Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I'm Back! The healing power of Epsom Salts and My Ulterior Motive...

Hello All,
There are so many times in the past several months that I wanted to come back here and write a post.  And there are a couple of reasons why I haven't.  The first reason would be that I've been busy.  But that is sort of a cop out.  In addition to being busy (because really, we all are), I just haven't been happy with what I've been writing.  I write posts fast and furious.  I rarely check them and I'm not writing them as if I was expecting anyone to read them.  They are not the posts that I read on other blogs, that sound like pieces of actual journalism or pieces torn from the pages of novels.  I consider myself a fiction writer, that is my preference.  I started the Pat Kramer Report not to be a writer but to put facts out there and share my passion for healthy and safe products and chemical reform with other people, while also providing information for those who may not know what sorts of chemicals go into their laundry detergent or lipstick or baby lotion and why those chemicals may be dangerous and why they may cause you harm.  The second reason I stopped the report is because I have been working in my other life as an assistant accountant in the film and TV industry as well as (the more important job) being a mother to my three year old son.

So to kick off being back, it would not be the Pat Kramer Report if I didn't have something useful to say and so that brings me to the second part of the title, the healing power of Epsom Salts.  I've always known that Epsom Salts are great for sore muscles, aches and detox baths.  And since I'm new to the wonderful world of Aerial arts, I am really starting to make use of this stuff!  But I do remember once upon a time hearing that this stuff can also be used on wounds.  And how strange that sounds that salt would be used on wounds.  So like I always do, I started to research it and came up with some really useful information. 

The first thing I learned is that Epsom Salts are not a salt at all, but Magnesium & Sulfate. Some uses:

1. Alleviate sore aches and muscles (soak)
2. As a laxative (taken orally)
3. Alleviate symptoms of gout (soak)
4. Exfoliate skin
5. Relieve headaches
6. Prevent hardening of arteries
7. Eliminate toxins from the blood
8. Assists in healing cuts!

And really there are so many more.  But since my focus was #8, I put it to the test with an elbow that I skinned on one of those giant bouncy castle slides.  Now I couldn't tell if it stung or not because the cut was already stinging, terribly! I made a soak in the bathroom sink and stuck my elbow in it.  The verdict?  It might be my imagination, but I think it really helped by speeding up the scabbing. 

And last but not least, I need to let you in on my ulterior motive.  I recently decided to merchandise with a healthy, organic product company.  It is one I haven't discussed before but I'm really excited about it.  I'll keep a lid on the details until I'm up an running.  And yes I may be crazy trying to juggle too much at once, but stay tuned and I promise to keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bubble and Bee, Earthpaste, Toddler Bedding and Other updates!!

I have been really bad about posting.  So bad, that when I read my old posts, I can see how rushed and not very thorough they are.  So I wanted to take a moment to share a few more of our favorite products and some updates!

My little guy is now 2 1/2 years old.  It's amazing how time flies.  And we keep evolving.  A very long while ago, I wrote a  3 part post on strollers.  I'm happy to report that our little guy chose his very own Maclaren Volo and that's been going strong for a while.  Our PVC free rain cover from Bumbleride is still in use but it's starting to tear a bit.  I love it but I wish it was slightly longer and a bit more durable for NYC parents.

Teeth brushing is a very enjoyable experience for our boy with Earthpaste's Lemon Twist.  It's made from Redmond clay, real salt and essential oils.  We are coming up on having to go to the pediatric dentist time so I'm a bit anxious to see what the Doc says and also really scared of having the dreaded fluoride discussion.

Mr. Husband and I are very much less stinky with Bubble and Bee's cream deodorants.  I adore Bubble and Bee.  Their products are fantastic and they do a ton of chemical research.  Stop by, get a deodorant or two and read about their chemical of the day.   They also sell Earthpaste, so huge plus. An even huger plus is that if your deodorant doesn't work for you, they will send you a free replacement of a different version of which they have many - sticks, creams and sprays!  Mr. Husband alternates between cream and spray depending on how rushed he is.

Our little one has also moved up into his very own toddler bed (aka converted crib)!! We never used blankets before, so this one was a bit tricky.  We ended up getting a set on super duper sale on Amazon and he is now sleeping with a super soft set of Summer Infant organic sheets and comforter for only $50.  It matches his room, he loves the look and feel.  The only downfall is, we never used a pillow before, so started out with the Naturepedic toddler pillow (with it's hefty price tag). The set only comes with a standard pillowcase.  I may take it to my sewing machine for a bit of trimming but in the meantime, I made him one pillowcase out of cotton flannel and am planning on making two more with cute organic cotton fabrics I got from Etsy (also on sale)!

Mr. Husband and I are also contemplating our own online store in which we will sell the products we've road-tested love and thoroughly endorse.  More on that one later!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The worst winter and the inevitable need of medicine

If you're having a winter like ours, then your home must be filled with germs.  We've had viruses with fever, strep throat, ear infections, bad colds, persistent sore throats, etc. Years ago, when I ingested cough medicine but the cup load, I never thought about what was in these liquid solutions or what was in those little pills.

Flashforward to today.  When raw red onions in your socks don't bring down your or your child's fever, what to do?  Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen... have you ever looked at the ingredients? Here is an example:

Anhydrous citric acid, butylparaben, D&C Red no.33, FD&C Blue no.1, flavor, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, microcrystalline cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium benzoate, sorbitol solution, xanthan gum.

Not pretty, is it? And these are the inactive ingredients... on top of the medicine.

Or how about those little tablets:

acetylated monoglycerides, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, croscarmellose sodium, methylparaben, microcrystalline cellulose, pharmaceutical glaze, pharmaceutical ink, povidone, pregelatinized starch, propylparaben, sodium benzoate, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearic acid, sucrose, synthetic iron oxide, titanium dioxide, white wax

Glazes, inks, preservatives (something has to make them last on the shelf that long), colors, flavors, corn syrup, sorbitol, propylene glycol, etc etc.... 

This winter I had gotten stuck on a slew of antibiotics and my almost 2 year old had his first one, for an ear infection.  For me, it was eight days of fever with strep throat.  I tried ingesting honey with raw garlic and cayenne... I just couldn't do it. 

If I could find a way to break out of the medicine world, I would!  For now, I'm grateful that we only need this stuff once in a blue moon.  And we are taking our probiotics religiously.  I'm still baffled over the famous doctor line "it's perfectly safe" and how we all just seem to believe that.

Spring, you cannot come fast enough! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

What do cookies and shampoo have in common?

It's been awhile since I posted.  Partly because I am busy being a working mama and partly because even with 915 page views, I feel as if no one is reading.  Having said that,  a lot of things have been going on lately that have prompted me to get back to it.

1. The people at work think I'm crazy

I cannot stand the smell of industrial strength windex every time I walk into my place of work, nor the flowery Febreze in the bathroom and certainly not lemony clorox they want to wipe my desk down with. My boss says "don't listen to Pam, she's crazy, everything according to her gives you cancer." Well yes, I did change out my "green" lightbulb for a normal one - those other ones give you skin cancer.  And yes, what is wrong with cleaning your house with baking soda and vinegar and other natural cleaners (my wood polish smells of cinnamon and lavender.)?  I stand by my decisions and bring my own travel sized Dr. Bronner's to wash my hands with.

2. The title of my post (also work related)

The other day at work, we got a great big holiday gift basket, loaded with fruit, jams, cookies, brownies, coffee, etc.  The first thing to go, of course, the cookies.  My co-worker came into my office and showed me a little packaged snowman cookie covered in icing and said "It's all-natural." Well sure, that is what it said on the package... on the FRONT.  The back was a convoluted mess of both "natural" and highly "unnatural" ingredients... carageenan, "natural" and artificial flavorings, coloring and my personal favorite, the most shocking of all... PROPYLENE GLYCOL.   Yes the same stuff I avoid in shampoo. Here is what wikipedia says about it... 

