Wordless Wednesday: The Haircut


"Show me some teeth."

Smile! Show me some teeth.


Two buzz cut kids

Now there's the other one, I learned to use the clippers on him.

Wahl 79300-1001 Home Pro 26-Piece Color-Coded Haircutting System

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The Giant Egg and a Science Lesson

Yesterday I found the biggest egg I have ever seen, in one of the nest boxes of our backyard chicken coop.  I was planning to make eggs for lunch today, so I called the boys to see when I cracked the egg because I was sure it would have 2 yolks.  And it did, but it must have been inside the hen too long because there was opaque white material in the egg as well. It really did look like two eggs seamlessly fused together, from the outside.  And when I first cracked it, there were two yolks, but one was fragile and broke before I could take a picture of it.  We didn’t use the egg, it  just looked too strange so I was afraid it might be spoiled.  Anyhow, my 7 1/2 year old started asking questions about chickens laying eggs, and then about how babies grow and how they get out of their mother’s body.

I’m not very proficient with unschooling, I’m more of a fan of curriculum and workbooks, but this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try, so I went with it.  I found a copy of Hello Baby! that my mother gave him when his little brother was born.  The book explains, among other things,  the basics of how the baby develops with diagrams and some short descriptions.  We looked at his old ultrasound pictures. We looked at pictures from my baby shower so he could see my belly when I was pregnant with him.  I showed him this animation which shows simulations of how the baby develops, and I showed him this medical animation of childbirth to answer the “how does the baby get out” question.  We talked about the uterus, the placenta, the amniotic sac, the umbilical cord, and the birth canal.

My son wanted to know about what happens to the umbilical cord and I explained, even found a photograph of a baby with a cord clamp still in place, but I haven’t yet been able to find a video of the pulsating umbilical cord or a cord being clamped and cut.  It do want him to know that the cord should not be cut until it stops pulsating, even though many medical professionals clamp the cord immediately after birth.  A friend on FB shared a link to her blog, which shows a beautiful video of a home waterbirth.  The video is made with a collection of still photographs.  It is rather discreet as far as birth videos go, as the water blurs the images slightly when the baby emerges.  I feel comfortable allowing my son to view this, it is really well done.  There are even pictures of the new baby’s siblings admiring the newborn boy as well as pictures of the family together after the birth.

But back to what started our discussion, we also looked at photographs of developing chick embryos. We discussed how developing mammals are different from developing birds, and how they are similar.  I explained how the yolk sac functions much like the placenta, to nourish the growing chick.  I told him that the chick has tiny blood vessels that travel from its body to the inside surface of the shell to provide oxygen, something that we noticed when one of our own backyard flock hatched out some chicks last summer.  For a good explanation of how the eggs are formed inside a female chicken, we found factsheets on the anatomy and physiology of the reproductive tract of a female chicken.  I highly recommend this source, as there are some great photographs of the ovaries with developing eggs and also a the oviduct and vent.  These are from dissection, and they are well labeled.

I was very pleased with our first experience using an unschooling approach.  I’m impressed with the resources that are available on the internet.  Only one site that I used to teach today was completely new to me, but I was grateful that I was able to pull together the resources needed for our study very quickly.  Including items that we had around the house such as the photographs, book, and ultrasound pictures, worked very well for us too.  My son was very interested and asking well thought out questions.  I highly recommend trying out this approach, even if you are a curriculum lover like I am.

Here are two photos of our June backyard hatching, the youngest members of our flock.  They are now 7 months old and laying their own eggs.  Enjoy!

Discussing Autism Prevention: Where to Begin?

As I have recently announced, my blog has a new focus, preventing autism.  This is such a broad topic and I am struggling with where to begin.  My initial thought was to follow Gloria Lemay’s 7 Steps For Scramblng the Brain of a Baby.  I could go through each item and discuss how it may have played a role in causing my sons autism.  But I would really feel like I was riding her coattails if I were to take that approach.  I thought, maybe I could just tell the story of my pregnancy with my first child, and what I personally feel may have lead to his Asperger Syndrome.  Not sure what the reader reactions would be on that one.  Would they be judgmental, patronizing, or argumentative?  My desire is to invite neither criticism nor debate,  but to encourage my readers to consider carefully each decision they make while they grow their families.  Not to simply take the word of your doctor, your mother, or your friend as factual but to research and to own each choice that you make along the way.

