Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Posts Tagged ‘endocrine disruptor’

Reform our broken federal chemical safety laws!

ACHM Plane Picture


Help send Mainers to Washington to demand safe toxic-free products! Send your message with them by signing the petition below.

To My Senators and Representatives,

No child should be exposed to chemicals linked to cancer, obesity, or reproductive problems. But children's health is threatened every day by dangerous chemicals in their homes.

Our nation’s chemical safety system is badly broken. The Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) is a good start but needs to be strengthened. Please help strengthen the CSIA to achieve real reform that protects our families from toxic chemicals.

Posted by on October 14th, 2013 No Comments

Safe Alternatives For Treating Head Lice

The first time I ran across head lice, my little sister brought them back from summer camp. Everyone in her cabin got them and everyone was sent home. Before Dad would let her in the house he asked her if she wanted to stay outside while he picked up the lice shampoo or if she wanted to shave her head. She was 14; it was the 90’s; she shaved her head.  She got an eyebrow, too before we could stop her.

My daughter brought back the same souvenirs her last day of school. A whole bunch of them.  It’s gross to see bugs on your baby’s scalp; but what’s even scarier is thinking about deliberately putting pesticides directly on her skin and rubbing it in.

Pesticides are poisons. They kill bugs and other living creatures. They also stop bugs from reproducing by disrupting their hormones. My little one hasn’t developed all her hormones yet; and I really don’t want to disrupt them. I’m also pregnant and don’t want mine or the new baby’s hormones disrupted either. So what did I do? A lot of research.

Neem oil and tea tree oil are a good one-two punch for breaking lice shells and killing the developing nits. Olive oil helps as a medium for both oils and eases the proteins that glue the nits to the hair. It also helps the lice comb glide through the hair. I recommend a ratio of about 3:1:1 – olive oil, neem oil, tea tree oil—and you only need about an ounce.   You just have to remember to do it at least twice with seven to ten days between treatments (just like the commercial stuff).

There are also commercial items on the market that are safer than others and you can find them through the EWG’s Skin Deep database. I hope you never need to use them.

Posted by on July 13th, 2012 No Comments

Marketing BPA to Kids

My nephew absolutely adores the movie Toy Story, and is particularly infatuated with the character Woody. He owns the Woody doll, loves to scream out “Howdy, Partner!,” and would probably watch Toy Story on repeat for HOURS if we let him.

I also know if my nephew saw some canned Campbell’s soup with his buddy Woody on the cover, he would beg his mom to purchase it. She most likely would, thinking, “It’s soup. It’s gotta be better for him than most of the other junk food out there, right?”


As Seventh Generation pointed out in a recent blog post, BPA is showing up in many canned products, specifically targeted to kids. The endocrine disrupting chemical was found in soups, juices, and veggies at disturbing levels. Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes was no exception.

Posted by on September 24th, 2011 1 Comment

Recipe for BPA: Cigarettes + Canned Vegetables + Cashier Job

As a broke college student, and an avid-canned bean eater, I found a recent article on BPA especially troubling. The study revealed the recipe for high BPA exposure is cigarettes, a job as a cashier, and you guessed it, canned vegetables.

According to the article by Environmental Health News, more than 90 percent of pregnant women had detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. Pregnant women who ate canned vegetables, exposed themselves to tobacco smoke, or worked as cashiers also had above-average concentrations. BPA can be found in cash-register receipts, so it’s no wonder women working behind a counter had higher levels in their bodies.

BPA is a nasty chemical that has been linked to heart disease and diabetes in humans, cancer of the prostate and mammary glands, obesity and reproductive problems in lab animals exposed in the womb.

Not long ago pregnant women pressured retailers and manufacturers to offer BPA-free baby bottles. While this is a step in the right direction, women are still unknowingly exposing their infants during fetal development and babies are being born pre-polluted.  

The study also showed that those who eat canned vegetables once a day had 44 percent more BPA in their urine than those who didn’t. Once I read that, I decided to make my beans the old-fashioned way—by soaking and cooking them. Although this process did take roughly 24 hours, I can rest peacefully knowing my BPA intake decreased sufficiently.

Posted by on November 16th, 2010 No Comments

Pondering Parabens

I’ll admit it – I’m a compulsive label reader. Lately I've noticed plenty of shampoos, cosmetics and personal care products boasting labels stating they are "Paraben Free." Why are some companies going out of there way to get rid of these parabens? There are many parabens: methyl paraben, propyl paraben, butyl paraben and ethyl paraben. Should we care when a product is Paraben Free?




According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “parabens are widely used synthetic preservatives found in most of the 25,000 cosmetics and personal care products in the Skin Deep” database. Parabens extend the shelf life of moisturizers and your shampoos and other products.

Parabens have chemicals that mimic estrogen in female bodies-- they mimic women's hormones and disrupt women's endocrine system. When the endocrine system is disrupted, the body’s ability to communicate with itself is thrown off. Some endocrine disruptors, such as parabens, have been linked to breast cancer. EWG reports “parabens were found in the breast cancer tumors of 19 of 20 women studied." According to the Breast Cancer Fund , “measurable concentrations of six different parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.”

So, should we care if a product is Paraben Free? At the expense of quoting a certain someone, I’m going to answer with an enthusiastic “You Betcha’!” If possible, choose a Paraben Free product.

To learn more about estrogenic chemicals in cosmetics and how they can affect a woman’s body, check out this video made by Cornell University. MAKE-UP: Breast Cancer and the Estrogen Connection

Posted by on May 1st, 2009 No Comments