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  • Clean Living, Healthy Home

    The Ultimate Natural Gardening Guide for Busy Moms

    The tedious task of weed pulling, endless watering cycle, and quest for the perfect plant placement all seemed like a daunting task – especially with a 1 year old in tow. But, my need to clean up our yard, plant organic veggies, and enjoy the great outdoors ended up outweighing my distaste for the garden. Now, gardening is something I really enjoy! Not only is there something seriously therapeutic about it, but the reward of your hard work is pretty nice too.

    Whether you’re new to eco-friendly gardening, searching for safe alternatives to use in your little one’s play space, or just looking to for a few good gadgets to use this summer, this list is for you!

    In this article, we will discuss the following: Safe Planters for Veggies, Where To Buy Organic Seeds and Veggies, Natural Pest Control, Sustainable Lawn Tips, What to Avoid, and Eco-friendly Garden Equipment.

    Organic Veggies & Seeds

    organic vegetables and seeds

    Organic Vegetable Plants and Seeds

    As I looked near and far for organic-certified plants and seeds that met my specific criteria, here’s what I finallly found! Backyard Berry Plants (organic berry bushes – we purchased a blueberry!), Azure Standard (live vegetable and fruit plants for your garden bed), and Seeds of Change (organic seeds). I planted mine in raised untreated cedar garden beds!

    Organic Herb Garden Seeds for Planting
    10 Herbs, Plant Markers Gift Set

    This 10 pack value set of USDA organic garden seeds makes gardening easy! Not only can you grow these herbs indoor or out, but they produce pretty flowers as well. Includes: Chamomile Seeds, Lavender Tea Seeds, Lemon Balm Tea Plant Seeds, Catnip Seeds, Cinnamon Basil, Dandelion (not that we need anymore of these!), Echinacea Tea, Fennel Seeds, Marjoram, Peppermint Seeds / Mint Seeds.

    Eco-friendly Garden & Lawn Tools

    Electric Lawn Mower, Manual Mower, or Self-propelled Mowers

    Gas Lawn Mowers are known to produce up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution and according the US Environmental Protection Association (EPA), one gas-powered push mower emits as much hourly pollution as 11 cars! Wow. Imagine how much cleaner our air would be if we all used non-gas powered equipment.

    I own this electric cordless Greenworks mower and absolutely love the how easy it is to maneuver! Another highly recommended, but slightly more expensive electric lawnmower brand is Ego. Both the Greenworks and Ego mowers are ultra quiet compared to a traditional gas mower and best of all, you won’t be inhaling all of the nasty fumes. If you’re looking for a side by side comparison check out this article.

    Hedge Trimmer, String Trimmers, Dethatchers and More

    As for these tools, if you already have the Greenworks lawnmower, I’d recommend the Greenworks brand for any additional electric powered tools you need for your lawn. The same goes if you have the Ego mower. The batteries are easy to swap between tools of the same brand making for an effortless day of yard work! Ha! Recently we purchased the Greenworks dethatcher (we have warm season grass) and so far no complaints!

    Water Right Hose

    This AMAZING hose (yes, I said a HOSE was amazing), is made from NSF and FDA certified polyurethane rather than PVC like most hoses on the market and contains no lead, BPA, phthalates or other toxic chemicals. It is also extremely lightweight, making it super easy for my daughter to drag right through my newly planted vegetable garden! Ha! Water Right sells both stainless steel fittings (tested and confirmed by lead advocate Tamara Rubin, Lead Safe Mama as lead-free) and lead-free brass fittings. Per my conversation with Water Right, their ‘lead-free’ brass fittings contain less than 0.1% lead – the legal standard is anything less than 0.25% is considered ‘lead-free’.

    Options include the 400 Series Slim & Light Hose, 500 Series 1/2 Inch Hose, and 600 Series 5/8 Inch Hose, and the Professional Coil Hose in a variety of fun colors! Made in the USA.

    Wooden Trellis

    Opt for a wooden trellis whenever possible. Wood is 100% biodegradable and if you purchase a cedar one it will last a while! Avoid purchasing a metal trellis unless you know it is 100% stainless steel. Most are galvanized steel which often contain lead and other heavy metals. And as for the plastic trellis… I have yet to find one that is NOT made from PVC – the most toxic plastic.

    Stakes & Twine

    Wooden Stakes, Cotton Twine, 100% Organic Hemp Twine are all useful, natural tools to have in your garden. I use a combination of twine and wooden stakes to create a ‘tomato cage’ for my veggie garden.

