The Sunscreen Innovation Act: Are We Finally Turning the Corner?

When it comes to sun safety and sun care products, the U.S. market has fallen far behind Europe in developing safer and more advanced sunscreen ingredients. One of the reasons why U.S. manufacturers have been slow to change and improve their product offerings in this area is the glacial pace that the FDA has taken in issuing new regulations and requirements. It took the FDA almost 14 years to finally update and issue the new, long-awaited rules in 2012 (see my post on this topic for more details: Update on the State of Sunscreens: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same!)

During the arduous wait, the industry just kept doing what it had done before because it could, and because no one wanted to invest time and precious $$ to re-formulate and re-package until they knew what they could continue to get away with and what they were going to have to change. Then when the FDA finally issued the new rules, there was so little by way of meaningful change that the industry has, with minor exceptions, essentially continued to do what it was doing before: making products with ridiculously high and dangerously deceptive SPF numbers; continuing to use many of the same sunscreen chemicals in spite of research showing many of them to be harmful; and adding other ingredients to their formulations like Vitamin A, which is now proving to actually increase your risk of skin cancer!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been rating sunscreens since 2007, putting together an annual Sunscreen Guide, and each time the report finds that roughly half the products on the U.S. market are unlikely to provide even the minimum level of protection required in Europe. Currently, eight new sunscreen chemicals are under review at the FDA, and six of them have been awaiting a decision for more than eight years. The FDA has never acted on promising sunscreen ingredients that have been sold for years in Europe, Australia, Japan and Canada, limiting the sunscreen options for American consumers.

Well, nothing stokes the fires of innovation like competition! European manufacturers have been toting the fact they have more advanced and safer sunscreens and now Americans want and deserve them too. So last week Congress introduced a new bill called the Sunscreen Innovation Act. If passed, this bill would expedite the Food and Drug Administration’s process for reviewing new sunscreen ingredients while ensuring that it has the authority to keep unsafe products off the market.

Let’s hope this will prompt the FDA to finally get moving and get real about regulating sun care products to ensure more products with safer and more effective ingredients can become available as soon as possible. The Sunscreen Innovation Act now goes to the Senate, which is expected to take it up in September. You may want to start writing or calling your representatives to urge them to take this issue more seriously and vote for the bill

3 Summer Season and Camping Items That May Contribute to Your Allergy Misery

Three everyday items that many of us use when we go camping, or throughout the summer season, that we would never suspect might be causing or contributing to allergies are:

1. Suntan products: Lotions, Oils, or Sprays
2. Bug Sprays or Repellants
3. Antibacterial Soaps or Hand Sanitizers

Most suntan products are made with chemical sunscreens, many of which have been found to be unsafe or even carcinogenic, and there is continuing debate as to their actual effectiveness in providing adequate protection from the damaging effects of over exposure to the sun. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I’ve blogged extensively over the past few years on various aspects of this topic. While not much has changed over the years, there is some momentum building around the need to innovate and find safer sunscreen ingredients.

This may well be a hidden source of allergy trouble. Until we see some real change and innovation in this arena your best tactic for choosing sun care products that won’t cause more trouble than they are worth is to eliminate commonly used sunscreen chemicals like Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, and Octocrylene in favor of sunblock products made with naturally occurring minerals like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide. These mineral sunblock products stay on the surface of the skin and reflect sunlight instead of being absorbed into the skin, so they are safer and more effective. And if you use suntan oils stay away from Mineral Oil – a petroleum derivative that has been found to be an endocrine disruptor– and instead, choose a healthy fat like virgin Coconut Oil, which is totally safe and also an excellent skin care oil.

When it comes to bug sprays, there are not a lot of options out there to choose from and unfortunately most commercial bug sprays only disclose the active ingredient so you have no idea what else is in the product that could be creating additional problems. As much as humanly possible you should avoid DEET, which is a highly toxic substance. And because most of the time it comes in a spray form you end up inhaling that substance as well! Don’t be fooled by scent. Just because it doesn’t smell bad doesn’t mean it isn’t bad for you!

