By Holly Pellham Davis
Thereʼs nothing that says “Summer” like flip flops and a snow cone, but do they have to come with crude oil, artificial ingredients, chemicals and the multitude of potential health risks associated with these all to common toxic substances?
“No way!”, says me.
So letʼs do a little summer product makeover and replace these bad boys with non-toxic, safe, environmentally friendly options sure to keep your kiddos cool, happy, and healthy!
1) FLIP FLOPS
The No-Go: “ Jellyʼs “ or plastic varieties of flip flops are cheap and so darn c-u-t-e, but they have a dirty little secret. They are commonly made of PVC, also called "the poison plastic," which contains harmful plasticizers including BPA, a known endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen in the body, increasing risk of breast cancer, testicular cancer, and causing reproductive problems. PVC is also destructive to the environment and can not be cleanly recycled without creating highly carcinogenic and deadly dioxane. The chemicals in the plastic flip flops degrade with body heat and are absorbed into the body. These chemicals bio-accumulate making them especially concerning and harmful. Look for the PVC materials label on the product, although it it not always labeled as such.
The "Clean Fresh" Flip Flop Alternative: We want Flip Flops that stay true to their native feel, so make sure they are made of earth materials like natural rubber (not synthetic which contains crude oil). These cutie patooties from “Planet Flops” hit the green trifecta by being non-toxic, planet friendly, and cute.. Also, Feelgoodz (available at Whole Foods too!) do just that with use of their natural rubber & hemp materials and super fun designs for the entire fam including little boys who sometimes get the short end of the stick in the cute shoes department.
The No-Go: Letʼs face it, a hot Texas summer can create LOTS of stink… but thereʼs no reason to douse ourselves & puberty entering kiddos with chemical cocktails! Store shelves & bathroom cabinets alike are chock full of aluminum containing antiperspirants which prevents the body from sweating but also is a brain toxin attributed to alzheimerʼs, dementia, and kidney problems. Further, all bio- accumulates making repeated exposure high risk. Deodorants and antiperspirants (perfumes and colognes as well) contain artificial fragrances, such as carcinogenic synthetic musk, heavy metals, crude oil/petrolatum, and parabens, which act as estrogens and promote the growth of cancer cells. They can also contain other chemicals designed to transfer the chemicals deeper into your skin like propylene glycol (found in anti-freeze) or anti-bacterials like triclosan, which are proven endocrine disruptors and are passed into breast milk (Triclosan also reacts with chlorinated water). “Crystal” versions are really no better for you, as they only possess different toxic ingredients. Bottom line, itʼs no “Secret” that we need to “Ban” these and other toxic chemicals from deodorants and antiperspirants to a large “Degree.”
The "Clean Fresh" Deodorant Alternatives: We have tested a LOT of deodorants, and Iʼll be honest, if you’re really sweating, youʼre probably going to need to keep your arms by your side and discreetly head towards the bathroom where you can grab a soapy wet towel for a quick wipe off. But on your average day, you should be more than fine and your body systems will thank you as they work as they are designed to rid your body of toxins, not accumulate more. Alternative, clean deodorants are especially vital for kids and teenagers as their hormones are raging (we certainly do not need chemicals mimicking and interfering with them). Above are a few of our faves that keep us smelling sweet! Weleda has a few different scents. My daughter and I use the Rose which is wonderful and refreshing. My teenaged son needs double duty so he opts for the Weleda Sage spray on top of the Jason Apricot which is does the trick. You can find them at Natural Grocer or Whole Foods. My husband prefers the Natureʼs Gate or Jason's!
The No-Go: Deep breath. This is a hot issue for me. Spray sunscreens should be banned from existence. They contain harmful chemicals and nano mineral (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) particles that can be inhaled and enter the bloodstream through the lungs with the possibility of causing damage to vital organs. The FDA recently banned all SPF (nano) from loose mineral powders, due to this health risk. If you prefer a spray, please choose a pump instead of an aerosol and use a stick SPF on the face which gives better coverage without the added risk. Also be sure to look for brands without chemical sunscreens such as avobenzone and oxybenzone and refrain from applying spray sunscreens in public places, as it will put others at risk.
The "Clean Fresh" No-Spray Sunscreen Alternatives: Best advice is to stick with a mineral-based, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30. Make sure it is free of vitamin A and chemical ingredients that enhance skin absorption such as octinoxate. Also avoid sunscreen/bug repellent combos. My favorite healthy sunscreen for kiddos are the Badger Face Stick and Aubrey lotion. For myself, I love Renee Rouleau Age Defense Moisturizer, Eco Brand Sunscreen, and Raw Elements Sunscreen.
4) LIP BALM
The No-Go: Thereʼs nothing worse than toxic kisses… Sadly, most lip balms aimed at kiddos are just that. Underneath the colorful packaging and candy-flavored goodness, they’re filled with high levels of crude oil by way of petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin flavored in saccharin. Oh and don’t forget the crude oil based dyes, toxic chemicals, fragrance, and heavy metals. YIKES!
The "Clean Fresh"(& Kissable) Lip Balm Alternative: I am addicted to lip balm. I have it by my bedside, in the console of my car, on my desk…everywhere! My very favorite lip balm on the planet is MyChelle Love Your Lips in Raspberry Cherry Pineapple. It has good stuff in it like coconut oil, smells good naturally without any artificial fragrances and chemicals, and, most important, can be used by kids without fear they are harming their health. I have given away dozens of these and always hear how much people love them.
5) SNOW CONES
The No-Go: Who doesnʼt like an refreshing and yummy snow cone, shaved ice, or icy-pop on a steaming hot day? I have several festive friends that have snow cone machines armed and ready! Itʼs such a bummer that neon blue, bright red, and psychedelic yellow have to be full of petro chemical based dyes, highly processed sweeteners, artificial flavorings, preservatives, binders, and chemicals that cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity and are just plain not good for your health.
The "Clean Fresh" Snow Cone Alternative: Just like there are alternatives to artificial colors and flavors in candy, there are alternatives in snow cone syrups! Try ordering some of these organic snow cone syrups from Natures Flavours. (The blueberry and strawberry would be perfect for July 4th). You may have to compromise on super bright, multi colors, but you will not compromise your families health by eating them – and the best part is, they still taste great and help you beat the heat!
Here's to a Happy Healthy Summer!