Is Your Child’s Car Seat Toxic?

Before buying a child’s car seat, responsible parents will carefully review safety ratings for the dozens of brands and models on the market. But they should also look closely at the use of toxic chemicals.

According to a new report from the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., toxic flame retardants are still widely used in car seats, even though there’s no data showing they protect children from fires.

Researchers tested 15 infant and toddler car seats from a variety of brands for flame retardants and other toxic chemicals. Brands tested included BabyTrend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Cosco, Diono, Evenflo, Joie, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Orbit, Recaro, Safety 1st and Graco.

Flame retardants were found in all car seats tested. Brominated chemicals – which are typically persistent and bioaccumulative, and are often toxic – were found in 13 out of 15 car seats. Chemicals detected included carcinogens and hormone disruptors.

The authors say this year’s findings are an improvement from those of previous years, but there is still a lot about which to be concerned. For the first time, flame retardants were found to be widespread in the fabrics of car seats, not just in the internal foam cushions.

Because their bodies are still developing, babies and infants who spend many hours in car seats are especially vulnerable to the effects of flame retardants in dust and fumes. Young children also breathe in more air and are exposed to more dust particles relative to body weight than adults. Babies and toddlers constantly put their hands in their mouths, which can also increase exposure.

But despite these alarming findings, there is good news: car seat manufacturers have made progress in eliminating the worst chemicals.

In 2011, EWG staffers and supporters clipped samples of foam from car seats and other children’s products. Tests found chlorinated Tris, a fire retardant known to cause cancer in lab animals, and other highly toxic chemicals. This year, for the first time since the Ecology Center started testing car seats in 2006, none contained chlorinated Tris.

EWG has long advocated for the removal of unnecessary and toxic chemicals from consumer products. Flame retardant chemicals are generally unnecessary and exposures could harm health. A series of EWG studies have documented higher concentrations of several flame retardant metabolites in kids compared to their mothers. This could be because kids play on the floor and stick their hands, or other items, in their mouths.

While most baby products no longer contain flame retardant chemicals, federal regulations still require car seat manufacturers to comply with strict flammability standards. In the 44 years since this regulation passed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found no evidence that adding flame retardant chemicals to car seats protects children in vehicle fires.

The Ecology Center cautions parents that car seats provide vital crash protection and that, regardless of chemical hazard, they should use them for babies and young children. But some seats are healthier than others. The Ecology Center maintains a database of 355 car seats screened for toxic chemicals.

What simple actions can parents take?

Review the report and look for a suitable car seat with fewer flame retardants.
Ban eating in the car, if possible, to reduce the amount of flame retardant chemicals that get on kids’ hands and into their mouths.
Wash your and your child’s hands often to reduce toxic residues that get into our bodies through dust – especially for babies whose normal way of exploring is to put their hands and other items in their mouths.
Vacuum your car and your child’s car seat often.

7 Healthy Food Myths You Should Not Believe In

Health is always your priority. But how many of you can bring it to reality? Your work, time limits, deadlines and endless limitations are all the hindrances of a healthy life.

At times even misconceptions play a major role. You may be thinking that you have a balanced diet but in reality, it might not be as healthy as it should be.

A plethora of myths about the healthy food and its post effects are prevailing in the mindsets of people. Here are some the myths about the healthy food you all should not believe in anymore.

1) Eating Post 6 Pm Is Unhealthy: You must have heard the phrase, “Early to bed, early to rise. Makes the man healthy, wealthy and wise.” It is surely a scientifically proven phrase. However, you can not live a life that your ancestors had been living.

If you follow the myth of not eating after 6 pm, you shall be starving yourself and thereby leaving your body less nutrition. One has to change the diet habits as per his own schedule and should not follow it blindly.

However, you should not eat 3 hours before you go to bed. Also, the dinner you take should always be light.

