Every dog deserves durable American made, non-toxic toys

WestPaw Design logoIf you aren’t familiar with West Paw Design pet toys, you and your pet are missing out. I discovered them several years ago. They’re made without harmful chemicals such as phthalates or BPA.  My dogs have loved them! I do too as their Zogoflex line of toys are practically indestructible!

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Vermont Soap launches new organic deodorant

Vt Soap Logo (new)If you’ve ever read the labels of your favorite personal care products, chances are you’ve seen ingredients with names you can barely pronounce. And many aren’t either healthy or natural.

Popular brands of deodorants and antiperspirants include synthetic ingredients such as hormone disrupting fragrance, antibacterials and petrochemicals – things like propylene glycol (aka antifreeze), triclosan, phthalates, parabens, aluminum and alcohol. Many of these are creating serious problems for consumers.

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Healthy, gluten-free cosmetics for vibrant skin

Tilth Cosmetics logoFor those who suffer from wheat allergies, I can relate. I had an intense wheat allergy for ten very long years. During that time, I avoided anything that had wheat or wheat related.

But one area I never considered during this time (and I should have) was my cosmetics. Who knew that wheat is a major component of many of the major cosmetic brands on the market?

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Black Zogoflex – West Paw Design’s greenest toys yet

WestPaw Design logoHaving a new dog in the house means my collection of chew toys is growing. But as a responsible pet “Mom”, I wondered just how healthy or safe they were.

There are currently no standards concerning the levels or types of chemicals in pet toys.  Because pets chew, lick and carry their toys around, they’re exposed to higher levels of hazardous chemicals including phthalates, BPA (Bisphenol A), lead and arsenic.  There aren’t many studies regarding the interaction or impact of these on animals. But given the toxicity of these chemicals in humans, finding pet toys without these is important. Continue reading

Victoria’s Secret agrees to detox its fashions

Victorias-Secret-1Who would have thought that something as simple and as elegant as Victoria’s Secret lingerie could be toxic? But like so much of the rest of the fashion industry, their creations are chock full of hazardous chemicals such as phthalates and other toxic chemicals. However, a news report today says that after “urging” from Greenpeace and its Detox campaign,, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company Limited Brands and the Benetton Group have agreed to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and products by 2020.

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Green your holiday gifts this year

Vegan Wallet from CoolCorC

This stylish men’s wallet is made of natural cork from Cool CorC

You’ve finally finished your list with who to give gifts to this year Then you’re suddenly in serious brain freeze with what to get.  It can’t be just ANYTHING. It has to be special, and more green, this year.

Here are some fun, affordable eco-friendly gifts that will bring plenty of smiles this holiday.

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Redeux – eco-friendly, healthy wallpaper

96 percent of wallpapers tested contained PVC and other toxic chemicals

A report released last fall by the non-profit Ecology Center revealed that a majority of home improvement products are filled with toxic chemicals.

Of the over 2,300 types of wallpaper tested, from 11 different brands and manufacturers. 96 percent contained PVC (polyvinyl chloride) coatings. One of the most common materials used in consumer products, PVC contains phthalates, which accumulate in our body tissues, can damage our liver and lungs, and have been shown to cause damage to reproductive organs in lower mammals.

Rather than installing wall coverings that could prove hazardous to your family’s health, there’s an equally beautiful, eco-friendly alternative.

Trove's elegant, eco-friendly wallpapers focus on themes found in Nature

New York-based design house Trove has introduced their REDEUX wallcoverings for both commercial and residential use.

“Trove strives to create a product that’s minimally harmful and least impactful to our endangered world,” says Jee Levin, Trove’s co-founder and creator.

Along with adding elegance to a room, Redeux wall coverings are earth and people friendly. Made from over 31 percent post-consumer recycled materials, these lovely wallpapers are highly breathable, unlike conventional wall coverings.

“A lot of vinyl wall coverings peel off the walls,” said Levin. In a bathroom, that can create an environment perfect for mold.

Redeux’s breathability increases resistance to mold and mildew, especially in humid environments.

Redeux wallpapers also produce no off-gassing and has low VOC emissions, both of which help create a healthier air quality. They’re a perfect alternative to PVC-laced vinyl wallcoverings.

Trove’s wallpapers are known for their durability. Their UV resistant inks will last for 140 years, though the product’s lifespan – the combination of laminates, coatings, ink, etc. – may not last quite as long. These wall coverings have a non-toxic, wax-based protective coating and are printed on commercial-grade paper.

Trove's Indi wallpaper is a tribute to Hitchcock's famous "The Birds"

Redeux wall coverings are a surprising combination of color and elements found in Nature.

One of their selections really caught my eye. Their Indi wallpaper is an action shot of a flock of blackbirds in flight.

“It’s a classic motif,” said Levin. And, she said, it’s unusual, particularly for wallpaper, which generally shows birds as static or motionless.

A graphic tribute to Alfred Hitchcock and his film “The Birds”, Indi was the winner of a design award in 2009.

