Thursday, March 15, 2012

NYT: Is It Safe to Play Yet? Going to Extreme Lengths to Purge Household Toxins

Today the New York Time’s published an article that resonated immensely  in my house and, I am sure,  in many of this blog’s readers houses; Is It Safe to Play Yet? Going to Extremes to Purge Household Toxins

It talks about how so many more of us are educating ourselves about the toxins we are bringing home inadvertently:  exposing and potentially causing harm to the health of our munchkins and selves, and the uphill battle it becomes.  

The article reminds us of just why we have to be vigilant for ourselves and our families, reminding us that “One thousand to three thousand new chemicals were introduced into our environment every year over the past 30 years,”  citing a European Union chemical registry that suggests the number of substances in global commerce is close to  143,000. and only a handful  (under 200) have been tested.

According to the article, and as we have mentioned in our blog repeatedly, it is especially worrisome that “hundreds of toxic chemicals, including pesticides, fire retardants and PCBs, can be found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns,... It’s particularly unsettling to imagine how these chemicals might affect fetal development, as a single cell turns into trillions, ...And from birth, chemical exposure only grows. Young children eat and drink more, as a share of their body weight, than adults do. They breathe more air. Playing on the floor, they absorb chemicals through the skin.”


Finally (as we have mentioned in Non-Toxic Munchkin many times but is important to remind ourselves) the Time’s article mentions specific studies that have linked increasing rates of childhood diseases to chemicals, including childhood asthma, ADHD and cancer.

As the article points out, unfortunately, educating ourselves is a full time job.   Most of us  do not have chemical degrees nor do we have unlimited time to spend on researching everything that we have in our home.   

Through Non-Toxic Munchkin I try to help my friends and readers and make this process a little easier, but it is VERY time consuming (and often expensive).  At the  end of the day the important thing is to do what you can.  Just like exposure to small quantities of chemicals can add up in our bodies and cause big (bad) effects over time, small changes to help make our homes a little less toxic also add up... but in a positive way.  


It also  mentions a couple of good outlets( besides Non Toxic Munchkin of course!) where you can further educate yourself:

"Parents can consult Web sites like Healthy Child Healthy World, whose mission is to “ignite the movement that empowers parents to protect children from harmful chemicals.” Or they can pore over safety ratings for children’s clothes, furniture and toys at GoodGuide  and Healthy Stuff. An online retailer like Oompa  offers “organic and eco-friendly” toys by country of origin.


WHY IS THIS ARTICLE IMPORTANT

The best thing about the article in the New York Times?  The more coverage this topic gets in mainstream and respected outlets, like the New York Times, the more parents will become aware of the importance of protecting their children and (hopefully) the more likely changes will take place at a legislative level to protect us consumers and, especially, to protect our munchkins!

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