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Sun Safety for Kids: Azur Pro-Cellular Natural Sunscreen

Azur natural sunscreenWhen I was a child, sunburns were common.  We used suntan lotion to get tans not to protect us from the sun.  Fortunately for today’s children, we know better.  Sun damage in childhood can cause health problems as adults.  Although it is important to expose your children to natural sunlight for vitamin absorption, these periods should be limited and occur during off peak hours.

When it comes to sunscreen ingredients, I trust the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to tell me what is safe.  EWG recommends:

Which sunscreens are best for children?
Since kids are more vulnerable to damage caused by the sun and to harmful effects of chemical exposure, you want to make sure you choose a sunscreen that is rated highly in terms of both effectiveness (against both UVA and UVB radiation) and safety. Use EWG’s guide to help you find one. If your child is going to be swimming or playing in the water look for a sunscreen that says it is water resistant. Avoid sprays, powders and products with bug repellant. Make sure to apply sunscreen generously before going out and reapply often. (Don’t believe claims that a product will remain effective for a certain period of time, as these are not always reliable.) Infants under 6 months need special protection Ñ at this age, a fair-skinned baby does not have melanin proteins for sun protection and needs to be kept out of the sun. The AAP recommends that you avoid using sunscreen on children younger than 6 months unless protective shade and clothing are not available. In this case you can apply a minimal amount to exposed skin (AAP 2008). Remember that sunscreen is just one part of a sun-healthy lifestyle. Limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing are even more important than wearing sunscreen.

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Eat Your Weeds Away: Dandelion Greens

I can remember as a kid blowing the fuzz off of a dandelion weed and making a wish. Little did I know that dandelions were nutritious. Dandelion greens are considered a leafy vegetable that contain more nutrition than broccoli. Having a higher content of vitamins A, and C, and iron. Dandelions also contain lots of magnesium and potassium.

The best time to eat dandelion greens is in the spring and early summer when the leaves are still young. Dandelion greens should be harvested in early spring, before the flowers appear.  They’re a bit bitter but taste fantastic in a salad. You can also saute the flowers, roots and leaves with onion and garlic, serve them on a sandwich or salad, boil the leaves and serve like spinach or add them to your green smoothies like I do!

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Eco Friendly, Naturally Finished Wooden Toys From Korea

Soopsori eco friendly wooden toys from KoreaI know, I know, it’s not very eco-friendly to get your children’s toys from across the Pacific Ocean; however, Soopsori wooden toys are beautiful and top quality.  Made from 100% natural wood without paint or bolts, these toys are safe, adorable, and ethically produced.  Made from 20 different kinds of wood, natural color and texture create variability in these toys.

Soopsori’ is much more of a public corporation chasing a common good than a commercial company. We here at ‘Soopsori’ provide you with lifelong memories in addition to wooden toys. As a result, we aim to dedicate ourselves to practicing an honest and reasonable management style. In order to realize this philosophy, we share our profits with environmental NGOs, as a company we feel socially responsible for contributing to a more eco-friendly society. From lumbers that are not taken artificially to making products without any chemical paints, we are aiming to build for an environmentally-secure future. This is our primary objective.

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Happy Fun Dough Colored with All Natural Plant Extracts

All natural Happy Fun DoughKids love play dough, and of course you can make your own, but who has the time?  Even when I have made my own natural play dough, we usually end up ruining it by using unnatural food coloring.  Not Happy Fun Dough:  it’s colored with all natural plant extracts.

