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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Great Websites for Going Green...or GreenER


www.care2.com/healthyliving Hundreds of everyday solutions for a healthy lifestyle.

www.checnet.org Free monthly e-mails from the Children's Environmental Health Coalition, offering simple steps to keep your baby in a healthy home. Also offers the video Not Under My Roof! Protecting Your Baby from Toxins at Home with Olivia Newton-John and Kelly Preston.

http://groups.ivillage.com/green Info on going green

www.lowimpactliving.com Info on living a low impact life

www.greenpeople.org Search for organic food, clothing, etc. around your area

www.thegreenguide.com Guide for Going Green

http://www.gomestic.com/Gardening/Five-Plants-That-Repel-Mosquitoes.34525 List of plants that repel mosquitoes

www.richsoil.com/lawn Organic lawn care

www.treehugger.com/gogreen.php More info on going green

http://home.homewebs.com/holisticmoms/index.cfm/NewsItem?id=2504 Holistic Moms Network

www.localharvest.org Find local farmers and other things grown and sold locally

http://dingo.care2.com/c2p/DailyAction/going_green_means.pdf?z00m=9426756 Wonderful info on easy steps to going green

www.cosmeticdatabase.com Find out what's in your personal care products and why they are so harmful!

www.seventhgeneration.com Great site for organic and earth friendly items from cleaning to personal care

www.gdiapers.com Don't want to do cloth but not satisfied with normal disposables? Here's an in between that will still help save the earth!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Going Green and Clean!! - Making your own cleaners

Most of us like to think that the widespread contamination of our groundwater, soil and air is entirely due to the irresponsibility of large industry. We refuse to accept the notion that in our own everyday lives we are contributing to the slow poisoning of the planet. But commonly used substances such as paint thinners, household pesticides, cleaners and solvents, and some aerosols produce hazardous waste. Our responsibility for them does not end at our curbside. Leaching out of municipal landfills into the groundwater, released into the air from garbage incinerators, or discharged from sewer systems into public waters, toxic waste comes back to haunt us.

Many of those same household products present a direct health hazard to you and your family. Most commercial polishes, for example, contain poisonous solvents that emit vapors. These products are often composed of the same toxic chemicals that industrial dumpers have used to pollute our land, air and water. The simple household pesticide you use to eliminate bugs in your garden is the same deadly poison which has given farm workers high rates of cancer. These persistent organic compounds are among the most deadly substances known.

Household toxics management programs in which citizens separate hazardous from non-hazardous wastes do not work. There is no safe way to dispose of toxic waste. The only long-term solution to keeping our water and air clean -- and our homes safe -- is reduction. Householders, like industry, must learn to live without many of the "wonder" products invented in the last 50 years. But when we remember that these products are identical to the substances which poison our water and air, we can readily commit ourselves to making responsible choices.

This factsheet brings good news. There are alternatives to "household toxics". Some of these products are more time-consuming to prepare, but they're cheaper than commercial products, and more importantly, they represent an investment in the future health of the planet.

Household Cleaners and Polishes
When cleaning your home, keep in mind that you don't have to replace grease and dirt with dozens of chemicals dangerous to your family and the overall environment. Most of your household cleaning needs can be met with six simple ingredients: vinegar, soap, baking soda, washing soda, borax, and ammonia. Various combinations of these simple substances can accomplish most household cleaning jobs cheaply and safely.
Use caution with all cleaners. Even some non-toxic cleaners are unsafe for consumption.

All-Purpose Cleaner
Mild Mixture:
1 gallon (4 L) hot water
1/4 C (50 ml) sudsy ammonia
1/4 C (50 ml) vinegar
1 T (5ml) baking soda

This solution is safe for all surfaces, can be rinsed with water, and is very effective for most jobs. For a stronger cleaner or wax stripper, double the amounts of all ingredients except water. Use gloves, and do not mix with other compounds, especially chlorine bleach. (Never mix ammonia and bleach: an extremely toxic gas is produced.)

