Category Archives: Lifestyle

Our Chance To Eliminate Toxic Chemicals From Everyday Products

Our Chance To Eliminate Toxic Chemicals From Everyday Products

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Sign this petition to #FightToxins in our products!

This is a sponsored post written in conjunction with a Seventh Generation awareness campaign about toxins in our everyday products, and how we can change that.  As always all opinions are my own.

I rummaged through my cabinets the other day grabbed all of the plastic cups my kids drink out of and all of those plastic take out food containers I was saving to re-use, and threw them into the recycling bin. In the car I had been listening to a report on NPR about the BPA safety controversy. First it was supposed to be dangerous, now “they” are saying it’s safe…..Any plastics I had purchased were supposedly BPA free to begin with, but on the radio experts said any plastic food containers may still contain harmful elements. One quote from the story impacted me in particular. The show host, referring to plastics, had said something like ” We speculate about what is causing the rise in cancer, and I wonder if the answer has not been right in front of us all along.”  I realized I had been following the various reports that BPA is harmful or not, but that comment on the radio made me re-think who I am counting to deliver the data. As a mom I decided it’s not worth the risk. These are my children, to companies they are just a statistic. It should not be that way, and we should be able to count on our government agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, to keep products on the market safe.

I have always been careful about the cleaning products that I use in my home, we have four kids, a dog, well water, and a septic tank. This puts us in delicate balance with our environment and it’s impact on our health.  Seventh Generation products are some of the ones I’ve been using for years to safely keep things clean. I’ve always liked the idea reflected in the company name, that what we do today lays the path for the next seven generations to come.  I am thrilled to support the companies’ efforts to help pass new reform on the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, that would help the Environmental Protection Agency to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals present in our everyday products currently on the market.  One of the problems is that the TSCA has not been changed since 1976. This has allowed companies to add chemicals to our products that are known to cause cancer or cause serious health side-effects.  Even worse there are more than 80,000 chemicals available in the United States that have never been fully tested for their toxic effects on our health and environment!

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Do you remember hearing about the toxic water contamination in Charleston, West Virginia not too long ago? One of the scariest things about the coverage on that story was that I kept hearing them say..”such and such chemical was also found but it’s safety has never been tested before so we can’t say if it is safe or not.” Yeesh, I thought, It would take me a long time to trust that water again! Exposure to toxic chemicals, even in small amounts has been scientifically linked to health risks like cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, and reproductive problems. Don’t you think that true meaningful chemical reform should be put in place to protect the most vulnerable among us; the kids, pregnant mothers, and communities directly exposed to these toxic chemicals? It should also require that the public has access to all information regarding chemical safety levels, allow states to protect their residents, and have the EPA take swift action within specific timetables. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“For the 22,000 chemicals introduced since 1976, chemical manufacturers have provided little or no information to the EPA regarding their potential health or environmental impacts.

These chemicals are found in toys and other children’s products, cleaning and personal care items, furniture, electronics, food and beverage containers, building materials, fabrics, and car interiors.

Since 1976 scientists have linked exposure to toxic chemicals to many health risks. There is growing recognition in the scientific community that exposure to even low doses of certain chemicals, particularly in the womb or during early childhood, can disturb our hormonal, reproductive, and immune systems, and that multiple chemicals can act together to harm human health. Some toxic chemicals can even persist in the environment, for decades sometimes, building up in the food chain and in our bodies. Cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, birth defects, and other reproductive problems are all associated, to some degree, with exposure to toxic chemicals in animals or humans.”-Natural Resources Defense Council

I don’t think we should sit by and wait for others to do the right thing for our families, we need to demand that Congress reevaluate the Toxic Substances Control Act for the first time since 1976.

We can help make a change! Seventh Generation is working to push a reform on TSCA which would have all of these chemicals studied and evaluated. Join the movement to protect our kids and future generations to come.

visit www.fighttoxins.com to sign the petition that will be presented to congress on April, 30th 2014.

You can follow the hashtag #FightToxins to stay up to date in the campaign.

Photo provided by Seventh Generation

Photo provided by Seventh Generation

All information on the TSCA and images provided by Seventh Generation

A Call For #Water4all On #WorldWaterDay 2014

A Call For #Water4all On #WorldWaterDay 2014
Image provided by WaterAid

Image provided by WaterAid

The irony was not lost on me. I knew as I sipped the cool glass of water that this was not a luxury shared by most back at home.   Here I sat in a café in New York City meeting with Water Aid representatives, discussing clean water, and sanitation in developing countries. Meanwhile, there was a water ban going on in my own hometown. Deadly E. Coli bacteria had been detected in the public water source. Stores had already run out of bottled water, families had to boil their water for use, and the town was in crisis.  As a mom I felt guilty enough being away from home for a conference for several days, and now this!   There is nothing like an interruption to what you take for granted  to make you appreciate it more.

