About Us

Terms and Conditions

Introduction

Because Health is a project of The Collaborative on Health and the Environment, which is fiscally sponsored by Commonweal, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Please read these Terms of Use carefully before accessing or using our website.

By accessing this website, or using the content and services available on this website, you agree to be bound by these Terms of Use ("Terms of Use" or "Terms.") These Terms include all of the Terms of Use set forth here, as well as any of our other terms and policies set forth on our website or referred to in these Terms, including our Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. If you do not agree to these Terms you may not use our website or our services.

This website is operated by Because Health. In these Terms of Use, the terms "we", "us" and "our" refer to Because Health and the terms "you" and "your" refer to you, the user of this website and the services we offer.

We reserve the right to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use by posting updates or changes to our website. It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes. Your continued use of the website or our services following the posting of any changes constitutes acceptance of those changes.

Purpose

Because Health is a non-profit educational organization and this website exists to further our mission. We request that you use this website and our services for purposes consistent with this mission.

Our Content and Services

We own all rights to the content offered on our website, except for that content supplied by our third party suppliers, and for such content, we are authorized to provide and offer that content by our suppliers subject to the term set forth in these Terms. In some circumstances, we may incorporate materials developed by third parties, which materials are used on this website for educational or similar purposes consistent with copyright "fair use" principals established by federal law. 17 U.S.C. §107. By accessing our website or using our services you do not acquire any ownership rights in any materials offered on our website. You are, however, authorized to use our website and services, subject to your compliance with these Terms.

We own the copyright in content of our website and all other intellectual property rights associated with our website and our services; except only that content created by third parties.

All content: © 2018 Because Health

You may access and use our website and services only for their intended purpose. You may not copy or duplicate our content for any commercial purposes without our separate express written permission.

We reserve the right to change, modify, revise or update the content and our materials on our website at any time.

Limitations on the Services We Offer

We do not guarantee that the information we offer will meet your needs. It is your responsibility to verify that information provided on this website is useful to you. We cannot guarantee that the information provided is accurate, correct, complete, current or timely or that it is appropriate for your needs. The information is provided for general educational purposes only. You agree it is your responsibility to verify the accuracy and applicability of any information provided. In addition, we provide information from third party sources. This information is provided as a convenience to our users. Any information provided by third party sources, such as articles or webinars provided on this site, is solely the position or opinion of the various authors or presenters.

We reserve the right to modify or delete the information on our website at any time for any reason. We cannot guarantee materials will be maintained on this website nor can we guarantee their continued availability.

In addition, we cannot guarantee the continued availability or accessibility of our website or any materials on our website. We cannot guarantee that availability of an internet connection at all times.

Certain portions of our website may be made available only to our members or subscribers. We reserve the right to restrict access to our website or portions of our website at any time on any conditions we reasonably determine to be appropriate.

Your Obligations

You agree that to the extent you provide any information to us, all information you provide will be truthful and accurate.

You agree that you will use our website only for its intended purposes and will not use it for any illegal purpose.

You will not use our website or the materials on our website for any commercial purpose. (Should you require a commercial license to use the materials on our website, please contact us at the address listed below).

You agree that you will not upload any unauthorized or malicious information to our webpages. You agree that you will not upload or implement any computer virus or malware to our site, or any other computer programs designed to interfere with the normal operation of our website.

You agree that you will not upload any information to our site that you do not own or which you are not authorized to post to our site. By using our services or site and providing any material on our site, you represent and warrant to us that you own such materials or that you are authorized to post this information to our site. In addition, you grant us a perpetual non-cancellable license to use to use any materials you provide to us in any manner we deem appropriate. You further represent and warrant to us that all materials you provide to us do not infringe any intellectual property right of any third party, and that such materials do not violate any right of privacy or publicity of any third party. You further agree that you will not post any materials to our site which are illegal or obscene.

You acknowledge that we may use any information you provide to us for any purpose we deem appropriate. We may also use any information you provide as permitted in our Privacy Policy.

Third party Services and Links

The information on this site may include references to and links to third party websites. These links are provided for your convenience only. We are not responsible for any information provided on any third party website or for any services provided on or through any third party website.

Donations

Because Health is a non-profit organization. We accept donations through our website. All donor information is handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You may also donate to us directly. For more information on donations, please contact us at the location indicated below.

Disclaimer of Warranties/Limitation of Liability

No warranty. We make no warranties and expressly disclaim all warranties with regard to the materials and information offered on the website. We do not warranty and expressly disclaim that the information on this website is accurate, complete or timely. We expressly disclaim the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for any particular purpose. You agree that it is solely your responsibility to make sure that your use of the website meets your needs.

TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE COMPANY SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THE USE OF OUR WEBSITE OR THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS WEBSITE. You further agree that in no event will we have any liability based upon your use of this website, our services or any information contained on our website. Certain states do not permit limitations of liability, so this may not apply to you.

Indemnification

You agree to indemnify, defend and hold us harmless from any claims asserted by any third party due to your violation of any of these terms.

