Please pass on the plastic

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Top 5 Ways for Pregnant Moms To Be Chemical / Toxin Free September 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 5:29 pm

This one’s for you Ann!

Pregnancy is a critical time to watch out for the chemicals in our homes and environment. Do as much as you  possibly can do to eliminate toxins so that the baby does not have to cope with unnecessary stresses. Anything that you breath, baby breathes and the effects, say,  of a great smelling body lotion can be quite deleterious to a baby. There are 80,000 synthetic chemicals on the U.S. market and we lack basic hazard information on almost all of them b/c the chemical industry blocks public protection laws by citing that “proof of harm” evidence is needed.

Recently, a study done by the Environmental Working Group found 287 industrial chemicals in the umbilical cord of 10 newborn babies—many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, brain damage, and birth defects.


Here’s the top 5 ways to reduce your exposure:

1.) Only use all natural cleaning sprays, candles, and anything else that gives off scents (i.e room deodorizes). 

2.) Only use all natural body care products (soaps, lotion, detergents, make-up, perfume, shampoo / conditioner). 70% of anything that touches our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. 70%. 

3.) Only use no- VOC paint.  Chemical free, no odor, easy on you and baby, almost any good paint store (including home depot, Lowe’s, etc) has this alternative now.

4.) PLANTS–surround yourself and your home with as many plants as possible. Plants don’t need direct sunlight to grow. I have a few growing in bedrooms and bathrooms that only get a little light and they do great.

5.) Organic fruits, veggies, dairy and meats. it makes a difference.

6.) Throwing in one more really, really, really important way to be chemical free: FILTER your tap water (brita or tap filtration system–america has good drinking water but high in chlorine ), and don’t drink from plastic bottles (they break down into your water)

If there was ever a time to be chemical conscience, it is now. By following those 6 suggestions, you are able to eliminate soIt makes a really big difference.


Pumping It Up / Fired Up September 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 4:57 pm

It doesn’t take much to get me fired up these days BUT I think many of you will feel the disappointment that I did when I read about the following story in the Wall St Journal a couple of weeks ago.  As a nursing mom (of a 6 week old) the following story is particularly painful to me but I think it is one that needs to be known by all.

 The company Totes / Isotoner recently fired one of their female factory workers, Ms. Allen, for taking unscheduled breaks to go pump. She is the mother of a 5 month old baby.  She reported to work at 6 am, and since her scheduled break was not until 11 she repeatedly asked her boss if she could take an earlier break to pump (she would then skip her 11am break) so that she did not have to go through the leakage and discomfort that goes along with waiting too long to pump. She was repeatedly denied.  Therefore, she began taking an unscheduled break at 10 am to go pump. She was fired soon after.

Ms. Allen sued Totes / Isotoner and the Ohio Supreme Court judge who heard the case favored with the company. The judge upheld the decision and Ms. Allen is out a job!!!!!

It is so unsettling that a woman who is trying to do it all, to do what is best for her family, and still hold down a job, could be fired for this unselfish act.  Ms. Allen is a factory worker. The wages she makes probably don’t come close to covering the cost of what it takes to raise a family, let alone purchase formula.  And even if she had all the money in the world, she should still have the indisputable right to nurse her child with the best source of nutrition there is, possibly preventing her child from various health issues, both immediate and long-term. There are many reasons that Ms. Allen may have chosen to continue breastfeeding. For anyone who has ever used a breast pump,you will agree with me, it is not to get a “free” unsceduled break at work. The 10 minutes of “milking” is not exactly fun or relaxing. Not to mention she probably had to set up in a bathroom stall. 


It is disgraceful, embarrassing, and unacceptable that a nursing mother would be put through this situation.  

There are so many ways that Totes / Isotoner could have made this work. Until there is public acknowledgement that this was a huge mistake on their part, I know I’ll be spreading this story and purchasing all my holiday gifts elsewhere this year.


You’ve Gotta See This–Tapped March 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 8:00 pm

So, I may be biased as this is our film, but it is getting rave reviews out there in the big wide world. Tapped is a life changing film about the negative effects of bottled water on our environment and our health. Watch the trailer and PLEASE let me know your thoughts, reactions, concerns, questions and just how badly you want to see the whole film. 



We Made It! December 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 9:52 pm

Exactly a year ago, I posted my first blog….it’s been a challenging, exciting, rewarding, insightful, year….I’ve included my first post below, a reminder as we go full steam ahead into this holiday season. There is a time and a place for plastics to exist (i.e hospitals) but in our homes we need to be really wary of the toxic effects and in our world we need to be very worried about the detrimental effects on our earth and our health.

