Provide a Chemical-Free Safe Home for You and Your Family! - January 2019

Is your home a toxic dump? According to the Canadian Cancer Society and the David Suzuki Foundation, almost one in two Canadians will get cancer at some point in their lifetime. One in two of us! What's going on here? It's time to clean house.

Topics include:

* Some cleaning products can do more harm than good
* The myth of “throw away” convenience
* Let's dish on dish soap
* “Au naturel” cleaning tips for the bathroom
* Static-free and loving it
* Mothballs: they smell bad for a reason
* Drugs on your lawn: just say no
Read More Below

Some cleaning products can do more harm than good
Have you heard the news? According to the Canadian Cancer Society, almost one in two Canadians will get cancer at some point in their lifetime. One in two of us! That isn’t exactly something to cheer about. So why are more and more Canadians getting cancer these days? There are many factors to consider of course, but one thing that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention is environmental toxins.
We may not always think about it, but we are constantly exposed to chemicals and carcinogens that can affect our health and may impact us in the future. Many popular household cleaning solutions contain harmful pollutants. The very stuff we use to make our homes look and feel better may be bad for our health. Everyone in your home is at risk of toxic exposure – adults, kids, and even your pets.

The myth of “throw away” convenience
Disposable dust cloths seem to make cleaning a breeze. You simply open the package, pull out a damp cleaning rag, do your chores, and then throw it away afterwards. Easy as pie, right?
Not so fast. Wipes soaked in cleaning solution are dripping with chemicals. Microfibre dusting cloths or mops are a better idea. Microfibre picks up the dust bunnies, but you can also wash and reuse it.
Microwave oven wipes should be avoided as well. These release VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals), into our indoor air and into our lungs while we use them. Many are also easily absorbed into our skin. The safer way to clean up the cooked-on crud is to bring a cup of water to boil in the microwave, then use the steam to loosen the dried on food particles. It will make it a lot easier to wipe away those spaghetti explosions.
If you just can’t escape the lure of the “wipe and toss”, a San Francisco-based company called Method is making biodegradable, compostable wet wipes.
Did you know? Last year North American consumers used 83,000 tons of disposable wipes? This amount would fill 9,000 18-wheel trucks stretching out more than 100 kilometres!

Let's dish on dish soap
Did you know that conventional dishwashing liquid and detergent is full of nasty chemicals with weird names such as:
* Acetone
* Benzaldehyde
* Benzyl Acetate
* Benzyl Alcohol
* Camphor
* Ethyl Acetate
* Limonene
* Linalool
* a-Pinene
Potential risks from exposure to this stuff includes central nervous system disorders, damage to the immune system, respiratory disturbances, and headaches. Luckily, there are safer s. Many health Stores and grocery stores now sell organic products and eco-friendly s. Brand names include: Seventh Generation, Ecover and BioVert. Check your local shelves, you may find other eco-friendly s, too.

“Au naturel” cleaning tips for the bathroom
If you’ve ever drawn a bath right after scrubbing the tub with a fresh-scented cleaning solution, you’ve probably exposed yourself to harsh chemicals in the process. Fact is, chemical residue can linger even after you’ve rinsed well. There is a better way to get clean! Use a safer of equal parts baking soda and old-fashioned elbow grease.
Try this: Sprinkle a layer of baking soda around the tub. Use a sponge and water with some eco-friendly soap in it, and scrub the paste onto the tub. Let the paste sit for 15-20 minutes, and then scrub and rinse away. To get rid of that stubborn ring around the tub, use a cloth or sponge dipped in white vinegar, rubbed along the stain. There’s no need to rinse when you’re through!
There are plenty of natural ways to clean mildew on your shower curtains and tiles, too. Tea tree oil, grapefruit seed essence and vinegar can all kill mould and mildew. Pick one that suits your budget and wipe away as needed. For sinks and countertops, use a sponge or cloth in hot, soapy water and baking soda.
Did you know? White toothpaste on a soft, dry cloth will clean stainless steel faucets nicely! Be sure to rinse and dry afterwards.

Static-free and loving it
Unfortunately, that “fresh clean smell” you get right after you wash your clothes can irritate your skin and nasal passages. Fabric softeners may also contain strong artificial scents that are potentially flammable. Chloroform, benzyl acetate and pentane are even more dangerous when heated in a tumble dryer. The good news is that there are new environmentally friendly products that help reduce static and keep clothing soft. “Static Eliminator” is a reusable dryer sheet system that is chemical-free and safe for infants, and people with allergies and eczema. 
Another to fabric softener is a dryer ball. These tiny, spiked plastic balls tumble around with your clothes to increase air circulation. Your clothes will turn out static free in 25% less time and you’ll reduce energy consumption, too. Also there is special cloths that you place in your dryer that are reuseable and work great.

Mothballs: they smell bad for a reason
For safer clothing storage, you may want to ditch the mothballs. Mothballs are known to contain dodgy chemicals like naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene. These substances can be dangerous if they are swallowed, inhaled, or exposed to the skin. They are particularly unsafe for young children. Cedar wood is a better solution to ward off pesky creatures. Cedar wood is a natural moth repellent and you can buy it in blocks, balls, or sheets. It smells lovely, it’s natural and best of all, it’s biodegradable.
Tip: Cedar wood has to be re-sanded occasionally to activate the moth repellent properties

Drugs on your lawn: just say no
Studies show there is a link between exposure to pesticides and an increase in nervous system and reproductive health problems. Little kids are particularly sensitive to the effects of pesticides. Pesticides can also wash off lawns and gardens and leak into nearby waterways. Given all of the potential dangers, it makes sense to avoid using them all together.
Luckily, there are much safer s for lawn care. You can:
*Pull out weeds by hand.
*Spray the leaves of larger weeds with vinegar, or use a garlic spray to repel insects from your beloved plants
*Use compost and mulch to improve soil health
*Use non-toxic substances to keep insects at bay. Try herbs or spices with a strong smell like powdered chili pepper, garlic, peppermint, bay leaves, lavender, rosemary or cedar oil.

Take Action!
It’s time Canada took chemical exposure more seriously. The United States just launched an important research project called the National Children's study. The long-term study will examine the environmental risks of 100,000 kids in various parts of the country. Its goal is to improve the health and well-being of children.
Currently, there is inconclusive evidence on how long-term chemical exposure affects humans, but existing studies show that problems may include reproductive disorders, developmental issues in children, hormonal disruptions and respiratory illnesses. Some babies have already shown to have toxins in their body. We obviously need to know more about consumer contaminants.
Let’s tell Canada’s new Health Minister Tony Clement to partner in this important study and include a Canadian cohort of 10,000 kids. Future generations are at stake.

Visit the Canadian Cancer Societythe David Suzuki Foundation
and the OKinHealth Environment page for more Information


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