    Gardening Gloves

    Hemp, Cotton, Bamboo or Natural Latex Gardening Gloves are your safest options. These cotton gloves come in sizes for kids too!

    Stainless Steel Gardening Tools

    This 3-piece trowel, cultivator, and transplanter set is a must-have for any gardener and is complete with wooden handles!

    Safest Planters for Veggies

    Untreated Cedar Planter Boxes and Raised Garden Beds

    Untreated Cedar Planter Boxes and Raised Garden Beds come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Non-toxic, rot-resistant and one of the safest alternatives that will last a long time! You can also use Pine although it won’t last as long.


    Terracotta is safe for veggies, although you may have to water more frequently. Be sure to choose unglazed versions (as the glazing often contains lead and heavy metals). And remember… let’s help our environment by purchasing real terracotta rather than plastic.

    Avoid pressure treated wood (lots of very toxic chemicals used), galvanized steel (contains lead), and plastic (chemical leaching concerns).

    If you do choose plastic, choose #2 HDPE, #4 LDPE, and #5 PP plastics. Avoid #1, #3 PVC, #6 PS, and #7 PC. These can leach chemicals over time into your garden soil. The good news is, most plastic planters now-a-days are made from #5 polypropylene plastic. If the planter is scratched or worn, discard as it tends to leach more chemicals as the warm summer sun breaks down the materials.

    Natural Weed Control & Sustainable Lawn Care

    Hand-pick weeds.

    By hand-picking weeds, you are avoiding the use of toxic chemical pesticides and herbicides hence protecting your family and the environment.

    Use Vinegar, Baking Soda, Soap, Salt, Boiling Water, or Borax.

    Vinegar, baking soda, soap, salt, boiling water and borax are all natural ways to control weeds in your yard. When using vinegar be sure to choose the highest strength like this one that we use in our home.

    Corn. Gluten. Meal.

    Corn gluten meal is a natural way to prevent weed seeds from germinating. We apply once in the spring and once in the fall. This organic option is our go-to.

    Use cardboard or burlap as a weed barrier.

    Last year we laid old cardboard boxes down prior to planting and mulching. It helped protect our plants and keep weeds from creeping through. Plus, it is eco-friendly! Natural, untreated burlap like this one is another good option.

    Consider a Flame Weeder.

    A Flame Weeder like this one doesn’t attack the root of the weed, so you may have to use it a few times, but it does work for all types of unwanted weeds. Use caution!

    Avoid mowing the grass too short.

    When you mow your grass too short, weeds will thrive and overpower your lawn! As the saying goes, “if the grass doesn’t shade the weed, the weed will shade the grass.” Mowing higher also helps protect your soil and leads to thicker grass.

    Mulching around plants and trees.

    Mulching around plants and trees helps to keep weeds at bay, retain moisture, and improve soil conditions. Just remember not to put too much mulch up against the trunk of a tree or you risk decay. As a rule of thumb… mulch should be at least 5 inches from the trunk and no more than 2-4 inches deep. Avoid those ‘volcano mulch piles’.

    Use an organic fertilizer.

    If you are in need of a fertilizer, choose organic and apply in spring and fall. Although this is not necessary, we love this one!

    Water New Plants Often.

    When planting a new plant, tree, or shrub be sure to water it often (every day) so that the roots can become established. Tip: Stick your finger into the soil to check the moisture level.

    Test the pH of your soil.

    Clover and other “weeds” can become a problem if your soil is too acid or too alkaline. If your soil pH is below 6.0, add lime. If your soil is above 7, add sulfur. Grass loves a pH of about 6.5.

    Dandelions thrive in alkaline soil with a pH of about 7.5.

    Make sure the pH of your grass isn’t too high and if it is be sure to lower it to avoid dandelions if you consider them weeds!

    Clover thrives when your lawn lacks nitrogen.

    If you have an abundance of pesty clover, add nitrogen back into your soil with an organic fertilizer.

    Have a serious weed problem? Consider mowing twice a week until it is under control.

    The mower will chop off the fast growing weeds, allowing sunlight to penetrate the grass below.

    Rock hard soil?

    Add a layer of good compost in the fall or make your own!

    Aerate and over seed.

    Aerate and over seed very couple of years to maintain proper soil and grass health. It is recommended to aerate once in the spring and then again in the fall.

    Consider a Rain Barrel.

