Monday, December 23, 2019

2019 Holiday cookies: gluten free, nut free, artificial dye free and Amazingly tasty!

My son is gluten free and it is sometimes challenging to find a good recipe for Christmas cookies that is both gluten free and taste amazing- this recipe is - simply pit- amazing. The cookies came out perfectly crispy and just... amazing.

We used Bobs Red 1:1 gluten free flour and all organic ingredients.  

Of note: natural food coloring is not as ‘bright’ as artificial ( especially the red and blue) which I kind of love but worth noting! 

My Amazon shop has the food coloring and sprinkles that are artificial dye free! 

Happy Holidays! 

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies (makes 1 dozen large cookies)
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 10 mins

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

When your Favorite Lunchbox Contains Harmful Water Repellant Chemicals

Add our go-to favorite lunchbox Planetbox to the list of products that contain PFAS chemicals.

My heart almost stopped when I thoroughly read the description to their carry boxes on their website

 “ Inside fabric is polyester with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish for a convenient wipe down surface.”

By now, I know that “DWR”  almost always means that a member of the PFAS  Perfluorocarbons ) family has been used as a base for treating fabrics and making them repel moisture.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

2019: So Many New Car Seats Available Without Flame Retardant Chemicals!

Photo credit:  @kotuttle

Looking for a flame retardant free car seat? Finally after years of covering this topic I can say that you truly have a CHOICE.  

The Ecology Center, after 10 years of being the main independent source of chemical testing of car seats, today published a new report on the state of flame retardant chemicals in children’s car seats.  The main takeaway? Lots of progress.  Just 3 years ago in 2016, not a single toxic-free children’s car seat was available.   Today there are 16 toxic flame retardant-free car seat models available for purchase. 

Yes there is room for improvement in the market, but lots to celebrate too….

What's NEW in 2019

FIVE manufacturers have introduced a total of 16 FR-free children’s car seats.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Best Non-Toxic Gifts My Kids Have Received ...

Sarah W Olsen (Baeo Baby) , Suze Swope (Gurl Gone Green),  Anna Schafer (BAeo Baby), Dr. Zelana Montminy (Dr. Zelana) and Amy Ziff (Made Safe) tell me all about the best (non-toxic) gifts their kids have every received

You will undoubtedly run across numerous holiday gift guides this holiday season.  Every year I publish my own Non-Toxic Munchkin approved Holiday gift guide too.  This year, however, I thought I would do things a bit different.

I enlisted 5 mamas I trust, admire and genuinely like, to look at their kid's toys and favorite items and tell us which items have proven to be amazing, engaging, beloved and truly fun and which have stood the test of time.   

The idea?   Include gift ideas that are real-kid approved and loved,  and not necessarily items that an adult marketing executive or adult blogger think are cool and good gifts... which might often end up ignored, donated or thrown away.

As always, all of these items have been  researched by me and confirmed to be Non-Toxic Munchkin approved! 

So grateful to these special mamas for sharing these with all of me (and you!).  I can't tell you how these women influence my daily life with their posts, their work and, in some cases, their friendship!  If you are not familiar with their work make sure you look them up and give them a follow - they will undoubtedly add value to your life!   

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

2019 Mind The Store Campaign: What Retailers Are Taking Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals

When you go shopping do you ever feel frustrated when trying to figure out if the products being sold will expose our families to harmful chemicals?  It still happens to me sometimes!

Why? Well I am all too aware that more than 40,000 chemicals are added to or used to make consumer products and food packaging; and  the majority have never been adequately tested for safety and many others are well studied and known  to threaten human health.

While the government ignores the importance of chemical safety, some good news:  some large retailers are stepping up and taking a stance against harmful chemicals.

According the most recent 'Who’s Minding the Store?  report card, which grades retailer actions to eliminate toxic chemicals, some major retailers are making slow but meaningful progress in improving the safety of the products and packaging they sell.

What is driving this slow, but important, shift in the market to stricter chemical restrictions in consumer products?

