Archive for Advocacy

November 14th, 2017

Hey T.J. Maxx, We Want Safer Products

As many of you know, I’ve been working with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families for many years on their Mind the Store Campaign. This is a national effort to protect families from toxic chemicals. I’ve visited WalgreensCostco and devoted plenty of blog posts to this campaign.

I’m often asked why I take the time to visit retailers. Since the government isn’t doing their job protecting us from these chemicals through regulation, we have no other option but to place consumer pressure on retailers to create safer chemical policies. And it’s working!

What is the Mind the Store Campaign?

There’s some good news. Since the Mind the Store campaign started in 2013, several major US retailers, including Walmart, Target, and CVS, have announced significant initiatives to limit the use of toxic chemicals. Consumer pressure does work!

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the Mind the Store campaign today released its second annual report card on toxic chemicals in consumer products. New stores are featured in this report, including, Trader Joe’s, Sephora, Sally Beauty, and Ulta.  

T.J. Maxx Gets an “F”

T.J.Maxx received an F grade, which shows that they have nothing in place when it comes to toxic chemicals. This is unacceptable. 

T.J. Maxx wasn’t the only retailer receiving an “F”. There were nine others: Ace Hardware, grocery chain owner Ahold Delhaize, Dollar General, Kohl’s, Office Depot, Sally Beauty, TJX, Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us, and Trader Joe’s. Before you kick off your holiday shopping take a moment to check out the full list here: 

Now it’s time for T.J.Maxx to join other retailers and develop a safer chemicals policy to disclose, restrict, and eliminate harmful chemicals and make sure that replacements are truly safe. 

My Visit to T.J. Maxx

I’m truly concerned that certain chemicals could be present in some of the consumer products on the shelves in these stores. Those same toxic chemicals may be found in the bodies of newborn babies, children, adults. They can also end up in household dust and indoor air, in our food and really everywhere.

There’s a T.J. Maxx about 7 minutes from my house. Today I joined forces with Clean Water Action/Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow and visited my local T.J. Maxx to ask them to develop a safer chemicals policy.

What You Can Do

Retailers have the power to make substantial improvements in public health and safety, and with that power comes a moral obligation, a corporate social responsibility. Many major retailers have gotten started, but they need to do more. Retailers care about their customers, so you can help them along.

Join me along with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Clean Water Action/Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow to call on the TJX Company stores (T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods) to Mind the Store and protect our families from unnecessary dangerous chemicals.

Take action! Send an email to all 30 retailers with one click.

Let’s continue to place pressure on them to do more to keep families safe. Together we can make a difference!

Is there a T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or Home Goods near you?

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September 19th, 2017

Helping Others Through Heifer’s School Milk Feeding Program

Helping Others By Giving One Student Fresh Milk for a School Year

Photo courtesy of Heifer International

Thank you to Heifer International for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my very own.

Last night was one of those nights where everyone decided to linger at the dinner table. I treasure those moments since they are becoming far and few between. As my kids get older and their lives ramp up I’m finding that there’s less time to just hang out. Especially during the school year when schedules and meals rarely line up.

The conversation bounced all over the place (which I love) and we finally settled on a discussion about helping others. Given the current state of the world, it was unfortunately easy to come up with many scenarios where people truly need help. Even though I’m not sure my kids are hearing what I’m saying, my philosophy is to keep talking about these situations and how helping can come in many different forms. The hope is that someday my children will demonstrate that they’ve heard me on some level. We shall see!

One of my favorite organizations dedicated to helping others is Heifer International. I’ve been a longtime supporter of Heifer. When I’m struggling to think of a gift for someone who has it all, Heifer is my go-to. Their gift options are incredibly unique as they work to end world hunger and poverty. Our family has been known to give a flock of geese or chicks in honor of a friend’s birthday.

Helping Others Through Heifer’s School Milk Feeding Program

Heifer has another fantastic program, the Heifer School Milk Feeding Program, which just launched in July 2017. The program reflects full circle implementation of Heifer’s work to help communities; in this case “cow to the classroom.”

Since 2008, Heifer’s Tanzania program has focused on helping dairy farmers increase milk production. They are now broadening that focus to create more viable and diverse markets for these farmers. With the help of farmers, government agencies, and school districts, Heifer has created a school milk feeding program to encourage a generation of milk-drinkers and increase the well-being and nutrition of eager students.

The launch of the School Milk Feeding program allowed 1,742 pupils in the Njombe region to receive fresh 200ml packets of pasteurized milk and these students will continue to receive a free, daily packet of fresh milk every day Monday – Friday during the school year. Pretty amazing!

The ultimate goal of the program is to provide 9,000 pupils (ages 9 and under) in the Njombe, Iringa, Mbeya, and Songwe regions with a packet of free fresh milk every day Monday – Friday during the school year.

