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Found in nightstands everywhere, both are good examples of what not to buy if you're trying to woo an earth-conscious lover. Astroglide's basic formula contains fossil-fuel-derived propylene glycol (so not sexy), as well as two types of parabens (one that falls on the official hormone disruptor list in Europe) and yeast-feeding glycerin to kill the mood even more. KY's is the same, minus the paraben. Much wiser to snag a bottle of aloe-based Astroglide Natural. Astroglide $15/150 ml; KY $12/75 ml.
PJUR SILICONE, PINK SILICONE
If you love your silicone-based lube, you already know this stuff gives and gives and gives, since there's no water in it to dry up. Plus, it's condom-safe, non-irritating, waterproof, with fewer chemical fillers. The big ol' but here? Silicones/siloxanes are environmental bad boys, particularly if you spot cyclopentasiloxane or cyclomethicone on the label. They're harmful to aquatic life - so much so that Health Canada had planned to label these "toxic" until industry complained. Clearly we know who the feds are sleeping with. Pjur $30/100 ml; Pink $21/100 ml.
These two totally different natural lube brands have one thing in common: they both use plant waste products as a base. Sliquid uses plant cellulose from cotton, Hathor a biodiesel-based propylene glycol. What I dig about Hathor, including the flavoured kind, is that it's a Canadian-made water-based lube. (However, it's not organic.) What I love about Texas-based Sliquid is that it makes a partly organic line (with zero taste) that includes Sliquid Organics Natural Gel (designed for back-door play) that's thickened with some organic goodies like flax. Sliquid $22/255 ml; Hathor $28/250 ml.
GIDDY YOYO RAW LOVE BUTTER, PROVINCE APOTHECARY SEX OIL
These cute Canadian products totally blow pseudo-natural sex oils and butters (including Boy Butter) out of the water. You can use these deliciously long-lasting products as lickable massage oils, for solo love sessions (I'm talkin' to you, gents) as well as all kinds of intercourse (anal, vaginal), as long as you don't need latex condoms/dams. Oils aren't latex compatible; hence, they don't get a perfect score. Über-local Province Apothecary mixes a base of fractionated coconut oil with some lovely organic oils (a flavourless mix). Giddy Yoyo uses all-certified-organic cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil and vanilla beans. $14.99/85 ml, $16.75/75 ml.
YES ORGANIC, BLOSSOM ORGANIC
UK-based Yes offers certified-organic options for all tastes. What's your pleasure? There's a water/organic aloe-based lube (latex-compatible for safe sex, naturally) and a long-lasting oil-based option made of all-organic almond oil, shea butter, sunflower oil and cocoa butter. This last one is literally edible, though not latex-compatible. California-based Blossom Organics, Aloe Cadabra and Oregon-based Good Clean Love all make great condom-friendly organic aloe-based lubes, too. They're all essentially aloe with thickeners and need more frequent reapplication than oils, but are great carnal kick-starters. $20/75 ml, $13.99/120 ml.
GREEN FIND OF THE WEEK
Sure, all latex condoms are made from the sap of the rubber tree, but are they ethical? Vegan? Cruelty-free? Drugstore condoms aren't, but Glyde promises you a truly feel-good experience on all counts. All its latex comes from a fair trade farm where workers are also shareholders and paid a living wage. Instead of stirring in milk protein, petrochemical additives and irritating spermicides, Glyde uses a plant-based thistle extract. Plus, these condoms give you something to chat about should the pillow talk run out.
(Available at Come as You Are on Queen West and Good for Her on Harbord)
Most pregnant moms test positive for phthalates and BPA, says Health Canada
Ever wonder to what extent pregnant women and their babies are exposed to environmental toxins? That's what Health Canada's multi-year Maternal-Infant Research On Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study released last week tried to find out.
So far, HC has only released results on two notorious troublemakers, bisphenol A (banned from baby bottles but still coating receipts and tin cans) and hormone-disrupting phthalates (outlawed from kids' plastic toys but not from other vinyl items or body care products). The news isn't encouraging: BPA was found in 90 per cent of women tested, as were phthalate metabolites, including ones from carcinogenic DEHP, in more than 95 per cent of urine samples. MIREC recruited nearly 2,000 women in their first trimester from 10 Canadian cities (including Toronto) and followed them for up to 10 weeks after birth.
"This is very concerning," says Maggie MacDonald, toxics manager at Environmental Defence, "because some phthalates have been linked to birth defects and risk of spontaneous pregnancy loss."
Moms in the study are now being asked to keep track of their kids' growth, behaviour and communication skills until their children's fifth birthday.
Health Canada researchers have banked small amounts of biological fluid for a MIREC Biobank for further research on fetal growth, pregnancy and the health of moms and their kids.
Obama, McDonald's kick Canada's ass on marine protection
What do Barack Obama and McDonald's have in common? They're both swimming circles around Canada when it comes to boosting the sustainability of seafood and the waters they swim in.
Last week, the U.S. prez issued a presidential memorandum vowing to crack down on illegal fishing and start tracking where, when and how seafood is caught. As much as one-third of wild fish sold in the States is thought to be illegal catch.
Obama also committed to creating the world's largest marine sanctuary, protecting 80,000 square miles in the south central Pacific from fishing and oil drilling.
McDonald's Canada, meanwhile, announced last week that 100 per cent of the fish in its filet sandwiches is now certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
McDonald's says it's been buying wild-caught Alaskan pollock for nearly a decade but can now slap the blue MSC label on its packaging, putting Canadian stores in the same boat as its European and American locations.
Meanwhile, a report released earlier this month by Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society slammed Canada for its abysmal record on protecting marine areas from development. Of the 10 countries with the largest oceanfronts, even China safeguards a larger percentage of its coastline than Canada, where a little more than 1 per cent is protected. The U.S. is laps ahead with 30 per cent.