgeous eggplant sandwiches for $3.15 each! Can’t beat that…
Well, maybe….we just tried the eggplant sandwich and sad to say, it is a bit past its prime, despite the prepared food manager’s assurances that it would taste just fine. My DH deemed it better suited to a midnight snack, and suggested we keep experimenting “in the name of research” to see if any of their sale sandwiches hold up better than the eggplant. More on that subject another week!
Isn’t it great to see all these sale signs on organic make-up? Now’s the time to try Physician’s Formula Organic Make-up with the 2 for one sale at CVS. Not only is the make-up 2 for the price of 1, but CVS offers incredible coupon savings through their CVS card program. So savvy CVS shoppers may be able to get their make-up for nothing or next to nothing!
I haven’t tried this make-up yet, but one thing I love about it is the sustainable packaging. The powder is packaged in recyclable paper instead of petroleum-based plastic. That’s one trend we should all hope that the other cosmetics makers adopt.
On the flip side, this make-up is marketed as “organic” when it has many chemical ingredients and is not certified USDA organic. The marketing of this “organic make-up” falls into that “gray area” OrganicMania discussed here with Diane MacEachern, noted environmentalist and author of the eco best seller “Big Green Purse.”
But as with so many other cosmetics lines, you need to be careful about the specific products you purchase. Check out this overview of Physicians Formula ingredients by the Environmental Working Group, and you’ll see that the safety rankings are all over the map. Best bets?
The powder and foundation are both ranked 3, or “moderate hazard” by the EWG, which is actually very good compared to most cosmetics.
OrganicMania considers the eye make-up remover pads and sunscreen “best buys” with EWG rankings of 2, or low hazard. It’s unlikely you’ll find a better choice for your money .
Now that you’re all beautified, what does that lead to? Romance! Love! Babies! Baby food! How’s that for a segue?
Safeway once again has its housebrand O Organics Baby Food 4.5 ounce baby food jars on sale, 10 jars for $7.00 or 17.5 cents per ounce, saving you 90 cents on ten. Unfortunately, that’s a whole dollar more per ten than this organic baby food sale Safeway ran about six months ago, when organic baby food was priced at a just a penny more than conventional baby food! But 10 jars for $7.00 is still a good deal with today’s rising food prices. Are you planning to keep buying organic for your baby? Leave a comment and share!
Did you find any good deals this week? Please share your tips! And check out these other savings tips here. (Warning: some green, some not so green!)
Copyright 2008 OrganicManiaFiled under Baby, Food, Green Charities, Marketing, Organic Personal Care Products, Organic Prices, Parenting, Product Recommendations, Savings Tips, Sustainable Packaging, Where to Buy Organics, Whole Foods | Wordpress Comments (11) |
This afternoon, the US National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, released a draft report indicating that low dose exposure to BPA in plastics may be linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty in girls and behavioral changes such as hyperactivity. And it’s rumored that the Canadian government will take an even stronger step on Wednesday, naming BPA a “dangerous substance.”
Many feel that this report is long overdue. The fact is, for years now, early pioneers such as the Environmental Working Group and savvy media outlets like The Wall Street Journal have been warning of the potential risks of BPA. Just last August, a group of 38 medical researchers warned again of the potential risks.
Moms have been anxiously trading stories about which bottles and sippy cups were BPA-free on blogs and parenting listservs like DCUM.
It’s just the latest example of the Precautionary Principle which Diane MacEachern explained here.
When it comes to health and environmental issues, particularly when our children are involved, you can never play it too safe.
What can you do? Go more natural. Think glass bottles and cups, find wooden toys, and get better acquainted with safer plastics, if you feel you must use plastic.
Here are some links that may be helpful to you:
Want to say “thank you” to the Environmental Working Group for these helpful guides on how to avoid BPA? Go here to have Stonyfield Farms donate $1 to the EWG when you click and fill in your email address.Filed under Baby, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (6) |
Today was a milestone day – I finally got Baby Boo his first real haircut, since far too many people were calling him “her.” So by rights, I should be thinking about that happy milestone. But instead, I left the salon steaming mad about one of the most egregious examples of greenwashing I’ve come across – an “all natural, organic hair care for children” line of lice treatment products called Fairy Tales Hair Care for Children.
I happen to really be in the market for an organic lice treatment – in fact I even included it in a post called “Humor Me Not: The Top 10 Organic and Eco-Friendly Products Moms Really Need.”
But skeptic that I am, the first two things I do when I see anything labeled “natural” or “organic” is to check the ingredients list and to look for a USDA organic certification label. Despite the “organic” claims, I didn’t see a USDA label on the Fairy Tales bottles, but I did see a long list of non-organic ingredients including major no-nos like parabens and fragrance.
According to the Environmental Working Group, “parabens can disrupt the hormone (endocrine) system, and were found in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women studied.” And the EWG reports that fragrance should be avoided in children’s products because of allergens that may contain neurotoxic or hormone-disrupting chemicals. (You can learn more about fragrance through this informative EWG video clip).
Although the FDA allows low levels of many chemicals in personal care products, there is increasing concern about the impact of low doses of chemicals on our bodies. You can read an excellent EWG commentary on this here. And even conservative business publications like The Wall Street Journal – hardly a tool of the environmental lobby – have published research questioning the safety of personal care chemicals. In fact, it was the Wall Street Journal’s multi-part series about this issue that inspired me to reduce my family’s use of household cleaning and personal care products with unnecessary chemical ingredients.
The ten chemicals listed in the Fairy Tale Rosemary Repel® shampoo ingredients make these “organic” marketing claims seem audacious. I checked the ingredient list against the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep database of personal care products and discovered that six of these chemicals are considered moderate risks to health by the EWG. Just click on the links to read the EWG’s reports on cocamidopropyl betaine, lauramide DEA, methylparaben, propylparaben, polyquaternium-10 and quaternium-15, all ingredients in this so-called “organic shampoo.”
In fact, the label doesn’t list any actual organic ingredients. Yes, it’s true the shampoo contains natural ingredients like jojoba seed oil, rosemary leaf oil, anise oil, tea tree oil, and anise oil, but as the Executive Director of the Organic Consumers Association says on the OCA website, “Organic consumers expect their organic personal care to be free of synthetic foaming agents and preservatives, and companies should not just add token organic ingredients on top of such synthetics to make organic product claims. Consumers should look for the “USDA Organic” seal on products if they want to be certain they are truly organic.”
Moreover, the National Institutes of Health announced a year ago that consumers should exercise caution when using personal care products with tea tree oil (and lavender) because they may cause breast growth in boys.
So dear readers, please look for the USDA Organic seal and READ LABELS on personal care products, especially those marketed to children or used by women during childbearing years. Of course, it’s hard to attentively read a label when you have kids in tow at the kiddie hair salon – which is yet another reason I find this particular case of kiddie greenwashing so annoying.
My advice? Take the money you might have spent on this ill-conceived product and donate it instead to the non-profit Environmental Working Group, so they can keep on producing and publicizing this important health research. Click here to donate. And if you’re a Facebook member, go here to donate $10, which will enable the EWG to add another product to the Skindeep database.
Copyright 2008, OrganicManiaFiled under Greenwashing, Organic Personal Care Products, Parenting, Tips, Uncategorized | Wordpress Comment (0) |