Helping Others By Giving One Student Fresh Milk for a School Year

Photo courtesy of Heifer International

Milk Facts 

Did you know that one packet (200ml) of milk contains at least a quarter of the daily calcium requirements for children? By donating just $75, one student will receive fresh milk for a school year (that’s just 40 cents a day)! Supporting the program will positively impact communities by

  • Providing milk for children who suffer from a lack of proper nutrition
  • Empowering students to focus on learning instead of hunger
  • Creating a reliable market for producers
  • Increasing farmers’ incomes and reducing poverty

How you can help

Heifer International has been my go-to for holiday gifts, birthday gifts and more. Make a donation of any size! Just $75 can provide one student with fresh milk for a school year (that’s just 40 cents a day). Click HERE to help.

In support of School Milk Day on September, 27th let’s give a gift that grows!

Here's How You Can Give One Student Fresh Milk for an Entire School Year

Please share!

Every time this post is shared on Twitter or Facebook Women Online, will donate $1 (up to $2,000)! Please click below to share on Twitter.

Make a difference! Help Give One Student Fresh Milk for a School Year @Heifer #GiveHeifer Click To Tweet

What are some of your favorite ways to help others?

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 Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Heifer International. All opinions are, of course, my own.
June 26th, 2017

Why Mineral Sunscreen is a Safer Choice

This post is brought to you by Goddess Garden.

This time of year most of us are slathering on sunscreen before we head out the door. We all know how challenging it is to get our kids to wear sunscreen, but it’s a necessity if we want to avoid skin cancer. I’ve been forced to make the switch to a non-aerosol spray mineral sunscreen since that’s all my kids will wear.

The skin cancer risk increases for those who had at least five blistering sunburns when they were 15 to 20 years old. They have a 68 percent increased risk for common skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and an 80 percent increased risk of the deadlier melanoma by the time they reached middle age.

Time to #GiveChemicalsTheBird and make the switch to safer sunscreens! Click To Tweet

Mineral sunscreens are great for those with sensitive skin

Most traditional sunscreens use toxic chemical sunscreens that absorb and scatter the sun’s rays into the skin. Along with those ultraviolet (UV) rays, the chemicals are absorbed and can get into the bloodstream. The skin is the body’s largest organ—let’s protect it! Sunscreen chemicals can trigger allergies and other skin reactions. Since natural minerals reflect the UV rays and aren’t absorbed into the skin, they are much less likely to cause irritation. This makes mineral sunscreens a great choice for those with sensitive skin or anyone who wants to avoid synthetic chemicals.

Why Mineral Sunscreen is a Safer Choice Groovy Green Livin

Mineral sunscreens are immediately effective and don’t break down in the sun

Most of us have heard that we should wait 20 minutes after applying sunscreen before heading into the sun. Do you know why? The chemicals go through a reaction with your skin before they’re effective. Chemical sunscreens also break down quickly in the sun, requiring not-so-safe ingredients as stabilizers. Liquid plastics are also often added to keep the chemicals from being absorbed too quickly. Natural mineral sunscreens aren’t as complicated. They’re immediately effective and stay that way—no liquid plastics or toxins required.

Minerals sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, naturally

Chemical sunscreens guard against the burning rays (UVB), but not all of them protect against early skin aging. It’s important to check the label to be sure a sunscreen provides natural broad-spectrum protection from both UVB (burning) rays, as well as the UVA (aging and damaging) rays, as zinc oxide does.

Mineral sunscreens are reef safe

Chemical-based sunscreens can cause harmful damage to the world’s coral reefs. By making the switch to a safer, mineral sunscreen you can help stop this damage.

Why I love Goddess Garden mineral sunscreen

Every year I do my best to test out several sunscreens and share my findings with you throughout the summer. Goddess Garden consistently makes it onto my “favorites” list over and over. Last year Goddess Garden was one of my Top Picks for Safe Sunscreens for Kids. This year Goddess Garden showed up as one of the top Safer Spray Sunscreens for Kids, Teens, and Adults in 2017.

Here are a few of my favorite Goddess Garden products:

Have you made the switch to mineral sunscreen?

Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links meaning,at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! 

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


May 11th, 2017

Here’s Why You Should Stop Using Dryer Sheets

Here's why you should stop using dryer sheets Groovy Green LivinWho doesn’t love the smell of clean laundry? When we take our clothing out of a hot dryer there’s an expectation that they’ll smell fresh and clean. That signature scent is usually from the detergent, dryer sheets and other laundry products we’re using.

