Posted on

The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide for Better Immune Health

Given the health concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, Mother’s Day (May 10) is going to look a little different this year. You’ll still be able to tell Mom how much you love and appreciate her, but a video call may have to suffice instead of a traditional family brunch. You can also still send a gift from the heart, even if you’re social distancing. This year, one of the best things that you can do is show the moms in your life how much you care about their well-being by helping them keep their immune system strong. Below is a list of healthy items that we think would make for some great immune-boosting Mother’s Day gifts (for your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, aunt, or friends that are moms).

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

Beekeeper’s Naturals Mother’s Day Bundle

[/ultimate_heading]

Honey doesn’t just take good, it has many antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that can help Mom prevent and fight infections from viruses. Bee pollen has also been touted as a superfood that can relieve inflammation, strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, and speed up healing. Beekeeper’s Naturals Mother’s Day gift bundle is specially curated to help every mama feel like the queen bee she is. It includes:              

  • B.Powered Honey (330g jar)     

  • B.LXR Brain Fuel (6 pack)     

  • Propolis Throat Spray for Kids   

  • Raw Bee Pollen  

  • Limited Edition Raspberry Blossom Honey 

For a limited time, save 20% off the Mother’s Day Bundle!

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

Addictive Wellness Raw Chocolate

[/ultimate_heading]

There’s nothing like Mother’s Day chocolate, right? The good news is that Mom doesn’t have to give up her favorite treats to stay healthy! Addictive Wellness is committed to creating decadent, gourmet chocolate that incorporates the best of South American superfoods, Ayurvedic and Taoist tonic herbalism in each bite.

 

Addictive Wellness chocolate is a vegan, paleo, and keto-friendly food. Each chocolate product and elixir blend contains tree mushrooms, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits as well as positive effects on skin.

 

Please note: You should not consume Addictive Wellness chocolate if you are allergic to mushrooms, pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

Use coupon code “DaveAspreyBox” to receive 10% off your order.

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

TrueLight LED Light Therapy Devices

[/ultimate_heading]

If there were a magic pill, LED light therapy, or photobiomodulation, might be it. It’s essentially a painless, drug-free therapeutic treatment for healing the skin and body that you (and the moms in your life) can use in the comfort of home.  TrueLight LED light therapy devices use a patent-pending combination of deep red, red, yellow and near-infrared (NIR) light for a variety of different treatments.  

The red and NIR wavelengths are especially helpful for: 

  • Enhanced blood circulation  

  • Increased collagen production  

  • Reduces scars, wrinkles, & fine lines  

  • Faster wound healing Pain relief  

  • Anti-inflammatory effects 

Yellow light therapy is especially helpful for healing the top layer of skin. Possible benefits include: 

  • Improving skin hydration 

  • Flushing toxins from the skin 

  • Reducing fine lines, scars and wrinkles 

  • Treating inflammatory conditions such as rosacea and eczema 

  • Boosting lymphatic flow, which helps to remove toxins from treated areas of the body 

  • Healing UV damage 

  • Reducing redness and swelling 

Right now, you can save 20% off ALL TrueLight LED light therapy devices with coupon code “HealthyMom20”!

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

Homebiotic Spray

[/ultimate_heading]

Social distancing is helping us prevent the spread of the latest coronavirus, but it means that we are all spending more time at home – cooking, showering, eating,  etc.  Many of us are also cleaning more than usual, perhaps keeping windows and doors shut, and washing our hands more. Each of these elements can result in less air circulation and more moisture throughout the home, which provides the perfect conditions for mold to grow.  Many studies show that mold growth can compromise the body’s immune system and make you more vulnerable to viruses and infections.

 

Homebiotic spray is a probiotic for your home that adds good bacteria to balance out the bad ones.  It helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew and eliminates the cause of musty odors, aka “basement smell”.  While the moms in your life are balancing work and family at home, Homebiotic could be a simple yet effective solution for keeping the household healthy and their immune systems strong.

 

Save 15% off your order when you use coupon code “daveasprey”! 

