Lessons from my mom: Honoring toxic-free traditions this mother's day
By Caitlin Seath
I grew up in the Canadian countryside and there my mom always made everything from scratch. She would often use recipes from her mom, my grandma. Even though she was raising the three of us on her own, she always made everything. How she found the energy, I will never know.
She passed that knowledge onto me before I started my own family. My first child came 4 weeks early, and within the first three months of life we knew that something was going on with his skin. We discovered that he had severe eczema; it was something that his dad had also suffered with. We took that knowledge from my mom and grandmother and changed the way we cleaned, the products we used on our skin, and the food we ate.
We used a vinegar recipe passed down from my grandma to clean almost everything. We had to special order clothes for our son made from 100% organic cotton. The typical baby products that are in stores may have smelled great, but they wreaked havoc on our baby's skin. The chemicals in these products provoked a burning, rash symptom. I was disgusted that our government even allowed such ingredients to be deemed safe to add to everyday products. We really had to become aware of what ingredients were safe and what to steer clear of.
When our son turned one, he had a birthday cake that he couldn't eat. We discovered the hard way that he was allergic to eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. He started going into shock. Luckily my husband and I had an antihistamine to give him and a quick ride to the hospital. Now we had to be vigilant about food. I don't know what I would've done without my mom, she helped us through all of our ups and downs, and gave us the knowledge to raise a healthy little boy.
I feel very lucky that I always had a fountain of information before we had our son. It could have been a lot harder. Fortunately we were already knowledgeable about foods and ingredients so we didn't have to change our lifestyle too much.
Finding safe products
The hurdle that we always and still do run into is being able to find safe products and food to purchase here in Minnesota. Luckily I could once again count on my mom. She still lives in Canada, so we would have her bring us a lot of the clothing and other products from there. We would also send away for various things from Europe. Their laws are stricter when it comes to having safe ingredients in their products. I see other countries protecting the health of children and I wonder why our government thinks it is acceptable to expose our children to harmful ingredients.
I know that our state is starting to take protective action in the vacuum of federal restrictions. I can only hope that it will get better.
Today, my son's eczema is under control, and my mom and I are creating new recipes for future birthday cakes!
We can't shop our way out of this problem--in order to have safe, toxic-free products, we need the government to take action to protect our health. Join with the thousands of people who support chemical policy reform by signing the petition for the Safe Chemicals Act today!