by Wendy Gabriel
Alicia Voorhies is an RN who left the work force to spend some time recharging. She worked as Director of Nursing for a non-profit organization caring for people with developmental disabilities in a home-based setting. Alicia found herself feeling a bit burned out, decided to take a nice long sabbatical and ended up never going back.
Alicia founded The Soft Landing in April of 2007. The website is dedicated to educate busy parents about the most prevalent environmental toxins harming our children today.
How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?
I’ll admit that I’m not the greenest girl in town, but I’m learning to make one change at a time little by little. I’m very aware of environmental toxins and their affect on my family’s health, so I work hard to decrease our exposure to lead, endocrine disrupotors and other major offenders in our daily life. I also focus on reusing everything we possibly can to lower the amount of waste we create.
As a huge fan of The Soft Landing, I love the story of how your site was conceived. Can you share your journey from RN to founder of The Soft Landing?
Fast forward to December 2006, when I was first introduced to Bisphenol-a (BPA)… It all started when my sister moved with her family from our Midwest town to the East Coast. She called me one morning after taking her son to their new doctor, where she was promptly told to immediately throw out the clear, hard plastic baby bottle she was using in his office. She was seriously concerned that she was dealing with a doctor who was off his rocker, so she turned to me, the medical research geek for help. I set out that day to prove him wrong. Instead, hundreds of medical studies would only prove him right. The more research I poured over, the more I began to see a pattern of chemicals leaching from plastic to disrupt the delicate endocrine system – especially in children. I knew we needed safer options right away and began searching for a non-polycarbonate baby bottle. I quickly realized how limited the information was and how few options were available. At that time, there were only two brands being marketed as BPA-free. Beyond that, I was left swimming in an endless sea of unlabeled plastic! My mission became clear and we opened the doors to The Soft Landing in April of 2007.
It’s so wonderful that you’ve gathered your research about toxic plastic into a Guide for feeding your baby safely. It should be read by anyone who has, or will have, a baby in their life. What is some of the information we can find in your Guide?
You’ll learn about the most common chemicals that have been linked to endocrine-disrupting health damage, clues to identifying them in household products and tips to help you avoid them with ease.
What would you say to a parent who asks your advice about buying safe toys for the upcoming holidays?
It’s shocking to comprehend the vast amount of untested, unsafe chemicals that are used in our children’s toys. I would recommend steering clear of BPA in any teether or toy made to be mouthed. I would also suggest avoiding all PVC toys, as it’s a well-known hiding place for phthalates, lead and other volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).