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

Posts Tagged ‘Seventh Generation’

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

The Truth About Tampons & Pads

There’s no denying how bad tampons are for the environment. The facts are staggering:

  • A menstruating woman uses on average 11,000 tampons in her lifetime.
  • 7 billion tampons are dumped into landfills each year (plus another 13 billion sanitary pads!)

In short, feminine hygiene products are polluting our rivers, lakes, streams, and world.  

What many people don’t realize is that conventional feminine hygiene products are also harming our bodies. Conventional tampons and pads contain chemicals, toxins, additives, and synthetic materials. They are often made from chlorine-bleached and pesticide-grown cotton blends. These chemicals are known carcinogens (substances directly involved in causing cancer) and are being directly absorbed by our vaginal walls.  

To really “go green,” you gotta start with your monthly visitor. Last summer, we posted some information about these hidden dangers and offered some safe, smart alternatives. Here’s to celebrating those alternatives again.

Although getting your period may be a nuisance to some women, it should never be life threatening. Thankfully, there are companies making products you can buy and feel good about, like Seventh Generation, Natracare, and the Diva Cup: They all have the health of women on their minds. 

Research on the dangers of conventional tampons is ongoing. But we have enough information and alternative options now to make conscious and safe choices for our bodies and our environment. Empower yourself, your friends, and your family, and tell them about alternative, affordable, organic, and sustainable feminine hygiene products.

Posted by on June 15th, 2011 No Comments

Feminine Hygiene Info Now on Healthy Living Section of Site

In our Healthy Living section, we’ve given you tips on how to avoid chemicals in your cosmetics, food, and in many other facets of daily life.  But what about your period?

The vagina is a mucus membrane. It absorbs. If you’re using conventional tampons and pads, your vagina is absorbing pesticide residue and dioxins, both common in conventional feminine hygiene product manufacture, and which have been linked to reproductive health problems.

Check out our new addition to the healthy living section for alternatives to conventional tampons and pads, and a more complete explanation of what exactly is in conventional feminine hygiene products.

To learn more about organic cotton tampons, check out this great video from Seventh Generation.

Posted by on September 23rd, 2010 5 Comments

Old-School Cleaning

After my usual spring-cleaning meltdown about the toxic ingredients in various cleaning supplies, I decided to research the "old school" methods.  I know there are wonderful products by companies like Seventh Generation and Ecover, but what did people do before they had these options?


Some interesting things I learned from Re-nest, an insightful website about green living:

  • Add half a lemon to the dishwasher and your dishes will emerge sparkling and spot-free. (Instead of the mysterious blue stuff that gets sprayed all over our dishes now.)
  • Cucumber slices will remove tarnish from stainless steel.
  • Lime scale and soap residue can be removed by rubbing lemon on them-faucets or porcelain.

I certainly can't employ all of the 27 Household Uses for Citrus or fully wallow in the Secret Super Cleaning Powers of the Mighty Cucumber, but it is a start, and certainly preferable over the usual toxic culprits.

What are some of your favorite eco-friendly cleaning techniques?

Posted by on June 30th, 2010 No Comments

Dangers of Feminine Care Products

cottonplantsm1Debbie Robins has written an insightful piece on the possible dangers lurking in feminine hygiene products for the Huffington Post.  She not only addresses the pesticide residue in tampons and the dioxin used to bleach them, but gives some astounding facts about the amount of chemicals we could prevent from entering the environment with even a small change in consumption behavior.

If we are so careful about what we eat, shouldn't we be holding everything we put in our bodies to the highest of standards?

While you check out letstalkperiod for more information, I am going to clean out the medicine cabinet.

Posted by on June 21st, 2010 No Comments

Friendly Feminine Hygiene Products

Nearly 13 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons are dumped into landfills each year. Besides creating lots of waste, these products are also harming our bodies because of the chemicals they are made from. They contain bleaching agents, additives, synthetic materials, and a whole host of other nasty chemicals, which are absorbed by our bodies each month. Luckily, there are some body-friendly alternatives. diva-cup

The menstrual cup is a reusable, cup-shaped device worn inside of the vagina during menstruation. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it, leaving you free of harmful chemicals.  When full, you simply empty the cup and then re-insert.  Because it can be used time and time again—up to 10 years with some models!—you will reduce your monthly waste by a significant amount.  

Organic pads are designed to look just like the disposable ones but without the harsh chemicals and plastic.  Seventh Generation sells pantiliners and pads that are made of a combination of absorbent materials, polyolefins, adhesives, and a silicone coated paper. The top layer is a non-woven polyolefin cover sheet. The absorbent material consists of chlorine free wood pulp.

Instead of using regular tampons and applicators, try using certified organic cotton tampons and applicators.  Seventh Generation produces tampons and applicators that are made of organic cotton, and certified by Quality Assurance International, Inc.  Organic tampons are the way to go because they are free of chlorine—a chemical used in the whitening process of regular pads and tampons. Seventh Generation’s products also contain no rayon, and the packaging is made of 80% post-consumer recycled content.