Technology can be useful, even life saving.  But it is generally not the best approach, in my experience, when it comes to promoting wellness.  Health begins with nutrition, but the industrialization of farming has robbed us of what we really need to build healthy families.  To make matters worse, our busy lifestyles often coerce us to make poor choices about food.

When I discussed my plans to start a family with my obstetrician, he never asked me a thing about my diet.  When I became pregnant with my first child, the only information I received on nutrition was a list of foods not to eat, and a prescription for prenatal vitamins.  At no other point during the pregnancy did my doctor discuss what I was eating.  But technology was a prominent feature in my routine, low risk prenatal care and in the birth of my children.  It is our responsibility as parents, or prospective parents, to learn which foods to eat to build health (and where to buy them), and about the risks and benefits of each test and intervention that our health care provider recommends.

So that is my short introduction.  In addition to my new focus, I also plan to move all autism prevention and related blogs to a new platform, which is now located here.  If I continue with this platform as well, the topic here will be more focused on homeschooling and parenting special needs children. Stay tuned!

Back to Blogging

I have been away from blogging for quite some time.  Much of my time is spent homeschooling my two boys, who are in Kindergarten and 2nd grade.  My 2nd grader, who has Asperger Syndrome, presents mainly behavioral challenges while he generally excels in academics.  My kindergartner seems to be a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to academic skills, but he is making very good progress at his own pace.  This is my third year homeschooling with my oldest, but this has been my first year homeschooling both the boys.

Lately I have developed an interest in Twitter, which I have found to be a great way to connect with other moms with common interests.  Many of the moms that I follow on Twitter have blogs which they update frequently.  I have wanted to start blogging again, but felt that I lacked a specific focus.  Until I read this blog, originally titled “7 Step Recipe for Creating an Autistic Child.”  Many of the ingredients in this “recipe” are derived from choices that mothers make during pregnancy, birth, and the care of their infants, many of which are endorsed heartily by the vast majority of health care providers.   On the surface, the list of “ingredients” seems harsh and judgmental, but truly this is a challenge,  a call to action.

This is the direction that I needed, a topic that I feel quite passionate about and one that has directly impacted our family on a personal  level.  Autism is preventable.  For all the research that has been done looking for an “autism gene,” genetics only accounts for a tiny percentage of what now affects at least 1 child in a hundred.  Since our firstborn son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 5, it has haunted me.  Was it the tuna I ate when I was pregnant with him?  Something in the water or the air?  Was it vaccines?  Refinishing a piece of baby furniture?  Was he injured during birth?  In all likelihood, it was a combination of many factors along with some type of genetic susceptibility.  I will never know and I can’t go back and change them.  But I can research, I can learn, and I can share what I discover.  This is the new focus of my blog, and I hope that I can use it to make a difference for others.

Pick Up Your Toys!

Around our house we often find an assortment of toys that the children have left out after play.  This is one of the most aggravating things about having children, in my opinion.  I accidentally stumbled upon a strategy to get the toys picked up quickly.  My boys are 6 and almost 4 years of age.  My 6 year old has Aspergers Syndrome, and can be a bit difficult to manage.  (To put it mildly.)  So we must sometimes find creative ways to get necessary jobs done without a lot of resistance.  This is one of them.  I can’t guarantee it will work in your home, but it’s worth a try.

Step One: 

Purchase or borrow a copy of The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary.  Read it to your children.  Or, if you are pressed for time, play the audiobook for them.  This is great to listen to in the car.  As a last resort, you can use the movie.   You will notice that there is a dramatic scene in the story where Ralph is almost sucked up by the vaccuum while riding the motorcycle. 

Step Two:

This happened automatically for us, but if it doesn’t, subtly emphasize the fact that the mouse and his motorcycle are almost sucked up by the vaccuum.  This was the main point that my son took from the story, without me saying a thing.  Things can be sucked up by the vaccuum cleaner.   Ok, so I took advantage of it.  <evil cackle> 

Step Three:

When you are about to take out the vaccuum to clean, casually say to your children, “I’m going to vaccuum now, please put away whatever might get sucked up.”  Or however you want to word it.  Try to be matter-of-fact about it.  Hopefully your children will rush off to rescue the toys.  Don’t give them much time.  Turn on the vaccuum in an area that is free of toys and start working your way around, keeping an eye on them to see that they keep picking up.  If you see a toy when you are cleaning,  point it out to them.  Have fun with it.  Talk to the vaccuum.  “No!  Don’t do it, vaccuum!”  Act very alarmed.  “Uh, oh, he’s going after another one!”  “Look out toy!”  “Oh no!”

