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Trick or Treat!

It’s October once again, which means if you have kids chances are they’re already chomping at the bit in anticipation of the big night. After all, what’s better than dressing up as your favorite superhero and coming home at the end of the night with a sack full of candy? But as parents we always worry about the health and safety of our little ones, and this season I’d like to pass along some smart tips from our friends at EWG on how to have a greener, less toxic Halloween. Great ideas, guys!

Pick Play Makeup Carefully.

Many children like to wear colorful cosmetics as part of their costumes. If they do, make sure they use safer products and apply them as directed.

Skip the (Colored) Hairspray.

Many hairsprays contain toxic chemicals and fragrance. Kids can easily breathe in sprays. Instead, find a great hat or wig at a second-hand store; or create a great hair-do with ribbons, barrettes and safer, non-spray hair products.

Burn More Eco-friendly Candles (if at all).

Candles can off-gas toxic compounds. Choose fragrance-free candles made from bee, palm or soy wax. Traditional paraffin-wax candles are made from petroleum byproducts.

Don’t Wear Synthetic Facemasks or Teeth.

Masks and fake teeth are made from a variety of synthetic materials that aren’t always labeled. Plastics may be softened with endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Rather than cover your head in unknown, possibly toxic materials, make your own mask from simple materials or try a half-face, masquerade-style mask instead.

Offer Treats with Fewer, More Natural Ingredients

Products to Avoid:

Face Paints can contain lead, which can impact brain development at extremely low doses, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which cause skin sensitization and contact dermatitis.

Lipstick can contain hidden lead. Because little ones tend to eat almost as much as they put on their lips, it is best to avoid lipstick all together. Opt instead for a shiny beeswax-based lip balm.

Nail Polish often contains dibutyl phthalate and toluene, chemicals linked to hormone disruption and cancer.

Cosmetics in Powder Form can easily be inhaled. Depending on the particle size, the powder can lodge in children’s nasal passages and even lungs – where it may cause damage.

Fragrance Products Read ingredient labels and avoid products listing “fragrance”. EWG research found that fragrances may contain allergens or hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Create a Low-impact Costume.

Rather than buying a new costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used at a local resale shop or from friends. Consider a costume swap at school or among friends.

If You are Going to a Party.

Rather than buying a new costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used at a local resale shop or from friends. Consider a costume swap at school or among friends.

If You are Going to a Party.

If you are going to a party or planning a quick meal, skip the single-use dinnerware. Choose a more sustainable option.

Decorate Naturally.

Grab pumpkins, gourds and hay bales from a local farm to create a haunting scene and reuse decorations from year to year.

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A recent study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that in almost all of 268 pregnant women tested, eight different types of chemicals were found in their bodies. Chemicals found include pesticides, flame retardants, PFCs from non-stick cookware, phthalates, car exhaust pollutants and even DDT, a chemical that has been banned since 1979!

These toxins can pass right through the placenta and into the fetus. In fact, a previous study, done by the Environmental Working Group, found that unborn babies carry over 200 different chemicals in their bodies, even before they are born.

The study in pregnant women looked for 163 different chemicals, so it only scratches the surface, because over 80,000 new chemicals are introduced each year. The chemical bisphenol A (BPA) was found in 96 percent of these women. Prenatal BPA exposure has been linked to adverse health outcomes, affecting brain development and susceptibility to cancer in later life.

Certain chemical levels found in these women were at levels known to be harmful to children. While concerning, this does not even take into account the additive effect that chemicals have, which is considered to be more dangerous because new chemical compounds can be formed when chemicals mix, and little is known about the possible consequences of this.

Toxins are everywhere. We live in a toxic soup. We can reduce our exposure, but we cannot prevent it. That’s why a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and supporting the health of the body’s channels of elimination (colon, liver, kidneys, lymph, blood, lungs and skin) are so vital to reducing the harmful effects that toxins can have on our health.

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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