Keeping our holidays healthier means more than not overdoing on the baking and munchies, it’s also the angel-of-conscience who sits on my shoulder when I weigh which gifts to buy.
My concerns started when our child, then three-years, developed leukemia (ALL) in 1986. There was a leukemia-cluster in our area during that time, three of us moms prepared a brief as to possible causes, to the Cancer Control Agency of our province. I’ve been acutely aware of toxins in the home and environment since then.
At Christmas time, I am constantly on guard while shopping for our 12 grandchildren – concerns over lead in toys make me worry unless it’s made from paper or wood, but those things aren’t “cool.”
Anything that might go in the mouth or lay against the skin, or dissolve in the bathtub, is potentially a threat to the life, health and intelligence of a child, so sometimes it’s best to leave it there. I check labels and think lots about those small items.
Even buying things like travel mugs or drink containers … nothing is better than the old fashioned glass thermos liners, but they’re fragile, so we look for the lesser of the “evils,” which has become stainless steel for me, for now. Maybe they’ll develop a ceramic insert someday (I believe that in Europe, even stainless steel is frowned upon) – but I never give a container with a plastic liner intended for hot liquids – just can’t trust it.
Bubbly tub additions? There are so many alternatives to the chemically-loaded cheap shampoos and bubble baths. Try The Body Shop or just shop around in your regular stores for the slightly less glamorous, but healthy, bath and body products that shouldn’t itch the skin or potentially cause future health problems.
People who like a good tub-soak at night are in particular danger, because they are in contact with the toxins for so long, and the pores are opened in the heat. If you care about the person, ditch the glam-packaging.
What about clearing up the destruction after opening gifts? Please, refrain from burning plastics! Your home will fill with those toxins – more dangerous because your windows are likely closed this time of year.
Remember, that any particulates and color pigment-fumes that drift from your fireplace stay inside for a long time. In addition, burning this paper can cause a chimney fire because the light paper floats up as it burns. It’s best to simply throw out the paper, or recycle it.
Love candles? It’s important to know that the wicks in candles are more often than not are made out of LEAD. If the bottom of the candle doesn’t say that the wick is lead-free, chose another one or go without. Unless you’re outside camping, the lead will also be left in the air your family is breathing.
Lead poisoning can cause a number of serious problems in children, children who may have been exposed before birth, or after, through breathing, eating or drinking materials with lead – or skin contact. A lead poisoning website lists symptoms as:
- speech delay
- attention deficit disorder
- learning disabilities
- behavior disorders
- neurological and renal damage
- stunted growth
- hearing loss
- cognitive damage
So, simply take the extra time to be careful with your gifts and decorations, before and after Christmas – you’ll sleep better at night.
Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night 🙂