For us, it gets the toys picked up quickly.  Score one point for the parents!  I hope it works for you too.

Toxic Cleaning Products in the Kitchen

Many automatic dishwasher detergents contain dry chlorine that is activated when it encounters water in the dishwasher. Chlorine fumes are released in the steam that leaks out of the dishwasher. Harmful effects are intensified when chlorine is exposed to heat.  In addition, dishwasher powders can cause severe burns to the mouth and throat if ingested, burns that can cause severe injury and require multiple surgeries to repair.  Even wet, undissolved powder in the dishwasher has caused this type of injury to curious toddlers. 

Cascade and Sun Light, two of the best-selling brands of automatic dishwashing detergent, contain phosphates. Phosphates released into the environment rob lakes and ponds of oxygen, leading to the suffocation of aquatic plants and animals.

Have you noticed that many dishwashing liquids are labelled “harmful if swallowed”? Most contain Naphtha, a CNS depressant, diethanolsamine, a liver poison, and/or chlorophenylphenol, a toxic metabolic stimulant. Ethoxylated alcohols in liquid detergents can also contain carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane. I urge you not to use these toxic products on the dishes your family eats off of.  It is important to remember that cleaning products are not required to list all ingredients, so you may not see these items listed on the label.

Do your hands get irritated when you wash dishes? Some dishwashing liquids use petroleum-based surfactants, containing detergents such as diethanolamine (DEA) and sodium dodecylbenzensulfonate. Both ingredients can be skin and eye irritants.

There are safe alternatives available which are free of chlorine, Naptha, petroleum derivatives, fragrances, and phosphates.  Have you tried using green products to wash your dishes but were dissatisfied with the results?  My favorite safe dishwasher powder works other green brands, and is super-concentrated, so you get a lot of clean loads of dishes from just one package. The package lasted over 9 months in our house with a family of 4.   I found a green dishwashing liquid that works great on grease too.  See my favorite products for the kitchen here.

All-Purpose Cleaners: Many popular household cleaning solutions, like Fantastik and Formula 409, contain a synthetic solvent and grease cutter called butyl cellosolve. This hazardous petroleum-based chemical can irritate your skin and eyes, and repeated exposure to it can cause permanent liver and kidney damage, and impair the body’s ability to replenish its blood supply.

A safer alternative: superconcentrated Basic Household Cleaner can clean your counters, kitchen table, greasy stovetop, and more. Just 1/4 teaspoon of Basic Household in 16 ounces of water cleans most surfaces. As a degreaser, use 1 1/2 teaspoons. To clean windows, just 1 or 2 drops.

Oven Cleaners: One of the most dangerous cleaning products, oven cleaners can cause severe damage to eyes, skin, mouth and throat. (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.) The active ingredient in many oven cleaners is sodium hydroxide, which is very corrosive and can cause severe burns in all tissues that come in contact with it. Sodium hydroxide is odorless; thus, odor provides no warning of hazardous concentrations. Inhalation of sodium hydroxide is immediately irritating to the respiratory tract. Swelling or spasms of the larynx leading to upper-airway obstruction and asphyxia can occur after high-dose inhalation. Inflammation of the lungs and an accumulation of fluid in the lungs may also occur. Ingestion of solid or liquid forms of sodium hydroxide can cause spontaneous vomiting, chest and abdominal pain, and difficulty swallowing. In the case of accidental ingestion, corrosive injury to the mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach is very rapid and may result in perforation, hemorrhage, and narrowing of the gastrointestinal tract. Cancer of the esophagus has been reported 15 to 40 years after the formation of corrosion-induced strictures. Skin contact with sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns with deep ulcerations. Long-term exposure to sodium hydroxide in the air may lead to ulceration of the nasal passages and chronic skin irritation. Sodium hydroxide contact with the eye may produce pain and irritation, and in severe cases, clouding of the eye and blindness.

