Don’t Flush Your Prescriptions

The U.S. Geological Survey and Environmental Protection Agency found 80% of all streams are contaminated with pharmaceuticals They have also found both male and female sex organs in fish, frogs, and other aquatic animals. This is due to a large amount of pharmaceuticals in the water supply. These pharmaceuticals include narcotics, birth control drugs, and anti-depressants. This is exactly why you should never flush or wash your prescriptions down the drain. Read on for other options:

  1. Add water to the medication bottle with the unused medication in it, shake until dissolved, and then tape closed and throw away in the garbage. (Remember to remove your personal information for the medication bottle).
  2. Contact Earth Keepers for more information @ 906.228.6095, they are a grassroots company that helps keep pharmaceuticals out of our water supply.

24 Cosmetic And Personal Care Ingredients To Avoid

The personal and beauty care market is completely unregulated by the FDA. There are many chemicals that are put into the products that you may use every day on your face, hair, nails, and body that have the potential to cause frightening health consequences.

I have put together a list of the most common chemicals that are found in everyday conventional products that you probably use. This way you can take the health of your body into your own hands.

1. Bismuth Oxychloride
Reason for Concern: causes itching, breakouts, and general irritation as it is a heavy metal.
Found in: products with a pearlescent finish.

2. Ethyl Acetate
Reason for Concern: Irritant to the eyes, skin, and lungs. Vapors may cause dizziness and drowsiness and it is highly flammable.
Found in: mascara, perfumes, nail products, and tooth whiteners.

3. Hydroquinone
Reason for Concern: respiratory intoxicant, suspected to cause a skin disease called ochronosis, and may cause cancer.
Found in: skin lightening products.

4. P-Phenylenediamine
Reason for Concern: may cause cancer, neurological and endocrine damage, asthma, and is a respiratory irritant.
Found in: shampoo, hair dyes, and hair sprays.

5. Toluene
Reason for Concern: liver and kidney damage, can be toxic to infants and children and potentially may cause cancer.
Found in: nail products and hair dyes.

6. Sodium/Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (LSL)
Reason for Concern: skin irritant and alters skin structure allowing chemicals to deeply penetrate the skin.
Found in: toothpaste, sunscreen, perfumes, shampoo, conditioner, whiteners, and moisturizers.

7. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Reason for Concern: causes neurotoxicity, eye, and skin irritation.
Found in: lipsticks, fragrances, moisturizers, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, foundations, and acne treatments.

8. Parabens
Reason for Concern: skin irritation, rash, dermatitis, or allergic skin reactions.
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, whiteners, lotions, insect repellents, and liquid skin and hair products.

9. Diazolidinyl Urea
Reasons for Concern: linked to cancer and endocrine system disruption.
Found in: fragrances, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, foundations, eye make-up, lipsticks, and liquid hand soaps.

10. Diethanolamine (DEA)
Reason for Concern: toxic to the immune system, irritant to skin, and may form carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Found in: shampoo, body wash, cleansers, bath oils, bar soaps, moisturizers, deodorants, body scrubs, and hair sprays.

11. Formaldehyde
Reason for Concern: known human carcinogen, potentially toxic to human immune, respiratory, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems.
Found in: nail products, hair dyes, deodorants, shampoo, soaps, shaving creams, and gels.

12. Petroleum and Petroleum By-Products
Reason for Concern: may cause allergic reactions, contains impurities that cause cancer and liver toxicity.
Found in: creams, lotions, styling gels, eyebrow pencils, mascara, lip products, and liquid powders.

13. Phthalates (Dibutyl Phthalate, (DBP) Diethyl Phthalate
Reason for Concern: damage to liver, kidney, and lungs.
Found in: fragrances, hair sprays, nail polishes, deodorants, hair gels, lotions, and moose.

14. Talc
Reason for Concern: respiratory irritant
Found in: baby powder, blush, eye shadows, face powders, deodorants, and soaps.