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

TrueDark Twilights Sleep-Hacking Glasses

[/ultimate_heading]

Let’s be honest, moms are constantly sacrificing sleep for the ones that they love. The least that we can do is help them sleep better.  TrueDark Twilights are the most effective “blue blockers” for nighttime because they block up to 100% of the junk light spectrum (including blue, green and violet light).  So, even if Mom is up working or streaming her favorite show in bed, she can wear these glasses while looking at screens. Wearing TrueDark Twilights will support her body’s natural melatonin production and prepare her for a great night’s sleep.

 

Save 20% off all TrueDark glasses through 5/11/20!

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

Upgraded Isolation Dave Asprey Box

[/ultimate_heading]

Right now, many moms are feeling an array of emotions — stressed about working from home, anxious about balancing that work with their family time, and unsure about what’s to come. If your mom is starting to get cabin fever, the Dave Asprey Box may be able to help with its upcoming “Upgraded Isolation“ themed box!   This next box will include a handful of immune-boosting products and tools that are designed to make Mom’s time at home more enjoyable, It  will also keep her mind and body strong so that she can emerge stronger than ever once the COVID-19 concerns subside.

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

Neurominer

[/ultimate_heading]

Science shows that staying creative helps reduce stress and improve wellbeing. This is because when you create, you unlock your imagination and put yourself into a flow state. Focusing intensely on a creative task is a productive and constructive use of your mind.  It also prompts the brain to release feel-good hormones that can help distract us from feelings of anxiety or depression.

 

With that said, creativity is something that we could all use right now, including momWhile she’s got some extra time at home, why not help her hone her cognitive skillsNeurominer is a brain training tool designed to help improve memory, creativity and recall.  There are three different levels that help you capture and retain moments of insight and clarity so that they don’t slip away! Mom can use Neurominer in the comfort of her home – all she needs is a quiet, dark space to help her focus. 

Posted on

The Best Cleaning Products for a Happy, Healthy Home

The snow is melting, the birds are chirping, and with the new season approaching it is time to bring some fresh energy into your home But before you start your marathon of dusting, scrubbing, wiping and organizing, be sure to inventory of all your cleaning products. The truth is that some are less safe than others – particularly those that use toxic materials or that could exposure you to hazardous pollutants. Keep reading to see some of our favorite [truly] natural home care products and get ready to tackle your annual spring cleaning – the safe and healthy way. 

[ultimate_heading]

The Best Soaps

[/ultimate_heading]

Dr. Bronner’s
Who doesn’t love a humble beginning?  Dr. Bronner’s soap was founded in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soap maker of German-Jewish decent. Its history goes back even further to the very first soap factory in Germany, as well as the first liquid castile soap ever made.  What stands out about Dr. Bonner’s soap is that it’s labeled as “Pure-Castile” rather than ”Liquid Soap”. This means that the product is vegetable oil-basedecological and simple – not a complex blend of detergents with higher ecological impact and slower biodegradability.
 

Why we love it: Dr. Bronner’s is a certified B corporation — a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.  Dr. Bronner’s has also become the largest personal care company certified under the USDA’s National Organic ProgramAfter over 50 years in operation, the company continues to honor its founder’s vision by making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating its profits to help improve society. 

Mrs. Meyer’s
Mrs. Meyer’s offers a series of hand and dish soaps that were created in honor of Mrs. Thelma A. Meyer, an Iowa homemaker and mother of nine.  Unlike other household products that use toxic fragrances to make them smell better, these soaps are made from plant-derived products and essential oils to capture the scent and beauty of a Midwestern backyard garden. Learn more about their ingredients here.
 

Why we love it: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day soaps have garnered a great reputation for their ability to cut through dirt and grime without using harsh, toxic chemicals. Thanks to the plant-based ingredients that they use, you still get the benefit of fresh scents that are more reminiscent of Grandma’s house than disinfectants. 

[ultimate_heading]

The Best Laundry Detergents

[/ultimate_heading]

Tru Earth
Tired of lugging around heavy bottles of detergent?  Tru Earth Eco-Strips are a simpler, cleaner, and more convenient solution for cleaning laundryThese strips are notably hypoallergenic, eco-friendly, and free of parabens, phosphates, dyes, as well as chlorine bleach. 