    You’ll save money by using what nature gives us for free – water when it rains! Check out this barrel made in Canada.

    Or just accept and enjoy the weeds!

    Natural Pest Control

    100% Neem Oil

    100% Neem Oil is a natural oil that keeps bugs like mosquitoes and aphids out of your garden. This 100% Neem Oil works great and is completely non-toxic!

    Diatomaceous Earth

    Diatomaceous Earth is an odorless, non-toxic natural powder that has many uses in the garden and home. This Diatomaceous Earth is our go-to for natural pest control that repels ants (and other insects)! Be sure to sprinkle a thick enough line where the pests crawl.

    Mint and Lavender

    Mint and lavender are two plants that are said to keep aphids, ants, and rodents away. Although, I’ve never had a problem with rodents in my yard, I do grow both of these seasonally! Keep in mind, mint will spread like crazy! So it is best to keep it in a container.

    Citronella plants

    Citronella plants really help keep away mosquitoes and other pests.

    Citrus Peels

    Citrus peels help keep bugs like spiders away.


    Cedar is naturally rot-resistant and helps to keep bugs at bay. Try using cedar wood chips or planters around your garden.

    Soil, Wood Chips, Mulch, and Amendments

    Untreated grass

    Untreated grass is an excellent choice for children’s play areas and your home! Of course.

    Untreated, uncolored mulch

    Untreated, uncolored mulch (Colored mulches often use unsafe dyes and added chemicals). We recently purchased some from the Mulch Center, but you can always check at your local store.

    Untreated wood chips or Engineered Wood Fiber

    Untreated wood chips or Engineered Wood Fiber are great options that are safe for play areas. We used naturally rot and insect resistant cedar in my daughter’s play space.


    Soil is best when it is organic, so I always make sure to choose this for my vegetable garden – I don’t want pesticides or heavy metals where I’m planting my veggies! Two options I used this year, both OMRI Certified: Happy Frog and Whitney Farms (Disclosure: Whitney Farms is owned by Scott’s and in general, I tend to avoid products connected to Monsanto such as Scott’s, Bayer, and Miracle Grow are products I tend to avoid due to their connection with Monsanto). As for other areas, on occasionally, I will buy a less expensive organic or whatever is readily available. Living life by the 80/20 rule!

    DIY Potting Soil

    Check out Tippy’s Produce and learn how to make your own DIY soil!

    Rocks and stone

    Rocks and stones can add a beautiful hardscape to your outdoor space. A few things to keep in mind: 1.) Difficult to relocate 2.) Cost $$ 3.) It may be difficult to grow plants. 4.) Heavyyyy


    Composting is excellent for your soil and can be done for free at home! If you don’t want a compost bin outside of your home, you can always collect food scraps in a kitchen composter, blend, and then use immediately in your garden! You can also bury banana peels and other scraps to add nutrients to your soil. Be sure to add “browns” to your kitchen “greens” such as leaves, pine needs, etc.

    Look for OMRI Certification

    When choosing soil, compost and other gardening materials, it is best to look for organic OMRI certified products. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is an international nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing. Search here.

    What to Avoid in your Yard & Garden

    Artificial Turf, Artificial Mulch and ‘Crumb Rubber’

    Artificial turf, artificial mulch, and “crumb rubber” can be loaded with toxic chemicals that off-gas year round, but especially when heated. Artificial turf/mulch made from rubber or recycled tires often contains neurotoxins like lead and a host of chemicals known to cause cancer along with reproductive and endocrine harm among other issues.

    Car Tires & Products Made from Recycled Car Tires

    Car tires (or products made from recycled car tires) contain hundreds of known carcinogens and have no place around children or in our garden beds. They contain heavy metals like cadmium and lead, mercury, acetone, and off-gas causing the chemicals to be inhaled by those on the playground.

    Avoid products with glyphosate and other “Weed and Feed” products.

    Chemicals in these products are hazardous to our health and linked to a host of diseases, health issues and cancer.

    Pressure Treated Wood

    Pressure treated wood uses toxic chemicals when manufactured that can leach into your soil. Arsenic is one of those chemicals. Although there are different ways companies pressurize wood these days, it is still something I steer clear of.

    Galvanized Steel

    Galvanized steel very often contains high amounts of lead and other hazardous toxins that you wouldn’t want around your children or garden. Use stainless steel instead. See Galvanized Chicken Wire below.