In the 1960s concern about phosphates in detergents led to legislated reduction in some areas to protect our lakes and streams. But detergent related problems persist because of the sheer volume of cleansers used by North Americans.
The best alternative for cleaning your clothes is, naturally enough, soap. Despite the advantages of detergents, (the dictionary defines soap as "a biodegradable cleansing and emulsifying agent made by action of alkali on fat or fatty acids and consisting essentially of sodium or potassium salts of such acids" and detergent as "any of numerous nonbiodegradable synthetic water-soluble or liquid organic preparations that are chemically different from soaps, but are able to emulsify oils, hold dirt in suspension, and act as wetting agents"). Soap has accomplished the task of getting garments white and bright for generations.
Try this recipe:
Add 1/3 C (80 ml) washing soda (sodium carbonate) to water as machine is filling.
Add clothes.
Add 1 1/2 C (375 ml) of soap.
If the water is hard, add 1/4 C (50 ml) soda or 1/4 C (50 ml) vinegar during the first rinse.

Detergents leave a residue on fabrics that must be removed with softeners. If you have been using detergents in your laundry, it is advisable to get rid of the detergent film. To prevent yellowing, run your laundry through the washer with 1/3 C (80 ml) washing soda before you convert to soap.

There are alternatives to enzyme presoaks and bleach for tough stains, too. Test each of the following remedies on your fabric first. If it starts to discolor, neutralize the cleaning agent immediately. Acids (lemon juice and vinegar) neutralize alkalies (baking soda and ammonia), and alkalies neutralize acids. Wash after application.

HEAVY SOILS: Rub with solution of 2 T (30 ml) washing soda in 1 C (250 ml) warm water.
SOILED DIAPERS: Presoak in 3 T (45 ml) baking soda dissolved in warm water in either tub or washing machine.
FRUIT AND WINE: Immediately pour salt or hot water on the stain and soak in milk before washing.
GREASE: Pour boiling water on stains and follow with dry baking soda. Or try ammonia and water.
INK: Soak in milk or remove with hydrogen peroxide.
BLOOD: Soak in cold water or remove with hydrogen peroxide. For a more stubborn stain, mix cornstarch, talcum powder, or cornmeal with water and apply the mixture. Allow to dry and brush away.
COFFEE: Mix egg yolk with luke-warm water and rub on stain.
CHEWING GUM: Rub with ice. Gum will flake off.
LIPSTICK: Rub with cold cream or shortening and wash with washing soda.
RUST: Saturate with sour milk (or lemon juice) and rub with salt. Place in direct sunlight until dry, then wash.
MILDEW: Pour strong soap and salt on the spots and place in sunlight. Keep the spots moist, and repeat as often as necessary.
SCORCHES: Boil scorched article in 1 C (250 ml) soap and 2 quarts (liters) milk.
To fully clean and deodorize carpets, mix 2 parts cornmeal with 1 part borax. Sprinkle liberally, leave one hour, then vacuum. For tougher stains, repeatedly blot with vinegar in soapy, water. For red wine spills, blot with white wine and warm, soapy, water. Quick deodorizing is easy if you sprinkle the carpet with baking soda, then vacuum.

Polishing Metals
COPPER: Lemon juice and salt, or hot vinegar and salt.
CHROME: Rubbing alcohol, or a small amount of ammonia with hot water. Also try white flour in a dry rag.
BRASS: Equal parts salt and flour, with a little vinegar.
SILVER: Bring to boil in a large pan: 1 quart (1 litre) water; 1 T (15 ml) salt; 1 T (15 ml) baking soda. Drop in silver, boil for 3 minutes, and polish with a soft cloth. Or, polish with a paste of wood ash and water.

Combine strong version of all-purpose cleaner with baking soda: wear gloves when scrubbing. An easier oven cleaner is ammonia: Place about 1/4 C (50 ml) in a shallow pan (not aluminum), and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oven for 20 minutes, turn off, and place pan in oven overnight. Baked-on foods will be loosened, and the oven can be cleaned with baking soda and scrubbing.

Your drains can be kept open, clean, and odor-free without the use of corrosive drain cleaners. Two simple rules: Never pour liquid grease down a drain, and always use the drain sieve. In addition, use this preventive measure for drains once a week: Mix 1 C (250 ml) baking soda, 1 C (250 ml) salt, and 1/4 C (50 ml) cream of tartar. Pour 1/4 C of this mixture into drain. Follow with a pot of boiling water, and flush with cold water. Done once a week, your drain should remain open and odor-free.
In the event a drain becomes clogged, pour in 1/4 C (50 ml) baking soda followed by 1/2 C (125 ml) vinegar, close the drain until the fizzing stops, and flush with boiling water. As a last resource, use a plumber's snake, available at most hardware stores, but be aware it can damage pipes.

