Why You Don’t Want to Use StyroFoam Dishes This Summer (or Ever!)

 

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It is finally summer fair and barbeque season. Yippee! However, I am reminded how often I see food being handed out on styrofoam plates and containers and why this is should be of concern to everyone.

I have always hated the feel of styrofoam cups on my lips so I started avoiding it years ago. I have since learned it contains some serious toxic compounds which can leach out into food. So shouldn’t we all be avoiding it? The challenge is that it is still so widely used.  As it’s likely you too will run into it this season, best to know WHY and HOW  to avoid styrofoam.

What is styrofoam??

  • Styrofoam is a trademarked name for an extruded foam made from polystyrene
  • Polystyrene is a synthetic compound derived from petroleum, and contains toxic compounds such as benzene. It is a lightweight, insulating material that is used in many formats in industry…unfortunately including disposable dish ware.

Studies have shown that the styrene leaches out of the styrofoam and into our bodies when we use styrofoam cups and plates.  In fact, a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found just that when the food (or drink) inside was hot. If it makes you feel any better, it was also found that styrene didn’t leach out of foam egg cartons, which are usually refrigerated. so we can assume the most harm to human health comes when the styrofoam is heated.

However the direct impact on human health shouldn’t be our only concern. Styrofoam has become an acute environmental issue. The Environmental Protection Agency released a report (1986) listing the polystyrene manufacturing process  as the fifth largest creator of hazardous waste. Fifty-seven toxic chemical byproducts are released during the manufacturing process of polystyrene, including benzene. Just think of the workers who manufacture it if nothing else.

As well, styrofoam takes 500 years to decompose. It makes up 25-30% of our world’s landfills AND has become a major source of marine pollution. And even though styrofoam is no longer manufactured with CFC (‘chlorofluorocarbon’ the famous ozone depleting chemical), it still uses hydrofluorocarbons linked to depleting the ozone layer and affecting global warming.

How to Avoid Styrofoam:

  • Look for the number 6. Polystyrene foam should be easy to spot by looking for a 6 inside the chasing arrow (aka ‘the mobius loop) symbol.  Unfortunately, polystyrene is also used in non-foam food containers, including clear-plastic clamshells and coffee-cup lids.
  • Don’t frequent restaurants or take out places that offer this type of food container.
  • BE PREPARED and take your own environmentally-friendly food and drink containers where you can to picnics, BBQs and fairs.

And remember that even though many jurisdictions are now trying to recycle styrofoam.. it is not a good option to use in the first place. So many chemicals used in its production affecting workers and our environment. We can all do better for the sake of our health, other people, AND our environment. So get yourself some stainless or glass re-usable containers and bamboo plates.

This post was inspired by the work of SaferChemicalsHealthyFamilies who work tirelessly to inform people of hidden toxins in their consumer goods….for which we should all be thankful 🙂

 

Seriously…Plastic Beads In My Child’s ToothPaste?

Crest For MeNothing makes me crazier than huge corporations putting unsavoury ingredients in products marketed specifically for children.  There is no excuse.

I recently read an article on-line written by a mom/dental hygienist, alerting consumers about the use of plastic beads in tooth paste. The product specifically portrayed in the article was Crest’s ToothPaste For Me which promises to ‘Get The Gunk’ out for kids between 8 and 12 years old.  However, dental hygienists are finding the plastic beads are getting in and staying in…under gums. That sounds like putting ‘gunk’ into children’s mouths and I’m not ok with it.

Polyethylene does not break down, it is not biodegradable. So unless your hygienist can find and remove these beads, they will stay there. And what parent of a child wants to have their child go through having plastic microbeads fished out from under their gums?

I have to wonder why Procter and Gamble ever put plastic in any toothpaste, let alone one specifically for children? On their website, it is confirmed that the blue microbeads are added for colour. So kids are getting plastic microbeads stuck under their gums for COLOUR?

To find out if your product contains polyethylene, take a look at the Inactive Ingredients part of your toothpaste label. As well, the Skin Deep Database confirms specific Crest products reported to be using polyethylene beads.

