Your Couch May Be Harming Your Child's Brain
Category: Music

The sofa in your living room, your mattress, and the armchair in your den—those are just a few of the common household items to which manufacturers might add flame retardants. After all, no one wants a lit cigarette dropped on a bed to burn down an entire home. A study released Monday about health concerns linked to the use of flame retardants might reignite the push to get the chemicals banned nationwide.

According to the study, published in the journal Environmental International by the Environmental Working Group and Duke University, researchers have detected abnormally high levels of flame retardant chemicals in the urine of kids in California compared with children in New Jersey.

According to the American Chemistry Council, operator of the website, concerned consumers should focus on how the good outweighs the bad, as the number of household fires has dropped significantly since flame retardant legislation was mandated in the 1970s. But adding the chemicals to household items may not reduce flammability.

“Adding large quantities of fire retardant chemicals doesn’t do much to improve furniture fire safety,” the study’s coauthor, Johanna Congleton, an Environmental Working Group senior scientist, told TakePart. “It depends on the barrier covering the foam.”

The addition of flame retardants to furniture is linked to the tobacco industry’s insistence that it could not create a smolder-safe cigarette. Although items treated with flame retardants can be found in homes nationwide, until 2014 California was the only state to explicitly require that foam-filled furniture and other consumer goods—such as baby strollers or changing pads—be treated with the chemicals. Sofas produced for sale in California before 2014 could carry two to three pounds of flame retardants.

As a result, the study’s researchers found that levels of the potentially carcinogenic flame retardant compound TDCIPP were 15 times higher on average in Californian toddlers than their mothers, while levels were only six times higher in New Jersey toddlers. The level of TPHP, a suspected endocrine disruptor, was nearly six times higher in Californian toddlers over their mothers, while it was only three times higher in New Jersey children.

“Children’s ages and hand-to-mouth activity were strongly associated with higher exposures to some of the flame retardant chemicals,” wrote the study’s authors. Younger kids, such as toddlers who scramble across the floor or roll around on furniture, were also more likely to have higher levels of flame retardant chemicals in their bodies than older kids. That’s “probably because they put their hands and objects in their mouths more often. Flame retardants are known to contaminate house dust, which accumulates on floors where children play,” wrote the authors.

The study is part of a growing body of evidence about the negative impact of flame retardants on the health of people and wildlife. Studies analyzing flame retardant exposure on zebra fish have found that there are behavioral effects and some physical development problems in marine life. Research has also linked the chemicals to lower IQ and hyperactivity in children and connected them to suspected endocrine disruption and cancer.

Brominated vegetable oil, a flame retardant chemical that is banned in Europe and Japan, has been found in orange soda and Powerade. In 2014, Coca-Cola, the manufacturer of Powerade, announced that it would remove the controversial chemical from the beverage after a public outcry.

Flame retardants made their way into mainstream furniture production in 1975, when California legislators issued Technical Bulletin 117, a list of requirements for testing fire safety on upholstered furniture. While the bulletin was strictly for products used in California, manufacturers across the U.S. and Canada adopted the regulations.

Fillers had to withstand ignition from an open flame (such as a lighter) for at least 12 seconds, Congleton said. But flame retardants only slow the spread of fire rather than stop it entirely.

“The cheapest and easiest way [to follow requirements] was to add fire retardant chemicals to consumer goods,” Congleton said. “There was no actual requirement [for those specific chemicals], but it effectively led to their heavy and widespread use.” The chemicals aren’t absorbed into furniture fillers, so they become airborne, settling on other surfaces or being inhaled.

A revision of the bill by the California Bureau of Home Furnishings in 2013 set new flammability standards, including the removal of the foam flame retardant requirement. Furniture makers can pass flammability tests by using fabrics with tighter weaves and fire-resistant fibers. As of June, 14 states have banned or restricted flame retardant usage in children’s products or upholstered furniture. New Jersey is considering banning items that contain the chemicals.

Congleton and other environmental health experts advise buyers to look for furniture without the T.B. 117–approved label and ask retailers if their products contain flame retardants. The Center for Environmental Health, an Oakland, California–based nonprofit advocacy group, lists furniture brands that have formally agreed to stop using fire retardants in their products.

“You can’t reverse the damage, but what you can do is buy better going forward,” said Charles Margulis, the Center of Environmental Health’s media director. “People who have [flame retardant] furniture in their homes can take measures to minimize the damage, such as vacuuming more to keep dust away, where these chemicals are.”

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Going to the Switchfoot Vice Verses Tour
Category: Music
Tags: Switchfoot Vice Verses Tour

I had a fun time taking my son to go see Switchfoot. I was able to review the concert for an article...Of course, that meant FREE tickets and I was once again (for at least a couple hours) THE MOM to have!! Of course...with a 16 yr old son...I took advantage of that short window. lol

Check out my photo slideshow!