My very first blog, its been a long time coming. it dawned on me today, though, after spending an entire weekend cleaning out the bedroom closets in our home, that it was time to make it a priority to put words on paper (well, computer screen). As a family of five, we have a lot of stuff. my issues with this “stuff”…..i have a few. Most of it is made in China, most of it will never biodegrade, most of it is made of plastic and most of it is just extra crap in our life. So, with this blog i present myself and my fellow readers with a challenge. Can we, as a group, stop accumulating so much plastic stuff? I believe there will be a new found sense of freedom that comes with a pared down closet, playroom, car, office, etc…..And that’s just on a personal note. The state of affairs in the world may just be improved as well.

“Except for the small amount that’s been incinerated–and it’s a very small amount–every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” (Charles Moore)
That is a mind-altering quote. how can this be? Even recyclable plastic, which is a relatively expensive process so therefore not used very often, will never biodegrade (turn back into its Carbon and Hydrogen elements.) Every year 60 Billion tons of plastic are produced. Where is it going to wind up? Best case scenario, recycled. Likely scenario, in our landfills and even more likely scenario, in our oceans. In fact, in the pacific ocean there is vast swath of ocean (twice the size of texas to be exact) that has become known as the “plastic stew.” Here, in a deep, clockwise-turning vortex of air and water, lies a terrible mess of plastic junk, landfill remnants, old tires, nets and ropes, old bath toys….. any type of garbage you can think of collects in this spot. The stuff has no place to go. Really. it has no place to go. Plastic is here forever.

Read more about plastic in our oceans in this article.

We have a choice. It’s clear. When possible use other options. Be frugal in your plastic purchases. Re-use within your home, within your life whenever possible. Plastic toys for kids–dangerous for many reasons. Plastic water bottles, plastic in a microwave, dangerous for all of us. (yes, it does melt into your food) Whether you believe in the green movement or not, just consider the consequences of plastic being here FOREVER.
In future posts i will have websites connecting us to sites that offer non-plastic options for purchase as well as sites that offer creative approaches to getting around this problem. I would LOVE to hear back from readers about sites you have used, ideas you suggest and any other ideas you have related to this issue. I believe with my whole heart in the power of people to make positive changes in this world.

So with that in mind, here goes my idea. I will post a new idea, every week for a year, on how you can SIMPLY choose an alternative item other than plastic or how you can reuse the plastic you have or how you can eliminate a particular plastic item for good. It is SO, SO, SO possible to make a significant change within one year. mark your calendars, your blackberries, set a weekly reminder–check in once a week. do what it takes. join the plastic not being here forever revolution.

At the end of one year, dec. 2008 we will have made 52 significant changes in the battle against plastic.


#51–Glass Water Bottles? Yes! November 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 2:20 pm
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A very saavy researcher / friend of ours let us know about this idea….portable, reusable glass water bottles. Sounds like an oxy moron, but it is is true. they are 750 ml(the sport bottle size from poland spring, twist off cap, very classy looking!) i have not tried them yet, but I am ordering now. 


The price is really reasonable ($24/ 6 and free shipping) and there is an aquakoozy (get it? like one of those beer kozies) that protects the bottle and makes it really easy to carry.

Our friend’s concern is that most stainless steel water bottles are made in China, which doesn’t have a great track record for high safety standards. I have done as much online research as possible and can not find any study that indicates there is an issue with stainless steel but it is worth noting. Also Sigg bottles are lines with aluminum which has been linked to alzheimers. 

 I will continue to use my stainless steel (as will the kids), but the glass bottles will be a great alternative when we are on a long car trip or someplace where I don’t have to worry at all about breakage.

I’m thinking great holiday gifts….you have to check out this site (if only for the novelty of the idea!)

Just in case you haven’t heard the quote in a while, there are between 70-80,000 single- use, plastic water bottles being consumed every day in America alone…….plastic is known to leech, it is not a stable compound, especially when heated(back seat of car), and equally as horrifying plastic never goes away! Those plastic water bottles, besides compromising your health, will never completely disintegrate, but instead break down into “nurdles” that wind up in our air and our ocean and our bodies. Yuck.


#49- Obnoxious? November 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 11:16 pm

So I’m obsessed with the amount of plastic accumulating around our house right now due to the month of birthdays (mine too!)

When i sent out Patrick’s birthday invites to the local bowling alley I almost wrote on the invites, “please no plastic gifts.” But I stopped myself. I’m the new mom around here and the last thing I need is an obnoxious reputation for myself in the new neighborhood. (left my NY reputation behind me) And besides, I assumed, I am in California, I’m sure no one even gives plastic gifts in this state.

