Children's Cancer Recovery
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Top 10 Practical Ways to Reduce Plastic Use at Home

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There are areas of concern involving the use of plastics and an increased risk for children, say certain sources. According to WebMD, some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA (Bisphenol A), a common chemical in plastics, could be most pronounced in infants and young children. “Their bodies are still developing and they are less efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.” Also, the FDA reports that PVC plastic can be a toxic exposure risk via DEHP, a softener that is released from PVC as it degrades.

As part of its Toxic Free Kids initiative, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (CCRF) says regulating plastic use in the home is a step towards making homes and families toxin-free. Fortunately, there are many ways to dramatically reduce overall plastic use, and by switching over to safer, more environmentally-friendly plastics, families can reap health and environmental benefits.

Here are the top 10 steps you can take to reduce the amount of plastic in your home:

  • Wooden & Cloth Toys - Handmade wooden toys are great for your kids; their use supports small businesses, and the toys themselves are often unique. Further, they will usually last much longer than equivalent plastic toys. Some great retailers of quality wooden toys are The Wooden Horse and Melissa and Doug. Cloth toys will last for years and may become treasured heirlooms.
  • Cloth Shopping Bags - Easily available from most retailers. Not only is cloth a good material for shopping bags; it's good for laundry bags, backpacks, and other toting gear and can be used to replace usual nylon containers.
  • Metal Water Bottles - Use a cloth strap and holder for times when you’re jogging. They also keep water cooler for a longer period of time.
  • Buy in Bulk - If you can make the trip to Costco, buy as much of your goods in bulk as you can. Doing this reduces overall plastic use; the less packaging there is, the less plastic is consumed.
  • Cloth Lunch Bags – While an unusual item for you and your kids, several retailers on Etsy let you personalize your lunch bag with a PDF image, so you can look cool while staying toxin-free.
  • Use Bar Soap - Bar soaps are usually wrapped in paper, while body washes are stored in plastic bottles. If you like to use a body wash, use a glass bottle dispenser instead.
  • Use Laundry Powder - Plastic bottles used for laundry detergent fill up landfills. Instead, measure your laundry detergent with a scoop or glass measuring cup.
  • Don’t Use Plastic Straws - Instead, your family should look into products such as paper and steel sippy cups and straws. Glass Dharma offers its own unique glass drinking straw.
  • Ceramic Dishes – They can be found at most major retailers and are a great, sturdy alternative to most plastic flatware.


Top 10 Practical Ways to Reduce Plastic Use at Home

Tips to Keep Kids Safe from Lawn Maintenance

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Keep Kids Safe From Lawn Maintenance

As the summer sun turns up the heat, many folks will be tending to their lawns and gardens to make sure they are the greenest on the block and pest-free. However, many are unaware of the potentially harmful toxins that may be lurking in products that are commonly applied to lawns and gardens. As part of its Toxic Free Kids initiative, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (CCRF) urges parents to become familiar with the possible dangers associated with common summertime activities, such as playing on the lawn or in the garden.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pesticides have been linked to causing a wide range of human health hazards such as cancer, reproductive harm, and damage to endocrine systems. Less seriously, pesticides have been linked to acute dangers such as nerve, skin, and eye irritation and damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and systemic poisoning. The U.S. EPA also notes that children are especially susceptible to the dangers of pesticide use. Activities such as playing in the grass expose children to potentially dangerous chemicals in some cases.

To help avoid these risks, CCRF offers the following lawn and garden maintenance tips:

  • Organic Fertilizers and Pesticides: Most stores that carry gardening products now carry organic fertilizers and pesticides. Although they come at a higher cost, these organic products do not contain the harsh chemicals used in traditional products, making it safer to use on your property.
  • Make Your Own Pesticide: Making your own natural pesticides with common household items is not only good for your garden, but also your wallet. By using 1 ½ tablespoons of biodegradable liquid soap, a quart of water, and a couple of drops of lemon or orange juice, you have a natural pesticide that lasts approximately two months.
  • Make Your Garden Stronger: Did you know that by not maintaining your garden properly, you can attract more insects? Insects love to breed in dying plants as well as debris and weeds. By clearing out dead plants and other debris you can significantly reduce the possibility of insect infestations.
  • Get The Kids in on The Fun: Instead of buying expensive and harmful weed killers, make a game in which your kids collect weeds from the ground. By showing them what a weed looks like, hold a competition to see who can grab the most. This is healthier for your lawn and encourages your children to be active outdoors.

