Safety of Water from a Garden Hose

When you picture summer images in your head you often picture a child drinking water spraying from a garden hose in that “relaxed, freedoms of summer” images we think of.  Is this ever a good idea?  Garden Hose Safety

Personally we don’t drink the tap water due to the fluoride and drug residue contents they all have. However, are there extra risks if it is coming from the hose? There are.

Aside from the obvious bacteria concept of older hoses there are issues with brand new hoses and drinking water.  When tested all hoses contained phthalates.  Which are chemicals that are added to PVC’s to keep them flexible. Phthalates are known to lower IQ’s, cause birth defects, reproductive harm and hormone imbalances. Some hoses contain bromine and antimony, which can lead to kidney and liver damage.  BPA and lead are more unwelcome ingredients you may find in your garden hose.  Lead has been known to lower IQ’s. In addition to the plastic portion of the hose, there is the metal end. Metal ends of hoses do not have the same guidelines as faucets. Often outdoor faucets are brass and contain lead. When possible, nickel is a safer choice over brass.

Some hoses are labeled to be “drink safe” but bacteria can still be growing in the sitting water of that hose.

The sun and temperature also play a role. Much like you shouldn’t drink from plastic water bottles that are heated in the car, your hose will also leach more BPA when heated. Store your hose in the shade or in a shed when possible.

Last, don’t forget about your garden! If you are using that same hose to water your organic garden you may be spraying your fruits and veggies with BPA, lead and phthalates. If you don’t have a rubber or polyurethane hose you may want to think about replacing it.

 

Garden Hose Safety


 

All Natural: What You Need To Know

All natural is a term that most companies are using, here is what you need to know

I can’t say enough how important it is to read labels. Not just the “all natural” (and often misleading) stamp on the outside, but the tiny ingredients printed in the packaging. What if those ingredients aren’t there? To me that is a red flag. There is no reason not to include ingredients on a label.

 

Several weeks ago I went to an event at a friends house. To be entirely honest,  I never read the part about it being a All naturalpresentation-I went to spend time with my friend. During the presentation of beauty products I was impressed at the discussion of keeping toxins off your body and avoiding ingredients.  I had heard this company name come up a lot recently and that they had cleaned up their line. I am happy with my skin care products and their ingredients, but a few things caught my attention and I was going to buy something to try a new product and be supportive of the person throwing this gathering.

 

When I started to look at the products I naturally went to read the labels. There were no ingredients listed. That seemed odd to me considering how this presentation stressed how safe and healthy these products were. I picked up a catalog and figured they would be listed there. Wrong again. For a company that is investing it’s entire marketing on its safe ingredients (and a list of ingredients they would never use) where are the ingredients? I chose not to buy anything without having that knowledge and later I spent some time looking into it.

 

Based on my knowledge I know you can’t have a water-based lotion without added junk. The water breeds bacteria so there is no way around it. This is why we opt to use oil based products.  I was able to find their ingredients on the website.  They certainly are much “cleaner” than many companies out there-but do not be fooled into thinking there are no synthetic ingredients or ingredients that don’t pop up as mild or moderate hazards in anything lotion based. If you are using a lotion based moisturizer for your face, body etc it will contain some level of synthetic ingredients. Always read your labels!

 

All of our ingredients are listed on our website and our products:

 

See what is in our face moisturizer: Face Moisturizer

 

Check out our Moisturizer: Moisturizer


 

Tick Removal and Lyme Disease Prevention

There is a lot of talk about ticks and the dangers of Lyme disease as we are amid what is being called “the worst year” in terms of the Tick Removalnumber of ticks out there. In the last few weeks I have stumbled upon several posts going viral that are actually pretty dangerous to follow if you do have a tick.

 

As the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Ideally you want to prevent ticks from being on your body.

  • Wear shoes and socks (I even tuck my kids pants into their socks for extra measure)
  • Keep your grass trimmed and when possible avoid long grass and wooded areas.
  • Always check yourself and your children after being outside.

 

Insect repellants are an issue here.

