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!

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