Chemicals, Kids and what we as parents butt-up against as we try to raise healthy children in a toxic world.
The company released a statement stating they are no longer introducing new products with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and they have reduced their use of the chemical by 60% in the US market and 33% globally over the past few years.
The Johnson and Johnson statement said: ‘We know that some consumers are concerned about formaldehyde, which is why we offer many products without formaldehyde releasing preservatives, and are phasing out these types of preservatives in our baby products worldwide’.
And whilst this is undoubtably a step in the right direction, I still find it remarkable that a company like Johnson and Johnson, a household name, can be putting in carcinogenic ingrediants into their products for generations, and will not be called to account for this by any regulatory or government bodies. It raises profound intergenerational ethical issues.
If you want to avoid formaldehyde-releasing ingredients and 1,4-dioxane, you need to know what to look for as they’re NOT listed on the label; at least not in those words.
Common ingredients likely to contaminate products with formaldehyde include:
- DMDM hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
To avoid 1,4-dioxane, watch out for these ingredients, which create 1,4-dioxane as a byproduct:
- PEG-100 stearate
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Sodium myreth sulfate
If you want to get even more informed on this topic, CLICK HERE for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Report, entitled Babys Tub Is Still Toxic
Alf is a entrepreneur activist, ethical investor, and developer of regenerative businesses. He is a founding director of several enterprises which have achieved annual revenues ranging from three hundred thousand to twenty million dollars. Alf is the co-founder and co-director of Miessence the worlds first certified organic range of skin care, cosmetics, and nutritionals and co-founder of the Organic Farm Share. I have certainly learnt much from him about growing ethical businesses and the organic industry.
Come and learn about health and the body, toxicity, how you can start and grow a successful organic business, build a passive income and have a positive impact on our planet. CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR DETAILS, OR TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT AT THE EVENT, OR FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
It’s exciting to be here in the US while there is movement (or at least much discussion) in the policy area of children and chemicals.
Signaling their clear intention to protect families from toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems, Senators Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Boxer, Amy Klobuchar, Charles Schumer and others today introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act” to upgrade America’s outdated system for managing chemical safety. (See above video announcement from Senator Frank Lautenberg)
The Act responds to increasingly forceful warnings from scientific and medical experts – including the President’s Cancer Panel – that current policies have failed to curtail common chemicals linked to diseases such as cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and more. The Senate’s Safe Chemicals Act builds on momentum from 18 states that have passed laws to address health hazards from chemicals; and numerous corporate policies of major American companies restricting toxic chemicals.
The Safe Chemicals Act would overhaul the 35-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which is widely perceived to have failed to protect public health and the environment. Specifically the Act would:
Passed in 1976, TSCA’s presumption that chemicals should be considered innocent until proven guilty was a sharp departure from the approach taken with pharmaceuticals and pesticides. Since then, an overwhelming body of science has shown that presumption to be unfounded. Published studies in peer-reviewed journals have shown many common chemicals can cause chronic diseases and can be toxic even at low doses.
Once thought to pose little likelihood of exposure, we now know many chemicals migrate from the materials and products in which they’re used – including furniture, plastics and food cans – into our bodies. The federal Centers for Disease Control has found that the blood or tissues of almost every American carry hundreds of these chemicals, some present even before birth. Yet under TSCA, EPA cannot restrict even the most dangerous of these chemicals and lacks the information it needs to evaluate how this complex mixture of chemicals affects our health. EPA has been able to require testing of only a few hundred of the 62,000 chemicals that have been on the market since TSCA was passed 35 years ago, a number that has increased to over 100,000 chemicals today, and in such massive quantities.
Lets see what the US Congress does from here…..
[Information from our friends at Safer Chemicals- Healthy Families]
Saturday April 2nd, 2-4pm, Brisbane Independent School Library, 2447 Moggill Rd, Pullenvale, RSVP 07 33785466
Children Welcome! Refreshments provided, www.bis.org.au
This latest study is a very credible study that raises significant concerns about several pesticides that are used in Australia that may be contributing to Parkinson’s disease. Both paraquat and rotenone are registered pesticides in Australia, despite being banned in the European Union since 2007.
The Australia Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website lists rotenone as a chemical nominated for review, because of ‘human health concerns’. Paraquat has been under review since 1997. We are wondering why it takes so long for Australia to ban pesticides banned long ago accross the globe?