Everybody has a #WaterStory, and as a traveler I have many.  Water is an issue I have had to think about often on visits to developing countries. When you scoop your drinking water out of a river to drink, with floaties swirling around, despite the iodine tablet you put in to make it potable, it makes you think.  When visiting villages in Borneo I too used the village river to bathe in, to wash my clothes, and to drink from. In the Sahara I felt what is was to be parched by the lack of water, and in the Congo I carried 20 lb. Jerry cans to and from the local spring to gather fresh water for use. Sure I got sick a few times along the way, but I always had the proper medication I needed with me when I did.  According to the UN around 90% of sewage in the developing world is discharged untreated into rivers, some of those same rivers I bathed in and drank from I’m sure.

Doing laundry in the river  Photo taken by the author

Doing laundry in the river
Photo taken by the author

The fact is that according to #WaterAid 768 million people in the world today do not have access to safe drinking water.  That is roughly 1 in 10 people in the world who do not have access to clean water with which to cook, wash or to drink. Water is something that runs abundant where I live, that is so taken for granted,  yet is worth more than gold to those who don’t have it. Water is Life after all.

Access to clean water and sanitation is a key element to breaking the cycle of extreme poverty.  Women and girls are most effected by lack of access to water and sanitation.  In many areas girls miss out on school because they spend much of their day walking miles to access clean water for their families. Those girls who do make it to school often drop out once menstruation begins if there are no private toilet facilities available. UNICEF reports that 6,000 children die of water related diseases every day.  The most susceptible being children under the age of five. 

Here are some water facts shared by WaterAid to think about:

  • 97.5% of the earth’s water is saltwater. If the world’s water fitted into a bucket, only one teaspoonful would be drinkable.
  •   For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, $4 is returned. (WHO)
  • While the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. (World Water Council)
  •  The average North American uses 400 liters of water every day for their drinking, washing and cooking. The average person in the developing world uses only 10 liters every day.  (WSSCC))
My #CheerstoH2O Selfie

My #CheerstoH2O Selfie

Saturday March 22nd is World Water Day! Let’s come together to take action. You can use your voice to tell congress to support the Paul Simon Water for the World Act. Or upload photos of you drinking water with the hashtag #CheerstoH20 , do you like mine? You can also use Facebook or twitter to share the message of #Water4all or share your #waterstory.

Water Aid works side-by side with local communities to ignite monumental change by giving them the tools that they need to break down barriers and make water and toilets an accessible reality for everyone in their community. WaterAid has helped 19.2 million people reach safe water since 1981. Learn more about how we make it happen! - www.wateraid.org

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global teamI wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health. Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

 

Citi #EveryStep of the Way Program

Citi #EveryStep of the Way Program

 The Olympic Games are compelling on their own, but what really makes them heroic to me are the stories behind the athletes. 2014 in Sochi brought a whole new emotional roller coaster of personal triumphs to the world. Alex Bilodeau the Canadian who won a gold medal in moguls who is inspired by his brother who has cerebral palsy. Pakistan’s Olympian Mohammed Karim who learned to ski on homemade wooden skis. The Jamaican Bobsled team of course, and in my mind none so valiant as the Paralympic athletes who had to compete with the political turmoil of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as a backdrop. Some athletes won medals, and some won the hearts of the viewers, but there are nine U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes working with nine programs in need to bring about real positive change in people’s lives. With the positive impact they will make in others’ lives, to me they are true winners, and heroes as well.  Although the games are over for now the Citi Every Step Of The Way program is still going strong.   The exciting part is that you get to help decide where a $500,000 donation from Citi will go with just a click.

9 Athletes, 9 Charities

  • Julie Chu supports giving kids the chance to try hokey for free with the USA Hockey Foundation.
  • Billy Demong partners with Team For Tomorrow to spread olympic values to future generations.
  • Alana Nichols supports the Team USA Paralympic Champions Fund to raise money for aspiring US Paralympians.
  • Dan Jansen is helping US Olympians through hard times with the Olympians For Olympians Relief Fund.
  • Erin Hamlin is searching for the next great luge athletes with the USA Luge Slider Search.
  • Evan Lysacek is partners with Figure Skating In Harlem to inspire a new generation of figure skaters from urban areas.
  • Picabo Street takes on injury prevention for skiers and snowboarders with the Team USA Stay On The Slopes Initiative.
  • Rico Roman and Operation Comfort supports giving back to our country’s veterans.
  • Ted Lightly supports giving urban youth the chance to ski and snowboard with Youth Enrichment Services.

