The organic home: for minimalist living

Modern minimalist June 26 2017, 0 Comments

Minimalism is about paring things down to the bare essentials.  It’s almost the opposite of modernity as we currently recognise it: buy more, easier and faster.  Modern minimalism seems like a contradiction in terms - but it’s NOT. Contemporary minimalism is just realistic minimalism, that means, taking a design that fits with your lifestyle and ONLY that, nothing more, nothing less.


THE MINIMALIST BATHROOM June 21 2017, 0 Comments

Our bathrooms are a space where minimalism can be hard to achieve.  A minimalist bathroom is difficult because we have so many ‘amenities’ at hand: everything from toothpaste to towels and toilet paper. Here are a few easily actioned tips to get you started:

One of each

Duplicates only add to the clutter. Keep one item of all the essentials at hand - one tissue box, one towel, one shampoo, etc. This is so simple and should make an immediate difference.  You can store your backups in a cupboard somewhere else or discard them if it is something you can easily reorder online.

Quick Tip: use multifunctional hair care products! Instead of keeping one shampoo, one conditioner, and one bar of soap, why not have a single product that can accomplish everything at once? A minimalist bathroom never has items with duplicate functions. Also, stick to one brand! Limiting your cosmetic and hair products to a single company (or packaging colour scheme like white) will add consistency to the overall aesthetic of your minimalist bathroom.

Don’t use what you don’t need”

This is the central philosophy of minimalism - so apply it to your bathroom. Take out every single accessory in your bathroom, and put back only the things you need. Trust me, you will be surprised by how little you actually use need on a daily basis. That 10-year old comb from Thailand you never used before, the expired face cream in your linen closet, take that out!  It’s really worth taking everything out one by one and then packing it back.  One realises the extent of one’s own hoarding if done this way! 

Quick Tip: try to keep your less important items ‘hidden’ by storing them inside opaque or mirrored closets. Only display the essentials. This follows the core fundamental of a minimalist philosophy: ‘promote things we value, remove everything else that distracts us from it.’

Light Colours (but white is always your best friend!)

Keep away from dark or shiny colours. Ideally use tones and shades that are pale and calming. It will make your small bathroom nook feel much more spacious. Mirrors can also add to sense of space, and most bathrooms need them anyway.  If you think a mirror will make you feel vain, insecure or self conscious GET OVER IT. Or just throw out the mirror because life is too short to live that way.  After all, there is no means to avoid the bathroom!

Quick Tip: Uniformity is crucial to calm. The last thing you want is pink towels, light-blue walls, and brown curtains. If you are going to use a colour, stick to one and commit to it. There should be no sense of mismatch or confusion if the bathroom colours are uniform.  White works well because even different shades of white tend to blend and work well together. 

Aesop shower gel bottles and facewash tube in monochrome bathroom shelf

Keep everything clean

This is a BIG one!  And maybe the most obvious tip. Luckily after you have ‘triaged’ the items in your bathroom it will be easier to do :)

The perfect minimalist bathroom is spotless, so you need to regularly give your surfaces a wipe with a non toxic product like these. This will revamp the entire bathroom and gives it life. Plants are also good in the bathroom, despite popular opinion. As long as they are easy to move and you have good ventilation - go for it!  

Quick Tip: replace your old-fashioned plastic amenities with modern BPA Free ones. It will make the bathroom feel much more clean and fresh if you use glass, stone or metal rather than cheap plastic. Unsustainable and old crusty bathroom items here and there will not only disrupt the minimalist atmosphere, but also make YOU feel out of place.

Make it smell like… nothing

There is a new product called poopourri, which kind of does what it says on the tin. It makes things smell the same as all the other rooms in the house. Alternatively flowers or greenery work great!  Green goes especially well with white and even a small branch of greenery on a glass vase can brighten your mood or bright 'homeliness' to a sterile room. Lets face it, bathrooms are SUPPOSED to be sterile!

If you follow these guidelines, your minimalist bathroom should be a haven.  

You can disappear in there when the kids are screaming, when you need to cry because your boyfriend just dumped you (and you know your makeup is going to run) or just to, you know… do the business.