Unfortunately my husband had just bought one of these Crest For Me toothpastes for our 8 year old.   Upset I actually owned one of these products, I called the company to voice my concern. They assured me PE is safe and is used in food packaging.  I asked if they had done any studies on kids health if plastic sits under their gums for years undetected? No surprise that I didn’t get a direct answer to that one.  Or do they know the impact is of kids having dental tools stuck up their gums to retrieve the beads? I just cringe thinking about it.

In my upset over my child having plastic beads in her toothpaste,  I didn’t even mention to P & G, how these beads are polluting our Great Lakes. Feel free to mention that point if you call.

Procter and Gamble can be reached at (800) 959-6586  or send an e-mail comment to them here

Petroleum Jelly As Skincare: The Bad and the Ugly.

Petroleum Jelly is a staple in many beauty routines.  And for that reason alone, I went with the flow a long time ago, trusting that it must be a good choice. I have since used petroleum jelly for everything from lip gloss to skin ‘cream’, hoping that it was what some claimed it to be; a cheap yet effective hydrator. Cheap yes…effective hydrator.. not so much and when I found out the very ugly side to petroleum jelly the ‘cheap’ was no longer so inviting.

The Bad

Petroleum Jelly is a by-product of  gasoline production. Strangely its origin as a residue left over in the refining process of crude oil really never occurred to me.  It is not ‘green’ nor natural in any way and comes with a host of potential concerns.

One such concern is that it can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to David Suzuki, studies suggest that exposure to PAHs, including skin contact over extended periods of time, is associated with cancer.  And it is on this basis, the European Union classifies petrolatum, a carcinogen restricting its use in cosmetics. And to make matters even worse, PAH’s are known to cause skin irritations. So just because it is allowed to be used as skincare, I started to figure…it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be.

The Ugly

Drinking Gasoline! The famous Dr Oz once caught my attention when he likened using petroleum jelly on lips being comparable to drinking gasoline. Oh my! And to add insult to injury there are many who claim that using petroleum jelly on your skin does it no benefit in terms of skin health. It is said to slow skin’s cellular regeneration, potentially damaging collagen and elastin, ultimately contributing to the appearance of older looking skin. Thoughts of sagging, drooping skin started to hit home and gone were all petroleum-based skincare products from my medicine cabinet. The Bad and the Ugly trumped any possible good.

Giving up on petro skin products altogether gave way to new-found alternative plant-based skin soothers, hydrators and glossers. Some of my favourites include:

For Lips: I now like dabbing my lips with 100% pure organic argan oil such as this one by Canada’s Cocoon Apothecary. It soothes lips, looks glossy for a bit and, no there’s no ‘eating gasoline’.  And to carry in my pocket or purse for myself or my young daughters, I like Keeki Pure & Simple Lip Shimmers or Consonant’s Organic Lip Conditioner. Made of organic plant oils and beeswax, these give shine and hydration to winter-weary lips. And bonus… as compared to petroleum-based lip products…the plant-based ones for some reason last so much longer. Woot!

For Face: Cocoon Apothecary’s 100% organic plant oils are so incredibly nourishing that I use them on my lips and on my face. Choose either Rosehip and/or Argan oil with no fillers, no synthetics and no harsh preservatives. Read about these oils to see how using them is associated with glowing, beautiful skin.

And I love Consonant’s HydrExtreme Skin Hydration Booster. Two plant-based ingredients (and nothing else!) give skin the best hydration with no oiliness. Love, love, love. This product won the Canadian Beauty Innovation Award in 2012, so clearly I feel am in good company!

For Body:  I find the hydrating effect of Graydon’s Green Cream is nothing short of fabulous.  I use it on any dry areas including my face.  Made with cold-pressed green broccoli seed oil, avocado oil and chlorophyll, it sure beats the idea of refined gasoline on my dry parts. I can’t help but liken it to eating broccoli vs. refined, processed foods. Mmm.. Salad for the skin!

