Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Props to Home Depot! Commits to Phase Out Harmful Phthalates in Flooring by End of 2015

World’s Largest Home Improvement Retailer, Home Depot, Commits to Phase Out of Phthalates in Flooring by End of 2015

This is so huge I can barely believe it but once again, all of our hard work is paying off yes? Although our government is moving slowly to protect consumers, including the youngest and oldest among us, private industry is taking action but there is still much work to do.

Over the last six months, the Ecology Center researchers tested 65 flooring tiles for phthalates that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity, and cancer.

The flooring tiles were sampled from five national flooring retailers: Ace Hardware, build.com, Lowe's, Lumber Liquidators, and Menards. Samples were acquired from retailers in seven different states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New York and Vermont.

New Study Finds Toxic Chemicals Widespread in Flooring Sold by Top Retailers

This new study found that most vinyl flooring tested contained toxic phthalates, a number of which have been banned in children’s products since 2009.

Phthalates are commonly found in flooring at levels which exceed U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) children’s product standards for phthalates. The study also surveyed major retailers to assess whether they have adopted policies to eliminate phthalates in flooring. The survey found that The Home Depot is far ahead of its competitors by requiring its suppliers to eliminate ortho-phthalates in all virgin vinyl flooring by the end of 2015.

The company has been working with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families “Mind the Store” campaign to develop this policy since the spring of 2014. The study is part of ongoing research at HealthyStuff.org (a project of the Michigan-based nonprofit organization, the Ecology Center) on harmful chemicals in consumer products and co-released with Mind the Store.

“We congratulate The Home Depot on this landmark initiative,” said Andy Igrejas, director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “As the world’s largest home improvement retailer, Home Depot’s new policy sends a strong signal to the marketplace that retailers want healthier building materials free of harmful chemicals like phthalates. We call on Lowe’s and other major home improvement retailers to join Home Depot in phasing out phthalates in flooring.”

Highlights of Findings from Flooring Study:

Most Vinyl tile flooring samples tested contained one or more hazardous chemicals. Fifty eight percent of vinyl flooring tiles tested contain phthalate plasticizers, which are hazardous and are subject to a pending ban in the European Union. Moreover, almost all (89 percent) of vinyl flooring samples tested contained organic tin-based stabilizers. Over half of the samples tested contained multiple plasticizers.

Home Depot has made a commitment to phase out phthalates by the end of 2015, and has a more comprehensive policy than the competitors surveyed. As of their first quarter of 2015, Home Depot had accomplished 85 percent of the phase-out. Lumber Liquidators reported it is working with suppliers to transition to alternatives but has not set a deadline. Other retailers that were surveyed, Ace Hardware, Build.com, Lowe’s, and Menards, did not respond to letters and have no publicly available policies on phthalates in flooring.

Some Retailers, Manufacturers and Brands Are Better Than Others at Protecting Consumers:

 • The poorest performing retailers: Lumber Liquidators and Ace Hardware, had phthalates in 100 percent of the flooring samples tested
 • Lowe’s (48 percent), Menards (23 percent) and build.com (25 percent) also had products tested which contained phthalates
 • Among flooring brands, Armstrong and Designer’s Image stood out for having zero of tested tiles with phthalates in the surface layer.

Healthier Flooring Alternatives Are Available

The study allows consumers to identify phthalate-free options. Also, many of the retailers surveyed sell non-vinyl flooring alternatives. Healthier flooring options included bio-based linoleum, natural rubber, bamboo and ceramic tile.

“Our study shows that hazardous plasticizers called phthalates are still too commonplace in vinyl tile flooring,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director for HealthyStuff.org, the organization that conducted the product testing. “We also identified the beginnings of a market shift, with one-third of the products tested already using less hazardous plasticizers.”

HealthyStuff.org tested the products for chemicals based on their toxicity. Researchers used high-definition x-ray fluorescence (HDXRF) spectrometry, a non-destructive method that allows for the rapid screening of toxic chemicals in consumer products. Plasticizer identification was conducted using FTIR spectroscopy and a third party CPSC-certified laboratory.

“With this commitment, The Home Depot demonstrates outstanding environmental health leadership,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of Environmental Health Strategy Center and Senior Advisor to Safer Chemicals, Health Families; “This is a major next step in the global effort to phase out all phthalates in commerce in favor of safer substitutes.” Belliveau led the team that presented alternative plasticizer options to The Home Depot.

"Home Depot's decision will make a hugely positive impact on indoor environmental quality," predicted Bill Walsh, executive director of the Healthy Building Network. HBN's 2014 report, Phthalate-free Plasticizers in PVC demonstrates these alternatives' availability and growing use in vinyl flooring, and was a key resource in the coalition’s dialogue with Home Depot.