Monday, November 11, 2019

PFC / PFAS Free Winter Gear For Kids and Parents

The challenge:  to find PFAS  free winter gear for the family- from kids to adults.  

The reason:   the majority of winter gear companies  (as well as sleeping bags, tents and even lunch boxes like the carry cases for the beloved Planet Box lunch boxes) still use  Perfluorocarbons  (PFAS also called PFCs) in their "DWR (durable water repellent) base for treating their fabrics and making them repel moisture.

PFAS, or PFC chemicals are fluorinated compounds, which are linked to testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid disease, obesity, weakened immunity and other health problems.

"PFC-laced runoff from a DuPont's manufacturing plant was blamed for major birth defects and other health issues in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  The consequences of PFC bioaccumulation are so serious that 200 scientists signed the Madrid Statement to express concern over the continued production and release of PFCs."  (

Many companies have pledged to stop using PFAS/ PFC in the coming years, but many (I recently confirmed North Face, Gap and Patagonia models) are still using PFAS/PFC based DWR.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

ECO MAMA MUSE: Sheena Jongenee: Rethinking What Sustainability Means in Kids Fashion

"ECO MAMA MUSE"is a series I created to turn the spotlight on rockstar mamas who are working hard to make non-toxic living easier for parents like you and me.

Today, I am featuring Sheena Jongeneel from Stylette 

Here is a question for you:  How many of you buy special holiday outfits for the kids to wear for Thanksgiving, family pictures or Christmas /Hannukkah ?  

How many times do your kids rewear that 'special holiday outfit'?

Monday, October 21, 2019

ECO MAMA MUSE: Suzanne Price : From San Francisco to Your Home

"ECO MAMA MUSE"is a series I created to turn the spotlight on rockstar mamas who are working hard to make non-toxic living easier for parents like you and me. Today's Eco Mama Muse is Suzanne Price, a pioneer in non-toxic retail and someone who has served as an inspiration and source for products for my own baby, when I started my own non-toxic living journey over 10 years ago.  

Today Sprout is both a brick and mortar store and online source for non-toxic items focusing on babies and children.  Sprout currently has stores in:  California (3 stores with a new Santa Monica store opening in the coming weeks), Chicago and Brooklyn. What I personally love about Sprout is their dedication to educate their community.  Suzanne is not only a wealth of knowledge on all things relating to environmental toxins, but her stores and sales staff (there are many across the US) also provide customers with the support and  knowledge to help them (especially sleep deprived mamas!) choose safe and useful products for their family's.

Aida:  What inspired you to open Sprout San Francisco?

Suzanne: I was working at an investment bank, over ten years ago, and my role was to learn about the emerging organic industry for consumer products. The more I researched, the more I realized that there were serious concerns to be had with the mainstream products that were being marketed for children, from toys to mattresses to personal care. I also found, from my peers having their first babies, that it was extremely difficult to find good information on what was safe and what wasn't. I felt that as a Research Analyst, I was skilled at interpreting complicated information and disseminating it in an easy to understand format. I decided that I could create a company that would not only help new parents easily find safe products, but would help them learn about what to look out for at the same time. 

Aida:  How is Sprout  different? 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

95% of Baby Foods STILL Contain Neurotoxic Heavy Metals

95% of baby foods tested still contain one or more extremely toxic chemical, including lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.  While this is not the first study to find this (you can read more in a post from 2018  and another one from 2017, 20162012 and 2011 ) this study was particularly large and a reminder that this is still a serious problem parents need to be aware off.  

Here is what this study found

Friday, September 27, 2019

Upholstered Furniture Buying Guide

*updated 01/2020

Our family sofa is pretty much the heart of our home.  It is the first place my kids gravitate too as soon as they wake up (we get up pretty early during school days and they tumble out of bed downstairs and straight to lie on the sofa), it is the place we cuddle  as a family on movie nights or, often, to do our after school reading and even bedtime reading.   It has hosted naps, playtime gymnastics/ ‘par core sessions’- and countless chill out sessions.  

