Friday, March 20, 2009

Non-toxic cleaner recipes

I'm working on my article for the New Heights/Urban Corridor magazine that's coming up. This month, they want a story about simple home cleaner recipes. I thought I could post a few that I've turned up and ask for some feedback on things that work for you. I've been reading a book called Clean by Michael DeJong that has lots of these recipes. This was handed over by a friend at the store and is a great little reference book.

Here's two mold killers I've turned up in the search:

#1 - Distilled White vinegar - dump it straight in the spray bottle, cover the mold and let it set.

#2 - 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil diluted in 2 cups of water. Tea tree oil is pricey, but it smells better than the vinegar and is reportedly more effective.

Feel free to send back your homegrown recipes!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Phthalates, Are they hurting our kids?

I have read and listened to quite a few debates about these chemicals. They are meant to stabilize fragrances and make plastics more flexible. These so called "safe' chemicals have been banned in some countries and have restricted use in California, but why if they are safe?
There have been studies that suggest that they act as hormonal disruptors and can cause reproductive birth defects. Some activists believe they may cause reproductive problems in boys and early puberty in girls.

What products contain these chemicals?
Baby shampoos, lotions and powders! As well as cosmetics, air fresheners, candles and other fragrance filled products.

In the study, they were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who'd been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products.

Rigorous scientific evidence in human studies is lacking. The current study offers no direct evidence that products the infants used contained phthalates, and no evidence that the chemicals in the babies' urine caused any harm. Still, the results worried environmental groups that support restrictions on these chemicals.
So, there may not be direct evidence that these chemicals harm us and our children, but in my opinion, I don't want to take a chance. I look for products marked "phthalate-free," or check labels for common phthalates, including DEP and DEHP. But the chemicals often don't appear on product labels. That's because retail products aren't required to list individual ingredients of fragrances, which are a common phthalate source.
Here is a little bit of the article I read on of all places!

The Food and Drug Administration "has no compelling evidence that phthalates pose a safety risk when used in cosmetics," spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said. "Should new data emerge, we will inform the public as well as the industry."
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the health effects in humans are uncertain.
"Although several studies in people have explored possible associations with developmental and reproductive outcomes (semen quality, genital development in boys, shortened pregnancy, and premature breast development in young girls), more research is needed," a 2005 CDC report said.
The new study, which appears in February's issue of the journal Pediatrics, involved 163 babies. Most were white, ages 2 to 28 months and living in California, Minnesota and Missouri.
The researchers measured levels of several phthalates in urine from diapers. They also asked the mothers about use in the previous 24 hours of baby products including
lotions, powders, diaper creams and baby wipes.
All urine samples had detectable levels of at least one phthalate, and most had levels of several more. The highest levels were linked with shampoos, lotions and powders, and were most prevalent in babies younger than 8 months.

Will you keep using these products or will you try to find alternatives?
Tell us what you think, we would love to hear your comments concerning this topic.