You may have seen the big news: hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates found in macaroni and cheese and other cheese products. The story was huge in print, TV, and on social media. Macaroni and cheese or any food shouldn’t be contaminated with industrial chemicals that can mess with hormones.

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Mac n’ cheese is a simple dish, inexpensive, and most importantly, a kid-pleaser. It’s saved me many a lunch, and the occasional dinner, when my husband and I are too busy or exhausted to fix an elaborate meal for the family.  But now I’ve learned that the powdered cheese can contain industrial toxic chemicals called phthalates that experts say could be harmful to young kids and developing fetuses. Knowing this, I’m rethinking my dinner choices until food companies clean up their act.

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Finding out what chemicals are used in kids’ products is no easy feat. We know this first hand. We have our own scientists to figure out what chemicals are in products. Our scientists have used an XRF “x-ray gun” to test for lead and cadmium in toys, cut foam out of couches and baby products to test for toxic flame retardants, swabbed down money to test for BPA, and even cut pieces of plastic from TVs to test for flame retardants. 

Of course you the consumer can’t do this kind of testing. Continue reading 

Gearing up for a newborn? We’ve got tips for safer baby essentials that will help you navigate the must-haves with an eye toward healthier products for your little one.

1. From crib to sheets, make a healthy bed for your baby.

Start with a solid wood crib, unfinished or finished with low-toxic paint or sealer. When choosing a crib mattress, look for materials such as wool, cotton, and natural latex—avoid polyurethane foam, PVC/vinyl, and antibacterial treatments. Protect your mattress with wool puddle pads, or mattress pads made from cotton with a polyethylene layer. Again, avoid PVC/vinyl waterproofing materials along with antibacterial or stain treatments. For sheets, choose natural fibers and steer clear of “no-iron” permanent press bedding which may emit formaldehyde.

2. Use fewer baby personal care products.

Most babies don’t need suds or lotion on a regular basis, and plain water is effective for washing. When you do use soap or shampoo, look for fragrance-free and dye-free products, and skip anti-bacterial ingredients. If you use baby oil, choose plant-based oils. Avoid baby powders which can easily be inhaled and irritate lungs. For laundry care, use fragrance-free and dye-free detergents.

3. Green your diaper bag.

  • Use less toxic chlorine-free and fragrance-free disposable diapers, or better yet choose cloth diapers.
  • Choose PVC-free diaper covers made of wool, PUL fabric (polyurethane laminate), PEVA plastic, or nylon.
  • Making your own baby wipes can be as simple as a damp washcloth, or use fragrance-free disposables.
  • Choose a changing pad without polyurethane foam or PVC/vinyl; instead, look for wool, cotton, or polyester fill materials, and a polyethylene or PUL surface. Or, forgo a changing pad and use a washable towel.

4. Choose a nursing pillow without toxic flame retardants.

Look for fill materials like cotton, wool, buckwheat, or polyester instead of polyurethane foam. Avoid pillows labeled as meeting California flame retardant standard TB117.

5. Use safer options for teethers.

For teething, go plastic-free with teethers made from unfinished wood or use a frozen washcloth.

6. Shop for secondhand clothing, and choose certified organic clothes when possible.

Welcome the hand-me downs, and wash new clothes at least once before your baby wears them.

7. Choose a solid wood or hard plastic highchair or booster seat.

Look for models with a simple washable fabric seat. Avoid antimicrobial or stain-resistant treatments, polyurethane foam, and PVC/vinyl in any seat cushion.

8. Stroll safely by avoiding foam padding in strollers, and fabrics with stain resistant or antimicrobial treatments.

Most plastic stroller rain covers are PVC, so avoid as much as possible. Safer all-weather cover materials include TPU clear plastic.

9. Choose glass baby bottles to avoid concerns about chemicals leaching from plastic, and use clear silicone nipples.

If feeding baby with formula, choose powdered; avoid ready-made formula in metal cans.

10. Join our campaign!

We need your help to protect kids from toxic chemicals. Join us, take action!

The warm sweatshirt or fun pajamas your child is wearing could contain harmful toxic chemicals according to new chemical testing by the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology). The results of this testing add up to one conclusion – there are too many toxic chemicals in kids’ clothes. Continue reading 

Any parent knows that when you have a new baby, you can accumulate a lot of baby gear—car seat, bassinet, changing pad, swing, and more. But new gear isn’t the only thing accumulating in the house. Researchers have found that the baby gets not just comfort from all that gear, but also cancer-causing flame retardants that escape from the foam and wind up in their bodies. Continue reading 

When parents go shopping, they expect products in stores to be safe for their kids. They certainly don’t expect kids’ dishes to contain cancer-causing formaldehyde, a chemical that is identified as a cause of leukemia and nose and throat cancer, and is linked to asthma and allergies. But that’s exactly what Fred Meyer says it’s dishing up in its children’s dish ware. Continue reading