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Archive: 2011 Archives - MOMS.

A Lesson in Toxics – Why Banned PCBs are Cause for Concern in Schools

8:31 pm in Children's Health, Fertility & Reproduction, Green Schools by Mary Brune

Penelope Jagessar-Chaffer (center) with daughter Oceana

When she first set out to learn what chemicals might be lurking in her body, mother-of-two Penelope Jagessar-Chaffer had no idea what she would discover. She was horrified to learn that PCBs, a group of flame retardant chemicals banned in the 1970s because of links to various health effects, were found in her body in greater amounts than any other type of chemical.

Almost 40 years after being banned, not only are PCBs still being found in people’s bodies, but they are present in some of the most unlikely places: our nation’s schools. Last week MOMS member Jagessar-Chaffer spoke at press conference on Women’s Reproductive Health joining other advocates in a call for the immediate removal of the PCB lighting fixtures found in nearly 700 NYC schools. Read the rest of this entry →

Sleeping with the Enemy: Are There Toxins in your Tot’s Crib?

7:29 pm in Body Burden, Children's Health, Consumer Products by Mary Brune

Even though my son is now three years old, I can still recall how nervous I was around his sleep habits when he was a newborn. If he slept longer than the expected 3-4 hours at a stretch, I would hover over his crib, sending him subliminal messages to, “Wake up already!” just so that I knew he was OK. Sometimes those messages weren’t so subliminal: a caress on the cheek, a kiss on the forehead. As a more seasoned parent, I now know the flaw in my logic—one should never wake a sleeping baby!

Thankfully my son is still a sleepyhead.  Not a bad thing to be, as kids do need plenty of rest to grow. Until you factor in “Mattress Matters” the recent study on crib mattresses by coalition partners Clean and Healthy NY, which found that most leading brands of crib mattresses used by kids today contain chemicals linked to allergies, reproductive harm, and even cancer. Read the rest of this entry →

Doing Fright Night the Right Way

9:07 pm in Children's Health, Consumer Products, Food by Mary Brune

Halloween can be a fun and creative time for kids and parents. Making costumes and dressing up in this festive, frightful time of the year can lead to many delightful memories. If you’re shopping around for a costume for your children there are some frightful facts you need to know.

New data released on HealthyStuff.org, an online database published by The Ecology Center, reveals that over half of the face paint  tested contained cadmium, a naturally occurring metal linked to bone, lung, and kidney damage.

But it’s not just toxic face paint that could put a crimp in your Halloween style.  The Center of Environmental Health (CEH) alerted members last week to the discovery of lead and cadmium in Halloween costume jewelry sold by Rubies Forum. You can read that action alert and sign the petition here.

We’ve include below our top tips for avoiding these and other scary threats not only for this Halloween, but all year long. Read the rest of this entry →

Let’s get this brain toxin off the menu

7:21 pm in Children's Health, Food by Mary Brune

[Editor's Note: From time to time, we will feature content authored by MOMS Partners and guest bloggers. This post, authored by Kristen Shafer of Pesticide Action Network North America, also appears on the PAN website. ]

By Kristen Shafer
Pesticide Action Network North America

As parents, we have plenty on our minds as we settle into a new school year — new teachers, carpools, sibling rivalry — the list goes on. We really shouldn’t have to add this: apples and peaches we’re packing in our kids’ lunchbags may expose them to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to lower IQs and increase risk of ADHD. I’m sorry, what??

If you ask me, the following scenario makes much more sense: Fruits and veggies help make kids healthy and smart. Farming with chemicals like chlorpyrifos that harm children is unthinkable. And what we pack for lunch doesn’t risk damage to our child’s nervous system.

Scientists have known for more than a decade that chlorpyrifos is especially harmful to young minds and bodies. This is why it was banned from bug-killing home products way back in 2001. Read the rest of this entry →

BPA Bill AB 1319 Passed in Assembly, But with Major Holes

6:03 pm in Children's Health, Consumer Products by Mary Brune

This week, the passing of AB 1913, the Toxic-Free Infants & Toddlers Act, in the Assembly has let it be known that our children deserve better than to be fed bisphenyl A (BPA) through their baby bottles and sippy cups.  But the battle for the babies’ health isn’t over yet.

AB 1319 (or, “The BPA Bill” as it is affectionately called by those who have seen it go to legislation year after year under various titles) requires that the maximum amount of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups be lowered to 0.1 ppb (parts per billion).  This new maximum applies to the manufacturers, sellers, and distributors of these baby products.

This is a big step forward in protecting our little ones from chemicals in their environment.  However, the bill is not as strong as it could and will need to be. Read the rest of this entry →

Does your child’s school get a passing grade?

6:08 pm in Children's Health, Green Schools by Mary Brune

There’s just something about the beginning of the school year that is full of possibilities. New friends, new experiences, and a chance to start with a clean slate. I encourage all you parents out there with school-age kids to make a commitment to get involved in the environmental health of your child’s school. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to sign up for the Green Team and help make sure that your child’s school not only stimulates their brain cells, but also provides a healthy environment in which to learn.