Whew! Here is a safe alternative to clean your oven. Used with plenty of water, Scour it Off is terrific on ovens and even barbecue grills. This product lasts a long time, you don’t need much to do the job.

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If you have a poison emergency or a question about poisons and you’re in the United States, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222

Hazardous Cleaning Chemicals in the Bathroom

Think about the following as you read: If you were using these types of chemicals in an industrial workplace, what precautions would OSHA require? Gloves? Goggles? Respirator? Do you use these when you clean the bathroom?  Do you clean with these around children?

Toilet Bowl Cleaners: One of the most dangerous cleaning products, toilet bowl cleaners can contain chlorine and hydrochloric acid. Harmful just from inhalation. Toilet Bowl Cleaners accounted for 10,461 poison exposures in 2005. (Source: Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poisoning and Exposure Database) (2005).

Hydrochloride/ Hydrochloric Acid (HCl): Contained in some toilet bowl cleaners, HCl can cause severe damage to skin and eyes. Some people exposed to HCl may develop an inflammatory reaction called reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS), a type of asthma caused by some irritating or corrosive substances. Swallowing HCl causes severe corrosive injury to the lips, mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach. (Sources: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2007). Managing Hazardous Materials Incidents. Volume III, Medica)

Scouring Powders: Many traditional scouring cleansers, like AJAX powder, contain crystalline silica, an eye, skin, and lung irritant, classified as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Some scouring cleaners may contain sodium hydroxide or bleach that can irritate mucous membranes and cause liver and kidney damage.

Limescale removers: Many limescale removers contain sulfamic acid, which is toxic to lungs and mucous membranes. Direct skin contact with sulfamic acid is corrosive and causes irritation, dryness or burning. Eye contact can result in corneal damage or blindness. Inhalation of sulfamic acid will produce irritation to gastro-intestinal or respiratory tract with burning, sneezing or coughing. Severe over exposure of sulfamic acid can produce lung damage, choking, unconsciousness or death.

A person who spends 15 minutes cleaning scale off shower walls could inhale three times the “acute one-hour exposure limit” for glycol-ether containing products set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Sources: News-Medical.Net; University of California at Berkeley.

For safe alternative products and to make the bathroom cleaning job easier, see The Self Cleaning Bathroom.

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If you have a poison emergency or a question about poisons and you’re in the United States, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222

Samuel’s first ER visit

Is Samuel a Tasmanian devil or a 3 year old?  I’m not sure anymore.  I brought him to my mother’s house for lunch, before I was going to go to work, and I went in before the kids, figuring they could use a few minutes of fresh air and sunshine.  My father was in and out getting the gas grill out to cook some burgers so I figured it was a safe bet.  Not two minutes after I came in Jamie comes running asking for Grandma to “come rescue Sammy.”  I heard Samuel crying in the background, and Jamie saying that he fell.  My mother carries him in and hands him to me, I notice blood on her sleeve.  She looks surprised.  I look and Samuel has blood pouring from the side of his head.  After we mopped up with cloths enough to see, he has a 1/4 inch gash in the middle of a knot on his head.   Fortunately the bleeding stops.  Jamie explains that Samuel climbed into my car and fell out. 

Samuel recently discovered how to open the car doors and likes to practice at every opportunity.  He of course must climb into the car looking for trouble as well.  At my mom’s the parking area in the driveway is sloped so that when I park the driver’s side is lower than the passenger’s side.  So when he stepped down from the car he must not have accounted for the fact that he was actually stepping downhill, and lost his balance.  So I called the pediatrician’s office and they scheduled him in for 1/2 hour later.  By the time the doctor saw him I knew he was ok neurologically, he was asking me to read books and pointing to the pictures asking questions.  Dr. examined him and pronounced him ok, but needing the wound closed with a suture or staple.  But he can’t do it in the office.  That was a $25 copay wasted. 

So I called out from work and took Samuel back for lunch, then to the ER to get the staple.  Meanwhile he is racing around like, well, a Tazmanian devil.  It didn’t even slow him down.  Fortunately he was good for the doctor, he was fascinated playing with a blood pressure cuff and she cleaned out the wound without a flinch from him.  She asked me if I though she should inject to numb the area and then do the staple, or just go for the quick pinch.  Since she would obviously lose his trust with the injection, I opted for the quick pinch.  He liked the BP cuff enough that when she put the staple in, he just sort of gave her a dirty look and went back to what he was doing.  LOL.  He ran around like a nut for the rest of the day. 

