Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Safe Chemical Act of 2011

On April 14, 2011, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) released a video announcement introducing the "Safe Chemicals Act of 2011" and launching a new chemical safety reform push.

Do you think it has a chance? Will it work?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Alchemy Of Grooming

This article, The Alchemy of Grooming: Go green with your makeup with DIY cosmetics, pointed me back to a website that I've explored before. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a "coalition effort launched in 2004 to protect the health of consumers and workers by securing the corporate, regulatory and legislative reforms necessary to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products." You can find all sorts of information there about what's in your products, cosmetic laws, and which companies are making your health a priority.

They have lots of suggestions about how you can get involved, one of which is making your own cosmetics or hosting a cosmetic-making party with your friends. In their Get Crafty section, there is a long list of DIY Recipes. Recipes include those for lips, face, acne, hands and feet, body and bath, deodorant, hair care, face paint and Halloween makeup.

Perhaps one of the easiest recipes:
Red Wine and Honey Bath

The red wine and the honey together clarify and moisten. From the Spa at Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Asheville, N.C.

4 cups of red wine 
1 cup of honey

Add wine and honey to bath.
  Don't forget to drink a glass of the wine too!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I-131 And Your Thyroid

There is much focus on the ongoing events in Japan and the possible threat of radiation exposure. If a cloud of radiation is carried our way via the jet stream, one of the threats is I-131 (a radioactive form of iodine). Iodine and its relationship with our bodies is quite unique! Your thyroid cells are the only cells in your body that will uptake iodine into them. Also, your thyroid cells do not differentiate between safe iodine and radioactive iodine.

But what is your thyroid and why is it so important? Your thyroid gland is butterfly shaped and sits in the front part of the neck below the Adam's apple. It works in symphony with the rest of your endocrine system controlling the metabolism of every cell in your body.

Just as I starved myself of iodine before my I-131 treatment so that I would uptake as much radioactive iodine as possible, given a nuclear disaster you would want to flood your body with iodine so that your cells would be satiated in their need for iodine. Dosing yourself with iodine-rich foods or taking tablets like potassium iodide (KI), do not prevent radioactive iodine from entering your body, nor do they protect organs other than the thyroid gland. Flooding your system with iodine also does not reverse thyroid damage that has already occurred.

Another good way to get the needed iodine is through diet. For some, this may be a very traditional diet.
After any sort of radioactive exposure you want to be eating seaweed and algae along with almost any type of commercial heavy metal chelating formula to bind radioactive particles and help escort them out of the body. Whether you’re worried about depleted uranium, plutonium or other isotopes, this is the wise thing to do which can possibly help, and certainly won’t hurt. Many nutritional supplements have been developed for the purpose of detoxifying heavy metals, most of which contain the algaes and plant fibers and other binding substances. Basically, an anti-radiation diet should focus on the following foods:

· Miso soup
· Spirulina, chlorella and the algaes (kelp, etc.)
· Brassica vegetables and high beta carotene vegetables
· Beans and lentils
· Potassium, calcium and mineral rich foods
· High nucleotide content foods to assist in cellular repair including spirulina, chlorella, algae, yeast, sardines, liver, anchovies and mackerel
· cod liver oil and olive oil
· Avoid sugars and sweets and wheat
· A good multivitamin/multimineral supplement

Yet another benefit of the sea vegetables rarely discussed is their high mineral content, which is a bonus in the case of radioactive exposure. Consuming natural iodine, such as in the seaweeds, helps prevent the uptake of iodine-131 while iron inhibits the absorption of plutonium-238 and plutonium-239. Vitamin B-12 inhibits cobalt-60 uptake (used in nuclear medicine), zinc inhibits zinc-65 uptake and sulfur is preventative for sulfur-35 (a product of nuclear reactors) incorporation by the body.
But can you get too much iodine? It is important not to over-consume iodine as it has a relatively narrow range of intakes that reliably support good thyroid function (about 100 to 300 micrograms per day). Someone consuming large amounts of iodized salt or seaweeds could overdo it. Excessive iodine has a complex disruptive effect on the thyroid and may cause thyroid dysfunction. I liked this summary here

So, be safe my friends and don't panic. Make informed choices!