2) Fat Makes You Fat: If you believe that fat will make you slimmer and healthier then you are taking your health to a dangerous level. Yes, excessive fat is harmful to health. However, not to have it all is much more harmful.

When you stop having fat in your intake, your digestion suffers. Fat helps in metabolizing vitamin A and vitamin E. The insufficiency of fat in your body stops producing hormones. It can also harm your liver and brings skin aging faster.

3) You Should Not Have Snacks: You should eat snacks at a regular interval so that your tummy is filled and not starved. However, snacks should be taken in the limit as there is a thin line of difference between required and excess that has to be taken care of.

4) You Should Avoid Carbohydrates: Basically, there are two types of carbs simple and complex. Sugar, chocolate, honey, jam are some of the foods that contain simple carbs.

However, you should have complex carbs for healthy diet options such as grains, beans and vegetables.

It is indeed difficult all the time to figure out the balanced diet options. Nevertheless, you can take help of the various guidelines featured on the diet suggestions.

5) Refrigeration Of Fruits Takes Away Its Healthy Elements: There is a general belief that the fruits and vegetables once refrigerated loses its healthy elements. Although the new freezing technologies keep the healthy element intact, the older refrigerators still contain this problem.

6) Brown Bread Should Be Preferred Over White Bread: People believe that brown bread is a healthier option than the white bread. However, it is not necessary all the time. The brown color of the bread can be created by adding caramel in the dough. The color is not the parameter of fiber for sure. The energy contained in both the bread is more or less the same.

7) Juices Are As Healthy As The Fruits: Broadly speaking, people believe that both the juices and fruits contain the same amount of nutrition. This is one of the biggest myths. The fruits contain fiber that juices have almost as lower as zero. Moreover, the juices contain sugar that is harmful to health.

As you all know about the myths of healthy food, make sure to avoid it and have the food that is actually healthy for you.

Study Links Bpa To Attention Disorder In Kids

Children with high levels of the chemical bisphenol A in their bodies were more likely to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder than those with lower levels of the chemical, according to a study published June 6 in the journal Environmental Research.

A research team led by Dr. Shruti Tewar of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center studied 460 children 8 to 15 years old. The scientists found that 11 percent of children with higher urinary BPA levels were diagnosed with ADHD, compared to the 2.9 percent of kids diagnosed who had lower BPA levels.

ADHD is a developmental disorder causing inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors that begin in childhood and may continue into adulthood.

The team’s findings add to the growing body of evidence that BPA exposure may be associated with altered brain development and function, potentially leading to inattention and hyperactive behavior in children. While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, some professionals suggest it is a combination of genes, environmental and other non-genetic factors.

Roughly one in 10 children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD, and one in six have a developmental disability. Given the prevalence of learning and behavior disorders, the authors suggest additional studies to determine if reducing children’s BPA exposure could prevent them from developing ADHD.

BPA, a petrochemical derivative used to stiffen plastics, acts like estrogen in the body, according to numerous studies. It is a key component of epoxy coatings used to coat the insides of most of the food cans manufactured in the U.S. Can linings break down over time, as well as in the presence of heat or acidic foods, enabling BPA molecules to leach into the food or drink inside. EWG published a report that reveals more than 16,000 processed foods may be packaged in materials that contain BPA. People are also exposed to BPA by thermal cashier receipts.

To reduce your risk of BPA exposure:

Substitute fresh, frozen or dried food for canned food.
Purchase food in alternative packaging, such as glass.
If you can’t avoid BPA epoxy can linings, rinse canned beans, fruit and vegetables.
Never heat food in the can.
Choose canned foods from EWG’s Best Players or Better Players lists of brands and companies that claim to use BPA-free can linings.
Search EWG’s Food Scores to find specific products in BPA-free packaging.
Limit your contact with thermal receipts and wash your hands after handling them.
If you don’t know whether a product is contaminated with BPA, be sure to check out EWG’s BPA Food Scores database – a searchable list of nearly 16,000 processed foods and drinks.