Children’s Health Magazine : Parents : Your Big Fat House
Posted on September 24, 2009 Leave a Comment
Children’s Health Magazine : Parents : Your Big Fat House
This is a great article everyone should read (linked above). The title focuses on obesity caused by chemicals in the home, but the content also discusses many of the other harmful effects associated with these commonplace chemicals.
Don’t let this information scare you though, simply take control by learning how to minimize your family’s exposure! Keyword, minimize; nobody’s perfect..just take a simple “one step at a time approach” and do what is most practical for you and your loved ones. Good luck:)
Note- the part where PVC potable water lines are discussed does not apply to the majority of you, since most major cities have gone away from PVC for quite some time now, except for sewer lines of course.
Can You Eat Off Of Your Hardwood Floors?
Posted on September 17, 2009 Leave a Comment
Get the Low-Down on Your Pet’s Products
Posted on September 17, 2009 1 Comment
HealthyStuff.org has posted the results of recent, in-depth tests of over 900 consumer products. Fortunately this included a usually forgotten category when it comes to chemical content testing, pet products.
HealthyStuff.org tested over 400 pet products, including beds, chew toys, stuffed toys, collars, leashes, and tennis balls. Since there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products, it is not surprising that there were alarming levels of toxic chemicals found. HealthyStuff.org results are especially of concern to pets and children. Pets and children are frequently close to floor and commonly put products into their mouths. Exposures are greater, resulting in greater health concerns.
Don’t Throw Away Your Money!
Posted on September 16, 2009 Leave a Comment
Recycling not only reduces waste, but can also cut costs. Thanks to the City of Austin’s recent, residential co-mingled recycling program (known here as single stream), along with my family’s commitment to reduce waste; our household was able to go from the standard 60 gallon (grey) trash container down to the smallest option available, the 30 gallon (green..) container. Ever since the city made the upgrade to co-mingling, and supplied us with new 60 gallon recycle containers, we’ve been taking the trash out to the curb every week almost completely empty; which allowed us a cost reduction.
This simple change is going to save us $5.33 per month, adding up to $63.96 per year. See, green doesn’t mean more expensive! In Austin, call 311 to reduce the size of your trash container, free of charge.
-On a side note, we have also completely eliminated the use of trash bags, realizing we really don’t need them. To reduce odor, just sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of your indoor trash receptacles. After emptying everything to the outside container, simply take a hose with an aerating spray nozzle attachment and clean the inside of the empty receptacle. The oxygenating power of the left over baking soda combined with the jet of water cleans quickly and wonderfully.
This practice will save us an additional $50-70 per year. FYI if you do have to buy trash bags, buy bio-degradable (like Bio-Bag, also made for dog walk waste).
Here is a reminder of what goes in your Single Stream recycling container (in Austin, TX).
* Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, junk mail & office paper
* Aluminum, steel & tin cans
* Glass bottles and jars, all colors
* Rigid plastic (#1 through #7)
* Corrugated cardboard
* Boxboard, such as cereal and soda boxes
Join Us for an EcoSafe Information Session and Workshop this Saturday at Austin Baby!
Posted on September 15, 2009 Leave a Comment
We welcome you to join Doug Cameron of EcoSafe Spaces for a home detox information session and workshop this Saturday at Austin Baby! Topics will include: health-minded, low-toxic options for remodeling, cleaning, and furnishing your home, a Q&A session, and much more. Bring your iPhone if you’ve got one! Additionally, all attendees will be entered in a raffle to receive a free EcoSafe Home Evaluation, valued at $99.
This Saturday, 9-19-09
@ 2 pm
LEED Green Associate Exam
Posted on September 14, 2009 Leave a Comment
Today I took and passed the LEED Green Associate Exam. The exam basically measures your overall understanding of the green building process and how it relates to LEED certification.
For those of you not familiar with LEED, it is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED was created by the U.S. Green Building Council, and is the leading national certification process by which registered green building projects are rated. Additionally, LEED is an accreditation program for people interested in increasing their knowledge base for various forms of green building and design, and then putting that knowledge to a comprehensive, no-nonsense test.
Overall, I have been very impressed by the streamlined resources, education, and levels of measurement that LEED offers, as well as their emphasis on on staying current with constantly updated information and technology. I most definitely plan to continue my participation with this program now and in the future. Thanks USGBC!
Low-toxic Method to clean and polish your granite counter-tops
Posted on September 4, 2009 Leave a Comment
Recently while doing some research for a friend, I realized there is very little information available on how to maintain your granite counter-tops in a safe and practical way. This becomes especially important in the kitchen.
So while granite is still not the best selection for an antimicrobial food prep surface, due to
its naturally porous nature, even after it’s sealed (quartz, stainless steel, or even man made stones are probably better choices); it can be maintained on a daily basis without highly-toxic cleaners or polishes.
Method has a great line of products for this specific purpose, including these handy wipes (top left). Their spray version along with a micro-fiber cloth actually doubles for both granite and marble, but regardless of preference both products are said to provide virtually the same daily clean and streak-free polish.
FYI, it’s best not to use acidic cleansers like bleach or vinegar on natural stone because
over time they will etch the surface, degrading the smooth finish and top coat sealer. Tap water can actually do the same thing just not as drastically; for this reason it should not be left standing on the counter, and is not recommended as a cleaner (distilled water is fine). Enjoy!
