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!

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!).

Do I have animal magnetism?

dr fawnnTruly, I’m thinking the answer has to be “yes”.  And I’m not tooting my own horn… I’m literally talking about REAL wild animals…

I’ve written before about how we seem to have an unusually large population of animals in our yard and (I’m not kidding), it has gotten even more outrageous.  While I can sit on my back patio and gaze at downtown Cleveland, I also seem to be harboring a suburban animal sanctuary.r'coon babies

Want to know what’s been hanging out in our yard lately? Lemme give you the list … deer (including babies!), squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossum, snakes, rabbits, hawks, a wild turkey, birds in general (galore!) and a red fox, for pete’s sake.

No one else seems to find these animals lingering in their yard… except me.  Want to know my theory?… as'nake natural, organic yard. No chemicals, no toxins, no poison polluting up our little sanctuary.

Do you think these animals know that? They have a keen sense of… oh… just about everything.  Hmmm, do you think they’re telling us something…?

It’s the “grill battle”!… propane vs. charcoal

grll prpaneThis coming Memorial Day weekend always seems to be the kickoff of grilling season in my neighborhood.  It’s the aroma that indicates that summer is on its way.  While some of you may be lucky enough to grill all year long, we’re just getting started… and once we get started, it doesn’t end until the snow flies. (It’s also a time for me to share cooking duties with my husband… BONUS!)

We’ve always owned a propane grill and never, ever, go the route of charcoal or (perish the thought!) lighter fluid!  (EEK!)

To me, the propane choice seems like a no-brainer, but is it really?

Take a look at the facts:

  • Overall, propane grilling creates a smaller carbon footprint than charcoal grilling, by about a third.  (win: propane)
  • Charcoal comes from renewable resources, but propane does not.  It comes from non-renewable fossil fuels. (win: charcoal)
  • Carbon monoxide levels from charcoal grilling can be as high as 105 times as much as propane grilling.  (BIG win: propane)
  • The “burn time” for propane is much less than charcoal.  It only needs to be “on” when you need it.  Charcoagrll chrcoall must burn until coals are hot and then you need to wait until it burns out before the cycle is done, and it creates gasses all the while.  (win: propane)
  • Charcoal often travels a far, far distance (and creates extra emissions) before it even reaches your grill, but “not so” with propane… it’s most likely local. Plus, producing charcoal creates even more emissions than actually burning it!  (win: propane)
  • Lighter fluid for charcoal is a petroleum distillate that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned.  (win: propane)

So, I’d say we’ve been making the right decision, especially with that last VOC issue!  But just remember that what you toss on the grill matters too – preferably local organic meats and veggies!  And when it’s time for clean-up, baking soda and warm water does wonders too!

Now, fire up that grill and let’s get the cookout underway! (My family will be right over!…)

The “Toxic 10”… everyday products you should avoid

toxcWhen making the decision to “go green” the list of “should nots” is equally as important as the “shoulds”…

I’ve posted this list before, but with the amount of questions I’ve been getting recently, it’s worthy of a refresher course.  This list originally came from Healthy Child Healthy World and includes the top 10 toxic products that you DON’T need in your home. Without further ado, start checking the checklist!:

  • Air fresheners – they’re full of chemicals, synthetic fragrances and even anesthetics that can be inhaled into our lungs! (All you really need is some essential oils & water in a sprayer bottle!)
  • Bottled water – this water is no less contaminated (and sometimes MORE contaminated) than your tap water… add the BPA content of the plastic bottles and they are simply bad news. (Reusable stainless steel bottles are the only choice.)plastic bottle
  • Canned goods – their epoxy resin linings often contain BPA, linked to hormone disruption, heart disease and obesity. (Buy fresh, organic and/or join a CSA.)
  • Couch cushions – avoid anything containing foam that says it meets California TB 117 because they contain toxic fire retardants (like those horrible mattresses!  Remember, there ARE better choices.)  Those chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, and thyroid, reproductive and neurological disorders.
  • Drain, oven and toilet bowl cleaners – they contain lye and acids that can burn skins, eyes and internal tissues. (A homemade cleaner of vinegar and a few simple ingredients can do the job just as well.)
  • Dry cleaned clothes – even though the chemical perchloroethylene (or perc) is applied elsewhere, it is linked to a number of cancers and even bringing home those clothes (and wearing them!) dramatically increases your exposure. (Choose a “green” dry cleaner or simply avoid “dry clean only” clothing.)
  • Oil-based paints and finishes – they can contain up to 300 toxic chemicals and 150 carcinogens … enough said. (Okay… a few more words: choose no-VOC paints and finishes only.)pain't cns
  • Perfume and cologne – one formulation can contain literally hundreds of chemicals that can absorb through the skin and accumulate in the bodies. (Again, just an essential oil is fantastic!)
  • Pesticides – these chemical poisons linger and contaminate the air and undoubtedly get dragged into our homes. (Take off those shoes in your house!)
  • Rubber duckies! – okay, more than rubber duckies… ANYTHING that contains PVC or vinyl.  They can leach phthalates (linked to hormone distruption) and lead (a potent neurotoxicant).

Please check out Healthy Child Healthy World’s original post for more great information on all of these “toxic 10”, as well as other important suggestions for substituting better options…

So, how many are still in or around your home?… I’ll bet you’re about to change that, aren’t you?!?