I missed a shift of work and lost $25 for the copay, ?? for the ER (convenient care section, so like urgent care), and I have to drop another $25 at the doctor’s to get the staple removed.  (I wish I knew another nurse that could get me a removal kit, so I could do it myself.)  Sheesh, that was expensive.  And why won’t this kid ever SLOW DOWN?  I guess I should be impressed he waited until 3 1/2 to visit the ER.  Jamie was there right after his 2nd birthday, and had the second visit at 3 1/2.  Mom was nice enough to offer us dinner.  I brought them home right after and washed Samuel up because his hair was STINKY.  Then I put both the kids to bed an hour early.  I’m done! 

Any other parents out there with first ER stories?  Ours have all been lacerations, nothing too serious fortunately.  Is this a “boy thing” or just a terrible two’s and three’s problem.  Hopefully they grow out of this!!   Meanwhile I will keep my car locked.

Teaching Piano To My 5 Year Old

My son Jamie is about to turn 6 next month, and I have been using The Music Tree book, Time to Begin, to teach him to play the piano.  This is the first book in The Music Tree series.  We started last summer and we are progressing through the first book in a leisurely fashion.  I decided to start him early because he has always been very interested in music and seems to have an ear for it.  I have only basic musical knowledge and I find the program easy to do with him .

There are two Time To Begin books. One is a songbook and one is an activity book. There is also a music CD available with the songs being played, which theoretically the student could learn to play a duet of sorts by playing along with the CD. I don’t have that and I’m not sure how useful it would be to us. For us it is best that Jamie looks at the book and he tries to figure out how to play the song shown. I read the explanations from the book to him and ask him questions like “Which hand do you start this song with, right or left?” (Because the notes where the stem points up are played with the right hand, and stems down are played with the left hand) When he first started, I tried  demonstrating how a song was played and he would simply memorize it and not try to read the music. He also has a real knack for finding the correct notes just by trial and error if he knows how a song should sound.

To help him with a new song I ask him to look at the keyboard shown on the page, with arrows pointing to certain keys and labeled “R” and “L” for right and left. Then I ask him to find those same keys on the piano. If the song starts low and goes high, I ask him whether it starts low or high and then ask him to show me on the piano which of the specified keys are the lowest, etc. He sometimes needs to count how many groups of notes there were on a page, so he would know *how* low or high he needs to start so he can play the whole song going either up or down the piano without running out of keys. For the Time To Begin book it seems to be necessary to have a keyboard or piano with at least 5 full octaves in order to play the songs.  One of the hardest concepts for Jamie so far, was to figure out where to start when a song started in the middle, went up one octave, back to the first octave, and then down one octave.

Right now I have Jamie learn about two new songs per week and then spend the week practicing them every day. But he probably could go a little faster. Sometimes a new concept is hard for him to understand, and when that happens I give him a break for a week or two, by going back and having him play songs he has already learned.  If necessary, I help him to review previously taught concepts when he goes back to the “old” songs.  But the nice thing about Music Tree is that the student learns some basic music reading concepts which are much simpler to understand than note reading is for the beginner. The gradual block building of concepts in Music Tree is excellent.  The activity book does a great job of reinforcing the concepts necessary to read the music in the songbook.

One of the things I didn’t understand when we started, was why they have the student play only the black keys for a while, before starting the white keys. I understood very quickly that the black keys were easier to distinguish, appearing in alternating groups of two or three notes. Specific white keys, on the other hand, are much more difficult for the beginning student to distinguish. Once Jamie mastered finding the black keys shown in each song, he was able to learn the names of the white keys. Since he was accustomed to finding the proper black keys it was easy to show him how 3 white keys were just below each 2 black keys, and these are always C,D,E. And the 4 white keys below each group of 3 black keys are F,G,A,B. He can now look at the music and identify the first and second note and find the corresponding white key on the piano. He can also move up and down the octaves of the piano with relative ease, finding the proper keys quickly.  I am very proud of his accomplishments.