Wrong assumption! Much to Patricks delight we have tons of new, shiny plastic birthday toys around! I truly am glad he is so excited (and I am grateful that people even celebrated the new kids’ birthday with him) but I have a hard time stomaching the fact that my offspring are so responsible for so much junk….

Unfortunately for his big brother I am willing to cross the obnoxious line for his upcoming birthday. The email invite I sent out to his 10 friends in kindergarten mentioned that our family is trying to go the green route and “gifts are not expected but if you do choose to please let it be plastic-free and simple.” Hmmm….still not sure if that is obnoxious as I haven’t heard any responses to that yet but I will keep you posted.

Some thoughts I’ve had (we’ve been going to parties too and the holidays are coming up):

  • small parties with 5 of kids closest friends
  • Group gifts–why not chip in with one or two other families and give a plastic-free gift or that way if it is plastic the damage is less pervasive
  • gently used toys (does that sound red neck?)
  •  start a great chapter book collection 
  • Adopt an animal (world wildlife fund and many other organizations have this now)
  • jewelry 
  • art supplies (functional plastic?), coloring books, craft materials 
  • puzzles, blocks, stuffed animals
  • ice cream gift certificates
  • cool t-shirt
  • construction tools (target has great selection of tools– adult supervision required but super fun)
  • board games (without plastic pieces)
  • very own stainless steel water bottle
  • baking supplies
  • gardening set, with the real tools
  • automoblox (wooden cars with interchanging pieces)

I think it helps to stock up on a bunch of “good” gifts…. (really cool toy called bilbo, made of recycled plastic), connectagons, qwirkle,dado cubes,

tjmaxx (lots of good choices)


#47-Lethal If Inhaled (not marijuana!) November 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelleodonoghue @ 8:12 pm
Tags: , , ,

The other day the Pest Control Man knocked on my door (new home in CA) to introduce himself and let me know he would be spraying every two weeks to control pests (i.e spiders, ants, termites,  other bugs) from coming into our house (we are renting our home, the owners have a contract with this company). I asked him what he was spraying? “Tenguard.” When I mentioned we had kids and I was concerned that a chemical spray could be dangerous to them he said, “No, not at all. We do this all the time. I have kids, too, and we always spray.” Then he said, “maybe just keep them out of the dirt until it rains and it sinks in…..” (he must not have boys!)

I asked him for the literature on the product which he readily gave me (impressive he even had it in the truck.)  I photocopied 6 pages worth of material on the 3 different products the company uses. The ingredient list looked something like this: fipronil, 5-amino-1(2,6-dichloro-4-(triflouromethyl)phenyl)-4((1,R.S)-triflouromethyl)sulfinyl-1H1pyrazole-3-carbonitrile. 

Here is what I found:

Splashed across the top of the pages: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN

Then there is a box that lists what to do if swallowed, inhaled, on the skin, or in the eyes:

  • Immediately call poison control, 
  • if unconscious move person to fresh air (note: spray is administered in the fresh air.),
  •  if person is not breathing call 911 and then give artificial respiration, preferably by mouth to mouth if possible (note: it really says this)
  • rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for 15-20 MINUTES

This spray and/ or pellets are sprayed around the perimeter of the house. Maybe the rain comes and washes it away (right into our water supply). Maybe it doesn’t rain and it sits on the ground for quite some time. 

So here we have a “legal” chemical being distributed by a company who believes in their product. They are actually allowed to promote this product and people pay for it!!!  

Today, in the U.S. alone, there are 80,000 chemicals on the market. America’s system for regulating chemicals is not set up to protect our health. The chemical industry is able to block and / or delay public protections by insisting that proof of harm based on precise measurements of exposure and correlated risk must be established. (Environmental Action, Fall 2008). 

Are they kidding? It is impossible  to track the sicknesses, diseases, learning disabilities that stem from a specific chemical when our entire country is one big mass of chemicals.

FRIGHTENING: A recent study performed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 287 industrial chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborn babies. This isn’t fair and it isn’t right. Yet, chemicals pervade until we step up and demand action. It is so important that we the consumers take charge of our own health and situation.

  • ASK A LOT OF ?’s
  • Don’t believe what a company says (do the research) (ex. au natural make-up companies, most are b.s.)
  • Eliminate as many chemicals as possible within your home and life (i.e pesticides, cleaning sprays, make-up, plastic toys and junk, read blog for other ideas)
  • Buy organic and green. It makes a difference. (Notice how much easier it is to find green cleaning supplies and how well they work. When the consumer demands, the supply follows).
  • General rule of thumb–if you can’t pronounce the ingredients then best idea is to avoid product
  • (ideas on going chemical-free)