I see a lot of homemade recipes that are fabulous for mosquitoes but are going to be less than effective for ticks. Keep in mind-a tick is technically not an insect (It has 8 legs). According to most research DEET and Permethrin are the only effective ingredients. Unfortunately both are toxic to humans so you need to balance it with your needs and environment. (I may consider treating my clothes if I were hiking in the woods or camping. For my children playing outside everyday on their swing set I am choosing to rely more on prevention and checking them afterwards)

This year I have carefully researched essential oils for repelling ticks. None are recommended by the CDC (so keep that in mind). Various MLM companies list many and I generally take that with a grain of salt. Repeatedly, I found info and testimonials about rose geranium (NOTE: This is not a mix of geranium and rose in a bottle it is the actual rose geranium oil). I have chosen to use that as part of our prevention this year. (Warning: It STINKS! If I were a tick I would stay away from us!) So far no ticks-but you should know we don’t frequent the woods, however do live with woods in our back yard and along the kids school playground.

 

Prevention aside, what happens if you do get a tick? A few weeks back I saw a video going viral with a drop of peppermint oil being applied to the tick and it backing out of the person’s arm. It was being shared and people were discussing how they would all be carrying peppermint oil. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! While peppermint oil is wonderful (I spray my mailbox to keep the spiders out J), you do not want a tick to back out.  Smothering ticks in Vaseline, oil, or a dose of peppermint oil, nail polish or even burning them can cause them to regurgitate up their bacteria right into your skin.

A second item I have seen making the viral scene on Facebook is twister devices. Remember, twisting the tick can cause its head to break off. You want to pull straight out.

To remove a tick safely you want to grasp the tick close to your skin with tweezers. Slowly and firmly pull the tick away from the skin without twisting. You should then wash and disinfect your skin as well as your tweezers.

Lyme disease is serious. I am all for keeping the toxins away but use your research and environment to carefully weigh your options in different situations.

Tick Removal


 

Dental Floss

Finishing up with our oral health series is a closer look at dental floss. We know flossing has benefits. Flossing has been shown to Dental Flossextend your life by improving gum health, warding off gum disease, heart disease and dementia. Are there drawbacks to what type of floss you are choosing? Unfortunately, yes, but there is always a natural solution.

Some dental floss is made of nylon, which is synthetic and made from petroleum products. Nylon can take up to 50 years to break down. While floss may be “small” consider that American alone are buying 3 million miles of floss each year. Floss picks use less floss, but more plastic handles.

Another often found choice-synthetic wax. The synthetic wax is then coated with petroleum.

Many companies have coated their floss with Teflon  (perfluorotanoic acid -PFOA or PFC’s ) to make them slide easier. Unfortunately PFOA has been connected to thyroid disease, cancer, birth defects and weaker immune systems. Check your labels for ingredients that may contain the word “fluoro” pr “perfluoro”  I know you may be thinking “How much of this chemical can I possibly ingest? Is it a big deal?” Keep in mind that these chemicals have proven not to leave our bodies and build up over time. You want to cut down anywhere you can. Purchasing natural floss easily does this. You can find floss with a natural wax coating. Some options include Toms of Maine, Dessert Essence and Radius (although you should be aware that Radius is a silk floss and is not vegan friendly)

In addition, electric toothbrushes have proven to be more effective at removing plaque and water piks are becoming more and more effective as well.

Dental Floss


 

Fluoride Treatments: Are They Toxic?

When I was a kid they did “fluoride treatments” at school on Wednesdays and everyone swished and spit into a cup. Not sure why, but Fluoride ToxicI am thankful my mother never signed us up for this insanity. We started avoiding fluoride in toothpastes about 4 years ago when I learned that it is a neurotoxin. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/11/22/fluoride-damages-your-brain.aspx)  (For the record I am 43 and have never had a cavity) Fluoride has been linked to bone fractures, thyroid disorders, and impaired brain development and function.  Ironically, fluoride is also linked to fluorosis. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db53.htm)  Fluorosis is white streaks/brown stains and broken enamel on teeth.

In putting together my toothpaste blog I already knew fluoride was a toxin. I knew most towns still add it to their drinking water. I was shocked when this came up on our town’s Facebook  mom page last month. A concerned parent asked why we still have it in our water. This was followed by many comments supporting how great it is and how everyone should be entitled to fluoride water.

Let’s explore things we know…

  1. Most developed countries do NOT add fluoride to their water. (Keeping in mind many of these countries also have stricter rules than the United States about toxins that are allowed to be in your food or beauty products.  Perhaps we are late to the party?)
  2. It can be noted that since fluoride has been added to the water tooth decay has declined-it is often left out that it declined in the countries who do not use fluoride in their water as well. (http://www.actionpa.org/fluoride/countries.pdf)
  3. We all know the FDA tells us it’s poisonous to consume more than a pea size amount of toothpaste for children if it contains fluoride. (FYI by those measurements your tube should last your whole family about a year!)
  4. We all aim to drink 8oz of fluorinated water a day. I won’t pretend to know the ratio per glass because I have NO idea but from what I could find it seems one 8oz glass contains the same amount of recommended consumable toothpaste during brushing. Interesting fact-China does NOT put fluoride in their water because it’s too toxic and causes damages in studies.

