Are you putting lead on your luscious lips?

I am, without a doubt, a “Lipstick Girl”.  I loves me some lipstick! Truly. Ask me what one item I would want with me on a deserted island and my answer… lipstick!  (Yes, even before matches and a hatchet!)

I’ve always been this way, so when I heard the recent news about the lead content in some lipstick formulations, my ears certainly perked up.

It seems the Food and Drug Administration is reporting that some lipsticks have a high concentration of lead in them.  The culprits are all-over-the-board too.  It’s not just the cheap drugstore brands either.  Some of the expensive, department store brands are mighty guilty too.  But I did find it ironic that the cheapest brand, Wet & Wild, (that many of us remember being our brand-of-choice in those high school years – because it was affordable!) didn’t turn up a trace of lead.

Here is the complete list of 400 brands and their lead content.  (I’m thrilled that none of my choice brands and shades appeared on the list!) But, while the content in some of them may be low, if you find yours on the list, it might be time to rethink what you’re putting on those luscious lips!

Bacteria and your reusable bags…

Did I just sense some of you cringing?  Yes, I’ll admit… the latest news reports had me a little squeamish too, but let’s keep it in perspective and DO NOT let ourselves be led to think that reusable bags aren’t the right choice (it still IS absolutely the right choice!).

If you haven’t heard the buzz:  “A study from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California found that most people who bring their own bags to the grocery store don’t wash or clean them regularly – and the researchers also discovered a large number of bacteria present in the reusable bags.”  Take a look at the study but you can also read more about the topic at Earth 911.

Admittedly, I’m not a frequent-reusable-bag-washer either. But I do have a fairly simple plan for combatting these cooties!  First of all, I have a set of bags dedicated to grocery shopping.  I tied a red ribbon on the handle of the bag meant for only meat products.  On the handle of the produce-dedicated bag, you guested it… a green ribbon.  It’s easy to just let the cashier know where you need your items placed (sure, sometimes they aren’t thrilled, but oh well!).

I have a whole second set of bags especially for all of my non-grocery purchases.  That absolutely eliminates the concern since there isn’t anything that goes inside to cause the contamination.

If this still leaves you a bit unsettled, well, there’s another simple way to ease your mind… (hold onto your hats!)… wash… your… bags. 🙂 

And in all reality, even the EPA admits that most of the bacteria doesn’t even pose a health threat.  Afterall, there’s more bacteria on the handle of the gas pump you just used to fill-up your car!

So, my green friends, do NOT be deterred.  Reusable bags are, and always will be, the way to go. (The harm plastic bags create is much greater!)  Just periodically let them go for a little swim in your washing machine and, I promise you, all will be well.

Houseplants to purify your indoor air!

areca plm pltIndoor plants are a fantastic way to bring the outdoors inside, no matter what time of year it is (and, with temperatures starting to drop, windows and doors will likely be spending more time closed!).  Not only can plants breathe life into a room, but did you know they can also, literally, breathe fresh clean air into your home as well?!?

Sadly, our indoor air can become even more polluted than outdoor air(!) due in part to everything from VOCs in paint to all of the horrible things we track in on our shoes and then send airborne!

Just take a look at what some of the most common household plants can “do” for your home!:

  • Areca palm – this one is the top purifier and also humidifies the air as it cleans!  (Lady palm and bamboo palm also do an amazing job!)peace lly plt
  • Peace lilies – also a great all-around air purifier, and incredibly easy to maintain.
  • English ivy – fantastic for removing airborne mold (up to 60% of airborne mold in just six hours, by the way!).
  • Spider plants – great at removing 100% of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from the air in only 24 hours.
  • Boston ferns – another great over-all air purifier but especially for removing formaldehyde from the air.
  • Rubber plants – great for cleaning out those VOCs.

To reach maximum effectiveness, it’s recommended to have at least one 6” plant per 100 feet of living space.

Amazing, isn’t it? Actually, it’s exactly what I would expect Mother Nature to provide… something to clean-up our dirty work (and dirty air!).

Even MORE labeling terms you should know about!

organic slYes, friends… once again I’m working on understanding labels and knowing exactly what they mean (or in many cases, DON’T mean!).

I’ve talked about pesticide-free & chlorine-free, non-toxic labeling, fragrance-free vs. unscented, PLU produce labels and certified-organic vs. organic ingredients.

Now I have a few more that you should know about:  “Green”, “Renewable” and “Certified Organic”.  (Have a guess about which ones actually mean something?)

Well, it appears that “Certified Organic” is the only trustworthy label in this group.  Certified Organic is stgrn labelrictly defined and regulated by the USDA.  “Green” and “Renewable”, on the other hand, mean NOTHING! They are undefined and, once again, completely unregulated.

Like some of the other terms I mentioned, any manufacturer can place these words on their label to give you peace of mind about what you’re purchasing.  And ONCE AGAIN they can do it, just because the terms aren’t regulated.  That doesn’t mean that ALL products that use these terms aren’t legitimate, but the problems is that it’s sometimes difficult to really know.

renwable labelThere’s so much greenwashing happening… the best thing to do is to only select products that have legitimate, regulated terms associated with them.  Otherwise, like that box of chocolates, ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’!

So, it’s time again to break out that notepad, just to keep it straight since, sadly, we can’t always believe what the labels are attempting to tell us.

Do you really know what you’re eating?

GMO strawbSo, I’ve reviewed and given away some fantastic eco-products over the past weeks.  Congrats to the winners – I hope you’re enjoying your prizes! – and don’t forget that a few of the giveaways are still open for entries!

Now I need to move on to something that has always been high on my list of concerns… the foods I feed my family.  It’s been no secret that I favor organic foods (and I’m an avid supporter of CSAs).  I also try to steer clear of anything processed and shop the perimeter of grocery stores where fresh foods are often found. But, more and more, genetically altered foods are finding their way into our daily “eats”!GMO no

One of my previous posts talked about all of my biggest concerns with these foods but, for a simple explanation: genetic modification is a process of recombining DNA in food sources to introduce new characteristics or desirable traits. Ugh. Changing DNA?!?  There is also no long-term and/or conclusive research about the consumption of these “altered” foods and the effects on the people consuming them… doesn’t that just make your stomach swirl… yea, in a big way!

Would it bother you more if I told you that, currently, these genetically engineered foods have no labels identifying them as GMO.  The FDA simply has no requirements.

GMO tomEnvironmental Working Group (EWG) and the Just Label It campaign has a petition to the FDA demanding that genetically engineered foods are labeled… if you’re so compelled, sign it and tell them you want to know what you’re eating!

A dear friend of mine taught me that “silence is compliance”… when it comes to my family’s food, I don’t want to be silent! Sign with me?