Monday, January 18, 2010

Took this off the ol' internet

New GREENGUARD Report Explores Chemical Risks
Associated with Children’s Products

ATLANTA – October 1, 2009 – The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), which certifies products for low chemical emissions, realizes the potential impact of chemicals on children’s health and has released a research report reviewing current issues.

The report titled “Chemicals in Common Products: Risky Business for Children’s Health,” takes a look at how illnesses, such as developmental disorders and asthma, could be tied to chemicals used in products with which children come in contact every day.

Countless household items, such as food containers, cleaners, textiles, paints, toys, flooring and furniture, are produced using industrial chemicals. For example, formaldehyde is commonly used to manufacture furniture, shelving and cabinetry. These products release chemicals into the air, impacting indoor air quality in the home, school and office. Exposure to some indoor air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can cause eye, nose and throat irritation — and may lead to developmental problems, asthma, pulmonary infections and allergies.

The 73 million children living in the US are especially at risk from exposure to environmental pollutants. Children’s physical differences and activity patterns are among the key reasons why they are more vulnerable and face greater health risks from chemical exposure than adults. Children spend approximately 85 percent of their time indoors, where the air is typically two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Store bought or homemade

100 years ago, ladies cleaned with vinegar and lots of elbow grease. Nowadays we have an astonishing number of products for the most specific of cleaning jobs-- no "one fits all" solutions for the modern person! Perhaps this is to decrease the actual amount of elbow grease. Perhaps for a variety of sociocultural reasons, we can't help but consume all the advertised products that are supposed to be NEW and IMPROVED.
It turns out, though, that the majority of the mass-marketed products are no better for cleaning and are identifiably worse for you, your family, your home, and the environment. What's the point?!
Fortunately a new level of "green" awareness has reached the forefront of trends. Ecologically friendly household cleaners are available at even Target. You can choose from a host of essential oils so that your countertops will smell of "natural" lavender or lemon; your toilet can be as minty smelling as your chewing gum! Many of these products are great: non-toxic, no phosphates, not tested on bunnies, won't send you to the ER if there's skin-contact. But are they necessary?
Yes, if you like something besides the smell of vinegar ("Why does the bathroom smell like a pickle?"). Aromatherapy certainly has its place. And we have long associated certain smells with cleanliness. Even though I know it's nasty and useless, I think of my mom's newly cleaned floors when I smell that pine-scented stuff. If chili is comfort food, Pine Stuff is a comfort smell. (While we're on the topic of scents in the home, I want to list the myriad reasons NOT to have those plug-in-able so-called air fresheners, but that's another topic for another day.)
You can have a greenly cleaned home by changing your own habits-- slowly, if you like. Or you can engage your cleaning lady/team to use preferred products. Or if you're really lucky, you can find a service like ours: we consult AND we clean. We improve your indoor air quality by reducing unnatural toxins.