Instead opt-in for products made with 100% pure essential oils like Citronella, Lemongrass and Geranium, which are just a few of the many essential oils that are effective bug repellants. These are natural substances that your body can easily metabolize and eliminate so again, there’s no fear of chemical residue being left behind.

Last but not least, when it comes to antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers avoid products made with Triclosan! This ingredient is a derivative of Agent Orange and is considered highly toxic by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Product manufacturers would have you believe that because it’s used in diluted amounts it’s ok but it’s NOT! This ingredient is not only harmful to you it’s very harmful to the environment too.

Choose products made with Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils –both are very effective antibacterial agents without the toxic effects. For hand sanitizers look for products with these oils in a base of Aloe Vera, Vegetable Glycerin or Ethanol. For soaps stick to liquid castile soaps made with essential oils.

One last note on this . . . you may be allergic to certain plants and herbs, which would make it difficult or even impossible to use products with the specific essential oils I mentioned above. Don’t let that discourage you. There are a wide variety of essential oils with therapeutic benefits to choose from and being sensitive to one in no way means you will be sensitive to others.

Everyday Items You’re Probably Allergic to and Don’t Even Know It …

According to WEBMD.com 55% of the U.S. population tests positive to one or more allergens. The estimated annual cost of allergies to the health care system and businesses in the U.S. is $7,900,000,000.00

Crazy huh? More than half the U.S. suffers from some type of allergy and that statistic is based on just the allergens we have tests for –the things that have already been identified as common allergens. It doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of all the myriad chemicals in our everyday items that may be causing allergies or making them worse.
If people really knew just how many chemicals they’re being exposed to through their everyday items and how that exposure is contributing to their allergy misery they would run out and get themselves a hazmat suit for some cover!

I know that sounds a bit radical but the research and evidence are overwhelming for anyone who is willing to take a hard look at what’s going on with the cumulative effects of using products made with these toxic ingredients. The real culprits are the ones that get into our body either by being absorbed through the skin or inhaled into the lungs. From there they get into our bloodstream and end up hanging around because our bodies don’t know how to properly metabolize and eliminate them.

This chemical residue that remains behind is sometimes called a Body Burden. The greater your Body Burden is, the more damage it does to your body in the long run. It causes inflammation that can be similar to the inflammation you get when you have allergies, which is why it’s usually overlooked as a possible source. It also weakens your immune system which makes it harder for you to get rid of your allergies and a lot of times it paves the way for your allergies to turn into something more serious like sinus infections, bronchitis or even asthma or eczema.

The good news is that by simply making safer choices you can radically reduce your exposure to substances that might trigger or worsen your allergies. Having healed myself from over a decade of chronic allergies, asthma AND eczema, I am living proof it can be done. But the first step to addressing any health challenge is simply creating awareness of what may be causing it, or otherwise interfering with your body’s ability to resolve it without the need for medication.

If you suffer from chronic allergies, or know someone who does then it’s vital for you to pay attention to the hidden toxins in your everyday items and start by getting rid of them or switching to healthier alternatives. In my next post I’ll be exploring 3 everyday items that we often use when we go camping, or throughout the summer season, that are suspect.

60 Minutes That Could Change the Course of Your Baby’s Future for the Better

There’s little doubt that maintaining a healthy pregnancy is one of the keys to birthing healthier happier babies. So what exactly does it mean to have a healthy pregnancy? There are the really obvious things like not smoking, drinking alcohol, or consuming drugs (recreational or otherwise) unless it’s medically necessary and under the supervision of your OB or other health care practitioner. Then there’s eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, staying fit, staying properly hydrated, managing your stress levels and emotions, and avoiding exposure to pesticides and dangerous chemicals like the ones commonly found in a lot of household cleaning products.