Simple solutions to the BPA problem
Posted on August 27, 2009 Leave a Comment
You’ve probably heard about this BPA thing that keeps coming up in the news. If you haven’t, let me briefly explain. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, and is commonly found in food and drink containers such as: the liners of canned goods* (including baby formula), liners of some aluminum drink containers, most plastic bottles marked#7 **, and many baby bottles.
The problem with BPA is that a reasonable amount of scientific research has shown that, once in your body, it acts as an endocrine disruptor (in simple terms, your body thinks it is a hormone). This misunderstanding can potentially cause a lot of problems (especially in young children, who are the most vulnerable) like feminizing males, and bringing on puberty and menopause too early in females. It can also potentially cause neurological disorders and even some forms of cancer. Here is a link to an article from the Environmental Working Group that goes more in depth than I care to.
Now for the original purpose of this blog, here are some simple solutions to help you and your family minimize your BPA intake.
1- Avoid canned foods (especially pastas and soups that seem to leach the highest levels of BPA due to high acid content, and infant food and formula because its just not worth the risk) whenever possible (try a fresh alternative; or in the case of formula, powdered might be a better option).
2-If buying canned goods, try BPA-free alternatives (like beans
from Eden Foods ; organic coconut milk, mango chunks, papaya chunks, tropical fruit salad, and most pineapple items from Native Forest; and tuna from Vital Choice or Ecofish).
3- Invest in reusable stainless steel water bottles***(we suggest Kleen Kanteen).
4- If you use a baby bottle, try one of many BPA-free versions now avaliable (please do your research though…even if the bottle says BPA-Free). Thinkbaby (locally Austin) is a good brand, along with some glass alternatives.
And please, don’t get overwhelmed. Just try to stay informed, and act accordingly whenever possible.
*Canned food liners seem to leach the most BPA (far more than hard plastic, which most importantly should be avoided to heat liquids in or to put in the dishwasher). Most pre packaged glass food and drink containers do contain a small amount of BPA in the underneath lining of the lid, but relatively speaking these are still good options (especially when compared to cans).
**Plastics #1,2,and 4 do not contain BPA and are considered safer (though Pyrex or glass containers are even better choices for food storage).
***Avoid older SIGG brand reusable aluminum bottles with the clear brassy liner, the newer beige liner is BPA free.
Baby’s First Home | Healthy Child Healthy World
Posted on August 23, 2009 Leave a Comment
Baby’s First Home | Healthy Child Healthy World
Posted using ShareThis
This short video provides a great overview of how to best prepare for your baby’s first home.
Another great resource from Healthy Child, Healthy World. Enjoy!
The "Good Guide" (iPhone App Review)
Posted on August 17, 2009 Leave a Comment
The Good Guide is a fantastic and relatively new application available for the iPhone (also found on the web at www.GoodGuide.com). This thing is just perfect for trips to the grocery store. Any time you have a question about a product, you just type its name in the search box and voila! Watch out though, once you get the hang of the Good Guide, you can easily spend an hour plus in the personal care aisle alone.
One of my favorite features is the box that comes up telling you about what ingredients to avoid in the particular type of product you just searched for. After a while, you know what to avoid in deodorants, shampoos, face washes, etc.
Hey lets be honest, trying to figure out what bad things are in many of our products is difficult when the list reads like this: fjalsjfpopjsalfj, alkjflkasdjfljasd, ajfldjfadlsjfkliajsjklf, polkay, fa’skdfpokkfas, faffoda,skfioas, fakopsfkpoaskfpo, oakfpoaskfoka, ofafkopkfpodsakpgeoarf, lgjgahfflkjhadjaif, ajfoajisfjaoi;jfagahtjfue, gsliljttoudnhjkaye jshdfkjhfhsskj, ahskdhfakshfkjkadsshni and lawjfisajifo.
You get the picture, right? That is how those ingredient lists look to the lay person, and even to many people like me, who may know more or less what to look for and avoid. It can be totally overwhelming with such long lists of unpronounceable words and such small writing.
Another great feature of the Good Guide is the rating system which includes three categories: Health, Environmental, and Social; all of which usually come with an explanation. Additionally, those categories are combined for an overall ranking. All ranking are done on a scale from 1 to 10 and are also color coded, green being the top tier of course!
If you just want recommendations, the Good Guide has those too. It is quite interesting to see that some of the brands you might associate with as green, actually don’t rank very high at all. Equally interesting is the fact that some of the more common and mainstream brands have recently made changes to include or alter their products to be more in line with the increased consumer demand for healthy, green, and socially-responsible choices. Our decisions really do make a difference, it seems.
If you are curious as to why the Good Guide should be trusted, check them out for yourself, but I can tell you they are advised by a team of doctors. And, no not all products are listed, but over 70,000 are. That’s a pretty darn good start as far as I’m concerned, and I definitely have noticed this number increase since I first started using this application. Their self-proclaimed organizational status is not “non- profit“, but instead is “for benefit,” whatever that means. But seriously, they are linked up with a ton of great organizations like the Environmental Working Group, Healthy Child Healthy World, and Green America.
So, for increased piece of mind, cut out all the guess work and start using the Good Guide, or be prepared to get out your dictionary and a magnifying glass…