Why we love it: Tru Earth Laundry Strips are likely to be one of – if not the most – eco-friendly alternative to commercial laundry detergentBecause their packaging only consists of compostable cardboard, they reduce transportation pollution by up to 94%. They can also help prevent over 700 million plastic jugs from getting dumped in landfills. 

MyGreenFills  
Unlike store-bought laundry products, MyGreenFills does not use artificial fragrances, chemical surfactants, petroleum-based carriers, optical brighteners, or dyes.  They do, however, offer 100% hypoallergenic unscented options for those that have a sensitivity to certain essential oils. As part of their mission, MyGreenFills has made the conscious decision to use eco-friendly packaging to help pass on more savings to customers. An added benefit is that their products have prevented over 2,000,000 laundry jugs from winding up in the ocean. 

Why we love it: Convenience and efficiency This non-toxic laundry system allows you to save time, money and space in your laundry closet. Plus, they offer a membership program in which you can choose the ideal bundle size, scent, and shipment frequency to meet your every laundry need!

[ultimate_heading]

The Best Multipurpose Cleaners

[/ultimate_heading]

Branch Basics 
If you’re looking to simplify your cleaning efforts, Branch Basics offers a multipurpose concentrate that makes cleaning simple, affordable and sustainable.  So, rather than having to stock up on several different types of cleaning products (with harsh chemicals included), simply dilute the concentrate with water and use it throughout your cleaning marathon. 

Here’s a quick list of some of the things that you can use the Branch Basics concentrate on: 

  • Laundry 
  • hand and body wash 
  • Kitchen 
  • Dishes 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Floors 
  • Produce 
  • and more! 

Why we love it: The Branch Basics concentrate is plant and mineral based, biodegradable, and free of harmful preservatives, making it not only a safe product to use but also a sustainable one.  The other upside to using just one concentrate is that this can be extremely cost-effective for your wallet over time. 

Force of Nature
Have you ever heard of electrolyzed waterThis simple yet powerful substance is comprised of two key ingredients: 

  • Hypochlorous acid – a disinfectant that’s as effective as bleach (and apparently, it’s the same substance your white blood cells produce to fight infection — who knew!) 
  • Sodium hydroxide – a detergent & grease-cutter without suds 

Technically, Force of Nature is a patent-pending appliance, and it creates electrolyzed water from water, salt and vinegar. The result is an all-natural, all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner and disinfectant that works just as well as commercial cleaners but is safer to use. 

Why we love it: Well, for one, it’s like a fun experiment that everyone in the family can enjoy – even kids! Force of Nature is also EPA registered and often used in hospitals, ICUs, schools, daycares and more. So, there is resounding proof that this product is safe for use. 

[ultimate_heading]

The Best Air Freshener

[/ultimate_heading]

Grow Fragrance
When it comes to traditional air fresheners, health experts are primarily concerned with their wide-spread use of phthalates. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has heeded warning that phthalates can negatively impact testosterone levels in men and reproductive abnormalities in women. They can also cause allergic symptoms and asthma — even in trace amounts. After observing the limited choices of healthy air fresheners on the market, Grow Fragrance created their own — one that is 100% plant based, toxin-free, and that smells amazing. 

Why we love it: Grow Fragrance is a certified B corporation, and the company has committed to donating 1% of all sales to 1% for the Planet to help protect land, forests, rivers, oceans, and to encourage sustainable production methods. 

[ultimate_heading]

The Best Protectant Against Mold

[/ultimate_heading]

Homebiotic
Did you know that the average American household has more than 2,000 different species of fungus and 7,000 species of bacteria? The good news: not all bacteria is bad for you; the bad news: some bacteria can lead to the growth of mold and mildew in your home.  

The key is to create a healthy balance of bacteria in your home – that’s where Homebiotic spray comes in! Homebiotic is a probiotic for your home that restores healthy bacteria and helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew. It also helps eliminate the cause of musty odors, aka that gross “basement smell” (did you remember to move the towels to the dryer?!). 

Why we love it: Homebiotic is clear as water and has no detectable smell or added scents. The company has also recently launched a Home Biome Test Kit, which involves a thorough (and super analytical) process that reveals the “biome” of your home and learn how to optimize it for your family’s health.

