News

News Articles

  • Pregnant Mom Parody Of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”

    This mom made a hilarious parody video covering Iggy Azalea’s song “Fancy” – pregnancy edition.

    View Post

  • This is Your Brain on Toxins: How Chemical Companies Are Threatening the Health of Our Children

    In a recent NYTimes op-ed, Nicholas Kristof likens the health threat from the chemical industry to the health threat of the lead industry and of the tobacco industry. He identifies several points of similarity:

    • Insidiousness of the threat – chemicals hidden in seemingly innocuous products like cosmetics and household cleaners
    • Enormity of the industry lobby to minimize regulation and defend profits, not consumers
    • Journalists behaving like lapdogs, not watchdogs
    • Scientifcally identified extent of harm these chemicals pose to our health

    Just as the lead industry hoodwinked consumers into blind complacency before America finally wised up to its dangers, scores of scientists believe we are living through a similarly dangerous moment, the threat posed this time by endocrine-disruptor chemicals.

    These harmful compounds are found in virtually every product – from cosmetics and plastics to toys and some furniture. Yet the fight to eradicate these chemicals has not gained nearly enough traction. Big chemical companies have yet to encounter more than an occasional attack against their harmful practices.

    Arguably the most noteworthy counter-attack to the chemical industry took place last year, when the Chicago Tribune exposed the truth on flame retardants in furniture, especially in baby crib mattresses. (They pose a serious threat to our children’s health and don’t actually expel flames. Check out our summary of the major exposé  here.)

    Another significant push against chemical companies’ use of endocrine disruptors occurred with the angry-letter writing campaign this summer, in which noted scientific experts participated. Just what got these scientists riled up, and why should it anger you as well?

    Bottom line: endocrine-disrupting chemicals could prove as detrimental to health as lead. Developing fetuses and children face particularly troubling risk from these chemicals. Do more than eat organic and avoid plastic water bottles. Fight to change regulation to force an end to the use of these chemicals. (NY Times)

    RELATED POSTS

    View Post

  • A Major Step Towards Ridding Children’s Products of Harmful Toxins

    Nine Naturals is based in New York. And oh how we do love New York City. This week, we were particularly proud of our state when Senator Chuck Schumer announced that he is introducing a bill to ban flame retardants from children’s products.

    The announcement follows new research released by the EWG and Duke University that found evidence of exposure to TDCPP (also known as TDCIPP), a known carcinogen, in the bodies of all 22 mothers and 26 children tested.

    And this study is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Nine Naturals has been following research on this for years. Well-intended but poorly designed California legislation to minimize the flammability of furniture – particularly children’s mattresses – has led to widespread use of flame retardant chemicals in homes. Last year, the Chicago Tribune exposed the widespread presence of the flame retardant TDCIPP in children’s crib mattresses.

    TDCIPP is part of the chlorinated tris family which were found to be carcinogenic endocrine disruptors in the 1970’s (even before many of us moms were born). TDCIPP has been banned from children’s clothing for most of our lifetimes, but it still appears in household furniture and children’s cribs.

    One of Nine Naturals’ raisons d’etre is to minimize children’s exposure to toxins in the womb. On a pound-for-pound basis, fetuses face high vulnerability to the risks of environmental toxins. From the moment your baby is born, their exposure to environmental toxins only rises.

    We are thrilled with this week’s news. So cheers from all of us at Nine Naturals to this non-trivial step towards making homes safer for our babies.

    View Post

  • The Health Impact of Endocrine Disruptors & How to Avoid Them

    At Nine Naturals we’re committed to providing you with the information you need to make safe and smart beauty choices. You may have heard the phrase “endocrine disrupting chemical” thrown around in ominous ways. Since these chemicals are certainly a cause for concern, we wanted to help you understand what endocrine disruptors are and how to avoid them.

    The Importance of the Endocrine System

    The endocrine system influences nearly 100% of our body – and instructs our long-term growth process from the cell level to the organ level. It is comprised of glands that produce hormones, the hormones themselves that travel through the body as messenger and then cell receptors in tissues in organs that receive those messages. Hormones maintain proper functioning of many bodily processes – including growth, reproduction, mood and metabolism.

    Protecting the proper functioning of your endocrine system is particularly important during pregnancy when a finely tuned balance of hormones regulates fetal development.

    How Endocrine Disruptors Affect Our Health

    Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors can prevent our bodies from working properly by changing the behavior of hormones. They can also affect the production of hormones themselves causing similar disruptions.

    One of the most common ways endocrine disruptors can cause harm is by mimicking estrogen. For instance both, Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in many plastics, and parabens, which are widely used as preservatives in food and personal care products, have been shown to act in this fashion. This can impact both fertility and fetal development.