But what about the hidden health threats from the harmful toxins found in many personal care and beauty products? In my humble opinion, this is a very important subject that not nearly enough people are talking and educating about so unfortunately, a lot of women don’t give it much thought or overlook it altogether. They continue to use products on a regular basis that may be setting themselves and their babies up for all kinds of long-term health issues including, believe it or not, infant obesity! Sadly, even some nicely packaged products for babies and moms that are given as baby shower gifts from friends and family who mean well, contain these ingredients!

The research and evidence are overwhelming for anyone who is willing to take a hard look at what’s going on with the cumulative effects of using products made with these toxic ingredients. It’s not pretty, I can tell you that! Consider these shocking research findings:

The average woman uses 12 personal care products a day, each contains an average of 168 different chemical ingredients. It’s estimated that the average woman is exposed to over 2,000 chemicals daily from personal care products alone.

While there are many conscious consumers out there who “get it” and are doing their part to stay safe and healthy, clearly not enough women, including pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant, are getting the message!

That’s why I’m offering a FREE Healthy Pregnancy, Happy Baby training call, where you’ll learn what the top worst toxic ingredients in personal care and beauty products are that you MUST avoid, and why. You’ll also learn how to identify safer, more effective, natural alternatives, including essential oils (Mother Nature’s Rx) to set yourself and your baby up for a long healthy future.

This training is ideal for anyone who is pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or works with pregnant women, but even if you are none of these, you will still gain valuable insight and information to help you improve your health and wellness. Register here now  to join me for the next live call. Register even if you can’t make it to the call live so you can listen to the replay afterwards!

Please share this link with your network: http://www.aromatherapyforpregnancy.com/preview/

Help spread the word about this vital healh information!

Easy Birth: A Conversation About Childbirth Choices

Hope you were able to attend last Thursday night’s call –our Holistic Pregnancy Tele-Summit Grand Finale call. It was an interesting, enlightening, and informative panel discussion offering different perspectives on all the various choices for childbirth. I can hardly believe it’s been a week already! I am SO grateful to our expert panelists: Laura Shanley. Author of Unassisted Birth; Sheila Kamara Hay, Ecstatic Birth Advocate and Rena’ Koerner, Founder of Integrative Childbirth Services, Doulas for Surrogacy, and the Lullaby Lounge, for bringing their energy and wisdom to this final call in the series.

Here are some of the highlights from that call in case you missed it:

Laura emphasized that giving birth is inherently safe and relatively painless provided a woman doesn’t live in poverty, and does not interfere either physically or psychologically. It’s important to not “over-think” the birth process. Connect to your inner strength, believe in your body’s ability to give birth without interference and always remain calm. That’s how Laura was able to give birth to her four now grown up children without any assistance even though each birth had some form of complication including a footling breech!

Sheila shared the story of how she moved from a traumatic birth with her first child to a Zen-like birth with her second child followed by an ecstatic birth with her third! She emphasized the importance of connecting with your body and its inner wisdom and asking it what it needs, to know how to do this for yourself. Her ecstatic birth was triggered by her mid-wife’s suggestion that she move around. After her mid-wife left the room, she turned on some music and started to dance and danced that little girl down through her body and out. She now believes that dance is one of the most sacred paths from maidenhood to motherhood!

Rena’ explained the importance of having a Doula that supports you wherever you are in terms of the type of birth you desire, the place and the care provider — without judgement. She strongly believes that pregnant women and their birth partners should invest the time in educating themselves by taking birth preparation classes so they can really be prepared in advance and not get thrown off by the stress and pressure that can come up during childbirth. She recommends laboring at home in a safe, private place for as long as possible to avoid the all too common pitfalls of unnecessary interventions and medical interference.