15. Prophylene Glycol
Reason for Concern: alters skin structure and allows toxic ingredients to penetrate the bloodstream, skin irritant, and may cause allergic reactions.
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body washes, toothpaste, moisturizers, colognes, deodorants, nail polishes, and eye shadows.

16. Triethanolamine
Reason for Concern: may form carcinogenic compounds and it is one of the most potent cancer-causing agents.
Found in: shampoo, lotions, creams, and soaps.

17. Butylated Acetate
Reason for Concern: causes skin dryness and cracking.
Found in: nail polish and treatments.

18. Triclosan
Reason for Concern: may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Found in: liquid hand soaps, body wash, toothpaste, and lipsticks.

19. Synthetic Fragrance
Reason for Concern: neurotoxicity, allergies, and immunotoxicity.
Found in: moisturizers, shampoo, conditioner, cleansers, body washes, hair dyes, deodorants, styling gels, and facial treatments.

20. Methacrylate Monomers (MMA)
Reason for Concern: causes skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, with the potential to cause neurological damage ranging from headaches and dizziness to memory loss.
Found in: most artificial nails.

21. Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid), BHA (Beta hydroxy acid)
Reason for Concern: developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Found in: anti-aging, moisturizers, and acne treatment products.

22. Padimate-O, PABA
Reason for Concern: irritation of the eyes, rashes, and allergic reactions.
Found in: sunscreens and hair dyes.

23. Cocomide DEA/Lauramide DEA
Reason for Concern: may form carcinogenic nitrosamines
Found in: shampoo, body wash, cleansers, bath oils, liquid soaps, bar soaps, and moisturizers.

24. Coal-Tar Colors (FD and C or D and C)
Reason for Concern: known human respiratory toxin and possible cancer risk.
Found in: shampoo, psoriasis relief liquid.

Check out Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Database from The Environmental Working Group. It is a searchable database of toxic ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products.

5 Non-Toxic Ingredients for DIY Cleaners and How to Use Them

Many people with pets or kids have noticed that many of the ingredients in commercial cleaning products are not only harmful to people and animals but can be fatal. So, it’s no surprise that people are looking to remove these harsh chemicals from their homes and replace them with great, green, healthy alternatives. Fortunately, there are some great, green, affordable substitutes that can be used pretty much anywhere in your home and that you likely already have sitting in the pantry. Read on for my 5 favorite, non-toxic ingredients for DIY cleaners and how to use them in your home.

1. Vinegar
Vinegar is my all-time favorite non-toxic cleaner. It removes odors, stains, and grease and can effectively prevent mildew and mold when applied regularly to shower walls, sinks, and toilet bowls. Vinegar neutralizes pet odors like cat urine and will help keep colors from bleeding from a new pair of jeans or a red shirt if you soak the clothing item in vinegar for 30 minutes before washing or dump a cup or so into the washer with the detergent. To remove corrosion and chemical buildup from showerheads, soak the showerhead in vinegar overnight. Plain white vinegar should be used but if the smell offends you, you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil to your cleaning mixture. My favorite all-purpose cleaner, for bathroom, kitchen, and glass, is simply 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water mixed in a spray bottle. That’s it!

2. Baking Soda
Baking soda has virus-killing abilities and makes for an effective but gentle scrub for bathtubs, toilets, tile, and porcelain or stainless steel sinks. When I run out of Bon Ami, I pour baking soda in the sink, squeeze in half a lemon or pour in about ¼ cup vinegar, and scrub with a sponge or bristle brush. For a great toilet scrub, pour ½ cup baking soda into the toilet bowl and add 10 drops of tea tree essential oil and ¼ cup vinegar. The mixture will fizz while you scrub and cut through mold and grime while the tea tree oil disinfects. Tea tree oil and thyme oil are both great non-toxic disinfectants to be used in place of bleach. That said, just because they’re non-toxic doesn’t mean that you, your kids, or your pets should consume these products!

