Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Think about This!

62 toxic chemicals are in the average home.
Over 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced since WWII.
Toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air.
Over 3 million poisonings are reported every year and household cleaners are the NUMBER ONE cause of poisoning of children.
Bleach is linked to the rising rates of breast cancer in women, reproductive problems in men and learning and behavioral problems in children.
Since 1980, asthma has increased by 600%. The Canadian Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada has identified common household cleaners and cosmetics as triggers.
Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, xylene are found in common household cleaners and cosmetics. These chemicals are cancer causing and toxic to the immune system.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are they bad for my health?

Ask Dr. Weil: Air Fresheners

Are they bad for my health?

By Andrew Weil, M.D., Prevention

More on this in Health & Fitness

Q: I use air fresheners in my home, but have been told I shouldn't. Are they bad for my health?

A: It certainly looks like they are. Recent research strongly suggests that they raise your risk of a number of pulmonary diseases. Last year researchers found that being exposed to chemicals from air fresheners as little as once a week may increase your odds of developing asthma symptoms by 71 percent. And a 2006 study showed that people with high blood levels of the chemical 1,4 dichlorobenzene—commonly found in air fresheners—were more likely to experience a decline in lung function.

Other studies point to a cancer link. University of California, Berkeley, researchers determined that, when used in small, poorly ventilated rooms, some air fresheners emit pollutants that create high levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen shown to cause cancer in animals and respiratory irritation in humans.

Last year, the Natural Resources Defense Council evaluated 14 air fresheners, 12 of which had varying amounts of phthalates, chemicals that may affect fertility, cause cancer, and trigger developmental abnormalities in infants. The NRDC and other environmental groups filed a petition calling for all air freshener-related products to be tested for consumer safety and regulated by the government.

I recommend freshening the air by opening windows and eliminating the sources of unpleasant odors. If you enjoy aromas indoors, opt for natural items such as a lavender plant, potted herbs, or a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Andrew Weil, M.D., is a pioneer in the field of holistic health and founder and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Arizona. He received his medical training at Harvard University.

Provided by Prevention

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Air Fresheners/ Deodorizers
Contain: formaldehyde, methylene chloride, and propane. Harmful to lungs if inhaled in large quantities or for an extended period of time. Solid fresheners are fatal if eaten.

**Glade plug-ins were found to be the most highly volatile chemical in the average household- DO NOT USE. Air fresheners are readily inhaled and pleasant enough to seem harmless.

**Air fresheners only mask odors, not freshen or sanitize the air.

Simmer a mixture of cinnamon and cloves in water on the stove.
Leave box of baking soda open in the room or refrigerator to deodorize and absorb food odors.
Set out an open dish of vinegar.
Sprinkle baking soda on odor-producing areas.
Pet odor eliminator: cider vinegar.
Ventilate with a fan or open windows, or both to avoid odor accumulation in your home

Ant Control
Toxic pesticide exposure leads to immediate, long-term poisoning. There are many less dangerous chemicals available for ant control.

**See www.pesticides.org for more information.
"Least toxic" chemicals- boric acid, salt or silica gel on trails, nest and traps.
2 Tb boric acid, 2 Tb sugar, 1 cup water. Soak paper towels, place on dishes, set out for ants.
Place a line of cream of tarter or red chili powder at point of entry.
Commercial sticky barriers to block.
Boiling water on nest to destroy.
Sweet: Float bowl of sugar water in sink to kill.
Carpenters/Termites: Reduce stored rotting wood.

Carpeting/Rugs Floor Cleaner
Contain: borax, trichloroethane. Toxic; irritant to skin, eyes, and mucous membrane; may be flammable. Avoid breathing vapors and wear gloves to prevent contact with the skin.

Clean carpets on dry, sunny days with the windows open to speed drying time (and avoid exposure).

Sol-U-Mel or Prespot remover in your shampooer.
Neutralize odor: Sprinkle dry baking soda, or paste, let set overnight before vacuuming.
Grease stains: citrus-based solvents.
Alcohol, Coffee, or Tomato-foods Stains: Soak up, using club soda or clear cold water to rinse.
Sprinkle cornstarch on rug, then vacuum.

Chlorine Bleach
Chlorine is a reactive chemical and can form toxic gases when mixed with other cleaners, especially ammonia; irritant to eyes and mucous membranes; corrosive.

Dishwashing Detergent
Phosphates, chlorine, sodium carbonate, and surfactants in detergents are harmful if swallowed and will burn skin and eyes with contact.

Liquid dishwashing detergent is the mildest of the detergent cleaners; automatic dish detergent is the harshest.

Drain Cleaners
Highly corrosive to all body parts, vapors are irritants; poisonous. Chemical compounds in drain cleaners are highly caustic!
Clean out obstruction with snake or plunger.