 

 


TRUTH & MARKETING: in Organic toys and endocrine disruptor free products June 18 2017, 0 Comments

Don't you HATE it when companies LIE?  

Especially about things like product safety and how 'sustainable' they are? Promoting yourself is much easier than proving that you’re the real deal. Here’s a scary example: The Washington Post found that 59 out of 59 baby teethers tested contained TOXIC endocrine disrupting chemicals, although many were MARKETED and labelled as being

‘BPA free’ or ‘non toxic’ and ‘natural’.

THAT MAKES US FURIOUS!! Endocrine Disruptors (according to the UN & World Health Organisation) cause infertility, behavioral disorders and cancer.  You DO NOT want a baby putting that in their mouth and sucking on it all day. 

At Twoodie we are not 'holier than thou' but we are transparent and so we can prove (via our publicly available testing documentation) that we make safe and sustainable toys.  If the Washington Post had tested Twoodie we would have been the 1/60 companies that passed.  

Organic toys & endocrine disruptor free products

This stuff really matters and it’s why we started our company.  We are not ok with lies, we are not ok with putting other people’s health in danger because you don’t give a shit.  NOT OK. VERY VERY NOT OK. #nontoxicbabyproducts #nontoxictoys #safetoysforbabies


Twoodie gems from Japan June 14 2017, 0 Comments

We are changing suppliers in Japan.  Our new team are really the creme de la creme of Woodcraft and have been invited by the Japanese government to build in the Meiji shrine, quite an honour!

They wont be making anything with toxins or endocrine disruptors as they are "natural architects" and have even come up with specialised joinery techniques so they don't need to use metals in much of their furniture.

This relationship has been a long one coming and we are glad to be partnering with them hopefully over decades and many new organic woodware products into the future.

So our homes can be as minimalist and beautifully organic as the Japanese... :)

 

 


Even Australia's ABC Science have heard of EDs... June 14 2017, 0 Comments

How much more mainstream does it get....?

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS | DISRUPTION | TOXIC TOYS June 12 2017, 0 Comments

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS

This is a research report by Twoodie.

  • It contains no hyperbole.
  • It is evidence based.
  • It is concise and written in plain English.

We went through all 29 Pages of the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION and UNITED NATIONS report on Endocrine Disruptors. We then assimilated these facts, combined with highlights from the latest research, expert viewpoints and verified sources, into an executive summary.

At Twoodie our job is not to be academics or scientists. It's to research and innovate across the entire supply chain to ensure that we provide practical product solutions to keep your family safe and healthy.  We try and to do so in a way that is refined and attractive. We're not hippies or activists... we're just designers, with common sense.

Together we’ve done the hard (and tedious) work for you. We reveal to the world our progress/thought process (through transparent operations) so you can feel confident in trusting our judgement.

We stand firmly behind the findings below. They are the TRUTH according to the information we have available as of 6 April 2017. As new studies and information comes to light we will update our advice to reflect this and welcome your feedback and input.

-----------------------------

 

WHAT ARE Endocrine Disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors are a class of hazardous chemical commonly found in PLASTICS but also cosmetics, furniture, pesticides and other products. They are anthropogenic (man-made) chemicals.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are defined by the World Health Organization as “chemicals that interfere with normal hormone action”. These chemicals affect or ‘disrupt’ the endocrine system, which produces hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, tissue and sexual function in our bodies.

Endocrine disrupters target two essential functions of human anatomy:

  1. The formation, development and growth of organs
  2. Reproduction

Hormone receptors (produced by our bodies) naturally regulate these activities but endocrine disruptors interfere with hormone action.

The effects of Endocrine Disruptors depend on both the level and timing of exposure. There is a specific window of exposure deemed ‘sensitive periods for endocrine disruptor action’ by the World Health Organization, when humans are most susceptible to the adverse effects of EDCs, which is during development (in utero, infancy and early childhood in humans). This is significant because in adults, when the hormone or EDC is isolated or removed, the effect subsides, but the adverse effects of endocrine disruption are permanent and irreversible on developing tissue. It follows that exposure to EDCs is especially dangerous for pregnant women and growing children.


WHERE do they come from?