Toxic Free Tips to Keep Kids Safe This Summer

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Toxic Free Suncream

With the school year drawing to a close and the warm weather approaching; families will begin to plan summer activities. However, many are unaware of the potentially harmful toxins that may be lurking in common areas, such as swimming pools, sun block, and even in a sandbox. As part of its Toxic Free Kids initiative, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (CCRF) urges parents to become familiar with the possible dangers associated with common summertime activities.

According to Arthur W. Perry, MD., FACS, a board certified plastic surgeon, Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University and a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Dr. Oz Show, chemicals found in certain sunscreens can soak into the skin and quickly find its way into the bloodstream. These chemicals scatter all over the body without being detoxified by the liver and can be detected in blood, urine, and breast milk for up to two days after a single application. A number of these chemical ingredients are also endocrine disruptors, which can cause abnormal development in fetuses and growing children.

To help avoid the risk of exposure to potentially cancer-causing substances, CCRF is offering the following summertime safety tips:

  • Toxic Free Sunscreen: A number of harmful chemicals can be found in many brand name sunscreen products. While sun block is extremely important in preventing skin cancer, it is important to choose sun lotions with labels indicating toxic free.
  • Safe Swimming Alternatives: Hitting the swimming pool is a favorite childhood pastime. According to Parenting Science, there is evidence that disinfectant by-products -- formed when chlorinated water is mixed with microorganisms, human body fluids, cosmetics, and sunscreen -- can increase the risk of cancer. Consider using a chemical-free system or bromine and salt systems instead. Also, children should be taught to keep their mouth closed while swimming to avoid ingesting pool water. Running under the sprinkler is a fun alternative.
  • Toxic Free Sand: Typically, white sand found in sandboxes contains microcrystalline silica, a dangerous carcinogen. Certain sand products found at your local stores display a health hazard warning label. Always read the label to ensure you are purchasing a safe product. The American Academy of Pediatrics Safety in the Sandbox, recommends using natural beach or river sand and to avoid products made from crushed limestone, marble, crystalline silica (quartz), and products that are obviously dusty.
  • Opt for Natural Insect Repellents: Summertime is notorious for mosquito bites. Unfortunately, certain mainstream bug sprays contain harmful toxins. According to WebMD, soy-based products, oil of lemon eucalyptus, citronella and peppermint oil are all environmentally-safe alternatives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers additional recommendations, including DEET-free insect repellants.


Toxic-Free Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

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Home Made Gift

Harrisburg, PA - May 1, 2014 – As a representation of their love and appreciation, now is the time that children are looking for the ultimate Mother’s Day gift. Leading up to the holiday, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (CCRF) advises the public to be mindful of certain products, such as particular brands of make-up that contain cancer-causing toxins. As part of its Toxic-Free Kids initiative, CCRF asks shoppers to consider safe alternatives for their Mother’s Day gifts this year.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, most women are unaware of the toxic chemicals found in some cosmetics and their links to long-term health problems. People are exposed to toxins by swallowing chemicals on their lips, absorbing them through their skin, or by breathing in sprays. Moreover, many of these chemicals may interfere with the body’s endocrine and hormone system. In some cases, they can produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects, such as cancer, organ failure and birth defects.

CCRF offers this toxic-free Mother’s Day shopping guide:

  • Natural Make-up - If your mother is an avid cosmetics user, make-up made from natural ingredients is the perfect gift for her. Read the labels and stay away from companies that use harmful chemicals, such as phthalates, placental extracts and benzophenones. Look for brands that use all natural ingredients; Bare Minerals and Earth Makeup are two brands that look great without the dangerous chemicals.
  • Candles Made with Beeswax - Candles that contain an artificial scent or paraffin can potentially cause lung cancer. As a toxic-free alternative, purchase a candle that is naturally scented or made with beeswax.
  • Homemade Body Scrub - Instead of purchasing an expensive body scrub, which could contain harmful chemicals, create your own toxic-free one. This affordable option can be easily created with household materials, such as sugar and olive oil. Many toxic-free body scrub recipes can be found online.
  • Gift Certificate to Toxic-Free Spa - Mothers work hard all year long; nothing says “I love you” more than a gift certificate to a toxic-free spa. These spas only use non-chemical products in their treatments.
  • The Honest Co. - Created by Golden Globe award-winning actress Jessica Alba, The Honest Co. offers an entire line of products dedicated to being toxic-free. From cleaning products to bath and body, mothers can be rest-assured they are purchasing safe products.

About Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (CCRF)

Headquartered in Harrisburg, PA with a division in The Woodlands, TX, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation supports children under 18 and their families facing the hardships of cancer. The foundation performs acts of care and kindness through the following programs: Bear-Able Gifts (largest distributor of gifts to children with cancer in the U.S.); Toxic-Free Kids (educates families on the dangers of environmental toxins); New Era Cancer Research Fund (funds research for less toxic, minimally-invasive pediatric-cancer treatments); International Aid (provides medications and supplies to clinics in developing and impoverished countries); Helping Hands Fund (provides emergency financial assistance to families); and Camp Scholarships (allows children in remission to reconnect with activities they love). With a national pediatric-hospital partner network of 215+ locations, the foundation directly helps more than 15,000 children affected by cancer and their families every year. Please visit


Toxic-Free Spring Cleaning Tips From the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation

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Toxic-free Spring CleaningHarrisburg, PA- April 8, 2014- With the spring season in full swing and the warm weather right around the corner, families around the nation will begin to embark on their annual spring cleaning rituals. However, there are a large number of household cleaning products that are not only toxic to the environment, but are linked to childhood cancer as well. The Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation’s (CCRF), Toxic-Free Kids program encourages parents to use safe cleaning alternatives to lessen their children’s exposure to hazardous and potentially cancer-causing products.

Although typical household cleaning products assist in clearing away dirt, many of them leave behind toxic chemicals that linger in the home. It is not uncommon to find carcinogens, such as kerosene, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and chlorine bleach, in everyday products. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is one of the nation's most pressing personal health concerns. Peak concentrations of 20 toxic compounds — some linked to cancer and birth defects — were 200 to 500 times higher inside some homes than outdoors, according to a 5-year EPA study that surveyed 600 homes in six cities.

CCRF urges families to seek healthier, more environmentally-friendly options to avoid exposure to carcinogens and help lower the risk of childhood cancer. The following tips can help your family clean without chemicals this spring:

  • Always look for “toxic-free” on the front of the bottle, as this is the easiest and most obvious way to assure you are purchasing a safe product.
  • Be sure the ingredients are listed on the label. Products that fail to do so should immediately raise a red flag.
  • Use natural alternatives, such as white vinegar and baking soda. It may sound simple but due to its acidity, vinegar is extremely effective for killing mold, bacteria and germs. Not to worry, it is safe on virtually every surface, including wood (as long as it is sealed or finished).
  • Avoid products with chlorine bleach. The fumes from this chemical have negative affects on the nervous, respiratory and immune systems. The risks of chlorine bleach also increases when mixed with other substances.
  • Steam cleaning is a safe and effective way to clean without using chemicals. Steam sanitizes and releases dirt at the same time.
  • Many laundry detergents also contain cancer-causing toxins. It is best to avoid products containing fragrance, dye, optical brighteners and phthalates.
  • Commonly found in window cleaners, ammonia is an extremely toxic element that brings forth an array of health risks, including cancer. It is best to avoid products containing this element entirely.

More on how you can clean the toxic-free way.


About Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation

Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation’s (CCRF) mission is to deliver simple acts of care and kindness to children and their families experiencing cancer. This is accomplished through the following programs: Toxic-Free Kids – a campaign to educate families on the dangers of environmental toxins and their link to childhood cancer; New Era Cancer Research Fund – focused on funding research for less toxic, minimally invasive pediatric cancer treatments; and International Aid – providing treatment medications and supplies to clinics in developing and impoverished countries.

In addition, CCRF is the largest distributor of gifts to children with cancer in the US through the Bear-Able Gift Program, provides emergency financial assistance to families via the Helping Hands Fund, and recently increased the number of children served through the Camp Scholarship Program by partnering with local camps in PA and TX. The Foundation is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA and has a division in The Woodlands, TX. With a national pediatric hospital partner network of over 215 locations, each year the Foundation directly services over 15,000 children and family members who are impacted by childhood cancer. This national footprint allows the Foundation to reach virtually every child who is dealing with cancer. More information at: