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Science Lessons: PCBs

A report yesterday from Environmental Health News explores the link between prenatal PCB exposure and attention problems in Massachusetts children. Here’s a refresher on Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB). PCBs are man-made chemicals. They were produced in the US from 1929 until their manufacture was banned in 1979. Because of their chemical stability, non-flammability, and electrical insulating […]

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I knew that burning candles is not great for indoor air quality, but Willy and I indulged a few times recently. After tucking Sweet William and Fergus into bed, it felt cozy and relaxing to eat a simple dinner by candlelight. But my nagging conscience finally got me, so I did some reading. Most candles […]

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Tuna Sandwiches

A couple of weeks ago, I read Ayelet Waldman’s post at Mom’s Clean Air Force about how she inadvertently poisoned her 4-year-old daughter with tuna sandwiches and sushi. A terrible story, for sure. A surprising one, too — apparently not everyone is getting the message about mercury in fish. A child weighing 20 lbs can […]

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Why My Family Actively Avoids PVC

From the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, a refresher on PVC, a “toxic plastic that is dangerous to our health and the environment across its lifecycle: from production, to use, to disposal.” (August 2011) PVC is unique among plastics because it contains dangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, […]

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Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Did you catch these news reports this week? Millions of Americans have been ingesting them for years—perchlorate, hexavalent chromium, volatile organic compounds—not because they’re safe, but because they are among 6,000 toxins the EPA has not gotten around to regulating in municipal drinking water systems.  (Forbes, 8/9/11). Pregnant women participating in a pilot study at […]

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Sunny Summer Days Indoors

It’s a hot one in New York City, but it’s not the temperature that keeps Sweet William and me indoors. It’s the air quality. Today’s Air Quality Index forecast for New York City is 147, “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” (Check the Index for your location here.) William’s status as an active young child qualifies him […]

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Off-Gassing and VOCs

Last weekend, Sweet William and his daddy and I stayed at a hotel that is evidently popular with families. Before we checked in, they ran out of cribs. A staff member kindly hurried off to buy a new Graco Pack ‘n Play so William would have a place to sleep. When we woke up the […]

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What is an Endocrine Disruptor?

The endocrine system regulates growth, development and maturation through a network of hormones and glands. It controls sexual development, which begins in utero, continues through infant puberty (when sex hormones help organize the neurological system) and restarts at adolescent puberty. An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that interferes with the body’s normal functions by […]

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