Trove wallcovereings are designed with sustainability in mind. Everything is custom printed to the exact measurements of the design project.

“We only print as much material as people need to use,” Levin said.

The company has established a reclamation or recycling program too. If there’s any excess or waste material, it can be sent back to Trove for reuse as part of a new wall covering or to be recycled as another industrial material.

That’s yet another green “plus” of Redeux. Standard PVC vinyl is difficult to recycle and is hazardous to dispose of.

“(Redeux is) a green, healthy product,” said Levin.

Redeux comes in a full line of patterns, custom colors and beautiful custom designs that are perfect for either residential or hospitality settings. Available in showrooms in Los Angeles, New York and in Canada, designers can also order it – with a fast turnaround of around three weeks. It’s available online at www.troveline.com.

Green your kid’s lunch and cut waste too

Americans throw out 100 billion plastic bags each year. We use 60,000 of them every five seconds. Such widespread use causes the deaths of over 100,000 seabirds, dolphins, whales, and other sea animals each year. They mistake these bags for food, ingest them and die horribly or become entangled in the plastic and suffocate to death.

The average schookid’s lunch uses 4 plastic bags. Multiply that by 5 days a week and that’s a lot of plastic.

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Colorful reusable plastic sandwich bag alternatives

An average family of five uses between 1,800 to almost 2,400 plastic sandwich bags per year.  More than 20 million sandwich bags from school lunches end up in U.S. landfills.     

There are eco-friendly alternatives to those plastic baggies we’re accustomed to using. Colorful, fashionable, affordable dishwasher and washing machine safe, they can be reused hundreds of times. And these are all made in the U.S.  

Here’s my “Best of the Best” list. They were all created by Moms unwilling to keep using an unsustainable, petroleum-based “baggies” and who, after searching for a great alternative, ended up creating one.The first three products are reusable sandwich and/or snack bags that have Velcro fasteners.  The fourth one looks like a bright-colored plastic food container, but isn’t.  Continue reading

Spa Baby makes bathing baby a pleasure

Even weeks' old infants can enjoy a safe bath in Spa Baby tubs

Even weeks' old infants can enjoy a safe bath in Spa Baby tubs

Parents of young babies know that giving them a bath is challenging, frustrating and rarely fun.

An amazingly innovative Canadian product called Spa Baby makes it pleasant a pleasant experience all around.

The Spa Baby is a European-style baby bath tub that lets you bathe your baby while it’s sitting up.

It goes back to the idea of bathing them in the kitchen sink, says Brandy Cameron, founder of Spa Baby Tubs, Inc.

After the birth of her baby six years ago, Cameron discovered how difficult it was to give newborns a bath and how much they disliked the process! Searching for a better alternative, she discovered that outside of North America, it was standard to bathe a baby upright.

An upright tub like the Spa Baby has a real advantage over traditional baby baths, Cameron says.

With traditional baby tubs, parents lay the baby flat on its back. Even though the water is warm, it cools quickly since it covers a large surface area. That leaves the baby’s chest and torso exposed to the air, while they lay in the water. No wonder they usually scream and fuss!

“We kind of forgot about the point of view of the baby,” said Cameron.

The Spa Baby – with its smaller surface area – uses less water than traditional baby baths – around 5 gallons. Fill it to the fill line, then carefully place the baby in it. The water comes up to around their chest. And the water stays warm for about 20 minutes, giving you time to give the baby a gentle warm bath.

“Babies relax so much they’re practically falling asleep,” she said.

You can check out a cute video of  this at http://3.ly/qJeo.

“Your baby stays in this really familiar position,” said Cameron. “like (how) they spend their first nine months. It’s comforting for your baby – and a nice experience for you.”

The Spa Baby contains no BPA, phthalates, and no vinyl, otherwise known as PVC. A lot of other baby tubs contain blends of plastics and foam materials in them.

Spa Baby is polypropylene plastic, said Cameron. “That’s as non-toxic as you can get!”

Spa Baby Eco is made of recycled plastic and no hamrful chemicals

Spa Baby Eco is made of recycled plastic with no hamrful chemicals

Cameron’s latest baby bath tub is the Spa Baby Eco, made of 100 percent recycled plastic. She got the idea for this after seeing all the new plastic being generated, especially for baby products.

“You’re kind of surprised at the amount of plastic that comes through your door when you’re about to have a baby,” Cameron said.

With the exception of toys, there’s very little baby gear made of recycled plastic, she said.

“I think,” Cameron said, “we have all the plastic we need already on the planet!”

The Spa Baby and Spa Baby Eco are both recyclable. But Cameron recommends instead of tossing them in recycling when you don’t need them anymore, why not give them to another mom to use?

That’s real recycling, she said – as in the second of the 3Rs, Reuse.

The Spa Baby and Spa Baby Eco are very reasonably priced . If you order from Spa Baby’s website, shipping’s included if you live in the continental US. These amazing baby bath tubs are  available at Spababytubs.com and on Amazon.