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1,4 Dioxane In Your Shampoo, Cosmetics, and Personal Care Products

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing:   “Natural” and  “Organic” Labeling

A recent study by the Organic Consumer’s Association revealed the presence of the carcinogenic contaminant 1,4-Dioxane in widely available shampoos, body washes, lotions and other personal care and household cleaning products using the word “organic” or “natural” on the product label or ingredient list.  The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) defines 1,4-Dioxane as a clear liquid that easily dissolves in water and is used primarily as a solvent in the manufacture of chemicals or in various other uses that take advantage of its solvent properties.  1,4-Dioxane can be a trace contaminant in cosmetics, detergents, and shampoos which contain ethoxylated ingredients. Ethoxylation involves using the cancer-causing petrochemical ethylene oxide, which generates 1,4-Dioxane as a by-product.   1,4-dioxane is not listed with other ingredients on product labels, because it is formed as a  ‘by-product’ of the ethoxylation process and is considered a ‘contaminant,’ rather than an ingredient.

1,4 dioxane is considered a probable human carcinogen by the EPA, due to demonstrated carcinogenity in several animal studies.  Other harmful effects of 1, 4 dioxin in animal studies include liver and kidney damage in animals chronically exposed by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact .  Greater toxicity was observed in animals exposed by inhalation or dermal exposure than by ingestion.  This is probably due to the first pass metabolism by the liver on substances which are ingested.  Workers exposed to 1, 4 dioxin have exhibited acute symptoms such as irritation of the upper respiratory passages, coughing, irritation of eyes, drowsiness, vertigo, headache, anorexia, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, coma, and even death, but length of exposure these cases was not known.  The EPA has not established standards for a safe exposure limit.

When 1,4 dioxane enters the environment, it does not degrade in water.  Since it does not stick to soil particles, it can easily pass through soil to contaminate groundwater.  1, 4 dioxane has been detected in both surface and groundwater.  Since the 1,4 dioxane contaminant in personal care products and household cleaners is not readily biodegradeable, there in the potential for it to contribute to groundwater contamination.  Many of these products are washed down the drain after use, and the contaminant is challenging to remove from water, requiring advanced technologies such as oxidation with ultraviolet lights.  This type of technology is not normally employed in  community wastewater treatment plants.  So 1,4 dioxane definately poses environmental risks for our future health.

One reason the word “organic” on a label does not guarantee the absence of harmful contaminants like 1,4 dioxane, is the creation of a new organic standard called OASIS.  This standard allows companies to label a personal care product “organic” if it contains 85% organic ingredients.  These types of products previously would have been labelled only as “made with organic ingredients.”  The real problem with this kind of standard for personal care products is that products like shampoo or body wash can contain large amounts of water.  So the use of the word “organic” using the OASIS standard could simply mean the product contains organic water with mostly non-organic ingredients.  The USDA organic label offers slightly more protection for the consumer, but over time it also is becoming riddled with loopholes for the manufacturers.  For example, a complaint was filed in 2004 against the company Bayliss Ranch for counting water extracts produced from ordinary tap water, as being organic.    Bayliss Ranch sold these water extracts to companies producing foods and personal care products, such as JASON, Nature’s Gate, and Avalon Natural Products, some of these being the very same brands found to contain 1,4 dioxane.  (For a more detailed explanation, see the Organic Consumer’s Association’s press release on QAI’s scheme to count tap water as organic.)  Update:  The State of California has filed a lawsuit against Whole Foods, Avalon, Beaumont and Nutribiotic because of the 1,4 dioxane contamination of their products in direct violation of California’s Proposition 65. Read here to learn more about the lawsuit.

 For our family we buy most of our personal care and cleaning products from a company that does extensive safety and quality testing, far above what is required by law.  The company tests raw materials that go into their products for contaminants with the requirement that they be present below the legal standard or not detectable at all.   On a number of occasions, the company has ceased production of lucrative products because raw ingredients meeting their quality and safety standards were not available.  For example, right now the company has temporarily suspended the production of their baby shampoo due to using a new supplier for a key ingredient.  When safety and efficacy testing is completed and satisfactory, they will resume production of the product.  It is this kind of integrity that we value in a manufacturer, along with supporting meaningful standards for the industry rather than lobbying against them.  For more information visit http://www.shaklee.net/good_health/aboutScience. To learn more about choosing safe personal care and cleaning products, visit http://www.squidoo.com/safecleaning or http://www.squidoo.com/safecosmetics.

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