Monday, July 9, 2018

Tech detox

beautiful things can happen when we disconnect from tech
- but its not always easy

Usually I talk about detoxing from everyday exposure to harmful chemicals but equally as important for many children ( and parents especially!) is detoxing from electronics.

We are a generation addicted to being connected all the time- constantly checking emails, Instagram and Facebook and twitter. We have access to news and information all day and our children are growing up with parents that are connected to tech all day long and that are disconnected - often- from their children.

Kids who abuse screen time are more likely to suffer from everything from chronic irritability, mood disregulation, inattention, speech delays etc. Mobile technology also has the added danger of commutative exposure to EMF radiation.  Unfortunately, screen time continues to rise- just mobile media time  for zero-to-eight year-olds has tripled between 2013 and 2017, from an average of 15 minutes per day to 48 minutes per day. Tweens log an average of four hours and 36 minutes of screen time per day, and teens spend an average of six hours and 40 minutes on a screen. 

Knowing all of this, we have somewhat strict rules at home regarding screen time. In a nutshell: no tv or screens during the week- these can only be used ( usually for a max of 2 hours per day) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The boys choose if they want to use their time on video games or tv or movies. Special circumstances do arise that allow for bending the rules ( ie if mom or kids are sick or just really tired and usually when the grandparents visit) but, generally, we all know the rules.

This summer, however, during our week long trip to Iceland we decided to implement a no screen policy for the entire trip ( excluding the 10 hour plane ride- we are not masochists!). Considering we drove around Iceland a lot ( almost every single day we were in the car between 3-5 hours) it meant a lot to not allow the kids to use their ipads.

Was it worth it?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Air Purifier Buying Guide: Why you Need One, How to Choose the Right One and Why it May Be one of the Best Investments You Make

Let's talk about the air your family is breathing

Take a deep breathe.  It is not very often that we stop to think about what we are breathing in, yet we do it over 20,000 times every day.  The reality is that the air we breathe is not always as pure as we would like to think it is.  Usually, the air is full of pollution, fragrances, cleaning products, paints, allergens, dust, pollen, mold spores,  and a long list of other stuff that can actually affect our health and our young children's health in both the short term or long term.

There are various reasons someone might consider buying a portable air purifier at home.
  1. If you live in an area where air quality/pollution is an issue.  
  2. If you or someone in your home frequently works  with certain art materials (paints, glazes etc) which give off dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOC's)
  3. if you live near an agricultural area where pesticides are often sprayed
  4. if you are remodeling or are moving into a recently built home
  5. mold problems
  6. Allergy sufferers (seasonal, pets, cigarette smoke etc)
*  I also have to say that we all sleep so much better when the air filter is on over night.   

Let's talk about just how serious each reason can be (or scroll down to my air purifier buying guide)....

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Non-Toxic Munchkin Approved: Fun and Safe Summer Essentials

Summer vacation is here which means that we have a long summer full of mostly sunny days that will hopefully be full of play, fun, a bit of travel or camps and memories in the making.

  All this free time entails a lot of planning on my (and most mom and/or dads) end, so the last thing we want to worry about are our kids being unnecessarily exposed to toxic chemicals and the very last thing we want to be doing is spending our summer researching safe fun products!

So here are some simple switches you can make to everyone's summer staples to make sure your summer is fun and healthy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Why Its Worth Switching to Safer Personal Care Products and What I Am Using Now

Is it worth switching to non-toxic and cleaner beauty products? 


But don't take my word for it- a study conducted not too long ago followed teenaged girls that used conventional cosmetic and personal care products and had them switch to cosmetic products, shampoos and soaps that DO NOT contained phthalates and parabens.

After just 3 days the levels of these hormone-disrupting chemicals in the bodies of these teenage girls plunged ( by up to 44%!) - just by making the switch.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Banned in Hawaii: Is this Common Sunscreen Ingredient in Your Favorite Sunscreen?

Every year parents stop and ask me what sunblock I use- for myself and for my kids.   We all know we have to protect our families from the sun's dangerous rays... daily and year round if possible, however as more information is known about different popular chemicals used in sunscreens today- it can (and is ) confusing to know if your family's top choice is really just protecting you from the sun's rays and not also exposing you to harmful chemcicals.   Even my top choices have varied slightly through the years (although I have been pretty faithful to 2-3 of them for the last 3 years or so... more on that later) 


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Are The Water Fountains in Your Local School and Parks Tested for Lead?

This summer, Chicago is shutting off half of its outdoor drinking fountains amid lead concerns.  After the Flynt water crisis, the city of Chicago decided to test their park’s water fountains- their findings?  About a quarter of their public water fountains had lead levels exceeding 15 ppm.  

What is considered a high level of lead in water?
Believe it or not,  there is no federal standard for the amount of lead found in tap water at individual homes.  The federal government does have a 15 ppm 'action level' it loosely uses, but studies  have reported harmful effects when concentrations exceed the FDA’s standard for bottled water of no more than 5 parts per billion. 

Adding to the confusion, according to the EPA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Lead is unsafe to consume at any level" Ingesting tiny concentrations can permanently damage the developing brains of children.

What about my local park's water fountains?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Don't Gift Hormone Disrupting Chemicals for Mothers Day nor Teacher Appreciation Week!

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week AND Mothers Day (also- the end of the school year is also approaching! ).   Many of us look to gift our moms and teachers something that let's them know we love them, appreciate them and are thankful.  Some of the most popular gifts for these special women in our lives (yes, I know men make wonderful teachers too!   but generally speaking these are better matches for women!)  on both special days are candles, luxurious body/face lotions and fragrant body washes.

If going this route- remember to avoid buying items that contain the words "fragrance" or "perfum" or that smell artificial.   Seek out products that specify in the ingredients that they use pure organic essential oils.  Otherwise?   We are gifting these special women items filled with hormone mimicking chemicals called phthalates !!

Scroll down to the end of this story for some of my favorites!

......And, because I know how popular candles are, here is a blog post from last year with my candle buying guide.