Tuesday, April 29, 2014

the FDA is once again an A-hole, or How shampoo is killing us...

It's no secret that I'm a huge proponent of making my own cosmetic/ personal hygiene stuff to avoid all the toxic garbage contained in most of these products. However, since I just added a newborn to my always active toddler, time is no longer something I have. So it came down to either continuing to make food for my family, or make my shampoo. Food won.

And thus began my quest for shampoos and conditioners that wouldn't mess with my hormones, which are already quite messy enough, thank you very much.

One might think this would be easy peasy. One would be incorrect.

For starters, any big brand of shampoo that says it's all natural is lying.

No parabens and no sulfates are good, but it's the phthalates that really eff you up. And finding anything with no phthalates is HARD.

The FDA website says that phthalates are safe. Lies. Big fattie fat lies.

The EU equivalent of the FDA says they are not. The EWG says they are not. Even the website Babycenter says they are not.

Let's address.

"What are phthalates?
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations."  FDA Website

"FDA reviewed the safety and toxicity data for phthalates, including the CDC data from 2001, as well as the CIR conclusions based on reviews in 1985 and 2002. While the CDC report noted elevated levels of phthalates excreted by women of child-bearing age, neither this report nor the other data reviewed by FDA established an association between the use of phthalates in cosmetic products and a health risk. Based on this information, FDA determined that there wasn’t a sound, scientific basis to support taking regulatory action against cosmetics containing phthalates." (I put the emphasis on that phrase).

Oh, so the fact that the rise of infertility (male and female), reproductive diseases, thyroid/ hormonal issues, weight gain, early menopause, lack of ovulation, and early growth of breasts and pubic hair in VERY young girls... phthalates doesn't at all play a role in that? Oh good. thanks FDA.

"Under the authority of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), FDA requires an ingredient declaration on cosmetic products sold at the retail level to consumers. Consumers can tell whether some products contain phthalates by reading the ingredient declaration on the labels of such products.
However, the regulations do not require the listing of the individual fragrance ingredients; therefore, the consumer will not be able to determine from the ingredient declaration if phthalates are present in a fragrance. Also, because the FPLA does not apply to products used exclusively by professionals--for example, in salons--the requirement for an ingredient declaration does not apply to these products. Based on available safety information, DEP does not pose known risks for human health as it is currently used in cosmetics and fragrances. Consumers who nevertheless do not want to purchase cosmetics containing DEP may wish to choose products that do not include "Fragrance" in the ingredient listing."

"Phthalates (pronounced "thah-lates") are chemical plasticizers that have been widely used since the 1950s to soften plastics that would otherwise be brittle and crack when bent. Because phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastics they're added to, they're continuously released into the air or food or liquid. Did you ever notice how plastic sometimes hardens over time? That's because the phthalates have leached out of it."  Babycenter: Phthalates: What you need to know

"European governments have restricted the use of phthalates in some baby products, cosmetics, and plastics designed to come into contact with food.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reviewed the same evidence viewed by the EU but felt it was incomplete and left the decision up to manufacturers, many of whom voluntarily removed phthalates from items typically mouthed by babies such as teething rings, pacifiers, nipples, and some toys. This has been a voluntary measure, however. And if you're a parent, you know that a baby doesn't distinguish between "toy" and "not toy" when it comes to putting things in his mouth."

"Toys intended to be placed in the mouth by children under three years of age and containing phthalates are prohibited throughout the European Union (EU); importing these products is also prohibited. Phthalates are toxic substances that may be found in soft PVC, a type of plastic which is also used in the manufacturing of toys."-  European Union Legislation