    Galvanized Chicken Wire

    Galvanized chicken wire is often used around gardens and often contains extremely high amounts of lead and cadmium, far above the acceptable level! Choose a stainless steel version like this one. Here is Tamara Rubin, Lead Safe Mama’s most recent post on testing galvanized products including chicken wire. In one example, galvanized chicken wire contained over 2,000 ppm of lead! 90 is the allowable amount in children’s toys (although it should be ZERO, in my opinion).

    Learn more:
    How to Improve Garden Soil with Amendments
    Chemical Watch: 2,4D present in herbicides
    Children and Athletes at Play on Toxic Turf and Playgrounds
    Artificial Turf: Metal Analysis

    Check out the WhatMommyKnows Amazon Storefront for more of my garden favorites!

    Thanks for reading!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that have extensively researched and use personally or would use. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Babies & Kids

    Best Outdoor Toys for 2022

    When I was a kid, the great outdoors captured some of my fondest memories and it seems my daughter has the same love for outdoor adventure as I do. Here are some of our favorite, safe outdoor must-haves!

    Step 2 Naturally Playful Sandbox

    Why I love it: This neutral sandbox is made from durable, hard polypropylene plastic (PVC-free), and made in the USA. It doesn’t fade in the sun, can double as a pool or even be used as a flower garden!

    Why I don’t: First, the lid doesn’t seal completely, but I haven’t really found a sandbox lid that does. Secondly, it’s plastic – but, at least it is made from the safest plastic available and has many uses after it’s original intended purpose.

    Step 2 plastics are made from polyethylene (#2 or #4) or polypropylene (#5).

    Berlin Flyer Ride Sport Wagon, All Terrain

    Why I love it: Made in the USA, this wagon is sturdy can hold 300 lbs! Complete with removable solid hardwood sides and air filled tires (not foam filled for this version), it really is an all-terrain wagon that is built to last. PLUS, it is easy enough to maneuver for my 2.5 year old daughter!

    Why I don’t: The bottom isn’t made from solid wood.

    Previously, we were gifted a similar Radio Flyer wagon. The back broke off within minutes of it’s first day of use. And although we were issued a refund, I do not recommend Radio Flyer for this safety reason.

    Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

    Why I love it: Perfect for hours of fun with your little one. Out of all the water tables I’ve looked at, this one seemed most fun (and really is)! Made in the USA of polypropylene plastic (#5).

    Why I don’t: Just plastic!

    Micro Kickboard – Mini Deluxe 3-Wheeled

    Why I love it: This super sturdy, lightweight scooter is perfect for your little one age 2-5! I love the adjustable handle bar and all of the color options! The handle bars use silicone grips rather than PVC too. We have this version, which includes LED light up wheels. And they make a larger version for kids age 5-12!

    Why I don’t: Made in China (hard to find items like this that aren’t!). A bit on the pricier side, but the quality is excellent compared to the competition so in my book, this was well worth it.

    Includes a 2 year manufacturers warranty.

    Little Colorado Child’s Picnic Table

    Why I love this: This solid pine kids picnic table, comes in a variety of colors and is partially assembled upon arrive. You have the option to purchase unfinished and finish to your liking. Little Colorado makes quality products all made in the USA, in Colorado!

    Why I don’t:
    No complaints yet!

    Play Platoon Spider Web Tree Swing – 40 Inch Diameter

    Why I love it: This easy to install swing has a 600 lb weight limit! It is lightweight and free of metal chains, so I don’t have to worry about the momentum of a heavy swing injuring my child.

    Why I don’t: Made in China.

    Backyard Discovery Timberlake All Cedar Wood Playhouse

    Why I love it: Made from Cedar, large window openings, and super cute!

    Why I don’t: After two years of use, the plastic hinge on the door broke. We reattached it with a stainless hinge. Not too big of a deal?

    Looking for something a bit bigger, but don’t want to commit to a full blown ‘swing set with tree house’? I love this All Cedar Scenic Playhouse – especially if you want a clubhouse you can climb up to!

    Note: Made in Maine, Cedarworks Playsets are the absolute top-of-the-line for play sets, both outdoor and indoor. They are built from high-quality white cedar and non-toxic all around, but they are $$$. Additionally, they have cute chairs, benches and other backyard items for kids that aren’t as expensive as their full sets. I highly recommend this brand if you are willing to dish out the dough – their products will last a lifetime.

    Strider Balance Bike

    Why I love it: Perfect for ages 18 months to 5 years. An adjustable seat and handlebars, plus a 2 year factory warranty make this a no-brainer. Made in the USA.

