Friday, August 28, 2009

What’s Lurking in Your Soap?

by Webeditor last modified 2008-07-22 13:48

Who knew that washing your hands could harm your health and the environment? Thanks to the chemical industry, a hazardous antibacterial compound called triclosan is now an ingredient in many household and personal care products such as soaps, cleaners, cosmetics, clothing, and even children’s toys. While consumers might think triclosan can protect them from harmful bacteria, it turns out that the use of this dangerous chemical in household products is no more effective than soap and water — and may be doing more harm than good.

The Trouble with Triclosan

A joint project of
Food & Water Watch
and Beyond Pesticides

Who knew that washing your hands could harm your health and the environment? Thanks to the chemical industry, a hazardous antibacterial compound called triclosan is now an ingredient in many household and personal care products such as soaps, cleaners, cosmetics, clothing, and even children’s toys. While consumers might think triclosan can protect them from harmful bacteria, it turns out that the use of this dangerous chemical in household products is no more effective than soap and water — and may be doing more harm than good.

To make matters worse, triclosan persists in the environment, mixes with other chemicals to form more toxic substances, contributes to the growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and causes a range of human and ecological health problems.

What is Triclosan?

Chemical company Ciba invented triclosan in the 1960’s. In 1972, the company introduced triclosan to the consumer market where it was confined for the most part to health care settings.

But in the last decade, it has been sold to household product manufacturers as an antibacterial agent. These manufacturers then create antibacterial products that contain triclosan, which are marketed to consumers as healthier than other products.

Depending on the company that sells the chemical, it also appears in products as Microban®, Irgasan® (DP 300 or PG 60), Biofresh®, Lexol-300, Ster-Zac or Cloxifenolum. Some antibacterial soaps use triclocarban in place of triclosan.

No Benefits

Claiming that products containing this antibacterial substance promote good health is misleading. While these products do inhibit bacterial growth, experts question whether this is really necessary for everyday household use. In fact, soaps that contain triclosan have not been proven to be more effective in preventing normal household illnesses than ordinary soap and water. In 2005, an FDA advisory panel of experts voted 11 to one that antibacterial soaps were no more effective than regular soap and water in fighting infections.

Many Risks

Triclosan can create more potent strains of bacteria, increasing antibacterial and antibiotic resistance. So its use in household products may actually contribute to more illnesses. That’s because triclosan kills most — but not all — of the bacteria it encounters. The germs that survive a triclosan onslaught emerge stronger and harder to kill in the future. With the increasing prevalence of triclosan, common bacteria can become more resistant. And if they infect people, treatment with antibiotics could be more difficult...

CLICK HERE to read the rest...

CLICK HERE for a printable fact sheet (pdf)

Samsung Reclaim

I saw this phone in Best Buy last night. I only stopped to look at it because I thought it was cute (phones can be cute, right?) and that it was for Sprint. I looked it up online today and now I like it even more... the Samsung Reclaim features:
  • 80% recyclable materials
  • 40% of the plastic case is made of corn starch (biodegradable) plastic
  • Copmletely recyclable packaging
  • $2 of the purchase price of every Reclaim sold will be given to the Nature Conservancy
Of course it has plenty of other non-green-related features, but those are all pretty normal. Now if only I would have waited four more months to get a new phone, I could have had this one! I've got to keep up with my new technology better.

Click Here for more information on the Samsung Reclaim

Click Here for the cell phone recycling by Sprint or scroll to the bottom of the page and search the Earth911 website for a cell phone recycling location near you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nail Polish Conundrum

Ahh summer... The time for painted toenails.

So I've been thinking about buying a new type of nail polish. I mean, how can anything that smelly be any good for you, right? But at $18 a bottle, water-based nail color is pretty impractical. Not to mention buying over the internet makes it really hard to get a color you know you'll like.

I was reading about OPI nail polish, to see what exactly was in it and as it turns out, OPI removed the ingredients that are in most other nail polishes back in 2006. They are:

- formaldehyde
- toluene
- DBP (removed from most nail polishes in 2006, but isn't banned)

You can go to their website and click About OPI> OPI Cares to read more.

So I decided this was the best I could do until water-based polishes become less expensive (if they do). They sell OPI nail polish at Target stores, but only have about 10-15 colors. It's $8.50 a bottle. They also carry Nic's Sticks, but I haven't tried these yet.

ps. i just noticed that Suncoat is about the same price as OPI, but of course OPI has a much larger color selection.

Have a good Sunday -- stay inside where it's cool!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Aluminum Water Bottle

This weekend at Target I was able to buy something I had my eye on during the week... It was on sale for $10 -- originally 12.98. It is a Gaiam aluminum water bottle. The first time I saw them in the store I thought, OK, these look cool but why do I need one? Here's what the label says:

Why Aluminum?

  • 86% of plastic water bottles used in the United States end up in landfills, taking up to 1,000 years to biodegrade
  • Transporting bottled water consumes approximately 1.5 million barrels of fossil fuel per year
  • Americans are currently adding 30 million PET water bottles to our landfills every day
  • When you use an aluminum bottle, your water remains free of unhealthy plastic residues

  • Sounds good to me! So other than the Earth-friendly ones, he
    re are the me-friendly reasons I bought it:
    • BPA Free - I know, it's aluminum but sometimes aluminum containers are lined with something containing BPA (supposedly, I've only read that once)
    • Lots of really cute designs (couldn't find a manly enough looking one for Erik though...)
    • Holds a lot more than my (recycled) plastic bottle
    • Can hold hot or cold liquids -- not frozen or boiling
    • And my favorite... you can put things other than water in it! Awesome!