 A growing body of credible scientific evidence has linked exposure to phthalates to serious threats to human health including asthma, harm to male reproductive organs, brain development, and the immune system. 

Phthalates can migrate out of flooring materials and get into the air and dust inside homes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 90 percent of Americans have measurable levels of phthalates in their bodies. Government regulators around the world are increasing scrutiny and restrictions on the use of some phthalates. The United States is expanding its ban on phthalates in toys and childcare articles and considering further actions on other products. Several states, including California, Washington and Maine require warnings or disclosure for several phthalates in consumer products.

New research by the Healthy Building Network, also published today, reveals that legacy toxic hazards are now being reintroduced into our homes, schools and offices in recycled vinyl content that is routinely added to floors and other building products. Legacy substances used in PVC products, like lead, cadmium, and phthalates, are turning up in new products through the use of cheap recycled content.

We Have So Much Yet to Do

For full study results and detailed information about what consumers can do visit HealthyStuff.org and please TAKE ACTION TODAY: Tell Lowe’s to eliminate toxic phthalates in flooring by clicking HERE!




P.S.- People always ask me where I get my organic food and personal care products and I love to tell them about The Green PolkaDot Box! Backed by the Organic Consumer's Association and EnvironmentalBooty.com, you can easily buy NonGMO organic groceries, including Harvest Fresh Organic produce, at wholesale pricing online.  It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living! You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic and it all comes right to your front door. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ford Set to Divert 5 Million Plastic Bottles From Landfills In 2015...Here's How

How Ford Rocks The F-150 With Recycled Bottles 

You know I love Ford and here's just one more reason why. They walk the green talk and they are doing it again with the F-150. According to the EPA,  in 2012 about 32 million tons of plastic waste was generated in the United States. Out of that, only 9 percent of it was recovered. The folks at Ford started thinking about how they could redirect plastics from landfills into sustainable materials to use in their vehicles.

Since 2012, Ford Motor Company has worked with Unifi to bring environmentally responsible, high-performance REPREVE fiber to many Ford vehicles. Now, this innovative fiber is available in the in the all-new F-150. By substituting with this recycled material, Ford will divert more than five million plastic bottles from landfills this year!  Pretty impressive.

Ford is the only automaker to use REPREVE, made from 100 percent recycled materials including plastic bottles, in its vehicles. Ford is currently using REPREVE in five vehicles around the world, making it a truly global material, and it represents Ford's larger commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle as part of the company’s global sustainability strategy to lessen its environmental footprint.






P.S.- People always ask me where I get my organic food and personal care products and I love to tell them about The Green PolkaDot Box! Backed by the Organic Consumer's Association and EnvironmentalBooty.com, you can easily buy NonGMO organic groceries, including Harvest Fresh Organic produce, at wholesale pricing online.  It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living! You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic and it all comes right to your front door. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Think The Love Canal Disaster is Over? Think Again

Visit HERE to hear Will talk about the current Love Canal Disaster
This Seriously Cannot be Happening Again...Can It? 

My friend Mike Schade from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families was kind enough to refer Will Battersby, the producer of a documentary about the Love Canal to me and I am very happy he did.

I thought the whole Love Canal disaster ended decades ago but I found out from Will that it is an ongoing environmental disaster that is continuing to ruin the lives of families. Apparently the fix, a plastic sheeting placed over the ground where the chemicals were placed did not work (wow what a surprise) and the area was redeveloped drawing unsuspecting families back in to build their lives.

The sad thing is, those families are dealing with the very same thing that the Love Canal stay at home moms fought against years ago. Will's documentary is a story about the power of mothers who rose up in the 1970s to fight for their families when no one else would and it’s a story about the continuing need to protect our children and ourselves from the ever-increasing number of toxic chemicals in our everyday products and waste streams.

They have just started their crowd funding campaign to raise the money to finish the film and a shout out on social media and any donations to the cause would be extremely helpful. I made a small donation and was kind of embarrassed about how little it was but Will said every amount helps and he is absolutely right.   Here's the link to their Indiegogo campaign where you can see more about the documentary from Will himself. so please check it out.

This is just one more way you can work to make a difference. I know that "make a difference" is such an overused catch phrase but I don't know about you, I like it. I like to feel a little bit of power in this world where our children are being inundated with toxic chemicals that are killing them slowly.

You in?