    Exposure to endocrine disruptors, particularly at developmentally vulnerable periods in a person’s life (including as a developing fetus or young child), have been associated with

    Birth Defects – including deformities and early-term births
    Developmental disorders – including ADHD, learning disabilities
    Reproductive development – including sexual development and fertility problems
    Childhood obesity
    Cancer- notably breast, liver and thyroid cancers

    Where Endocrine Disruptors Can Lurk

    First, consider a quote from this NIH study on EDCs in humans reflecting the prevalence of EDCs

    … a consumer who used the alternative surface cleaner, tub and tile cleaner, laundry detergent, bar soap, shampoo and conditioner, facial cleanser and lotion, and toothpaste (a plausible array of product types for an individual) would potentially be exposed to at least 19 compounds: two parabens, three phthalates, MEA, DEA, five alkylphenols, and seven fragrances.

    The most common endocrine disruptors are

    • Bisphenol A (BPA): These are common in consumer plastics like plastic food containers and the linings of canned food and formulas.
    • Parabens: A preservative found in personal care products. On an ingredients label, it is commonly listed with the prefix butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, or propyl-.
    • Phthalates: A chemical found in plastics to help make them more flexible. Also used to hold fragrance in personal care products, perfumes and other products that include artificial fragrances.
    • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): Extremely common in flame retardants – and banned in the EU, but still legal in the US. YES, PBDEs are the reason Nine Naturals and many other organizations warn parents about their children’s mattresses. PBDEs are also found in other consumer products like electronics.
    • DDT: These were common in pesticides in the early 20th century, but are illegal in most countries. DDC has persisted in the environment, however, and can be found glaciers, animals in the wild and other parts of the environment.
    • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): Largely banned now, PCBs were used in factories as industrial lubricants and coolants. Now they are unfortunately found in the environment due to factory run-off dating back to the 1970’s.

    Tips for Avoiding Endocrine Disruptors

    Here are a few key tips to reduce your exposure:

    1. Avoid using plastics as much as possible, particularly when it comes to storing food and beverages where chemicals from plastics can seep into what you eat and drink. Opt for glass and stainless steel containers.
    2. Use personal care products free of endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as Nine Naturals.
    3. Take the time to read ingredients labels. Purchase products from companies that disclose 100% of their ingredients. Apply this practice not only to personal care products, but also to household products and food.
    4. Be especially wary of fragrances in personal care products and household products. Avoid products that have the word “Fragrance” on their ingredient labels and do not disclose the components of their fragrance.
    5. Eat organic as much as possible to limit pesticide intake.

    At the moment the debate on how to regulate endocrine disruptors is still ongoing. This is why it’s important to both understand the ingredients in a product and to look for products free of chemicals when trying to minimize exposure. At Nine Naturals we pride ourselves in creating toxin-free, 100% plant-based products that are free of endocrine disrupting chemicals. We do the work, so you don’t have to worry.

    _________________________

    REFERENCES:

    Long-Term Effects of Environmental Endocrine Disruptors on Reproductive Physiology and Behavior. Patisual et al. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

    Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products. Dodson RE, Nishioka M, Standley LJ, Perovich LJ, Brody JG, Rudel RA. National Institutes of Health.

    Endocrine Disruptor. Multiple. Wikipedia.

    Steroids and endocrine disruptors-History, recent state of art and open questions. Hampl et al. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

    Parabens. From Environmental Studies to Human Health. Bledzka et al. Environment International.

    Endocrine Disruption of the Epigenome: A Breast Cancer Link. Knower et al. Endocrine-Related Cancer.

    Phthalates impair germ cell development in the human fetal testis in vitro without change in testosterone production. Lambrot et al. Environmental Health Perspectives.

    Developmental neurotoxicity of ortho-phthalate diesters: review of human and experimental evidence. Miodovnik et al. Neurotoxicology.

    Transplacental Passage of Antimicrobial Parabens. Towers et al. Obstetrics and Gynecology.

    Low dose effects and non-monotonic dose responses for endocrine active chemicals: science to practice workshop: workshop summary. Beausoleil et al. Chemosphere.

    View Post

  • Scientists and Industry Square Off Over the Potentially Harmful Effects of Atrazine

    As a scientist, it doesn’t matter how many papers you’ve published or how much potential you’ve got; butting heads with one of the largest agribusinesses in the world is a dangerous proposition. Rachel Aviv published a piece in the February 10th edition of the New Yorker detailing the story of Tyrone Hayes, a biologist who discovered harmful effects of the herbicide atrazine, and the elaborate smear campaign its manufacturer Syngenta ran against him.

    Although its use is currently restricted by the E.P.A., atrazine is still approved for a number of applications and is the second most used pesticide in America1. As well, the E.P.A. itself has noted that atrazine can persist in soil for up to 4 years. This is particularly troubling for pregnant women because a number of recent studies have demonstrated that atrazine is associated with striking developmental defects in newborns as well as premature births and low birth weights in full term babies2. At this point you might be wondering how atrazine could possibly still be in use. You would not be alone in this.