Our friends at the National Toxics Network (NTN) have just released a briefing paper on the chemicals used in the drilling and extraction of coal seam gas (CSG) in Australia. NTN is calling on state and federal Governments to urgently introduce a moratorium on all drilling and fracking chemicals until they have been independently assessed by the federal regulator. (NB. Frac jobs or frac’ing in the industry, with the spelling ‘fracking‘ being common in media reports, is a process that results in the creation of fractures in rocks).
Fracking chemicals are complex mixtures of chemicals. ‘Despite industry claims that fracking chemicals are ‘only used in small quantities’ and are all ‘food grade chemicals used in household chemicals’, the NTN has discovered that hazardous chemicals such as ethylene glycol, formamide, naphthalene, ethoxylated nonylphenol and sodium persulfate are commonly used in fracking mixtures
Lead author of the report, Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith said, ’Our investigation found that of 23 common fracking chemicals used in Australia, only 2 have ever been assessed by NICNAS, Australia’s industrial chemicals regulator. The two that were assessed, have never been assessed for use as fracking chemicals’.
Constituents of fracking fluids are often considered ‘trade secrets’ and not revealed to the public.
’Risk assessments for specific CSG projects in Queensland lacked basic information on the chemicals. The ones we were able to identify concerned us because of their significant potential to cause damage to the environment and human health. Some were linked with cancer and birth defects, while others damaged the hormone system of living things and affected aquatic species at very low levels.’
Images: Demonstrations again fracking are going on accross the world. Fraking has been known to contaminate drinking water, food crops and are linked to numerous illnesses.
Preparations are underway to send the first of four shipments of high risk, hazardous chemical waste (hexachlorobenzene – HCB) from Sydney to Denmark. The waste, from the Orica site at Botany in Sydney was created by decades of production of plastics and solvents. A deal between Australia and the Danish Government means the highly toxic waste will be disposed of at an incineration site in the south of the country.
HCB is a white crystalline solid which was commonly used as a pesticide and fungicide to protect seeds of wheat and for a variety of industrial purposes. It has been banned globally under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants.
Because HCB is persistent and bioaccumulative, it stays in our environment and contaminates our food chain. HCB can cause severe health problems for humans and other wildlife:
We are exposed to HCB via:
Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith, Senior Adviser, National Toxics Network Inc. and co-chair of the International POPs Elimination Network spoke to the media about the issue. She says: “We’ve had the capacity to deal with it in the past. For over a decade we’ve had some of the state of art technologies dealing with our hazardous waste here”. “There is simply no excuse for Orica to be doing this”.
I was privileged to meet Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith for an interview last week as part of my post-doctorate research project and her knowledge in the area of chemical research and prevention is nothing short of amazing. I would recommend you listen to the fully story.
[IMAGE: Greenpeace environmental activists climb on to containers and use paint to protest at the Orica site at Port Botany. Photo: AP/Greenpeace[
Sorbolene usually contains liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin, both petroleum by-products that coat the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. They interfere with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. They also slow down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Manufacturers use paraffin because it is very inexpensive.
From the National Toxicology Program Chemical Health and Safety Data on mineral oil:
‘A human carcinogen by inhalation that produces gastrointestinal tumors.’
‘A human teratogen by inhalation that causes testicular tumors in the fetus. Inhalation of vapor or particulates can cause aspiration pneumonia.’
Sorbolene creams also do not contain any vitamins or essential fatty acids and disturb or even prohibit the skin from absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. They appear to hydrate and moisturise but in reality they can suppress the skins ability to function normally, and do very little to nourish and hydrate the dermis.
The skin then develops a dependency on constant applications of mineral oils which, in turn, results in a deterioration of the skin’s character and overall health. Long-term usage of these products may block the pores resulting in acne and blackheads; they strip the skin of its natural oils and can create fluid retention, resulting in irritation, sensitivities and allergies.
My best friend Yani died of Breast Cancer nearly two years ago now, so the links between breast cancer and synthetic chemicals have been a particular interest of mine (and yet to be seriously taken up by the Australian breast cancer foundation and services). Written by by Dr Janet Gray, State of the Evidence: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment 2010 is the sixth edition of the US Breast Cancer Fund and now available, and makes those links very clearly! Among the risk factors are exposures to radiation, carcinogens and chemicals that act like hormones (known as endocrine disruptors). Add into the mix your genes, diet, lifestyle and reproductive history and you begin to see the complex web of breast cancer causation. Given that one in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85, this report is well worth the read.
If you want to know how to raise healthy children in a toxic world you simply can’t afford to miss this workshop.