Natural occurring fluoride IS found in some waters. Natural occurring fluoride has what is called calcium fluoride –they bond together and are not absorbed much by your body. Hydrofluorosilcic acid (artificial fluoride which is added to the water) is absorbed by your body and is 1000x more toxic. Sodium fluoride (pharmaceutical grade) is what is used in most studies-BUT is NOT what is added to your water. Is that Sodium Fluoride safer? According to private testing sodium fluoride powder contained traces of aluminum, arsenic, strontium, lead, uranium and tungsten. We acknowledge how dangerous those items are for our bodies. Even if you believe consuming fluoride is safe-is that a compromise you are willing to make? Personally I will skip the arsenic and aluminum thanks!

I am not sure why there is not more concern about this. If you want to believe in fluoride-keep it where it “belongs” on your teeth.  (We opt for fluoride free-and no cavities thus far!) As for water we opt for Poland springs or Fiji drinking water.  While they do contain fluoride-it is NATURAL occurring.

Fluoride Toxic


 

The Twig Brush: Does it work?

The last few weeks we have focused on oral health care. If you missed it be sure to check out earlier blog posts on triclosan, toothpasteTwig Brush and toothbrushes. Tagging onto last weeks post about toothbrushes I want to make you aware of a pretty cool item out there. The Twig Brush!

A few months back Twig Brush contacted me over Instagram with an offer to give it a try (no strings attached and they did not ask for a review.)  What is Twig Brush? Taken from their site:   “In short it is a natural teeth cleaning twig made from the Salvadora Persica tree (also known as the Peelu tree or toothbrush tree) today it is used by many in the Eastern world as a traditional and natural alternative to the modern toothbrush, and has a long, well documented reputation for it’s medicinal benefits.”

 

To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it all appeared non-toxic so I checked it out.  When my twig brush arrived I read the directions and followed step one: “trim end, gently nibble until it forms bristles.” I am chewing a “twig” wondering “When did I get this crazy?!” Then I brushed my teeth with it (no toothpaste, just using the twig brush) and my teeth felt amazing! That clean, smooth feeling right after the dentist -that’s how it felt.

What are the benefits? (Taken from the Twig Brush site):

Natural antiseptics (Eliminates Bad Breath)

Twigbrush contains numerous antiseptics that kill harmful microorganisms, which cause bad breath, mouth ulcers, gum disease as well as bleeding of the gum.

Silica (Removes Stains & Whitens Teeth)

Silica acts as an abrasive material, which removes stains and other deposits from the surface of the tooth… or in short, whitens your teeth.

Sodium bicarbonate (Whitens Teeth)

Sodium bicarbonate has an abrasive effect when rubbed against the teeth. Heck, even the ‘American Dental Associate’ recommends sodium bicarbonate as a preferred ingredient in toothpastes. This is the best whitening toothpaste alternative out there.
Resin (Protects Teeth)

Natural resin forms a layer over the enamel when the miswak is used. This then acts as a shield and protects your teeth from microbial action.

Essential oils (Fresher Breath)

The miswak contains natural scented oils that serve as two functions. The first is fresher breath, as the natural scent perfumes your mouth and the second is that it helps stimulate the flow of saliva.

 

I have used the twig brush for the past few months (admittedly not daily but several times a week) For me it does not replace my regular toothbrush and toothpaste but it is a fabulous addition to add to your oral health routine. A tip: Keep scissors in the bathroom. You need to trim it down every few days and without them handy it resulted in my inconsistency.

Definitely check them out! https://www.twigbrush.com

Twig Brush


 

Toxic Toothbrushes

Continuing with our oral health info-another one I was late to the party with: toothbrushes. The bonus is toothbrushes get replaced Toxic Toothbrushesoften and are fairly inexpensive so it’s an easy swap you can make in the future with a little info.

What may be in your toothbrush even fresh from the package? 