Here's my review..

Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum rock band Switchfoot sold-out Boulder Theater Friday night as they continued their co-headlining tour with Anberlin. Fans of all ages (including myself) had been eagerly awaiting the concert. I heard one teen comment on the vast age differences of those filing into the Boulder Theater.

The band opened by singing ‘Mess of Me’ off their seventh album Hello Hurricane, (the album won  Best Rock Gospel Album at the 53rd Grammy Awards) and continued to thrill their fans singing a mix of songs from their albums Hello Hurricane andThe Beautiful Letdown, as well as the songs ‘Restless’, ‘The War Inside’, ‘Selling The News’, ‘Thrive’ and ‘Dark Horses’ from Vice Verses.

Just two weeks after releasing their newest album Vice Verses, fans sang along to every song and that fact didn’t go unnoticed. Jon Foreman (lead vocals, guitar) thanked the crowd for helping to make Vice Verses such an instant success. (The album debuted at No.8 on the Billboard 20, at No.5 at iTunes Album chart and No.3 on iTunes Alternative chart.) Jon, an evangelical Christian, along with his brother Tim (bassist for the group) writes hard hitting meaningful lyrics that appeals to the masses, not just to Christian rock fans. Thus, the influence of Switchfoot's music has become vast.

Opening for Switchfoot and Anberlin was Atomic Tom, a rock band from Brooklyn, New York. I asked Luke White (lead vocals) what it was like touring with the bands…

“It’s a lot of fun," Luck replied. “It's a wonderful experience. We are getting to play for crowds that we normally don’t get to play for and we're having a great time. All the guys are great!"

Along the tour route, local chapters of StandUp for Kids (, a national nonprofit volunteer outreach organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of at-risk, homeless and street kids, will be collecting new and used backpacks at the concerts. The backpacks will be used to distribute food and essentials to kids served by the organization.

Future Vice Verses Tour dates:
10/10    San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield Theatre
10/11    Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
10/13    Amarillo, TX @ Azteca Music Hall
10/14    Siloam Springs, AR @ John Brown University
10/15    Longview, TX @ Le Tourneau University
10/17    Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
10/18    Austin, TX @ Stubbs Waller Creek
10/20    Albuquerque, NM @ Kiva Auditorium
10/21    Phoenix, AZ @ Grand Canyon University Arena (SWITCHFOOT ONLY)

 “The War Inside,”can be heard in the trailer for In Time, an upcoming 20th Century Fox film starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. Switchfoot has contributed an exclusive new song, “Out of Control,” to the just-released Hawaii Five-0 soundtrack. The track was heard in this week’s episode of the hit CBS show.

Switchfoot waged a Game Day takeover of ABC, with Vice Verses tapped as the exclusive music for the Oklahoma vs. Florida State football game. ESPN hosted an exclusive stream of Vice Verses and partnered with the band to give away a trip for two to the 2012 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Hurley selected Switchfootas the exclusive music for the Hurley Pro, held last month in Trestles, CA and the band performed at a recent San Diego Padres game.

Switchfoot will perform “Dark Horses,” their new Top 15 Modern Rock hit, on “Conan” on October 25th. The track was just added by Clear Channel Alternative Premium Choice, here in Denver on WTCL as well as WRFF (Philadelphia), KNDD (Seattle), WRXL (Richmond) and 98.7 (Los Angeles)

The City Harmonic: 'I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)'
Category: Music
Tags: The City Harmonic

Launching Oct 18th, The City Harmonic’s Kingsway release, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), is one of the most anticipated full-length imports in decades. Co-produced by the band with Jared Fox, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home) is a journey of imagination, cinematic in composition, and, as is signature for the band, a definitive reflection of The City Harmonic’s organic, communal aesthetic. Intelligent, deeply spiritual and intrinsically ‘real life,’ it reveals the poetic art of The City Harmonic, a band bent on living today for the world to come. (Preorder today for only $7.99)

2011 Breakout Artist of the Year The City Harmonic barreled its way from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada onto the music scene with Introducing The City Harmonic, an EP featuring “Manifesto,” which soared to No. 5 on iTunes and captivated over a million viewers on YouTube. Top that with becoming the best selling new artist on Billboard’s Top Current Digital Sales Chart (over 90K downloads), and it’s enough, among life’s crazy distractions, to get your attention.

But this band—vocalist/songwriter and pianist Elias Dummer, bassist Eric Fusilier, guitarist Aaron Powell and drummer Josh Vanderlaan— isn’t content to feed the machine or build a fan base so much as to build upon a dream. And not a dream as in a fairy tale.  But THE Dream.

