Several months back, I was introduced to Melissa Gomez who is the creator and founder of The Baby Mini Doc Project. Melissa is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who decided to focus her talents on tinier humans after she became a mom herself. After numerous back and forth discussions, we agreed to collaborate and the end result is that I received a truly priceless short film of my family that will bring us many, many years of nostalgia and joy.
I’m definitely a geek at heart. I have as much fun, if not more, than the kids whenever we go to children’s and science museums. I can tell you that this past weekend, at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, was my best time yet, kids be damned!
My family and I were invited by Momtrends to check out the currently featured exhibitions, watch a film at the planetarium (the largest in the Western hemisphere!) and write about my experience. Let’s just say, it was an offer my geeky heart could not refuse.
So from the top, we left early in the morning and the drive from where we live in Eastern Nassau took about an hour. Not too bad.
Once in, we were ushered to the Dino Dig exhibition, which is where all the fun began. The exhibit opens into a canopied sand pit where there are more than 60 dinosaur fossils buried in 35 tons of sand! Max and Alexa were able to channel their inner paleontologist by using brushes to dust the sand off and reveal the hidden fossils.
Besides being fun because my kids love playing with sand in general, it was also very educational. There were “paleontologists” throughout the pit that were constantly sharing interesting dinosaur and paleontology facts with all the children.
Our next stop was to the Grossology exhibit which is considered a premium exhibit. (You have to pay an additional fee on top of the regular admission.) We were able to learn about the grossest parts of the human body – you know, boogers, burps, mucus, vomit – all right up a four year old boy’s alley.
This exhibit took up an entire wing of the museum and was jam packed with different activities (wall climbing, pinball machines, ping pong ball shooting machines, and a gigantic “operation” game table, among many other things.)
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I start researching non-toxic products when they become relevant in my life. Truthfully, before I had children, I never once thought – oh, this nail polish smells terrible, maybe it’s off-gassing VOCs and has other toxic chemicals that I shouldn’t inhale or have near my body. I just, you know, thought that’s how nail polishes are supposed to smell and it’s the price I had to pay for wanting painted nails.
How things change after we have kids…
Anyway, I am very minimalist when it comes to makeup and the last time I got a manicure was before either of my kids were born. So let’s just say I was more than a little surprised when Max came home from school telling me he wanted to wear nail polish. But here we are and, after extensive research, it’s time for me to share what I’ve learned about non-toxic nail polish.
Serious health issues related to exposure to nail polish have come into sharp focus recently. Multiple studies have found that nail salon workers may be more susceptible to respiratory ailments, reproductive health issues, and cancer. And, even if you are not a manicurist, working with nail polish fumes on a daily basis, there is still cause for concern because another study has found that nail polish chemicals can leach into the body.
In this post, I have compiled a list of some of the safest and most non-toxic nail polish brands that I could find. In the writing of this post, I consulted with Debra Lynn Dadd, who I consider to be one of the leading non-toxic bloggers in the community and an actual authority on the matter. While she found my analysis of the nail polishes and its ingredients to be sound, she felt that extra emphasis must be placed on the fact that no nail polish is truly non-toxic.
We are actually in complete agreement on this issue. But we do not live in a bubble and it is impossible to live a completely non-toxic life unless you do, in fact, live in one.
I am a mommy blogger so, of course, this guide was created with children in mind. However, it is certainly worth highlighting that children are far more vulnerable to toxics than adults. Handle your children’s exposure to even “non-toxic nail polish” as you would to other toxics, i.e., avoid altogether or with careful consideration.
Nowadays, you will hear about a nail polish being marketed as 5-Free, 7-Free, 9-Free, etc. What that means is that it does not contain many of the ingredients that I will list below.
Editor’s Note: The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is my favorite resource to use when researching cosmetic ingredients. I have included the score for nail polish ingredients from EWG with a score of 10 considered to be the most toxic. I have also attempted to list the ingredients in an order such that if a nail polish says 3-Free, for instance, it does not contain the first three listed chemicals (a.k.a. toxic trio).
