Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beware the Rubber Ducky!

It is 6 A.M: What is your toxin level?
We wake up, get out of bed, and put on our robe and slippers.  We answer nature’s call, brush our teeth, head into the kitchen for some freshly brewed coffee or tea, grab the paper or the laptop and sit down at the table. Ten minutes have passed since we woke. Exactly how many toxins have we been exposed to?
  • Bed – How was the mattress made? Were chemical glues or adhesives used? Was it sprayed with a fire retardant? What about the memory foam? What exactly is foam made of, anyway?
  • Sheets – Was the cotton used to make them grown organically (grown without pesticides) and manufactured without chemicals?
  • PJ’s – (see sheets)
  • Toilet paper – Were dyes used to make it a special color? Was it processed with chemicals?
  • Toothpaste – According to, conventional toothpastes are often made with ingredients such as propylene glycol and titanium dioxide. Propylene glycol is an ingredient found in airplane deicing fluid, and titanium dioxide can be found in paints.  Have you looked at the ingredients in your toothpaste, ever?  Why are we brushing our teeth with toxic chemicals?
  • Coffeemaker – Most coffeemakers are constructed with plastic.  According to an April 2010 article in Time Magazine by Bryan Walsh, The Perils of Plastic, chemicals like biphenyl A (BPA) and phthalates, which are key ingredients in modern plastics, may disrupt the delicate endocrine system, leading to developmental problems. Several health issues on the rise that could have a chemical connection are:  Obesity, diabetes, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
  • Tea and Coffee – Is the tea/coffee organic? What chemicals were used in the processing of that one coveted cup which has become part of our sacred morning ritual?
  • Coffee cup – (See coffeemaker)
  • Newspaper – Inks, dyes and chemicals in the newsprint could be harmful. 
Chemicals breathed in and absorbed through our skin are lurking in places we may not have considered. In the book, “Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things,” authors Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie show us exactly how prevalent toxins are, even in something as innocent as the old standard rubber duck.  We learn as we go along, don’t we?  Sixty plus years ago, when plastic wrap, polypropylene and the like were invented, they were touted as miracle products that would revolutionize the world.  Most of us can agree that plastic has changed the world.  But some say plastic has poisoned the world and has made us all sick (planet Earth included).  Others say it has enabled us to create some pretty amazing inventions.  We agree with all of the above.  There are many important products which are made from plastic:
  • Seat belts
  • Bike helmets
  • Infant car seats 
  • Plumbing piping
  • Ball point pens
  • Condoms
  • Shoe soles
Look around your home. Can you imagine life without them? Count the items you can see that are made with plastic. Plastic has indeed changed the world and brought us millions of incredible and useful products, but at what cost?  Our health is suffering because of plastic.  Chemicals leach from plastic containers into our food and drink, chemicals from the plastic-made playground equipment leaches into our children’s skin as they play.  We haven’t even begun to touch on the environmental toll.  The manufacturing process is extremely polluting and utilizes precious fossil fuels.  Plastic sits in landfills. It does not decompose.  Discarded plastic, (beverage bottles, car tires, children’s toys and more), older than you and I, are floating in our lakes and oceans right now.  Yes, thank goodness we learn as we go.  There is much work to be done.
Concerned about toxins and plastic? Here are some ideas:
  1. Use less plastic – Purchase reusable bags (baggies, shopping totes, etc)
  2. Use glass or stainless steel for food
  3. Purchase organic teas, coffees, food (watch for an upcoming blog on the best items to buy organic)
  4. Try organic toothpaste or make your own (Search online for recipes)
  5. Buy organic bedding (www. has amazing baby blankets and toys!)
  6. Use natural cleaning products
  7. Stay aware and alert.  Become a toxin cop!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Vintage Couture giveaway

    One lucky reader will win a $100 Vintage Couture Gift Certificate!

    To Enter: Visit our website to see our spring and summer collections. Come back here and write a comment on this post telling us which collection is your favorite. Please leave your email address in your comment or make sure it is visible in your blog profile.