There’s still time to take advantage of our limited time special discounted price for The Holistic Pregnancy Tele-Summit: The Complete Recordings. You get unlimited access to all 6 Natural Self Care & Childbirth Training Calls as downloadable MP3s files that you can listen to any time and as often as you like PLUS multiple FREE bonuses including a variety of gifts from our speakers. Go to www.dropwise.info for more details and to purchase your copy now. But hurry … prices go up at the end of the month.

Don’t forget to join the continuing conversation on our Facebook Group: Holistic Pregnancy and Natural Childbirth

Easy Birth: Addressing the #1 Fear Most Pregnant Women Harbor

Great call last night with Debra Pascali-Bonaro! She confirmed what I’ve suspected all along: the way a woman gives birth has the potential to change how she feels about herself forever. The way she feels has consequences for how she mothers and cares for her baby. Babies are also affected emotionally and physically, and over the long term, by their birth experience, and it has consequences for a woman’s other relationships, as well as for society.The creator and director of the documentary film Orgasmic Birth, knows what she’s talking about and when Debra speaks, people listen. She made it very clear that birth CAN be a profoundly sensual, sexual, and spiritual experience. When women agree to feel their labors, the flow of oxytocin will increase which is beneficial to both mother and the baby before and after birth. But in order to enable an orgasmic birth, a woman has to feel safe and open to surrender –something that doesn’t often happen under the watchful eyes of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.Tomorrow is the final call in the Holistic Pregnancy Tele-Summit series and I said I saved the best for last so it should be a good one. I’ve got a panel of birthing experts with different perspectives lined up for a lively discussion about childbirth choices and what you really need to have a successful and pleasurable childbirth experience whichever method of delivery you choose.

Our distinguished panel consists of:

Laura Shanley — author, freelance writer, speaker, and childbirth consultant widely recognized as one of the leading voices in the natural-birth movement. A new and expanded edition of her book, “Unassisted Childbirth,” with a forward by physician and homebirth advocate Michel Odent, was released in 2012. Laura maintains a website dedicated to natural childbirth: http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com. Her work has been featured on ABC News, “20/20,” “The Doctors,” BBC, Discovery Channel, Disney, The New York Times, Reuters, and The Washington Post. She also works with women on a one-on-one basis, providing them with childbirth education and emotional support before and during pregnancy.

Rena’ Koerner –owner and founder of Integrative Childbirth Services and the Lullaby Lounge –a Southern California based place where families can come for education and proper support beginning with childbirth classes, baby classes, exercise and nutrition, all the way through the postpartum period, with special emphasis on addressing postpartum mood disorders. As a trained and certified Childbirth Professional for over ten years, Rena’ has had the pleasure of serving over 350 families. She co-founded Doulas for Surrogacy with partner Darla Burns to offer support to all triads. Her goal is to bring knowledge and compassion to both clients and students. She continues to stay abreast of the latest research as it pertains to fertility, pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. She has sat on the Board of Directors for local, state and even national organizations, so she could spread the word of choices in childbirth.

Sheila Kamara Hay is the creatrix and visionary behind Ecstatic-Birth.com. She fiercely desires to share with women that childbirth is not something they must endure, but something they can enjoy. As a mother of three, Sheila has experienced firsthand a range of births — from the traumatic to the ecstatic — and has advised and inspired countless women in the creation or reclamation of their births. Sheila serves on the board of Choices for Childbirth, a not-for-profit organization that raises awareness among expectant mothers about their options for childbirth. Sheila has worked closely with leading women in the fields of birth and pleasure, including Dr. Christiane Northrup and Regena Thomashauer (of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts). Sheila loves cracking wide open her worldview of what’s possible in life and passing that knowledge on to other women.

These three birth professionals are passionate advocates for childbirth choices and bring an interesting and eye-opening perspective on the subject!