Save 15% off your order when you use coupon code “daveasprey”.

Disclosure: We may on occasion include affiliate links on our website. Please note that if you make a purchase using any of these affiliate linksthe Dave Asprey Box may earn a commission. With that said, we have intentionally chosen to promote specific companies and their products because we wholeheartedly believe in their quality and mission. 

Posted on

Laundry Detergent & Toxicity: What You Need to Know

Guest Post by: Tru Earth 

We spend a lot of time washing and drying our clothes – as much as 6,000+ minutes and 406 loads per yearAnd if you’ve visited grocery store recently, you’ve probably noticed an entire aisle filled from top to bottom with laundry detergentwhich has become a staple for cleaning and freshening clothes in nearly every household (in America). But be weary of the toxicity found in many leading brands of laundry detergent. They often contain chemicals that have been linked to various health issues, ranging from skin and throat irritation to carcinogenicity, anthat can negatively impact the environment. 

[ultimate_heading margin_design_tab_text=””]

ChemicalsWhich Ones You Need to Know About

[/ultimate_heading]

First: fragrances. Products with added scents and fragrances give pleasure to billions of people around the world every single day – from a fresh-smelling shampoo to a scented candle and freshly-laundered sheetsThey are also great for making products seem more effective and healthier to consume. Here’s what manufacturers don’t want you to know: smelling good can come at a cost for your health. 

Key Facts: 

  1. Fragrances have been classified as allergens, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins. They commonly contain phthalates, which are chemicals that help scents last longer but have been linked to cancerreproductive harm, and respiratory toxicity.
  2. Fragrance chemicals, like other toxic chemicals, can pass from the skin and into the bloodstream.
  3. So called “natural fragrances” can be just as toxic as synthetic fragrances.
  4. Fragrances do not make products healthier or more effective; this is a perception encouraged by companies that sell cleaning products, deodorants, shampooscandles, and/or laundry detergents.
  5. According to The Guardian, “About 4,000 chemicals are currently used to scent products, but you won’t find any of them listed on a label. Fragrance formulations are considered a ‘trade secret’ and therefore protected from disclosure – even to regulators or manufacturers. Instead, one word, fragrance, appears on ingredients lists for countless cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products. A single scent may contain anywhere from 50 to 300 distinct chemicals.” What’s more, the ingredients found in personal care and cleaning products can change as manufacturers reformulate for effectiveness or cost savings. 

The bottom line: it doesn’t matter if a bottle has “free” or “clear” written in big letters to draw you in; “free of dyes and perfumes” on the label doesn’t mean “free of carcinogens.” Consumers are often left in the dark about what’s really inside of the products they are using and putting on their skin every single day.

Though many hidden chemicals are labeled as “fragrance” or “perfume”/”parfum”, there are at least a handful of ingredients that have received public safety warnings: 

  • 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant that may be found in trace amounts of cosmetics or household cleaners. It forms as a byproduct during the manufacturing process of certain ingredients (detergents, foaming agents, emulsifiers and solvents) and has been identified as a “potential human carcinogen”. The FDA has been monitoring the includion of 1,4-dioxane in personal care and household products. The levels have notably dropped over the past several decades; still, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that, “People are exposed to [trace amounts of] 1,4-dioxane every day because of its widespread use in medicines, shampoo, cosmetics, detergents, and household items.” 
     
  • Alcohol Ethoxylate (AE) and Alcohol Ethoxy Sulfate (AES) are often used in hand dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, shampoos and other specialty industrial applications. They essentially help mix water and grease to lift and remove stains from your clothing. However, research shows that these chemicals are toxic to aquatic organisms and rats, and may cause skin or eye irritations in humans.
     
  • Ethanol is a natural byproduct of plant fermentation often used as a preservative in personal care products or as a solvent in detergents. (But you probably know it best as the principle ingredient in alcoholic beverages like beer, wine or brandy.) While this chemical has many purposes and potential benefits, it can be hazardous if not used correctly. For example, direct contact can irritate the skin and eyes, cause headaches, nausea, or difficulty concentrating. Studies also indicate that ethanol may make your skin more absorbent. In other words, if you’re using a detergent that – no pun intended – a laundry list of hidden chemicals, including ethanol, those chemicals are more likely to enter your body through your skin.
     
