Let’s Talk Plastics And Some Other Stuff

Recently, I’ve been reading Smart Mama’s Green Guide Simple Steps To Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure by Jennifer Taggart.  Let me tell you, this woman is very smart, knows what she is talking about, and is highly respected.  I wanted to pass along some tidbits from the book, as well as keep a reference for myself.

Phthalates.  What are these you ask?  Phthalates are a class of industrial compounds.  They are plasticizers that are added to many consumer products.  They are added to make plastic soft and flexible, but do not, I repeat, do not form a bond with the plastic.  This is super important!!!  Since they do not form a bond, they can leach out of the plastic.  Phthalates are hormone disruptors, which can interfere with sexual and reproductive development, as well as being developmental and reproductive toxins.  Scary!!!  That little rubber ducky doesn’t seem so cute anymore does it? 

Also, lead may be present in some of your plastic products.  That is right, lead.  Do I need to say it again?  Lead!  Yikes!!  Lead is used to stabilize PVC plastic and since it is not bound in the plastic polymer, it may surface, where it can be picked up as lead dust.  This can happen easily with friction or heat.  Oh, not good.  Oh, and lead is also found in lots of other things too (ceramics, baby changing pads, children’s jewelry, an array of consumer products, crib mattresses, drinking water, folk remedies, cosmetics, soil, toys, wall coverings, etc., etc., etc.).  Also, very important, lead exposure is cumulative.  So, the old adage, a little won’t hurt, is not necessarily true.  A little here and a little there, really do add up to potential harm.  No amount of lead is good for your body!  (But, you already knew that!)

So, why am I telling you this?  Am I trying to keep you awake at night?  No, I am trying to pass on some information that I wish I would have known from the get go.  I wish someone would have passed this valuable information on to me.  I could have been wiser in my choices and purchases.  I could have prevented harm to my body and my family.  I know, we do our best, but when we know better, we do better.

Well, what have I done with all this new knowledge?  I have made some recent changes around our home.  I have taken off the PVC waterproof mattress cover.  It is not really needed, and I’d rather have a few unsightly stains on my mattress than be inhaling toxins while peacefully resting.  I have removed all PVC items from the nursery.  This means I will be making a new changing pad for the new little one, but that is fine by me!  I plan to make it out of organic fabric and bamboo batting.  Nothing too fancy.  I have shopped around for an organic mattress for the new baby.  Costco has one that I am still researching for about $200.  Yes, it is a splurge, but knowing what I now know, and me being the worrier that I am, I could not sleep at night knowing full well I was knowingly exposing my baby to toxins for a $100 savings.  I’ve also researched appliances and flame retardants.  We may be in the market for a new TV, refrigerator and washer/dryer.  The only not necessity would be the TV, as the other three are on there last legs I’m afraid.  I’m also vacuuming and dusting more, as I’ve learned it is one way to avoid some of the toxins.  A lot of toxins you pick up from household dust.  I’ve also made many mental notes about new products I buy and have become more label savvy.  I still have a long way to go, but feel I’m improving our environment, health-wise, everyday.

Lastly, I strongly encourage you to be an advocate for your child.  It is not easy, but it is extremely important.  If you believe strongly in something, then voice it.  It is not always easy for me to find the right words, but it is important to try. 

What have you done lately?  Any good research or books you’ve read?  Do share…I crave knowledge!

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