Alternative Information


How Toxic Is Your Home?


We like to think of our homes as being a safe place to be--a refuge from a dangerous world. Yet some of the exposures that you have day-to-day that are most hazardous to your health and the health of your family happen right at home.

The good news is that for every toxic product you'll find in your home, there is a safer alternative. You just need to know where to look for those toxic exposures and what safe solutions are available.

Here are ten common toxic exposures most Americans have in their homes, and some simple, inexpensive things everyone can do to reduce household toxics.

1. Save yourself from exposure to toxic ammonia by washing your windows with vinegar and water. Ammonia can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, and burn your skin. Instead, mix distilled white or apple cider vinegar half-and-half with water in a spray bottle. Squirt on windows and wipe with recycled newspapers for a streak-free super shine.

2. Free yourself from toxic formaldehyde exposure by sleeping on untreated cotton sheets. Formaldehyde exposure can cause insomnia-yes, insomnia-and respiratory problems, among other symptoms. Bypass formaldehyde-coated polyester/cotton sheets and no-iron cotton sheets and choose cozy cotton flannel sheets or untreated cotton percale sheets, both available at major department stores and online.

3. Put up a detector to protect your family from carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide starves the body and brain of oxygen and can be fatal. First symptoms include sleepiness, headache, dizziness, flushed skin, and disorientation. All homes with gas appliances or heaters should install carbon monoxide detectors, available in most hardware and home improvement stores or on-line.

4. Replace toxic mothballs with sweet sachets. Mothballs are made from 100 percent paradichlorobenzene, a volatile toxic chemical that can cause headaches and severe irritation to nose, throat and lungs. Over time it can cause liver and kidney damage. Because the balls look like candy, they are a very attractive poison to children. Protect your woolens from moths by making sachets from dried lavender, equal parts dried rosemary and mint, or whole peppercorns. Cedar products are also effective moth repellants.

5. Use soap-based cleaning products instead of poisonous detergent. While detergents seem safe, they are a petrochemical-based product that is responsible for more household poisonings than any other substance. Soap, on the other hand, is made from natural oils and minerals and has been safely used for centuries. Natural and organic soap-based products can be found in natural food stores and online.

6. Refill your own non-plastic water bottle instead of using toxic plastic water bottles. While it's good for your health to carry your own water and drink it throughout the day, if it's in a clear polycarbonate plastic bottle, it is leaching a toxic substance into your water--even if the bottle is sitting on table at room temperature. Bisphenol-A. BPA is a potent hormone disruptor that can impair the reproductive organs and have adverse effects on breast tissue and prostate development. Drink from a glass bottle or carry an aluminum or steel bottle, available online.

7. Avoid toxic pesticides by making dinner using fresh, organically-grown produce. Most food sold in supermarkets are sprayed heavily with pesticides, many of which cause cancer. Find out where to buy pesticide-free organically grown food in your community, go there and purchase what looks good and is in season. One taste and you'll go back for more. A great variety of organically-grown food can also be ordered on-line.

8. Wash away petrochemical perfumes and take a botanical bath. Many commercial bath products contain detergents and artificial fragrances that can be irritating to sensitive areas. You can have a luxurious relaxing bath by adding natural substances to warm bathwater, such as fragrant dried or fresh herbs (try lavender, rosemary, or peppermint), a quart of buttermilk, or 1 cup Epsom salts. For bubbles, use a natural or organic soap, available in natural food stores and online.

9. Get some color in your life without toxic solvents by choosing colorful water-based pens and markers. Check through your pens and markers and throw away any with "permanent" ink. They contain very toxic volatile solvents such as toluene and xylene. Every office discount warehouse and art supply store I have been to carries water-based pens and markers in every size and color.

10. Clear the air with a couple of houseplants. In addition to being beautiful to look at, houseplants also freshen the air by absorbing the carbon dioxide we exhale and releasing the oxygen that is vital for us to breathe. Some plants, such as the popular spider plant, also remove some air pollutants.

To learn more about toxic products hidden in your home and safer alternatives, buy and read Home Safe Home: Creating a Healthy Home Environment by Reducing Exposure to Toxic Household Products (http://www.dld123.com/homesafehome.html). To find nontoxic products online, visit Debra's List at http://www.debraslist.com.