We recently went through the process of purchasing a new sofa for our, more formal, living room.  Once again I was reminded that furniture buying is no longer as simple as choosing a style and fabric combo.   You have to ask questions- you have to know what questions to ask to make sure that the sofa you are bringing home is not full of well known harmful toxins.  

And so, my upholstery furniture buying guide. 

But first,  you might be asking yourself "What “harmful chemicals”  can be in my sofa?"
Unbeknownst to many, some of the most well studied  and harmful chemicals are often found in sofas and other upholstered furniture. 

Fabric, insert materials, glues, fabric treatments  and more can emit known harmful chemicals into the air that you breaths. 

What follows is a brief furniture buying guide that will include:

1.  A list of chemicals that are commonly found in upholstered furniture
2. A brief description of why these chemicals  are harmful
3.  How to identify if a piece of furniture contains these toxins  
4.  What specifically to ask the manufacturers to make sure your new furniture does not contain these chemicals.

Monday, September 23, 2019

EPA and Chemical Companies New of Harmful Effects of New 'Safer' PFAS- So Why Are These Chemicals in our Homes and Baby Gear?

Strollers, upholstered furniture, rugs and winter coats. What do they all have in common?

Most of the companies that make these products apply PFAS chemicals in order to achieve water and stain repellant properties.

While the two best known PFAS chemicals ( PFOA and PFOS infamously of Teflon pans) were found to be so harmful that the manufacturers voluntarily agreed to phasing them out in the US, there are hundreds ( yes hundreds) of new chemicals that are in the same PFAS family currently being used.  When we talk about a chemical "family"  we refer to chemicals that are very similarly structured and that,  thus, tend to act in very similar ways.  In the case of the PFAS family- most chemicals in this family can create the same water and stain repellant properties but they are also bioaccumulative (they never break down or take very long to break down) and equally bad for our health.   

Monday, September 16, 2019

Play. Taste. Smell. Why You Should Make Your Own Play Dough (it so easy!)

Today, over at Instagram (@nontoxicmunchkin) , I am talking about art supplies and offering tips on how to make sure that the art supplies you buy your little one are in fact safe and non-toxic.

For the youngest munchkins, who like to taste and explore by placing things in their mouths, using edible ingredients and completely natural ingredients is always the safest option.

One of the easiest art product to make - with completely edible ingredients you probably already have at home, is play dough.  

Here is more...


Thursday, September 5, 2019

$10 off Branch Basics

Congratulations to Branch Basics which has received Made Safe Certification!
Made Safe is the most stringent certification process currently available: basically when a company or product is Made Safe certified you know it is non-toxic and safe for the whole family.

To read my full review on Branch Basics check out my post from earlier this year!

If you are curious and want to try Branch Basics here is a code for $10 off your purchase!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Are cell phones as safe as regulators and manufacturers say they are? Could the levels of radiofrequency radiation be higher than reported and thus pose a potential danger to humans; especially to children and pregnant women?

The Chicago Tribune just published their findings of an investigation they did where they tested 11 popular smart phone models ( using a FCC accredited lab) and what they found is disturbing

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy Linked to Lowered Baby IQ

Fluoride. It helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. In fact, it can be so effective in oral health that the US started adding fluoride to public drinking water in the 1940s. Toothpastes contain fluoride and dentists insist on its importance in fighting cavities for children and adults alike.

However, for some time now, there has been talk (and research) showing that fluoride is a potential neurotoxin. Additionally, some animal research, has found potential side effects, including bone cancer in addition to cognitive impairment.

Because of the recent controversy over the safety of fluoride, in the last 20 years about 300 communities in the US have ended fluoridation programs in municipal drink water sources, but 66% of Americans still have fluoride in their drinking water.

