Posts Tagged ‘pollution’

Just put your kids in a bubble.

After reading a recent article at Inhabitots then looking around my house, I have decided the only way to keep my kids safe is to place them in either

a) an individual bubble

or

b) a group bubble so they can play together

It seems that every day there is a new study out or another recall warning of the dangers of pretty much every item my kids come into contact with.

The Inhabitots article I came across for example, warns of the toxins contained in some types of flooring and wallpaper. Our kids are surrounded. If not at home, at school, at the babysitters or at Grandma’s.  The study found, among other things, toxic substances in flooring that negatively impact the immune system and brain development. Ahh, there goes my baby crawling on the floor, and I was worried about the dust bunnies he eats, turns out the kitchen floor is the problem.  They go on to site a Swedish study that “found that children exposed to the vinyl flooring that emits phthalates, may be as much as twice as likely to develop autism.” Another reason to be weary of vinyl flooring and wallpaper? High levels of lead, you pregnant ladies are not in the clear either. Click here to read the full Inhabitots article.

So that is that, I don’t have the $$ to rip up my vinyl flooring, I guess I’ll just try to contain Mr. Baby Man  in less toxic areas of my house for now. Maybe am incentive for more outside time?

While we are on the subject of toxic substances, lemme say a few quick things about BPA.

Upon reading various articles in The Globe and Mail, I have learned that

  • Teenagers  carry about 30 per cent more BPA than the rest of the population
  • Men who are exposed to high levels of BPA are more likely to experience sexual-performance difficulties. Does that make you enjoy your daily can of Pepsi more? Realistically the amount of BPA in a can of pop is probably harmless, but when you add it to the masses of other places BPA is suspected to be reaching us from…
  • Higher exposure to BPA =  A significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 45% increased risk to be exact.
  • Levels of BPA are so high in some waters, that people are banned from swimming .  Too bad we can’t ban birds, fish or dolphins from swimming in certain parts of the ocean.  The same study found that BPA levels  were even higher in sand since BPA’s claim to fame is sticking to things and sand particles are the perfect candidate.

Great news for Canadians!

After a 4 year study we can all  do the non-toxic dance because Canada has FINALLY declared BPA a toxic substance! The researched showed that 91% of us have BPA in our bodies. It is about time! When will everyone else follow suit?

( Shout out! Happy Wedding Day to Kim & Tommy!!)

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What is a Big Green Purse? I’ll give you one! (review and giveaway)

Win a copy of BIG GREEN PURSE by DIANE MACEACHERN, just leave a comment. ( Open October 14-28 2010)

So the basis for me starting this blog was to write about my One in a Million Challenge (recently I’ve fallen a little behind on this, updates are coming…)

The One in a Million Challenge is an idea that Diane MacEachern came up where she encourages women to shift $1000 of their existing budget to environmentally friendly products.  Since women control 0.85 cents of every dollar spent, this adds up to a lot, like  ONE BILLION DOLLARS we’re talking.  That is enough money to make any manufacturer take a second look at their product and ask “how can I make this a better environmental choice?”.

Skeptical about the importance of buying eco-friendly products?

In her book, Big Green Purse, Diane explains why it’s important to choose the greener options. Diane touches on many subjects in the book, in fact pretty much anything related to living, from beauty products to cars to food.

In her chapter “CLEAN AND GREEN: CLEANSERS SCRUBS, POLISHES AND FRESHENERS”  she points out the health hazards we are facing today . For example 6.1 million kids in the U.S. have asthma, making asthma the #3 reason kids are hospitalized. She points out pretty clear links between what you use in your house on a daily basis with these risks. She then goes on to explain how to make simple easy shifts to healthier options. She makes it pretty easy too, with a thumbs down list of things to avoid, go green cleaning tips and even a where to shop guide.

Diane also has some pretty smart thoughts like “When buying a new appliance, light or computer to remember:  it has 2 price tags- what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy it uses” This book is so handy because she then goes on to list the top 10 ways to save energy and money.

