Thursday, January 15, 2009

The EcoFriendly Home

Welcome to my first blog posting. I was struggling for a topic, and it hit me after attending a meeting this past week where a guest speaker gave an eye-opening talk on the chemical and bacterial dangers lurking in an otherwise clean home. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on herbal remedies and energy efficient home practices, such as using a programmable thermostat and 5 star-rated light bulbs. I also recycle bottles and paper, bring my reusable bags to the supermarket, and buy fresh produce whenever I can.

This week I was shocked to find how toxic our everyday world really is and the usage of toxic chemicals in many of the products I regularly buy. Some ecologists are even saying that these chemicals we bring into our homes are making us sick, because they are unstable enough to interact with our environment when released into the air. Many of these chemicals are lumped under "Inert Ingredients" or "Fragrance" on product labels, and some are banned in commercial use, but not in consumer use, because of the small amounts used in consumer products.

I am not a eco-crazy person, but I try and moderate my ingestion of toxic chemicals as much as I can. I started looking at alternative solutions. Some areas seem obvious:

Dish Cleaning. I was surprised to learn that the chemicals in dish soap or detergents actually "bakes" into dishes and glasses in the dishwasher. Families with babies should be especially careful to make sure that these surfaces are additionally boiled or use eco-friendly dish soap.

Toothpaste. Wow, what we put in our mouths! All that whitening, mouthwash, etc. There are some "organic" products out there, like Tom's Toothpaste, that might be worth a try.

Laundry Detergent. I have sensitive skin family members, so switching to the more expensive eco-friendly brands like Ecos was a priority.

The list goes on. I tripped across a website that contains more information on these chemicals and sells some of these products:

I'll be doing more research on this topic, so continue to check back to see some of the information I discover. Also, anyone who has any good suggestions for products, please share them!