And over here you can read about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that these are toxic substances that they are performing studies on to see their cumulative effect on humans.  "EPA is concerned about phthalates because of their toxicity and the evidence of pervasive
human and environmental exposure to them. Thus, EPA intends to initiate action to address the
manufacturing, processing, distribution in commerce, and/or use of these eight phthalates"
But of course America, let's go ahead and keep allowing companies to not only use them, but also NOT CLEARLY IDENTIFY their usage of these products. Course, that will suck when we find out that they DO in fact cause harm, but hey sorry, look at all the money made for those companies while we were testing. We wouldn't want to miss out on that right? I mean, those 5 people that own those companies need all those billions of dollars. 
This link is your best bet, outside of making all of these products yourself, to find out what products are seen as health hazards. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) made a list of a LOT of different products and their ratings as far as toxicity are concerned. It's kind of astounding how many of them rate in the dangerous levels. Especially when you add up all of the products you use on a daily basis. 0-2 is low hazard, 3-6 is moderate hazard, and 7-10 is high hazard. So let's take a shampoo. Type in Pantene, and it says that there are many different kinds, and the range is from 4-8. Ok fine. So shampoo is a 4 and conditioner is a 4. Now let's add on sprays, gels, or other hair care products. But oops, don't forget about make-up, perfume, lotion.....if all of those products individually are sitting in the moderate to high hazard zone, imagine the damage when you put all of them together on a daily basis. My guess is that your insides don't like it. I know mine didn't. 
I find it appalling, shocking I know, that the government continually allows this crap. Their data is not up to date, they clearly have not been listening to groups like the EPA and the EWG who are finding that these are in fact harmful. They don't at all care about people, families, CHILDREN who are being exposed to more and more of these chemicals. AND WE STILL WONDER WHY OUR NATION IS SICK, FAT, and DYING. Let's see. Eff with hormones and what happens? Do you think maybe cancer? Perhaps infertility? Birth defects and abnormalities? Yeah, that sounds about right. Combine that with the crap they allow in food and we are one big science experiment. 

I'm so mad, sad, fed up with, disgusted by this crap. all of it. I shouldn't have to work this hard. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO WORK THIS HARD to keep themselves, their families, and their children healthy. It shouldn't cost this much. THERE SHOULDN'T BE ENTIRE BUILDINGS DEDICATED TO WIPING OUT CHILDHOOD CANCERS!!!!! There should not ever be that many sick kiddos. Ever. It's heartbreaking. And it's happening in a country that has enough knowledge, and money, to know better. To DO better. I know people are all up in arms about parents deciding not to vaccinate their kids. And I get it. I do. It's a tough decision and a tough conversation. BUT WHY AREN'T PEOPLE UP IN ARMS ABOUT THE RISE OF CANCERS IN CHILDREN!?!?! Measles have nothing on leukemia. And yet we act as though it's just the luck of the draw, the kids that die from cancers. That's just not the case. 

It's in our air, our food supply, our water supply, our homes, our decor, our air fresheners, our cleaning products, our hygiene products, our beauty supplies, our toys. It's pervasive, and it becomes more so every. single. day. 
Let's let our government know that we're not ok with being poisoned. I sure as hell will.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Parenting is hard y'all...constipation, vaccinations, and a newborn

Yup. It's been too long.

After pregnancy was done kicking my ass, we brought home a baby boy. Under VERY different circumstances than babygirl. Little man was born at exactly 38 weeks via planned c-section, weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and 19.7 inches long. They were able to totally follow my birth plan, including putting him directly on me after pulling him out. He was held there by daddy and a nurse since I was trying my hardest not to puke everywhere. (That came the rest of the day, as I held and nursed him while simultaneously puking into a measuring cup. FAAAAAANtastic.) And we left the hospital after 2 1/2 days.

He is the mini Serbian that's for sure. Spitting image of daddy, except for the butt chin.

He's been surprisingly easy. He lets anybody hold him (although he fusses if he's put down, but since I'm all attachment parenting that works for me), he sleeps all the time, and was an excellent nurser right from the get go. I SOOOOO get how lucky I am. Babygirl was (and still is) high needs, so having a baby that's easy going is completely new, and welcome, territory.

And here's where the hard comes in. She LOVES "baby Asher". Wants to hold him everyday, wants to kiss and hug and play with him. Talks about him a lot. She does NOT love that mommy is occupied with him. She gave me the cold shoulder in the hospital and didn't really unthaw until we were home for a day or two. EPIC. MELTDOWN. We did our time-in (I take her into a different room and sit with her as she melts down and wait for her to calm down and talk to me....it's amazing how well this works for her). She screamed for about 20 minutes. Then she looked at me, with just the saddest eyes that I will NEVER forget, she screamed, and then she crumpled. As did I. We both started sobbing, she threw herself into my lap while I just stroked her hair and told her that I know and I'm sorry that I wasn't spending as much time with just her, and we fell asleep. And she's been good with me ever since.


