Today Olly and I planted our first Spring vegetable seeds. Since it has been so lovely and warm I’m hoping that the seeds will think it’s spring and not the winter that it truly is… sweetcorn, silverbeet and green dwarf beans, along with basil and oregano to go with the skerricks of tarragon that survive from last summer. There is so much hope with planting – in my case the results rarely live up to the expectation – and the fabulous feeling of actually having got out there and pulled the weeds out of the bleedin’ beds first. A tick off the to-do list, hooray! I will be smugly satisfied for a while now every time I look out of the kitchen window to our green-thumbed work…one big bed down, now only one small one to go…
Monthly Archives: August 2010
I’ve recently been doing my bit to rid the house of sodium lauryl sulphate, especially in my children’s bath wash & shampoo. One product I’ve been using is the Natural Instinct range, and I’m starting to think I’m being taken for a ride with its ‘Organic’ labelling… on the Natural Instinct Natural Baby Bath Wash bottles it is printed: No Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (amongst other things) but then in ingredients the second listing is Sodium Laureth Sulphate (plant derived). What’s the diff?
I read this today from Dr Mercola:
HEALTHBIT: Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, a common chemical in cosmetics, could be putting you at risk for hair, skin and eye damage, immunological problems, and even cancer. http://mercola.com
Skin Deep says:
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
scores 3 out of 10
– linked to cancer in government or academic studies
– linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity
– has restrictions and warnings in countries other than Australia
– linked to toxicity of one or more biological systems in the body
– linked to irritation of the skin, eyes or lungs according to government assessments
– linked to neurotoxicity & endocrine disruption
Sodium Laureth Sulphate
scores 4 out of 10
– may be contaminated with toxic impurities, many of which are linked to cancer
– linked to organ system toxicity
– linked to irritation of the skin, eyes or lungs according to government assessments
Oh good, well that clears it up then…? From where I sit right here I don’t think that the ‘plant derived’ bit on the bottle means much with regard to lack of irritation or potential harm minimisation, instead I think it’s a type of greenwash, meant to make unsuspecting parents think they’re doing the best for their kids. It even says ‘No Harmful Chemicals’ on the bottle! How disappointing.
I’ve just trolled down through all the list of ingredients for the A’kin PureBaby Softening Body Wash & Shampoo (why they need to ‘soften’ a baby’s body is beyond me (!) but they’ve checked out ok, nothing on the list scores more than a 2 on the evil scale. So A’kin it is! And Australian made & owned, hooray!
So I have followed Friends of the Earth’s advice and got some Woolworth’s Select Kids Very High Protection Sunscreen Lotion – this one also says, ‘Not suitable for children under 18 months’ but the active ingredients & preservatives still seem to rate low to moderate on the EWG potential calamity scale. One unusual ingredient is:
This ingredient may be derived from animals. From PETA’s Caring Consumer: Excreted from urine and other bodily fluids. In deodorants, ammoniated dentifrices, mouthwashes, hair colorings, hand creams, lotions, shampoos, etc. Used to “brown” baked goods, such as pretzels. Derivatives: Imidazolidinyl Urea, Uric Acid. Alternatives: synthetics. Source: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com
Mmmm, lovely. At least they’ve removed the awful loo cleaner smell that it had last year.
And so another season of warm weather unfolds – time to wade through the quagmire of toddler/ kid sunscreen to find one that will not give my children something worse than the melanoma which I am trying to avoid. It’s absolutely shocking to me that the majority of sunscreens available at supermarkets and pharmacies in Australia have ingredients that are so very dangerous. The US website Environmental Working Group has a cosmetic safety database called Skin Deep that you can access to find out about individual ingredients, which is an invaluable resource if you have the time to do the research http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com
Recently I bought the Sunsense Toddler Milk sunscreen from a pharmacy. I see this brand everywhere so assumed it to be safe. How wrong! This product has many potentially harmful actives. Here is a summary of one of the ingredients:
Oxybenzone 2.0% This chemical scores 9 out of a possible 10 = Very High Hazard
– Linked to cancer in goverment or academic studies
– Linked to developmental & reproductive toxicity, can range from infertility and reproductive organ cancers to birth defects and developmental delays in children
– Prohibited for use in cosmetics or subject to restrictions according to government regulations from US, EU, Japan & Canada
– Linked to immunotoxicity, or harm to the immune system
– The ability to affect the body at a cellular or biochemical level
– Enhanced capacity to absorb through the skin by virtue of chemical properties or small particle size (incl nano) or where it is applied on the body (ie infant skin)
– moderate evidence of human endocrine distruption
How can it be that this product is allowed to be slathered on our children? Or at least that this information is not commonly known?
Friends of the Earth in Australia have a frequently updated list of companies that use – and don’t use – nanotechnology in their products: well-known and seemingly trustable companies like L’Oreal, Nivea & Ambre Solaire treat their creams and sunscreens with this process, which in a very layman’s nutshell splits the minerals like zinc and titanium oxides into such tiny particles that they are more readily absorbed into one’s skin for cosmetic appearance. http://nano.foe.org.au/ This is not known yet whether it will be a big problem, especially for young skin, as studies have not yet been completed. Check out their list, also mentions non-chemical products
So – using these two sites for my own information, I’ve gleaned that 3 of the 9 brands in the ‘Nano & Chemical Free’ section are locally available to me:
I’ll let you know how I go…
I’ve always thought that I was pretty clued-up in regard to additives and nasties in personal and home products, however in the last few years my eyes have really been opened to the evils of what surrounds us… chemicals in food, tin cans, baby bottles, containers, shampoo & body wash etc, house cleaning products, toys – the list goes on and on of previously trusted products with potentially hazardous or even carcinogenic ingredients. My house has been purged as much as possible from these silent killers but has it been too late? It feels like every year cancer in its various guises gets closer to us and more and more people that we know are struck down, and younger and younger.
Reading ‘Slow Death By Rubber Duck’ by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie slowdeathbyrubberduck.com earlier this year , amongst other things sent all our children’s bath toys straight into the bin; and subscribing to their Environmental Defence site www.environmentaldefence.ca has us rid of perfume and commonly available body and hair cleaning products. Alas their information covers mainly Canadian and North American companies and I find it almost impossible to glean any equivalent quality Australian-based info.
Let me give you all the information I have found!
Goodness it has been windy here the last 24 hours… windy and cold. I thought a part of someone’s roof had fallen into our garden and was harbouring ideas of wandering along the street door-knocking to find out who it belonged to… until I realised it’s from our own house. D’oh!
My poor nectarine tree is in the middle of budburst: little blossoms have started to appear, beautiful pink delicately-scented flowers – after a lovely warm weekend it must have thought we were ready to start thinking about balmy summer evenings and getting our swimmers out (I certainly was!) but alas, the wintry reality has set in and here we are again with heaters at full steam ahead and me wearing my jacket inside as I type this… sniff (really)
I went to a talk the other day at my library on ‘Nutrition for Babies & Kids’. Most of what the guest speaker said I thought was pretty obvious but there were quite a few new mums there asking about introducing formula/ weaning etc. I was shocked and dismayed to hear the speaker (supposedly a qualified nutritionist introduced by the sponsors, a local pharmacy) advocating the drinking of bottled water over tap water for kids up to the age of 5. Dangerous and misleading – apart from the expense of buying bottled water & the environmental impact, what about the plastic contamination and lack of fluoride? I’ve a mind to write to the chemist and tell them how I feel, if I only get a minute to find a piece of paper & an envelope!