Vote With Every Bite

August 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 2:14 pm


The latest food recall got us thinking about the frequency of food recalls.  This time it’s 220 million eggs, but we all remember recent recalls on tons of ground beef, chicken products, spinach, pre-mixed salads, peanut butter, pet foods….  But did you know that food recalls occur far more often than what makes it to the evening news?

Did you know that just in this year there have been recalls on canned meatball products, canned soups, frozen chicken nugget products, canned tuna, popular breakfast cereals, potato chips, salami, granola bars, chocolate products, dried dates, tortillas, as well as at least 177 products containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) because of “potential salmonella exposure”.  HVP is a flavor enhancer & found in many processed food products and it’s not always easy to find it on the ingredients label.

Since the 1970′s, the number of inspectors & therefore inspections has decreased drastically while the production & importation have increased.  The Centers for Disease Control records 76 million cases of food borne illness per year!  It seems fair to say that our food safety system is broken & in need of serious repair.

While we as individuals may not be able to repair our food safety systems, we can (and do every day, even if we don’t realize it) send a message to food manufacturers & suppliers.  Every dollar we spend sends the market a message, a “vote” if you will.  When making purchasing decisions, it’s important to vote for the right products because manufacturers pay attention to our buying habits & position themselves to best compete for our dollars/votes.

With family farms disappearing at an alarming rate (Farm Aid reports that 330 farmers leave their lands every week), we have inadvertently sent the message that we want more factory farming, where the bottom line is the principal consideration.  Factory farms are highly subsidized & negatively impact our health, the health of our environment as well as the economic health of our communities.  They pollute our waters and create “dead zones” like the one in the Gulf of Mexico which measures 8,543 square miles – the size of New Jersey.  The agribusiness nutrient rich runoff depletes the oxygen in the water & robs sea life of its spawning grounds.

Fortunately, the popularity of farmer’s markets & eating locally grown foods is growing and an increasing number of consumers are voting for organically grown foods.  As more Americans become aware of the benefits of eating responsibly, we can take control of our communities and support our neighbors.  If the Black Sea (formerly the largest dead zone in the world) can be used as a case study, we know we can reverse the effects of agribusiness in the Gulf of Mexico.


If you have enough space & time, growing your own garden can be a very rewarding exercise.  Children love to help in the garden & it’s a great way to teach them about growing cycles and the importance of living in harmony with our surroundings.  Some communities allow chicken coups in residential areas and New York city is a great example of roof top farming & bee keeping. If your child’s school doesn’t already have a vegetable or herb garden, you may consider suggesting it and helping create this unique learning opportunity.


We are lucky to live in a city that has a farmer’s market during our growing season as well as a year round open air market in a neighboring city that makes eating locally/organically & seasonally a bit easier.  We have also seen the opening of a handful of restaurants that feature local/organic or raw foods.  There is also a Community Supported Agriculture group (CSA) in our county.  To find farmer’s markets, organic farmers, local beekeepers, healthy restaurants & CSA’s in your area, visit these sites for more information:

Local Harvest
The Ethicurean
Food Routes
Heritage Turkey Foundation
Sustainable Table
Backyard Beekeeping
Bee Culture
You Grow Girl
America The Beautiful Fund’s Operation Green Plant
Seed Savers Exchange
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Organic & Fair Trade Fundraising

July 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 7:14 pm

While reading the current issue of Mothering magazine, i came across the Equal Exchange Fairly Traded red & white logo that always has a Pavlovian affect on me.  I’m not a chocoholic, but when a chocolate craving hits, not just any chocolate will do.  I have a special place in my heart for the Equal Exchange Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds, made with organic almonds & 55% cacao it makes me very happy.  The write up mentioned that aside from making great chocolate treats, Equal Exchange has a fund raising program that supports small sustainable farms.

What a great alternative to the usual fund raising fare.  For as long as I can remember, fund raising time meant selling friends & family unhealthy, overpriced, often imported edibles and knick knacks they didn’t want or need.  No longer do parents have to endure the mixed feelings that accompany fundraisers.  While helping schools/organizations raise funds Equal Exchange offers quality organic and fair traded coffee, tea, cocoa, snacks & gifts and gives back to farmers & artisans in Latin America and here in the US.