Additional Provisions

This agreement is governed by the laws of the United States of America and California law.

You agree that any lawsuit arising out of or related to this agreement may be brought in the state or federal courts located in San Francisco, California. By using accessing our website or using our services, you consent to the jurisdiction and venue of those courts.

In the event any lawsuit is brought arising out of or related to this agreement, the prevailing party in such legal action will recover their court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.

BECAUSE HEALTH

c/o Commonweal

PO Box 316

Bolinas, CA 94924

info@becausehealth.org

Life

Buying holiday decorations? Here's what you should know

Don't let these chemicals ruin your holiday cheer

You may need to be careful rockin' around the Christmas tree this year! Why you ask? Well, there might be some unexpected chemicals in that holly jolly decoration above your head. Holiday decorations can bring great cheer, but sometimes they can contain an unwanted surprise. Some decorations may be made with toxic chemicals - keep a look out for the ones below!
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Life

Is Your Artificial Christmas Tree Toxic?

Tips to reduce your exposure to these hazardous chemicals

Artificial Christmas trees are becoming increasingly popular for families. They're seen as being convenient since they don't shed needles and can be reused year after year. Because they can be reused, families tend to save money by choosing artificial trees over a real one. A study from the The American Christmas Tree Association (yes that is a real and reputable organization!) performed a life cycle analysis and found that one artificial tree that's reused for eight or more Christmases is more environmentally friendly than purchasing a real tree each year (1). The study also found that Christmas trees, both real and fake, accounted for a tiny part (< 0.1%) of a person's annual carbon footprint.

But are artificial Christmas trees as good for your health as they are for your wallet? The majority of artificial trees are made using a plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and lead, which is used to stabilize PVC (2). The lead in the trees break down over time and forms lead dust. These particles are released into the air and can cause health issues, especially in young children. Most people do not realize that artificial trees contain lead, and only California requires a lead warning label (2). It is estimated that there are 50 million households in the United States that own artificial trees with lead in them (3).

Don't panic! If you are an owner of an artificial Christmas tree made out of PVC, there are precautions you can take to reduce your family's exposure to lead.

  1. PVC releases more gases when it is first exposed to air. They also release gases as they degrade. A good way to reduce the amount of lead in your household is to take the tree out of the box and air it outside when you first purchase it (4).
  2. If you have used your artificial tree for many Christmases, you may want to consider purchasing a new one. PVC tends to weaken and degrade after nine years (4). Newer artificial trees do not leach as much lead as older ones.
  3. Light cords that come with your artifical tree are prone to have levels of lead that exceed the limit set by the EPA (4). It is recommended that you wash your hands immediately after touching light cords. And definitely don't let young children handle cords.

If you're currently tree-less and in the market for an artificial one, consider purchasing a tree made out of polyethylene. This plastic is safer than PVC and does not leach lead. Additionally, trees made out of polyethylene tend to be more durable than PVC trees.

While artificial PVC Christmas trees don't pose a high health risk overall to the general population, it's very possible for young children to have severe negative health effects (3). It's important to be aware of the health risks that go along with trees made out of PVC, and the ways to avoid lead exposure for yourself and your family this holiday season.


References

  1. https://www.christmastreeassociation.org/real-artificial-christmas-tree-environment/
  2. https://rtkenvironmental.com/lead/warning-hidden-health-hazard-artificial-christmas-trees/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15628192
  4. https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19548208/do-christmas-trees-make-you-sick/
Sometimes it may feel like everywhere you turn, there's some sort of junk food being advertised—whether that's cupcakes or fries or deep fried things on a stick. And more than sometimes, you have a child begging you for a sweet treat or sugary drink. It can feel like a daunting task at times to encourage and foster healthy eating. While we know there are many factors that influence a child's food choices, here's one that you may not have thought of.
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Life

Avoid These Stressful Ingredients the Next Time You Relax with a Bath Bomb

We don't need these chemicals messing with our #selfcare

December means it's time to start thinking about those stocking stuffers or Chanukah gifts for your loved ones. What's better than a bath bomb to relax and take in those sudsy, therapeutic fragrances? Bath bombs can also get your kids to bathe without putting up a fight. They're basically magic! But, have you stopped to think what else they are putting in those bombs to make those suds glisten and fizz?

What's in a Bath Bomb?

It turns out, there can be a whole range of questionable chemicals packed neatly into those appealing little bombs. It's hard to tell exactly what's in each bath bomb because the ingredients vary widely among manufacturers, but fragrances, artificial colors, boric acid, and glitter are some common ingredients.

Fragrance is never a welcome sight on the ingredient list. The FDA does not require companies to disclose ingredients used to make fragrances in products like bath bombs in order to protect company "trade secrets (1)." Many synthetic and natural fragrances also include such hormone-disrupting chemicals as phthalates, which can be absorbed through the skin and have been found to pose specific risks for pregnant women and children (2). Studies have also linked health effects of phthalates to miscarriage, gestational diabetes, reduced IQ, and ADHD with increased exposure to phthalates.

