Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Fuss Over Phthalates- Are baby shampoos and lotions harming your child?

I’m a bit of a cynic when the evening news tantalizes us with the latest danger facing our children as it always seems there’s something new to be paranoid about- and that makes for great ratings. This newest study, however, is worth knowing about…even if it blesses me with a few more gray hairs...uh, I mean auburn, my natural color.

The latest study to come out and send parents into a tailspin involves the occurrence of chemicals being passed on to children through the soaps, shampoos, and lotions used for bathing. The chemicals known as phthalates (pronounced “Thowl-ates”) are used in plastic children’s products to increase flexibility and bind fragrances (they’ve already been found in chewable toys- yikes!). The aforementioned study has revealed that the presence of these chemicals has been found in the urine samples of children exposed to them. Here’s the scary part: These very common chemicals have been linked to serious reproductive problems, allergies, and skin problems.

What products contain phthalates?

Teethers and Soft Toys: A lot of companies have vowed to remove PVC and DINP –phthlate family members- from their products, but as recently as this December ran a test on seven popular teethers, and six came back positive. This is terrifying when you consider that these products are meant for the mouth! The Consumer Product Safety Commission downplayed these results because they contend the levels of chemicals are too low to do real harm, but they are “still researching the effects”. Sounds like a pretty scary gamble to me. Of the major manufactures, only Gerber has vowed to remove all such products from the shelves, but stores like Target, Kmart, Walmart, and Toys R’ Us have also promised to remove these products from their stores.

Baby Bottles: Bottles made of polycarbonate have been proven to leak the chemical bisphenol-A into formula upon heating. Stick to glass bottles or bottles made of polyethylene (bottles that look less shiny; they’re often colored).

Lotions, Washes, Shampoo, and Powder: Read the labels…many companies are now making products that are “phthalate free”.

What can you do?

1) READ ALL LABELS. When in doubt, call the information number located on the product and look for products specifically labeled “phthalate free”.

2) Wash all plastics for children in either the top rack of the dishwasher or by hand as you want to avoid high heat and strong concentrations of dishsoap.

3) Don’t worry about pacifiers and nipples, they’re made of latex or silicone.

4) Try to avoid teething toys all together, unless they specifically read “phthalate free”.

5) One word: Arbonne

For more, check out the following:

Friday, February 8, 2008

What Smart People Say

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone

Celebrity Babies seems that in addition to our shameless obsession with all things celebrity news and gossip, the latest trend is 24 hour baby watches. Who is pregnant or hiding a bump? What kind of wacked out name is that? How could he leave his pregnant girlfriend for a supermodel??

Normally I would say that we should keep the kids away from the flicker of the ubiquitous paparazzi, but this clip was just too good to pass up. A number of media outlets and blogs made a big deal about the fact that Gwen Stefani's son, Kingston, threw a huge temper tantrum and, among other things, assualted her. IMAGINE?! A two year old acting irrationally! I had to watch because none of my children would ever behave badly in public.

Here's the best part of the clip....this isn't even close to a temper tantrum! For some of us, this would have been an okay attempt at getting a kid in the car. Thoughts????

View the clip here, thanks to TMZ...

My very first entry...

So, after spending too much time writing for other people, I have decided to finally start my own blog. Though I considered endless subjects on which to focus (writing, teaching, green tea), I settled on the one thing that seems to consume my life right now: Motherhood. A friend once described parenting to me as the hardest, best job you'll ever have...and I was too naive and romantic to have any idea what she could mean. However, two children, a move to the suburbs, and a few thousand diaper changes later, I think I know what she meant...I just hope it doesn't get too much harder.

So welcome to anyone who'd like to read, comment, or criticize...having a child (by loin or by legality --word to DB--) is the great, shared human's good to know so many of us are in this together.