For Hands: My skin loves the hydration of Ella’s Botanicals Magic Balms.  Made mainly of olive oil and shea butter, these balms give extremely de-hydrated hands a serious hydration fix in either Lavendar or Clementine scents. And at $15 for a wee tub that lasts a very long time, no wonder this Toronto-based company has trouble keeping its Magic Balms in stock.

If you have any petroleum-free beauty products you would like to share, please do!  I tend to favour local companies making great quality products but love to try new products. So bring on the suggestions!

Babies Are Born ‘Pre-Polluted’. So What’s A Parent To Do?

Recently Environmental Defence Canada reported on the results from testing umbilical cord blood OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAof three newborn babies born in Toronto and Hamilton, ON. A small sample size that indicated a potentially HUGE issue. Each baby was found to contain 55 to 121 toxic compounds such as flame retardants, PCB’s, organochloride pesticides, dioxins and furans, mercury and lead. Of 137 toxic compounds found in these wee babies, 132 are reported to cause cancer. So before our babies can even say the words….they are subject to these horrific toxins.

It is important to note that the test results reported by Environmental Defence, by no way are the result of the actions of any one of the women whose baby was tested. The reality is that toxic chemicals are most everywhere….including in a significant number of common household products. Lax laws on toxic chemicals are affecting all of us including our newborn babies.

Luckily, organizations on both sides of the 49th parallel are urging both the US and Canadian governments to make change and to tighten laws around toxic chemicals. This is an issue where conventional borders often mean nothing. Irregardless of where you live, it is most important to note that the US and Canada share waterways, airways, and consumer goods.  Lax laws affect all of us. While we all wait (Read: law reform can be very slow!), there are steps we can all take toward reducing our individual toxic loads:

1) Speak up! Feel free to sign petitions such as this one to get laws put in place to protect us. Give backing to those who are working on all of our behalf.

2) Follow and support organizations who are working on all of our behalf everyday. In addition to Environmental Defence, I follow Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Women’s Voices For The Earth. I cannot tell parents how fabulous the information is I get just by ‘liking’ or following these organization that report on this subject matter everyday.

3) Inform yourself!  I like to say ‘make google your best friend’. Research and then make the decisions you feel are easiest and most important for you and for your own family. The Top 10 worst household toxins are easily found on-line making them easier for you to avoid.

4) Know that toxic chemicals are finding their way to you in your bodycare products, clothing, beds, couches, food, toys, backpacks, lunchboxes, laundry detergent just to name a few.  I know it can be overwhelming but make one small change at a time.  It becomes easy and feels so good to know you are reducing your family’s toxic load.

5) My mantra is ‘speak with your wallet’. I choose not to buy from companies that are not making change toward cleaner products and conversely I wholeheartedly support those who are. Companies that fight the move toward cleaner products or call it ‘fear-mongering’ when we ask for chemicals banned in other countries to be eliminated from products in our country, lose me AND my dollars.

6) Make it your business to know what is in your family’s foods. organochloride pesticides were found in that cord blood. Research organic farming and see why foods grown organically might suit your family better. Know what genetically-modified food is and that toxins are spliced right into the foods we eat.  Then make the decision if you want your family to eat that type of food? Or speak up so none of us have to even make that decision. Really all food should be free from toxins, shouldn’t it? Know that it has become the norm in processed grocery-store foods to add oodles of health-affecting additives most people don’t even know are there. For instance take a look at what is commonly in commercial breads. Who wants that for breakfast?

7) Choose safe body care products from reputable businesses. In Canada, Environmental Defence has a list of some pretty fabulous companies that offer all-natural and good quality products. And I am a fan of the Skin Deep database for being the best single database around for families to check out what is in their cosmetic products. Know that hundreds of UNTESTED toxic substances are allowed in bodycare in Canada and the US. Read your labels..research ingredients you find such as methylisothiazoline, oxybenzone, Quaternium-15, parabens, BHA, BHT, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate….just to name a few. Once you know what these chemicals are suspect of, you may change up the products you have been using.

8) Say ‘no’ to plastics! I know its a challenge but we all can do it it. Ditch the plastic wrap, plastic grocery bags, plastic toys, plastic shower curtains, plastic drinking containers, plastic rain gear.  And know some companies are even using plastics in exfoliating skincare products! So ditch the polluting plastic skincare products too….

