Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

OK, it's Earth Day and I want to know what all of you are doing about it. It doesn't have to be some grand gesture, just learning something new and applying it to your daily life would suffice. I've been studying up on how to 'clean up' our home, as in removing the toxins that we use to help clean and keep things tidy. I am finding loads of information about natural products that get the job done just as well, or better, than chemicals we've become accustomed to. As an example I am trying out a 90% Water/10% Vinegar solution as a way to rid our yard of unsightly weeds. I'll let you know how that progresses. In the meantime I have listed below some information I garnered from a local magazine called Granville. Read it, check you cleaning cupboards and make your life, and the planet, better.

How many of these chemicals are around YOUR house??

* Used as a solvent in carpet cleaners and specialty cleaners, it can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and may cause blood disorders, as well as liver and kidney damage, and may also cause reproductive damage on long-term exposure.

Ethoxylated nonyl phenols (NPEs)
* A group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals still used in cleaning products, even though Environment Canada has declared them toxic under the Canadian Environmental Act. Known as 'gender benders', nonyl phenols can induce female charicteristics in male fish, for example.

Methylene chloride
* Listed as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, methylene chloride, or products containing it, are used as paint stripper. There are no warning label requirements in Canada for methylene chloride, which is sold in hardware and home improvement outlets.

* Either Naphthalene, or another chemical called paradichlorobenzene, is used in mothballs and moth crystals. Naphthalene is listed by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment as a substance "known to cause cancer", while paradichlorobenzene is listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen.

* Found in common powdered household abrasive cleaners, Silica is made from finely ground quartz. It is carcinogenic when it occurs as a fine breathable dust.

* Used as a solvent in numerous products, including paints, Toulene is a potent reproductive toxin. Toulene is listed by California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a reproductive toxin that may cause harm to the develoring fetus. Pregnant women should certainly not use products containing Toulene.

Trisodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA)
* Used as a builder in laundry detergents, NTA is listed as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It also has an adverse environmental impact because it can impede the elimination metals in wastewater treatment plants.

Source: Labour Environment Alliance Society (leas.ca)

1 comment:

West End Bob said...

We tried the water/vinegar thing on weeds here in Florida. Even with a 90% vinegar/10% water ratio it was not too effective, unfortunately.

Let us know how that works for you in "Sunny Sooke" . . . .