As for dyes, the evidence is limited when it comes to FDA approved dyes readily being absorbed through the skin. However, one study found that certain dyes may be absorbed after shaving (3). Also, young children often swallow water while bathing and ingestion of some of these chemicals for young children is definitely not recommended!

Boric acid also has some side effects that you may not want to risk. It can be absorbed through the mucous membranes and has been linked to hormone disruption and developmental and reproductive toxicity (4). And then there is glitter, which is just more plastic that can end up in our lakes, rivers, and streams.

Alternatives and DIY Recipes

While there may be harmful ingredients in some bath bombs, you don't have to give them up! It's easy to avoid these ingredients with just a little extra effort. You can choose to purchase "fragrance-free" or "phthalate-free" bath bombs, but making your own bath bomb is super easy. Here are also some DIY recipes to try at home.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup finely ground sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond oil (or apricot oil)
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of witch hazel
  • 1 teaspoon beet root powder
  • wild orange essential oil
  • rose essential oil

Directions

  • Blend all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Blend wet ingredients in another bowl.
  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Place in mold of choice or just form a ball about 1-2 inches in diameter.
  • Allow the bath bombs to dry for approximately 1-2 days.
  • To use, place bath bomb in the bath.
  • To store, place in airtight container. Storing in a refrigerator can allow the bath bombs to keep for about 3 weeks (5).


References

1.https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/fragrances-cosmetics

2.https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp73-c1.pdf
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23127598
4.https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Boric-acid#section=Health-Hazardhttps://draxe.com/health/are-bath-bombs-safe/
5.https://draxe.com/beauty/diy-bath-bomb-recipe/
6. https://homemadeforelle.com/bath-bombs-for-kids/#Ingredients
Life

The Hidden Risk in Store-Bought Slime

Avoid this hazardous ingredient with our own DIY slime recipe

Slime seems to be the hottest new toy for kids. They love that it's a tactile toy they can squeeze and smash. But before you rush out to buy a new tub of gooey slime on your next shopping trip, have you ever wondered what's actually in it? Turns out, there's a not-so-kid-friendly ingredient lurking in many slime products sold in stores, as well as in some DIY kits and recipes.

What's So Bad About Boron?

Boron is a chemical commonly used in many brands of slime, DIY kits, and some DIY recipes to give it that rubbery texture. While it may feel fun, it's actually not great for our health. Boron is an acute eye, respiratory tract, and nasal irritant and is harmful if swallowed (1). If ingested, it can also cause nausea and vomiting (2). Long-term exposure to boron can also cause negative reproductive health effects (3, 4). The problems with boron don't stop once you throw slime away either. It turns out that boron lasts a long time in the environment and has hazardous effects on aquatic life (5).

To make matters worse, there's a lot more boron in slime than there should be. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) recently tested different brands of slime and found concentrations as high as 4700 parts per million (ppm) of boron, (6) which is more than fifteen times the allowable level for toys sold in the European Union (300 ppm for sticky/liquid toys) (6). Canada, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates have even instituted policies limiting or banning boron in children's toys (6).

Safe Slime

Luckily, it's easy to make your own boron-free slime. We like this recipe for full-proof slime that substitutes boron/borax (a boron compound that's found in a lot of other slime recipes) with cornstarch and school glue. We guarantee your kids will still have hours of fun with this non-toxic slime!

Fluffy Volcano Slime

  1. Pour 1/4 cup white school glue and a 1/2 cup of cornstarch in a bowl
  2. Add 3 drops of food coloring (optional)
  3. Mix well
  4. Knead it with your hands for 10 minutes
  5. Heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds
  6. Let it cool, then knead it for another 10 minutes (7)

References

2. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-09/documents/health_effects_support_document_for_boron.pdf

3. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+328

4. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-09/documents/health_effects_support_document_for_boron.pdf

5. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Boron

6. https://uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/WEB_USP_Toyland-Report_Nov18_2-1.pdf

7. https://www.cnet.com/how-to/make-slime-without-borax/

Roundups

15 Non-Toxic Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Fun, healthy, safe, and great for those budding imaginations

Updated for 2019!

You can pat yourself on the back for bringing these non-toxic toys into your home or gifting them to friends. These are the highest rated, healthiest toys for your growing little one. Not only did we make sure that the materials are safe, but we made sure parents like you love these toys. All the toys here are great for revving up their imagination and creativity and are made to last. If you're looking for something for a newborn or a baby under 1, here are our top picks for best non-toxic newborn toys.

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Roundups

15 Non-Toxic Toys for Newborns

healthy, safe toys for 0-1 years old

Updated for 2019!

Even before they can talk, babies know how to play. Sure, they will play with whatever is in front of them, but having their own toys is way more fun, and saves things like your watch from being covered in slobber. Here are some of the highest rated, healthiest toys out there, but be sure to check out our roundup of toy brands, too. If you're looking for something for someone a bit older, here are our picks for best non-toxic toys for toddlers.

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