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Green Home

Green homes help keep you healthy.

Toxic Chemicals to Remove from Your Home — Part 1

Just how toxic is your home?   What signs do your look for?  Did you know?

1.  150 Chemicals found in the home are associated with allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological disorders.

2.  90% of Toxic hazards are caused by the inhalation of vapors and absorption of hazardous particles.trash-hazard-to-your-health-2-5x-1-5-72dpi

3.  The dramatic increase in Asthma rates among women in the past 10 years are believed to be due to longer exposure times to household chemicals.

4.  The most common exposures for children were ingestion of household products, such as cleaning substances.

5.  Chlorine is the number one cause of child poisoning in the USA.

We are going to explore over the next 4 posts the top 15 chemicals to avoid in your cleaning products and how to replace them.  Here are the first 5 to Clean from your list of Cleaners and why!

  • Naphthalene causes hemolytic anemia, damage to the liver and neurological damage along with cataracts.
  • Kerosene if inhaled:  nausea, headaches, drowsiness and coma.  If ingested: gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
  • Formaldehyde If ingested:  gastrointestinal corrosion.  If inhaled: coughing, wheezing, chest pains.
  • Phenol If inhaled or exposed to skin:  irritation to mucous membranes, skin and eyes.  Can cause convulsions, coma and irregular breathing.
  • Cresol If inhaled or ingested:  blood and liver problems, respiratory tract irritation, irritant to skin.

All these symptoms sound so inviting!   The next posts will covet the remaining 10 chemicals to avoid and how to replace them with environmentally friendly cleaning products.  Stay tuned for the rest of the Toxic Soap Opera!

Green Tip$ for You and the Planet

Now that Spring is here we can open our windows and let the fresh air into our homes. We turn to thoughts and actions of cleaning and refreshing our homes and lives in preparation for a long summer.  The economy is helping us focus our attentions closer to home now, with thoughts of how to now only save our planet but ours budget too. The great thing is we can accomplish both!

Here are a few simple tips for saving money and the environment at the same time while not affecting our quality of life.

  1. One easy thing to do is to unplug your gadgets while not using them. Chargers use pfountain-and-lights-2x2ower even when not being used, so unplug your laptop, iPod, MP3 and cell phone chargers when not in use. Now that doesn’t hurt at all!
  2. Of course we all know to replace our usual light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CPL). According to Popular Mechanics Magazine, CFLs require about 25% of the power that incandescent light bulbs use for the same amount of light. So cut your power bill without cutting your light.
  3. Do you listen to the water run while you are brushing your teeth? It is like a brushing song, the sound of running water! So next time your brush, turn off the water while you brush. Simple and saves your money too.
  4. Put a barrel under one or more of your downspouts to collect rainwater to water your garden. Fresh rainwater is better for plants than chlorine laden water from our public water sources. We have done this for the past few years since the South has had such drought problems.
  5. Open windows to allow fresh air to flow when the weather allows rather than use air conditioning.  Fresh air, wonderful and free!

This is just the beginning of the possibilities. There are so many ways we can be environmentally friendly as well as budget friendly. Good for both the planet and your bank account. Now go out and use your own creativity to reuse, renew and recycle.

Just how “Fresh” are Air Fresheners?

Fern Tree Close-Up

Fern Tree Close-Up

Fresh is one of those terms that brings to mind, for me anyway, the smell of sheets and towels just brought in from drying on the clothes line in the back yard on a crisp day.  Now that was clean, fresh.  The towels were a bit rough and the sheets were nowhere close to silky soft, but the aroma was fresh.

Having grown up in the south where we can keep the doors and windows open,  fresh air to me has no scent per se.  The air had the scent of pine at times,  fresh dirt if the garden was being worked,  and the scent of rain when a storm was approaching.  But we did not fill our home with artificial scents that mimic “Mediterranean breezes”, whatever that means.

Today we are bombarded with ads for odor control options.  We see ads with folks sniffing the carpets and sneakers that smell “fresh” because of an air freshener being used in that home.  Scents come in different delivery systems, some are automated, so you spray, some are more passive and are released as air moves over them.

Fresh air is a big business, approaching $1.7 Billion according to some researchers.   However, studies from the University of Bristol show that scented air is not the only effect.  Some children have more diarrhea, 32% more, when air fresheners were used daily.  Adults suffer from more headaches, 10% more .  And among the most disturbing are the statistics showing women who work at home with air fresheners used daily have a 26% increased risk of depression.

So, be careful when utilizing these products.  Consider natural alternatives such a baking soda,  indoor plants, green tea, and old fashioned cleaning!  Open windows and doors when appropriate.  Let the sunshine in!   Empty the garbage frequently and clean the area with natural, green cleaners.  If you just have to have a scent in your home, bake cookies or use a simmer pot with cloves, cinnamon,  ginger, lemons and such for a natural alternative that won’t give you headaches or depression!

Stay Healthy!

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