It’s pretty clear that I’m a fan of the book, and that it is totally required reading for every woman, no matter where she is at on the going green scale.

One thing I did miss from the book is more info on eco-travel, a follow-up book is in order perhaps?

 

GIVEAWAY!

Want your own copy of the book? Great, cause I’m giving one away! Leave a comment and your e-mail address. Also if you feel the need to tweet or facebook or like Big green purse on facebook about this contest let me know and you’ll get 2 extra entries!!  (Open to US and Canada residents, over 18 please)

Use your big green purse

Hey, if you don’t win you should still totally pick one up. I mentioned where in my Greenie Deals post.  I love having mine around for reference!  You should also check out her big green purse website which is packed with all kinds of great info! As is the big green purse facebook page.

Worth it? Why Tide is not cool

What’s so bad about laundry detergents anyway? Why bother buying a green detergent?

A few things that are  not cool about conventional detergents:

  • Companies are not legally required to disclose all ingredients, and most choose not to.
  • Synthetic Surfactants. These suds-makers biodegrade  slowly, and will stay in our water ways for a very long time. Did I mention they are made from petroleum? They  also have a very high biological toxicity, according to an English study they have been shown to increase growth of breast cancer cells and also make boy fish more like girl fish. So weird and wrong.
  • Artificial fragrances, these are bad always, again made from petroleum, toxic effects on animals are not clear yet…
  • Optical brightners,  maybe let’s work on getting our clothes brighter without being toxic to fish.

Good news:

  • Most detergents come in concentrated versions now, because really why would we want to pay money for a bottle that is 3/4 water anyway, try to buy the detergent with the least amount of packaging.
  • Plant based surfactants ( biodegradable and safe)  are being used by greener laundry options like Method.
  • Can’t beat local and cheap! Try Down East Liquid Laundry

To skip detergent every now and then try these tips

  • Soak whites in hot water with lemons for a few hours instead of bleach (discard lemons before putting them in the washing machine)
  • Use baking soda. While I use detergent with my cloth diapers, I always through in some baking soda for a little extra kick, my sister uses only baking soda.
  • Try a recipe to make home-made laundry detergent

Funny story, In the 1960s, when surfactants began to gain in popularity detergent manufacturers  battled over who had the longest lasting suds. This led to suds  appearing in streams, rivers, lakes, and 8 feet of  strangely  colored bubbles at the foot of Niagara Falls. Was this a hint that what we use in our homes goes directly back into the environment?

Check out the other Worth it? Apples to Apples and I can’t get these diapers out of my head

Oh and by the way Green Laundry detergents are WORTH IT! I like Method free and clear detergent, my favorite part is no measuring, you just squirt it in!!

What your kids need to know

 

From Calvin and Hobbes "Weirdos from another planet"

 

We all know that teaching our kids to be polite and respect other people is pretty important.

What about teaching our kids to respect the earth, how many parents make this a priority?

We are packing so much into our days that we barely have enough time for homework, let alone a new subject. I think doing 1 thing a month to show our kids that the Earth is important is a goal that we can all achieve. We really don’t want our kids to look back at us and say WTF were they thinking? It is their future that we’re messing with! Do you think they  want to be dealing with our trash or severe weather (due to climate change), that is only getting worse, in 50 years?

Here are a just a  few ideas to introduce or continue teaching your kids about climate change:

If you have a baby or a toddler:

  • Get them outside! Start to teach babies right away that there is more to the world than a TV screen. ( I write this as my baby watches baby Einstein beside me…We’ll be going outside later..)
  • Make a point to recycle in front of them, let them see that this is just a part of life. Talk to them about why it’s important to recycle.
  • Let them watch or help plant a tree or garden and  they will develop a taste for it early on

If you have pre-school or young school aged kiddies:

  • Read them books about the environment. My kids love “It’s Earth Day” by Mercer Mayer and “I can save the Earth” by Alison Inches. Be super eco-friendly look for books like these at a local used bookstore
  • Make something that will spark a conversation like this great Pizza Box Solar Oven
  • Use Tupperware (pvc, bpa free) or a cool reusable sandwich bag in their lunch and let them know that they are helping to save the planet by not using plastic bags
  • Take them to a farmers market, then have them help you prepare a meal with the things you bought. Start a clear understanding of where food comes from early.
  • Have them check out this Climate Kids website that is put on by NASA  or  the climate change kids site by the EPA.