Just last week in Washington DC I listened as 2012 gold medal winning Paralympian Dennis Ogbe

The Author with 2012 Gold Medal Winning Paralympic Athlete Dennis Ogbe

The Author with 2012 Gold Medal Winning Paralympic Athlete Dennis Ogbe

spoke as an advocate in the fight against Polio. His story was amazing and if not for programs and mentors that help inspire young athletes with disabilities he would never be where he is today. He was  born in Nigeria, and contracted Polio as a child. With eleven other siblings things could have turned out much differently for him in a country where individuals with disabilities are usually marginalized in society. Luckily he had parents who did not give up on him even when Polio left him struggling to walk. He regained his strength and tried to keep up with the other kids.  A coach noticed his athletic potential as Nigeria put together a training program for disabled athletes, and recruited him to join.  His story emphasized to me the need for mentors and programs to guide young people in the right direction, and to help them to fulfill their dreams. I greatly admire all of the athletes in the Citi Every Step of the Way program and the way they are using their stories of inspiration to help others. Who knows, one of the kids coming out of Alana Nichols US Paralympic Champions Fund could be the next Alana Nichols or Dennis Ogbe. It will be fun to keep an eye out to see!

Citi donated $500,000 to the U.S. Olympic Committee to help these programs #EveryStep Of The Way. Now fans can visit Citi® Every Step to see the athletes’ inspiring stories and help award Citi’s donation to any program with just a click.


This post was created in partnership with Citi®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

#Cancun #Mexico #Travel

#Cancun #Mexico #Travel

 Mexico

Cancun Beach

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Chichen Itza

Cancun

Mexico

Mexican Woman

Mexico

Mexican Flag

Mexican Beach

Mexico

Ava Anderson; How A 14 yr Old Is Revolutionizing The Cosmetics Industry

Ava Anderson; How A 14 yr Old Is Revolutionizing The Cosmetics Industry

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GUEST POST BY LISA DAVIS

About 5 years ago I started hearing about Ava Anderson, a 14-year-old girl who at the time lived right in my town of Barrington, RI. She, along with her parents, created a skincare line called Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. The reason Ava decided to make these products herself was that everything she was finding on the market contained harmful chemicals that were unsafe to use.

I recently spoke with Ava’s mom, Kim, and asked her a few questions about Ava and the history of the company. Kim imparted to me the story of how Ava watched a news segment one night in 2009 that exposed how many toxic chemicals are in teenage girls’ bodies from the products and makeup they use (there were hundreds). Ava was so horrified by what she saw that she immediately went through her home and threw out all of her personal care products. When Kim realized everything had been thrown out, she said to her daughter, “I support you in this, but I cannot leave the house without lipstick and deodorant!”

Ava even started a blog that soon had a thousand followers, in an attempt to recommend safer products for people to use.  But to her dismay, there were almost no safe products on the market. Everything contained chemicals of concern. And why were 1,342 toxic chemicals banned in Europe and only 9 banned in the US?

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Ava2 copy bear copyAva decided to create her own line of safe skincare that contained no harmful chemicals.  After the skincare line, they added the body care, hair care, and home cleaning lines as well. Now, the company is growing exponentially because people are becoming much more aware of and concerned about their exposure to toxins in their environment.  Their mission is not just to sell products, but to share the message of needed changes in chemical policy in the United States.

  Personally, the more I learned about the dangers of what we put on our skin and in our bodies, the more upset I got. Coincidentally around the same time my own skin had become increasingly unmanageable. No amount of facials, medicine, or costly skincare seemed to improve its condition.

When I switched to Ava Anderson products (that contain only organic botanicals) my skin looked and felt SO much better. I started using more of the Ava Anderson line of products (home care, hair care, etc.). I love them, the company, and how good my skin looks. And I love that it is good for myself, my family, and the environment. I believe in the products so strongly that I even became a rep for the product line, and I love the message of living toxin-free. If you would like to learn how to lead a healthy, more toxic-free life or to check out Ava’s products, you can visit my website.

Lisa Davis is a Biologist with a MA in Creative Writing, and a mother of three. She was recently selected by the United Nations Foundation as a Shot@Life Champion.Lisa copy