Seemingly small changes by all of us can make a big difference not only to us here and now, but to our children and their children. Perhaps from all of our combined efforts, in a generation or two, babies will no longer be born ‘pre-polluted’.

Feel free to share changes you are or will be making toward reducing your family’s toxic load. We always love to hear from you!

Toxic Trinket or Toy?

My 4 year old was at a classmates party recently and received the cutest little bauble as a giveaway. A brightly coloured ball on a keychain. Cute, cute, cute. But reading the ingredients inside the fancy pink ball made this mom squirm.

The product called Twist and Pout is a lip balm with SPF.  The package itself listed the active ingredients which did include 7.5% octinoxate and 4.5% oxybenzone. Both are commonly used synthetic sunscreen ingredients with oxybenzone being THE most controversial sunscreen chemical of the bunch. With health concerns that include endocrine disruption, oxybenzone certainly deserves a controversial billing.

I continued to check on-line for the remainder of the ingredients.  The company’s website sadly, did not list the ingredients.  After searching other websites that sell the product, I found the rest of the ingredients.

The fancy pink ball also contained retinyl palmitate. I had read recently that Health Canada is looking to put a warning on sunscreen products containing retinyl palmitate. It is suspected that retinol or its derivative retinyl palmitate breaks down in sunlight potentially causing cellular level damage. Yikes! The ingredients were beginning to sound more and more dastardly and far from being a suitable child’s toy.

I read lots of reviews of the Twist and Pout product on line.  Many blogs touted its natural ingredients and one even made mention of the products all ‘organic’ ingredients.  Huh?? Nary a mention of the unsavoury very synthetic ingredients. People seemed to love the feel of the product on their lips and of course the packaging was a huge hit.  The do-gooder manufacturer even offers 5% of sales of ‘Pink Ribbon’ balls to Breast Cancer-based work. Are people choosing this product without focusing on what toxins are lurking inside?

It made me realize how ever-important it is to research your own products and ensure you are comfortable with the ingredients.  In this case, I definitely say ‘toxic trinket’ not suitable as a giveaway for wee kids.

The manufacturer of Twist and Pout has loads of opportunity to improve on their cute product. Take out the synthetics (including the fragrance of unknown origin) and more people ( including me) may be touting it’s complete and utter fabulousness.

Recently at my eldest daughter’s birthday party, I chose to giveaway Keeki Pure & Simple products and Clinical Luxury’s LipStuff. The kids loved them AND both lines contain only the most natural ingredients with not one suspected toxin. To me these nicely fit the bill for young girls who wanted to look and feel fancy without their parents having to worry about any associated risks.

***  I have never received compensation of ANY sort from any company whose product I gush about.  I like to think of myself as a cheerleader for companies making a difference by offering ALL NATURAL, safe products and simply love to write about them.

K-I-S-S Sunscreens

KISS is an acronym for ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. It was originally developed by the US Navy in the 1960 so to avoid unnecessary complexity in hope of increased success of any given system. Basically the ‘Less is More’ priniciple.

This methodology makes great sense to me when trying to explain the complex world of sunscreens and their chemicals. I am asked almost daily by people about what to avoid in sunscreens? And why? And what best is to use? And for kids?

Here goes:  What to Avoid In Sunscreens K-I-S-S Style…

OXYBENZONE.  Take note of that word and know that experts are now linking its use to endocrine disruption, photoallergic reactions, persistence and bioaccumulation.  This means not only can it pollute YOU but once in the environment it doesn’t break down potentially wreaking havoc on marine life. No two ways around it but to AVOID IT.

The Environmental Working Group notes these sunscreens use oxybenzone:

  • LaRoche-Posay Anthelios 60 Face UltraLight Sunscreen SPF 60
  • Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30
  • Aveeno Active Naturals protect + Hydrate Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30

RETINYL PALMITATE. This skin-conditoning agent has been found by the FDA to produce free-radicals that can damage DNA and cause gene mutations when exposed to UV light. So why is it used in sunscreens and especially those for kids???  Well clearly Canadian authorities are onto it as in the last few days it has been reported that Health Canada is looking at putting warning labels on sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate. Bottom line: avoid, avoid, avoid the brands that still use it in sunscreens.