Endocrine disruptors derive from man-made chemicals. There are an increasing amount of EDCs formed as a by-product of manufacturing or combustion of waste. Examples of such chemicals include current-use pesticides, solvents, paints and pharmaceutical or food additives. EDCs may be released from the products that contain them. Once in the environment, they can be carried by air or water. EDCs are prevalent in everyday items ranging from cosmetics to plastic containers and even food.

People in contact with these substances risk exposure to endocrine disruptors. Humans take up EDCs by ingestion, inhalation and through contact with our skin. Infants and children are also more likely to be exposed to EDCs because of their hand-to-mouth activities.


IS THIS REAL? Are we just PARANOID?

What credible sources validate the existence of Endocrine Disruptors?

Demonstrating a clear link between endocrine effects in individuals and populations will always be challenging because of the difficulty in isolating the effects of chemicals from the effects of other stressors and ecological factors. Furthermore scientific and medical research into EDCs is a relatively recent occurrence. Studies and trials need to be undertaken over many decades (with adequate placebo and other methodological tools) to provide further supportive data.

What has been discovered to date is detailed below and can be summarised as the following:

It is undeniable and unanimous amongst researchers and laboratory studies that chemical exposures contribute to endocrine disorders in humans and wildlife and are a definite source of concern.

To quote the WHO:

“We live in a world in which man‐made chemicals have become a part of everyday life. Some of these chemical pollutants can affect the endocrine (hormonal) system and interfere with important developmental processes in humans and wildlife.

There is emerging evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to EDCs, and there is also mounting evidence for effects of these chemicals on thyroid function, brain function, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis.

Global rates of endocrine-related cancers (breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, testicular and thyroid) have been increasing over the past 40–50 years.”


HISTORY of Evidence

In 2002, the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) conducted research specific to EDCs, and published the “Global Assessment of the State-of-the-Science of Endocrine Disruptors” report.

IPCS is a joint programme of the World Health Organization, United Nations Environmental Programme and the International Labour Organization. It concluded that while results indicated adverse effects of EDCs in wildlife, more research had to be done to examine specific threats to the human body.

Following this publication, international authorities such as the Endocrine Society, European Commission and the European Environment Agency gathered evidence which showed that there was emerging evidence that EDCs indeed have negative effects on the human body regarding reproductive functions.

In 2011 The European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and the US Paediatric Endocrine Society put forward a consensus statement calling for action regarding endocrine disruptors and their effects.

A year later the most comprehensive report to date was published via a collaboration between the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme.

This paper, ‘State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012: Summary for Decision Makers’, compiled the findings of international scientific experts and their research and was led by Professor Åke Bergman, of Stockholm University. The members of his team included doctors, academics, scientists and various heads of departments within the World Health Organization.  The research was funded by governments (not industry) so we can assume it was not conflicted.

The findings in this seminal report have been referenced by credible journalists and researchers from Environmental Health Perspectives and the Economist, with the main aim of educating the general public on the sources and the dangers of endocrine disruptors. To quote Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times “The chemical industry - by spending $100,000 on lobbying per member of Congress - buys its way out of effective regulation of endocrine disruptors. The industry’s deceit marks a replay of Big Tobacco’s battle against regulation of smoking”.

 

The BAD news

The most alarming fact regarding Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals is that the research performed to date appears to be only the tip of the iceberg. So while hundreds of chemicals that are currently used in different industries are already known to have endocrine disrupting effects, there are thousands of potentially similar chemicals, especially in consumer products, that have not yet been tested.

Close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to 
be Endocrine Disruptors, but only a small fraction of these chemicals have been investigated in tests capable of identifying endocrine effects. The vast majority of chemicals in current commercial use have not been tested at all.

Furthermore the testing process, although in theory strict, only tests specific dosages of EDCs to determine the levels safe for humans and wildlife. The concern is that whilst humans have low dosage exposures to individually safe EDCs, these chemicals could collectively reach a harmful level. The toxicity of such environmental circumstances have not yet been determined and assessed.

The consequences of exposure to EDCs on human health are severe. Endocrine disruption leads to a magnitude of health problems. In adults, close contact to EDCs have been linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndromes, reproductive issues as well as more fatally, increasing rates of testicular and breast cancer.