Tub and Tile
Most commercial tile cleaners do more harm than good because many contain chlorine, a serious irritant to eyes, nose and skin, and one of the most dangerous chemicals found in municipal sewers. For bathroom cleaning, use a firm-bristled brush with either baking soda and hot water or the mild all-purpose cleaner.

Set aside your dish detergent, and dissolve soap flakes in hot water. Add some vinegar to the water for tough grease.

Most store-bought polishes contain solvents that are released into the air. Aerosol sprays are wasteful, and many contain gases harmful to the environment.
FURNITURE POLISH: Dissolve 1 t (5 ml) lemon oil in 1 pint (4/5 ml) mineral oil. Apply with a rag.
POLISHING CLOTH: Melt 1/4 C (50 ml) paraffin (wax) and 1/4 C (50 ml) vinegar together in a double boiler. Soak a dusting rag in the mixture for 1/2 hour, then squeeze and hang to dry.
FLOOR POLISH: Melt 1/8 C (25 ml) paraffin in a double boiler. Add 1 quart (I L) mineral oil and a few drops of lemon essence. Apply with a rag, allow to dry, and polish.

Mirrors, Glass and Windows
Wash with simple soap and water; rinse with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. Or use a spray bottle and a mixture of 1/2 C (120 ml) ammonia, 1/8 c (25 ml) vinegar, and a quart (1 L) of very warm water (the warmer the water, the faster the evaporation). Use washable, reusable cheese cloth rather than paper towels or dry with loosely crumpled sheets of newspaper.

Air fresheners
Commercial air fresheners work by masking smells, coating nasal passages and deadening nerves to chemically alter odors and diminish the sense of smell. Avoid these products. Grow house plants, which are an excellent source for air purification. Baking soda in your refrigerator or garbage can help reduce odors at their source. A small bowl of vineger in a room will help soak up odors as well.