Happy Fun Dough has a slightly gooey texture compared to commercial Play-Doh, but it is still moldable and shapeable. The big difference between Play-Doh and Happy Fun Dough is the latter’s complete natural ingredients and recyclable metal packaging.  Made from water, flour, salt, cream of tartar, canola oil, and citric acid, Happy Fun Dough is safe and handmade.  It comes in green, natural, brown, orange, pink, and yellow.  Alternately, a gluten-free version made from rice flour is available for parents and children with celiac’s disease, although it is made in the same facility that uses wheat. [Read more…]

B Nature Baby Clothing Uses Only Naturally Colored Organic Cotton

organic baby clothing made from naturally grown colored cottonAbout 15 years ago, my step-mother gave me an organic cotton blanket that was woven from many different colors of natural cotton.  I adore this blanket and had no idea that cotton came in any other color than unbleached and bleached (which was a wee bit embarrassing since I am a fiber artist).  Now, babies are the lucky ones to get adorned in beautiful, super soft organic cotton clothing made from naturally colored cotton fibers thanks to B Nature.

Babies today are so lucky in that there are many great organic clothing products on the market, but most of these items are dyed. Even using low impact dyes is not the safest choice for our children and the planet, but who wants to only dress in off-white?  I am so impressed by B Nature, that I wish they came in my size! Hmm, 18-24 months is just a little too small… [Read more…]

Wooden Fairy Dolls from The Fairy Ring

Fairy DollsNatural dolls are almost impossible to find in conventional stores. Most dolls you can get at big box stores are made of plastic with phthalates and PVC. Cloth dolls can be found at specialty stores but they can be very expensive. Getting quality, natural, safe dolls for your little ones can be a tall order if you are on a budget.

Recently my little girl fell in love with small wooden fairy dolls from an etsy seller, The Fairy Ring. These dolls are simple, adorable, and very stimulating as far as creative play is concerned. Upon getting her first fairy doll, which she decided to name “Jewel”, she insisted on having more right away and they have been with her constantly ever since. When she takes a shower they hang on the shower door. When she goes to sleep at night they are held lovingly in her hand. Her dreams are now filled with fairies.

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Moderation: The Key to Environmentalism and Just About Everything

I call myself a moderate. I firmly believe that you attract more bees with honey, so why would I take on the “My way or the highway” mentality? The only realm I don’t take a moderate stance in is safety. For example, I’m always going to be a bit over the top careful and advocating for carseat safety. However, when it comes to everything else, I’m going to live the way I feel reflects what I want to share.

So, we live a green life, eat a natural and mostly organic diet, and share this information in non-threatening ways.

For instance, when a group of Moms was talking about laundry, I shared using apple cider vinegar in the wash instead of bleach when a Mom mentioned that she felt bleach was necessary to get rid of the musty smell. A couple weeks later, when I saw that Mom again, she told me she had made the switch and it was working great.

We recycle everything and usually have at least twice as much recycling out as our neighbors. When they ask “why”, and “how”, I get to share some recycling tips and help educate our neighbors on what is recyclable. [Read more…]

PureAyre Natural Odor Eliminator Perfect for Bathrooom or Diapers

PureAyre natural odor eliminatorA friend of mine’s baby just crossed that threshold from sweet smelling breastfed diapers to the offensive food eating bowel movements.  Diaper changes are now done in a hurry, especially when other people are around, and the baby has joined the ranks of the rest of the family that can stink up a room.

PureAyre makes several organic odor eliminating sprays that really do work for the smells babies, kids, and adults produce in the bathroom.

In our family of four, we have only one bathroom. Sometimes in the mornings, we can’t wait for the air to clear before another family member needs to brush their teeth before school.  We keep a bottle of PureAyre on the back of the toilet, and it really does works to eliminate odors without masking them.  I don’t really understand how it works, but the strong smells just seem to disappear.  I’ve tried lavender bunches, matches, scented candles, etc., but nothing compares to PureAyre’s ability to eliminate odor. [Read more…]

Let Your Kids Clean: BasicH2 Organic Concentrate

Young children like to be helpful, and I don’t want to discourage their desire to imitate my house cleaning (even though I often have to re-clean what they have done).  We use all natural cleaning products in our home not only because we care about the environment, indoor air quality, and have a greywater system, but in order that our kids can safely help us clean.

