Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer News: YAY: Johnson & Johnson, Graco and the US Government, NAY to Cambells

In Case You Missed It...

While many of us were on vacation, some big news was announced over the summer, involving some very well known brands....

Johnson & Johnson announces phase out of “chemicals of concern”
Probably the most publicized news of the summer was Johnson & Johnson's announcement that All ( yes all! ) of their products will be reformulated to either completely phase- out or reduce 6 " chemicals of concern."

Here are the specifics:

Products/Brands involved
All of Johnson & Johnson products at a WORLD WIDE level, which include (among others)
- Johnson's baby lotion and bath products and No More Tears shampoo
- Desitin for diaper rash,
- Neutrogena, RoC, Clean & Clear and Lubriderm of Aveeno, Purpose

Chemicals of Concern Being Phased-Out
  • Parabens (used as a preservative): 
Baby products: will phase out the use of all parabens from their baby care products.
Adult products: the use of parabens in new products will be restricted to methyl, ethyl and propyl parabens. All other types of parabens will be phased out in all their adult products.
  • Formaldehyde (used as a preservative ) formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogens; as well as a skin, eye and respiratory irritant 
Baby : will phase out formaldehyde releasers from all baby products.
Adult: will phase out formaldehyde releasers in adult products, making rare exceptions for adult products only when alternatives are not feasible or safe in formulation with other ingredients
  • 1,4 Dioxane
Probable human carcinogen. While not being completely phased out will be reducing levels of 1,4 dioxane to below 10 parts per million in products
  • Pthalates : 
In cosmetics, phthalates give hairsprays a flexible film, help fragrances last longer, and make nail products resistant to chipping. Endocrine  disruptors.

Baby : all baby products worldwide are now phthalate-free, and will remain so. 

Adults: in 2006 they stopped using DEP (diethylphthalAte ) in new adult products, and are committed to phasing it out of all other adult products that still contain it

  • Triclosan
The most commonly used antibacterial ingredient in consumer products worldwide.
Baby: none of their infant or baby products worldwide contain triclosan
Adult: the company claims to be committed to phasing out triclosan altogether and thus are researching new alternatives to be able to do so.

2013: Johnson & Johnson baby products will be free of these chemicals by the end of 2013 at a worldwide level.. so for now still opt to buy your trusted 'green and nontoxic' brands.
2015: Adult products will be reformulated by the end of 2015

Are you concerned about other products you might have at home?
EWG's Skin Deep Database is a great place to search for your products and see if the ingredients they contain are considered to be of low toxicity or high toxicity


Safe Chemicals Act passed! 

26 years have passed since the US government made any major updates to our nation’s main law regulating toxic chemicals. During these last 2.5 decades, under the current law, more than 80,000 chemicals have been permitted for use in the country having never been tested for toxicity to humans, not to mention children and fetuses. Finally, this summer, a major stride.

On July 25, the Safe Chemicals Act passed the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works committee....now it's headed to the Senate floor.

Its future facing Senate is grim, since every Republican Senator on the Committee opposed the measure.  If you would like to encourage your Senator to support the bill click here, input your zip code and send a (pre-written) message to your local Senators.  Two clicks is all it takes! 

Why is this such huge news?
The Safe Chemicals Act is hoping  to replace the very outdated Toxic Substance Control Act of 1979 which is responsible for allowing chemicals to be used in consumer products without having first showing proof of being safe for human use. The Safe Chemicals Act  is the reason it is SO hard to get a chemical banned, even when there is mounting evidence of toxicity.  Not even the EPA can ban a chemical it considers a potential carcinogen under this outdated law. All of this would change under the new law.

Graco Commits to Banning Toxic Flame Retardants

After a 2011 study published on Heathlystuff.org showed that Graco manufactured one of the most toxic car seats, and mounting consumer pressure, Graco confirmed this July that they will be banning and monitoring four hazardous flame retardants.  Specifically Tris chemicals, TDCPP and TCEP, TCPP as well as Firemaster 550.

* Orbit Baby makes car seats and all of their products without hazardous flame retardants. Britax has also committed to eliminating all of these chemicals by the end of 2012


After Cambell's Soup received high praise for vowing to eliminate BPA from their can lining in March, Healthy Child Healthy World called them out for failing to disclose what new chemical would be replacing BPA in the can linings. As they put it "Let’s be clear. None of us signed petitions, called manufacturers, sent letters to legislators, spread the word to friends about the dangers of BPA only to have manufacturers “solve” the problem by saying they were going “BPA-free” while switching to a chemical that was just as bad – or worse - for our health. " 

No word from Cambell's yet, but a good alternative to avoid BPA? Choose glass or ceramic or stainless steel when you can and eat fresh (ideally organic) produce.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How To Reduce BPA Levels By 60% In 3 Days

Oh what a summer!  Even though I  have been away from Non-Toxic Munchkin this summer, I have continued  to collect info throughout the summer that I hope to share with everyone in the coming weeks.  

Today, however, a new study came out that inspired me to come back to Non-Toxic Munchkin  a bit earlier than I had planned!

The study, conducted by the Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent  Spring Institute, answers two important questions:
  1. What is the leading source of the BPA that contaminates our bodies? Food packaging (cans, plastic containers etc)
  2.  If we removed that source, how much would our BPA levels drop? A lot! (read on!)
The study looked at 5 families and measured their BPA levels at each of these three staged:
  • First, the families ate their normal diet.
  • Then, the families ate 3 days of freshly prepared organic meals that avoided contact with BPA-containing food packaging, such as canned food and polycarbonate plastic. 
  • Finally, the families returned to their normal diets.
The results?   By simply removing BPA from food packaging (cans, plastic containers etc) the family's BPA levels dropped, on average, by 60% (in some families it dropped by as much as 76%!).

The findings are HUGE.

 It means that, as parents, we can have a HUGE impact on our family's BPA levels.   By taking a couple of easy steps at home, we can dramatically limit our family's BPA  exposure.   What can we do?
  • Switch to stainless steel and glass for food storage ( for leftovers at home as well as when preparing our children's lunchboxes).
  • Never microwave plastic containers;  Instead move foods to ceramic or glass.
  • Eat out less, especially at restaurants that do not use fresh ingredients.
  • Limit canned food consumption.  Download the Breast Cancer Funds 10 Canned Foods to Avoid wallet card for your next shopping trip.
  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables when possible.  Take them out of any plastic containers they might come in when you get home.
  • Soak dried beans for cooking (you can make extra and freeze them) instead of using canned beans.
  • Limit your usage of plastic water bottles.   Opt to carry around a glass or stainless steel water bottle and buy a filter for your home.

... as a refresher, here is more information on what BPA is and why you want to avoid it.   For more details read our blog post "The ABC's of BPA" 

  • BPA is in every single person on earth.
  • Small amounts of BPA exposure over a long period of time  add up! 
  • BPA has been linked with breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty, infertility, obesity, among other ailments.

  •  Clear, shatter-proof,  hard plastics (water bottles, toys, plastic cups, food containers etc)
  • Canned foods and beverages
  • Store receipts