    Aviv reports that 15 years ago when Tyrone Hayes, at the time collaborating with Syngenta, initially observed troubling effects of atrazine on the reproductive development of frogs the company sought to bury the findings. Ultimately this forced Dr. Hayes to break ties with them and publish independently, which he did in a 2002 paper3. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, rather than expressing concern that their product might be harmful Syngenta responded by attempting to discredit Dr. Hayes and his work.

    This same pattern appears to have recurred many times over the next decade, with Syngenta increasingly ramping up both their attacks on Dr. Hayes and their defense of atrazine. Recently unsealed documents show Syngenta resorting to tactics like hiring scientists to argue against Dr. Hayes and his colleagues, attempting to exploit Dr. Hayes’ difficult childhood and trying to entrap him legally. There is also now good reason to question the validity of much of the science Syngenta has produced defending atrazine. Indeed Aviv cites a paper claiming “the single best predictor of whether or not the herbicide atrazine had a significant effect in a study was the funding source”4.

    The European Commission removed atrazine from the market in 2003. The E.P.A. on the other hand continues to maintain that there is insufficient evidence that atrazine poses a risk to humans or the environment. This is because in the United States there is an almost insurmountable burden of proof placed on regulators. In fact, as Aviv writes, only five industrial chemicals have been banned by the E.P.A since the mid-seventies while eighty thousand were approved for us. As opposed to the cautionary approach to regulation used by the European Commission, the E.P.A. refuses to act if there is any scientific ambiguity leaving the door open for industry to indefinitely delay action. As such atrazine and other potentially harmful products are presumed innocent until proven guilty while researchers like Dr. Hayes face the ruination of their reputations and careers for publishing their findings. (New Yorker)


    [1] This estimate is according to a 2007 E.P.A. assessment. While the E.P.A. hasn’t published a more up to date list other groups suggest that atrazine remains second in usage

    [2] All studies were published in peer reviewed scientific journals.

    [3] Hayes TB, et al. Hermaphroditic, demasculinized frogs after exposure to the herbicide atrazine at low ecologically relevant doses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002

    [4] Rohr and McCoy. Preserving environmental health and scientific credibility: a practical guide to reducing conflicts of interest. Policy perspectives. 2010

    View Post

  • Avoiding Mercury in Seafood During Pregnancy

    Pregnant women might be listening to the wrong advice about safe seafood consumption. The recommendations of the most recent “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” white paper (created in 2011 by the USDA and Dept. of Health and Human Services) are flawed and out of sync with current mercury levels and even Omega-3 levels in seafood.

    In short, these guidelines recommend weekly portions of seafood that put pregnant women and children at risk of mercury toxic exposure.

    The Environmental Working Group recently released a report that is a must-read for women in their child-bearing years.

    Pregnant women and young children face the greatest mercury risks. Even small exposures to mercury in the womb have been shown to inflict subtle but measurable deficits on children’s intelligence and nervous system. While frequent fish eating during pregnancy boosted children’s IQ measurements by about two to six points, high mercury exposure during pregnancy dropped IQ scores by two to six points.

    Dietary recommendations are inconsistent with the medical risk associated with seafood toxicity. The FDA/EPA recommended amounts of some foods, like canned tuna, expose children and pregnant women to dangerous amounts of mercury. “Not all seafood is equally rich in Omega-3’s,” the EWG states against the government Guidelines’ indiscriminate support for almost all fish and shellfish as great Omega-3 sources.

    Women who are choosing seafood as a means of enriching their family’s nutrition as well as their own might choosing risky, toxic seafood options without the upside of the omega-3s.

    Of the 10 most popular seafoods, 8 have very low Omega-3 fatty acid levels (requiring from 20-100 ounces to meet adults’ Omega-3 recommended levels). These included Shrimp, Cod, Canned light tuna, Tilapia and Catfish.

    Seafood is not a sustainable source of Omega-3s. The aquamarine ecosystem simply cannot support the recommended amount of seafood. There are options for seafood that contain omega-3s and low levels of mercury. The EWG lists anchovies, herring, mussels, salmon, sardines, shad and trout.

    The EWG provides a very helpful list of seafood classified by levels of mercury as well as availability of Omega-3s.

    The EWG’s report & recommendations, released last week, come as health organizations prepare to meet next month to plan the 2015 guidelines (these guidelines are released every 5 years). For the 2015 update, the EWG is strongly recommending that the USDA & HHS Guidelines be completely redrawn in order “to help [American] consumers avoid excessive mercury and consume enough omega-3 fatty acids.” In addition, the government should also “investigate non-seafood sources of omega-3’s”, as per EWG’s counsel, since “the oceans do not produce enough seafood to accommodate the planet’s growing population and need for healthy fats.”

    View Post