Perhaps the best part is the big impact small changes like this have on our children.  What a great way to demonstrate how important each individual’s buying decisions can be; it’s the butterfly effect explained through chocolate – how beautiful!  Equal Exchange is a worker owned cooperative that works with other cooperatives throughout the Americas and is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization.



Happy Mother’s Day!

May 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 9:31 pm

In 2008 while Dr. Laura Stachel was observing a hospital in Nigeria as part of her work in maternal child health.  The electricity went out and a C-section that was already in progress had to be completed with the aid of flashlights.  In some cases, women were bleeding to death during child birth because there were no phone systems with which to summon a doctor.  Dr. Stachel shared her frustration with her husband and together they created a “solar suitcase” she could take on the road with her.

Once back in Nigeria, Statchel’s “solar suitcase” was being used to power LED lights & walkie talkies as well as ultrasound machines.  As the word spread, other hospitals began submitting their requests for the solar energy kits.  This growing demand and the need to meet it gave rise to WeCareSolar.com.  So far, the “solar suitcase” has helped people in Nigeria, Tanzania, Mexico, Haiti, Thailand and Burma and will very soon be used in Uganda.

Each suitcase costs about $1,000 to build, but can mean the difference between life and death for a mother in labor and her baby.  We would like to celebrate this Mother’s Day by donating 1% of our total May sales to WeCareSolar.com and we encourage all our friends to join us in making a donation to this very worthy cause.


“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect.  Everything gets reduced to essentials”,  Meryl Streep

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How safe if your baby crib?

March 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 4:23 pm

All baby cribs sold in the USA must meet the minimum CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) safety requirements.  All baby cribs sold in the USA must also meet the Federal Hazardous Substances Act standards.  JPMA certification is optional & not required by law.

So, is a JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certified baby crib safer than one that is not JPMA certified?  The JPMA doesn’t go far beyond the requirements set forth by the CPSIA (Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008).  In 2007, the JPMA certified Simplicity crib recall affected over one million cribs.  The poorly designed Simplicity crib with its coveted JPMA seal of approval resulted in the deaths of three children.  This crib had been passing JPMA testing for nearly a decade before it was recalled; and the first recall occurred two years after the first child had died.

JPMA also has been dragging its feet when it comes to researching the safety of crib bumper pads & baby bottles containing BPA (Bisphenol-A).  Some have even accused JPMA of lobbying against baby bottle regulations.  JPMA has vigorously campaigned against making changes to the CPSC that would increase safety standards.  In our opinion, the JPMA seal alone is not enough.  JPMA is simply a sure sign that someone has paid a lot of money for certification.

We work primarily with small, family owned businesses that meet the CPSIA standards but who have not opted for the superfluous JPMA certification.  Our crib manufacturers voluntarily go beyond the requirements of the CPSIA & JPMA.  And even without the JPMA certification, our crib manufacturers have never had a recall.  Our baby nursery furniture makers take pride in creating beautiful & safe furniture that will last several generation after generation.  The furniture makers we feature do not mass produce.

As a nursery furniture retailer, we prefer to work with manufacturers that do not seek to only meet minimum safety requirements.  We screen for country of origin, materials used and manufacturing practices in addition to meeting CPSIA of 2008 standards.  We encourage all our customers to ask questions & conduct their own thorough research as opposed to relying on a purchased seal of approval.

Our nursery furniture makers are craftsmen creating family heirlooms on a small scale, the old fashioned way.  They are as interested in conserving, recycling & using sustainable, non toxic materials as we are.  Our USA made baby cribs use solid hardwoods, non toxic finishes/paints and non toxic adhesives.  Our solid wood baby cribs are formaldehyde free & use no particle board, no pressed wood, no MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) & no veneers.

We believe in supporting USA manufacturers that source their materials as close to home as possible and practice fair trade & labor standards.  We work hard to bring together a collection of sustainable baby products that do not pollute the air in baby’s nursery.  We take our mission seriously & would be happy to address any questions about the products we offer.  Thank you for considering American made baby furniture!

Argington Babylon High Chair Now on Sale!

