Hidden dangers lurking in your home

June 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Protect your family from dirty secrets and hidden dangers lurking in your home.

TIPS ON WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

Under the sink dangers: What dangers are under your sink and solutions to keep your kitchen phosphate free and environmentally safe (toxic and non-toxic cleaners)

EXAMPLES OF TOXIC/POSPHATE CLEANERS:

The easiest way to pick safer cleaner products is to avoid any that have the words "warning", "danger", or "hazardous" on the label. Any product with these words will contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment and/or your health.

1) Cascade Dish Detergent contains phosphates that increase algae blooms in water reserves and also increase chlorine in drinking water, both affecting our health and the environment.

2) Dial Complete Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash contains Triclosan, which the Environmental Defense Fund has given an Ecological Risk Score of 7 out ten, where ten is the most potentially hazardous.

3) Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner with Bleach can cause numerous health conditions if inhaled, ingested or touched.

WHAT ARE SOME (3-4) ALTERNATIVES?

1) Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Pacs and Rinse Aid are two products that are chlorine and phosphate free that will effectively clean your dishes and help protect the environment. In fact, if every household in the U.S. replaced just one carton of 15 count concentrated pacs containing phosphates with their phosphate free dish pacs, we could save 14 million pounds of phosphates from entering our rivers, lakes and streams.

2) J.R. Watkins Natural Liquid Hand Soap is a great alternative for hand washing soaps. Their line of plant-based soaps are ammonia, chlorine and phosphate free, nontoxic, and biodegradable.

3) Seventh Generation Free and Clear All-Purpose Cleaner is as effective as traditional cleaners, but is safer than others as it is phosphate free, hypo-allergenic, nontoxic, and is fragrance and fume free.

General Indoor Air Quality: what type of flooring is dangerous to your health as well as best practices for including indoor air quality (i.e. taking off shoes, bringing plants into the home,etc.) The EPA says that the air inside our home is more polluted than the air outside (plants, examples of bad flooring)

Dangerous Floorings: Your carpet can harbor allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mold. It can also trap dust containing toxins like pesticides, lead, and fire-retardant chemicals. Kids breathe and ingest them as they crawl or play on the floor.

5 OF THE"BEST" PRACTICES?

1) KEEP YOUR FLOORS FRESH - Vacuum weekly with rotating brushes and a HEPA filter to ensure dust and dirt don't get blown back with exhaust. The HEPA filter helps reduce lead, brominated fire-retardent chemicals and allergens in your home. Vacuum two or more times a week

2) Consider switching to a sustainable hard floor surface flooring to avoid the collection of toxins in carpet and rugs all together. Bamboo is a great option.

3) If switching flooring is not an option, keep your carpets clean with natural products. While lemon and pine scents are associated with clean, synthetic fragrances in traditional cleaners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air and in most cases, the ingredients are not listed on the product labels. Try using Seventh Generation's Free and Clear carpet cleaner to clear your carpet of toxins.

4) Keep a healthy level of humidity (30%-50%) to keep dust mites, mold and other allergens under control.

5) Make your home a no-smoking zone.

Watch what you eat: Toss any food that you have the slightest question about - and be careful what you store your leftovers in - some containers are more dangerous than others (examples of what to store food in and how to properly read labels)

Examples of dangerous storage containers and alternatives:

1) The chemical components in many plastics can create both health and environmental problems. Switch all food containers from plastic to glass, porcelain, and stainless storage containers, like Corningware, which is available at most large home stores.

2) Butcher paper and wax paper are safer alternatives to cling wrap. If you must buy cling wrap, look for products with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) which is safer than wraps containing Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Two great brands are Diamant Food Wrap (that contains no plasticizer or chlorine, is non carcinogenic, and completely recyclable) or Glad Cling Wrap.

3) Another way to safely store food and decrease waste consumption is to reuse glass food jars that you would otherwise throw out or recycle. Just wash the containers and remove the labels for another cost-effective way to store your leftovers.

Personal Hygiene: Almost 90 percent of personal care products have never been tested for safety - and some of the common ingredients used have been linked to adverse health impacts (products that contain ingredients that have adverse impact on your health)

When buying personal care products, the best to use are the ones made with wholesome ingredients, are mild and gentle, yet effective enough to get the job done. Mind you, there are many products on the market that advertise themselves as natural that really are not. I suggest visiting the Cosmetics Database, www.cosmeticsdatabase.com , to see which personal care products have earned the top safety ratings in their categories. Some of my favorites include:

1) Dr. Bronner's Castile Soaps is one of my favorites. It has a very short list of ingredients, each ingredient I can pronounce, and it is composed of predominately organic vegetable oils. Best of all, it gets the job done.

2) Regarding toothpastes, Nature's Gate Crème de Mint Natural Toothpaste (www.natures-gate.com) is a great option for oral care as it is made with botanicals utilized for their cleansing and balancing benefits.

3) For feminine care products, I highly recommend Seventh Generation's line of personal products that are 100 percent certified organic cotton and are chlorine, dye, and fragrance free.

Alternatives:

1) Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap

2) Tom's of Maine Toothpastes

3) Perfect Organics Mandarin Rose Coconut Body Glow

Toys: Toys made of PVC may contain heavy metals and phthalates, which disrupt hormones in animals - opt for toys that are made of natural materials like wood or organic cotton or wool (toys with PVC and toys that are good for you)

Toys with PVC:

· Gerber's Baby Looney Tunes Cooling Ring Teether (lots of different brands Teething rings)

· Vintage Barbies (before 2000)

· Rubber Duckies

Toy brands without PVC

· Lego

· Little Tikes

· Brio

For more information on Dr. Greene visit www.drgreene.com.