I was completely shocked to read yesterday that a company actually plans to make perfumes for babies. WTH??? Babies already have such a sweet and unique smell. Why on earth would you want to cover up that deliciousness with an artificial scent that comes from a bottle? Why would you want your child to smell like the noxious perfume isle of a department store?
Well, I guess this is a case of “to each their own right”? Well, no it shouldn’t be in this case because perfumes are notorious for their nasty chemical ingredients and a company has no business IMO marketing something like this to be used on babies and small children. Perfumes have toxic chemicals that mimic hormones and chemicals that can cause allergic reactions (asthma, wheezing, headaches, and dermatitis). They are not a good idea for adults let alone developing children.
This is why Dolce and Gabbana (who plans to sell baby perfume soon) needs to be told that US parents won’t allow this tomfoolery. Their idea stinks! Please sign this petition from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and send them a message loud and clear. Our babies will be exposed to numerous toxins all around them, we don’t need to add to that chemical burden with silly perfumes.
The Green Moms Weekly question for this week is “What are some simple tips to go green with your household cleaning?”
LOVE to talk about green cleaning. No really, could talk about it all day long. I do not understand why so many folks rely on mainstream cleaners with their noxious and toxic chemicals. The green stuff works just as well and it is safe for humans and safe for our planet. There is just no reason to buy up most of the stuff you will see in the cleaning isle of your conventional grocery store. NO REASON. And before anyone brings up price I will concede that bottle of mainstream all purpose cleaner “may” cost less than a bottle by Seventh Generation. But you don’t have to buy pricey bottled cleaners at all. Ever heard of vinegar, baking soda, lemons, borax and the like? Yeah, I thought so. Cheap and effective green cleaning for pennies.
Here is what I use in my house:
Vinegar - Words cannot describe how much I love to clean with vinegar. I keep it in a spray bottle under the kitchen sink and I use it all the time. I use it as an all purpose cleaner, floor cleaner, laminate floor cleaner, window and glass cleaner, and I use it as a follow up to baking soda in tubs, sinks, toilets, and showers. AND I also use it as a hair rinse for our No Poo routine. Just recently one of my kids got head lice (the offender shall remain nameless) but we used vinegar daily to dissolve the glue from the nits. We got the lice under quick control and no one else in the house got lice either. How much more amazing could this stuff be?
Baking Soda – A scrubbing powder for grime. I use it in tubs, toilets, showers, sinks, etc. It can also be mixed with essential oils to make a scented scrub. Just put it in a Ball jar, drop in some essential oils such as Tea Tree or Lavender, slap a sprouting lid on top of it for a homemade shaker! This can be used to deodorize carpets as well. Sprinkle and let sit for 20 minutes and then vacuum up.
Essential Oils – Many essential oils have antibacterial properties that make them perfect for cleaning. Plus they make the house smell great. My homemade kitchen floor cleaner is vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. My homemade shampoo is pure castile soap, water, and peppermint oil.
Pure Castile Soap – Safe, natural, and effective. We would be LOST without our big bottles of Dr. Bronners. In addition to adding it to homemade cleaners and shampoo I also use it in my washing machine and to clean my carpets with my SteamVac.
Borax – I use this in my dishwasher coupled with baking soda.
Natural and Green Cleaners to Purchase
I will on rare occasions buy a cleaner. Some of my faves are the Seventh Generation Cleaner with Lemongrass and Thyme that I linked to in the first paragraph and the Cedarwood and Sage Cleaner from Trader Joe’s. I really like both of those and will buy them when the mood strikes me.
If you need further help I have a FREE green cleaning ebook you can read with homemade cleaner recipes! I made it in 2009 but it is still relevant of course. Pass that link on to anyone you know who may benefit! I also like the book Creating Your Perfect Cleaning Schedule. It is not green per say but it has a great tips about getting it all done in less time.
So what do you use to clean your house? How do you keep it green?
Being in good health comes down to MANY things. One of those obviously is what fuel or food we put into our body. Another aspect is what we expose ourselves to… cleaners, home furnishings that off-gas, chemical air fresheners, etc. Yet another aspect that many often overlook is the beauty products that we may use on our bodies. What we choose in this regard is just as important as what food we choose to eat. It’s not enough to simply use an organic shampoo or homemade soap only to turn around and use hairspray or moisturizer filled with chemicals that can harm our skin or damage our health.
