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I’ve always been tempted to buy those cute little nail polishes for girls, but for little girls to be inhaling  toxic fumes from them.. not so cute. Regular nail polishes may have some or all of these nasty ingredients; toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, nitrocellulose, butyl and ethyl acetates, acetone, FD&C, coal tar and lake colors. So a while ago I began looking for safe alternative and found HOPSCOTCH KIDS! It was until yesterday that I went out to get it, my daughter was so excited, she loved it and me too! I bought Bubble Gum color, which is a hot pink and I must say I’m pleasantly surprised with it, the color is very bright, no odors at all, easy to clean AND.. did I mention that my daughter is ridiculously excited and can’t stop looking at her nails?

Love this product!!

Here is the website, where you can check out all the line!

http://www.hopscotchkids.com

I haven’t tried the adult line, but I guess it’s equally great!

http://www.scotchnaturals.com

Yet another safe nail lacquer line!

http://www.sparitual.com/nail_lacquers/

 

Happy Holidays!!!!

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We always hear this each time we go to the supermarket, but really it’s not hard to understand why bringing your own fabric bag is the best way to go and probably the easiest “green thing to do”.

It is a highly debatable subject, the sun would take many many many years to photodegrade a plastic bag, that is, turning it into microscopic granules, and of course plastic comes from fossil fuels which are non renewable. Paper on the other hand, is renewable, biodegradable and recyclable, but the process to make a paper bag often carries a lot of carbon footprint, depending if the trees are reforested, if chemicals are being used, if the water is being reused, how far are they being made and transported, etc.. Here are some facts I found

Impact of plastic bags:

•    take over 400 years to biodegrade and result in a large amount of rubbish in our landfills
•    Air pollution is caused during incineration
•    Manufacturers add many tons of carbon and other toxic chemicals into the atmosphere annually
•    Approximately 60-100 million barrels of oil are required for annual manufacturing
•    Stray bags pollute much of our environment and cause 100000 marine organisms death each year
•    Small particles given off during breakdown accumulate in ecosystems and contaminate the food web

Impacts of paper bags:

•    Use four times as much energy as plastic bags to produce
•    Many toxic chemicals are used in the production, contributing significantly to air pollution
•    The impact production on forests is enormous as millions of trees are cut down for production
•    Consumes 9 times as much energy to recycle compared to a plastic one
•    Due to the lack of water, light and oxygen in today’s landfill, paper does not degrade at a faster rate than plastic yet takes up much more space

We could go on and on about it, some paper bags may be better than some plastic bags and viceversa, so that’s why I chose to use fabric bags!!

If you aren’t doing something for the environment yet, this is a very easy way to start. I always have canvas bags in the trunk of my car, that way you can never forget them. Before you know, it will become a natural habit to bring your own bags with you. If you are not the one that makes the groceries, it’s even easier to remind the person that does to use canvas bags. Not only it’s better for the planet, but they are a million times more efficient than plastic or paper, they can hold a lot more groceries and are very resistant. And the best thing about it is that your kids will follow your example in the future.

pd. It also makes you feel a little better about yourself each time you go to the supermarket!

xx

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Everyone knows we are living in a time of change, we can also see it particularly in supermarkets where we see many labels of organic, green, natural and eco-friendly products. I’m going to focus on produce, it was one of the first things to become organic and it has now become more of a trend lifestyle, which is a good thing as well, but do you know why it’s better for you?

Farms use pesticides, they are substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest. They are many subclasses to pesticides such as insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides and many..MANY more, while it has benefits it also has a potential toxicity to humans and other animals. Each country has it’s own pesticide regulations, for example, Europe has banned all highly toxic pesticides that are known carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction, endocrine- disruptors and bioaccumulative. Products that were treated with pesticides still cross international borders, that is why the UN has a division that tries to supervise inconsistencies between countries regulations and the claim they have decreased the number of countries that did’nt have any regulation on pesticides, so as you can see, there are many layers of issues with pesticides that we never think about when buying your groceries.

Why choose organic? It’s not only about pesticides and synthetic fertilizers (used to make a crop bigger in size and yield), studies have shown that organic produce has 40% and sometimes 52% more of some nutrients. Organic methods allow the plants to grow at a normal rate giving it time to develop nutrients, synthetic fertilized crops grow faster leaving not enough time for the plant to fully develop. So if you struggle with your kids to eat fruits or vegetables, wouldn’t you want to get the most out of each bite the take?

There is many more positive side effects of buying organic, for example  you are preventing chemicals used in farms leaching to the ground, polluting the water humans and animals drink.

I try to buy EVERYTHING organic but yes, it is more expensive and sometimes I have to make choices, that’s why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has made hundreds of tests to determine which fruits and vegetables contain the most amount of pesticide traces and which are safe to buy non-organic. Here’s the list..

You can go to their website to see more reasons to choose organic and more statistics..

http://www.foodnews.org

I also found a very interesting article on why organic is more expensive, it’s well worth the read.

http://www.mint.com/blog/trends/organic-food-07082010/

Hope this information helps change your habits and if you already buy organic.. keep doing it!!! By the way, some organic produce actually tastes better!!!

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xx

One of the best parts of being pregnant is the time when you start buying everything your little one will need, clothes, changing tables, bottles, pacifiers, toys and many many more stuff, unnecessary sometimes. Well, in this time I began to learn a lot more about plastics, sure everybody knows the story about not heating plastic wrap in the microwave, but I did’nt even know why.

Now it’s quite obvious that some plastics have dangerous side effects, after all, 99 % of plastics come from “heavy petrol”, so many chemical processes are required to end with the plastics we love for making our lives more practical.