As previously mentioned, exposure to EDCs during the specific ‘sensitive periods’ of development will lead to long-term and more permanent health impacts such as increased occurrences of reproductive diseases, endocrine-related cancers, behavioural and learning problems.

 

HOW TO AVOID Endocrine Disruptors?

In reality, simply testing for EDCs is not sufficient. Bisphenol-A (BPA), a common and dangerous endocrine disruptor that is present in a range of consumer goods such as food packaging, plastic bottles and baby teethers, was not banned by the Food and Drug Administration despite strong objections from the Endocrine Society and toxicologists. While we wait for official measures to step in, endocrine disruption can be avoided or minimized with conscious changes in daily lifestyle.

This includes:

  • Not storing food or beverages in polycarbonate containers and instead choosing to use glassware
  • Choosing furniture or toys of natural materials such as wood and glass
  • Consuming organic food
  • Avoiding pesticides
  • Washing hands after dealing with chemicals
  • Making informed choices when purchasing cosmetics or fragrances

With regards to woods (our passion at Twoodie) chemical preservatives, paints, finishes and other unnatural additives should obviously be avoided.

Special attention should be paid to infants and children and products that they come into close contact with such as toys, teethers and plastic cutlery and containers. Especially in the case of teethers, while the ones most commonly sold in the United States were labelled as BPA-free or nontoxic, BPA or replacement chemicals were found in them.

Bottom line:

  • Research and understand what products and environments are likely to contain EDCs
  • Minimize or completely avoid these where possible


  • THE TWOODIE WAY

    The effects of endocrine disruptors on our health are potentially catastrophic.  They include cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. For this reason we will adopt a “better safe than sorry” approach to the products we use and will pay special attention to those that surround children.

    The science is debated, but only as much as that of climate change. Regardless of one’s faith in man's ability to change the climate we can all agree that living a more sustainable lifestyle is a good thing. This is also our approach at Twoodie.  You don’t need to wait to have more conclusive proof of the existence and impact of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals to make purchasing decisions that are natural, healthy, beautiful and of lasting quality. Our job is to make this easy for you.


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    World Health Organization. (2012). State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. United Nations Environment Programme. Geneva: WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data.

    Harrison, P. T. (2001). Endocrine Disrupters And Human Health: Current Research Will Establish Baseline Indices. BMJ: British Medical Journal , 323, 1317-1318.

    Ashby, J. e. (1997). The Challenge Posed by Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals. Environmental Health Perspectives , 5 (2), 164-169.

    International Programme on Chemical Safety. (2002). Global assessment of the state-of-the-science of endocrine disruptors. World Health Organization. Geneva: IPCS.

    Skakkebaek NE, e. a. (2011). The exposure of fetuses and children to endocrine disrupting chemicals: a European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) and Pediatric Endocrine Society (PES) call to action statement. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism , 96 (10), 3056-3058.

    Agency, E. E. (2012). The impacts of endocrine disruptors on wildlife, people and their environments - The Weybridge +15(1996-2011) report. European Environment Agency, Copenhagan, Denmark.

    Kortenkamp A, e. a. (2011). State of the art assessment of endocrine disrupters. Final report. Directorate-General for the Environment. European Commission.

    Kabat, G. C. (2017). Hormonal Confusion: The Contested Science of Endocrine Disruption. In Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks (pp. 85-115). Columbia University Press.

    Kristof, N. (2009, 06 27). It's Time to Learn From Frogs. Retrieved 03 29, 2017, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/opinion/28kristof.html

    Kristof, N. (2012, May 2). How Chemicals Affect Us. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/opinion/kristof-how-chemicals-change-us.html

    Tech.view. (2008, Aug 22). Hazard in a Bottle. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from The Economist:http://www.economist.com/node/11991291

    Honest Blogs. (2016, Jan 26). What are Phthalates? Retrieved March 29, 2017, from The Honest Company : https://blog.honest.com/phthalates/#

    Amarelo, M., & Lunder, S. (2016, Dec 9). Teethers Expose Babies To BPA and Other Endocrine Disruptors. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from Healthy Child Healthy World: http://www.healthychild.org/teethers-expose-babies-to-bpa-and-other-endocrine-disruptors/


    The conspiracy of a future unseen.. June 11 2017, 0 Comments

    People believe in Climate Change because the United Nations and other independent bodies offer up science and data to prove to us that it exists.  Some people are inherently skeptical of third party claims, and maybe I'm one of them.

