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In the News

Do soaps with triclosan do more harm than good? (Chicago Tribune, 2/10/13) Laboratory studies show that triclosan, a common anti-bacterial ingredient in soap, disrupts hormones, interferes with muscle function, and promotes the growth of stronger bacteria. Plus, it’s “building up in the environment to the possible peril of wildlife.”

Related: How to properly wash your hands (with plain old soap).


California plans to alter rules on flame retardants
(Chicago Tribune, 2/9/13) The move could benefit consumers nationwide, lessening exposure to toxic flame retardant chemicals.

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What’s That Smell?

Stefano Gabbana announced via Instagram that Dolce & Gabbana will release a perfume “per i bambini” — for babies.

I think I just heard you say, “Ewwww! Seriously?”

Let’s skip past the discussion of why anyone would mask her baby’s delicious, natural smell. Instead, let’s review why perfumes and scented products are bad for babies.

Synthetic fragrances, identified on product labels as “parfum,” “perfume,” “natural fragrance,” or “fragrance,” contain phthalates. Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals that are used in the production of plastic, solvents, and cosmetics. They are endocrine disruptors, known to cause a broad range of birth defects…

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In the News

Boys in USA, like girls, showing signs of early puberty (USA Today, 10/20/12) New research finds that American boys are showing signs of starting puberty six months to two years earlier than they did 30 to 40 years ago.


Special Report: Government has little authority to stop unsafe cosmetics
(Environmental Health News, 10/18/12) Brazilian Blowout is an example of how little authority federal and state governments have over the cosmetics industry, even when there’s evidence that ingredients (in this case, formaldehyde) are dangerous. Under federal law, cosmetics companies don’t have to disclose chemicals or gain approval for the 2,000 products that go on the market every year.

Halloween costumes from China seized for lead contamination (Today, 10/16/12) Nearly 1,400 Chinese-made pirate costumes had 11 times the legal limit for lead.

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In the News

Common plasticizer linked to childhood skin problem (Environmental Health News, 9/12/12). A study shows that children with higher prenatal exposures to the phthalate BBzP are at greater risk of developing eczema before age 2.

Study links phthalates to asthma (Plastics News, 9/7/12). The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in NYC found that children between the ages of 5 and 9 who are exposed to two types of phthalates found in personal care products have an elevated risk of asthma symptoms.

Where Cows Are Happy and Food Is Healthy (NYT, 9/9/12) Cows don’t need antibiotics and pharmaceuticals if they’re given pasture and kept clean. Happy cows make healthier milk.

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J&J Pledges End to Dangerous Chemicals in Toiletries

Johnson & Johnson says it will remove dangerous chemicals from its toiletries and cosmetics by the end of 2015. Last year it agreed to remove them from its baby products by the end of 2013.

J&J’s products contain formaldehyde, 1,4 dioxane, triclosan, phthalates, parabens, and undisclosed fragrance ingredients. These chemicals are linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, birth defects, and respiratory irritation. [...]

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Under the Sink

“Will penetrate skin and attack underlying tissues and bone.”
“Known to the state of California to cause cancer.”
“Suspected of damaging the unborn child.”

Care to guess where these words appear? On the websites and technical disclosures of everyday household cleaners. [...]

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Boo Orajel

Sweet William is not excited about brushing his teeth, but we’ve been working harder at it lately, especially after that dismal report in the New York Times about toddlers with huge numbers of cavities. I bought William children’s toothpaste, of course, because it is free of fluoride and safer when he swallows it. I must […]

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Toilet Paper

Sweet William decided he’s happy to play with toilet paper without unrolling it. I call that progress. Purchasing toilet paper that is whitened with hydrogen peroxide is a great way to vote against the use of chlorine bleach. Chlorine is a potent irritant to the eyes, the respiratory tract, and the lungs. It’s also extremely […]

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