And EWG reports these sunscreens use retinyl palmitate:

  • Banana Boat Baby Tear Free Sunblock Lotion, SPF 50
  • Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Almay Line Smoothing Liquid Makeup for Dry Skin SPF 15

SPRAY SUNSCREENS. Not only do they pose an inhalation hazard BUT the propellant used is often a form of butane, a fuel used in cigarette lighters.  Remember last summer, people caught fire after using Banana Boat Spray Sunscreen? If you find yourself saying, ‘but it is so easy to spray vs. rub’…give your head a shake…really is the risk worth it?

What To Use: Zinc and titanium dioxide or a mix of are the two mineral-based sunscreen ingredients that Health Canada recognizes as ‘natural products’ when it comes to sunscreens.  The only issue with zinc or titanium is if they are ground too find such that the particles can go into the skin.  Look for ‘No Nanotechnology‘ or ‘No Nanoparticles‘.

Caveat: ALWAYS READ LABELS.  It’s a good habit to get into.  When in doubt research your ingredients on-line. And don’t assume a brand or product name with a natural or healthy-sounding name is better for you.  Read and research always!

Happy and safe sunning everyone!

The Warrior Mom circa 2013

I gave birth to two fabulous, healthy little girls in the last 8 years and found out the hard way that common everyday household products contain harsh, synthetic ingredients that in many cases, are not tested for safety. So for my family’s sake I have decided that I MUST be a catalyst for change.

I now question everything and I research to make more informed decisions.  And in the hope I might help someone else to avoid the experiences I have had, I blog. Most recently I joined the blogging team at Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. I am so impressed with the fabulous work Safer Chemicals is doing, I am beyond thrilled to be a part!

My personal interest in toxic chemicals started with daughter’s severe reaction to synthetic sunscreen.  It was Canada Day 2007. Her tiny body swelled and became beet red after I applied harsh toxic chemicals to her body called ‘children’s sunscreen‘.  She was two.

People stared at our usually beautiful daughter that day in the medical waiting room. She was distorted and looked rather frightful. Medical authorities said simply it was a ‘hyper-allergic reaction’.  Any parent who has been through this, no matter what the exact cause or exact result, will tell you it is a life-changing experience.

I reacted by becaming a warrior mom. I set out to figure out what had happened and why and how it could be avoided in future? I found out that petroleum-based chemicals I had studied in University that were polluting waterways and affecting marine life were in my kids products!! And many are not tested for safety.  Scientists are now studying the health costs of using these cheap, industrial commonly-used chemicals.  The results are alarming… many common household chemicals are suspected carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Shame on the huge corporations that continue to manufacture products for kids peppered with such toxic garbage.

Even if you have never considered toxins may be in your kids products, take a minute to read your own product labels. Make google your best friend and research, research, research. This will help you to be armed to make informed decisions. If your child hasn’t had an outward reaction as mine did you are fortunate. Trust me when I say that your research will confirm lots of nasty chems commonly used in everyday household products. Best to know these can be silently harming your children.

Who is surprised that moms are leading the way in demanding change?  I have since found that I am one small voice in a group of many moms trying to educate other moms and to ultimately make huge corporations change their ways for the sake of ALL of our children. Some note-worthy moms are moving mountains to speak up against environmental causes of childhood illnesses that plague us in 2013.  From autismfood sensitivities, life threatening allergies to pediatric cancers.The stats on increasing incidence of all of these is major cause for concern.

If you have ever wondered how successful moms are at affecting change, know that there have been some fabulous success stories of moms causing BIG BUSINESS to make healthful change. Such outstanding work! Keep on going sisters there is loads of work to still to be done!

