Saturday, December 31, 2016

What makes a healthy home?

I was doing some research for my website, Eve's Best, when it suddenly occurred to me that many people may not know what a "healthy home" really is. Of course we all have our own opinions, but I feel a healthy home encompasses these qualities:

1. The air is clean. Unless we have a sick child, we may not realize how poor our air quality is. We often hear of sick buildings or sick schools, and we neglect to realize the danger occurs in our own homes. Whether we have abundant off-gassing, mold or mildew, or allergens floating around in the air, most homes do have poor air quality. We solve this by using Airwise air purifiers in our home.

2. Safe cleaning products are used. The majority of products on the market are NOT safe. You can find safer alternatives at your local health food store, or make your own non-toxic cleaning products. Both alternatives will help you avoid volatile organic compounds (VOC's) which are given off, even by closed cleaning containers.

3. Fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic) are on hand for snacks. People who say their kids won't eat these are usually providing their children more junk than fruit. Of course children will choose a twinkie over a banana! So leave the twinkies at the store and you avoid the battle completely. My kids get fruit out of the refrigerator bin without me knowing it because they know that when they're hungry that's what they should eat. They are 4 and 5, and we have sweet teeth just like everyone else. But we also have brains that we try to use daily, and most parents out there just don't feel the same way, apparently.

4. Safe personal care products are provided. Everything you put on your body or use to clean your body has an affect on your body. Just like cleaning products, personal care products have not been created with your health in mind. Cost has been the most important factor, and many mainstream products

Friday, December 30, 2016

Triclosan Concerns

Antibacterial Compounds In Everyday Products May Affect Fetuses' Lengths

By Shweta Lyer, Aug 10, 2014

From hand sanitizers and body washes to detergents and dish soaps, we love everything that comes with the antibacterial label. But is the overuse of antibacterial products doing more harm than good? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certainly thinks so, as it's considering a ban on common antibacterial compounds that are also known to harm the environment. What’s more, scientists have found that the chemical compounds in antibacterial products have found their way into fetuses in pregnant mothers.

Researchers reported their findings at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

"We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products," said Dr. Benny Pycke, a research scientists at Arizona State University, in a press release. "We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples.”

Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide back in the 1960s. But with a potential to be used as an antimicrobial ingredient, it began being manufactured into antibacterial products. Recent studies have shown the serious health implications that triclosan and triclocarban present in animals, and possibly in humans, too. In the lab, these compounds were shown to disrupt hormones essential for neural and reproductive development and produce drug resistance in bacteria.

While its true that the human body can flush out these compounds, constant exposure may still leave traces inside the body. "If you cut off the source of exposure, eventually triclosan and triclocarban would quickly be diluted out, but the truth is that we have universal use of these chemicals, and therefore also universal exposure," lead investigator Dr. Rolf Halden said in the release.

While scientists have not been able to replicate lab results showing the effects of these compounds on people, State University of New York's Dr. Laura Geer found another interesting outcome during the study. The study showed that women with high levels of the antimicrobial compound butyl paraben, found in cosmetic products, gave birth to shorter newborns. It's yet to be seen how these compounds will affect people in the long-term. But if their findings are confirmed in larger studies, it could mean that widespread exposure to these compounds may cause subtle, but large-scale effects on birth size.

Currently there are more than 2,000 over-the-counter products that contain these compounds, including toothpastes, soaps, detergents, carpets, paints, school supplies, and toys, the researchers said. Besides harming the human body, these dangerous compounds are no good for the environment either. Our ecosystem, especially lakes, accumulate large amounts of triclosan due to the release of sewage water. In turn, marine life is harmed.

Because of these implications, several governments have considered banning products that use these compounds. Minnesota became the first state to pass a ban on the use of antimicrobials in certain products. The ban is expected to take effect in January 2017. The Canadian Environmental Law Association has also urged the Canadian government to ban these two compounds. Meanwhile, companies like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble have also announced the discontinuation of these compounds from some of their products. At the federal level, the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency have recommended a scientific review of these compounds, and with sufficient evidence may consider banning them.