Controlling Garden Pests
Find out which non-chemical fertilizers aid in controlling bugs, and how to fortify your plants with proper soil care. Pesticides carry the suffix "-cides." which means "killer." Natural pesticides are cheaper and safer for your family, and are usually "pest-specific".
Learn to promote the population of beneficial pests such as lady bird beetles, bees, fly, larvae, lace-wing larvae (aphid lions), praying mantis, dragon flies, predacious mites and thrips, spiders, toads, garter snakes, and birds. Investigate "companion planting, which can provide a natural barrier to bugs.
Outdoor Pests
The following methods will assist in healthy gardening:
HANDPICKING is time-consuming but unbeatable. Use gloves, and remove all visible offending pests.
SPRAYING -- on foliage:
TOBACCO WATER: Place a large handful of tobacco into 4 quarts (4 L) of warm water. Let stand for 24 hours. Dilute and apply with a spray bottle. This tobacco water is poisonous to humans -- use caution when handling.
HOT PEPPERS: Blend 2 or 3 very hot peppers, 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic in water, boil, steep for two days, and strain. This spray, will not damage indoor or outdoor plants and can be frozen for future use.
GARLIC: Mix 4 Q (4 L) water, 2 T (30 ml) garlic juice (do not use garlic powder, as it will burn the plants), 32 grams of diatomaceous earth (see below), and 1 t (5 ml) rubbling alcohol. Can be frozen for later use.
SOAP: Use only pure soap, as detergents will damage your plants. Liquid soaps: 2 T (30 ml) per quart (litre) of water. Dry soaps: 50 grams per quart (litre) of water.
COLLARS: To stop hatching larvae from burrowing into the soil surrounding your plants, use "collars" made of stiff paper, heavy plastic or tar paper. Cut a piece a foot square and fit snugly around the stem of the plant on top of the soil. Use a paper clip to hold it in place.
NETTING: Fine netting such as cheese cloth, placed over the bed, will protect seedlings from chewing insects, keep cats and birds away, and prevent living insects from having eggs.
Please contact the organizations listed for more information. Greenpeace strongly. recommends that gardeners make full use of modern organic methods.
Formulated, biodegradable pest-control substances are commercially available. For example:
PYRETHRUM DUST: Very effective against soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, with toxicity, to mammals. Avoid inhaling.
DIATOMACEOUS EARTH: made from the skeletons of tiny organisms, this dust controls pests by causing dehydration and death. Can be used indoors and out. Please follow manufacturer's instructions carefully.
INSECTICIDAL SOAP: This soap is available in gardening, hardware, and drug stores.
Controlling Indoor Pests
ANTS: Locate the place of entry, squeeze a lemon onto it and leave the peel. Ants will also retreat from lines of talcum powder, chalk, damp coffee grounds, bone meal, charcoal dust and cayenne pepper.
COCKROACHES: Plug all small cracks along baseboards, wall shelves, and cupboards, and around pipes, sinks, and bathtub fixtures. A light dust of borax around the fridge, stove and ductwork is effective in controlling cockroaches. For a trap, lightly grease the inner neck of a milk bottle and put a little stale beer or a raw potato in it.
FRUIT FLIES: Pour a small amount of beer into a wide-mouth jar. Cut the corner out of a plastic bag and attach the bag to the jar with a rubber band. Flies will enter and be trapped. Change the beer when necessary.
FLIES: Sunny windows are flies' most common entrance into your home, so close windows before the sun hits them. Use regular sticky flypaper to catch unwelcome flying guests. You can make your own with honey and yellow paper.
MOTHS: Keep vulnerable clothes dry and well aired. Camphor can be used, as it is the major, nontoxic ingredient of moth balls. To trap moths, mix 1 part molasses with 2 parts vinegar and place it in a yellow container. Clean regularly.
HOUSE PLANT PESTS: Hot-pepper spray will also help to control pests on the leaves. And don't forget soap and water, but be sure to rinse the plants with fresh water afterwards.
SILVERFISH: Traps can be made with a mixture of 1 part molasses to 2 parts vinegar. Place near cracks and holes where pests live. Silverfish can be repelled by treating baseboards, table legs, and cracks in cupboards with a mixture of borax and sugar (or honey).
SPIDERS: Under ideal conditions, do not destroy spiders because they help control pests.
STORED FOOD PESTS: Keep mites and moths out of your staples by drying the food in a warm oven (70 F, 20 C) for one hour or by freezing for 2-3 days. Always store foods in air tight containers. Weevils' favorite foods are beans and grains; to keep them away, hang small cloth sacks of black pepper in your food bins of around your food storage area. A few soapberries per bushel of stored wheat will also drive out weevils.
TICKS and FLEAS: If your pets are infested, wash them well with soap and warm water, dry them thoroughly, and use this herbal rinse: Add 1/2 C (125 mL) of fresh or dried rosemary to a quart (litre) of boiling water. Steep 20 minutes, strain, and allow to cool. Spray or sponge evenly onto pet and allow to air dry. Do not towel down, as this will remove the residue. Make sure pets are dry before letting them outside.

GREENPEACE has compiled the information contained in this factsheet from a variety of sources and can assume no responsibility for the effectiveness of the suggestions. Caution is urged in the use of the cleaning solutions and pest-control substances. KEEP THEM OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN.

How to Make your Own Baby Wipes

Why would you want to do this, you ask? Have you ever looked at the ingredients in baby wipes? Some pretty nasty stuff that can be very irritating...and you wonder why junior has a horrible rash? Try this recipe with cloth or chlorine free diapers.

Here's How:
Cut the roll of paper towels in half with a knife and remove the inner cardboard core.
Mix liquid ingredients in container.
Place the paper towels in the container with the cut side facing downward.
Secure lid tightly and allow to sit until all liquid is absorbed into the paper towels.
Turn the container upside-down and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Open container and 'start' the roll by pulling a towel from the inside of the roll.
Wipes are now ready to use.

These also make a great gift for new parents. You can decorate or personalize the container and, of course, be sure to include a copy of the recipe.
Save the other half of the roll for use next time you make wipes.
Make sure the container is closed tightly after each use to prevent drying out.
When your baby is older and his skin is less sensitive, you can add about a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol to the mix.

What You Need:
Round plastic container (Rubbermaid #6 or #9 works well)
Thick, strong roll of white paper towels
Sharp knife to cut paper towel roll in half
2 cups water that has been boiled and cooled to room temperature
2 Tablespoons baby shampoo or baby wash
1 Tablespoon baby oil

Organic Pest Control

A few tips...

