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My Blog

Chemicals...Can We Do Without them?

Good morning to everyone. Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  As I watched the sunrise this morning, I was so thrilled to see a small patch of green grass peeping through on my neighbor's lawn.  The sun is so bright and glorious this morning that even the birds are twittering on the window sill feeder.  Too bad that they are predicting a possible 1-3 more inches of snow for tomorrow night into Wednesday. 
I am really so over this winter.  Chicago is 254% over it's normal for snow.  I cannot believe this crazy winter. 
Well, today I considered what my blog would be about.  After some consideration, I decided that I would share with you an event I just held with my red hat group.  It was called Go Green.  Now, our ladies are all over the age of 50, so needless to say, we have lived a bit of time on this good green earth.  It was totally amazing to me the education that we all need to learn concerning products that we use to clean our homes.  Each woman was asked to bring 2 products that they normally use in cleaning their home.  When we sat around with the products in hand, I proceeded to read off a list of 8 dangerous chemicals that we should avoid and have them see whether any of them were in their cleaning products.  They were amazed at what actually was in the products and then even more amazed when I read off the list of the dangers that each one poses to our health. 
They are as follow:
.  Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Di ethylene glycol found in window cleaners depresses the nervous system.
  • Phenols found in disinfectants are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe; it has been shown to biodegradeslowly into even more toxic compounds.
  • Formaldehyde found in spray and wick deodorizers is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen.
  • Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners damage mucous membranes.
  • Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.
  • Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver. The list could fill a book. And it’s a book that would include thousands of other chemicals — some so dangerous that they’re found on lists of chemicals associated with Superfund toxic waste sites and in the toxins section of the U.S. Clean Air and Water Acts.
  • I continued on with some of the items that are dangerously used so precariously. 
    Things like hand sanitizers.  I work as a told painter and represent Deco Art and used their Americana paints.  Hand sanitizers is one of the things that I used when I mistakenly forget to put my used paint brush into water..or a student leaves one sitting out and the paint dries as hard as a rock on the brush.  A few coats of the sanitizer on the brush will pretty much remove all that hardened paint right off.  Not quite the thing I want to constantly use on my hands! 
    And then there are baby wipes
    Here’s a label for a popular brand of “natural” baby wipes:
    Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Maleic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)
    by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as part of their s been linked to cancer and allergies. And the artificial fragrances used in baby wipes may lead to allergies or allergic reactions.  We just become so accustomed to what the commercials on TV tell use to do..that we don't question it.  I don't know about you, but I remember when my children were babies, we got by fine with out them.  We evidently weren't as germaphobic as today.  The problem is, in my opinion, that we need to be chemicalphobic.  We need to know that many of the new homes being constructed or materials put into older homes contain chemicals that may be causing serious problems to our health.  Almost every uses bleach to disinfect and yet hydrogen peroxide will do as good of a job.  It is time to look back and see what our grandparents did to keep their homes clean. 
    One big offender that I encounter on a daily basis is air fresheners.  Whether they are spray, standing or plug ins.  I cannot be in a place that has them.  They are totally toxic to me.  I showed the ladies a few examples of ways to easily freshen and decorate your rooms, easily and inexpensively.  One way, was I cut up a lemon and places it in a jar with some cinnamon sticks and another with some mint.  I explained that they could substitute either the fruit or the herbs.  They could use orange, or limes, rosemary, lemon balm...even sprigs of lavender. 
    For the winter months, I cook some bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and allspice...often times I add some orange peels and let that simmer and permeate the air.  Don't you remember walking into your grandmothers house after she just baked a pie or bread?  How wonderful those natural smells were?  Freshly baked cookies or some simmering applesauce on the stove.  Why are we so quick to buy chemicals to do what nature has already provided us with? 
    We then moved on to a lavender spray for ironing.  It isn't really a starch, but helps with the ironing and to top it off, the scent of lavender on your clothes pose as aromatherapy all day long.  What better way to spend a day in your clothes?  All it takes is water (I used distilled) cornstarch and a few drops of (ESSENTIAL) lavender oil.  Why not any kind of lavender scent?  Because you don't want chemicals.  Do you really want to walk around all day long smelling that?   I think that we need to realize that we are responsible for what we use and what we allow ourselves to be surrounded by.  
    I don't know about you...but I enjoyed the good old days.  the days when we freshly squeezed an orange for breakfast...pulp, pits and all.  Nothing we get today compares to that.  When I make Iced tea...artificial lemon juice does't compare to the squeezing of a slice of lemon.  Not to mention that it not only tastes good, but also that the smell of it as it squirts it flavor into the tea permeates the air and my fingers as well.  Delicious!   
    I must say, the girls and I used coffee grounds and some olive oil to exfoliate our hands, cleaned off dirt from a table I just picked up at a Good Will store to paint with baking soda and oil....and then used oil and vinegar to replenish the worn areas.  We enjoyed the delightful smells of lemons, lavender and even eucalyptus and learned that even us old dogs can learn new tricks.    

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