06 October 2009

Irish Students Asked to Bring Their Own Toilet Paper to School

BPA in Recycled toilet paper leaches into waterTough economic times have caused one school in Ireland to ask students to bring their own toilet paper. Parents received the following request last week from principal Catherine O'Neill:

Dear parent, from time to time we will request your daughter to bring in a toilet roll to her class teacher. These rolls will be specifically for your daughter's class and will be dispensed by the class teacher. We would also request that your daughter has tissues in her sack at all times.

No BPA, Lead, PVC, Phthlates: Eco-Friendly Munchgear Soup to Nuts Lunch Kit

safe lunch gearUnless you are lucky enough to send your child to a school with organic lunches and a farm to school program, you probably pack your child's lunch. We've reviewed numerous lunch boxes and lunch systems, but in the end, I usually just grab random items and throw then together in my hurried mornings. Despite my haphazard lunch packing routines, I am really excited about the Munchgear Soup to Nuts Kit (so are my kids who are fighting over who gets to use it tomorrow.

The Munchgear Soup to Nuts Kit made by Citizenpip (such a cute name) is an "everything in one kit" that, in my opinion, provides more flexibility and durability than a Laptop Lunch. The Soup to Nuts Kit includes:

  • 1 insulated lunch bag with nametag and carabiner that easily attaches to a backpack

  • 1 stainless steel water bottle and insulated food jar

  • 4 BPA-free airtight food containers

  • 1 stainless steel fork + spoon set

  • 5 100% cotton napkins

05 October 2009

The Body Toxic: Hazardous Chemicals in Everyday Things

Hazardous chemicals in everyday thingsThe Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being is one of those books that freak me out...sometimes I just don't want to know. In reality, we need to know about all of the chemicals of modern industry and how to protect our families. Knowing is the first step to making informed decisions, which is probably one reason you are a reader of Eco Child's Play.

Publishers Weekly describes The Body Toxic:

This is a chilling look at the questionable safety of nearly everything we store food in, drink from, wear, walk on, rest on and drive. Chemicals used to make everything from water-repellant jackets and flame retardants to unbreakable plastics used for food storage are building up in our bodies and the environment with possible far-reaching consequences, says journalist Baker. She focuses on endocrine disruptors that alter hormone levels, even in fetuses. Individual chapters consider the weed killer atrazine; phthalates found in many cosmetics; and perfluorooctanoic acid, used in nonstick and stain-repellant coatings. Lab studies have linked these chemicals to cancer, diabetes, obesity and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, among other problems. Baker blasts both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for the toothless Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which leaves testing and reporting results to the manufacturer. But the companies rely on skilled public relations firms to attack scientists who raise safety concerns. The current pro-business administration also takes some licks from Baker. Although she offers suggestions for reducing exposure to these chemicals, No place—and no one—is immune.

It certainly is "chilling" when you consider how pervasive these chemicals are in our "fat, bones, blood, and organs". My favorite part of the book is actually one of the appendices that list "Environmental and Public-Health Groups That Get It". These are the groups I rely on for information, rather than the government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Such groups on the list include:

Author Nena Baker was motivated to write this book after her own body burden analysis revealed more than three dozen chemicals. I wonder what my body burden test would reveal? I am too afraid to find out!

04 October 2009

Eco-Friendly Merino Apparel For Kids with Unique Packaging

Merino wool base layers for kidsIcebreaker's Bodyfit line has long been loved by outdoor enthusiasts, and now children can benefit from the company's eco-friendly New Zealand wool garments. Icebreaker's kids' line features no itch fabric that "smells better, feels better, warms better, and breathes better". This line is perfect for active sports and everyday use. Beyond great fabric, Icebreaker features two unique features for kids: "baa code" and "re-imagined packaging".

Have you ever wanted to meet the sheep that was shorn for your clothes? Just enter the "baa code" on your label into the Icebreaker website to meet where your sheep lives.

With most of the things you buy, you're told little or nothing about how they're made. Icebreaker is different.

We have a deep commitment to animal welfare, the welfare of the people who work with us, and the environment. And we have nothing to hide.

Your unique Baacode will let you see the living conditions of the high country sheep that produced the merino fibre in your Icebreaker garment, meet the farmers who are custodians of this astonishing landscape, and follow every step of the supply chain. We're sure you'll find the experience as inspiring as we do. Enjoy your journey back to the source.

Michelle Obama, Sesame Street, and Republican Big Bird

Michelle Obama made an appearance on Sesame Street touting the benefits of healthy eating and gardening.


Who knew Big Bird was a Republican?

29 September 2009

Green Series: Eco Kids Books


Green Series
Editor's note: This is the first of a weekly guest spot by children's media consultant Ashley. Ashley is a television and online producer and Executive Editor of Children's Media Consultant.com. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a M.A. concentrating in children's educational media and preschool ecology from New York University. She resides with her family in downtown New York City. You can visit her blog at childrensmediaconsultant.com.

The Green Series: Eco Kids Books

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately on how families and children can “go green” without spending a fortune. Let’s face it: bamboo cribs, cork floors and reusable diapers aren’t for everyone. Additionally, there’s an issue about how to teach kids about the environment. Parents and caregivers are in a position to either foster an appreciation for the natural world, or, unfortunately, terrify their kids into submission (no more polar bears!).

The truth of the matter is, media can sometimes play a hindering role in eco-education, challenging families to stay indoors and watch TV rather than go outside and jump in the leaves. But not all the time. Children’s media has its role on the green bandwagon, too. So with that idea comes the first in what will hopefully be more of Children’s Media Consultant’s The Green Series.

The Effects of Climate Change Are Worse for Children


playing doctorLast week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) issued a report declaring that children are especially at risk from the effects of climate change. This news is not startling, as young children are more susceptible to heat, toxins, etc., because their bodies are smaller and their immune systems are under development. Children are more vulnerable than adults, and now the APA is asking doctors to lead the way in modeling sustainable practices, especially in the United States.

The APA report states,

Anticipated direct health consequences of climate change include injury and death from extreme weather events and natural disasters, increases in climate-sensitive infectious diseases, increases in air pollution-related illness, and more heat-related, potentially fatal, illness.

Sippy Cups, Baby Bottles, and BPA


Z Recs BPA ChartMany parents are concerned about the presence of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles and sippy cups. Previously, we have written several posts on the subject, as the potential negative effects of this endocrine-disrupting hormone found in many plastics is alarming . Finally, there is one site parents can go to for a complete picture of BPA and children's beverage containers: Z Recommends.

Bloggers Jeremiah and Jennifer McNichols have completed the most thorough and comprehensive directory of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Consisting of 25 individual posts, the Z Report recommends "Top Picks", "Promising Entrants", "Proceed with Caution", and "Brands to Avoid." There are individual posts for each company, as well. As Jeremiah explains, "The chart assesses the companies overall - for example, we are recommending avoiding companies that DO have a few BPA-free items, because their policies are inconsistent, they are strongly pro-polycarbonate, or they do not offer a non-polycarbonate bottle (even though they may have non-BPA sippys). We tried to give a broad picture of which companies are worth doing business with based on their BPA stance, and then have the company-specific pages to provide per-product information. All Top Pick companies make only BPA-free products." Z Recs' goal is to have all companies disclose on their labels exactly what kinds of plastics are used on products that come into contact with children's mouths. This sure would help consumers make wise decisions in the store, but for now, visiting The Z Report: A Directory of Bisphenol-A In Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups will help parents make sense of BPA in children's products.

"Play is the highest form of research." -Albert Einstein