Kicking off 2024 With Twin Birthdays and Reasons to be Thankful
As a new mother of twins born two months prematurely, I’m keenly aware of celebrating the little things in life and doing everything I can—large or small—to protect my little girls. That’s why I am so proud to work for EPA’s Safer Choice program, working to make sure parents and all people have access to cleaning products with safer ingredients for themselves, their loved ones, and the planet.
My baby girls arrived safely in January 2023 after a very scary and high-risk pregnancy. During the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy, I consulted with specialists at three different hospitals, had over 25 ultrasound scans, and spent four days in the hospital. Before birth, our care team did their best to prepare us for the long journey the girls would have in the hospital before coming home. Still, it was more overwhelming than I ever could have imagined.
In the days after the girls were born, the reality of the situation sank in as we visited them in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We were unable to hold them during the first two days. Their diapers were the size of a deck of cards, and it seemed like tubes, wires, and bandages covered every inch of their bodies. In the midst of this new reality, I was doing some of the same things many new moms do, like preparing breastmilk and washing dishes. This is when I realized something as simple as dish soap could make all the difference.
I remember walking to the sink to wash some feeding supplies. Tired and groggy, I pulled some dish soap out of the hospital cabinet. It wasn’t until after I poured out some of the soap that I noticed EPA’s Safer Choice label on the bottle! As a toxicologist for EPA’s Safer Choice program, I knew that this meant the product not only works well but also has the safest possible ingredients for my girls. This means no chemicals linked to cancer, fertility problems or other human health problems. In fact, it’s likely that I personally reviewed some of the chemicals in the product. I was elated.
Seeing the label not only gave me comfort that I was using safer ingredients for my girls but also that the hospital—as an institution—cared enough about its patients to select and use cleaning products that meet a high bar for safety.
I knew the girls and I were in good hands and smiled as I finished washing up.
The twins spent a combined 160 days in the hospital before coming home. Through most of that time, I was limited in what I could do for their health. But I could use products with safer ingredients to clean any non-medical equipment they would come into daily contact with, like the dish soap I used to wash feeding supplies and the laundry detergent I used to wash their blankets and clothes. These small acts helped me during such a difficult time.
This experience reinforced how fulfilling it is to be a part of the EPA’s work and public service. Seeing the label in that hospital room was by far my favorite moment of seeing my work in action.
I know all about the benefits of using products with safer ingredients—like those with the Safer Choice label—based on my work, but you don’t have to work at EPA to know this! We can all find comfort that EPA certifies cleaning products made with safer ingredients. You can reap the rewards of this program by:
- looking for EPA’s Safer Choice label when you shop;
- using EPA’s search tool to find Safer Choice-certified products; and
- encouraging the use of certified products in your community.
Now is a great time to add Safer Choice-certified products to your New Year's resolution. Safer Choice-certified products help make living a healthier lifestyle easier, while also helping our environment. You never know what kind of difference they may make.
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