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    2. Like our Facebook page and post a comment there telling us what you like about our designs.
    3. Follow us on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway using the text below.
    Enter to win a $100 gift certificate from @_vintagecouture on their blog:
    4. Post about this giveaway on your Facebook page.
    5. Blog about this giveaway. Please leave an address where it can be found.

    Giveaway will end on June 23 at 11:59pm Central Time. The $100 gift certificate may be used on available merchandise and is valid through December 31, 2011. The winner will be chosen and announced here as well as emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact us or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to US residents.

    Mommy and Me Ergo giveaway

    Win an Ergo baby carrier... Go to

    but hurry it ends tonight!

    Microwave popcorn... the lining is toxic, please dont feed to our children

    Beware of These Packaged Foods and Drinks

    Olga Naidenko, PhD
    Environmental Working Group

    When you buy a food product, you probably don’t give much thought to the lining of the food cans, for example, or other material used for packaging. But you should be aware that some materials used to package popular foods and beverages are potentially dangerous. For example...

    Candy bars, fast food, microwave popcorn, stick butter and take-out pizza. These fatty foods are frequently packaged in materials made with a grease-resistant coating that contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical commonly used in stain- and water-resistant coatings.

    Problem: Traces of PFOA invariably remain from the manufacturing process, according to an FDA study. PFOA is highly toxic, and once ingested, it remains in your body for years.

    Animal studies have linked it to increased risk for liver, pancreatic and testicular cancers, birth defects and developmental problems, a weakened immune system and elevated cholesterol.

    Self-defense: Avoid any foods wrapped in grease-resistant paper.

    Ask restaurant personnel to put food directly in a paper bag (or to wrap it in foil first, for some foods) without the usual grease-resistant paper wrap or cardboard containers (especially when ordering egg breakfast sandwiches, French fries and chicken nuggets -- all of which tested highest in PFOA levels in one study). Never heat foods in grease-resistant paper -- this increases PFOA exposure.

    When heating food in the microwave, I prefer covering it with waxed paper instead of plastic wrap (if it’s natural waxed paper and not chemically treated grease-resistant paper wrap). Use foil when not heating food in a microwave.

    Also avoid microwave-ready popcorn -- the bags have PFOA in the lining. Instead, buy loose popcorn and pop it on the stovetop in a pot with a small amount of oil or use an electric hot-air popper. If you can’t avoid grease-resistant packaging, as with store-bought butter, take it out of the wrapping immediately and store in a glass or ceramic container.

    Bottled beverages and canned foods and beverages. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a component of hard, clear polycarbonate plastics that are used for bottled water and beverages and in the linings of many canned foods.

    While BPA, unlike PFOA, is excreted from the body, 93% of Americans who have been tested have traces of BPA in their urine, according to a recent government analysis.

    BPA’s health risks stem from its estrogen-like effects while in the body. Animal studies have linked BPA exposure to reproductive problems, including miscarriage, infertility and birth defects, as well as increased risk for breast and prostate cancers, liver damage, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic and nerve disorders.

    BPA is present in many beverage bottles and five-gallon water-cooler bottles, as well as the epoxy lining of many food and beverage cans. Canned chicken soup and ravioli are the worst offenders.

    Also dangerous: Canned tomatoes. That’s because tomatoes’ high acid content causes BPA to leach into the food more readily, as well as the cans of any kind of food that have been on the shelf for a long time. While no such period has been defined, scientists know that the leaching of BPA from can linings is an ongoing process while cans are in supermarkets or stored at home.

    Self-defense: Limit your consumption of canned foods and beverages, substituting fresh produce or products in glass containers whenever possible. Eden Organic (888-424-3336, is one company now using BPA-free lining for most of its canned foods. Tomatoes are available in protective white enamel-lined cans with minute levels of BPA.

    Finally, avoid drinking from plastic beverage bottles or five-gallon plastic water-cooler bottles with the numeral "7" in the recycling triangle on the bottom of the bottle or the letters "PC" (for polycarbonate).

