It is 2011. Global warming is one of the biggest topics of debates, recalls are almost standard, we spent two years previously watching the CEO’s of major Chinese corporations commit suicide over toxic toys and the world is going mad. Even baby bottles have been found to contain a potentially harmful chemical called BPA. Cribs, carseats, strollers and bouncers are frequently in the news with horrifying stories of dead babies and numbers to call for information on refunds.
All of this is enough to make any mother feel on edge, but for the mama who is trying to live her life green it is especially frustrating and nerve wracking. With so much to think about, just keeping your kids safe is a serious job, much less the environment. Many have turned to ultra-expensive products that claim to be eco-friendly and completely safe. But with the issues of today, it has opened up a whole world for companies that exploit this demand for their own profits, overcharging and often failing to meet regulations and standards set for such products.
So, where do you turn? Actually, it is all simpler than you might think. While it appears to be overwhelming, being green can actually be easy. You just have to break it down and do things the faster way. That means taking an honest look at the most pressing issues likely to face you, and cutting out the rest as a statistical improbability.
What Should I Worry About?
Honestly, your most pressing worry should be the most likely you will encounter. That would be phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA). The most common of these two chemicals are phthalates. Often found in plastics, but also in personal hygiene products, baby bottles, rubbers and formula cans, this secretive menace can slip into anything. Because there are so few regulations, federally there is nothing that can be done and so nothing that companies must follow. In some states, it has been banned from certain products like formula, but this is a small step on a long road.
However, businesses have been heavily affected by the bad press about this issue. Because of this, they have worked to remove phthalates from their products, and so most new toys, soaps and bottles won’t have it. In fact, many parents are now deliberately throwing out older products and buying new ones less likely to have the chemical in them.
BPA is a similar chemical, and it has been linked to the same side effects, such as breast and prostate cancers, strange growths and reproductive deformities and problems in small boys. But it has also been largely eliminated by companies protecting their image. The Senate is also slowly getting on board with banning all BPA and pthalates, though there is a long way to go in this regard.
What Can I Do?
- Pay attention. Because this issue has been expounded on so much in the media, many toy makers or baby product manufacturers will actually list on the packaging that it is free of these chemicals. Try to stick with products that say so, or check their website before buying to see if it is handled in their FAQ section.
- If you buy second hand, run a check on the toy brand and find out if there have been any recalls, or if it is reported to contain any harmful chemicals. There are so many mommy-sites online that it shouldn’t be hard to discover.
- Go for homemade. Sure, factory-spewed toys are cheap. But they are also potentially dangerous and promote bad working conditions, slave labor and environmental harm. Be careful of the stores you buy from, and if possible buy from a fair-trade vendor that hand makes each bamboo baby toys or product.
Being green doesn’t have to be hard. If you know what you are against, you will know what to look out for. Before long, it will all just be second nature.
Jessy Troy is a stay-at-home mom of two. She was a homeschooler herself, and has been homeschooling her kids for about 4 years now. She enjoys discovering new family-friendly Internet tools and considers herself a geeky mommy blogger. Jessy is keen on vegan dieting and expresses her love for frugal and sustainable living at her blog DIY gadgets.
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