Magazines Getting Green Wrong: Parenting, O The Oprah Magazine

Sometimes, people just get it wrong.  I managed some quiet time last night, and perused some of my remaining hard copy magazines.  I’ve been switching over to the on-line magazine reader Zinio as my magazine subscriptions run out (Zinio rocks – more to come), but I still have Parenting and O, The Oprah Magazine, in hard version.

And both of those made mistakes in terms of green in their recent issues.

In the September 2008 issue of Parenting, Stacey Colino authors an article entitled “Accident-proof your kids” in the Kids’ Health section.  In the article, on page 46, in the text of Sneaky Situation #3 and a text box repeating the quote, the article states:

Desperate for a distraction?  Reach for keys.  They’re not clean, but they’re not deadly, either.

What the heck?  Brass keys are a toxic soother – they contain lead.  And most people have brass keys.  When a baby or toddler handles the keys or puts the keys in his mouth, he can be exposed to lead.  In fact, in a comment on a Consumer Reports’ article, one anguished parent wrote that her daughter had lead poisoning as a result of playing with her brass keys.  A test performed in connection with a lawsuit under California’s Proposition 65 showed that handling of keys can result in exposure to lead – one test showed exposure at 80 times the Proposition 65 so-called safe level of 0.5 micrograms lead per day.  Okay, so perhaps lead isn’t deadly at this concentration . . . but it isn’t safe either.

Then, in the September 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, in the article entitled Fall Shopping Spectacular, there is a recommendation for an “animal friendly tote” as the latest in ethical fashion.  Yes, they are made of vegan canvas, but they are also made of PVC – or polyvinyl chloride plastic.  Noah Handbags advertises the bag as “a handbag you can feel good about . . . ” but not me.  If you didn’t already know, PVC is better known as the poison plastic – it is the worst of the plastics.  Toxic from manufacture to disposal.  And, PVC isn’t so great for the consumer.  PVC must be stabilized, often with lead or cadmium, and also must have plasticizers, usually phthalates.  Using PVC can result in exposure to lead or cadmium (if used to stabilize) and phthalates.  So, while yes no animals were harmed in that no leather is used, clearly PVC is not animal friendly.  Or human friendly.  Definitely not eco-friendly.


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