Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Dilemma

Like all moms, I try to do the best I can for my son as often as possible. The best that I know and am capable of might be different from yours but once I've heard or read that something is harmful or beneficial for my child, it is hard to ignore the information.

I've been making a conscious effort to limit Noa's exposure to BPA, red dye 40, phthalates, GMOs, SAP, etc. The evidence against these things is stronger for some than others, but if there is a known safe choice I try to choose it over a potentially risky one.

At the same time, I have to weigh the cost of the "safer" choice - often it is also more expensive. And safer, greener choices aren't always available at my local Target or grocery store so then I have to decide if it is worth it to order online or drive across town to a specialty store.

So here's the dilemma - Noa got a few toys for Christmas that are from manufacturers that are unfamiliar to me. I have been trying to do a little research but have no idea if I'll be exposing him to lead or phthalates or BPA if I let him play with them. I am very grateful for the generosity of the people that picked these gifts for him - people that would not necessarily even have a reason to be aware of the concern over these harmful substances. Do I donate the toys (and possibly pass the risk to someone else), throw them away (what a waste!), or let him play while consoling myself that I know that 90% of the rest of his toys aren't causing him any lasting harm?

Similarly, I've been organizing, sorting, taking inventory, and cleaning out Noa's closet in anticipation of Baby Girl's arrival. He received a ton of bath products around the time he was born - enough to last a couple of years, probably. Early on, I consulted several different sources, especially the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, to determine which lotions, sunscreens, and body washes I would use on him on a regular basis. Whenever possible, I picked items with a 0-2 rating (low hazard) but they also had to be readily available.

Johnson's baby products were recently under attack in the news because some of them contain dioxane and quaternium-15 (potential carcinogens). I found three bottles containing these substances, so in the trash they went. But it does make me concerned about the other baby products we have in the house. I've found some favorites that I feel comfortable with so I was planning on putting the extra bottles of shampoo and lotion in the donate bag, but is that responsible? What are your thoughts?

The offenders:

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, that is a tricky ethical dilemma for you. I like to think that I'm a good mom, and I also try to make responsible choices. I cloth diaper, breastfeed, and try to feed my children healthy food. BUT. I am not as vigilant about babycare products and toys. You are absolutely doing the right thing, and all mothers should do the same, but some of us just don't, whether it's due to limited resources or awareness or time.

    If it were me, I think I would still choose to donate rather than waste. I know that's a little hypocritical; I wouldn't give away food that I knew to be contaminated or poisoned with the rationale that even poisoned food is better than none, but... The items you're talking about are those used by mainstream America. You choose better products for your children, but many people are perfectly happy with the ones that aren't up to your standards. Use of them doesn't guarantee that the recipient will be harmed by them.

    So I say donate, but good for you for protecting your babies.