New Healthy Baby Guide Helps Parents Find Safe Options

“When we had our children in ’89 and ’92 we searched in vain for information to guide our toy, food, utensil, and bottle choices. We WISH we had half of the information in this guide. When toxins are ubiquitous and hiding in plain sight we need research like this to make good choices with our pocketbook.”

-Kyra Sedgwick & Kevin Bacon

“Thanks to PPC and Made Safe, we now have a guide to reduce toxic exposure for our family and to live a more plastic free life.”

-Susan & Jeff Bridges

“As present day parents to an infant we are so grateful for The Healthy Baby Guide to help navigate the murky waters of a world that is way too reliant on plastic products.”

-Jaclyn & Ben Harper

“Our deepest instinct, our greater responsibility, is caring for our young. And, let’s face it, we could all use a little help in avoiding the toxic pitfalls that seem to abound in modern life. The Healthy Baby Guide is an invaluable roadmap, an essential tool to inform every parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent. Get your copy now!”

-Rachelle Carson Begley & Ed Begley, Jr.

Download your free copy of the Healthy Baby Guide by completing the form below. 

 

 

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Maybe you’ve just learned you’re pregnant, or maybe you have a new baby or growing children. Perhaps you and your partner are just thinking about having a family. Whatever the reason, you may be hearing troubling things about toxic chemicals around you—especially chemicals in plastic and other harmful ingredients in the things you use daily—and how these chemicals affect not just the environment, but also the human body and particularly growing babies, infants, and children.

But it can be overwhelming to try to figure it all out by yourself. Can’t someone just tell you what’s safe and what’s not?!

Why yes, in fact, we can.

Plastic Pollution Coalition and Made Safe have teamed up to create the first-ever Healthy Baby Guide, with everything you need to keep you and your children safe from harmful chemicals:

  • Where toxic chemicals lurk in plastics and other everyday products

  • How they impact babies, pregnant women, and women trying to become pregnant

  • Tips for avoiding plastic and other toxics in everyday life

  • Product recommendations

This guide is broken out by rooms in your house for ultimate ease:

  • Nursery
  • Bathroom

  • Kitchen

  • General Household

  • Outdoors

  • With a special category for pregnant women and moms

From teethers, toys, and bottles to bedding, baby wash, diaper cream, and more, we’ve got answers for you.

The goal of this guide is to help you make better, safer choices for a healthy and sustainable future. What you may not realize is that you have enormous economic power to shift the marketplace away from harmful materials. Companies watch what you buy closely, and by supporting companies that are making safer products, you can help make change happen, so that one day, you won’t even need a guide like this. Together, we can create a world where every product on the shelf is safe to begin with.

Check out the Healthy Baby Guide, and share with all the loved ones in your life who are parents, pregnant women, and women looking to start a family.

About Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) is a growing global alliance of individuals, organizations, businesses, and policymakers working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways and oceans, and the environment.

About MADE SAFE

MADE SAFE is America’s only nontoxic seal for products across consumer product categories, including baby, personal care, household, and beyond. MADE SAFE certified means that a product has been made from a base of safe ingredients or materials and has been vetted using a scientific process in order to certify that products are not made with ingredients known to harm human health or ecosystems.

By partnering together on this guide, MADE SAFE and Plastic Pollution Coalition are combining our collective expertise to offer you the most up-to- date information to promote a healthy start for you and your family.

Study links food packaging chemicals to lower testosterone, vital for male fetuses’ growth.

By Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News

Women exposed to certain chemicals in flooring and food packaging early in pregnancy are more likely to have decreased free testosterone—hormones vital for fetal growth, according to a new study.

Estrogen and testosterone drive a fetus’ genital development the first five to 18 weeks of a pregnancy. Altered levels of the sex hormones can lead to abnormalities in a baby’s genitals. While the study doesn’t prove phthalates in pregnant women lead to genital problems in babies, it suggests that the ubiquitous chemicals may impact fetal growth.

Researchers tested for evidence of phthalate chemicals in the urine of 591 women during their first trimester, from conception to 13 weeks. This window is the most important time for reproductive organ development in fetuses.

Women with higher levels of two types of phthalates had lower levels of free testosterone, according to the study published today in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Levels of free testosterone—the form of the hormone not bound to a protein in the blood—in the women were 12 percent lower for every 10-fold increase in the chemicals.

Free testosterone is important: Women with higher levels of free testosterone had a lower prevalence of baby boys with genital abnormalities, the authors reported. “Adequate testosterone concentrations are needed for normal male reproductive genital development.”

This study adds to the already considerable evidence to the impact of phthalates on humans.

“We need to ask ourselves if we are adequately protecting the public” when it comes to phthalates in consumer products, said lead author Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, an associate professor at the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics.

We need to ask ourselves if we are adequately protecting the public.

Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana

Most people have phthalates in their bodies as the chemicals are used widely in vinyl flooring, cosmetics, detergents, lubricants and food packages. The types of phthalates in this study were probably in dust or on food, rather than from cosmetics, Sathyanarayana said.

Researchers have previously found associations between phthalates and birth problems. In studies of rats, for example, when unborn males are exposed to phthalates in the womb it leads to reduced testosterone and genital defects such as hypospadias.

In humans, researchers have linked certain phthalates to a reduced distance between genitals and the anus, altered placental genes and miscarriages.

Despite growing evidence that phthalates are endocrine disruptors and can alter human hormones at low doses, they’re still pumped into our goods: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates more than 470 million pounds of phthalates are produced each year.

Six types of phthalates are banned from kids’ toys. The EPA, which regulates potentially harmful chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act, also requires manufacturers to notify the EPA if they’re going to use a phthalate called DnPP in a product so the agency can deem if it’s necessary.

One limit of the current study is that phthalates are so ubiquitous that body levels can swing rapidly in response to exposure. A single urine measurement may not be an accurate picture of the woman’s exposure.

“Phthalate concentrations can change substantially with time of day and depending on what the subject has eaten recently,” the authors wrote.

Karin Michels, professor and chair at UCLA’s Department of Epidemiology, said the study also could have benefitted by testing the hormones in the cord blood of the babies.

She said pregnant women’s hormones are already vacillating and that free testosterone is pretty low to begin with.

The women in the study are part of a group called The Infant Development and the Environment Study, which researchers are using to study how common chemicals affect pregnancy and birth outcomes.

The mothers were from one of four clinical centers: the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Minnesota, the University of Rochester Medical Center, or the Seattle Children’s Hospital/University of Washington.

This article was originally published on Environmental Health News

By Cassidy Randall

Have you heard that saying that a worried parent does better research than the FBI? Unfortunately, parents almost have to be professional sleuths to figure out what’s safe to use for their children. Scant regulation of chemicals, confusing labeling, and rampant “greenwashing” can make the simple act of going shopping for a family feel like you’re navigating a minefield.

Below are five common chemicals found in baby and children’s products and how you can avoid them. Lists like this can be overwhelming at first glance—so think of this as a menu of options, and choose a few to focus on. Remember that each and every step you take to create a better environment for your children (or yourself!), no matter how small, makes a difference in setting them up for a healthier life.

1. Flame Retardants

Where: Bedding, car seats, and foam baby products like nursing pillows and nap mats.

Health Concerns: Flame retardants appear immediately in the bloodstream and urine, and are linked to long-term impacts like endocrine disruption, lower IQ, ADD, fertility issues, impact thyroid levels and cancer. What’s worse, studies show that these chemicals can’t prevent fires and aren’t necessary.

Safer Options:

  • Switch to 100% cotton or wool bedding.
  • Place an organic cotton or wool topper on top of a regular mattress to minimize exposure.
  • Avoid foam baby products where possible.
  • Consider purchasing an organic mattress.

2. Phthalates

Where: Fragrance in cleaning and personal care products, and plastics, as it’s a plastic softener.

Health Concern: Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that are linked to reproductive malformations in baby boys, reduced fertility, developmental disorders, asthma, and increased allergic reactions. They’ve also been identified by Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks) as “a prime example of chemicals of emerging concern to brain development.”

Safer Options:

  • Go for fragrance-free cleaners and personal care products.
  • Look for non-vinyl bibs and crib mattresses without vinyl covering.
  • If you do purchase vinyl products like a shower curtain, let it off-gas overnight before bringing inside.
  • Choose plastic-free teethers and toys where possible.

3. High-Risk Pesticides

Where: Bug repellent, disinfectant cleaners and hand soaps, and residues in non-organic produce.

Health Concerns: Cancer rates in children are up 25 percent since 1975 according to the Pesticide Action Network, which has taken a very clear stand relating this to the increase in use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. The American Academy of Pediatrics points to pesticide residue in food as the most critical route of exposure, which luckily, is one we have some control over.

Safer options:

  • Buy organic food where possible, and check Pesticide Action Network to find produce grown with less pesticides.
  • Reduce use of disinfectant cleaners
  • Avoid hand and dish soaps labeled “antibacterial.”

4. Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasers

Where: Baby personal care products like shampoo and liquid soaps.

The Problem: Formaldehyde is linked to cancer and considered a known human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Formaldehyde can be added directly to personal care products or it can be released over time in small amounts from certain preservatives in the product.

Safer options:

  • Read ingredient lists to avoid formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal.
  • Use safer products for baby personal care.

5. BPA & BPS

Where: Plastic containers like baby bottles, sippy cups, and other feeding containers, plastic food packaging, and canned food liners.

Health Concerns: The good news is that the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and children’s sippy cups in 2012. The bad news is that research is emerging that its replacements (BPS, BPE, BPF and numerous others) are also toxic. Some studies suggest that almost all plastics have estrogenic activity and therefore could leech endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Safer options:

  • Breastfeed your baby if possible.
  • Look for baby bottles with nipples made from hospital-grade silicone.
  • Switch to glass and stainless steel containers and bottles where possible.
  • Never microwave plastic, as heat causes chemicals to leach.

Why Babies and Children Are Uniquely Vulnerable to Toxic Chemicals

These are just a few of the reasons why it’s important to do what we can to lessen exposure to toxic chemicals:

·      Children have faster metabolisms, which speeds up their rate of absorption of contaminants. For example, children ab
sorb 4–5 times as much ingested lead as adults
from a given source.  

·      Babies aren’t just little adults. Their systems actually work differently. For example, infants don’t excrete contaminants or store them in fat the same way that adults do. That makes the toxicants more “bioavailable” for their bodies – and that means more harm can be done.

·      Children live closer to the ground where heavy polymers, often synthetic chemical molecules, tend to settle, and are thus exposed to higher concentrations of many pollutants.

Often, disease that is a result of environmental triggers shows up later in life. For example, exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals early in childhood while the immune system is in development are suspected to cause breast cancer, prostate cancer and infertility later in life.

Look for MADE SAFE certified products that are made without these harmful ingredients here.

MADE SAFE (Made With Safe Ingredients) is the first nontoxic certification in the country that ensures products we use every day are made with ingredients not known to harm human health, animals, or ecosystems. It was founded by a mom on a mission to protect her children, and aims to change the way products are made, ultimately eliminating toxic chemicals altogether. 

Get started Living Plastic Free.

See also Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Plastic-Free Diapers.