 



P.S.- People always ask me where I get my organic food and personal care products and I love to tell them about The Green PolkaDot Box! Backed by the Organic Consumer's Association and EnvironmentalBooty.com, you can easily buy NonGMO organic groceries, including Harvest Fresh Organic produce, at wholesale pricing online.  It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living! You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic and it all comes right to your front door. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How to Protect Your Kids from Ebola



We Moms Are Freaking Out But Seriously, Should We? 

First let me say I am not a doctor and I don't play one on TV. So therefore it follows that this advice is just one mom trying figure out this Ebola threat to her cubs and sharing what I know. 

Next let me say that I am writing this post from my iPhone bc my computer flipped out on me again today and looked like this...


which was thoroughly thrilling to say the least. 

Of course the first appointment I could get at the "Genius Bar" was not until Friday so I schlepped over to Millenia's Apple store, briefly stopping at the Microsoft store and wondering why the Apple store looked so different and was so empty. 

Once I realized I was a total airhead I found my way to the actual Genius Bar which is not very ingenious if you ask me since you can't get by the guard dog without am appointment. Yes I know MB you have connections but I don't and I had to use my charm which at my age is not as easy as it was just a few years ago and...I was dealing with trying to charm a twenty-sometjing girl NOT a twenty-something guy who at my age is surprisingly easy to charm.

I was able to get by the girl guard dog by explaining that my computer was the means to my paycheck and I needed to try to get it fixed ASAP and long story short, I was able to drop it off. They think it is a bracket of some sort but if not that, it's the hard drive again and they will have to wipe it clean. 

Luckily I have two back ups (maybe) and I'm hoping to be off of this phone tomorrow and back to my MAC. 

So...give me a break with any typos as these 46 year old eyes are not what they used to be and as usual, I cannot find my glasses. 

Whew. So Anyway Back to Ebola

I had drinks with my girls LJ and Amy K today after work and my girl LJ who has three kids was a bit concerned about how exactly to go about protecting her kids from the threat of the a Ebola virus. I have not really seen her so concerned before over a possible threat to her kids. 

The funny thing is, she just recently started to pay closer attention to the mainstream media and it is freaking her out. 

Now I think there are two sides to the hype that is out there about Ebola. First, it is scaring the holy hell out of moms and dads, and possibly kids, across the country. This is not good. It serves no purpose. 

Next, the media hype surrounding the Ebola virus is hopefully giving people the information they need to protect themselves and their children from the virus. And from what I can gather, there are three ways we can take personal action to currently protect ourselves and our children from this virus and it's the same orecautions we are already taking to protect ourselves from many viruses out there. 

How To Protect Your Kids from Ebola

1. Wash Those Hands - According to the the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website, Ebola is spread through direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth. Help your kiddos learn the importance of proper hand washing. This is imperative to get them to do througout the day and especially after returning from school or being out of the house. This is an easy behavior to model for them and I believe this is the #1 thing we can do to protect ourselves and our kids from the threat of Ebola. Also, keep any cuts or boo boos covered with a bandaid. 

2. Up The Resistance - Keeping the entire family healthy by building up their resistance is a must. There are lots of ways to do this and I am sure you have your parental arsenal at your fingertips. Elderberry supplements, eating a healthy whole food organic diet (Lord knows this is a tough one for my kiddos especially when I find myself running to Panera    instead of cooking), vitamin D supplements if your doctor agrees, exercise, and trying to decrease stress are some ways to work to increase resistance to illness.

3. Sleep Sleep Sleep - My favorite thing to do in the world (well almost) is an adjunct to #2 but I feel it is important enough to stand alone. Again, this is one I struggle with but my little bit is going to bed early tonight because she has a bit of a sore throat and I want to nip it in the bud before it gets worse. Sleep is exceedingly restorative not only for our parental sanity, but to keep illness at bay. 

You can check out the CDC website for more information at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/?mobile=nocontent (sorry for the ugly link but I'm mobile and have no idea how to hyperlink) but you know I like to do my own research and I encourage you to do the same with an eye on keeping the hype in check. 

Finally, if your kids are having trouble fighting off a fever even with medication, run them to the doctor. There are a lot of "bugs"out there right now and it makes sense to stay vigilant without scaring the hell out of our kids or ourselves.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Change One Light Bulb and Change the World...No Seriously This is Good

Do You Feel Buyer's Remorse with Your Energy Efficient Bulbs? 

Well first you may be wondering if I fell off of the face of the earth as I have not posted since July. YIKES!  I am still around and working on so much that I have let my blogging slide. But no more! The last year has been quite an adventure with finalizing my divorce, becoming a single mom, dating, a new job and my three girls, life is very busy but very very good.
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