Perhaps an eco baby gift?

Leah (yes the Leah who wrote about period cups) is preggers!! I’m super excited for her and her hubby and my mind obviously went straight to baby gifts. We sent them a few PeopleTowels in the mail (honestly, who doesn’t need a PeopleTowel) because I’ve heard babies are messy and then we put together this gem:


Things started off good; I found a Burt’s Bees Baby Bee set while at Target. I’ve been iffy on Burt’s since they were bought by Clorox, but still use a few of their products with positive GoodGuide ratings. This set contained no parabens, no fragrances, no sulfates, no phthalates, no petrochemicals. It was certified cruelty-free AND the tray was made from potato starch and the box is 60% post-consumer content. It also seemed to contain all of those things you need for a baby (diaper cream, baby shampoo, you know).

I was feeling pretty good until I took a tour down the baby clothing isle and ended up with this adorable duck face baby towel. I probably should have bought a similar organic cotton version online (if I was being truly eco) but the thing was so damn cute. I made up for it by then heading to my new favorite reuse center SCRAP. I LOVE this place. It only sells reused crafty things and it also is a non-profit that focuses on getting art donations to low-income schools and teachers. I browsed around and found half a roll of yellow wrapping paper and a cute wicker baby carriage (I also bought a hurricane candle holder, several items to make a jewelry board, another basket, and a hangy thing with hooks and the total was $6).  I got home, wrapped everything together with some twine that was once on a present of mine, made a card out of recycled paper (scroll style, sweet right), and felt pretty smug about myself.

That was until I spent an hour researching DLimonene.  I figured I should check GoodGuide before I actually gave them the present, and while most of the BB products I use score an 8 in health, several of the items in the Baby Bee box were at a 4 (environment and social categories were high so overall scores were 6). Crap. The reason was the same in each category: D-Limonene, a completely natural ingredient found in lemons (which is why I hate that meaningless word natural!). I read EPA reports, Scorecard summaries, and in my opinion the research is sketchy and it seems pretty harmless. It hasn’t really been proven to do anything bad. And, many doctors and naturopaths recommended ingesting it for cancer prevention, as a digestive aid, and to treat gallstones. It’s found in almost every food that has a citrus flavor (gum, pudding, OJ) and the EPA classifies it as low-toxicity. The best summary article can be found here.

I still gave Leah the present and will let her make the choice on whether to return it, but I did mentally kick myself for not pulling out the GoodGuide app at Target and figuring all of this out before purchasing it. I think this also just goes to show that no matter how hard you try, you very often will not get it all right.


  1. 1) I love you.
    2) Organic or not, that duck towel is literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It could be made out of asbestos and hearing Lee go “awww” every time he sees it would still make me think it was the best gift.
    3) Next time you go to SCRAP, I want in! I have approximately 1,000 yards of extra fabric to donate from that one time I used my sewing machine to make bedroom curtains…
    4) Thank you again for the awesome baby gifts! You and Simon are going to be a fabulous Aunt and Uncle team 🙂

  2. pupfiction says:

    I hate how we have to research everything we i cant stand how we have to reaearch everything we buy nowadays since we can’t trust government regulatory agencies to protect us anymore or even “natural” companies. I honestly don’t even have the time or energy to do it. I generally use brand I’ve heard atmre good or have seen in friends’ houses (method, mrs. Meyers) and assume at least they’re better than the “conventional” big name brands.

  3. sarahguder says:

    @Leah thanks 🙂 and yes to a SCRAP outing soon! @pupfiction, I know and I totally agree. I can’t believe our lack of regulation in this country (in the cosmetics industry ZERO regulation, ZERO, what!). I talk to international friends all the time who are so surprised about what is in items we eat, drink, and put on or near our bodies. Hopefully regulation will catch up (GMO labeling is on the docket in California!) and often US manufacturers have to switch their processes due to European legislation (ie REACH legislation) because it’s more expensive to have two unique supply chains. Sticking to a few good brands is my approach too! (except when they get bought by big brands, and then I have to do some research…). It’s not a perfect world, yet!

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