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Green Living at Home

Maia J.
MAIA J.
Green Living Expert
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Join Maia James, mom and green living expert, to learn about how to make your home safer for your family. Maia is here to answer questions about safe products from skincare to house cleaning and give tips to make homes of all kinds cleaner and safer.

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Iron Supplementation

TOBI

Just wondering your thoughts on The Lucky Iron Fish http://www.luckyironfish.com/ for use in trying to get mildly low iron levels up in a toddler. I still nurse my 18 month old and her daily food intake that includes iron rich foods is fairly limited, based on what she will actually eat. Pediatricians keep pushing me to give a supplement, but I prefer to stick to foods and things like cooking in cast iron. The Fish seems like cast iron cooking. Wondering if it could put too much iron in her system, or if its somehow otherwise not a good idea? Thanks!

Maia
MAIA

Hi Tobi! Since I am not a doctor, I really have to defer to your pediatrician on this one. I will say that my older son was mildly anemic at the one-year appt and it cleared up by age 2 (when he was still nursing but eating much more solid foods).

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Lip balm

RYANNE

Hello! I'm a lip balm addict, and I've used Burt's Bees for years. I'm not a huge fan of Burt's products, but I haven't been able to give this one up because I've yet to find an alternative that stays on your lips for as long and I don't have time to reapply every hour. Is the lip balm okay stuff? If not, do you have another recommendation? Thanks so much!

Maia
MAIA

Yes the Burt's Bees balms are fine:). If you want other suggestions: I love Tandi's Naturals and Green Goo. What you really want to avoid in lip balms are chemical sunscreens (such as oxybenzone), synthetic scents (will be listed as "parfum" or "fragrance"), and petroleum products (such as paraffin).

SUSAN

Are EOS lip balms ok?

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Polyurethane cushions

JESSICA

Hi Maia! I've thoroughly enjoyed greening our home since the birth of my twins in 2015. Your dad helped us find an awesome soaring heart mattress which we love. My couches are all free of flame retardants but the cushions are made of polyurethane. Wondering how bad this is and what we can do that doesn't involve buying new furniture? Thanks!
Jessica

Maia
MAIA

Hi Jessica-
Thanks! So glad you like your Soaring Heart mattress! Polyurethane foam is of course not a natural material, but I'm not overly worried about it as long as it isn't treated with flame retardants. I wouldn't toss the sofa, but you can take some general steps to clean up your indoor air. Ideas here: https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/3-easy-ways-to-have-a-less-toxic-home/

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Public awareness of "The Good Stuff"

REBECCA

Maia,
I am a pediatrician and passionate about changing the toxic (I hate using that word because it is so over-used, but really appropriate a lot of the time!) environment that our children live in. I am well informed about what products are safe and not so safe and share this information with my patients daily. My patients are poor for the most part so I stick to very basic advice...like replacing all cleaning products with a multipurpose spray bottle of half water half white vinegar, and like using straight coconut oil as a moisturizer for baby skin.

But I want to do more. I am thinking about doing informational sessions at elementary schools to reach more people and help inform the change that I feel is so integral to the health of our children. Have you done any sessions like this? Was it well received? Any advice?

Thanks so much,
Rebecca

Maia
MAIA

Hey Rebecca-I have done talks before, yes, but I'm embarrassed to say they've only been at private schools or high end boutiques....in other words, not underserved populations. I would love to reach more people in the groups you work with...and I applaud you for being one of the only pediatricians I've heard of who shares this important health info with her patients! Feel free to email me at maia@gimmethegoodstuff.org and perhaps we can collaborate in some way!

MAIA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!

What is your take on Norwex or the e cloth? They sound awesome.

M, PARENT OF 8 YEAR OLD, 6 YEAR OLD

Maia
MAIA

The cloths themselves are fine, but Norwex doesn't readily disclose the ingredients in their skincare and cleaning products so I would avoid those. E cloths are safe.

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House cleaning

KATHRYN, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD, 4 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

Hi Maia,
I have an 8m old on verge of crawling and was wondering if there cleaning products I am using on kitchen tile, hard wood floors/furniture and in the bath tub are safe for him. I know he could lick the floor. Currently, I use a swiffer wet pads/wet jet, Murphy oil soap, pine sol, soft scrub and fantastic. I greatly appreciate your thoughts! Thank you! Kathryn

Maia
MAIA

Hi Kathryn! I would definitely replace the Swiffer pads with a nontoxic version--The Honest Company makes a pad that's compatible. Pine Sol, Soft Scrub, and Fantastic should also go, I'm sorry to say! (Murphy's isn't so bad). My favorite brands of cleaning products where the entire line is safe is Eco-Me or Better Life. Seventh Generation is also mostly okay:).

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Safe cleaning products

EMILY, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD, 4 YEAR OLD

Hi! There are so many brands out there claiming to be "clean" "sulfates free" etc.
I was wondering what your favorite brand(s) are related to cleaning highchair, toys; cleaning hands, face; laundry detergent and anything else I might be missing :)

Maia
MAIA

You're right that there is lots of greenwashing going on in the (largely unregulated) cleaning products industry! My favorite brands for nontoxic cleaners are Better Life and Eco-Me. If you want an anti-bacterial type wipe for things like high chairs, hands, toys, plane trays, etc., I love the Clean Well ones!

Our Q&A starts now!

TINYHOOD, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD

Welcome, Maia! Curious about safe cleaning or beauty products? Wondering what it means when an item is labeled as “natural”? Maia is here today to answer all of your questions about green living.