Drug testing

Eco-Parenting

Arabella Greatorex, owner of The Natural Nursery, reports on the rapidly rising demand for natural, environmentally friendly and ethically sound parenting products and highlights some of the concerns that have fuelled these demands.

Organic Food

There has been much media debate around the promotion of heavily processed foods to children, part of a long standing concern about the quality of food on offer in the UK. While some say the jury is still out on issues such as pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables, it is worth noting that only 30 additives are allowed in organic food, compared to over 300 in non-organic. Specifically, organic food bans the use of tartrazine (linked to hyperactivity in children) and GM ingredients.

The Soil Association reports that sales in organic food grew by 10% last year overall and purchases from farm shops and box schemes by a whopping 16%. This means that over 75% of households bought some organic food during 2004.

Organic baby and toddler foods now account for nearly half of total baby foods in the UK, with its market share growing rapidly, highlighting the level of concern felt by parents, and is a trend that looks set to continue.

Cloth Nappies

Modern cloth nappies bear no resemblance to the old-fashioned terry squares you probably wore as a child. They are cheaper and more hygienic to use than their disposable counterparts and parents are fast cottoning on to this. Ten years ago, only 2% of parents used cloth nappies; that figure has now grown to over 15% and is rising steadily.

Despite this growth in cloth nappy use, Bristol City Council still spends around ?500,000 each year dealing with disposable nappies. Conventional disposable nappies can contain up to 200 chemicals and some estimates say they will take over 200 years to decompose.

The alternative is to use cloth nappies, which are now available in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can be just as easy to use as disposables. You can choose from so soft organic terry or a natural eco-look or funky fleece prints or even retro patterns to really make a statement. They can be flat, shaped or stuffed, depending upon your child's personal needs and you will find other "clothies" are more than happy to help you decide which nappy is right for you.

They could help you save money as well; the Women's Environmental Network estimate that savings will be around ?500 for the first child and more for subsequent children, even taking into account the cost of home laundering.

Chemical Free Toiletries

Your skin will absorb around 60% of products applied to it and Green People estimates that the average woman will absorb about 2kg of chemicals through toiletries and cosmetics over one year, up to 75,000 different chemicals! We all know how sensitive a baby's skin is and rates of eczema are rising fast with almost a third of babies now suffering from it.

Many people believe that the chemicals in the lotions and potions that we use are to blame. Even some so called "natural" products contain a range of chemicals that are believed to cause or exacerbate skin conditions or be carcinogenic, even if they are originally plant derived. Worryingly, a product needs to contain only 1% natural ingredients to be legally labelled "natural".

Natural, organic and chemical free toiletries are no longer the preserve of the health food shop but are widely available on the high street or from specialist internet companies. The Soil Association estimate that there will be a 20% increase in the number of licensed organic manufacturers this year, reflecting the huge surge in demand, especially amongst families with young children.

Fair trade

When you are buying clothes or toys for your baby, international trade may seem like a remote issue but by choosing carefully, you could make all the difference to someone else's life. Farmers in the developing world are ill-equipped to cope with dramatic changes in commodity prices, which are caused by factors outside the control of the individuals most concerned.

Parents are being offered an increasing range of fairly or ethically traded products, including clothes, shoes, toys, toiletries and nappies. Sales of "Fairtrade" marked goods are now well over ?100m per year in the UK alone, up 46% on last year and we eat a third of a million fair trade bananas every DAY!

The growth in organic cotton

Most people assume that as cotton is a natural product, it is produced naturally, unfortunately, this is not the case. Around 150 grams of hazardous chemical pesticides will be used to grow enough cotton to make one t-shirt. The cotton farming industry accounts for about 1/4 of the world's insecticide use as well as huge amounts of fertilisers that can end up in the water system and food chain.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 20,000 people die every year in developing countries as a result of poisoning from pesticides used on non-organic cotton. Worryingly, much of the world's cotton production comes from genetically modified crops: over 2/3rds of China's cotton crop is GM.

Luckily, more and more organic textiles are now available and there has been an 80% increase in the worldwide production of organic cotton in the last 2 years, with sales in the UK alone now worth over ?20m from almost zero a couple of years ago. You can now buy organic clothes, bedding, towels, sheepskins and nappies from a range of suppliers ? even good old Marks and Spencer sell a range of organic cotton yoga clothes.

