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Hello and welcome to the Life Iz blog. Since I just recently discovered what a blog actually is and how it all works, we are going to learn together! It will be something like this: a fun place to see some of our favorite images from our most recent sessions and get ideas for your own; a place to share our favorite finds for mommies, daddies and children; a place where you can get to know me and the Life Iz staff; and a place to share what I've learned during my first years as a parent because maybe it will be helpful for all of you, or maybe it will just make you laugh and remember... and be easier on yourself. Love, Liz

Friday, August 22, 2008


This is something I learned that I would like to share with other new mommies. I know this sounds a bit scary and that’s not my goal, to scare anyone into buying something expensive. It’s just that in this case, I feel it’s my responsibility to share this:

I just bought a very pricey ($400) crib mattress (made in England) for my little guy Eli and this was tough since I know you can get the DELUX mattresses at Baby’s R Us for about $90 dollars. I also found a mattress made in the US that the manufacturers claimed to be “organic” and was about half the price of the one I got. My father, a physician who has been studying toxicology for over 30 years gave me a good enough reason to buy the one from Europe. Please read below. I know some of it may be hard to follow as it gets pretty technical, but you’ll get the point of it.

FYI: Here’s what I bought after a mommy group member suggested it and it was approved by my dad:


You can get them from several stores in the US. I got Eli’s from The Juvenile Shop

In the 1990s there was nothing but praise for the fact that most states made it mandatory that many common electronic appliances in the home be treated with flame retardants to slow any electrical fire that might occur from malfunction or overheating. This requirement was further extended to include other items for which the use of fire retardants made sense, such as bedding (including mattresses for beds and cribs) and children’s sleepwear.

Unfortunately, as we learned more about some of the chemicals used as flame retardants, we recognized that one group, the polybrominated diphenyl esters (PBDEs) were potent neurotoxins (toxic to the brain and nervous tissue), were capable of slowing or even arresting development of young animals, and were toxic to the liver in multiple species. What was more frightening was the fact that nearly every adult tested had these PBDEs in their blood, and in nursing mothers, the concentration in breast milk was higher than in the blood.

PBDEs are concentrated in fat, and are part of a group of chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These POPs break down very slowly, if at all, and persist in the environment for decades (like DDT).

Many states have banned the use of the 4, 5, and 8 bromine containing PBDE, but continue to allow the use of the deca-BDE (containing 10 bromine atoms). The argument has been that this larger molecule is more “stable” than the smaller, more toxic PBDEs. Unfortunately, recent research shows that this “deca” BDE breaks down into the 5 and 4 bromine containing PBDE over time, either through the action of common bacteria or in the body itself via the action of the liver (the organ responsible for trying to get rid of this toxin in the blood). These facts were brought out to a “blue ribbon” committee that advises the EPA, and the leading researcher involved in this work was “dismissed” from this committee by the FDA at the request of other members of the committee who were appointees of the chemical industry. So much for fair mindedness.

Given this situation, and the “digging in” by the chemical manufacturers, there is not likely to be a US ban on the deca product any time soon. Best advice: Buy bedding for your child that is PBDE free. These are usually made in Europe, where PBDEs are not used. You should also look for sleepwear not made with chemical flame retardants, or at least, no PBDEs. Yes, there are other, non-toxic flame retardants out there. Check the internet or the Environmental Working Group’s website for more information.

Dr. Stewart Lonky MD, author of Invisible Killers

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