    Why I don’t: There is always a concern with black plastic containing heavy metals like lead unless specifically tested.

    The Banwood Bike is another super cute option complete with a basket that my daughter adores! It is BPA, BPS, PVC and phthalate free.

    Lifetime Climbing Dome

    Why I love it: This sturdy climbing dome is made from metal, free of heavy metals like lead and built to last! The brand offers a variety of colors and sizes too!

    Why I don’t: It’s more expensive than plastic competitors

    Best Floor Sand & Water Table American Plastic Toys Sand & Water Playset is perfect for floor play and is made with BPA and phthalate-free plastic. Made in the USA with domestically sourced plastic and materials.

    Best Pool for Toddlers: Step2 Play & Shade Pool made in the USA from polypropylene plastic (#5). Perfect for your little one!

    Best Watering Can & Bucket Sets: Green Toys Watering Can Toy and Green Toys Sand Play Set with Bucket Made in the USA from 100% recycled milk jugs, Green Toys are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. They contain no BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings unlike many other plastics.

    Best Bubbles: Pustefix Bubbles are the best (and safest) bubbles you will ever buy! They produce tons of bubbles with just one blow. Trust me – they will not disappoint! Made in Germany.

    Best Croquet Set: Plan Toys Wooden Croquet Set is sustainably crafted from chemical free rubberwood, formaldehyde-free glues, organic pigments, water based dyes, and tested to meet and exceed North American and European toy standards! Plan Toys is one of my favorite, most trusted brands. Made in Thailand.

    Best Wooden Toddler Swing: EcoTribe Wooden Horse Made from chemical- free, untreated wood, this swing is perfect for ages 6 months to 3 years. We use it both indoors and out!

    Best Ball: Crocodile Creek Heavy-duty inflatable balls that are made from high-quality natural and synthetic rubber. PVC & BPA Free. *Personally, I wish they were made from natural rubber only, but unlike most play balls on the current market, they are at least PVC and BPA free. If you find one, let me know!

    Best Jump Rope: Green Toys Jump Rope Made from 100% recycled plastic with a 100% cotton rope this jump rope is BPA-free, PVC- free, and Phthalates-free. Made in the USA.

    Explore more of our outdoor toy favorites including bikes and trikes, swings and things, plus water, sand and land toys by visiting our Outdoor Toys section on our Amazon Storefront. Enjoy the sunshine & thanks for reading!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Clean Living

    Plastic: Why I Avoid It As Much As Possible

    plastic, waste, pollution, recycle

    Plastic is EVERYWHERE. Think: cups, plates, bags, lined soup cans, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes, toys, baby teethers (yikes!), furniture, food containers, shoes, cars, jewelry, phones, clothing, even cosmetics … and the list goes on and on. 

    Plastic not only is bad for our environment, animals, oceans, OUR water, but it is also not good for our children or our bodies. Tiny bits of micro-plastics are created which often end up in oceans, are then eaten by aquatic life, and later end up in our bodies through many forms which include ingesting fish and other animals. Research shows, “Americans ingest at least 74,000 microplastic particles every year,” according to the Washington Post.

    It takes hundreds of years for plastics to biodegrade and the sad part is, approximately only 9% of plastic is actually recycled. Most plastic is not able to be recycled, contrary to popular belief, and ends up in landfills, our oceans, and water ways.

    With so many resources in today’s day, there are much better AND safer alternatives which include: clear glass, stainless steel, and silicone.

    IF you MUST buy plastic… here’s what you should know…

    PVC is the most toxic. I avoid it whenever I can. It is not only toxic to consumers, but extremely toxic to those who manufacture it and the surrounding communities who breathe in the pollution it creates.

    The 7 Plastic Numbers & What It Means For Your Health

    Plastic items are often coded with a recycling number 1-7. This number indicts the type of plastic and is used in the recycling process. Unfortately,

    1, 2 – Usually recyclable
    3,5,6 – Some recycling companies are able to recycle it
    4, 7 – Not usually recyclable.

    Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
    PET is considered a safe plastic, but can leach the toxic metal antimony, and brominated compounds. Water bottles, soft drink bottles, sports drink bottles and condiment bottles are some products that contain this type of plastic.

    Bromine is known to cause acute paranoia and other psychotic symptoms while antimony causes a host of health issues ranging from heart and lung issues to vomiting, diarrhea and stomach ulcers. The longer a bottle of water sits on the shelf, the more antimony it contains. This may vary based on exposure to sunlight, temperature, and pH levels.