She started holding in her poop. I don't know if it's because she remembers how much it hurt when she got all stopped up right before baby came and now she's afraid to poop, or if it's just that toddler thing where new baby affects potty. But girlfriend strains to hold it in. Among prune juice, flaxseed oil, smoothies with spinach and yogurt and berries and chia seeds and coconut oil, apples, pears, figs, cherry tomatoes, olives.....this stubborn little thing STILL HOLDS IT. And then we have to start to coach and cheer her on when it's obvious she's trying to hold it. "Push em out, shove em out, waaaaay out!". 

Yes, we have actually said that. In cheerleading fashion.

Then, she decided that she also would start screaming in pain while I tried to brush her teeth. Prior to baby, this was one of her favorite things to do. She even had a "practice" toothbrush she carried around with her so she could brush them all the time.

And the tantrums. Everything is now asked for with a whine and a whimper. Cause baby gets attention when he cries so hey why not? UGH. Her pediatrician said it was fine and he would be concerned if she weren't affected by his arrival. But I just CAN. NOT. Nana is leaving today and hubbs went back to work today, and I am just tired. I'm hoping that once we get into some semblance of normal, she'll start to get back to her old self. Until then she will continue to bust out phrases like "kill me now" like she did this morning (she *may* have heard mommy utter this under her breath while dealing with the brushing of the teeth).

And on top of the fun that never ends, there's a measles outbreak in Seattle. Frickin measles. If you read my blog, you may know how I feel about vaccinations. I don't think they're all bad, but I DO think that they give WAY too many at one time and at WAY too early an age, especially for someone that was born premature and is too tiny and may have digestive system issues, putting her at risk for vaccine injury. My gut instinct was to keep her from getting most vaccines until she was at least of school age, and to avoid some of them altogether (she will NEVER get the flu vaccine, and neither will anyone else in my family). I did 2 months of nonstop research while she was in the NICU, reading all the good, the bad and the ugly. I read several books, including my favorite, the Dr. Sears Book on vaccines. But since she doesn't go to daycare or school I thought I could avoid making this decision until she was 5. And then I got pregnant.

At little man's first pedi appointment, our doc, who is very vocal about which vaccines he thinks are garbage and which he feels strongly you should get, and who is also very pro alternative scheduling, asked if we were going to get her the MMR vaccine since measles are in the area. And hubbs and I have had a lot of conversations, all tear soaked by me, about the issue. We called my in laws, one was a surgeon in Serbia and now does alternative medicine therapy, and one was a pediatrician, and asked their opinion. I read more. I prayed. I cried. I prayed some more. I felt guilty about the whole "herd immunity" thing....and then I felt guilty for feeling guilty because my daughter could very well be one of the kiddos that had a too sensitive immune system to handle a vaccine like MMR. Because regardless of the debunked scientist regarding the autism claim, there are still PLENTY of parents who now have children with unalterable health issues due to the MMR vaccine. Seizures, brain injury, digestive health issues, etc. And I was NOT about to jeopardize her health because of someone else's child. Her health is number one on my list.

Except now we have a newborn as well. A newborn who I would prefer did not catch the measles. Well crap. So what's worse? I'm not concerned about babygirl getting the measles because she's never even had a fever, so I know she would be ok, although it would be unpleasant. But I'm pretty sure a newborn with measles is not a situation we want.

So I cried some more. A lot. Still crying actually. And we decided to do it. To vaccinate her. She's 2 1/2, she's been really healthy, and not only are the measles here, but we're flying to Jersey over Memorial Day weekend and they hit on the east coast too.

So nana and I took her today. She did not even flinch when she got the shot. No crying. Nothing. Just calmly ripped the band aid off of her leg and resumed playing with the dolls in the room. And so far, she still seems unaffected by it. My stomach is in knots, but I'm praying everything will be just fine.

These decisions. These parenting moments. These bumps in the road that were not expected. These are all really really hard. And torturing me. I'm an extremely visual person, and I like to jump to catastrophe (in my head). For 2 weeks, all I could think was that we would lose our sweet, happy, feisty, stubborn as hell babygirl to a vaccine that I didn't want her to get in the first place. Luckily, it looks like I was all drama for no reason. But it tore me up. And it's only gonna get worse. Because she'll eventually be a teenager and I can dream up all sorts of awful scenerios that I can't control and LOSE MY FREAKIN MIND on a daily basis.


Maybe these decisions will be a bit easier with little man. Less drama all around for him.

But probably not. Once a drama queen and all that....