Katharine Hamnett, fashion designer, says: "This is part of a rapidly growing trend reflecting increasing consumer awareness and concern over global issues to do with the impact of pesticides, herbicides, dioxins and toxic chemicals used in textiles, on the environment and human heath. The good news is that this shows people are actually looking for positive alternatives."

And for the daddies

The Ecologist Magazine recently studied the contents of a can of shaving gel and found it to contain "several skin irritants, four potential carcinogens, three central nervous system poisons and two reproductive toxins" - and all this before breakfast!

Arabella Greatorex is the owner of http://www.naturalnursery.co.uk, an online store selling organic and fairly traded products for families including organic clothing and nappies, fairly traded toys and natural toiletries.

In The News:

An alligator and a Burmese python were locked in a cold-blooded battle to the death as a crowd watched in shock at a golf course in Naples, Fla.
A team of experts in Mexico has discovered two linked underwater caverns that are more than 4,000 years old and form the largest known such cave on earth.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — How does a bighorn sheep say "cheese?"
Our solar system may be an oddball in the universe.
Experts in the Netherlands have identified two previously unknown drawings as works by Vincent van Gogh.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The universe is filled with faintly glowing infrared light, and for decades, astronomers have been trying to figure out why. But now, they've finally determined the source of this strange cosmic radiation: It is emitted by an organic molecule called benzonitrile, which seems to permeate every part of the known universe. The researchers presented their findings here at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
The National Weather Service says the bright light and what sounded like thunder in the sky across the Detroit metropolitan area may have been a meteor.
More than 30 years after the catastrophic nuclear accident that led to 31 directly-related deaths and is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in recorded history, Chernobyl is getting a new lease on life thanks to a new as a 1MW solar power plant.
Those poor, misjudged rats?
Scientists have discovered a surprisingly "visionary" detail about a dinosaur-age bird that had a tooth-filled beak: It could likely see in color.

Children - Blessing or Curse

You're trying to catch up on some sleep on a... Read More

Every Mom Worries

Sitterphobe "I never have a second to myself," this mother... Read More

Back to School; Time to Recharge

The back-to-school shopping is done. Brand new pencils, colored markers,... Read More

Shopping with Children

Is your weekly shopping trip with the kids an absolute... Read More

Growing Good People

At age seven months in the womb, humans begin language... Read More

Raising Teenagers? Stay C.A.L.M.

Parents of teenagers frequently ask what can be done to... Read More

Homeschooling --- A Superior Education For Your Child

Home-schooling provides children with a superior education. Parents can quickly... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: The Trust Issue

Q. How do we decide what our teens should be... Read More

How to Help Your Child be Successful in Kindergarten

Your child's first year of school should be a fun... Read More

School Issues: When Should an ADHD Child Be Held Back In School?

This can be a very complicated issue, so I don't... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: The Bottom Line Issues

Q. When you consult with a family with teens, what... Read More

Why have children? DINCs, This is For You!

First there were Yuppies (Young Urban Professionals). Then came the... Read More

The Top 5 Reasons Why Unwed-Parents Must Establish Paternity

"It takes a village to raise a child" is more... Read More

Finding Answers to Underachievement

Finding answers to a child's underachievement is often a difficult... Read More

You Want Whaaat???

Not too long ago my teenage daughter approached me with... Read More

Ten Ways to Help Your Child Make Friends

Nothing touches the heartstrings of a parent or teacher more... Read More

Empty Nest Syndrome

Paula's last child had just gone off to college and... Read More

Are You Frustrated With Public Schools?

Join a growing number of parents and teachers!Fact: Last year,... Read More

Im a Father, Doesnt Anyone Care?

The snow was getting heavier with each lift of the... Read More

What a Parent Must Do to Stop Online Predators

Teens can freely access the Internet from computers at school,... Read More

?Gimme? Proof Your Kids: How To Keep Your Child?s Materialism In Check

It's the first day of the summer holiday. Five year-old... Read More

Breastfeeding, Its My Right

My name is Duncan and I'm 2 years old. I... Read More

How To Develop Your Babys Brain

Have you ever wondered why toys for babies tend to... Read More

Discipline on My Mind

I look out of the window as I am writing... Read More

Childhood Friendships

Childhood friendships are as special as they are a necessary... Read More

high bay lights commercial lighting Pete's produce ..