If you have a tween:

  • Take them to a beach or park to clean up litter, have them invite some friends and buy them some yummy food afterward.
  • Have them check out EEK! Another great website.
  • To persuade them with pop culture check out Global Warming celebrities

If you have a teen:

  • Chances are they are more knowledgeable about the environment than you anyway….
  • Grab them a documentary like the 11th hour, an Inconvenient truth or Food inc.

My 6 year old has been into Calvin and Hobbes comics lately. The other night I came across a great story. Calvin  decided  he and Hobbes were going to Mars, because the Earth is too polluted. Wow, even Calvin and Hobbes (in 1990) are hip to the fact that the earth is in trouble.

 

From Calvin and Hobbes "Weirdos from another planet"

 

 

Check out Climate Mama, she is hosting the Green Mom’s carnival to get people moving on 10-10-10 and celebrate climate solutions!

Really, I love cleaning poop!

Sometimes, I find when you do something quite    often it is easy to get discouraged and want to run out the nearest exit and scream “I quit!”.

Well once you’re a mom “quit” does not seem to be an option. You suck it up and deal.  I found myself in exactly this predicament yesterday.  I witnessed  #3 of my top 3 grosses kid-poop-related incidents.

I have recently switched over to cloth diapers and being distracted and busy the night before I left a soiled diaper on top of the pail. When I woke in the morning and staggered into my laundry room to obtain some school clothes from the dryer, I discovered IT. #3 grossest poop thing ever. 1 poopy cloth diaper with a large community of fruit flies having a conference of some kind inside. (shudder).  It was in that moment of weakness that I decided my baby’s butt was going directly into a disposable diaper. Why did I do this in the first place? I am so not a hippy.

My day went on, still in my anti-eco mind state,  after a little over a month of positive change I was going down hill. I needed some fresh inspiration.

I decided to watch the 11th Hour Documentary.

Baby’s butt is now comfortably resting in his cloth diaper.

In hopes to inspire more to hop up and make a change I am assigning everyone to watch or re-watch the 11th hour!  youtube, amazon (Canada or US),  Google your local library to see if they have it in (request they do), rent it, buy it, whatever it takes this is your assignment!  If it can snap me out of the poop-gross-out induced eco depression, it will work for you!

Other top 2 gross poop related incidents:

#2 While potty training my 2 year old girly, she had a poop on the bathroom floor. I was in my best domestic form and quickly putting laundry away when I slipped on this hidden jem on the floor. Creating skid marks across my floor and falling on my ass. Poop sock.

#1 When my oldest A, who is now 6, was about 18months I went to retrieve him from his crib after a nap. He did the old poop in diaper then remove and paint his body and crib with poop trick. Gag. It took 3 baths and  A LOT of scrubbing to deal with that one. He still makes me tell him that story from time to time and thinks that it is hilarious.

These cases aside most of the time I really don’t mind cleaning poop!

Assignment for the weekend: watch the 11th HOUR for inspiration!

P.S. Check out Fun Follow Friday

Worth it ? Apples to Apples

I’ve decided to do a little Q & A on Inspire Planning.  I ‘d love for readers to comment on this post! Please leave the name of an eco-friendly  choice in the marketplace and I’ll tell you if it’s WORTH IT or NOT, hopefully every Wednesday. Any thing from bamboo floor to toothpaste!

Ok, so I had a bit of a requests from my fantastic  BFF Kat, here is what she wrote,

Q) “Hey, so I have a question/ inquiry. I love the idea of going green, however, I find that most green products are almost double the price. What is the real reason for this? Are green products really more expensive to manufacture? Sometimes I feel like I’m being taken…….thought it might be a good blog topic.”