Top Nail Polish Chemicals to Avoid:
1. Formaldehyde [EWG Score=10] – a known human carcinogen. Its vapors can be irritating and trigger asthma.
2. Toluene [EWG Score=10] – a volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner. Toluene is a potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing, and causes nausea. A woman’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus. In human epidemiological studies and in animal studies, toluene has been also associated with toxicity to the immune system and a possible link to blood cancer such as malignant lymphoma.
3. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) [EWG Score=10] – a reproductive and developmental toxicant. The European Union banned the use of this ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. In animal studies, exposure to DBP during gestation causes infertility, cryptorchidism and problems in sperm development, adverse effects similar to human testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Prenatal exposure to DBP has been associated with anatomical changes in the reproductive system development in baby boys. In adult men, DBP has been correlated with changes in serum hormone levels, lower sperm concentration and motility, and decreased fertility.
4. Formaldehyde resin [EWG Score=4] – a derivative of formaldehyde. Although it is not nearly as toxic as formaldehyde it can be an allergen.
5. Camphor[EWG Score=2] – a poison that can cause seizures and disorientation if used in large doses. This chemical acts as a cover on your nails, depriving them of nutrients and causing yellow staining on your nails. (Yes, I know it has a low EWG score but it is considered one of the ingredients to avoid in nail polish.)
6. Ethyl Tosylamide[EWG Score=3] – a sulfur-based antibiotic. It has been banned in Europe or use in cosmetics since it can cause mild to severe allergic reactions. It is also known to be an endocrine disrupter.
7. Xylene [EWG Score=8] – an irritant to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Xylene can cause systemic toxicity by ingestion or inhalation. The most common route of exposure is via inhalation. Symptoms of xylene poisoning include central nervous system effects (headache, dizziness, ataxia, drowsiness, excitement, tremor, and coma), ventricular arrythmias, acute pulmonary edema, respiratory depression, nausea, vomiting, and reversible hepatic impairment.
8. Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) [EWG Score=5] – a chemical used in plastics to improve flexibility and as a flame retardant. A handful of animal studies and in vitro studies have suggested that it could be an endocrine disrupter which could potentially affect reproductive health and lipid metabolism.
9. Parabens [EWG Score=1-8]– a preservative. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.
10. Acetone [EWG Score=3] – a neurotoxin that can get stored in the fatty tissue in human body.
This was my second year in a row attending the New York Baby Show as a blogger. It was a bit more painful to attend this year due to the cold and rainy weather but, in the end, I’m still glad I made the trip. Nevermind the “special treatment” for bloggers (I received a press goodie bag and catered meal from Boston Market – thank you Momtrends!), I still think the show is worthwhile to attend for expecting and first time moms.
I love seeing the new and innovative baby products that come out each year. And I especially love meeting and speaking to exhibitors for companies that are just starting out. Inadvertently, I realized that all three of the companies that I will be featuring in this post were established in the past year!
So, without further ado:
On the weekends, we frequently dine out with the kids. Recently, Max started asking us if we are going to a “grownup restaurant.” (Which basically means, a restaurant that doesn’t provide free crayons.) If so, he asks if we can bring crayons and a coloring book for him to draw in.
And, because I’m terrible at being prepared, when the time comes, I always forget to bring them.
This has happened enough times that when I saw Jaq Jaq Bird’s Doodle it Chalk Book, I realized that this was the PERFECT solution to my problems. Thank you to Jaq Jaq Bird for sending us two for review!
Basically, the Doodle it is a portable chalk book with eight 8 in x 8 in “chalkboard” pages. There’s several cute design covers to choose from with a velcro strap to keep the book secure when not in use. There’s also a little pocket attached to the last page to store their included 4-piece ButterStix. (Butterstix is their own formulation for dust-free, creamy chalk writing.)