I hope this information really helps all you woman realize what types of products you are buying and using on your own body!  Switching to organic feminine hygiene products is a healthy switch as well as an environmentally friendly switch!

Posted by on May 25th, 2010 6 Comments

Green Gifts

This holiday season, why not give gifts that are good for the environment, health, or both?

We have complied a list of great eco-gifts.  We want to thank all of our Facebook and Twitter fans and followers for your awesome recommendations!  And if you have any to share after reading this, please let us know. We can always add.

Happy shopping!



Organic Wine Need a host gift?  Bring along a bottle of organic wine to share. For a comprehensive review of reasonably priced organic wines, a quick education and hilariously candid and amusing reviews go visit Steve at Vinoclock. You can't go wrong.
Why It’s Green: Made from grapes free of harmful pesticides and chemicals. Less sulfides.
Health Benefit: Contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to the heart.
Brands: Frey Vineyards, The Organic Wine Company, EcoWine, and two great wine blogs Vinos Ambiz VinO'Clock

Organic chocolateOrganic Chocolate by Lake Champlain Chocolates. Everyone has a chocolaholic on their list. Give them chocolate that’s better for them.
Why It’s Green: USDA Organic Certified. Preservative-free and Kosher-certified.
Local Perk: Made in northern New England, in good old Burlington, VT.


Organic clothingGreen Clothing - Including Hemp, Organic Cotton and Bamboo
Why It’s Green:
Free of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and other harsh chemicals.
Health Benefit:  Fabric feels softer and is easier on your skin since it's grown naturally.
Shops: Alternative Apparel, The Hempest, Soul Flower, Patagonia, Nordstrom

Recycled ClutchRecycled candy wrapper clutch
Why It's Green:
Made from recycled, defective candy wrappers rescued from being brought to landfills.
Unique Perk: Hand crafted, ensuring no two bags are alike.

Recycled jewelryRecycled Jewelry
Why It’s Green: Jewelry maker Kathleen Plate uses recycled materials such as real beer, Coca-Cola, wine and water bottles to make her stylish creations.
Unique Perk: One-of-a-kind jewelry that isn't a cookie-cutter gift you’d find in a mall or department store.


Samsung phone Ten Cell Phones with the Lowest Radiation. Research this list before you buy:  find the cell phone with the lowest amount of radiation.
Background: The Federal Communications Commission requires all cell phones be rated at 1.6 watts per kilogram or lower.
Health Benefit: The lower the amount of radiation, the less risk for brain and mouth tumors and behavior problems in children.

ipod nanoApple Products—iPhone 3G, iPod nano, iPod classic and iPod touchare now all BFR and PVC free.
Background: Electronic companies have been using brominated flame retardant (BFR) and DECA as flame retardants for years, which are known reproductive and developmental toxicants.
Health Benefit: Apple now offers BFR and PVC-free products, which help reduce reproductive concerns (delayed onset of puberty, changes in adult brain function, and hormone imbalance).


Sigg bottleStainless Steel or Aluminum Water Bottles.
By giving this gift, you’ll help protect your loved one's health and the environment.
Why It’s Green: BPA-free and lead-free and waste reducing.
Health Benefit: Unlike plastic water bottles, these don't leach BPA.  They reduce the risk for reproductive abnormalities, breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and sexual dysfunction in males.

french_pressFrench Press If someone asks for a coffee maker this holiday season, your safest best bet is a French press. (Note to self: should do future blog post on organic and fair trade coffee!)
Background: Many commercial coffee makers filter steaming hot water through plastic to make coffee. This leaches the chemical BPA.
Why It’s Green: BPA-free and does not require the use of filters, which saves paper, waste and transportation thereof.
Health Benefit: See scary BPA info above.

Protect our air recycled glassesRecycled Glasses These frosted glasses are made from the bottom halves of Semillon bottles rescued before reaching the landfill.
Why It's Green: Made from recycled glass.  Because they are made from prefab bottles that don't need to be crushed or melted, the glasses use less energy to create than normal glassware.
Unique Perk: Recycled, each set is one-of-a kind and has a unique frosted tint.

Seventh GenerationSeventh Generation Gift Basket Put together a basket of Seventh Generation products
Why It's Green:
Seventh Generation offers non-chlorine bleached, 100% recycled paper towels, bathroom and facial tissues, and napkins; non-toxic, phosphate-free cleaning, dish and laundry products; plastic trash bags made from recycled plastic; chlorine-free baby diapers, training pants, and baby wipes; and chlorine-free feminine care products, including organic cotton tampons.
Health Benefit: Their products save natural resources, reduce pollution and keep toxic chemicals out of the environment and your home.

Cast iron cookwareCast Iron or Stainless Steel Cookware. If you need to buy cookware, **avoid "non-stick" at all costs**.
Background: "In two to five minutes on a conventional stove, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year," according to the Environmental Working Group.
Health Benefit: The above ought to convince you.


