Halogenated flame retardants are some of the most dangerous chemicals on the market, yet a peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Science & Technology Journal found that they’re pervasive in products made for babies and toddlers: car seats, breast feeding pillows, changing pads, crib wedges, bassinet mattresses and other items made with polyurethane foam.
When we were kids, in the chemical-intensive 1970s, we thought nothing of using artificial food coloring and those fizzy little dye tablets to give our Easter eggs festive hues. Back then, we didn't know that chemical dyes could cause ADHD, harm development, ignite hyperactivity, compromise immune systems and cause sterility. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention even found links between food coloring and asthma, allergic reactions and lead poisoning, Organic Authority reports. As a grown-up in the enlightened 21st century, I'm not taking the risk. My kids and I are dying eggs using herbs and food -- the way my grandmother did -- and it's a lot more fun than playing with chemicals.
BPA levels in families who ate fresh rather than canned or plastic-packaged food for three days dropped by an average of 60 percent, according to a study released in March 2011 by the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute. Bishphenol A (or BPA), which is used to line food cans, has been linked to breast cancer, infertility, early puberty and other health problems.
Most home appliances have become more efficient over the past 30 years, but those gains have been offset by the influx of personal computers, televisions and related devices, according to data released recently by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Over the past three decades, the share of residential electricity used by appliances and electronics in U.S. homes has nearly doubled from 17 percent to 31 percent.
I get a little excited every time a new "slow" movement comes along. I thought Slow Food -- linking enjoyment of food to sustainable communities -- was the coolest when it came over from Italy more than a decade ago, and the concept of paying a little more time and attention to our communities, our money and a slew of other daily habits always made sense too me. Whether I'm eating dinner with my family or choosing where my 401K money should go, I'm drawn to the idea that slowing down to consider and savor will lead to more satisfying choices. (Full disclosure: I'm the most deficit-disordered multi-tasker I know.)