If there isn’t a Green Team at your school, consider starting one on your own. Or make an appointment to speak with the school principal and share your concerns. The new Back to School Checklist from Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ) is the perfect tool to help frame your conversation.

Here are some other links to groups and programs we love that are helping schools go green.

Let us know what actions you’re taking to help your school go green!

Official Rules for the MOMS FlipVideo Giveway

4:41 pm in Uncategorized by Mary Brune

  • You must be 18 years old and a United States Resident, unless otherwise stated.
  • There is no purchase requirement to enter.
  • Employees, interns, or relatives of employees or interns, of Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS), or its parent organization the Center for Environmental Health are ineligible.
  • Void Where Prohibited by Law
  • Only one site registration per entry. Duplicate registrations for the same email account will not be counted. Site Registration involves creating an account and profile on the MOMS website. The account must contain a legitimate email address. We reserve the right to disqualify anyone using automatic registration bots or other means of spamming our registration servers.
  • The winner will be randomly selected from among the first 500 legitimate site registrants. MOMS will use Random.org to select the winner.  The winner will be notified via email and must provide legal first and last name, legal address, and working phone number. This information is required to mail the prize; this information will only be shared with the shipping company responsible for delivering your prize. Winners have 14 days to accept their prize, at which time a new winner will be drawn.
  • The giveaway is a Black 8GB FlipVideo UltraHD camera.
  • The winner will be selected on October 31, 2011December 1st, 2011*.
  • Good Luck!
  • *We have extended the registration period for the giveaway because we experienced some technical difficulties with our registration process when first launching our beta site. We apologize for any inconvenience, but hey, your odds of winning are still 1 in 500, which are pretty good.

What My Daughter Wants (and Deserves) for Her Birthday: a Toxic-Free Future

4:14 pm in Body Burden, Children's Health by Mary Brune

Tomorrow, August 11th, is my daughter Olivia’s birthday. My almost second-grader, who just finished reading Harry Potter, is turning seven. It’s hard to believe. Tomorrow we’ll celebrate this milestone in the presence of family, give her gifts, and enjoy the Brune birthday staple: ice cream cake.

But today, while the rest of our family frolics in the sand at the Jersey shore, my daughter and I will travel two-and-a-half hours by train to New York City to join other mothers and children in celebrating another important event: the National Stroller Brigade Day of Action in support of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. The New York event is one of several taking place across the country, to either thank senators for being — or encourage them to become — a co-sponsor of this important chemical reform legislation. In New York, we will be thanking both Senators Gillibrand and Schumer for their early formal support for these common sense reforms. Senator Gillibrand, as another concerned mom, has been increasingly active around the need to better protect our children and has played a leading role in this effort.

As kids, my two sisters and I were exposed to pesticides that were sprayed to control mosquitoes in our town. If I close my eyes, I can still conjure the acrid smell of the showers that rained down on us as we chased the truck around the streets in our neighborhood. Read the rest of this entry →

Can’t breastfeed in public? That sucks.

6:15 pm in Breast milk by Hailee Hallahan

When I read that toplessness is legal in New York City, the first thing I thought (after, I wonder if it’s legal in Berkeley? – never mind, legality is probably irrelevant) was, Finally! Maybe people will begin to see breasts as beautiful parts of women’s bodies, and not sectioned off as objects existing for solely sexual purposes. Let’s face it: breasts are there at pivotal points in our lives – upon being born, they feed and nourish us; upon reaching puberty, they grow on us (figuratively and literally); and upon motherhood, they continue our mothers’ favor and begin to feed and nourish our children. How’s that for magical?

But aside from NYC, current law doesn’t recognize the beauty of breastfeeding – outside of the home, that is. Current legislation protects mothers breastfeeding only if they are doing so on federal property. Breastfeeding on private property – shopping malls, airlines, restaurants – is not protected. So if your baby is hungry in a restaurant, you may not have the right to feed your child. Read the rest of this entry →

Some Stains Are Hard to Wash Out

8:59 pm in Consumer Products, Personal Care Products by Mary Brune

Like the one likely to marr the reputation of legitimate personal care products manufactures who take care in using safe, organic ingredients in light of the recent news of false organic claims by some companies.

In case you haven’t heard the latest news about personal care products that is sure to have your freshly shampooed hair stand on end, I’ll fill you in. That shampoo you just used–you know, the organic one you paid $3 more for because it’s healthier for you, the environment, and supports companies doing the right thing–well, turns out that it isn’t, it doesn’t, and they don’t. About the only truth therein is that you paid more than you should have for a product that claimed to do something it doesn’t, be safer than it is.

So, what’s a busy, environmentally concerned, health-conscious parent to do? First, check out the list of companies falsely using the term organic on its labels so that you know which products to avoid. Then, tell the CEO of Hain–one leading natural personal care products companies falsely using organic claims–to stop greenwashing!