3. Castile Soap
Castile soaps are made from 100% plant oils so they’re safe and gentle but effective. While traditionally it’s recommended that wood floors be cleaned with pure water, I’ve added a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus castile soap to a warm bucket of water and mopped our wood floors with the mixture to clean and freshen up the room. Our floors aren’t wax-treated, so please ask a pro if yours are before using anything but water on your wood floors. Castile soaps are great all-purpose cleaners, too. Simply mix a tablespoon to a ¼ cup with warm water for washing down counters, tile, windows, or a sink full of dishes. The term “all-purpose” really applies to castile soap!

4. Lemon
Lemon juice kills mold and mildew, shines harder surfaces, cuts grease, and deodorizes. A cut lemon can be scrubbed over the surface of a cutting board to sanitize it. Simply rub a halved lemon over the surface, let sit for 10 minutes, and rinse. Lemon juice can be added to vinegar cleaning mixtures to add a fresh scent and aid in cutting grease. Lemon juice is a great bleach substitute for washing laundry, too; just add lemon juice to the rinse cycle.

5. Essential Oils
Peppermint, tea tree and thyme oils are my favorite for use in home cleaning products. Peppermint oil eliminates offensive odors and is a natural pest deterrent. I have successfully used peppermint oil to eliminate mice in one of our sheds by placing cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil around the entrances to the shed and places where the mice frequented. Tea tree oil eliminates mold and mildew; a few drops can simply be mixed with water and sprayed onto shower walls (don’t rinse it off) and left to kill mildew and mold. Thyme oil is a powerful, natural disinfectant that has been said to kill and prevent botulism, e. Coli, listeria, and salmonella. Add a few drops to your vinegar all-purpose spray or use in the same way as tea tree oil in the formula above.

YOUR TURN: What are your favorite DIY, green home cleaning products?

BEE Well with Big Dipper Wax Works Natural Candles

Did you know that candles made from paraffin, which is a petroleum byproduct, fill the air with carcinogens such as benzene and toluene? These chemicals are as dangerous as breathing second-hand smoke. (I have to admit, I was a little surprised by this.)

Also, candles made outside of the U.S. use lead to make the wicks. LEAD! I know, can you believe it? For these reasons, I have switched to 100% beeswax and soy candles. I am especially fond of the beeswax candles from Big Dipper Wax Works. They smell amazing, are non-toxic, and made using 100% renewable resources. Did you know that beeswax candles release negative ions into the air that eliminate allergens and pollutants?

Big Dipper Wax Works makes the most fabulous hand-poured beeswax candles that are made with the finest beeswax and essential oils. These candles are to die for, you will love them! The smell is amazing and so relaxing. They come in elegant glass containers that are both beautiful and reusable. Also, each candle comes beautifully packaged in either 100% recyclable or compostable packaging and includes a sweet bee matchbook with each candle. My favorite scents are the Clary Sage and Ylang Ylang and the Grapefruit and Fennel.

But, don’t take my word for it, try them for yourself!

Book: Green Chic Green Tips for Your Home Review

Book: Green Chic Green Tips for Your Home Review
There are many things you can do to make your sweet home greener, read on for some great green tips from Green Chic.

  1. The air inside most homes is 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside. Fact.
  2. Almost 70% of streams sampled in 2002 contained chemicals from household cleaning products. Fact. 
  3. 10% of toxic exposures reported to the U.S. Poison Control Centers are related to cleaning products directly touching the skin or being ingested. Fact.
  4. Most conventional cleaning products come in non-recyclable containers. Fact.

However, you can choose to clean your home in a good, old, green way.

Use green cleaning products that:

  1. List their ingredients.
  2. Contain no chlorine or anything that starts with Clor or Ammonia.
  3. Are certified biodegradable and free of synthetic chemicals.
  4. Come in recyclable packaging.

What type of green cleaner do you use?