These four guys grapple with the tension of this world, crafting it into anthems of longing, hope, and love—songs of light for ‘seeing through a glass darkly.’ The City Harmonic makes music that makes you reconsider what you really believe... about yourself, your world and your God.

Speaking about their newest project, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home) ...

“This project for us was like a journey through a lot of intertwining things,” Elias Dummer says of the band’s full-length debut. “At its heart is the overarching theme of brokenness and redemption, of light and dark, the unveiling of something bigger and better than ourselves.”

“… if we can somehow spark in people that dream, something they just can't shake, then I hope that will inspire them to sing like every word matters, to live like every day matters, and having tasted heaven, they’ll get on with helping this world feel more like home.”

The title track and first single, which was written even before the songs on the EP, has always been the lynchpin on which the full-length record would hinge.

“The dream, like Martin Luther King’s, is that there is another way,” Elias explains, “that it can be what we say it is, the eventual truth that we will awaken, just as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz awakened from her dream, to find ourselves home at last.”

Like a roadmap with only one route, to sum up the journey of faith and mystery that isI Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home) would seemingly deprive the listener of the essence of the experience. But from the opening notes, a deliberate quest unfolds.

Setting the stage for the project as a whole, with ties to John 17, the piano-pounding “Yours” flies in the face of our consumer-driven society, an anthem of surrender that points toward the tension of living in this world as a Christian, while “Spark” introduces the theme of light, hinting at its transforming power: Could a spark of Your love light the whole Church on fire? When we care for our neighbour more than we care for style?

“Being a Christian now is more difficult than it was 200 years ago,” Elias says of the thematic trail. “We face tragedy at every turn because of the way our media and culture operates. The stories of this world have let us down. Politics have let us down. We try to cope with it by becoming apathetic or by hiding in the Christian bubble—some altered version of the American dream where living for Christ leads to personal comfort— even misguided Christian stories can let us down and this is the tension of the world we live in. Christianity isn’t a tool to escape suffering, it’s a lens by which we understand it and the means by which we live through it. Our culture is built on the notion that our spirituality can be compartmentalized but, simply put, the Christian story isn’t. We can go from mountaintop to valley in the span of a day, and in the midst of that valley Christ calls us to love our neighbors, our enemies, just as if we were with them on the mountaintop. Apathy may be a natural result of today’s brokn world, but the Christian story is that Christ is redeeming his creation and we have a role to play as the body of Christ.”

Inspired by the story of Transfiguration in Matthew 17 and by Martin Luther King’s iconic speech, “Mountaintop” asserts the notion that as ambassadors here, citizens of a Kingdom to come, we are meant to live and love among the ruins.

“Jesus talks about countercultural ways of living among the least of these,” Elias continues. “It’s not glamorous. It’s hard work. If we boil it all down to what exists in church, ultimately, we make being a churchgoer a poor substitute for being Jesus in our communities or even engaging our communities at all.”

“Some of the most powerful moments where I recognize God’s presence in a real way have been completely outside the church worship context,” adds Eric. “We’ve had to grow up out of the default cultural Christian mindset of worship, instead responding to wherever you sense God, which truthfully is everywhere.”

I Have A Dream builds from “Mountaintop” with “Fell Apart,” “Be Still O My Soul” and “Wake Me Up,” pointing to the reality of God in our dark nights of the soul; the light of his presence when we ache for ‘something real in a world of fake.’
Layer by layer, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home) builds toward the title track, a soaring, melodic anthem that sings the hope of heaven imprinted on our hearts before the foundation of the world. From the romantic interlude “Le Reve,” meaning ‘the dream,’ each song intertwines with another, painting an irresistible picture of grace at work through us. The City Harmonic’s interpretation of I Corinthians 13, “Love” forms a bridge into “Holy (Wedding Day),” a beautiful ballad about the ultimate redemption, the glorious day to come when faith becomes sight. All that remains, besides the bonus version of “Manifesto,” is the heartfelt “Benediction,” which just might be the perfect farewell for any communal act of worship.

Live like you mean it
Sing like you’re living for God

Whether in full-on pop explosion or in ethereal ballad, the songs of The City Harmonic connect to that missing piece in all of us and give us cause and permission to sing out. Which frankly is part of the band’s DNA. That much will never change for The City Harmonic, the curiously captivating sing-along nature of the music they make. It was, and is always, birthed with community expression in mind.

“Music engages us emotionally and intellectually,” says Elias. “There are universal signs of God’s presence in every part of it. ... it’s like a glimpse of something bigger than ourselves, some pervasive and yet otherworldly dream. And if we can somehow spark in people that dream, something they just can't shake, then I hope that will inspire them to sing like every word matters, to live like every day matters, and having tasted heaven, they’ll get on with helping this world feel more like home.”

Preorder today for only $7.99 I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)


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