12 Natural Cleaning Recipes

The labels on most household products read like the periodic table violently collided with a bowl of alphabet soup. What are those ingredients, and what might they do to our homes, our pets and our loved ones? A foolproof way to know what’s in your cleaning products is to make them yourself. It’s easy and economical, with the added benefit of reducing your household’s carbon footprint by creating less packaging waste and less pollution from manufacturing and shipping. 
I certainly serve up a lot of information about the toxic chemicals in our environment which can be quite daunting and depressing. But here is a good resource that will help you actually eliminate those toxins and create your own safe cleaning products. Natural Home Magazine has put out this comprehensive article, The Easy-Breezy, Breathing-Easy Cleaning Arsenal: 12 Natural Cleaning Recipes which provides a safe list of ingredients to use, recipes and a list of toxic ingredients to ditch.
Shopping List
With these 15 items, you can clean just about anything.
■ Baking Soda: scrubbing, whitening
■ Beeswax: polishing wood
■ Borax (sodium borate): removing stains/disinfecting
■ Club Soda (or any unflavored fizzy water): lifting stains
■ Cornstarch: absorbing stains
■ Hydrogen Peroxide: disinfecting, removing stains
■ Lemon: removing stains and odors
■ Liquid Dish Soap:  sudsing power
■ Olive Oil: polishing wood
■ Pine Oil: cleaning soft wood floors
■ Plant Essential Oils: chemical-free fragrance (do a sniff test before buying to make sure you’re not sensitive to the fumes)
■ Salt: scrubbing
■ Toothpaste: polishing metal
■ Washing Soda (sodium carbonate): scrubbing, removing stains and cutting grease
■ White Vinegar: disinfecting, removing stains

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ukiah Co-op Newsletter Feature

Toxic Smarts, as a regular column, will be featured in the Ukiah Co-op Newsletter.

March/April 2011 Article Title:
Roundup Revolt - GMO Alfalfa Deregulated

Check it out on page 6!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mind Games

The recent Orion magazine article, Mind Games, was a good read. Sandra Steingraber, also the author of Living Downstream, painted an all too familiar picture about how toxic chemicals are impairing children's ability to learn. The article is lengthy but this excerpt from the end was certainly noteworthy and does well to reach people on a personal level.

AS PARENTS, we can only do so much to protect our children from the brain-disrupting chemicals that lurk in every part of the Earth’s dynamic systems— its water cycles, air currents, and food chains. Faith and Elijah spend their days in a school full of equipment and furniture that no doubt contain brominated flame retardants (which, according to a 2010 study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is linked to lower scores on tests of mental development among children exposed in utero). They ride home on a diesel-powered bus. They fly around town on bicycles — or scooters or skateboards— to flute lessons, piano lessons, the public library, passing by pesticide-treated fields and lawns as they go. And when we lie together in the dark at the end of the day, I sometimes wonder how their brain architecture might have been — might still be — irreversibly altered, even if only slightly, by brain-damaging chemicals that are still allowed to be manufactured and sold, that are constantly pouring out of smokestacks and tailpipes, that are used as ingredients in everything from lipstick to gasoline. I sometimes think about these things when I watch one or the other of them erase a hole through a frustrating homework assignment and start over again.

So don’t give me any more shopping tips or lists of products to avoid. Don’t put neurotoxicants in my furniture and my food and then instruct me to keep my children from breathing or eating them. Instead, give me federal regulations that assess chemicals for their ability to alter brain development and function before they are allowed access to the marketplace. Give me a functioning developmental neurotoxicant screening program, with validated protocols. Give me chemical reform based on precautionary principles. Give me an agricultural system that doesn’t impair our children’s learning abilities or their futures. Give me an energy policy based on wind and sun. 

Because I can do the thinking and research associated with making the right school choice for my children. I can help them with multiplication tables and subject-verb agreement. I can pack healthy school lunches. But I can’t place myself between their bodies and the two-hundred-plus identified neurotoxicants that circulate freely through the environment we all inhabit.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Clorox Cleanup?

Wow! Clorox has surprisingly released the lengthy list of fragrance ingredients that they use in their products. You've got to check out the list of Clorox's 1,219 fragrance ingredients here. Hmmm.....what's the catch? Clorox didn't bother to mention which fragrance ingredients are in which products. Well, I guess the good part for me is that I don't use any Clorox products!

Enviroblog's What's Inside: Clorox Shares A Little summaries the recent development:
The company no longer mentions polycyclic musks on the list of chemicals it never uses because the company - unfortunately - reneged on its promise to phase them out. Its just-released list of fragrance ingredients includes two of them, Galaxolide and Tonalide. Both have been linked to hormone disruption and breaking down cellular defenses against other toxic exposures. Research has also shown that these chemicals accumulate in people's bodies and turn up in blood and breast milk.
A third musk compound with potential for hormone disruption and cell damage is also on Clorox's list of approved fragrance ingredients: musk ketone. High blood levels of musk ketone in women may be associated with gynecological abnormalities, including mild insufficiency of the ovaries and compromised fertility.
The Clorox fragrance list includes a few other troubling ingredients:
  • Acetaldehyde - a possible human carcinogen, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Oxybenzone - a hormone-disrupting chemical commonly used in sunscreens that has been detected in the bodies of 97 percent of Americans and is linked to low birth weight in baby girls
  • Phenol and Benzyl Alcohol - both neurotoxins
  • Triethanolamine - a chemical that can cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy individuals.
When will enough be enough?

Green washing at its best.