Source: Geer L, Halden R, Pycke B, et al. Human biomonitoring of prenatal exposure to triclosan and triclocarban in a multiethnic urban population from Brooklyn, New York. At The 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. 2014.

Lead Poisoning in United States

Nearly 3,000 US Communities Have Higher Rate Of Lead Poisoning Than Flint, MI 

By Whitney Webb

Last year, the community of Flint, Michigan was thrust into the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Children were being diagnosed with lead poisoning at previously unheard of levels and the town’s water supply was later found to be the culprit. City officials, not long before, had switched the city’s water supply from the Detroit water system to a polluted and corrosive nearby river in order to save money. Though several of the city officials responsible have now been criminally charged for their role in the disaster, nearly two years have passed while residents of Flint remain without clean drinking water.

Though Flint is the most recent example of lead poisoning in the United States, a new analysis by Reuters has found that it is just the tip of the iceberg. The study found that nearly 3,000 communities throughout the country recorded incredibly high rates of lead poisoning, over a third of which were quadruple that of Flint at the height of the water crisis. Pockets of major urban centers like Baltimore and Philadelphia were the locales found to suffer the most from lead poisoning. In many of these communities lead poisoning has been a problem for generations. There, the rate of elevated lead tests has hovered between 40 to 50% for at least the past ten years. Other communities are more rural, like Warren, Pennsylvania. 36% of children living in Warren, a town of under 10,000 along the endangered Allegheny river, had elevated levels of lead in their blood.

The study used previously undisclosed data from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments to arrive at its conclusions as both groups track poisoning rates among children in a variety of locations nationwide. Reuters reporters found that lead poisoning was so widespread it spanned across economic class and race, though poverty was often predicted a higher likelihood of lead exposure. Though the CDC officially estimated that 2.5% of children nationwide in the US suffer from lead poisoning, some say the number is likely far higher. Ultimately, the report strongly highlights the failure of government attempts to eliminate such high exposure to such a dangerous toxin. Dr. Helen Egger, chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Longone Medical Center’s Child Study Center, told Reuters that “Where lead poisoning remains common, many children will have developmental delays and start out behind all the rest.” For that reason, any child whose lead blood level is above 5 micrograms per deciliter warrant a “public health response” as the slightest elevation can result in a reduced IQ and stunted development.

This study raises the possibility that lead poisoning could be to blame, in part, for the rise in autism. Lead poisoning has already been pinned as a cause of autism as a 2014 study in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology found that lead and mercury can lead to autistic disorders. That same year, one in 68 children in the US were diagnosed with autism, a 30 percent increase in just two years. However, mainstream health news, such as WebMD, claim that the causes of autism remain “a mystery.” Children throughout the country have now been proven to have high levels of a heavy metal known to cause autism in their blood. The real explanation for the dramatic jump in autism cases is right in front of us, if only we would see it.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Toxic Carpet Solution for Babies

If you've never heard about the numerous problems that carpet can cause, please Google it! I don't want to re-hash old news here, as there are numerous excellent articles on-line about the dangers already. In a nutshell, new carpet is bad because of the off-gassing of chemicals, and old carpet is bad because it contains decades of everything that came off of shoes, as well as layers of dust, dust mites, and any other bug carcasses that died under fibers hidden from the vacuum cleaner's suction.

Cleaning your carpets is good, but has mold started growing due to the wetness from being "shampooed"? There is ALWAYS SOMETHING with carpet. I'm so glad we only have carpet on stairs (which we are removing) because my son was recently diagnosed with allergies to numerous things, including dust mites!

But what do you do when you have a baby you want to lie down on your floor? Or what if you take your baby to a friend's house and the only option is a carpeted floor? (And you know it's not clean...)

This solution is a no-brainer and it's so simple, it's crazy that others haven't already thought about it. It's the No-Chem Tummy Time Mat, a piece of food-grade plastic that is put between the baby and floor.

Now you can put your baby down, literally anywhere, because the plastic keeps any fumes, toxins, dirt, and dust mites away from your baby, keeping her healthy and free from harmful chemicals.

I also suggest using this mat on top of foam pieces, even if they are made for children. Some children's padding/ foam flooring is chemically unhealthy for babies and should be avoided as well.