In this final session, we’ll be talking about:

    • The pros and cons of different delivery methods

 

    • Answer your questions about how to prepare for a pain-free birth

 

  • Tips and techniques you can use to make the most of your birth experience whatever you choose

We’re going LIVE at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern tomorrow, Thursday June 6th. Don’t miss this very important call – your last opportunity to learn how you can remove the fear from childbirth and turn it into a joyful, ecstatic experience as well as the best options and tips for doing it from women who have been there and done that! It’s totally FREE and there’s still time to register and attend the call! Even if you can’t make it to the call you will have access to a replay for a few days afterwards, but only if you register!

If you’re pregnant now, are planning to become pregnant, work with pregnant women and want to better support them through this journey, or know anyone who fits any of these criteria, please share this with them and encourage them to register at: http://www.dropwise.info.

Orgasmic Birth: Can it Really Be This Good?

The Final Week of The Holistic Pregnancy Tele-Summit has begun and we’ve saved the best for last! I’m excited and honored to be interviewing our expert Debra Pascali-Bonaro for tomorrow’s eye-opening call: Orgasmic Birth: Can it Really Be This Good?

Debra is one of the founding mothers of the “doula” movement. She has been a doula for over 25 years, and has trained thousands of doulas and birth professionals around the world in the practices of gentle birth support. After attending more than 400 births over more than two decades, she believes most births can occur with less technology and interference and that childbirth is a process to be enjoyed and cherished.

Debra Pascali-Bonaro is the creator and director of Orgasmic Birth: Nature’s Best Kept Secret, a documentary that examines the intimate nature of birth –an everyday miracle– and the ways in which our current system of care during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period disrupts the normal rhythms of birth and causes a myriad of other problems.  Debra is also the co-author of the book “Orgasmic Birth, Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience” which goes beyond the film and turns the information into a helpful guide.

Debra’s work has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, The NBC Today Show, Discovery Health, in The New York Times, The LA Times, The UK Times ands numerous parenting and health magazines.

We’ll be talking about:

  • Why having a joyful, ecstatic birth is so important to you and your baby’s long term health and wellbeing

 

  • The relationship between sexuality and birth, how orgasm can transform your birth experience and why societal taboos around feminine sexuality keep a lot of women from having this experience

 

  • How to consciously create a birth environment conducive to having a joyful birth no matter where you choose to have it

 

  • Having a natural vaginal birth after having a C-section in a prior birth (VBAC) and how to have an orgasmic birth experience after having had less than satisfying prior birth experiences

 

We’re going LIVE at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern. Don’t miss this very important call!

If you’re pregnant now, are planning to become pregnant, work with pregnant women and want to better support them through this journey, or know anyone who fits any of these criteria, please share this with them and encourage them to register at: http://www.dropwise.info. It’s FREE and there’s still time to register and attend the call! Even if you can’t make it to the call you will have access to a replay of it for a limited time afterwards, but only if you register!

Look and Feel Your Best Without Compromising Your Baby’s Health

Hope you’ve been enjoying all the insight and wisdom that’s being shared on these Tele-Summit calls. This evening is our 4th call in the series: “Look and Feel Your Best Without Compromising Your Baby’s Health.” I’ll be the resident expert for today’s session and I’ll be talking about something very important –-the hidden health threats to your baby from the personal care and beauty products you use! Some of the things I’ll cover on tonight’s session:

  • Startling new research about ingredients in mass-produced personal care products that may pre-dispose your baby to obesity (among other serious health problems!)
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  • The top 10 ingredients you MUST avoid to keep you and your baby safe and how you can find out if the products you’re using right now may contain them
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  • Using Mother Nature’s Rx: Essential Oils to safely address some of the most common pregnancy-related complaints

Much of what I’ll be sharing on tonight’s call applies to you whether you are pregnant or not, but becomes even more important when you are or planning to be. There’s no better time than now to take inventory of the products you currently use and toss the ones that are bad for you. Come join me and learn how to become a more conscious consumer so you can stop exposing your baby to hidden threats from toxic exposure while learning how to identify and choose safer, more effective natural alternatives.

We’re going LIVE at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern. Don’t miss this very important call!