Hot peppers work well as a spray application, garlic is another.

All-purpose Insect Spray

Great for getting rid of gypsy moth caterpillars, Japanese beetles, and any other foilage munchers. Can be sprayed on Fruit trees, Vegetables, and Roses. May also keep rodents away. Should be reapplied after every rain.

1 head of garlic1 tbsp cayenne pepper or hot pepper sauce
1 quart water1 tbsp liquid soap (biodegradable like Dr. Bronners’, Murphy’s or Ivory)
1 small onion

Chop garlic and onion, add cayenne and mix with water. Let steep 1 hour, strain and then add liquid soap and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator up to one week. Use as a spray as needed.
Use of organic sprays are more friendly to the environment. They are comprised of common organic materials, soaps and occasionally other environmentally friendly materials. They are often home brewed recipes that you can make and save money along the way.

Citrus Spray

Great for aphids...

1 pint of boiling water
rind from one lemon

Steep the peel in water and then strain before pouring into a spray bottle.

**Alternative: Use a few drops of lemon essential oil in water.

(Not really sure what to call this one...)

Find as many of the insects you wish to repel (dead) as you can and ground them up into a powder. Add one quart of water and spray on the affected plants.

.................................................................................. ....... ...................................... .

Below, is a list of plants that can be used to make homemade repellent sprays. Chop or mash the leaves and add warm water (either a 4:1 or 2:2 ratio - leaves:water). Let steep overnight and strain then pour into a spray bottle along with a tsp of biodegradable liquid soap.

Geranium- leaves used to keep insects away. Scented varieties such as rose geranium work well too. (It also works great as a body spray to repel mosquitoes and black flies!)
Marigold- 2:2 ratio for general insect and rabbit repelling
Mullein-4:1 ratio of water to mullein leaves to spray against white flies
Nasturtium-2:2 ratio using leaves for a spray to fight aphids and white flies
Rhubarb-4:1 ratio (use boiling water for this) for aphids, black spot and fungus
Tomato Leaf-2:2 ratio (potato leaves work well for this too)
Wormwood-2:2 ratio using leaves to fight aphids and caterpillars
**This last plant while highly effective will kill all insects, even beneficial ones, so use
sparingly and as a last resort.
Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) - An African flower which contains a
natural insecticide. It is less toxic than commercial insecticides (it is an ingredient in many
popular insect sprays) and extremely effective against insects. Take two tablespoons of
pyrethrum flower heads and add to one quart of hot water, steep for one hour. Take care not
to breathe in the fumes as they are toxic. Mix with 1Tb of liquid soap. Cool and strain
mixture and pour into a spray bottle.


Homemade Dormant Oil

This is sprayed on fruit trees in late winter; this is an alternative to the petroleum based products available.

1 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp liquid soap
1 gallon of water

Mix 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 tbsp liquid soap
Then add to one gallon water, shake well and pour into sprayer or spray bottle. Shake often during use.

Insecticide Garlic Spray:

1Garlic Bulb
2 CupsWater
1 GallonWater

Take an entire garlic bulb and two cups of water and blend in blender.
Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day.
Strain liquid through a cheese cloth.
Mix liquid with one gallon of water.
Apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves.

Insecticide Soap Spray:

Put one tablespoon of dish detergent per gallon into a sprayer.
Apply liberally on top and bottom of leaves.
Re-apply after rain or one to two weeks.

Hot Pepper Spray:

This can be used to repel, deer, rabbits and other pests from your flowers and some vegetables.
**Note, use caution with vegetables as a peppery taste may remain on the fruit.

6Hot Peppers, the hotter the better
2 Cups Water
1 quart Water

Put hot peppers and two cups of water into a blender.
Mix at high speed for 1-2 minutes.
Pour into a container and set aside for up to one day.
Strain liquid through a cheese cloth.
Add liquid into a one quart container. Fill container to top with water.
Apply liberally to plants. Re-apply every week to two weeks or after a rain.

Fungicide/ Powdery Mildew Spray:

1 Gallon Water
3 Tablespoons Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Bleach
1 Teaspoon Dishwashing Liquid

Snip and remove leaves that are worst affected.
Mix ingredients with water.
Spray remaining leaves top and undersides.
Apply a heavier dose on leaves that have signs of infection and only lightly on unaffected leaves as bleach can actually harm and discolor the leaves.