Sadly many of the products you find in the beauty department of your local WalMart or drug store are created with chemical ingredients that are linked to various cancers. Unlike food items, beauty products have no stamp of approval or disapproval from the FDA. Even if they did have a stamp of approval we see how well our government overseas junk food… NOT. Since we don’t truly know if the products we want to use are safe or effective, we have to do our own research. Always remember that whatever you put on (bath products, cosmetics, shampoo, soap) your body does absorb. So whatever materials are in that product could end up inside your body.
A Juice Beauty Product Profile
A good place to start when researching products is the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. By perusing this list you quickly see who is making products worth your time and money. One company that consistently rates very well is Juice Beauty. I was actually surprised by how well their organic beauty products score (low is good) because they are such a well known brand. For some reason I always figure the good stuff is some well kept secret due to low marketing budgets but Juice Beauty is highly visible (at least to me) and one of the safer choices we can make. Skin Deep tells that that most of their products score 1 or 2 which means low hazard.
They use certified organic ingredients so when you buy their Green Apple Peel for instance, you know the organic apple, lemon, grape, raw cane sugar and willow bark (sounds lovely doesn’t it?) in it, do not have harmful pesticides and agri chemicals. Same with the Cleansing Milk with raspberry and white grape juices, aloe vera, and nutrient-rich grapeseed oil. I love that they use ingredients that sound as though they could be a meal instead of a beauty product too. Their products do not have parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, artificial dyes or fragrances. You might pay a little more for organic, but isn’t your health and the health of your loved ones worth a few extra dollars? Of course it is.
Not only does switching to organic-based products help keep your skin and body toxin free, but it also can give your body some extra boosts. Did you know that many of the natural products contain vitamins and nutrients that help your body’s overall health? Just think about it… many of the ingredients are food/plant based and we know how rich they are in vitamins and nutrients and an estimated 64% of what you place on the skin is absorbed by it. It is fitting that truly conscious companies take us back to the roots of ancient beauty products. They were sourced from plant materials. From nature. Our ancestors knew that the best organic beauty products for your body were made from natural resources offered by the earth. Things really haven’t changed in that regard.
Another A+ for this particular company… they use recycled packaging, soy ink, and manufacture over 80% of their products with solar power.
For your best health, always buy organic. Look for the products that don’t contain preservatives, dyes or any other types of chemicals and preservatives. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your and feel your best, but your health should be non negotiable.
The level of toxic chemicals in baby furniture is shocking. Sadly, most cribs on the market today are made of engineered woods like MDF and particleboard that contain formaldehyde and VOC-laden finishes. With newborns typically spending up to 16 hours a day sleeping, shopping for a safe crib is essential.
What Should You Look For?
Eco-friendly cribs can be found online and in major stores. When shopping for a crib, look for one that’s:
- Made of solid hardwood like maple
- Finished with non-toxic finishes
- Held together with non-toxic glues
Styles to Meet Every Taste
Green doesn’t have to mean ugly unfinished wood swimming in beige. Today’s eco-friendly cribs come in a wide variety of styles to suit every taste and budget. Here are some of my favorites:
I love the sleek lines and ultra-bold color choices of the Caravan Crib from Kalon Studios. It’s available in 100% raw maple with black, red, yellow, blue or green rails.
OK, I have to say that it looks a little like a fish tank to me, but it’s still cool. The durable half-inch, BPA-free, phthalate free, 100% recyclable clear acrylic front on the Roh crib from Spot On Square gives your baby a true “room with a view.”
Love the Muu panel system! Customize the crib to suit your taste and easily change the panel out if you decide to update your décor. A magnet system securely holds each MuuPanel in place but allows it to be easily replaced in seconds; no tools necessary. First child a boy and second one a girl? Switch the panel instead of buying a new piece of furniture—another eco-friendly feature!
The podcot is a cozy cocoon-shaped crib that’s thoroughly modern and easily converts into a toddler bed. I love the unique rounded appearance.