For many of us, it’s almost second nature to throw a dryer sheet into the dryer with a load of wet laundry. We use them to prevent static cling, provide a fresh scent, and soften clothing. Dryer sheets have been around for a long time. They were originally created by a chemist way back in 1960 and were called “Tumble Puffs”. A few years later the patented formula was sold to Procter & Gamble who marketed the product as Bounce dryer sheets.

The use of conventional dryer sheets may come with a few perks but there’s a dark side: common ingredients in dryer sheets contain harmful chemicals.

What’s in your dryer sheets?

The Environmental Working Group gave Bounce dryer sheets a “D”, which suggests a high concern and a likely hazard to health or the environment.

Did you know that there’s no requirement in the United States for companies to disclose all ingredients in dryer sheets? One of the biggest loopholes is the use of “fragrance” which is generally a cocktail of hundreds of synthetic chemicals that legally don’t need to be disclosed and are protected as a company trade secret. Some of these hidden ingredients are known to trigger allergic reactions and other health issues.

There could be other harmful chemicals hiding in our dryer sheets that can cause a wide array of health issues ranging from skin irritations to cancer. The toxic chemicals leave a residue on our clothing which gives them a prime opportunity to enter our body through our skin.

A University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products, including dryer sheets, found the products emitted dozens of different chemicals. Each product tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels.

Alternatives to conventional dryer sheets

Ready to give up your addiction to dryer sheets? Don’t worry, you won’t have to give up all the perks. There are a few safer alternatives that do the job.

  • Here's Why You Should Stop Using Dryer Sheets Groovy Green LivinUse dryer balls. I recently started using Molly’s Suds Wool Dryer Balls ($19 for 3). I received a sample at ShiftCon and finally gave them a try. They’re fantastic! No perfumes, no dyes, and each one can last up to 3 years. If you want to infuse your laundry with a safe scent add 2-5 drops of your favorite essential oil directly to the dryer balls.

Here's Why You Should Stop Using Dryer Sheets Groovy Green LivinAnother option is Eco Nuts wool dryer balls. I’ve tried them and thought they worked well. They cost a few dollars more than Molly’s ($28 for 4).

  • Vinegar. You can also try adding 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to each load of laundry during the rinse cycle. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar this option isn’t for you.
  • Hypoallergenic option. If you’re trying to stay away from wool there’s a hypoallergenic option: Life Miracle Dryer Balls  ($11).

If you’re looking for a safer laundry detergent I have three favorites.

Do you have any safe alternatives to dryer sheets to share?

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

 Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links meaning,at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! 
April 14th, 2017

Hey Costco: It’s Time to Get Toxic Chemicals Off Your Shelves

Hey Costco It's Time to Get Toxic Chemicals Off Your Shelves Groovy Green LivinWhen I joined Costco a few years ago their organic selection was limited so I opted for other markets for the bulk of my shopping. Fast forward to the present and Costco is now taking the lead as the largest organic retailer in the United States. In 2015 they sold $4 billion of organic produce and packaged foods.

Costco it’s time to get toxic chemicals off your shelves

While Costco has become a leader in carrying organic produce and adhering to fair wages, they have a problem that needs to be addressed. Some of the products on the shelves in their stores contain harmful chemicals. I’m talking about chemicals like cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting flame retardants, some of which show up in toddlers at five times the rate of their mothers.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families released a report called Who’s Minding the Store? — A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals“. This report gave large retailers a letter grade for actions they’ve taken to eliminate toxic chemicals. Costco received the second lowest grade of any retailer evaluated, receiving only 9.5 points and a letter grade of F. The company has no public written safer chemicals policy in place, unlike many of their competitors. Costco was surprisingly the only major retailer that did not publicly report any progress in getting rid of chemicals of high concern over the past three years.

Costco has made some progress since the report was published by recently updating its website. The site describes the development and implementation of a Costco Restricted Chemical List (RSL) and Smart Screening Program for toxic chemicals.

While this is a step in the right direction, they still have some work to do.

Joining Costco again

I let my Costco membership lapse a few years ago and have been contemplating joining again. The store is a 15-minute drive from my house so it’s not convenient, but I’m drawn to their commitment to organic products. My decision would be much easier if they also committed to reducing toxic chemicals in products they sell. Not only would they be a leader in selling organic products, but they would pave the way for other retailers to eliminate harmful chemicals from their products. The time has come for Costco to take the next step and announce a robust safer chemicals policy with clear benchmarks and timeframes to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals in products on the shelves in their stores.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Go to the store and fill out a comment card.
    Next time you are at Costco, fill out a comment card voicing your concerns. Costco comment cards may be available in stores near the customer service desk. Or you can print a card HERE, fill it out at home, and drop it off at a nearby Costco.
  2. Make an electronic comment.
    Take action online and submit a digital comment to Costco.
  3. Call the customer line.
    Dial the customer support line and express your concerns with a Costco customer service agent: 1-800-774-2678

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

March 30th, 2017

A Night to Remember: Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags at Town Meeting

A Night to Remember: Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags at Town Meeting Groovy Green Livin

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve lived in Massachusetts for over 20 years (how is that possible?!) and I’ve NEVER been to a Town Meeting until this week.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about let me fill you in.