"45 % of propylene glycol produced is used as chemical feedstock for the production of unsaturated polyester resins. In this regard, propylene glycol reacts with a mixture of unsaturated maleic anhydride and isophthalic acid to give a copolymer. This partially unsaturated polymer undergoes further crosslinking to yield thermoset plastics. Related to this application, propylene glycol reacts with propylene oxide to give oligomers and polymers that are used to produce polyurethanes.[4]
Propylene glycol is considered Generally Recognized As Safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it is used as an humectant (E1520), solvent, and preservative in food and for tobacco products. It is also used in pharmaceutical and personal care products. Propylene glycol is a solvent in many pharmaceuticals, including oral, injectable and topical formulations, such as for diazepam and lorazepam that are insoluble in water, use propylene glycol as a solvent in their clinical, injectable forms"

Umm, thanks but no thanks.  I'd rather not eat it.  I worry about what medications I've ingested that have it (please don't get me onto the vaccination conversation).  And it might have been a placebo effect, but about 20 mins after said co-worker finished the cookie, he came back in and said he wasn't feeling so well.  Or it could have been, it was really just a crappy cookie!

3. My latest greatest obsession in continuation with the above, FOOD!

A lot of my facebook post these days have to do with the big companies donating tons of money to defeat Prop 37.  I won't get into it now but if you are interested, check it out here http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_26620.cfm

Having said THAT, food is the one thing I generally don't like to discuss.  There is nothing more I hate than when other people butt into my food eating business. So I promise you I won't tell you what to eat (unless truly asked).  Maybe I'll let you in on those nasty chemicals that can often be found in food products, but that's the extent to which I will go.  

Till next time...  P 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hello Winter, Bye Fleece Pajamas

I used to love getting my baby all ready for bed in his cuddly, warm, so soft fleece footies at night.  But then I discovered the regulations that baby sleepwear over the age of 9 mos must either be flame resistant OR snug fitting cotton.  Where we have primarily switched over to snug fitting cotton, they don't bode well for winters in NY.  Especially with a toddler who refused a blanket!

So I've found yet another project to research on.  It seems that every blog I've hit up on the subject, has a comment involving a story about a 6 year old girl who sat too close to a fireplace (in another version of this story it was a birthday candle) in her nightgown and up in flames it went.  Why it is a nightgown next to the fireplace and not an ordinary dress causes me to question, what if it was a normal dress?  But anyhow, I don't want anyone getting any ideas that all childrens' clothes should be doused in chemicals, it's just that the story sounds a little off to me.  In each story, the method of fire is different.  But I guess the point here is invoking fear, not really the method.

But the story does make you paranoid... polyester is highly flammable. Fires are incredibly terrifying. In our home, regardless of polyester, we don't use open flames-end of story.  So back to the pajamas.  Most childrens' clothing manufacturers now state that they do not chemically treat their fire resistant pajamas, they don't have to because it is how the fibers are stitched together that make it flame resistant or fire retardant or whatever.  HOORAY right?  Well, no, that is not good enough for me.  So I did more digging and what I found was this... while the truth may be that they don't "treat" their garments, the other truth is that they don't have to, as flame retardants are already adhered to the fibers of the fabric in the manufacturing of the fabric itself.  It's really enough to drive you insane.

So, this winter, we decided to jump aboard the incredibly expensive wool wagon.  We purchased a lovely pair of wool footies made in Germany from a store called Nuno Organics.  It hasn't been cold enough to try them out yet, but I am in love with them already!  They may not have the smooth minky feel of his old fleecy jammies, but they are soft and cuddly and we can't wait to try them out! Wool is naturally fire resistant, so they are legal to sell and can get your mind off of that what-if nagging feeling.  We could only afford one pair though (we also purchased a long sleeved wool onesie as a back up) and they need to be hand washed-therein lines the downfall.  The owner of the store recommended not letting your little one play around to much in them in order to extend the life of them as well, in order to be passed down.   And of course, I will have a full update on the performance of our woolies once it gets cold enough to really give them a go.  We are spending Christmas upstate... what a perfect testing ground!