Going back to the baby basics the biggest no-no is definitely plastics containing BPA ( bisphenol-a) most commonly #7 plastic. Almost every baby bottle was made with this plastic a couple of years ago.  While manufacturers argue that the everyday exposure to BPA is too small to cause any real health concerns, clinical studies are piling up linking BPA to breast cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, obesity, low sperm counts, miscarriage and a host of other reproductive failures in laboratory animals. It is also linked with immune system alterations, early puberty, developmental problems, insulin resistance, increased risk of type II diabetes, and hypertension. In short, most research suggests that BPA acts as an “environmental estrogen” and once it’s ingested it can disrupt proper hormone functioning, alter genes and interferes with normal physical and behavioral development.

In other words, avoid clear, hard plastic, also if its scratched or damaged it can leach double that of new plastics. Plastics without BPA are soft and cloudy colored. Nowadays almos all baby products label their plastics BPA-free, if you can’t find it, check for the number at the bottom, if you are not sure… don’t buy it! With my daughter I used Born Free baby bottles, but they are many other options available now, of course glass has never had problems.

Phtalates, abbreviated DEHP are industrial chemicals used in vinyl, PVC (to give its flexibility), solvents and synthetic fragances (perfumes) and are well known to be endocrine disruptors. Phthalates are relatively persistent in the environment and have been found in drinking water, soil, household dust, wildlife, fatty foods and in the blood and breast milk of humans and animals. Although phthalates are considered hazardous waste and regulated as air and water pollutants, they are unregulated in food, cosmetics, and consumer and medical products.

Shocking right!, but just read what are the side effects: high levels of phthalates have gender-bending effects on animals, specifically males, making them more feminine and leading to poor sperm quality and infertility. New studies suggest that even at normal levels, phthalates, which are ubiquitous, can disrupt the development of male babies’ reproductive organs. Additionally, in a September 2000 study, Puerto Rican researchers reported that phthalates had been detected in baby girls, aged 6 months to eight years, with premature breast development. The average levels of DEHP were six times greater in the early developers than in babies who had not experienced premature breast development. This same study showed phthalates adversely affected the male reproductive system in animals, inducing hypospadias, cryptorchidism, reduced testosterone production and decreased sperm counts. More recently Phthalates has been classified by the CDC as a probable human carcinogen and clinical studies show it causes chronic health problems, including liver and kidney abnormalities, asthma and skin and upper respiratory allergies. And this is just a VERY tiny bit of information.

Feeling overwhelmed? Yes, but the solution is simple, simply stop buying vinyl toys, to be sure, avoid buying plastic toys!!! Replace them with wood or fabric  toys, silicone pacifiers or latex teethers. If it has a “new pastic smell” it has phtalates, and a big one, if its a big CHEAP toy, without any plastic specifications, random brand, made in china.. GOD! DON’T BUY IT!!!

These are examples of cool safe toys and a Soothie silicone pacifier.

To wrap this up, check for the number in plastics!

1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

2 High density polyethylene (HDPE)
GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.

3 Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC)
Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other foods sold in delicatessens and groceries are wrapped in PVC.
BAD: To soften into its flexible form, manufacturers add “plasticizers” during production. Traces of these chemicals can leach out of PVC when in contact with foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC, is a suspected human carcinogen.

4 Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
OK: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones, but not as widely recycled as #1 or #2.

5 Polypropylene (PP)
OK: Hazardous during production, but not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. Not as widely recycled as #1 and #2.

6 Polystyrene (PS)
Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys)
BAD: Benzene (material used in production) is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene (the basic building block of the plastic) are suspected carcinogens. Energy intensive and poor recycling.

7 Other (usually polycarbonate)
Baby bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans
BAD: Made with biphenyl-A, a hormone disruptor. Can leach into food as product ages.

Now you know why it’s not safe to put plastics in the microwave!

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xx

So, first things first, what is the thing lurking in almost every cosmetic, lotion, perfume, shampoo, even toothpaste? PARABENS! Ok, so what are parabens? Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens are  the most common preservatives used since the 1920’s for almost anything that has water, to avoid growing bacteria and fungus. Hey! it gives that body lotion you love a 10 year shelf life, even though you will probably run out of it in a year.

It’s quite a controversial subject nowadays, they are studies that show parabens don’t have any negative effect on our body. So whats the problem? In the 1990s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens―agents that mimic estrogen in the body. “Estrogen disruption” has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. And in 2004 British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., found parabens present in malignant breast tumors. As a result, experts in many countries are recommending limits on paraben levels in cosmetic products. They can have endocrine-disrupting action when they are rubbed into your body or washed down the drain into your drinking water. These disruptors interfere with your body´s endocrine system: your hypothalamus, your ovaries, your thyroid—virtually every system in your body. There are many studies taking place to learn more about the use of parabens in cosmetics and its potential risks. The FDA has not determined parabens to be hazardous and will continue to conduct research on its use.

Being the skin our largest organ, we should definitely think twice about what we rub on it. Personally after being reminded constantly about the questionable reputation of parabens AND the FDA, I have chosen to have a paraben free house.

Why risk your families health if you can easily choose different products? They are many brands that carry paraben-free beauty lines. Currently I’m using Origins A Perfect World Moisturizer with spf 15 and Origins foaming face wash and I totally love and recommend them.

Also I’m now using Tresemé Naturals Shampoo and Conditioner and they are pretty good and not expensive!

I’ll be posting other products I use later on, meanwhile all I have to say is… READ, READ, READ YOUR LABELS!!!!

xx