While our federal agencies still insist it is safe, levels of fluoride in our drinking water have been decreased in recent years. A couple of years ago the US government agreed that the levels of fluoride added to drinking water were no longer considered safe and thus lowered them from 1 ppm to 0.7 ppm. Now, the question remains if .7ppm is still too high.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Consumer Reports Article: How to Eat Less Plastic

I spoke about this must read  from Consumer Reports today online and so I thought I would include a link here for you to find it and read it.  Among the highlights:

"But what many people don't know is that we're doing more than just using plastic. We're ingesting it, too. When you eat a bite of food or even have a sip of water, you're almost certainly taking in tiny plastic particles along with it. These ubiquitous fragments are known as microplastics.

Because research into microplastics is so new, there’s not yet enough data to say exactly how they’re affecting human health, says Jodi Flaws, Ph.D., a professor of comparative biosciences and associate director of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Toxicology Program at the University of Illinois.
But “there cannot be no effect,” says Pete Myers, Ph.D., founder and chief scientist of the nonprofit Environmental Health Sciences and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University"
"These chemicals have been linked to a variety of health problems, including reproductive harm and obesity, plus issues like organ problems and developmental delays in children."

6 Tips to Reduce your Exposure to plastic:

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Unsafe Levels of PFAS Chemicals Found in Bottled & Tap Water - and its Legal for Them to be There

 Bottled or tap water? 

Recently PFAS chemicals (that same  family of chemicals found in Non- stick cookware and water repellent fabrics) were found in bottled water in Massachusetts and beyond... which brought attention to the fact that these chemicals are not regulated in bottled water.

How much PFAS were found? 
Levels considered 'unsafe for infants and pregnant or nursing women' 😩 were found in the gallon drinking bottles tested

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Non-Toxic Living Amazon Prime Day Deals

Amazon Prime Day is here and if you are a prime member (if you don't have an  Amazon Prime membership, you can sign up for a free trial just to take advantage of the deals here and then cancel before the 30 day trial is over, Click here to try it out:  Try Prime Discounted Monthly Offering ) that means some nice sales in the middle of summer.   

If you are thinking of taking your non-toxic living to the next level, today might be a great day to do some shopping.  Here are some of my non-toxic living essentials being featured with special prices during 2019's Prime Day(these and more are located in my SHOP tab too- as an Amazon affiliate when you buy through my links I get a small commission which allows you to support this website and help me continue to bring this information to you - at no additional cost to you!)


Dyson Vacuum with HEPA filter
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Upright Vacuum Cleaner, Blue
Harmful chemicals like flame retardants from your electronics and furniture like to migrate out of your furniture and into your dust.   Dust can contain over XXXX harmful chemicals. An essential aide in reducing toxin build up inside  the house is a vacuum with a HEPA filter.  At home we have this Dyson

Friday, July 12, 2019

Is Your Child's Mattress Releasing More Toxins When You Sleep?

credit:  @thesimplefolk

According to a new study our natural body heat might be triggering the release of potentially harmful chemicals from our mattress. 

But first, let's back up a bit
Standard mattresses, especially those containing polyurethane foam, have been found to  release a couple of potentially harmful chemicals including: 
  • VOCs from the polyurethane used in the mattress
  • flame retardants
  • plastic chemicals
In this particular study, the researchers found that our own body heat increased the  VOC emissions from our mattress.

How much was this increase? 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Most Efficient and Least Toxic Mosquito Repellents for an Itchless Summer

Summer fun = long days, sun, picnics, hikes, water activities, outdoor time and, yes BUGS.   Mosquitoes, ticks -  they all love the summer months and there are few things worse than a child that has been bitten by a couple of mosquitoes and can’t. Stop. Scratching.   What is worse, though?  The illnesses many of these bugs can spread.  Lyme disease affects about 300,000 people each year.  Dengue, West Nile, Zika  are increasingly common.  

Guess what? May through August is peak period for ticks and mosquitoes in the US - so we are in the heart of it in most places around the country.  So, in addition to putting on sunblock, you need to think about bug repellent.... but which is the most effective and which are safe to use on children?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

As the summer holidays approached, I received an increasing number of messages from concerned mamas asking for advise on what to do to reduce their munchkin's exposure to harmful chemicals during their time at grandma and grandpa's.

