Keep the sweet smell of Valentine’s Day chemical free!

flowr valValentine’s Day… the holiday of LOVE! There might be someone you would love to shower with romance and affection, but while you put together the lovey-est of treats, you want to be sure to make the best choices.

I’ve written about all of the ways to keep it eco-friendly – from chocolates and candles, to wining and dining (and you can read that entire post here).

But Valentine’s Day is a hugely popular holiday for flowers.  The problem?  About 70% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported and grown using highly toxic chemicals, including pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides. It doesn’t sound so pleasant to take a big “whiff” now, does it?!  This is a danger to us as consumers, workers cultivating the flower crops and florists working with them daily.  It also pollutes the land and groundwater and creates an unhealthy environmental effect.

This Valentine’ Day consider organic flowers! These farms instead use environmental and sustainable practices (without toxins) to insure that everyone in the chain, including the environment, isn’t put at risk.  And it also simply supports local, domestic farming. Diamond Organics, California Organic Flowers and Organic Bouquet will help put you in the right direction to locate a florist that offers organic flowers or buy online if you want “green” blooms.veriflora

You can also look for the VeriFlora label or ask your florist if they are VeriFlora certified and you will know you are buying an organic and sustainable product.

Be assured you’re NOT bringing those toxins into your home or sending them to someone you actually love (or at least like a LOT!).

The scent of organic flowers is pure (non-toxic) sweetness!

Don’t let your silver “tarnish” your green reputation!

slvrware tarnishBy now, plans are likely well underway for your big holiday celebration. Maybe you’re hosting a party, celebrating Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at your house and (hopefully) pulling out all of your loveliest silverware and serving pieces (instead of all the throw-away stuff!).

Do those lovely pieces include silver?  Have you CHECKED your silver?  Maybe there are long periods between uses and you might want to check now to make sure they haven’t tarnish…

If they have, fear not! You can clean them without using any harsh chemical cleaners and concoctions.

Here are three easy and safe ways to get them sparkly and clean:

  • Line your sink with aluminum foil.  Place the silver on the foil and add boiling water, one cup of baking soda and a dash of salt.  Let the silver sit and in a few minutes the tarnish will transfer to the foil!  Then just rinse and dry.  (Remember to recycle the foil!)
  • You can polish and clean them by hand using a soft cloth and toothpaste.  Rinse them with warm water and dry.slvrbowl tarnish
  • Another by-hand formula is 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.  Clean them with a soft cloth with this solution… and again, rinse and dry.

So, shine ’em up, keep the chemicals at bay and let the party commence!…

“Unscented” vs. “Fragrance-free”: KNOW the difference

frag freeSo, imagine this scenario:  You find yourself shopping for a product and, among the array of choices, you notice “unscented” or “fragrance-free”.  You might opt to choose one of these over a scented variety because it implies that there is at least one less additive in the product.  But are these terms synonymous? And do YOU know the difference?

Until recently, I didn’t.  I mistakenly assumed they meant the same thing.  Guess what?  I was wrong.

frag free methd 2“Fragrance-free” does mean that there is nothing added to the product, but unscented is a whole different ball game.  In fact, “unscented” is a fragrance additive, used to mask any other chemical smells, and it most likely contains phthalates.  What’s bothersome is that phthalates are known hormone disruptors and can affect fertility in both men and women.

Sure, some of us may not have family planning in our near future, and our brood may already be complete, but isn’t this a chemical we’d all simply like to leave out of our systems?

Stay “free” of the phthalates and, given the choice, always choose “fragrance-free”!

My obsession with the “Magic Eraser”…

I am always, always an advocate of choosing the greenest way to clean our homes.  Sure it takes some getting used to, but really… do I want spray, pour and mist chemicals around my house?  Yea, not so much.

mag erasI buy some green cleaners and make some of my own, but I have a confession… I’m addicted to the Magic Eraser!

That would seem fairly harmless (being the only choice out of the “green realm”) but I can’t seem to find any credible information about this amazing little cleaning sponge.

I’ve seen “supposed” information that they’re made of formaldehyde (augh!) but I’ve also seen it debunked even more.  I read that it is made of melamine (the same stuff kids’ plates and cups are often made of, so essentially plastic) but while it disintegrates as it’s used, I wonder what this really “means”.  Does using green cleaners, kinda, I don’t know… cancel it out? Hmm?

I have also heard that the most active and prevalent ingredient is salt…supposedly that’s the magic abrasive that gives it its cleaning power … problem is, there is nothing on the package that tells you a THING about what it’s made of.

Honestly, I’m addicted… arm me with some green cleaners and a Magic Eraser and I will have anything spic and span in no time.  It can magically erase any stain, gmag eras 2rim and dirt, but I also want to get to the bottom of it.

Do you know? Have you heard anything?  Any resources for CREDIBLE information?  If YOU know, I’d love to know…

Please, please just don’t tell me I need to break my addiction…

Do you know what’s on your new mattress?

mttrssWhenever my husband is away on business my kids also “relocate”… into our bed, that is.  Each night I find myself planted in the middle of our king-sized bed snuggled between my “hot water bottle” kids.

During his recent trip, I could feel myself sleeping on what has become a hump in the middle of the bed and literally worried about rolling onto one of the kids.  It became quite obvious that our mattress has seen better days since we’ve both apparently made our “impression”.

The choice of a new mattress is a simple one for me, especially after researching the purchase of our son’s mattress not so long ago, but I realized it’s also an opportunity to again share some pretty serious information.

Here is the concern:  Beginning July 1, 2007, Federal Fire Retardant Regulations mandated mattress manufacturers to INCREASE the levels of toxic fire retardants, but DO NOT require them to list the ingredients in the contents!toxc

And what do these fire retardants contain?… boric acid, melamine, antimony and formaldehyde… all chemicals linked to cancer.  Antimony alone causes heart muscle damage and a single dermal application has killed rabbits in laboratory tests.  Additional tests on Memory Foam mattresses even detected 61 chemical emissions and off-gassing from a single mattress.  Think about how many hours you spend sleeping on your mattress… every … single … night.  All the while, you are inhaling these toxic off-gassing chemicals. I find it frightening, AND infuriating, especially where our children are concerned.

If you’d like to take a look at my original post and view a supporting news report, you can find it here.  Or maybe you’d just like to know to answer…

mattress fillFor us, the ONLY answer is an organic mattress.  They’re made of pure organic wool, 100% organic cotton covers and 100% natural latex cores, providing even better fire retardancy than the chemicals… naturally! For our son, we selected a Savvy Rest mattress from Healthy Home Sleep Gallery (and we DIDN’T need a prescription!… more on that here).  Was it more than the common mattress store brands?  Sure, it was… (the cheapest method to comply with the fire retardant regulations is to simply spray on the chemicals!), but was it worth it when we made a new mattress purchase for our son?… without a doubt.

Now that it’s nearing time to replace our own mattress, I can’t imagine choosing anything other than organic for our own health…  but also because it’s only a matter of time before my two precious “hot water bottles” plan another sleepover too, and I want ALL of us to rest and breath easy (and healthy)!