This product would make a great gift for new moms who aren't aware of the dangers in carpet.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wrapping a Mattress That's Making You Sick

I just spent quite a bit of time reading about people discussing online how sick they are from their mattresses. And I feel guilty, because instead of yelling from the rooftops how I can help, I've been busy raising my kids and trying to also get enough sleep to survive. I might be currently dozing off from time to time, but I will try to get my point across.

New mattresses contain more chemicals than ever before. It doesn't matter what they are called or why they are in there if you are getting sick from your mattress (you aren't the only one!) You are probably here to figure out how to fix that, while skipping the education that gets you nowhere...

If your mattress is making you sick, here is the easiest, most affordable, and most sensible solution available:

Purchase a No-Chem Bed Solutions Mattress Wrap, a "pillowcase style" cover made from food grade polyethylene.

Yes, it feels like plastic, and yes, you can do something about it. First, I would see how much it really bothers you. Then, try different solutions. The more padding between you and the plastic, the less the plastic is noticeable (duh, right?) A down or poly-fill comforter that fits under the fitted sheet might make a big difference. (Do not lay a baby on this!)

If you are still bothered by the plastic, you might need to move onto another solution. You could purchase a non-toxic foam pad to go under the fitted sheet (and under a mattress pad if you choose). My son's entire bed is made of non-toxic foam pads and his bed is absolutely heavenly. That is the more expensive route to take, but if you are watching pennies like most Americans, one thinner pad would probably do the trick.

I would also want to wrap an older mattress, because let's be honest, we don't know what's in there. You can find that info on other sites, but I'm going to do you a favor just in case you're on your lunch break and say, "Trust me..."

I do want to say in closing, that if you seem to be getting more sensitive to chemicals, do some liver-friendly things like adding some good veggies to your diet and taking herbal supplements for liver health and de-toxing. Because Your Health Matters!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sharp Stabbing Pain in the Head

We had just finished dinner at a restaurant I won't mention, when my son suddenly scrunched up his face, rubbing the front right part of his head (near the temple). I immediately thought he had an ice cream headache, but this was different. It lasted about 10 seconds, and he told me that he had been having these kind of headaches for about a month. They were growing in frequency, and I could tell they were starting to concern him.

I did the first thing I could think of, which of course was to Google this type of pain to see what I could learn on the internet. I quickly learned that he was having "ice pick headaches" which could be caused by something serious, or something completely "normal." At our next chiropractor's visit, we were advised to make a visit to the doctor for further investigation. We were able to get an appointment the next day.

After asking some questions, a urinalysis (which I later found out was a drug screen!) was done and blood was drawn. A few days later, a CT scan was taken of his head.

It didn't take long to find out that the CT scan was normal, he wasn't on drugs or alcohol (which I already knew), and his blood showed a low Vitamin D level (AGAIN). But it also showed that he had markers for allergies, so they wanted to take more blood to run a panel to find out what he's allergic to. There were many allergies, both food and environmental. The doctor said that this could certainly be the cause of the headaches, and while we wait to see the allergist, he should take Claritin daily.

I had already done some reading about ice pick headaches, and wasn't convinced that allergies were the likely cause. I got online again to find an article written about Mayo Clinic and how they had used melatonin in a study for these headaches. A couple of parents of teen boys had followed the same study and tried the melatonin with success. Because he had been having trouble sleeping for over a year, I decided that adding it to our regimen couldn't hurt.

His headaches stopped completely. A week after having none, he suddenly had one for no apparent reason. But after having five a day, one per week was an amazing improvement. The only problem is, we don't know if it was the (generic) Claritin or the melatonin that did it. And frankly, I don't care! I'm not a fan of medication, but I also started taking the (generic) Claritin and it's made the scratchiness in my throat go away as well.

If you (or your child) has ice pick headaches out of the blue, try melatonin first. We used 1 mg and it made an immediate difference in my son's ability to sleep at night, and was enough to work for his headaches (presumably). I know these are common for people who have migraines or cluster headaches, and I would suggest to search for the cause of these as well. Pain is the body's way of communicating something, and we just need to figure out what that is.