Hailed as "The Queen of Green" by the New York Times, Debra Lynn Dadd has been a leading consumer advocate for products and lifestyle choices that are better for health and the environment since 1982. Visit her website to learn more about her new book Home Safe Home, to sign up for her free email newsletters, and to browse 100s of links to 1000s of nontoxic, natural and earthwise products. http://www.dld123.com


MORE RESOURCES:
Trading Cards Continue To Trounce The S&P 500 As Alternative Investments  Forbes

As of December 31, 2018, an index of the 500 most valuable trading cards yielded a 10-year return on investment (ROI) of 165% compared to 71% for the S&P ...


Quorn launches vegan fish alternative  Treehugger

The expansion of plant-based meat and fish analogs marches on.


All Elite Wrestling Provides A Viable Alternative For WWE Stars Who Want Quality Contracts  Forbes

WWE stars with expiring contracts, like AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, have a potentially attractive new suitor in All Elite Wrestling.


Trump Must Be a Russian Agent; the Alternative Is Too Awful  WIRED

We know a lot about the “what” of the Mueller probe's findings. The crucial questions now focus on the “why.”


Movement To Find Alternative To Plastic Packaging Grows In Philippines  NPR

A young island man came to Manila for college and found a morass of plastic waste. Now he's found ways for Manila's poorest people to dig out, and shown how ...


Dairy Dialog podcast 17: Fact.MR on the vegan yogurt alternative market and TBS traceability  DairyReporter.com

This week, the Dairy Dialog podcast is back with two interviews, the first with market research company Fact.MR. We spoke with Fact.MR research consultant ...


Aspen-area Forest Service workers seek alternative jobs as shutdown enters fifth week  Aspen Times

Many U.S. Forest *Service* employees have pursued temporary, alternative jobs as the partial federal government shutdown drags on. Workers report facing a ...


Swarm's alternative STO pricing model may be just what securities need  The Block Crypto

“The blockchain could radically transform this market.” William Evans, who recently left cryptocurrency exchange Kraken to lead fintech startup Veridium Labs, ...


Review: Neato's iPhone-connected Botvac D7 is a worthy Roomba alternative  AppleInsider

If you have the cash and the right living situation, the Botvac D7 Connected is a largely solid robot vacuum with a few catches and eccentricities.


Why Human Composting Might Be the Green Alternative to Conventional Burials  Pacific Standard

The process turns the human body into nutrient-rich soil naturally in about 30 days, and it could soon be legalized in Washington State.


What is the EU position on alternative Brexit options?  The Guardian

The UK has several ways to try to break the deadlock but they will all require EU agreement.


Spanish mock trial presents alternative career choice  Nevada Today

Students in Spanish 441 course learned how to become an expert witness.


Housing homeless cheaper than the alternative, Cape leaders told  Press of Atlantic City

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — Communities can end homelessness, Daniel McDonald told about 100 people gathered Wednesday night at the Rio Grande fire hall.


School Committee looks for alternative to maximum age requirements  Boston Herald

Boston Public Schools is looking at solutions for its maximum age restriction, so students in the alternative education programs celebrating their 22nd birthday ...


House supports Pressel's bill creating alternative to paying court fees  The Herald Argus

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Jim Pressel's, R-Rolling Prairie, legislation that would provide offenders the option of performing community *service* in lieu of ...


Adamis stock surges on release of EpiPen alternative  MarketWatch

Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp. ADMP, +9.51% shares surged in the extended session Wednesday after the biotech company said its partner Sandoz Inc.


Alternative investment returns monitor: For the week ending January 9, 2018  Economic Times

The scope and attractiveness of alternative investments is increasing. Heres a weekly tracker of returns from such investments.


JPMorgan Economists See Promise and Pitfalls in Alternative Data  Bloomberg

Alternative economic data collected from new technologies such as Google Trends can offer visibility into activity that traditional measures miss, and with a ...


Estonia is using alternative music to challenge Russian propaganda  The Independent

The conversion of factories into cultural venues rarely raises eyebrows these days, but the Kreenholm complex here is not just any relic of industry. Once the ...