    For those concerned about tap-water quality, the best option is to install a water filter. (Learn about filtration systems at

    Food and drinks packaged in Styrofoam. Polystyrene (found in Styrofoam food and beverage containers) has been found to leach into liquids and food -- particularly in the presence of heat, fats, acid or alcohol. Polystyrene invariably contains residual traces of the chemical styrene, which has been linked to nerve damage and cancer risk.

    Self-defense: Don’t drink beverages from Styrofoam cups -- especially heated liquids such as coffee, tea (particularly tea with lemon, which appears to increase leaching) or hot chocolate... fatty liquids, such as milk... or alcoholic drinks.

    The same goes for fatty liquids, such as olive oil or oil-based sauces and dressings, which also should not be stored in Styrofoam.

    Avoid meats and other foods packaged with Styrofoam backing. When ordering take-out food, request non-Styrofoam containers. Never microwave food in Styrofoam.

    Important: It may seem difficult to follow all of this advice all of the time, but you are likely to benefit from just being aware of the risks and limiting your exposure whenever possible.
    Bottom Line/Health interviewed Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist with the Washington, DC-based Environmental Working Group,, a nonprofit, research-based organization dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. She specializes in the effects of toxic chemicals on human health.

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET AT THE GROCERY STORE.... fyi for all my mommy friends..

    Which of the following surfaces is most likely to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria -- a diaper changing table... playground equipment... a shopping cart handle... ATM buttons... or the handrail on an escalator?

    I would have said a diaper changing table... and I would have been wrong. The correct answer is the shopping cart handle, and after you read what I’m about to tell you, I think you’re going to join me in making a change to your shopping habits!


    The finding comes from researchers at the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at The University of Arizona in Tucson. Previous studies had shown that seating children in shopping carts increases their risk for infection with salmonella and campylobacter bacteria, each of which can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhea that last for a week (or longer in people with weakened immune systems). This time, researchers set out to see just how dirty shopping cart seats and handles really are. To do that, they swabbed the handles and seats of 85 shopping carts randomly selected from parking lots of grocery stores in San Francisco... Los Angeles... Atlanta... Portland, Oregon... and Sioux City, Iowa, and tested the samples they had gathered.

    What they found: Coliform bacteria (common in soil, on vegetation and in the feces of animals) were present in high amounts on 72% of the carts... andEscherichia coli (E. coli), a specific species of coliform present in the lower intestines of all warm-blooded mammals and responsible for many serious tainted-food-related illnesses, were present on 50% of 36 of the carts. In fact, the researchers pointed out, "Total bacterial levels [on the carts] are far greater than those typically found in public restrooms and other public places and objects that are commonly touched in these environments."


    According to the study, the potential causes of contamination are numerous, ranging from contact with contaminated raw foods, such as those found in a supermarket... bird or other animal feces (which may contaminate the carts while they sit in the parking lot)... or contact with feces-contaminated hands (or other body parts) of previous cart users or children in diapers.

    "Shopping carts are one of the objects most contaminated with fecal bacteria that the public is likely to come into contact with," said Charles Gerba, PhD, professor of environmental microbiology at The University of Tucson and lead researcher on the study. Of course, public restrooms are cleaned on a set schedule... your shopping cart, not so much.


    The next time you go shopping, don’t disregard the containers of disinfecting wipes now provided by many stores near the carts -- give the handle and seat (if you’re planning to use it) a good wipe-down. Though it takes around 10 minutes for the disinfectants in the wipes to work, it’s a good start. Some stores have started providing disposable/recyclable plastic barriers that fit over their cart handles, which are also a good choice. (You can buy your own -- for instance, Protective Cart Guard made by Health Touch Solutions,www.healthtouchsolutions.com877-823-4871.)

    Even if you do use wipes or a barrier on your cart, after shopping, wash your hands (and your child’s hands) before eating anything. When washing isn’t practical, Dr. Gerba says, you can use a hand sanitizer such as Purell. "It kills the viruses and bacteria in fecal matter," Dr. Gerba says. And that’s just what you want.

    And by all means (the very thought now gives me shudders!), please don’t ever let a child suck on a shopping cart handle.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011


    I am so super duper excited to be able to offer Persnickety clothing!! Im about to pee my pants waiting for the order to come in!