Posts Tagged ‘chemicals’

Easy do-it-yourself eco-friendly disinfectant spray

I just made some of this today and it smells so wonderful! I felt like I was at a spa, even though I had 4 young children (3 in diapers) running around me all morning.

Disinfectant spray
1 ½ cups water
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lavender oil
Combine in spray bottle and shake vigorously. Spray in the air to disinfect. Tea tree oil and lavender oil are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-whatever!

If you want bonus points, you can up the water (roughly 1/2 – 3/4 cups for every 20 drops of essential oils) and add 20 drops of orange oil, lemon oil and/or eucalyptus oil. These oils also have antiseptic and disinfectant properties. I added the orange oil to the above and wow! Love it!

Making your own allows you to avoid the toxic chemicals found in common disinfectants.

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Health Concerns of Lysol

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Chemical Industry Decides Public Health Really IS Better Than Private Profits

Guest post by Janelle Sorensen

In a turn of events not even Nostradamus could foresee, Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), today announced that the millions of dollars the industry trade group has been using to lobby against policies that protect public health will now be used instead to research and develop safer chemicals.

“We’ve been focusing so much on maintaining the status quo and protecting our profits, that we neglected to notice how our bottom line really relies on the health of consumers,” Dooley said at a press conference outside the ACC headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. “If people have to spend the bulk of their income on health care or are working less due to chronic health conditions, they don’t have money left to buy our products. We’ve decided to make products that are safe and healthy for consumers, because it’s simply better for everyone.”

The ACC has also started their own national campaign to overhaul the outdated chemical regulatory system, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and has promised Congress and the Obama Administration that their member corporations will shoulder any tax burdens involved with increasing research, monitoring, and regulatory oversight. Parents, public health professionals, and environmental advocates across the country were speechless and unable to comment. This moment is simply too good to be true. No, really, it is. April Fools!

Unfortunately, the ACC is still only concerned about maintaining their deep pockets at our expense. But, they really are trying to fool the American people into believing they care about public health. In fact, according to Safer Chemicals Healthy Families:

On the eve of Congressional action, and after years of insisting that the status quo was just fine, organizations like the ACC are suddenly announcing their support for reforming our nation’s toxic chemical policy. What changed? For starters, states are beginning to ban toxic chemicals like BPA. Even worse, consumers are snubbing products that contain toxic chemicals.

Understanding that they can’t fight this trend, the chemical industry has launched a PR campaign trying to appear green and clean; luring in supporters with Web sites designed to look like ours. But if you look past the fluff, you will find that our coalition and chemical industry reps still have very different ideas about what real TSCA reform should look like.

Below are some of the fundamental differences between Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ vision of reform and that of the chemical industry:

What Public Health Advocates Want

  • Public disclosure of safety information for all chemicals in use
  • Prompt action to phase out or reduce the most dangerous chemicals
  • Deciding safety based on real world exposure to all sources of toxic chemicals

What the Chemical Industry Wants

  • Limited testing of a handful of chemicals, leaving us in the dark about safety hazards
  • More lengthy and costly studies of chemicals already proven to be dangerous
  • An assumption that we are only exposed to one chemical at a time, and from one source at a time

Don’t Be Duped! Learn more and tell everyone you know. 

  1. Sign the petition to Congress
  2. Sign-up for the Healthy Child Healthy World newsletters so you know exactly what’s going on and when it’s most important for your voice to be heard. 
  3. Share the video, “A Wake-Up Story,” so people can understand why TSCA reform is so important.

Green Cleaning: Do it yourself

USA Today had a nice article today about Green Cleaning, highlighting that there is a growing trend with people making their own cleaners at home. Parents, including myself, are going green with their cleaners due to the toxic chemicals typically found in traditional cleaners.

I use plain ole vinegar to clean just about everything and even use it in the rinse cycle when doing laundry. It is a fantastic glass cleaner — something I learned from my dad decades ago. You can use it straight, but even diluting with water works well. Add a little vinegar to water you have a cleaner to mop your floors, wipe the counters, wash walls, etc. And vinegar is cheap!

Baking soda also cleans very well. It’s great at scouring tubs, helps absorb odors and interestingly enough, helps soften clothes in the laundry! Just add a half cup or so to the laundry. Baking soda is also cheap.

For dusting, we use a simple microfiber cloth which is a fantastic cleaning cloth requiring no additional cleaners. For heavier dusting, we use a damp cloth — no cleaners. Most microfiber cloths are roughly a dollar each.

I do not make my own laundry detergent, but many do using Borax. I have not gotten that adventurous. And I like my Charlie’s Soap which does not require any extra softeners or otherwise. See my review here. If you are interested in giving the make your own detergent a try, here is a great article telling you how to do it, for about a penny a load!! Hmmm, maybe I should give this a try…

Some Green Cleaners Are More Effective

And most are just as effective. The article states that doctors say even the simple act of scrubbing is usually enough to kill the germs and cleaners like bleach, are an overkill. They say bleach is needed for messes if blood or other bodily fluids are involved. I stopped buying bleach after my daughter was born 3 years ago. I found it is not needed and I certainly do not miss it.

We had some mold on our bathroom ceiling last year and I mixed a few drops of tea tree oil with a cup of water and sprayed on the mold. It killed the mold and has not been back. Previously, my husband had sprayed water with bleach on it but it always came back. One treatment with tea tree oil  kept it away.

Gotta green cleaning do-it-yourself or frugal tip? Please share your tips below.

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Do McDonalds chicken nuggets contain butane?

Someone mentioned to me that McDonald’s sprays their chicken nuggets with butane (lighter fluid). Not one to take everything for truth, I embarked on my own research to find out if this was true, and well, basically it is. I am VERY glad I do not eat McDonald’s and even more glad my daughter never has and now she certainly never will.