    One study that looked at 63 brands of bottled water produced in Europe and Canada found concentrations of antimony that were more than 100 times the typical level found in clean groundwater (2 parts per trillion).3

    Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
    HDPE is considered a low-hazard plastic, but like most plastics releases estrogenic chemicals. Milk, water and beverage bottles, cleaning supply bottles, shampoo bottles, grocery bags, cereal liners and many others contain this type of plastic.

    HDPE and other plastics disrupt your hormones and structure of your cells, posing risks to both infants and children. Even products that claimed to be free of BPA, have tested positive for other toxic estrogenic chemicals.

    Plastic #3 or “V”: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
    The MOST toxic plastic for consumers, manufacturers and our environment and should be avoid as much as possible. PVC is often used for shower curtains, bags for bedding, shrink wrap, deli wrap, cooking oil bottles, plastic toys, play-mats, flooring, table cloths and blister packs used to store medications.

    PVC can be rigid (unplasticized) OR flexible & clear (plasticized). During the production process, plasticizers, including phthlates are added to increase flexibility and soften plastics. DEHP is a type of phthalate often used in PVC that causes cancer.

    Toxins enter your body as they are released into the air we breathe and food we consume, causing a number of health issues including cancer, deformations, low sperm count and infertility.

    Tip: If the plastic is soft and flexible – it is probably PVC.
    Avoid children’s playmats made from PVC/Vinyl. You can choose a latex mattress topper as an alternative, Corkimat, or a fun pile of cotton blankets!

    Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
    LDPE is considered a low hazard and does not contain BPA, but may leach estrogenic chemicals similar to HDPE.

    Bread bags, squeezeable bottles including condiment bottles, fresh produce bags, household garbage and frozen foods bags, as well as in paper milk cartons and hot/cold beverage cups are all common uses for this plastic.

    Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)
    Polypropylene is one of the “safest” plastics you can buy. It is said to have a high heat tolerance making it a good choice for outdoor toys and storing food, although I personally wouldn’t recommend any plastic containers for food. PP is unlikely to leach chemicals, but evidence is still inconclusive.

    PP is used for containers including yogurt, deli foods, medications and takeout meals. 

    Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS) AKA Styrofoam
    Avoid polystyrene as much as possible. This type of plastic leaches styrene into your food, damages your nervous system, and has been linked to Cancer. Benzene, a known human carcinogen, is used in the production.

    Everything from cups, plates, meat trays, packing peanuts, and more can be made from Polystyrene (Styrofoam). Hot food and beverages very well may be the most dangerous due to the amount of styrene they leach from containers. Therefore, AVOID if possible coffee cups, to-go containers, etc. that are made from polystyrene (Styrofoam).

    Plastic #7: Other
    Plastic #7 is often made from a combination of plastics and resins. It most likely contains BPA and/or BPS and most likely other toxic chemicals. Technically, there is only a partial ban on BPA (for example, in baby bottles), but research shows there are much greater concerns and a full fledged ban should be implemented, as described here.

    The reason BPA and BPS are so dangerous is because...

    • They mimic, interfere, and disrupt with your body’s hormones and endocrine system which regulates mood, growth, development, metabolism, reproductive processes, sexual function and tissue function.
    • In utero exposure to BPA compounds, can lead to chromosomal errors in the developing fetus, causing spontaneous miscarriages and genetic damage.
    • Strong evidence shows these chemicals are effecting adults and children, too. Leading to a host of health issues including, but not limited to…
      • Early puberty, decreased sperm count, and cancer.
      • Obesity
      • Insulin Resistance – an underlying factor in many chronic diseases
      • Stimulation of mammary gland development
      • Disrupted reproductive cycles and ovarian dysfunction
      • Heart disease


    So, what are the “safest” plastics?
    #1, 2, 4, 5 But, only #1, 2, and 5 are most likely to be recycled which means the others will end up in a landfill. Avoid PVC Plastic #3 at all costs – the entire duration of its life cycle is toxic to humanity. Also, avoid Polystyrene #6 (styrofoam) and Plastic #7 Other as much as possible.

    Where can I find the number(#) plastic on items?
    Often found on the bottom, side, or inside plastic items will be a number. If the number is not present, you can contact the manufacturer for more information.

    How can I tell if something is silicone or plastic?
    If silicone contains plastic (or is plastic), when it bends, it will turn white-ish in the area where it was manipulated.