I understand.  As parents we have worked hard to educate ourselves about why it is important to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals at home- and you can't unknown what you already know... which means that it can become extra difficult to turn a blind eye if you are visiting family or friends for the holidays- especially if you are staying at their home.

 Many people from our parent's   generation don't realize the toxic load that our children are born into.... they might tell you "I have never eaten organic in my life and look at me I am in my 70's and healthy".  

Don't despair- grandparents absolutely love and adore and want the very best for their grandchildren.  I truly believe that if you briefly explain to them how important this is for their grand kid's health (explain to them that their generation was not born with over 200 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood, that when they were little there weren't over 82,000 untested chemicals used in daily products in the US and that most personal care products do not have to be tested for safety before they are sold nor do companies that make household cleaners have to disclose their ingredients.  Explain that our drinking water is commonly full of arsenic, perchlorate, a rocket fuel chemical, pesticides, prescription drugs, bacteria etc.) most grandparents will do their best to protect their grand kids.

The key is to make it REALLY simple.   Do not expect a whole house detox- just pick and choose a couple of key switches and suggest them to grandma a couple of weeks before your visit (or when you arrive).  If your parents are open to it- recommend a documentary on the subject or send them a couple of Non-Toxic Munchkin blog posts (or articles from their favorite most trusted news outlet- everyone from CNN, to ABC news, to Parents Magazine, to Fox and even AARP  - am linking some articles- have at some point covered toxic chemicals in everyday products or chemical reform)  Be patient and see which habits stick - on a personal note I have been blown away at how many of these habits have stuck at my mom - and even my in law's houses! 

A visit to grandma and grandpa's house this summer can be mostly toxin free!

Here are some switches my mom has implemented in her house - feel free to send this as inspiration to a loving grandma/grandpa!   IF the list is too long, start with one or two changes and move forward from there- my mom did NOT make these changes over night !!  Also, sometimes all a loving grandma/pa needs is for your to gift them a product to inspire their switch (ie water filter!) 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Cancer Causing Pesticide Still in America's Favorite Cereal and Granola Bars

Do you know how to choose a morning cereal without glyphosate?

The question today is not “ does your food contain glyphosate?”, but, “ which of the foods that you eat contain high levels of glyphosate” because- honestly- glyphosate is  pretty hard to avoid in today's world.

EWG commissioned a test almost a year ago ( you can read my post '

IS THERE A CANCER CAUSING PESTICIDE IN MY KIDS FAVORITE BREAKFAST FOODS?! ) and now they just published a follow up study that confirms what they found last year: our kids are ingesting potentially harmful levels of glyphosate through their favorite  breakfast and snack.
This most recent set of tests looked at 21 popular oat based cereal and snack products all made by one company:  General Mills . All but four tested products contained levels of glyphosate higher than what EWG scientists consider save for children’s health.

The two highest levels of glyphosate were found in 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

2019 Non-Toxic Sunscreen Guide

We know we should be wearing sunscreen everyday, all year round, but somehow, when the winter months come around, many well meaning parents are guilty (myself included) of dropping the ball and not using daily sunscreen.  

The balance between year round sun safety and getting enough Vitamin D (Studies have found that 70 percent of breastfed babies were deficient in vitamin D at one month old a serious problem because vitamin D plays a key role in growth and development of infants and increased mortality from heart disease and colon cancer, and heightened risk of breast cancer in adults) is a challenge too.

However, once the days grow longer and the sun starts warming us all up,  we all know it is more important than ever to resume our daily sunscreen routine.

Why is sunscreen so important?
1. The rate of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, has tripled over the past 35 years.  In 2015 alone more than  80,422 people were diagnosed !

2. There is a very strong correlation  between the number of childhood sunburns and increased melanoma risk.  This is why it is so so important  to reapply sunblock frequently in our children, especially in fidgety, water loving children (no easy task!) 