  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to hormonal and reproductive effects, as well as cancer. Commonly used in household products, cleansers, cosmetics, and insecticides, the abundance of these chemicals has led to a global environmental and human contamination. In fact, they have been detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine. They are also highly toxic to aquatic life and are associated with reproductive and developmental effects in rodents. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a Significant New Use Rule, also known as a SNUR, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for (15) NPs/NPEs in the effort to protect human health and the environment.
     
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is a polymer that allows water to penetrate clothes more deeply and prevents dirt from re-depositing on clothes. The major concern with this solvent is that it may produce byproducts that are contaminated with ethylene oxide and/or 1,4-dioxane, which are “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” according to the EPASome studies show that PEG can also irritate the skin or have species-specific effects.
     
  • Sodium Percarbonate, also known as washing soda or soda ash, is a moderately strong oxidizer and a major component of laundry and dishwashing detergents. It’s typically used as a bleaching agent – so it gets your whites white. But what else is it doing to you? Note that sodium percarbonate is classified as a poisonous agent.  If swallowed, a person may experience symptoms including (but not limited to):  
      • Breathing problems due to throat swelling 
      • Diarrhea 
      • Drooling 
      • Eye irritation, redness, and pain 
      • Hoarseness 
      • Low blood pressure (may develop rapidly) 
      • Severe pain in the mouth, throat, chest, or abdominal area 
      • Shock 
      • Difficulty swallowing 
      • Vomiting 

           Even if it’s not ingested (Pod challenge, anyone?), skin or eye contact with sodium percarbonate can still cause: skin or eye irritation, drainage, pain, or vision loss.

Look, it’s fair to say that some chemicals truly work wonders when it comes to washing and drying clothes. But these ingredients can have serious consequences on the environment  which directly impacts the health of more than 7 billion people and over 11 million species of animals, plants, insects and bacteria: 

  • Amine Oxides are commonly used in detergents and household cleaners (with bleach)and like most cationic chemicals, they are highly aquatically toxic. There have been concerns regarding the formation of nitrosamines during the manufacture of amine oxide because nitrosamines are toxic compounds as well as potent animal and human carcinogens. The U.S. EPA has classified some of these compounds as priority pollutants in industrial wastewaters, potable waters, and hazardous wastes (Science Direct).
  • Alcohol Ethoxylates (AE) are high production volume (HPV) chemicals used widely as ‘down-the-drain’ chemicals in detergent and personal care products. Basically, when your washing machine empties into the drain system, it goes through municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and then into receiving surface waters like lakes and streamsThe good news is that 95-99% of AE is biodegraded by WWTP; the bad news is that there are still residuals that make it through the water treatment facilities and pose a level of toxicity to plants, animals and aquatic life
     
  • Ammonium Sulfate is often used in cleaning products because of its ability to disrupt hydrogen bonding in water and separate different contaminants. Note that this additive is so toxic (category 3 oral, skin, and respiratory toxin) that its manufacturers recommend not using it indoors! Additionally, the requirements for use of ammonium sulfate include never allowing the chemical or its empty containers to reach drains or waterways.
     
  • Phosphates are a little more complicated. Your body needs these essential minerals to help your kidneys, bones, and muscles function properly. But like with any essential nutrient, it’s all about balance. People have become overexposed to what’s called “synthetic phosphates”, which can easily bond with other substances such as salt, calcium, oil and vitamins. These additives are not only found in our food, they are also in these synthetic forms: 
      • Orthophosphates: detergents 
      • Pyrophosphates: water treatment, metal cleaning 
      • Tripolyphosphates: meat processing, dish detergent 
      • Polyphosphates: kaolin (a type of clay) production 

Like our bodies, the environment doesn’t respond well to an oversaturation of (synthetic and natural) phosphates. Unfortunately, many sources of phosphates, including laundry detergent, often drain into lakes and accelerate eutrophication, the process in which aquatic environments become overloaded with nutrients, leading to the development excess algae that ultimately kills wildlife and emits carbon dioxide.

