Making healthy babies and keeping them healthy, happy … and safe.

Archive for June, 2008

FDA revises its position on the safety of mercury fillings

Posted by NonToxic House on June 16, 2008

The FDA has revised its position on the safety of amalgams (silver-colored mercury fillings) for pregnant women and small children. A lawsuit by a group of consumer advocacy organizations prompted the revision on the FDA site, which now reads,

Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses

Until now, the FDA had never admitted there were potential “neurotoxic effects” from mercury fillings. Despite the new admission, though, the FDA does not advise pregnant women to remove your silver-colored fillings because the process could expose you to mercury vapors. And while the agency says it doesn’t have enough information to advise women against mecury fillings altogether, it does say it will come up with a final decision and, potentially, more specific warnings by next summer. 

Until then, here are some resources:

And some tips:

  • Visit the dentist before you become pregnant, if possible
  • Avoid chewing gum and grinding your teeth if you currently have silver-colored fillings (the FDA says mercury can be released via normal chewing activity)
  • Consider gold, composite (tooth-colored)* or glass fillings, though they are said to be less durable than the mercury fillings.

This post probably raises more questions, but the truth is that there aren’t any easy solutions. Even dentists are split on the issue of silver-colored fillings. One thing is clear, though: everyone involved in this controversy is clear to say that you shouldn’t avoid dental care if it’s needed. Just get educated and ask smart questions, and make the best decisions you can.

* Be sure to review this post about dental sealants and composite (tooth-colored) fillings, which contain BPA but are said to be less harmful than amalgam (silver-colored, containing mercury) fillings.



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Tips and Resources: Non-toxic toys

Posted by NonToxic House on June 6, 2008

The thought of inspecting every toy for toxicity can be overwhelming for some, while others revel in the empowering feeling of cleaning out the toy bin (guess which camp I fall in?). I think I can satisfy both groups with some general guidelines to help you choose non-toxic toys and some detailed tips and resources to help you examine your existing batch and new ones you bring into your home.

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Anamalz: non-toxic wooden toys that flex

Posted by NonToxic House on June 6, 2008


It takes a bit more effort to find a safe non-toxic toy. Many plastic toys – rubber duckies, bath books, teethers, etc. – are made of PVC (plastic #3), which uses a group of chemicals called phthalates (pronounced “tha-lates”) that make the plastic soft and pliable but also have been shown to disrupt hormones and cause other health issues.

Wooden toys are definitely a safer alternative…

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Food coloring linked to hyperactivity, says advocacy group

Posted by NonToxic House on June 4, 2008

Fruit Roll-ups get their ‘fruity’ colors from Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40 and Blue 1 – artifical food colorings. The ‘blueberries’ in Aunt Jemima waffles are blue because they contain a mix of Red 40 and Blue 2. And Kraft’s guacamole dip is green, but not from avocados – from a combination of Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Blue 1. 

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Have you baby-proofed your dog?

Posted by NonToxic House on June 2, 2008

Today’s Wall Street Journal  featured a story about parents paying to baby-proof their dogs. One trainer had a woman walking through the house with a stroller, playing a CD of “annoying” baby cries and tugging on dog’s ears and tail the way a toddler might. The concern, of course, is dog bites … the WSJ reports that dog bites affect more than 4.7 million people each year – the majority of them children … Read the rest of this entry »

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