How to Choose a (safe and effective) Sunscreen
Before, buying sunscreen for our family was as easy as going to your local store and picking whichever brand you fancied.....  but those days are gone.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Target's Non-Toxic May 2019 Must Haves

I am always getting asked about what I buy at Target.  Full disclosure: I am one of those people that arrives at Target with ONE thing on my list to buy and walks out with a cart full of stuff... its sucks me in, and I love it!!!

I am please to say that, while Target is in no way shape or form a non-toxic living emporium, they do have an increasing presence of legitimately safe and non-toxic products.  From skin care, beauty, toys and home goods- each time I go I feel like I find new safe, Non-Toxic Munchkin approved, goodies.

This is my list of my May 2019 Non-Toxic Munchkin Approved Target products - scroll down and you will find :  Beauty/ cosmetics, Personal Care for Adults, baby & child bath time, diapering, feeding, organic clothing, nursery/kids room/adult room, kitchen and summer! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Most common misconceptions, questions & hurdles in non-toxic living answered

Non-toxic living can be tricky- dare I say exhausting at time.

I had the opportunity to write a blog post for @baeobaby with some of the most common questions I get on non-toxic living

Questions like
  1. If its sold in stores in the US it must be approved and safe, right?
  2. If a product claims to be "all natural" or "green" or "pure"  or "safe for babies sensitive skin" and even "organic" it is the same as non-toxic and is it safe to use?
  3. Is eating organic enough?
  4. True or False: If the company has a foundation that helps raise money for breast cancer can I trust that their products definitely do not have chemicals linked to breast cancer?

And so many more! 

Head over to the Baeo Baby blog  to read the answers to these questions and so much more! 

🌟🌟What are other common non-toxic living questions you have??

Friday, May 10, 2019

#EcoMamaMuse: Mayumi Recker, Founder of Mogi Mogi Baby

Mayumi Recker is the Founder of Mogi Mogi Baby

Eco Mama Muse is a series where I get to spotlight mama warriors that are truly making it easier for all of us to raise non-toxic munchkins.  

Meet Mayumi.  Mayumi Recker knows how hard it is for a mom to have a child with extra sensitive skin- that feeling of despair when you want to help with all of your heart but also don't want to expose them to harsh chemicals/ medicines that can have harmful side effects and not really knowing what the cause of the sensitivity is nor what other options- if any- there are.  

 Mayumi had just given birth to her first son when he developed eczema.   At the time she was told by her doctors to use steroids on her newborn.  Wary of unwanted side-effects, she felt strongly that she wanted to avoid the harsh steroids and find  a natural remedy that would be effective but also gentle enough to use everyday.  She was a mom on a mission.

After talking to more doctors in the US and Japan, and researching and testing  Mayumi finally found a natural and organic solution that worked on her son; and so the Mogi Mogi bath pack was created

What is Mogi Mogi and why does it work so well? 

Monday, May 6, 2019

How to Protect Your Children from Lead in Jewelry if the Government Doesnt

photo credit:  Under the Ever Green

Did you know that the US federal government has no limits on lead and cadmium in jewelry designed for children & adults  12 years of age and over? 

According to the US  Department of Public Health, however,  leaded jewelry is a common cause of lead poisoning in children.  The American Academy of pediatrics has stated that there are no safe level of lead exposure in children, since even small levels of exposure can result in lasting decreases in cognition.

Lead and cadmium are not the only dangers in play jewelry- in the past lead, cadmium, arsenic, chlorine, PVC, bromine, chromium, nickel and mercury ( all of which have been linked to  health issues like cancer, liver toxicity, impaired learning, birth defects, allergies etc) have all been found in jewelry; many marketed to kids.

Why are heavy metals in jewelry a big concern- even if its jewelry designed for older kids?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Phthlates Linked to Increased Infertility

A new study looked at 600 couples in an IVF clinic  and found an association between phthalate exposure in both men and women and an increased risk of failed clinical pregnancy and live birth.

What are phthlates?
Phthalates are used to bind fragrance chemicals to products and are also common plasticizers found in many everyday products including cosmetics, food, toys and construction materials.