[ultimate_heading]

Plastic Waste and High Carbon Footprint are Big Concerns Too

[/ultimate_heading]

Laundry detergent alone accounted for over $1 Billion in sales in 2018 in the U.S., but only 29.1% of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and jars are recycled annuallyThat means a staggering number of laundry jugs are sitting in landfills, where they’ll stay forever because PET plastic bottles do not degrade. 

It’s also worth noting that non-concentrated liquid laundry detergent is 60-90% water. So, in addition to all the plastic jugs filling up landfills, a LOT of energy goes into the manufacturing, filling, transporting, storing and selling of heavy detergent bottles (that are primarily composed of water). 

Simply put: purchasing standard grocery-store laundry detergent can have many implications on human health and the environment. 

[ultimate_heading]

How You Can Help

[/ultimate_heading]

To reduce the environmental impact of doing laundry, and proactively preserve your family’s health, follow these eco-friendly laundry tips: 

  1. Switch to natural detergents and stain removers. Natural products are typically plant-based, biodegradable surfactants that do NOT contain fragrances, dyes, optical brighteners, or chlorine bleachIt can be hard to spot the bad actors, just bdiligent about reading the fine print on packaging when shopping!
  2. Consider making your own laundry productsThe only real way to know what’s going into your laundry is to create your own formulas. The good news is that your pantry is probably stocked with a lot of ingredients that are naturally safe for the environment – such as vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. (You can also use essential oils to add that fresh scent you love!)
  3. Rethink dryer sheets and fabric softeners. For the most part, these are made with the same chemicals as popular detergents and can be harmful for both human health and the environment. Instead, opt for eco-friendly dryer sheets or dryer balls. Specifically, consider using wool dryer balls because they effectively separate clothes, allowing hot air to circulate more evenly and efficiently, which then reduces drying time by 10-25%.
  4. Keep it cool. Almost 90% of a wash machine’s energy consumption is used just to heat the water. The solution: Turn that dial to cold.
  5. Wash full loads. If you run your washing machine or dryer with only half a load of clothes or dishes, you’re not maximizing efficiency. (Same thing goes for when you clean dishes in your dishwasher!) According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical household can save 3,400 gallons of water a year by running full laundry loads instead of half loads. This is not only eco-friendly but will also help you save BIG on your utility bills.
  6. Use energy-efficient machines. If you’re in the market for a new washer and/or dryer, consider getting a more efficient model to help save water and energy.
  7. Hang clothes to dry. The bottom line is that keeping your clothes out of a dryer extends their life, reduces energy use, and cuts costs. Line drying – whether indoors or outdoors – is something that you can do year-round. 

No matter whether doing laundry feels like a chore, or it brings you a sense of happiness, it’s important that you understand what your body is being exposed to, and how your actions can directly impact the environment. Be sure to read the labels of everything you buy carefully and understand what the ingredients are so that you can make informed decisions for you and your family, as well as the planet. 

Posted on

Why Non-Toxic Products Are So Important For Growth and Development

Written by: Megan Whitaker, Holistic Living Consultant and Environmental Health Expert

Kids need their own space. They also need a lot of stuff. No matter how minimalistic a parent may be, their children are going to require a sizeable list of non-negotiable purchases such as car seats and crib mattresses. But all that gear could be dangerous. In fact, it could be toxic. This guide will show you how to avoid chemical-filled products for kids of all ages. And it will explain why non-toxic children’s products are so important.

[ultimate_heading]

Everyday Chemicals

[/ultimate_heading]

Here are a few quick tips for eliminating toxins from the air in your home:

  • Look for chairs, couches and rugs that have not been treated with flame retardants. Wool is naturally flame retardant and is a 100% toxin-free, safe solution all around. 
  • Add plants such as succulents and snake plants to your living space, as these can clean many of the VOCs and toxins from the air while increasing the oxygen available.
  • If your home has older carpeting that cannot be removed, you can still seal it with non-toxic and VOC-free sealer. This helps prevent the outgassing of harmful chemicals used in carpet backing, such as as formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, xylene and styrene. This is an effective and very economical way of making existing carpet safer for kids.
  • Upgrade the air filters in your home at your air exchange and consider investing in a free-standing air filter. Your filter’s Micro-Particle Performance Rating (MPR) should be between 1,500 and 1,900. For air filtration units, look for true HEPA filters and avoid ionizing air filters that produce ozone.