The Duc Duc Cabana Crib. I remember dreaming of having my very own canopy bed when I was a little girl. Why not start your little one off right with this dreamy canopy crib?
The Dakota collection is the first Graco baby furniture to be eco friendly. Selling at stores such as Wal-Mart and Target, it’s also one of the first green cribs that’s truly affordable.
Celery’s Lullaboo line of furniture includes this crib made from bamboo and low-VOC paint and finishes. It has adjustable supports that extend the sleeping platform as your baby grow. You can even swap out one of the end panels for a chalkboard. How clever is that?
The Solare crib from Q Collection is made of 100% locally-sourced solid ash and bentwood construction. Handmade in the USA, it was selected by treehugger.com as their “dark green” selection for new parents. My favorite part—the built in mobiles at each end.
See related article: Eco Friendly Highchairs
A Guest Post by Sheila Sundberg, one of the owners of StylishHome.com
Above: My daughter is playing with her Spellmaster by Tag Toys
Is Christmas on the brain yet? Every year parents hear about toy recalls and the latest toys to have failed safety inspections and expectations. Tighter regulations passed but that ultimately ended up meaning we had fewer options and the huge corporations making the toys typically recalled got free passes to go about business as usual. Cause you know… safety legislation is too tedious for mega corporations to deal with. From lead paint recalls to small parts that pose a choking hazard, we have to be careful when buying children’s Christmas presents. Here are some tips for buying safe toys:
1. Go for toys that are free of toxic chemicals. Many plastic toys contain or are made from PVC, a potentially harmful form of plastic. PVC contains dioxin, which is a toxic chemical implicated in breast and other cancers. Many action figures and other small figurines are made from PVC – in fact, they are often simply called “PVC figures.”
2. Avoid plastic altogether. If all the acronyms and chemical names overwhelm you, or if you just don’t trust plastic, avoid it. Wood, bamboo, cloth, porcelain, and glass are safer toy materials. Checker and chess sets, unpainted wooden cars, trains, marble runs, doll houses, and baby toys are just some of the many wooden options available. You can always paint these items yourself with safe paint. Dominoes and other games with pieces made from porcelain are virtually unbreakable. Glass marbles and other sturdy glass items make good toys as well. You can get MANY of these items second hand too, making them a double green whammy purchase.
3. Look for toys that are made in America or Europe. If you want eco-friendly, organic, safe toys, they will come from the USA or Europe. Toys made in China may or may not be okay, but your best bet for eco-friendly, organic toys are not manufactured in China. That means German made Haba may be preferable to Melissa and Doug.
4. Look for locally made toys. Many communities hold fairs and festivals where craftspeople sell their creations. Handmade, wooden toys and safe, lead-free ceramics and jewelry are common at these fairs. Many of these vendors also have sites online. Etsy is an online marketplace for the same folks.
5. Stay away from small, detachable parts. The sewn-on eyes and plastic noses of stuffed animals could be swallowed by small children or babies, and pose a choking hazard. Any toy that has small parts that may come loose is not necessarily safe.
6. Quiet toys are better for your children’s health. Noisy, loud toys can damage hearing, and grown-ups can find them very annoying! Some sources say that there are children’s toys capable of producing sounds as loud as a jet plane, and toys with sirens, horns, and sound-emitting battery toys can all damage hearing in children and babies. If it bothers your ears, it’s not good for your kids. And is a toy that does all the work for the child the best toy for their brain development? No. Their mental health will benefit from simple toys without bells and whistles.
7. Sturdiness is paramount. If a toy is going to be ridden or sat upon, make sure it’s stable. Also note the shape – does the seat back rise in the back to provide support? Could clothing or skin get pinched easily between moving parts?
8. Research the safety tests. There are various governmental agencies that monitor toy safety. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be searched online for toy recalls and other safety information. But in my mind stay away from mega corporations like Mattel and Fisher Price and you are already half way there.
Check out the Green Christmas Gift Guide for some recommendations if you opt to buy… just remember that second hand and handmade are greener all around if you can swing it. BUT you may not find my #1 top pick for Christmas in second hand stores because I doubt people give these up after they purchase… the Wildcraft Herbal Board Game. We heart this game!