**Extremely important: Do not use too much bleach! Use no more than 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. We hesitate to recommend using bleach as it can harm your plants if too much is applied. Use it at your own risk and try to avoid spraying it on healthy leaves.

Other Ideas:
Marigolds and Nasturtiums are commonly grown as companion plants as they keep pests away. Try putting some of the leaves and stems in your blender. Let it soak for a day, drain, add water to dilute and apply liberally.
**If you are in to experimenting, look up other companion plants and give them a try. You just might invent a new recipe!

Caterpillar Pest Control
Hand picking for caterpillars is very effective. Just pluck them off and remove them from the garden. The garlic and red pepper spray and the wormwood spray below work well for moth caterpillars.

Garlic and Red Pepper Spray
Cut up one un-peeled onion and one un-peeled head of garlic. Add with one heaping tablespoon of red pepper to three pints water in a saucepan. Cook about 20 minutes on low heat. Let the spray cool. Pour it in glass jars and cover with a lid. It will keep in the refrigerator over a month. When you are ready to use the herbal spray, use one tablespoon per pint of water. Adding Ivory Snow increases effectiveness (soapy water is a good natural pest control by itself if you spray it directly on the insect.)

Rabbit deterrent
Pepper spray is often given as a good rabbit deterrent but consider a wire fence around the perimeter of your garden. That may save you the frustration of having all your leafy greens become gourmet rabbit food. Pepper sprinkled on the ground around your plants may work as a deterrent. Some people recommend bath powder with talc.

Red spider mites steer clear of oil of geranium. Plant it near grapes and corn to repel cabbage worm too.

Deters potato bugs.

Plant it in vegetable and flower gardens as an insect repellant - particularly good against white butterfly. It is recommended as a good companion planting for cabbages and grapes. But don't plant it near radishes.

Lavender and Lavender Bags
Helps deter mice, ticks and moths. Attracts butterflies.

Spreads prolifically, so keep it contained. It deters fleas, ants, mice and cabbage butterfly. Don't plant it near parsley.

Repels cabbage butterfly and cucumber beetle if planted near cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and grape vine.

Repels flies, and deters dogs and cats. It's great planted near strawberries and fig trees.

Works to repel ants, flies, fleas and moths, especially good near fruit trees. You can crush the leaves and rub it on an animal’s fur to repel fleas.

Deters cabbage worm when planted near cole crops (cabbage, collard, broccoli, etc.)

The plant itself is a deterrent to slugs and snails. It can be made into an effective herbal insecticide spray against slugs, snails and caterpillars. To make wormwood insecticide spray, simmer leaves in at least three pints of water. Strain, cool and store in glass jars. You may add soapy water to increase effectiveness.

Baking Soda Spray

1 quart of water
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 squirt of liquid, non-detergent soap

Spray infected leaves thoroughly, including undersides and stems. In damp weather repeat regularly. This is an effective mixture to help prevent botrytis, black spot, rust, and powdery mildew.

Potato Starch Spray

1 quart of water
2 to 4 tablespoons of potato flour
1 squirt of liquid, non-detergent soap

In addition to fungal diseases, this blend is also an effective insect spray.

Sulfur has been used as a natural fungicide for thousands of years. It can be purchased as a liquid or a powder. Sulfur acts as a preventative, and should therefore be applied before the disease is evident. It is useless to spray after the blight is already visible.

Bordeaux Mix is a very powerful, organic fungicide that has been in use for centuries. It is available commercially as a powder which can be dusted onto plants, or mixed with water and sprayed. Read the directions very carefully, and if in doubt, use a solution that has been severely diluted. In excessively high concentrations, Bordeaux Mix can kill the plant.

Watch OUT!

The 10 Most UNwanted Ingredients in Personal Care & Beauty Products
These are facts about 10 of the most unwanted ingredients that may be in your personal care and beauty aid products!

1. Isopropyl Alcohol:
This is a solvent and denaturant (poisonous substance that changes another substance's natural qualities). Isopropyl alcohol is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances and many other cosmetics. This petroleum-derived substance is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac. According to A Consumers Dictionary of Cometic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting and coma.