If you know a mom or a mom to be, who may not know this info, please pass this post on to her.  Post something about this subject on your Facebook page or tweet about it. And if you feel so inclined, start a petition, sign a petition, or speak to other moms about this subject. AND speak with your wallet. Stop buying and they will stop making. If we don’t speak up, industry will most likely never choose to change.

Some of my favourite resources and some of the major catalysts for change on both sides of the 49th parallel are Environmental Defence Canada, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, Women’s Voices for the Earth,  and one of my all-time fave fellow warrior moms, Lori at Groovy Green Livin….I am inspired and impressed with all these people’s efforts everyday on behalf of children and families everywhere. All are worth a ‘follow’.

Feel free to share any personal comments or stories with me.  I would love to hear from you!

The Dark Side Of Baby Oil And Why You May Want to Avoid It

Conventional baby oil is made from mineral oil and fragrance. Mineral oil is sometimes called liquid paraffin (or Paraffinum Liquidum) as it closely resembles melted wax. You will find it listed by either name as an ingredient on product labels.

Mineral oil is a by-product of the petroleum industry, which translates to it is derived from crude oil.  Make no mistake, it is not environmentally-friendly nor baby-friendly. Pictures you may have seen of an oil spill in water gives a visual of the environmental part of the issue. As well, many believe that using mineral oil on your child’s skin is akin to wrapping the tot in plastic wrap as skin really can’t breathe properly when doused in petroleum oil. Worse, is that mineral oil is a suspected carcinogen according to some environmental experts and in recent years mineral-based baby oil has caused horrific, unspeakable injuries to at least one baby and death to  others.

So I am convinced that there may not be a more frightening ‘baby’ product available. As it is always best to know all the risks associated with a product so that you can make the best decision for your family, here are some details:

In 1985, a 15 month old boy suffered horrible injuries after he drank baby oil oil and inadvertently got some in his lungs.  The boy lived but is reported to live today in a state where he cannot move his arms or legs as they are stiff and spastic. He cannot speak and suffers mental retardation. A lawsuit ensued, the details can be seen here.

And in 2001, a 16 month old boy died in the US after swallowing baby oil and also getting some into his lungs.  According to this account, It took 28 days for the end to come, when he suffocated to death. Sadly, it was reported that doctors could do nothing to help him once the oil got into his lungs.

And in the news this past summer, a 14 month old girl in California died after ingesting baby oil. Reports of the tragedy, confirm the baby’s mother said that it took a split second for her daughter to get the baby oil and ingest it.  Little Mya Rose lived for a number of weeks then passed away earlier this month.

The bottom line was that the parents in each case claimed they had no idea that this product was a hazard to young children and thus, it was not treated as a potentially dangerous substance in their home.  I have to admit that when my kids were babies I had no idea either and had baby oil in arm’s reach of the change table. And even though it makes perfect sense that a child could aspirate on an oil, I had no real thoughts of the inherent danger either.

The early cases were apparently integral in putting in place laws regarding child-proof lids on products that could possibly injure children. However the danger still exists, so it is good to know that better alternatives exist to soothe your child’s skin without the potential risk of asphyxiation.

What’s the alternative?  For a baby’s behind, choose a good quality all-natural (non-liquid) balm made from soothing, plant-based oils such as olive and jojoba.  I like Ella’s Botanicals Magic Balm or Bottoms Up! Diaper Balm.  The Magic Balm has multi-uses for soothing all dry, irritated skin so is good for the entire family.  For a cream-based skin soother, I know tons of mamas who love the all-natural Original Sprout’s Scrumptious Baby Cream.  It definitely works well at soothing chafed skin and the scent is very close to the scent of conventional baby oil. Interestingly, the entire Original Sprout baby line seem to elicit almost a cult-like following by moms in the know. And for an unscented option,a good option is Dr. Robin For Kids Daily Moisture Cream. As it’s a great moisturizer developed by a doctor for children with super-sensitive or eczema-prone skin. And as the scent is  not specifically ‘baby’, it a good choice for anyone in the family to use. And a tube lasts a long, long time. Yippee!

If you have a personal favourite baby or toddler skin soother, feel free to let me know.  I always love to hear what other parents use on their wee ones skin. And please, please do pass this information along to anyone who may benefit from the info in hope this NEVER happens to another baby EVER.

