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. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Toxic Stroller: Part II

I have been doing a lot of research online regarding this subject and though I've found quite a bit of information, I will not be linking to any of it here.  The reason is, much the way skincare products change their formulations, so do the companies that make gear.  So far I have reached out to three companies that I had researched through other parties to NOT contain any chemicals, and I have one more that I am looking into as well, and possibly more.  So far, two have gotten back to me and I have to say that I was really disappointed.  Companies can greenwash all they want, discussing their use of recycled this and eco-friendly that and yet, when it comes down to it, they always seem to have some nasty chemical in them, specifically in regards to the industry standard, CA TB 117!  AHHHH!  Last year, an attempt was made to pass Senate Bill 147 -  The Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act (which would offer consumers a safe and healthy alternative to the fire retardants now commonly used) was NOT voted into law.

So what is there to do... for one thing, I have to recommend doing your own research.  Things are always changing.  If you 'd like me to let you in the research I have done, let me know and I will message you.  Where one year ago these companies claimed that they were not using these chemicals, now they are stating that they are.  I still have a lot more research to do on the subject and I'm wondering if there is such a thing as a chemical free stroller in 2012.  (Or at least one that you can get in the US and that doesn't cost $1,000). 

Extreme Enough?

We've all heard about Extreme Parenting these days, right?  Well here is a non-toxic mama going to extreme lengths to keep the toxins out of her home.  I came across the article when researching those little metal cars my 16 month old seems to flock to and covet on the playground, music class, etc.  No matter which one of the cars I bring for him to play with, they don't seem to have the demand that those little metal ones do and it is not easy getting him to give them back.  He will say "a car" over and over again while hugging six or seven of these little stolen gems.  But I am still afraid to buy them for him.  I'm scared of lead or other heavy metal concerns.  And then I began to second guess myself.  Would one little metal car or bus hurt him? He's playing with them anyway right?

The attached article chronicles a mom from Alexandria, VA on her quest to detox her home and make it a safe place for her children (or the safest it can be).  I feel just like her and yes, I did the same thing with the vinyl wall decals above my little one's crib - who knew?  The article list several websites, books and even a documentary on the subject.

Here it states "In lieu of a hazmat Onesie, the household chemical purge may be developing into a ritual of new parenthood, a counterpoint to the traditional baby shower. Talk to pediatricians, medical historians and environmental scientists, and they will tell you the social phenomenon hasn’t been studied much. Depending on whom you ask, it’s a media-induced mass hysteria, an eco-marketing trend, a public health campaign or a stealth environmental movement — possibly all of the above."

Either way, in my mind, rather safe than sorry.  We can't escape all the chemicals out there completely.  But if I can keep them out of my home as much as I can, then I am going to continue doing so.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Summertime Favs

Well I promised a write up on all the new fun stuff we've been trying out and though these are not all specifically summer related, we just happened to be giving them a try this season.

For the Baby...
My favorite eco-friendly diaper (with the exception of the 2 cloth swim diapers we own) would have to be the Honest Company's.  I had a sample and loved them.  But we won't subscribe because they are really pricy, even with the wipes.

The runner up is Nature Babycare.  They are so soft and cloth-like and provide more coverage than the 7th Gen dipes, however there were 2 flaws in the package we purchased. 1-The cloth-like material tore easily and 2-Several of the diapers were missing the enclosure tab across the front.  We did receive a new package from Nature Babycare, so good Customer Service there but I'm wary of subscribing to them because of this may be a problem in the future.  They are chlorine free, use NO plastics or perfumes and they also have a cute leaf pattern on them.

And finally, 7th Gen.  Not my favorite as far as material feel but they work well.  They give our little guy "saggy butt" though.  But they work and are the most cost effective.  I'm not fond of the fake tan color or the Lorax but am living with it.

Our recent favorite diaper cream is Eco-Store USA's Baby Nappy Balm.  This stuff is amazing - we buy 2 at a time, one for home, one for the diaper bag.  It's a combination of natural oils and zinc with no preservatives.  We buy direct from the store, where it is much cheaper.  Heals diaper rash in day without the addition of nasty chemicals.

In the world of sunscreens, we are still loving Elemental Herbs for Kids.  It's not greasy or powdery and works great.   I have yet to try fan favorite Badger, but that is only because I shy away from anything that needs to be really rubbed in, it's hard enough getting anything on our squirmy 16 month old.

For the Mama...
I am in love with Zoya's nail polish in Wednesday.  It is almost a greenest turquoise - my hubby calls it "institutional green."  But I really like it.  Plus it goes on nice and looks professional.  It is free of the Toxic Trio and other contaminants.  And it has yet to chip 2 weeks in!  I'm excited to try more of their colors but for now, I really like rocking the green!

For the Daddy...
I think my husband's quest for a natural deodorant that works for him was settled when he found the Rock Spray for men.   It's the Crystal Rock's normal spray deodorant with a mix of "natural" blends to give them a more manly fragrance.  And it really works.  He likes it, I like it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Toxic Stroller

Yes, you read that right.  For awhile now, I have been looking to replace our stroller.  There are a multitude of reasons why, most of which I won't get into right now except for one and that is the fact that it contains toxic flame retardants in the fabric.  Now, if you've read my previous posts on the subject, you know I am really infuriated by the fact that flame retardants are found in so many baby items.

I didn't know about this stuff when I purchased the stroller and hadn't even thought about it after.  That is until I flipped up the tag to find the washing instructions and came across the fabric meeting not just one, but all three California Technical Bulletins regarding fire safety.  Clearly, this company does not want this thing going up in flames.

In my current search, I had narrowed down my options to two strollers.  But the fact that one had a stain resistant fabric peaked my curiosity.  What was in this exactly?  Are there any strollers out there that are chemical free?  And so I came across a slew of blogs from other non-toxic mamas out there and to them I am truly grateful. 

Non-Toxic Kids give a few options in the world of chemical free baby rides.
Non-Toxic Mama gives a big thumbs up to both Graco (phew) and Maclaren.  Though this was in 2009, I'm hoping that it still reigns true since the Maclaren Triumph is on my list.  After reading their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), I am definitely on board with giving them a try!

In regards to rain covers, I believe it was Orbit Baby who came up with the 1st PVC-free option. And now Baby Planet and Baby Jogger both offer the PVC-free option as well.  I'm happy to see the initiative from these companies in offering safer options for our little ones.  Let's hope the stroller companies follow suit... a baby buggy is not a good place for toxic chemicals.  The end!

*Correction:  The stroller we have actual meets the requirements of TWO Technical Bulletins, not three.   When I was researching the two, I mistakenly convinced myself it met TB 133 for furniture, but it actually does not. 

For more information on California Technical Bulletins, please visit