Monday, January 28, 2013

Flame Retardant in Your Soft Drink and Carcinogens in Laundry Detergent ?

Some good news this week!
Thanks to public pressure two multinational corporations announced plans to eliminate harmful chemicals from very popular products!


Yes, you read correctly:  currently there is a high probability that your fav Gatorade drink has an ingredient used as a flame retardant.  The good news?  The company has agreed to take it out...

Back in November of last year (2012) the news broke that Gatorade, athlete's everywhere (and of all ages) choice drink,  contained an ingredient called 'Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO).  A high schooler noticed the ingredient listed in her Gatorade and did some research and found out that  BVO is a flame retardant banned in countries like Japan and the European Union.  Research has shown links between  BVO and impaired brain development, reduced fertility and altered thyroid hormones.  It is also a chemical that stays in your body for a long time, thus lengthening the period of time it is in your body potentially harming it.

The student decided to start a petition on asking Pepsico to remove the toxic chemical from all Gatorade drinks.  Over 200,000 people signed the petition.
PepsiCo, the company that makes Gatorade, quickly explained that they use small levels of BVO to keep artificial flavoring evenly distributed and assured the public that at low levels BVO is safe.  It was used in the citrus  versions of the sports drink.  Ironically (but to no surprise since this is common practice), PepsiCo produces the same Gatorade drinks without the chemical in other countries where it is banned... but has chosen to keep it in the US.

Last Friday PepsiCo announced that it would eliminate BVO from all of the Gatorade drinks it sells in the US.  BVO will be replaced by "sucrose acetate isobutyrate" almost immediately.  Basically, as soon as existing supplies of Gatorade with BVO sell out, the new ingredient will hit the market

Great news for Gatorade drinkers BUT be aware, BVO is still being used in some other common soft drinks like Mountain Dew , Diet Mountain Dew, some flavors of Powerade and Fresca as well as Squirt and Sukist Peach Soda.  


THE Backstory
One of my go-to-sources for  all things non-toxic living, Women's Voices for the Earth, published a study last year called Dirty Secrets:  What's Hiding in your Cleaning Products?      

The report found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane  in (among other products) Tide® and Tide Free & Gentle laundry detergents.  

According to the EPA,  1,4-dioxane is classified as a probable human carcinogen.  It has been linked in animal studies to increased risk of breast cancer. Absolutely nothing is known about any potential effects of any level of 1,4 dioxane on children or fetuses since this has never been studied.  

As is the case with a number of cosmetics and products, this chemical doesn’t appear on the Tide product label or on the product website.... so it is virtually impossible for us as consumers to know if it is in the products we are using.  

Particularily troublesome with this specific product?  The fact that  Tide Free & Gentle®, was being marketed to mothers as a 'green' and 'eco safe' alternative to use for their family's laundry.  

Procter and Gamble, the company that produces Tide products, responded by stating that the "levels of 1,4 dioxane found in the product are well below currently accepted safety standards, and that it does not plan to reformulate its detergents".  

Following the report, As You Sow, a nonprofit that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility, filed a lawsuit against Procter & Gamble for " violating Proposition 65, a California law that states " that businesses must provide a “clear
and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a chemical on the state’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm".   

Ironically, P&G is quite familiar with this California law, because a couple of years back its Herbal Essences shampoos were reformulated to avoid being forced by a court to carry a warning label!

THE RESULTS:  Small steps forward
Following As You Sow's lawsuit, last week,  Procter & Gamble agreed in court to  reformulate its detergents to reduce levels of 1,4 dioxane substantially.  Now, Tide Free & Clear is a bit closer to being free and clear of toxic chemicals.

For alternatives to a healthier less toxic alternatives in the laudry room read our post


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

... Who's The Most Non-Toxic Car Seat of Them All?

December 2016:  Thanks to numerous chemical conscious parents that have commented below and contacted me directly, I have written an updated post on this topic, since a new studyhas been released that tested 15 car seats for flame retardant chemicals.   To read the results,  read our blog post ' FLAME RETARDANTS CHEMICALS STILL USED IN ALL BUT ONE CAR SEAT BRAND TESTED (NEW STUDY) for more on this topic and feel free to comment or contact me directly!

This week I have been researching car seats. Living in New York City, without a car, we have been using a very basic car seat that the hospital gave us when my munchkin was born. However, since we have increasingly been renting cars and making day trips it is time for us to upgrade.

Car seats, as readers of my blog might remember, are infamous for being amongst the most toxic of childhood items, thanks mostly to the flame retardants and PVC ( plastic) used in their manufacturing. This weeks challenge? Find a safe car seat without any of these nasty chemicals.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Closet full of formaldehyde?

Do your eyes light up when you find a shirt for yourself or your hubby that reads 'iron free' or 'wrinkle free'? 

Do you seek out those "easy care"  bed  linens that come out of the dryer looking so much neater than the wrinkled mess the normal linens do? Yes! One less thing to iron! .... But did you know that anti wrinkle finish comes from a resin that releases formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde?   In your clothes?  In your children's bed linens?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2013!   

It is still January so I can still say this... although, admittedly, I am a bit late!  

As many of you have noticed I have been absent for a couple of months.  The good news?   I have a little munchkin in the oven :-)   The last months have been busy busy busy with the holidays and morning (or can we say all day?) sickness.   But slowly things are getting back to normal and I hope I will be back to writing my weekly articles!

With a munchkin coming soon, I am remembering all those issues and questions that come up during pregnancy and early childhood.  Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions, as I love hearing from everyone!   I look forward to sharing all the news and shortcuts for non-toxic living that I continue to come across in 2013!!!!  Here is to a happy and healthy year!