Here is what I found:
These two paragraphs are taken directly from The Omnivore’s Dilemma:

“The ingredients listed in the flyer suggest a lot of thought goes into a nugget, that and a lot of corn. Of the thirty-eight ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, I counted thirteen that can be derived from corn: the corn-fed chicken itself; modified cornstarch (to bind the pulverized chicken meat); mono-, tri-, and diglycerides (emulsifiers, which keep the fats and water from separating); dextrose; lecithin (another emulsifier); chicken broth (to restore some of the flavor that processing leeches out); yellow corn flour and more modified cornstarch (for the batter); cornstarch (a filler); vegetable shortening; partially hydrogenated corn oil; and citric acid as a preservative. A couple of other plants take part in the nugget: There’s some wheat in the batter, and on any given day the hydrogenated oil could come from soybeans, canola, or cotton rather than corn, depending on the market price and availability.

According to the handout, McNuggets also contain several completely synthetic ingredients, quasiedible substances that ultimately come not from a corn or soybean field but form a petroleum refinery or chemical plant. These chemicals are what make modern processed food possible, by keeping the organic materials in them from going bad or looking strange after months in the freezer or on the road. Listed first are the “leavening agents”: sodium aluminum phosphate, mono-calcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and calcium lactate. These are antioxidants added to keep the various animal and vegetable fats involved in a nugget from turning rancid. Then there are “anti-foaming agents” like dimethylpolysiloxene, added to the cooking oil to keep the starches from binding to air molecules, so as to produce foam during the fry. The problem is evidently grave enough to warrant adding a toxic chemical to the food: According to the Handbook of Food Additives, dimethylpolysiloxene is a suspected carcinogen and an established mutagen, tumorigen, and reproductive effector; it’s also flammable.

But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.”

Yum, sounds good doesn’t it? I have not seen anywhere that says whether or not Europe allows this junk in their food. I am guessing not because they are better at protecting their consumers than the FDA. I am pretty sure high fructose corn syrup is illegal in Europe, just for one thing.

Though Wikipedia does not mention a link TBHQ to butane, it still does not paint a very flattering picture. And yes I realize Wikipedia is not a great source.

Sources:

http://www.alnyethelawyerguy.com/al_nye_the_lawyer_guy/2007/03/so_what_really_.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TBHQ

http://beholdhealth.com/v2008/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=57

Vinyl shower curtains emit toxic chemicals

Those vinyl shower curtains that nearly every home has, can emit up to 100 different chemicals. That “new shower curtain” smell is actually the out-gassing of fumes given off by these chemicals.

I replaced my shower liners with fabric ones a few months ago after my husband whined about the smell making him feel sick. Now I know he was not just being a pansy, but there is definite truth that these toxic fumes make you sick. This includes nausea, headache and many of the compounds in these PVC liners are listed as known carcinogens by the EPA.

And according to a recent LA Times article

“The study found that PVC shower curtains contained high concentrations of phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive effects, and varying concentrations of organotins, which are compounds based on tin and hydrocarbons. One of the curtains tested released measurable quantities of as many as 108 volatile organic compounds into the air, some of which persisted for nearly a month.

Seven of these chemicals — toluene, ethylbenzene, phenol, methyl isobutyl ketone, xylene, acetophenone and cumene — have been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous air pollutants, said Stephen Lester, the center’s science director and a coauthor of the report.

Potential health effects include developmental damage and harm to the liver and the central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, according to the report….

Vinyl chloride, which is a major building block of PVC, is a known human carcinogen that causes liver cancer, Lester said.”

Phthalates were recently banned in a new act pass by congress that will help protect children from such harmful substances.

If you have a vinyl shower curtain, get rid of it, preferably recycle it so it won’t end up in a landfill. And opt for a fabric version like this made from polyester or a cotton one like this. I actually really prefer them for more reasons than they are non-toxic. They look better, I feel like they are cleaner, you can toss them in the washer and of course, they don’t smell up the bathroom for weeks!

Welcome to My Blog!

Hello and welcome to my blog! This is my first entry so let me explain why I decided to start a blog. Over the years, more and more studies have shown that many products we interact with everyday contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to all kinds of diseases and disorders. I can’t remember exactly how it started, but I think with learning that aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. So off I went to Google some information. Since I have found out many things about pesticides on our food, antibiotics and growth hormones used in animals, chemicals used in baby bottles, animal by-products used in skincare products, preservatives used in skincare products and food, harmful chemicals used in cleaning products, baby wipes and diapers being whitened with bleach, and many other astounding things.

I am amazed at how oblivious we are to what is in the products we use everyday. What’s even more amazing is that in the US, these companies are under no obligation to provide a full ingredient list or list the possible risks associated with ingredients or components used to make their product. I find this unacceptable. And the only way for me to find out the truth is to research. And through this blog I intent to share what I learn.

I do have 2 children so I am very concerned for them. Babies are so small and these harmful chemicals, pesticides, by-products, etc., affect their systems much more quickly and at even smaller amounts than they would adults. 

Not to say that I will not get cancer, but by avoiding products whose ingredients are PROVEN to cause cancer, I can at least minimize my risk and hopefully save my family from the same. Cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzhiemer’s and other debilitating diseases are on the rise, so are the amount of chemicals we encounter everyday (and most of the time do not know it!)

By having this blog, I hope get people to think about what is in the products they use and how it affects their health. Hopefully it will encourage you to think about these things and make a few changes in your life. I also hope that companies will start being more responsible and at MINIMUM publish a full ingredient list (including those that may be created during processing) and also potential risks associated with them. We have a right to know what we are putting in or on our bodies. My greatest hope is that the government will step in to protect its citizens from these hazardous chemicals.

Thanks for reading and come back soon!

Trisha

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