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Happy Friday

    Leela: We recycle everything. Robots are made from old beer cans.

    Bender: Yeah! And this beer can is made outta old robots.

    Leela: And that sandwich you're eating is made of old, discarded sandwiches. Nothing just gets "thrown away".

    Fry: The future is disgusting!

    Furtuama - A Big Piece of Garbage

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Recycling #5 Plastic?

    Well, I don't know if this is a problem where you live, but the city of Greensboro's recycling program only accepts #1 and #2 plastics. (thin, usually clear plastic. think Starbucks cold beverage cup.) So what they don't accept is #s 5, 6, or 7. Most things that I avoid buying end up being #5. Plastic cups, yogurt cups, (hard to avoid), detergent bottles, butter tubs, etc.

    I knew that Preserve had a program where you can mail in your #5 plastic for recycling but they are based in New York and it just seems like a long way to mail something. But while on their website reading about it, I found a great site where you can search for a place near you that recycles whatever it is you have. Just type in the material and your location. Neat! I typed #5 plastic and my zip code. And voila! A place in Greensboro called Salvage America that recycles (and buys!) lots of things you would otherwise have to throw away.

    Another great thing about Preserve worth mentioning, you can mail them your Brita water filters to be recycled. Pretty sweet.

    As for me, I don't know yet which makes more sense, saving up #5s in a box and mailing it or making time to drive to the salvage place. (I'm always thinking about how my time = $ ... ) But both seem like great options compared to having to throw your #5s away.

    Links to things mentioned:

    Preserve Gimme 5 program - they also have drop of locations if you live near one - search for a recycling location - I also added their widget at the bottom of the page

    Salvage America - Greensboro recycling and buyback center

    Happy Recycling!

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Noah's Naturals

    I'm always trying out new facial cleansers... I just can't seem to find one and stick to it. I mean, I never buy the same one twice in a row. The most recent one I bought was Noah's Naturals Facial Scrub. Now normally this isn't an item I go "natural" or "organic" on because they cost enough without having those two expensive words on them. But I was at Wal-Mart and saw this for -- I can't remember the exact price but I'm going to say around $5. So I had to give it a try...

    So far I think it's just OK. Maybe my hopes for it were too high... It has a lot of good features, but it doesn't have an amazingly good smell or make my face feel awesomely clean. It does keep it from being too dry, but that's about the only thing I've noticed. It's mostly just a good basic cleanser. Even with that I think it was worth my 5 or so dollars.

    features: no parabens, no sodium laruel sulfates, no propylene glycol (it's pretty hard to find personal care products without this last one, I've looked!)

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Cameras + Plants = ?

    I got this the email newsletter from Photojojo today. Since I have a collection of old cameras that there isn't much to do with - except admire - I thought this was a great idea! If you don't already own an old camera or broken lens, they are pretty easy to find at yard sales and flea markets and I've rarely paid over $5 for one. My favorite from the article is the twin lens reflex - I think I'll try that one first.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    Preserve Toothbrushes

    I bought two Preserve toothbrushes on sale at Earth Fare a month or so ago. I had been looking at them on Amazon but they were either too much for one (like $3.99 + $4.95 shipping) or they were a multi-pack of 5 or more. I think I got them for around $3 each at Earth Fare. Anyway we've been using them for about a month and I really like mine. It has a curved handle that somehow makes it easier to brush. Erik says that's the part he doesn't like though, he finds it kind of awkward. So here are it's features:

    • Made from 100% recycled materials including Stoneyfield Farm yogurt cups (mmmm...)Designed with what they call a "dentist-recommended 45° curved handle and soft bristles guarantee a thorough and even cleaning of your teeth"
    • The case that it comes in can be saved and used as a travel case
    • BPA free
    • Not tested on animals
    • Made in the USA
    • Comes in lots of cute colors and they also have a Jr. size
    • And the coolest part (I think) is that once you're done with it you can go online and print a postage paid label and mail it back to them for recycling! (or would that be re-recycling??)
    They make a whole line of products, including kitchen and personal care, but so far this is the only one I've tried.

    Preserve Online Store

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Shower Curtain!

    I had been looking for a safer shower curtain liner for our master bathroom after reading about the (potential) dangers of PVC ones. I had always noticed the new smell that they have, but never really thought about it being a problem. Anyway, while I would have loved to get a hemp one (which requires no liner) I couldn't see myself paying the $80+ for it. After looking online some I found one called Soft Sensations™ Pure Eco-Friendly Frost EVA Shower Curtain Liner for only $9.99 and even better - they sell it at Bed Bath & Beyond.

    • PVC free
    • Bio-degradable
    • Chlorine-Fee
    • Mold and allergy resistant

    I haven't put it up yet, but i look forward to having a non-stinky new liner!

    Click here to buy
    Click here for more info on PVC liners

    Nature's Gate Sport Block

    I got this sunscreen on sale at Earth Fare for $6.99 back in May. It isn't organic but is paraben-free and vegan. We used it at the beach for a week and had no complaints. It rubbed in well and worked for about two hours then had to be re-applied. You can get it for $9.19 at