October 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 6:54 pm

If you have been waiting for the right time to buy the popular Argington Babylon High Chair, now is the time.  The usual $198 price tag has been slashed to $108 on five beautiful colors:  Cherry, Orange, Pink, Red Maple & White.  The Argington Babylon High Chair is made of 100% solid FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) Certified wood right here in the USA.   You won’t find any particle board, MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), flakeboard or any other such material.

Along with the Argington High Chair, the Argington Infant Tray Kit has also been marked down, from $59.95 to $35.  The Argington Infant Tray is designed of the same FSC Certified solid wood as the high chair & is ideal for babies from 6 months to 18 months of age.

* The Birch & Ebony Argington Babylon High Chair and Argington Infant Tray Kit are not on sale.

Early Morning Fire, Exceptional Service & a Very Happy Customer

July 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 6:53 pm

Early this morning, a fire in Seattle’s Fisher Plaza knocked our payment processing service offline for several hours.  We have no way of knowing which of our customers experienced difficulties, so we will take this opportunity to apologize to everyone that may have been affected.  The problem was fixed before most people had their first cup of coffee & is fully functional now.

The silver lining:  just as the West Coast was waking up to the news, our always-making-things-smooth web designer, Cicily of August Afternoon, contacted us to make arrangements for a back-up system.  No matter how deserving, Cicily is obviously not taking a long weekend and is hard at work, per usual.  I know that as a mother and a business owner, she has more than enough on her plate going into Fourth of July weekend.  But she still had the wherewithal early in the morning to contact us & get busy problem solving.  We couldn’t ask for better service.  Cicily, you are awesome!

Thank you,
Nasrin


What does “Organic” mean?

June 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 7:14 pm

When purchasing organic produce, organic clothing, organic mattresses & bedding, have you ever wanted to know what requirements were met for that item to be labeld ‘organic’?  Often, ‘organic’ & ‘natural’ are tossed around as if they meant the same thing.  Natural simply means “existing in or formed by nature”, as opposed to artificial.  Organic, however is governed by strict requirements and only applies to certain production methods.


In the US, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) sets forth stringent standards that must be met before a product can be considered organic.  The National Organic Program (NOP) regulations ensure that organically labeled products meet consistent national standards.  A third party, approved by the USDA, certifies farms that meet these NOP regulations.

Organic farming begins with soil that has had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least 3 years before the harvest of an organic crop.  Seeds used in organic farming must be natural, untreated, non GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds.  No toxic fertilizers are needed because organic farming employs tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops, supplemented with animal and crop waste materials, along with allowed synthetic materials.


Time honored farming techniques keeps soil healthy and fertile and maintain biologically diverse ecosystems.  As a result, a healthy balance is maintained between pests & their natural predators, eliminating the need for pesticides.  Beneficial insects are introduced to further minimize pest populations.


Organic farming results in improved water rention and thereby decrease the amount of water required to grow crops.  Toxic herbicides & pesticides are also avoided, as crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices including physical, mechanical, and biological controls.  The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation and sewage sludge is prohibited.

Any product that contains 95% to 100% organic ingredients, with remaining ingredients allowed for use in organic products may carry the “Organic” label.  Products containing 70% to 95% organic ingredients may not bear an “Organic” seal, but can list their organic ingredients on the ingredients label.


Organic means:
- No genetically modified organism (GMO)
- No toxic fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides
- No antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering
- No ionizing radiation, sewage sludge
- No cloned animals or animal products
- No chlorine bleach
- No artificial ingredients or preservatives

We can have a positive impact on our environment by demanding organic alternatives to the things that fill our lives.  Organic farming ensures a healthier world for us, our children and all other living creatures that share this planet with us.  Thank you for supporting organic farming!

Fluoride or Fluoride Free?

