Keeping up with a clean home can knock you out in more ways than on.
Get a Clean Green Home
Keeping up with a clean home can knock you out in more ways than one. Common household cleaning products such as tile cleaners, air fresheners, pesticides and furniture polish often contain hazardous substances and emit dangerous, volatile fumes.
Simply cleaning your home on a regular basis will prevent buildup of grime and dirt as well as reduce the need for extra elbow grease. Look for brands that say biodegradable. Or, try making these environmentally friendly cleaning products with natural ingredients from the kitchen:
All-purpose spray cleaner: Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar. Use for toilet, windows, wood, mirrors and countertops. There is no need to rinse.
Dish soap: Use natural soap flakes. Add some vinegar to cut tough grease.
Laundry soap: Mix one-third cup (80 millilitres) of washing soda with one and one-half cups (375 ml) of natural soap flakes.
Carpet cleaner: Sprinkle cornstarch on dry carpet to absorb grease and dirt. Leave on for five minutes then vacuum. To deodorize, sprinkle on baking soda and vacuum after 20 minutes.
Pesticides: Young children and pets are particularly vulnerable to chemical pesticides and herbicides that are easily tracked indoors and inhaled or absorbed. Call your local poison control centre or visit these Web resources aimed at preventing children from being poisoned by pesticides and household products.
"Learn About Chemicals Around Your House" at epa.gov/opptintr/kids/hometour/index.htm teaches children about toxic substances and what to do if an accident occurs. "Pesticides and Child Safety" is a fact sheet with current household pesticide-poisoning statistics from the American Association of Poison Control Centers available at epa.gov/pesticides/citizens/childsaf.htm.
Let the Sun Shine for Energy
For information on how you can become a Solar Pioneer, contact Greenpeace Solar Pioneers, 250 Dundas Street West, Suite 650B, Toronto, ON, M5T 2Z5.
Healthy Horizons, Summer 2000
PCB Veggies Anyone?
In February 2002 a jury held Monsanto and its corporate successor Solutia Inc. responsible for discharging PCBs into Anniston, Alabama and covering up their actions. Monsanto routinely released toxic waste into a local creek and dumped polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs into open-pit landfills for almost 40 years, even when warned of the potential danger especially to children, reports the Washington Post (Feb. 23 and Jan. 1, 2002). As early as 1966, scientists found that fish put into nearby creeks died in minutes, their skin sloughing off like they were dunked in battery acid.
Heading north to Wisconsin, PCBs were recently found in sludge spread on farmland. Wisconsin has recycled sludge from sewage treatment plants since 1973, and 80 per cent ends up on farmer's fields. PCBs are highly toxic chemical compounds whose production has been banned worldwide. Even very low levels of PCBs remain persistent in the environment and accumulate in the food chain.
Take the Commuter Challenge
Groups and communities across Canada are encouraging the use of sustainable modes of transportation such as the bus, cycling and walking, during the Commuter Challenge on Clean Air Day, Wednesday, June 5. It's a chance to re-evaluate your commuter habits, be more active or renew your commitment to a cleaner environment. Please register in your local event and help your community win! For more information, visit commuterchallenge.net.