The presentation will address:
> Why babies are being born pre-polluted, the chemicals they are born with, and what makes kids particularly susceptible;
> How the chemicals found in your children’s food are hindering their development, lowering IQ scores and triggering attention and behavior disorders;
> Why Australia continues to use chemicals that are banned or restricted in other countries across the world;
> What’s really on your dinner table and in your children’s medication – vital information EVERY PARENT should know!
> How you can begin to implement health changes and practices for you and your children that help cleanse the body of chemicals.
> Solutions and strategies for raising healthy children (and adults) in a toxic world.For detailed information and to purchase tickets go to: http://ecotoyslivingchemicalfree.eventbrite.com/
At Eco Toys we believe that toys should be safe for kids to play with and also kind to our planet.
Our toys are made with respect for the the environment and its people and we believe that each and every one of us can make a difference. We only choose Australian made or ethically made toys that are crafted from natural, sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable and/or recycled materials. Our toys are safe, non-toxic, educational and encourage imaginative play. Eco Toys provides beautifully crafted organic and sustainable toys that are safe, non-toxic and kind to our planet:
Eco Toys & Baby – For everything organic and environmentally friendly for your baby – 651 Burwood rd, Hawthorn East 3123. ph: 03 9078 7500
Our friends at the National Toxics Network and WWF released a list of Australia’s most dangerous pesticides, more than 80 of which are prohibited overseas because of the risks they pose to human health and the environment. The list includes 17 chemicals that are known, likely or probable carcinogens, and 48 chemicals flagged as having the potential to interfere with hormones. More than 20 have been classified as either extremely or highly hazardous by the World Health Organisation yet remain available for use on Australian farms.
“Australians are at risk of being exposed to a dangerous cocktail of poisonous chemicals, many of which have been prohibited in other countries due to their risks to health and the environment,” said WWF spokesperson Nick Heath.
“Surely Australian farm workers, wildlife and ecosystems deserve the same level of protection as those in Europe or the United States.”
Jo Immig from the National Toxics Network said the list was evidence that Australia’s chemical regulatory system was failing to keep people and the environment safe from dangerous pesticides.
“European pesticides regulation is founded on a precautionary principle designed to give human health and the environment the benefit of the doubt,” Ms Immig said. “Here in Australia we have the opposite, where chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer and other health problems remain on the market for years.”
Mr Heath said the list was a warning that Australians were not being adequately informed of the risks associated with harmful pesticides.
“The pesticides regulator must recognise that while Australia may have unique wildlife and different farming conditions, the chemistry of these dangerous pesticides is the still the same. If smoking causes cancer in the US, it will also cause cancer in Australia – it’s the carcinogens that matter not the country,” Mr Heath said. “The list demonstrates just how far we are lagging behind the rest of the world. It’s time for us to catch up and give Australian farmers safer and better choices.”
Go to the National Toxics Network website to download the Toxic Pesticide Hit List
What are all those chemicals in your shampoo? your lipstick? your aftershave? And what do they have to do with asthma, cancer and learning disabilities? Get to the ugly truth with The Story of Cosmetics, a new short film from the Story of Stuff Project.
The Story of Cosmetics, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced by Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the 7-minute film reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.
The film was made in close partnership with our friends from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. We will be interviewing these fabulous people next year as part of our research for our new book. Until then, enjoy the film!
Last month I did the Mothers Day Classic. A walk/run organized across Australia to raise money for breast cancer research. Thousands of people attend the Mother’s Day Classic and for me it was a time to remember my dear friend Yani who died early in her life of breast cancer. And remember her in all her gorgeous glory I certainly did!
But at the end of the walk participants received a bag of goodies. I love bags of goodies but was gutted to discover that if I didn’t have cancer before the event, use the bag of goodies, and I’d certainly be on my way to getting cancer or at least increasing the toxicity of my body.
It was packed full of things, most notably Weight Watcher bars and wafers and puddings and jelly crystals – low calories, but hey, packed full of preservatives, emulsifiers, colourings and flavourings. And at the bottom of the bag was a little pink personal care product proudly printed with the National Breast Cancer Foundation pick ribbon – ‘Sliver partner’ .
I remember this product from my teenage years. I’d tease out my fringe and wand curl out my side flicks, liberally spraying my hair until it set firm and extra strong – just like it says on the packaging.
Cedel is Australian company that began some 75 years ago and has been a partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) since 2009, donating $25,000 cash annually in addition to over 120,000 pink Cedel hairspray cans in support of the NBCF official events. Their website states: ‘The funds raised through the sales of Cedel Hairspray are helping to fund the research program of Associate Professor Alexander Dubrovnik from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria… Cedel looks forward to continuing their support in search for a cure of breast cancer, and working with the NBCF to enrich the lives of Australians’.