Basic H2 Organic cleaning concentrate was the first official Earth Day product in 1990 and has hundred of uses. From windows to stovetops, the concentrate allows you to mix the appropriate amount of water for your use.  This little 16 oz. bottle of concentrate can mix up an unbelievable 48 gallons of safe, powerful cleaner.

Basic H2 is quite sudsy, so I suspect it contains SLS; however, I am not sure this as much of a concern for a cleaning product as it is for a beauty product.  As long as your child’s skin doesn’t come into contact with it, it would not be irritating. Shaklee, the makers of Basic H2, will not release full disclosure of ingredients because, “We do not list the  specific ingredients for all of the cleaners as some of the formulae are proprietary.” This is common with household cleaners, but they state their products are from sustainable sources such as corn and coconut (SLS is coconut-derived). [Read more…]

Confused Over All the New "Eco-Labels?" Here's Help

Antibiotic free, cage free, biodynamic, grass fed, pastured, fertilized, free range, free roaming, free roaming, free running, irradiated, natural, no hormones, no chemicals administered, pasteurized, vegetarian fed, high-Omega 3, whole grain fed. All of these labels have been used just to market eggs.

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It's Eco-Friendly Sunscreen and Natural Bug Repellent Season

smartshield eco-friendly sunscreen and natural bug repellentIt’s official, I got my first sunburn this weekend. It was only a light burn, but somehow I always forget the sunscreen during the first warm days of spring. Fortunately, I remembered to protect my children with SmartShield when we headed down to the river. One added bonus to this “serious sun protection” is it contains natural cedar bug repellent, which kept the “eye bugs” from swarming their faces.

SmartShield is an “eco-friendly” sunscreen and bug repellent combination, but it does not appear to be all natural, as there are some ingredients I do not recognize. I researched several of these ingredients on Skin Deep, as Smartshied itself has not been rated, and I discovered they contained a low to moderate hazard. The Environmental Working Group has done an extensive study on sunscreens and found that:

Our comprehensive scientific review indicates that 85% of 1,015 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. Only 15% of the products on the market are both safe and effective, blocking both UVA and UVB radiation, remaining stable in sunlight, and containing few if any ingredients with significant known or suspected health hazards. [Read more…]

Natural Means "Nothing" – What Does Everything Else Mean?

natural-labels.jpg

As I wrote about back in January, the word, “Natural” essentially means “nothing”, as far as the FDA is concerned.

The FDA (has) declined to issue a regulation that would define use of the word “natural” on food and household product packaging in the near future, stating: we’re not sure how high an issue it is for consumers.

Well actually, according to a Yankelovich study commissioned by Burt’s Bee’s, 78% of consumers believed that “natural” claims ARE regulated. So, of course they are not concerned…the government’s on the case, right?

Nope.

“… a company might make a product that really is natural, and label it as such,” says Daniel Fabricant, VP/scientific and regulatory affairs at the Natural Products Association, Washington, D.C., “or it could be made of nine synthetic ingredients, with just a little plant extract thrown in.”

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“Natural” Means Nothing – FDA Declines to Define “Natural”

natural.jpgThe FDA dealt a disappointing blow recently to consumers hunting for natural choices for their families. Despite petitions from The Sugar Association and major manufacturer, Sara Lee, Food Navigator reports that the FDA declined to issue a regulation that would define use of the word “natural” on food and household product packaging in the near future, stating:

…”we’re not sure how high of an issue it is for consumers”. .

Now, how often do consumers and manufacturers agree that less confusing is better? This is one of those cases.

In an interview with (Food Navigator-USA.com), Geraldine June from FDA’s Food Labeling and Standards department said the agency had not put the ‘natural’ issue on its priority list because there is not enough evidence that the current situation means consumers are being misled.

“even if people interpret it in different ways it doesn’t mean there is confusion out there. If there was, then we would definitely raise it as a priority”. [Read more…]

Green Myth-Busting: “Natural” Beauty Products

Natural Soap?Natural Soap?Myth: Beauty products sold as “natural” and “organic” at health food stores and coops are truly natural and organic.

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