2. Mineral Oil:
Baby oil is 100% mineral oil. This commonly used petroleum ingredient coats the skin just like plastic wrap. The skin's natural immune barrier is disrupted as this plastic coating inhibits its ability to breathe and absorb the Natural Moisture Factor (moisture and nutrition). The skin's ability to release toxins is impeded by this 'plastic wrap,' which can promote acne and other disorders. This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age.

3. PEG:
This is an abbreviation for polyethylene glycol that is used in making cleansers to dissolve oil and grease as well as thicken products. Because of their effectiveness, PEG's are often used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners and yet are found in many personal care products. PEG's contribute to stripping the Natural Moisture Factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic.

4. Propylene Glycol (PG):
As a 'surfactant' or wetting agent and solvent, this ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze. There is no difference between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shaves, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpastes. It is also used in food processing. Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this toxic substance. The Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact, as PG has systemic consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. Consumers are not protected nor is there a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than that in most industrial applications.

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES):
Used as detergents and surfactants, these closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Yet both SLS and SLES are used more widely as one of the major ingredients in cosmetics, toothpastes, hair conditioner and about 90% of al shampoos and products that foam. Mark Fearer in an article, Dangerous Beauty, says "...in tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and corrosion and death." According to the American College of Toxicology states, "...both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children's eyes. Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties. It is possibly the most dangerous of all ingredients in personal care products. Research has shown that SLS when combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens, which causes the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate-contaminated food." According to the American College of Toxicology report, "SLS stays in the body for up to five days...Other studies have indicated that SLS easily penetrates through the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain. This poses serious questions regarding its potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers and toothpaste."

6. Chlorine:
According to Doris J. Rapp, M.D., author of Is This Your Child's World? exposure to chlorine in tap water, showers, pool, laundry products, cleaning agents, food processing, sewage systems and many others, can effect health by contributing to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium, diabetes, dizziness, irritation of the eye, mouth, nose, throat, lung, skin and stomach, heart disease, high blood pressure and nausea. It is also a possible cause of cancer. Even though you will not see Chlorine on personal care product labels, it is important for you to be aware of the need to protect your skin when bathing and washing your hair.

7. DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (monoethanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine):
DEA and MEA are usually listed on the ingredient label in conjunction with the compound being neutralized. Thus look for names like Cocoamide DEA or MEA, Lauramide DEA, etc. These are hormone disrupting chemicals and are known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. These are commonly found in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers. On the show CBS This Morning, Roberta Baskin revealed that a recent government report shows DEA and MEA are readily absorbed in the skin. Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois said, "repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of two cancers- liver and kidney cancers." John Bailey, who oversees the cosmetic dividion for the FDA said the new study is especially important since "the risk equation changes significantly for children."

8. FD&C Color Pigments:
Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Debra Lynn Dadd says in Home Safe Home, "Colors that can be used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic."

9. Fragrance:
Fragrance is present in most deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby care products. Many of the compounds in fragrances are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. "Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes.' Home Safe Home

10. Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin:
These are two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde (formaldehyde-donors). According to the Mayo Clinic, formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Serious side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients.

Too Much Info?

It can be really hard if you are just starting out...trying to be greenER...a term I use for people that want to do little at a time with big changes in mind. So, try these things, one or two at a time...and once you have them down...skip down the list :)

1. Look at your body care items that you put on and they stay on for most of the day...sunscreens, lotions, toners, etc. Look at the ingredients on the back and see if they include the top 10 ingredients in the WATCH OUT post (before this one). If they do, get rid of them. Not ready to quit using your favorite product cold turkey? Then, start looking for a substitute now. Check out www.cosmeticdatabase.com for more information on what's lurking in your personal care products. And beware of labels that claim to be organic, natural, and green. Make sure to read the labels anyhow...because the standards for being organic, natural or green are VERY lax...after all dog poo IS natural but you wouldn't want that on your face...or would you?

2. Pick 3 other products (like shampoos, body washes, makeup, etc) that you will replace with something better once those products run out. Or, if you are feeling brave, toss them and go buy something new and healthier!

3. Start buying the following USDA certified organic:
grapes (especially if they're imported),
bell peppers,
and spinach.

because these have been found to contain the most pesticide residue.
And if you can, go ahead and buy meats and dairy products USDA certified organic too...