    But something is wrong. Endocrine Disruptors are a REAL thing and no one is talking about this despite the fact that the WHO, UN and other scholarly bodies consider it fact, not fiction.

    Conflicted/affected companies strongly and actively deny the existence of EDs, but if there is nothing to it and no one is talking about it this seems a very strange reaction and unusual behavior.

    Why is this?  Are parents scared to conceive of the fact that their ignorance might have contributed to their child's health problems; be this being sterile, behavioral or other more terrifying things like cancer?

    Is it because we feel hopeless to change things?

    Is it because there are just not other options and fixes on the market and it is "all too hard" for now...

    I'm not sure, but it concerns me.  Of course I want Twoodie to be successful, of course I want us to grow the business but more than that I 100% believe this product needs to exist.  People need to believe in the truth, even if it makes them scared and have the uncertainty of knowing they may be out of control.

    For now I'm happy to be the crazy one dancing on her own... because for sure time and trauma will prove me right.

     


    Endocrine Disruption and the lies companies tell June 08 2017, 0 Comments

    Read the full article here

    Some baby teething toys marketed as nontoxic may contain chemicals that could interfere with hormones involved in normal growth and development, a study suggests.

    Fifty-nine water-filled, solid or gel-filled teethers were purchased online and tested for 26 compounds that are called endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

    All of the products tested positive for one of those chemicals, bisphenol-A, even though most of the teethers were marketed as BPA-free, researchers report in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

    “BPA has been linked in a wide range of adverse health effects including obesity, diabetes, neurological and developmental disorders,” said senior study author Kurunthachalam Kannan, a researcher at the New York State Department of Health and the State University of New York at Albany.

     

    Continue reading and educating yourself here


    Organic brands... mmmmmm May 25 2017, 0 Comments

    Interesting to see what other people think organic means... 
    (And how they do their SEO)

    The Best Organic Brands For Your Baby

     

    Incorporate eco-friendly, environmentally-minded, and ethically-produced products into your child's life.

    We've gathered 5 of our top brands to show you it's possible to live a healthy, sustainable life while helping the planet live one too. Each brand we work with has the same purpose—to build awareness to the dangerous chemicals lurking in your home and to create better options for your family. The furniture we carry is built with solid, hardwood and finished with nontoxic stains and lacquers (free of lead, phthalate, nickel, mercury, and VOC's). Our collection of plush toys and clothing are free of harmful chemicals and made of organic cotton, bamboo, or wool.

    Let us introduce you to a new breed of organic brands that are as stylish as they are healthy.

    1. KicKee Pants knows the importance of creating something meaningful and encourages the whimsical nature of children with their adorable prints. KicKee Pants has an "Organically Grown Assurance" policy. They use only source bamboo that is grown organically and the farm holds two organic certifications for the bamboo.

    2. Tane Organics believes that the purest, most luxurious natural fibers should be enveloping your newborn and toddler; it uses 100% certified organic cotton fibers that are grown without the use of pesticides.

    3. Oeuf is on a mission to ensure their products are environmentally sound, from the choice of materials to the manufacturing process and selection of recycled packaging.

    4. Go Gently Baby uses as many sustainable business practices as possible, including using left-over fabric remnants each season, recycled paper hang tags and biodegradable garment bags. They source the finest organic fabrics, use certified eco-friendly dyes and water-based inks.

    5. Finn + Emma only uses the finest 100% organic cotton, eco-friendly dyes, and all-natural wood. Their garments and accessories are produced in fair-trade settings that focus on social and economic independence for local craftspeople working to provide for their families in a safe and fair environment.

     Meet Suzanne


    Organic toys and organic sales May 24 2017, 0 Comments

    We thought about selling through stores such as that listed below... but in the end it would have not allowed us to be transparent.  We would have had to hide the margins at the very least.  Also people call anything "organic" but how do you know if you just bought it from someone else to resell?  What does that then even mean?

    Sprout San Francisco