A)Good question Kat! I have recently purchased my first bag of organic apples. Apples to Apples it is.

Let’s get something out of the way, Organic simply means that it is grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or  genetically modified organisms.

When I refer to chemicals or pesticide  I am talking about the 2 most popular pesticides where I live (Atlantic Canada) which are Mineral oil and Carbaryl. I went pretty light on them too, there is a ton of scary (questionable sources though) info out there.  A host of other pesticides and fungicides are used, but we can get more into that another day.

Mineral oil is a petroleum based product made from crude oil. That’s one more point for the oil industry and how reliant we are on them.  Let us remember sustainability. Using, processing and transporting crude oil is on the negative scale. On a positive note it’s actually not too bad as  pesticides go, but I still wouldn’t want to eat it! CAUTION: One study showed there was an increase in skin cancer when mineral oil is applied as a moisturizer.Watch out for mineral oils in your cosmetics as well.

The other most popular is carbaryl. This chemical is definitely  toxic to humans. It  affects cell division and growth, as in like mutation. The EPA classifies it as a likely human carcinogenic. Not cool. It seems that bottom feeder fish, such as catfish accumulate the carbaryl in their bodies. Oh and it’s also toxic to bees, who are quite  beneficial to the environment. Being as things do need to be pollinated…

Hmm Organic Apples,

Pros:

  • Some studies have shown they are possibly  more nutritious
  • No harmful chemicals for your body
  • No harmful chemicals in the environment

Cons:

  • About $1 more expensive per 3lbs
  • Could be hard to find (although if you ask they’ll generally get it in)
  • The Organic apples that I buy are shipped from the US, more transport pollution

Hmmm Conventional Apples

Pros:

  • Cheaper
  • More convenient
  • Mostly grown close to home

Cons:

  • Contains a very tiny amounts of  chemicals that hurt our babies.  So a tiny bit from 1 apple, what about if I feed my kids other foods all with just a tiny bit of chemicals? Wouldn’t that add up to a whole bunch? Also it’s not just in the peels, traces of pesticides were found on peeled, cored apples.
  • Contains pesticides that harm the environment

So here is what I am thinking, in the end an extra $1 a week for apples is ok with me! Organic apples are WORTH IT. If there are no organic apples where you live, ask your store manager to get them in, but keep eating conventional apples, their health benefits are too good to pass up!

7 fruits that are WORTH IT, a little extra for organic is ok!

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Cherries
  • Grapes

7 fruits NOT to spend extra on for organic:

  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew Melon

A last thought, It seems the toxins are also still present in applesauce and apple juice, if you can, choose those in organic as well.

Info for this article was obtained at http://www.ewg.org/

Links to random Green blog, surprise blog!

Listen to David Suzuki!


Last night my husband was making his lunch and getting his things ready for work in the morning. I noticed he had a plastic water bottle, so like a good wife would, I started to rant (a little) about how bad plastic water bottles are. If you have tried this method before you might have found that ranting, complaining or otherwise bi*ching really is not an effective way of getting a point across. I’ll try a different approach this time and present him with research (I’m so tricky!).

What is not okay about plastic bottles
(our health)

  • BPA– It mimics the female hormone estrogen and may affect fertility and promote cancer, plus a new study has shown that  it may lead to heart disease, diabetes and liver problems.  Many baby bottles and sippy cups have BPA too! Every time we wash or heat these containers they leach more of the toxic chemical out of the plastic.

What is not okay about plastic bottles
(our environment)

  • Only 37% of soft drink bottles and 28% of water bottles are recycled. That other 63% and 72% go to landfills and litter.
  • Think of the manufacturing that goes into water bottles, then the shipping. That’s a lot of wasted emissions if you ask me.

Also as it states right on the bottle, it’s actually just tap water that’s been filtered. Pretty sure I can do that at home myself! You can buy stainless steel water bottles practically everywhere now, take a look at wal-mart next time you’re there!

POINTS:

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