Do it yourself perfumeDo It Yourself Perfume
Background: 95% of scented products on the market are made largely or entirely of synthetic chemicals, usually derived from petroleum or coal tar, thought to be endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with hormones, puberty and growth and even cause birth defects and cancer.
Health Benefit: You'll encourage your loved ones to wear a safer alternative, reducing their health risks. Plus, they'll smell great!

lipstickNontoxic Cosmetics
Background: Like perfume, cosmetics are not regulated by the FDA. The chemicals they contain, such as lead in lipstick, have been linked to various cancers, developmental/reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption.
Health Benefit: You'll not only protect your loved ones by making their gifts with safe ingredients, but you'll educate them on the ugly side of the beauty industry.

PETS--Why leave out Fido and Sparky?

animal toySafe Squeaky Toys for Dogs
Why It’s Green: Made from 100% organic cotton and natural dyes from plants and minerals.
Health Benefit: Certified non-toxic, chemical-free, saliva resistant and has a reduced allergy level.

Dog bedEco Nap
Why It’s Green: Made from 100% Post Consumer recycled plastic.
Comfort Perk: Eco Nap has inner stuffing for added comfort and top stitching for added support.

Why It’s Green:
Made from 100% recycled materials.
Usability Perk: Clear, side-release adjustment at the handle makes it easy to clip around anything.

Eco me CatEco me cat
Why It’s Green: Made from 100% natural, everyday kitchen ingredients and essential oils like rosemary, citronella and lemongrass.
Health Benefit:
Unlike traditional flea remedies which use toxic chemicals and have which have been linked to thousands of animal poisonings and deaths, this is safe for your pets health.


solar powered bagVoltaic Daypack Backpacks
Why It’s Green: Keeps your electronics charge through solar power.
How It Works: It charges your mobile phone, camera, MP3 player or PDA by using waterproof solar panels.  An internal Li-Ion battery pack stores the power power.

flashlight Crank Powered Radio/Flashlight
Why It’s Green: Generates power by hand crank, instead of batteries or wall plug.
Usability: Great for power outages and outdoor activities, like camping.

Other Websites and shopping guides:


*Bubble and Bee Organic
*Campaign for Save Cosmetics
*Environmental Working Group
*Ethical Shopper

*Seventh Generation
*Tree Hugger  and their holiday gift guide
*Uncommon Goods

Posted by on December 14th, 2009 7 Comments

Seventh Generation’s Million Baby Crawl

Since March, we’ve been focusing on products and chemicals that negatively affect women’s reproductive health. 


This week, we want to focus on one company that’s actually doing something right—and has been for years—Seventh Generation.


Seventh Generation is the leading brand of green cleaners, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, diapers, baby wipes, tampons, recycled toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels. They believe in creating products that are not only effective, but are safe. Go figure.


Currently, Seventh Generation is in the middle of a very important campaign for chemical reform. It’s called the Million Baby Crawl and it is a virtual baby crawl to Washington, D.C. to say “no” to toxic chemicals found in our homes. Seventh Generation has teamed up with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to demand toxic chemical policy reform. They hope for a bill that will:  
•Take quick action on the most dangerous chemicals.
•Require full information on the health and environmental hazards associated with all chemicals.

•Protect all people and vulnerable groups - including children and pregnant women – using the best science.

Last night, as part of the Million Baby Crawl, Seventh Generation held “A Crawl to Action,” at the ECHO Center in Burlington, VT.  Participants had the chance to learn more about the crawl, snatch up some Seventh Generation giveaways, and even get up on their “soapbox” to talk about toxicants. We had a great time.  


 How can you join the fight against toxic chemicals?  Help Seventh Generation reach a million names for their petition by Creating a Crawler today.  While you’re on the site, forward some info to a friend or family member via Twitter, Facebook or email.  Sign up for the next Crawl to Action Event. Want to do more?  Contact Congress to let them know you think it’s time to update laws governing toxic chemicals.

Posted by on November 4th, 2009 No Comments

Scrutinizing Tampons


Several weeks ago, we answered a sexual health question on our Consensual Text blog: a college-age woman had inquired about the risks of scented tampons.

This prompted a bumpy ride on the web that included all shades of scary:  tampon processing and manufacturing are rumored to include everything from dioxin to asbestos.  Much of this information is false or unproven, but Estronaut summed up the main concerns:

"Most tampons are made of rayon. Rayon is made of cellulose and fibers of wood.  The processing includes chlorine bleaching, which is known to produce dioxin.  The makers say they wash it all away.  Critics say they don't."

There is some suspicion that organochlorines, like dioxin, mimic sex hormones, therefore causing sex-related health issues, cancer and decreased fertility. A tampon serves as an immediate delivery system to your reproductive organs, as vaginal walls easily absorb substances.

While there is an immense amount of research being done, many questions remain unanswered. Until there is conclusive data, it may be wise to minimize exposure to unnecessary contaminants, especially with many alternatives available. As we mentioned in a previous post, the Diva Cup is a viable option, as are tampons manufactured by Seventh Generation and other companies.

Seventh Generation is also encouraging good reproductive health by donating $1 per sign up at Let's Talk Period to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund today.  Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women.

Something that is actually inserted into your body, probably deserves the highest level scrutiny.

Posted by on September 1st, 2009 1 Comment