PVC plastics contain Phthalates. As we have learned phthalates are known to increase breast cancer cells, asthma, allergies, infertility and decreased sperm counts. It is difficult to avoid them entirely since they are in so many things, however cutting down every little bit helps.

Another toxin you will find is BPA. Unfortunately if you see BPA free please remember the BPA replacement has proven to be more toxic. This issue is seldom addressed since there isn’t an actual solution aside eliminating plastic). BPA has shown to have links to high blood pressure and have effects on the brain, prostate. One of the issues with BPA is that it breaks down when heated. If you are sterilizing your toothbrush in any form that may heat it up you are better off tossing it and getting a new toothbrush.

Solutions?

Personally I like the bamboo toothbrushes. The downfall to this is that if you have more than one person in your family you need a way to make them. Colored nail polish on the handle, or washi tape seem to work. My younger kids seem anti bamboo toothbrush so we have done well with the radius toothbrush. (I have found them at iherb  (https://www.iherb.com/pr/RADIUS-Totz-Plus-Toothbrush-3-Years-White-Blue-1-Toothbrush/63598) or Whole Foods.

The Soft Landing also put together a nice list of other options that are safer than what you may be getting free at your last dentist appointment. http://thesoftlanding.com/bpa-pvc-and-phthalate-free-toothbrush-guide/

Toxic Toothbrushes


 

Toxins in Toothpaste

Last week we focused on Triclosan and where it is hiding. One of the biggest places is your toothpaste. While it is true that the FDA Toxins in Toothpastehas stated triclosan has proven to fight gingivitis-is it worth the trade off? Triclosan has also shown to be an endocrine disruptor. This term gets mentioned a lot but isn’t always explained. Basically any endocrine disrupting chemicals can promote health issues such as breast cancer, testicular cancer, low term birth weight and the progression of cancers.  The animal studies that have included triclosan have shown it may interfere with cells that signal the brain and heart as well as having hormonal effects. Triclosan has also shown to cause resistance to antibiotics. One study showed that people who brushed their teeth with particular toothpaste high in triclosan had five times more triclosan in their urine.

Aside Triclosan, other toxins in toothpaste:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate – is what makes your toothpaste all foamy. I have to admit it took some getting used to when I switched to toothpaste that didn’t include that-however it is a psychological effect-the toothpaste still works without getting foamy J The problem with SLS? It is often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane which is a carcinogen. SLS is a registered insecticide and is toxic to the environments and marine life. SLS can also cause skin irritation and sores.

Fluoride –  is a touchy one. Fluoride is actually a neurotoxin and does accumulate in your tissues over time. Toothpaste that contains natural occurring cacao extract bromine has shown to be more beneficial in repairing and re-mineralizing teeth than fluoride according to more recent studies. Fluoride is imported from China (red flag? More on that next week!)

Propylene Glycol –  is as dangerous as it sounds. It is a mineral that is also used in paints, antifreeze and de-icers for airplanes. It has shown to cause organ toxicity, skin and eye irritations.

Diethanolamine (DEA) – Classified as a 10 (10 being the most toxic) with EWG’s ratings it is tied to stomach cancer as well as liver, bladder and esophagus cancers. California has declared it a possible human carcinogen. Seems like something we shouldn’t brush our teeth with?

Artificial Sweeteners and colors –  It gets complicated here. It’s easy to start with aspartame since we know it’s no good.  Saccharine is another one to avoid. Xylitol has mixed thoughts but so far is being considered more safe than not. Some artificial colors and sweeteners may be contaminated with heavy metals or made from petrochemicals. No thank you!

Carrageenan – This one annoys me beyond belief mostly because I find in many “natural” types of toothpaste that people think they have swapped safely for. It is a carcinogen and causes inflammation.

Glycerin –  While glycerin is not toxic by itself, but doesn’t rinse off the surface of your teeth and prevents the natural flow and protection of saliva.

Lead –  Apparently Earthpaste has tested for lead. (Unfortunate, since they have a great EWG score ingredient wise.) http://leadsafeamerica.org/earthpaste/  They have stated that it is natural occurring. Natural or not we know there is NO safe level of lead for consumption so it is best not to include it in your toothpaste. This is a controversial issue for toothpastes with bentonite clay in them. I invite you to research and decide for yourself.

 

What are some better choices?

Personally I have come to like Ugly by Nature (https://uglybynature.com). I have tried a few flavors but I am partial to the mints since my brain has programmed to feel clean with a minty toothpaste.  I have used it for over a year and I have no complaints from my dentist or myself. (As I side note I also do regular oil pulling-to read more check out our previous blog post on mouthwash!)  Check your brand at EWG and find yourself a safer swap!

