Good News: CA to Change Flame Retardant Regulation

Someday, you might not have to wonder if your nursing pillow contains chemicals
linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility.

Last week my husband called me during his commute to tell me he'd heard a story on NPR about California and flame retardant regulation. After a bit of googling, I found the story online: Governor Orders Change in State Policy on Flame Retardants in Furniture. Then today, I went back to the Chicago Tribune Watchdog's page for their Flame Retardant series and found this article in the Updates: Key agency moves to scrap rules that made toxic flame retardant common in U.S. furniture.
Tonya Blood, chief of the California agency that regulates furniture, said the new test will require furniture to resist a smoldering cigarette. The existing standard requires the foam in furniture cushions to withstand a candlelike flame, even though candles are a far less common cause of fires. Federal safety officials have said that the fabric covering most furniture is sufficient to meet a smolder standard, making it unnecessary to add chemicals to the foam underneath... Blood also said she will work to exempt most baby products from the state's flammability standards; manufacturers have added flame retardants to many such products that contain polyurethane foam to meet California's rule. (source)

Plastic Free by Beth Terry (book excerpt)

The June Theme at The Green Phone Booth is Reading! Today I'm posting an excerpt from Beth Terry's new book Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.

I've had a chance to skim through Plastic Free, and it is one of the best green books I've seen. This book combines convincing explanations of the problems with plastic with incredibly comprehensive information regarding plastic alternatives (the book is over 300 pages!). Some of my favorite parts are the inspirational bios of Beth's heroes and the action item checklists at the end of chapters. I love a good action item checklist.

The Great Debate: Velcro vs. Snaps

bumGenius One-Size Hook & Loop Closure Cloth Diaper 4.0bumGenius One-Size Snap Closure Cloth Diaper 4.0

When I started cloth diapering, I ordered all my covers with Velcro closures.

The advantages of Velcro closures on cloth diapers:
  • Similar to disposable diapers, which makes for an easier transition if you are switching from disposable to cloth
  • Fast to fasten and unfasten
  • Very adjustable -- easy and fast to get the right fit. This is important because babies vary widely in their chunkiness (thigh size in particular)
So those are the plusses. But after a while, those Velcro tabs got on my nerves.

EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce

EWG updates this their Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce every year based on tests for pesticide residue conducted by the USDA and FDA.  EWG specifically highlights "The Dirty Dozen," produce likely to have a higher level of pesticide residue, which they recommend avoiding or purchasing organic. They produce with the least residue is termed "The Clean Fifteen." If you can't afford to purchase all organic produce, this guide can help you prioritize which produce to buy organic. I now shop for almost all my produce through the farmer's market and my CSA, but when I first started going green, I picked and chose what to buy organic. I felt fine about buying conventional onions and melons, but only bought organic greens, grapes, and berries. It helped with the sticker shock.

The 2012 Dirty Dozen:
  • apples
  • celery
  • sweet bell peppers
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • nectarines (imported)
  • grapes
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • cucumbers
  • blueberries (domestic)
  • potatoes

The Poop Report: Diapering and Pottying at 7 Months

Unbleached prefold inside a Thirsties cover: my current preferred
method for cloth diapering my 7-month-old baby.

My 7-month-old baby uses the potty every morning to go #1 and #2. Her diaper is often dry after naps, and I put her on the potty then and at other times of the day if I feel like it. She rarely poops in her diaper. I haven't had to change a poopy diaper for at least a week. The conventional wisdom -- that children can't be potty trained until 2 or 3 years -- is still so ingrained in my mind, that the novelty and thrill of my baby doing her business in the potty has not worn off, even though we've been doing this for 2+ months.

Cloth Diapers
My favorite cloth diaper choice at the moment: unbleached prefold (in thirds) inside a Thirsties cover. But she's growing out of the small, and my medium size Thirsties covers are pretty shot after heavy use by two other children. After consulting with the good people at Jillian's Drawers, I have ordered some Flip covers, because they have snap closures, and a flap to hold the prefold. The new Thirsties-duo covers have a snap closure, but don't have the flap I know and love. I'll let you know how I like the Flip covers. Unbleached prefold inside a waterproof cover is my preferred diaper on-the-go as well.

10 Green Choices that Prevent Child Injuries

According to the National Institutes of Health, "accidents are, by far, the leading cause of death among children and adolescents." June is Child Safety Awareness month and I've been looking over child safety guidelines from folks like the CDC, NIH, and the AAP. I thought I'd highlight some of the simple steps you can take to both live greener and prevent accidents involving your children.

Use non-toxic cleaners. Ingestion of household cleaners is a leading cause of poisoning among children, and poisoning is one of the top five types of accidental death among children (in addition to auto accident, drowning, fire, and falls). If you don't use caustic cleaners, you don't have to worry about locking them in a high cabinet out of reach of your small children. In fact, one of the big benefits of using green cleaners is that it's safe for your children to help you with the cleaning. Click here for tips for identifying a green cleaner. A simple one: avoid cleaners with the label "DANGER." 

It's Too Darn Hot

numbers,symbols,temperatures,thermometers,weather,mercury levels,concepts

It's hot.

We hit 94 last week, and will creep even closer to 100 later this week. I am currently making milk, and that makes me feel very warm. When I'm nursing, I am most comfortable around 60 degrees. When it's 90, it feels like 105 to me. Anything above 75, and I'm uncomfortable. Over 85, and I feel like I'm melting. I have no A/C.

Milk-making + 90-plus temperature + no A/C =
Don't you dare turn on that oven

Read more at The Green Phone Booth

Getting the Most Out of Your Farmer’s Market

I love shopping at the farmer's market! In fact, the farmer's market is the only place I shop for food on a weekly basis. I buy most of my produce there. Looking for a farmer's market in your area? Check

Shopping at the Farmer's Market: Eco-novice's Top Ten Tips

Shop at the right time of day. If you want the best prices, go shortly before the close of the market, when farmers are often willing to haggle, especially if you buy a large amount. If you want the best selection, go in the morning. Which brings me to my next point...

Find out what time the market really opens. Officially, my farmer's market opens at 9 am and closes at 1 pm each Saturday. After shopping there for nearly a year, I found out that almost all the farmers showed up by 7 am in the summer, and 8 am in the winter. Before I figured this out, by the time I showed up at 9 am or 10 am, farmers were often out of items they had in limited quantity. Now I go at 8 am, especially if raspberries are in season.

Does Your Sunscreen Protect Against Skin Cancer?

Hello, June! School's almost out and the temperature is rising. It's time to hit the beach. Most of the time we opt for covering up over wearing sunscreen when spending time in the sun, but for long outdoor adventures, we use sunscreen.

Environmental Working Group has released its 6th Annual Sunscreen Guide. Let's review the main reasons you need to consult this guide:


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