Before a child is even born, they begin absorbing chemicals from the world around them. In a 2004 study, 10 random umbilical cord blood samples from American newborns were tested by the Environmental Working Group, and more than 200 man-made chemicals were found in each newborn (Scientific American).  The research from this study indicates that infants are absorbing hundreds of chemicals while they still in the womb. Unfortunately, that is not too surprising, seeing how there are currently more than 80,000 industrial chemicals registered for use today in America. More than 60,000 of those chemicals were notably never evaluated for safety because they were introduced before 1972 and were grandfathered in — that is, just assumed to be safe since they were currently in use.  Only a small percent of the remaining chemicals have been tested for human safety on anyone, let alone on growing children. The chemicals in everything from furniture, toys, cleaners, beauty products and even clothing have likely not been tested.

Currently, manufactures are required to let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) know before they begin making and selling a new chemical. But once that happens, it is up to the EPA to move forward with any testing, which is often time consuming and expensive. That is a major problem since the EPA must move to block or review any new compound or chemicals within 90 days of notification. If they do not do so within those 3 months, the chemical will automatically be passed, and manufactures may proceed.  The manufactures themselves are not responsible for testing or providing data on the safety of their chemicals unless it the EPA believes it poses some danger after it is already in use (NY Times). 

[ultimate_heading]

Kids Are at an Even Greater Risk

[/ultimate_heading]

During development in utero, toxins and everyday chemicals can cause a host of immediate health effects and problems. Damage to a cell or to the DNA itself (when cells are rapidly replicating and differentiating into tissue and organs) can lead to serious issues and, sometimes, miscarriage. Fully grown adult have cell division, but not growth and change like infants and children. Damage to the body in childhood can lead to lifelong alterations in DNA and epigenetic changes that cause illness later in life. Many chemicals, such as BPA, are estrogenic-mimickers; the body reacts to them as if they were the hormone estrogen. High levels of estrogen or estrogen-mimicking chemicals in childhood is linked to numerous health issues including increased rates of breast cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer. For many years BPA was used in many baby products, including baby bottles.

Children and infants also more susceptible to everyday environmental chemicals because of their unique anatomy. They breath faster than adults, therefore taking in more air and pollutants.  They also eat and drink more in relation to their body weight than adults. The same chemical exposure can have significantly different effects on a 200 pound man versus a 20 pound toddler. 

Children are also, simply, just closer to the ground. Carpets and other types of flooring are often major sources of chemicals and pollutants. Chemical off-gassing from carpets is often one the most significant sources of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from carpet fiber and adhesives as well as VOCs from other areas that have fallen and settled to the floor.

[ultimate_heading]

The Very First Thing That Happens After Birth is a Baby’s First Breath

[/ultimate_heading]

Indoor air pollution is a serious issue, but a fairly easy one to fix. The EPA conducted a study in 1985 showing indoor air quality was 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, regardless of where the homes were located. That was 30+ years ago (and the most recent one available through the EPA). As stated previously, carpets are a major source of toxic air pollution, or VOC’s. But all standard furniture, especially soft furnishing like couches, chairs and pillows, are often producers of VOCs.

At first glance, flame-retardants seem essential for new parents since they are designed to help slow or prevent the start/growth of fire. However, many studies have shown that these chemicals are actually linked to a number of health conditions, including but not limited to: cancer, reduced IQ, and hyperactivity (NRDC). California has now outlawed many of these chemicals on couches and children’s clothing due to these dangers.