March 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 11:53 pm

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If you have ever taken the time to read the label of your tube of toothpaste, you may have seen the following:
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“WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age.  If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
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It is a little surprising since toothpaste is commonly thought to be one of the safest things we use.  It is also alarming because children’s toothpastes are available in tasty flavors like bubble gum, strawberry and watermelon; and as a result, much of it is swallowed.  The warning appears because as of April 7th, 1997, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has required that all fluoride toothpastes sold in the U.S. carry a poison warning on the label.
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The Journal of Dental Research has determined that 5 mg of fluoride per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of bodyweight is a potentially fatal dose*.  This is “the minimum dose that could cause toxic signs and symptoms, including death, and that should trigger immediate therapeutic intervention and hospitalization… This does not mean that doses lower than 5.0 mg F/kg should be regarded as innocuous.”  For the average two year old weighing 26 pounds, that would be 60mg of fluoride (found in about two ounces of toothpaste.)  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) points out that “If not monitored, children may easily swallow over four times the recommended daily amount of fluoride in toothpaste.”
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For adherants of the “precautionary principal”, we respect your commitment to fluoride free products.  We also understand that some may benefit from the use of fluoridated products.  Therefore, we offer oral hygiene products with and without fluoride so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
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* Journal of Dental Research 1987; 66:1056-1060

Why SLS/SLES Free?

March 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 4:08 pm


Since many of the skin care products at babyecotrends.com tout their Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) free and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) free formulations, we have received more than a few requests for more information about the benefit of SLS/SLES free skin care. Let’s start by pointing out the obvious: there is a lot of conflicting information regarding the safety of SLS/SLES. Unfortunately, a few who stand to financially gain from misinformation have exaggerated the concerns and even fabricated falsehoods surrounding SLS/SLES. There is cause for concern, but not for alarm.

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SLS is a surfactant that is commonly used in toothpaste, shampoo, shaving foam and bubble bath for its thickening effect and lathering properties. SLES is a detergent and surfactant found in shampoo, toothpaste and soap. SLES has been linked to increased frequency of canker sores among people with frequent recurring sores. And although Sodium lauryl sulfate is a skin and eye irritant and can cause dermatitis with prolonged contact, but is not a known carcinogen. Given the irritating potential of SLS/SLES, we recommend avoiding them whenever possibly, especially for newborns and young children.


Other than the effects SLS/SLES may have on humans, it is important to consider their environmental effect. The impurities present in the production of SLS (even when produced from plant sources such as palm/coconut) end up in our water and soil and may harm other living organisms. So, although continued use of skin care products with SLS/SLES may not be a prelude to cancer, using products free of both agents will avoid the chance of irritation as well as being earth friendly. With the variety of SLS/SLES free products available, consumers have more great choices than ever!

Bisphenol A and Your Baby

December 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Baby Eco Trends @ 5:06 pm

Recently, bisphenol A (BPA) has been making headlines and for very good reason. BPA is a major component in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, used in the production of plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, food and beverage containers, the lining of canned foods, plastic dinnerware and some dental sealants. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, imitating the naturally occurring hormone estrogen. BPA can duplicate, block or exaggerate hormonal responses that control development of the brain and the reproductive system.

The BPA industry group, www.bisphenol-a.org, insists that polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins make life “healthier and safer.” This is a claim that many refute. An expert scientific panel, led by University of Missouri biologist Frederick vom Saal, has found that BPA leaches into plastic bottles and canned foods at unsafe levels. This poses significant health hazards to babies and pregnant women. Research shows that BPA exposure in the perinatal stage (5 months before and 1 month after birth) results in changes to the male and female genital tract and mammary glands that may predispose tissue to earlier onset of disease, reduced fertility and mammary and prostate cancer in lab animals.

In April 2008, after reviewing 150studies, Canada decided to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles and continue testing of other products. Canada became the first country to ban BPA in baby bottles and the Health Minister, Tony Clements, explained why, “We have immediately taken action on BPA because we believe it is our responsibility to ensure families, Canadians and our environment are not exposed to a potentially harmful chemical.”

The September 17, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that researchers found a significant relationship between BPA and cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities. Adults with the highest BPA levels in their urine were more than twice as likely to have heart disease or diabetes than those with the lowest levels, according to the study of more than 1,450 people.

Just days before the Canadian ban of BPA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assigned a task force to review the body of research on BPA’s effects on our health. Until BPA is banned from baby bottles and other plastics in the United States, consumers must exercise vigilance and minimize exposure by seeking safe alternatives. If you have young children, start by replacing baby bottles, sippy cups, and dinnerware with BPA free items.

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