4. Switch to a canvas shopping bag and say NO to plastic and paper shopping bags

5. Practice turning the water off while you brush your teeth

6. Practice limiting your shower to only 5-10 minutes

7. Wash your laundry on cold and hang clothes to dry

8. Don't smoke. It unleashes thousands of harmful chemicals in your body and into the air for others to breathe!

9. Get out and walk. By getting out and walking, you are helping your BODY rid itself of toxins...making you healthier. Meaning less visits to the doctors and less plastic bottles full of meds. (Any exercise will do, really)

10. EAT better. Try the list on #3 for your organics. Buy what you can and don't worry about the rest. Also, if you try local farmers, some may not use pesticides but cant afford the USDA label. So make sure they don't use the bad stuff, and then you may be able to buy things locally...which also saves on gas and packaging. By eating better you help YOURSELF as well as helping local farmers...AND once again, saves gas to the doctors, saves you medicine and your health AND the plastic bottles...and all of the paperwork that goes with...Who woulda thought one visit to the doc could create so much waste? (Not saying you shouldn't go if you get really sick...but wouldn't you rather avoid getting sick!?)

Eating Less Toxic Foods

The Musts and Myths of Organic and Locally

So you've been known to occasionally spend extra on organic milk, mosey over to the free-range meat section, and make an effort to support your local farms by buying berries from a roadside fruit stand.

Still, I'm betting the farm that if you're confused about when to go local, when you should go organic, and when it's all just baloney, you're not alone.I reached out to two experts in the field for some solid answers. Joy Bauer, nutritionist extraordinaire, breaks down the musts and myths of organic and local, while Ryan Hardy, the fresh-market-obsessed chef at The Montagna in Aspen, provides five easy ways to include the best of both into our diets. I hope this helps you figure out the best ways to bring farm-fresh food closer to your home.

WHAT IS LOCALLY GROWN? Locally grown means seasonal food from small farms. Some say it applies only to foods grown within a 100-mile radius; others stretch it to 250 miles.

MUSTS: Seasonal fruits, seasonal vegetables, milk and dairy.

WHY? Local crops harvested at their peak of freshness and flavor offer superior nutrient density, and buying produce from local growers reduces the environmental impact and costs of transporting product.

MYTHS: Local food is not necessarily organically grown. However, there is truth to many local farmers' claims that they do not use pesticides.

WHY? They just can't advertise themselves as certified organic unless they've gone through the certification process, which is lengthy and expensive.

WHAT'S ORGANIC?For plants, organic means grown on certified organic land without synthetic fertilizers or chemicals (like pesticides). Genetic modification and irradiation are also off-limits. For animals, organic means access to the outdoors, only organic feed for at least a year, and no antibiotics or growth hormones.

MUSTS: Apples, cherries, grapes (especially if they're imported), nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, bell peppers, celery, potatoes, and spinach.

WHY? Because these fruits and veggies have been found to contain the most pesticide residue, even after being washed. If you want to go the extra mile, also buy your beef, poultry, and dairy organic. Organic meats and dairy are much more expensive than nonorganic, but they'll also reduce your exposure to toxins.

MYTHS: You don't need to worry about buying these organic: bananas, kiwi, mangoes, papaya, pineapple, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, onion, sweet peas, and seafood.

WHY? Because these fruits and veggies tend not to carry pesticide residue, and seafood has no USDA organic certification standards (so "organic seafood" doesn't mean much).

Now that you've got the dirt on organic and local, check out Chef Ryan Hardy's 5 easy ways to bring the benefits of both to your table:
1. Go to farmer's markets. The farmer's market may not always easily fit into your busy schedule, but taking 30 minutes to buy good foods for your family is worth the time.
2. Demand it at your local store. Ask your local grocer to get in products you want -- be specific and follow up.
3. Talk with local chefs who use local, organic ingredients. Chefs are notoriously picky about finding the right product. Ask about the ingredients they use.... You'll probably find out that most are easily obtainable.
4. Buy what's in season. Food is at its cheapest when it's at its best -- so take advantage and eat fresh fruits and vegetables when they're at their peak.
5. Eat more greens. Farm-fresh salad greens are exciting additions to all kinds of dishes, not just salads. Try adding them to pasta, serving them under a steak, or simply sandwiching them with goat cheese between bread.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

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