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/toothpaste/

 

 

Toxins in Toothpaste


 

 

Triclosan: Where is it Hiding?

I wanted to address triclosan by itself before I spend some time addressing other oral health care toxins. Triclosan finally made some headlines last year when the FDA decided antibacterial soap was not helping anyone. More about that in a previous blog post. Please keep in mind that it is not phased out of soaps yet! Unfortunately, antibacterial soap is not the only place this ingredient is Triclosan: Where is it Foundhiding.

What is tricolsan?

Triclosan is an ingredient intended to reduce bacteria. It can be found in many detergents, soaps, color cosmetics, antiperspirants and toothpastes. In addition, it has been proven to disrupt hormones in animals. It has shown to contribute to the rising problem of antibiotic resistance and is harmful to the immune system.

According to a study in 2008 75% of people tested had triclosan in their urine. Unfortunately, we increased antibacterial products even more in the last 9 years so it is likely that number has only risen.

If you have already tossed your antibacterial soaps (if not please do!), it is time to see where else triclosan is hiding in your products.

Toothpaste is a big one. The last thing you want to do is add a toxic ingredient to your mouth twice a day. Triclosan is not a needed ingredient in toothpaste but unfortunately has found a way into many of the more natural ones.

 

Places you can find it:

  • Color Cosmetics
  • Teeth Whiteners
  • Shaving Products
  • Detergents
  • Antibacterial Soaps
  • Antiperspirants

 

Triclosan


 

Toxins in Tampons

This one blew my mind a little, mostly because I overlooked it for so long.  We know over 90% of our cotton is genetically modified so Toxins in Tampons  it can withstand being doused in glyphosate. (A known carcinogenic weed killer). We know everything you put on or in your body ends up in your bloodstream. So why do we not discuss tampons?

I am aware organic cotton has its benefits and my kids sleep on organic cotton sheets. They wear a lot of organic cotton clothing, partly due to my fond addiction to Hanna Anderson clothing. We own plenty that is not organic and I do not worry about it. Then again, clothing is not being inserted INTO your body. The vaginal membrane has shown to be more absorptive of medicine and other materials than any other part of the body. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15385078

Are all ingredients disclosed?

Tampons are considered a “medical device” which means all ingredients do not need to be entirely disclosed.  The word fragrance itself can contain any number of over 3,400 chemicals, many of which are toxic. Although the bleaching process has changed over the years and dioxin are said not to be a factor-in recent studies they have been found in more than half of the tampons/sanitary napkins tested. So why worry about Dioxin? It is a toxic chlorine compound linked to cancer.

Some studies conducted to decide if these ingredients are safe most are paid for by the companies themselves. Information to consider. In addition the consensus is that in small amounts these ingredients are deemed to pose no health risk. Unfortunately for woman, they tampons for several days a month for many years.

Toxins are cumulative in the body.  It is likely very true that using non organic tampons one month or year is not going to destroy your health. However the average woman menstruates for 30-40 years.   That is an estimated 12,000 tampons. Since we have not been using the same pesticides for 40 years we have no way of obtaining a study on the safety of non-organic tampons over a lifetime.  The FDA currently has no plans to fund any studies on the safety of tampons.

Solutions?

This is one item that has been swapped out for organic in my house.  This post has been written a few months waiting to be used. Recently I stumbled upon a new company called Lola. I watched their intro video and loved that they are a company started by two women looking to share a better product-much like The Chemical Free Me is. You can subscribe and even personalize what size tampons you want in your box each month. You can easily skip months or set it for every other month. You can add liners of the size you need as well.  All organic cotton-nothing else! Brilliant!

Read their about us below and visit their website and find yourself a safer set of feminine products –while supporting a small business.  https://www.mylola.com

We met in the summer 2014, introduced by friends who had a hunch we’d hit it off. They were right. Jordana was in grad school, working on the early concept that would become LOLA, while Alex was at a tech startup. After a drink or two, Jordana asked Alex, “Have you ever wondered what’s in a tampon?” Turns out, she hadn’t.

That small question sparked a big idea – could we create an organic tampon and a brand that was completely transparent with customers about the ingredients in its products? After all, if we care about the ingredients in everything from our food to our face cream, why should our feminine care be any different?

Toxins in Tampons