And as always, for more information or to see just where I come up with this stuff, please visit http://www.pediatricsafety.net/index.php?s=fire%20retardant

Monday, August 27, 2012

Recent Updates, Shower Curtains and School Supplies

I've fallen a bit behind in my postings lately but thought I'd take a moment to update you on my stroller mission, recent questions I've received and other info that has recently been brought to public attention.

Okay so first off, the infamous stroller switch.  This didn't quite work out as I had hoped. It seems that my 17 month old has opinions of his own.  I can't explain to him the dangers of brominated fire retardants.  He wants what he wants.  After a 20 minute trek complete with screaming in his new wheels, we had to return it and go back to his old stroller.  He went from screams to smiles in a matter of minutes.  If you've been reading then you know the subject of fire retardants comes up quite frequently.  There are federal laws regarding home furnishings and baby products.  Maclaren states that they do not use any.  And some other stroller companies who are complying with CA TB 116 and 117 are now using retardants that are non-brominated.  In the end, it is best to contact the company and find out what exactly they are using and what exactly you may or may not be exposing your child to.  To get involved in Safer Chemicals, Healthy families, click here.

The Bumbleride Flite PVC-free rain cover fits pretty well on our old stroller, it covers the canopy, which is a bonus and best of all, there is NO smell!

Recently a friend of mine asked me about shower curtain liners and here was my response.  For a shower curtain liner, you want to look for something made of PEVA or EVA.  According to their websites, Crate and Barrel, CB2 and Target all carry them.  The dangers of PVC are finally being recognized.  Which brings me to my next topic.

I believe you all heard about Johnson & Johnson announcing the removal of harmful chemicals from their products.  And in the same vein, it was recently brought to the public's attention that tested school supplies ranked high in toxic chemicals.  I've been fielding a lot of questions from friends lately and though I don't consider myself a true expert, I am extremely happy to help where I can and guide people to helping create a non-toxic world for their little ones.  Check out the Center for Health, Environment and Justice's guide (follow above link) on purchasing safe school supplies (and more). This guide is really extensive and it is exciting to see that H&M does not use PVC at all (who knew?) and also that there are footwear companies with equally strict guidelines.  I'm also happy to know that both my iphone and kindle are PVC-free and I can equally recommend many items on this list, such as the Crocodile Creek playground balls, which are safe and adorable! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Toxic Stroller Part III... Non-Toxic Stroller

I'm happy to say that of all the companies that I have contacted, I have confirmation that Maclaren does not use flame retardants on its strollers.  So we have purchased one and are expecting it tomorrow.  I've been kicking myself wishing I had bought one in the first place.  There are many factors to consider when buying a stroller.  Weight, height, usefulness of storage basket, canopy size, maneuverability, fold-ability, affordability, recline, comfort etc. The reasons why I didn't purchase a Maclaren at first are as follows:

1. Massive recalls in the past few years (problem now resolved)
2. Everybody has one, I mean everyone!  They are all over this city.  And sue me, I wanted to be different.
3. No stand upright position when folded - seriously - I am so over that.
4. I had NO idea about toxins in baby products when I purchased our first stroller.
5. I wanted something NOT made in China and went for a European brand that I had very high expectations for and had many outstanding reviews.  The one we chose fit our needs at the time and still does to an extent - it is just not holding up well and well, I'm tired of these damn flame retardants. 
6. I had heard that they didn't have great customer service, but I disagree, considering that they got back to me via email in less than 24 hours... that is really good customer service IMHO.

Many stroller reviews I have read, and believe me, I have read a lot of them state "Just go with the Maclaren."  And I have to say, that I am finally on board with that.  Now let's hope it lives up to its expectations.  

The Maclaren comes with a rain cover, which could be another plus, but they do use PVC.  So in addition to our new wheels, I also purchased a PVC free rain cover from Bumbleride.  It's a little on the expensive side but so was the first one we bought for our old stroller that was not only PVC, it also ripped. Hopefully this one will fit! 

For more info on Maclaren and their CSR, please click here!

Disclaimer:  I don't work for Maclaren, nor have any affiliation with them whatsoever.  I'm just pleased with the information I have received about the company and about their products so far.  Especially considering what I have learned about other baby products that are available in the United States.