Garbage Disposal Deodorizers
Chemicals will corrode pipes; harmful if vapors inhaled. Deodorizers are poisonous, toxic.

**See Air Fresheners/Deodorizers
Grind citrus rinds (natural deodorizer!).
Grind ice cubes.
Grind used lemons.
Pour baking soda down the drain.

Laundry Detergent/ Spot Removal
Phosphates, chlorine, sodium carbonate, and ammonium hydroxide in detergents and spot removers are harmful if swallowed and will burn skin and eyes with contact. Flammable; highly toxic; readily inhaled and absorbed.

AVOID DRYCLEANING - agents such as perchloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene may cause light-headedness, dizziness and central nervous system symptoms of toxic exposure, as well as a disposal problem for the drycleaner.

Metal Polishes and Spot Removers
Contain: ammonia, phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid. Irritants; flammable; highly toxic. Hydrofluoric acid is highly corrosive to the skin, and may cause blindness. Keep tightly closed and safely stored.
Metals: 2 tablespoons cream of tartar and 1 quart hot water.
Metal: mix � c salt with enough vinegar to dilute, adding flour to create a paste.
Chrome: Clean: Rub baking soda with a dry cloth. Polish: (apple cider) vinegar or baby oil.
Aluminum: Fill cookware with hot water, adding 2 Tb cream of tarter for each qt, bring to boil and let simmer for 10 minutes; wash and dry.
Aluminum coffee pot: to remove lime deposits boil equal water and vinegar as long as needed.
Stainless Steel: Clean: baking soda. Polish: mineral oil.
Brass polish: Worcestershire sauce or paste of equal parts vinegar salt and flour. Rinse completely to prevent corrosion.
Copper cleaner: lemon juice and salt mix or paste of equal parts vinegar salt and flour. Rinse completely to prevent corrosion.
Silver: To clean: Large object- rub gently with baking soda and damp sponge. Small objects- place in pot of water with piece of aluminum foil on bottom. Boil adding 1 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp salt; add tarnished silver and boil 2-3 minutes. Remove and wash in soapy water and polish.
Rub gently with toothpaste on a cottonball.

Mothballs/Moth Crystals
Hazardous materials include naphthalene and p-dichlorobenzene. Poisonous when eaten and if residue is still present on recently stored clothing. Irritant to lungs, nose, and throat when inhaled. Long-term exposure to vapors may result in liver and/or kidney damage. Chemically sensitive individuals at a great risk.

Avoid buying mothballs and moth crystals. Never use as an air freshener. Keep stored in a very secure and air-tight location.

**The powerful smell associated with mothballs is derived from paradichlorobenzene.
Clean any used furniture or clothing brought into the household.
Wash woolens well before storing (by hand using a mild soap) DO NOT DRYCLEAN, it is a significant source of air pollution.
Shake out wool clothing periodically.
Tightly wrap clothing to be stored (double wrap or place in sealed [cedar] chest).
Add newspaper, cedar chips (or sprigs) or dried lavender flowers to sealed container when storing, or sew dried lavender or cedar chips into small cloth bags and place with clothes.
Kill moth eggs by running through a warm clothes dryer cycle.
Infestation: place item in plastic bag in freezer for at least 48 hours, bring back to room temperature then freeze again. Tightly store the item to avoid reinfestation.
Vacuum rugs, carpets behind and under furniture, and upholstered furniture.
When use air out clothing before wearing.
Do not use inside or near people and animals.

Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Irritant, toxic when ammonia exposure is mixed with multiple chemicals. Mild to extreme irritation of eyes, nose, throat, and skin with contact; corrosive if swallowed.

**The average person in the U.S. uses 40.6 pounds of household cleaners each year.

Oven Cleaner
Corrosive to skin and eyes, soft tissue and internal organs. Aerosol oven cleaners are one of the worst contributors to indoor air pollution, especially individuals with sensitivities to the fumes from these products (like asthma and chronic bronchitis).
** No matter how thoroughly you scrub, residue from toxic cleaners remains and begins to emit fumes the second the oven is turned on.

Tub and Tile Cleaner
Corrosive, toxic compounds. POISONOUS

Vinyl Floor Cleaners and Polishes; Waxes and Strippers
Exposure will cause mild to extreme irritation with contact of nose, throat, eyes, or skin; corrosive if swallowed. Ammonia, sodium hypochlorite problematic and toxic.


Window/Glass Cleaners
Chemical exposure to skin, eyes, nose, and throat may cause mild to extreme irritation. Corrosive if swallowed.

Wood Floor and Furniture Cleaners and Polishes
Toxic fumes; use in ventilated area. Flammable. Absorbed through mucous membranes, skin contact. Contain: turpentine, ammonia, trichloroethane, silicone