The Low-Down on Commercial Baked Goods

Bread still life

It is no secret that I became a card-carrying label reader and avid googler of all things food while developing food products for a large Canadian company.

I have seen the inside of many factories producing food for mass distribution. I have had to study and research food ingredients to ensure regulatory approval and to ensure a sufficient shelf life. My colleagues and I used to joke that ‘our employer was the best university in the world for learning all about processed foods’. And now as a parent, navigating grocery labels in terms of health I believe my food industry experience was just that…no joke.

I am often asked why I avoid commercial baked goods like the plague. Because over and above the undesirable GMO wheat and oils, there are a host of unsavoury chemicals used to cheapen production and to extend shelf life.  Sadly, many of them are linked to ill health. Unlike when I worked for Big Food having to go with the status quo, I now exercise the option to avoid some ingredients.

Here’s the dirt on the ingredients I choose to avoid:

Azodicarbonamide: As time=money, processors use this to speed up the wheat production process. So we all get a dose of this dastardly chem. in most of our commercial baked goods.  Next time you eat fast food, don’t just sweat about the health of of what’s inside the bun, consider also the bun itself.  Europe got wise a while ago and banned it as BOTH a plastic blowing agent ( yes its used in plastics too) and a flour whitening agent as it is linked to respiratory issues.

Calcium Propionate:  Used to prevent mold growth in baked goods, this chem. has been linked to irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in children who consume it daily.  A 2002 study cited in the Journal of Paediatric Child Health confirmed the details. Who thought it was a good idea to have bread last two weeks and to potentially harm human health?

BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene): This is a preservative and a quite controversial one at that.  Widely used, it is considered a human respiratory irritant, as well as a human allergen and carcinogen. BHT and its cousin BHA are flagged for future assessment under Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan. So why would I eat it until they figure it all out? Check commercial cereals and chewing gum as well.

So now I opt for smaller, organic producers when I do buy baked goods. If you make the switch, the first thing you may notice other than feeling better is that your bread no longer lasts for two weeks.  If you really think about what that means, you may come to realize its a good thing 🙂

I Was Feeding My Kids Butylparaben!

Butylparaben is a controversial but still widely used preservative.  As cough-medicine-babiesstrong evidence exists suggesting that this preservative is a human endocrine disruptor, people have opted to avoid it in droves with concerned parents leading the way.

I am on board having read details of the effects of butylparabens (and the closely related propylparabens) on the male reproductive system and the suspected link with parabens and breast cancer.  Ever since I found all of this out, I read labels and shun anything containing any sort of parabens in my family’s products. Sunscreen, shampoo, baby wipes, body wash and even bubble bath containing parabens that inadvertently made it into my home, were tossed out long ago.

So I was quite gobsmacked really to find that there was one place butylparabens were hiding out in my home…in my medicine cabinet.

After watching a segment of the Morning Show recently, which alerted parents as to where to check for toxins hiding out in their homes, I checked my kids Children’s Tylenol Fever and Pain meds. I was shocked to find the dastardly preservative had indeed eluded me!

How ironic is it that a medicine supposed to help kids get healthier and to feel better also contains something considered such a health-related issue that it has already been banned for use in young kids products in Denmark? Sadly no regulatory body has followed suit on this side of the pond so many wee North American kids are being fed a dose of potentially endocrine-disrupting preservatives every time they have a fever, a cold or teething pain.

I researched and found that there are a few big brand children’s cough/cold/fever/pain meds out there that DO NOT contain parabens. Much better choices if you too, wish to avoid controversial preservatives are Children’s Advil and Children’s Motrin as neither contains ANY sort of parabens.

Kudos to the manufacturers who figure out that parents prefer the less controversial variety of preservatives in their kids products. Even a link to ill health is not something most parents are good with when it comes to their tots. Needless to say, I know which way my dollar will be spent next time I shop for pain meds for my kids.

Please feel free to let me know if you knew this information already or if like me, you were surprised and will be making a change.