[ultimate_heading]

Easy Air Fixes

[/ultimate_heading]

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping the air in your home fresh and clean:

  • Look for chairs, couches and rugs that have not been treated with flame retardants. Wool is naturally flame retardant and is a safe solution all around.              
  • Adding plants, such as succulents and snake plants, can clean many of the VOCs and toxins from your air while increasing the oxygen.
  • Old carpeting that cannot be removed can be sealed. It is an effective and very economical way of making existing carpet safer for kids.
  • Upgrade your air filters at your air exchange and consider a free-standing air filter. Your whole house air filter should have MPRs (Micro-Particle Performance Ratings) of 1500-1900. For air filtration units, look for true HEPA filters and avoid ionizing air filters that can produce ozone.
[ultimate_heading]

Getting Safe and Healthy Sleep

[/ultimate_heading]

VOCs, chemicals and toxins do not take a break just because you’re in bed. In fact, mattresses are often made from petrochemicals and emit VOCs and chemicals vapor. They are also often treated with flame retardants. Infants sleep up to 18 hours a day with their noses just an inch from these mattresses. While preschoolers and young children spend half of their day in bed.   Several companies make organic and non-toxic mattresses for cribs, tots and adults alike. Look for organic wool or organic cotton mattresses with the following certifications:  

[ultimate_heading]

Avoiding Plastic

[/ultimate_heading]

Plastic is everywhere. It’s cheap and easy and seems to be in every baby and kid product. Plastic is a petrochemical that is mixed with a variety of other chemicals to soften, strengthen, color and even scent the finish product. Multiple hormone disruptors, like BPA, are widely used to make plastic more pliable. PVC is another extremely common chemical in plastic products. PVC can release dioxins and highly-toxic phthalates into the air and has been linked to numerous health issues including birth defect, early onset puberty and liver cancer.  Plastic bottles, cups, utensils, toys and furniture dominate the market, but there are non-plastic options for everything from bottles and pacifiers to blocks and dolls.

Feeding Without Plastic
Pure silicone bowls and plates are a great option for little ones. Older kids might can take lunch to school with stainless steel bento boxes or tempered glass containers. Several companies make glass baby bottles. For nursing moms, you can avoid plastic with silicon hand pumps and glass storage jars. You can find non-toxic breastfeeding gear at Going Crunchy Not Crazy.

Playing Without Plastic
Remember that everything a kid needs that is made with plastic was once made with something else. Toy blocks, trucks, stackers, play kitchens, and even ride on cars are all available in wood. Many brands such as Manhattan Toy Company and Melisa and Doug offer a huge range of wooden toys, game and puzzles for all ages.

Infants
Pacifiers and teething toys are permeant fixers in the mouths of most babies. But there are plastic-free options here too. True rubber pacifiers like EcoPacifer and silicon pacifiers are great options. Wood teethers are fantastic because they are naturally slightly antibacterial. Raw wood is difficult for bacteria to continue to live on because wood pulls in moisture.

[ultimate_heading]

Watch Your Tech

[/ultimate_heading]

Baby monitors have come a long way in the last few decades. What once was a one-way walkie-talkie is now a digital, wireless security system with built-in temperature gauge and the ability to pan across the room. But many of these monitors register quite high in electro-magnetic radiation and many use WIFI signals. There is not a lot of research on the effects of EMFs and WIFI on infants, and because wireless internet is only a few decades old there are no long-term studies. There are multiple studies that do show a direct effect, however, including one linking WIFI exposure of just one hour with reduced sperm motility. 

For parents and caregivers who care concerned or wish to be cautious, there are just a handful of options. The Gentle Nursery has a guide to low-EMF monitors

Screens and handheld devices have the same concerns. They are relatively new in the world and long-term effects are somewhat unknown, especially when they have been used since childhood. There have been some studies that show an increase in brain tumors linked to cell phone exposure, which is especially concerning with children because their skull is significantly thinner than an adult. Even for an adult, the recommendation is that a smart phone should not be pressed against the body. The instructions for an Apple iPhone state that the phone should always be kept about half an inch away from the body.

There are several companies that make shields for smart phones and hand-held devices such as Defender Shield

Children’s bodies are rapidly growing and changing. Surrounding them with the safest products and the cleanest environment possible is so important. Keeping a body health is much easier that healing a sick one. If you want help to find products, want recommendations, or need assistance cleaning up your home and environment, you can get more information on www.goingcrunchynotcrazy.com.