If you’re pregnant now, are planning to become pregnant, work with pregnant women and want to better support them through this journey, or know anyone who fits any of these criteria, please share this with them and encourage them to register at: http://www.dropwise.info. It’s FREE!

Re-cap of Holistic Pregnancy Tele-Summit Session on Post-Partum Blues with Dr. Diana Hoppe

We had another great session last night in The Holistic Pregnancy Tele-Summit series, with Dr. Diana Hoppe! Awesome call on an important topic that pregnant women need to know more about!Here’s a quick recap and my “Cliff Notes” in case you weren’t able to join us last night  . . .

    1. Some of the typical physical changes women experience immediately after birth are triggered by hormones, which can lead to vaginal dryness and perineal pain which can make sexual intercourse difficult and painful. This is normal and usually only lasts for a couple of weeks but it’s important to communicate honestly with your partner about how you’re feeling without experiencing guilt, and to acknowledge them so they don’t fell neglected or displaced by the baby. Interesting research shows that male partners experience hormonal changes during this time that makes them inclined to be more supportive of their partners so don’t overlook this opportunity to ask for the support and understanding you need!
    2.  

    3. Some of the typical emotional issues that present during the post-partum period are:
      • Feelings of guilt over what happened or didn’t happen during the birth
      • Overwhelm exacerbated by lack of sleep
      • Fear of not being a good enough mother

      These are normal and constitute what is more commonly known as post-partum “blues” which is different and far less severe than post-partum depression

    4.  

    5. There are a number of natural solutions for managing and improving the symptoms of post-partum blues but it’s important to pay attention to more severe symptoms or prolonged duration of symptoms as these could be an indication of post-partum depression or in extreme cases, post-partum psychosis. If you think what you’re experiencing is more intense than the typical post-partum blues then please see your doctor –you may need treatment to keep it from becoming a longer-term condition.
    6.  

    There’s still time to register and access the audio replay for this call, which includes instructions on how to claim your FREE copy of the chapter from Dr. Hoppe’s book that discusses changes in libido after birth.

    If you’re pregnant now, are planning to become pregnant, work with pregnant women and want to better support them through this journey, or know anyone who fits any of these criteria, please share this with them and encourage them to register at: http://www.dropwise.info. It’s FREE!

Post-Partum Blues: Managing the Transition to Motherhood

Today marks the start of WEEK 2 of The Holistic Pregnancy Tele-Summit. Our speaker and resident expert for our 3rd call in the series is Dr. Diana Hoppe, distinguished OB/GYN, clinical researcher and author of “Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You: What Your Libido Reveals About Your Life.”  

Our topic for tonight is “Post-Partum Blues: Managing the Transition to Motherhood.” Pregnancy brings with it a lot of physical changes and emotional challenges, especially post partum. If it’s your first time, there’s also the added anxiety that comes with the shifting roles you and your partner may experience in anticipation of becoming parents. This can put a strain on your relationship with your spouse or significant other, challenge your ability to communicate clearly and support each other in this transition.  In this session you will learn how to enhance intimacy while dealing with physical limitations during pregnancy and post-partum, and how to maintain healthy communication to ensure you have the emotional support you need during this journey and beyond.

What we’ll be talking about:

  • The physical and emotional changes to expect immediately after giving birth
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  • What post-partum depression is, what causes it and how it typically manifests
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  • Natural ways to improve symptoms and deal with communication and intimacy issues with your partner
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  • How to know if and when it’s time to seek treatment and what are the best options

We’re going LIVE at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern. There’s still time to register and get onto this call. If this subject interests you then please register now. Even if you can’t make it to tonight’s call you can still access the audio replay up until midnight pacific time on Thursday, May 30th.

If you’re pregnant now, are planning to become pregnant, work with pregnant women and want to better support them through this journey, or know anyone who fits any of these criteria, please share this with them and encourage them to register at: http://www.dropwise.info. It’s FREE!