What is Town Meeting?

Participating in a Town Meeting is democracy at its best. Registered voters gather together to voice opinions and directly effect change in the community. The Annual Town Meeting is generally held in the spring to enact the following year’s budget, plus whatever other matters are placed on the Town Meeting warrant, either by the Selectmen or by citizen petition. Cities and towns throughout the US each have their own form of democracy and it could look very different from what we have here.

After the election this past November I decided to make an effort to become more involved on a local level. After all, that’s where it all begins.

I kicked off my involvement by marching in Boston with thousands and became truly inspired to do more. I wrote a political post which is pretty out of character for me. One of the suggestions I shared was to “get to work on a local level and elect/appoint those who are like-minded and care.”

So I decided to heed my own advice and off I went to my first Town Meeting.

Sitting down beside a friend I took a look around at the full house and couldn’t help but think that every one of these people had taken time out of their busy schedules to be there.

They knew something that I was just discovering: that their voice mattered. Coming to Town Meeting was a simple way to voice opinions, listen to others and vote on matters that would help shape our community.

Wow. How had I missed this opportunity for so many years?

Vote to Ban Plastic Bags

A Night to Remember: Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags at Town Meeting Groovy Green Livin

Aside from my general interest in participating in the process there were a few articles up for discussion and a vote that caught my attention. I was most interested in the proposed plastic bag ban. From water bottles to plastic wrap, I’ve been writing about the detrimental effects of plastic for years.

There’s no denying that plastic bags are polluting our environment. It’s hard to miss the enormous number of plastic bags swirling around in local parking lots and water ways. The bags never fully decompose and remain a significant threat to marine animals and other wild life.

Over 40 other communities in Massachusetts have passed bylaws to reduce the use of thin-film plastic bags.

I’m proud to share that after a lengthy discussion the bylaw passed and plastic bags are now banned. The bylaw doesn’t alleviate all plastic bags from circulation, but it’s a great start. The ban applies to those thin plastic bags we receive at the grocery check-out.

What you can do

Now we all need to do two things:

  1. Focus on remembering reusable bags when we shop.
  2. Add your community’s Town Meeting (or whatever form of democracy your city or town subscribes to) to your calendar.

Given that there’s been a tremendous amount of municipal support, it’s my hope that Massachusetts will enact a statewide plastic bag ban in the near future.

The plastic bag ban is a baby step, but a step in the right direction and I’m proud to have been a small part of the process.

What form of government is there in your city or town? Is there a Mayor? City Council? Town Meeting? How do you participate?

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.



November 4th, 2016

My Day In Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Office

My Day In Senator Warren's Office Groovy Green Livin

After living in Massachusetts for too many years to count, I’m proud to call it home. It’s the people I’ve connected with over the years that make it such a special place. My Day In Senator Elizabeth Warren's Office Groovy Green Livin

Monday was a perfect reminder when I had the privilege of spending the afternoon in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office with a group of incredible women. Each of these women shared her passion with Senator Warren (through her staff) and we talked about the need for strong federal legislation to protect consumers from toxic chemicals in personal care products and cosmetics. The purpose of the meeting with Senator Warren’s staff was to discuss the proposed Federal Personal Care Products Safety Act, which will be front and center during the next Congressional session.

Thanks to Clean Water Action, I was invited to participate in this important meeting. I’ve worked with this organization for quite a while and love everything that they’re doing. Last year I was humbled to receive an award from Clean Water Action for being a “Rockstar Mom for Safe Chemicals”.

We spoke freely about why we think federal cosmetics safety reform is so urgently needed. The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. The situation is a mess. Personal care products and makeup are ending up on the shelves in our stores containing harmful, poisonous chemicals. Some of these toxic products are used on children and families daily.This is simply unacceptable.

Each one of us shared why product safety and transparency is so important to us and to everyone.

Senator Warren’s staff seemed open to working together to make product safety a top priority.

As everyone was talking and sharing I looked around the room and realized what a powerful group we were. Every single woman in the group has dedicated her life to protecting the public from toxic chemicals. We all come to the movement from a different place, each woman with an incredible story to tell.

My Day In Senator Warren's Office

I left feeling humbled, empowered and reenergized. Just more proof that together we truly can make a difference. Fingers crossed that we have more meetings with Senator Warren in the near future. It’s time to make safer products a reality for all.

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

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