But like many products with the pink ribbon, are they actually helping? Or is this another form of pink washing?
Let me tell you about the product and what’s in it:
Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Butane; Isobutane, Propane, VA/Crotonates/Vinyl Neodeconoate Copolymer, Aminomethyl Propane, Cetyl Acetate, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Pentadecalactone, Fragrance.
Warnings from packaging: Flammable Gas: Extremely Flammable. Keep out of reach of childrem. Do not spray on naked flame or any incandescent material. Keep away from sourses of ignition – no smoking. Storage & disposal: Pressurised Dispenser. Protect from sunlight and do not expose to temperature exceeding 50C. Do not pierce or burn, even after use. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling contents can be harmful or fatal. Propellant: hydrocarbon
|BUTANE||Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns|
|ISOBUTANE||Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns|
|SD ALCOHOL 1
|Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Enhanced skin absorption|
|PROPANE||Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Occupational hazards|
|ACETYLATED LANOLIN ALCOHOL||Allergies/immunotoxicity|
|AMINOMETHYL PROPANOL||Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns (NITROSAMINES - in the presence of nitrosating agents, OXAZOLIDINE)|
|CETYL ACETATE||None Identified|
|PHENYL TRIMETHICONE||None Identified|
|VA/ CROTONATES/ VINYL NEODECONOATE COPOLYMER||Unknown|
All I can say is, beware of the pink ribbon! It’s not that having an iconic symbol of the pink ribbon is problematic, it’s that the carefully contrived messages about ‘awareness’, ‘hoping for a cure’ that serves to distract from a deeper public interest about prevention – what we need to put in place (and what we need to illuminate) to have a healthy, optimal body. The pink ribbon seems to exclude all critical notions of corporate accountability. Instead I see adds for cosmetics and personal care products that read: ‘shower for a cure’ with pink ribbon gel, ‘Hint of a cure’ blush, ‘Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer’ with lipstick.
Crazy! Here’s a great website which makes you think before you pink!
I loved this book. It’s not so much that the information is new to me, but that the writing is authentic, genuine, and committed to raising the profile of the everyday noxious chemicals we’re all marinating in. I also related to this book – written from one parent to another. It’s accessible. It’s a story…
The authors, Bruce Lourie, started one of Canada’s largest environmental consultancies, while Rick Smith is the current Executive Director of Canada’s Environmental Defence. In 2008 they shut themselves away and used their bodies as testing laboratories, to see how many toxins were in the every day products we use. Scientific experts helped them test for seven chemicals, to see how levels increased after nearly a week of living with everyday household products – from toothpaste to non-stick frying pans and tuna.
Listen to their interview with ABC ClassicFM. It’s great! And I would recommend the book!
Led by Maryse Bouchard in Montreal, researchers at the University of Montreal and Harvard University examined the potential relationship between ADHD and exposure to certain toxic pesticides known as organophosphates. The data from 1139 children aged between eight and 15 found that children with higher residue levels of organophosphates were roughly twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
To be honest, the correlation is not so surprising. Organophosphates are KNOWN to cause damage to the nerve connections in the brain – they are designed to kill agricultural pests in this way. The chemical works by disrupting specific neurotransmitters in the brain. And many of these pesticides we use on our food production, are derivatives or variations, of the same nerve toxins we developed during WWII to KILL or immobilise ‘the opposition’.
Roughly 40 organophosphate pesticides are registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency for use in the US (we have more here in Australia) and around 73 million pounds of the pesticides were used in agricultural and residential settings in 2001. Although residential pesticide use is common, the US National Academy of Sciences found that the major source of exposure for infants and children comes through diet.
According to a 2008 report cited by the study, detectable levels of pesticides were found in a range of vegetables. A sample of produce tested found 28 per cent of frozen blueberries, 20 per cent of celery and 25 per cent of strawberries contained traces of one organophospate, know as malathion. Other types of pesticides were found in 27 per cent of green beans, 17 per cent of peaches, and eight per cent of broccoli.
The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list highlights the worst agricultural contenders.
The take home message for parents is fairly simple – Buy certified organic, make sure to wash!
The EWG also offers the ‘Clean 15′ if buying all organic produce is not within your budget.
Maryse F. Bouchard, David C. Bellinger, Robert O. Wright and Marc G. Weisskopf, ‘Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides’, Journal of Pediatrics, published online May 17, 2010; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-3058
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