EPIC vs. TOXIC
Chlorine bleach liquid and vapors are irritating to the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. An alternative for household disinfecting is borax. We recommend bleach-free products from these following companies:
Clorox Green Works
Mrs. Myers Clean Day
Nellie's All Natural
CHEMICAL DRAIN CLEANERS
Extremely corrosive and dangerous to use. Common ingredients in drain cleaners include lye or sulfuric acid. A handful of baking soda and half cup of vinegar poured down the drain is just as effective as a chemical drain cleaner and much safer for you, your family, and the environment. We recommend non toxic drain cleaners from these companies:
Green Bull Products
20 Mule Team
ASBESTOS INSULATION AND FIREPROOFING
A naturally occurring group of minerals, asbestos are flexible, fire resistant, and virtually indestructible. Some general categories are insulation, fireproofing, floor tiles, pipes, brake and clutch linings, pot holders, ironing board pads, hair dryers, and textured paints. Thousands of products have been produced - and still contain - asbestos fibers. Look for 'Asbestos-free' labels when buying
Consumer Product Safety Commission
PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES
Dishwashing detergents contain phosphates, which are a cause for environmental concern. Phosphates break down grease and remove stains but are difficult to remove in waste-water thus ending up in rivers and lakes suffocating the aquatic life. Buy phosphate-free dishwashing detergent at these locations:
NON-STICK POTS AND PANS WITH PFOA
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) - the chemical used in nonstick cookware - is a sticky subject in the kitchen especially in low-fat cooking where oils are avoided. When heated above certain temperatures - or when scratched with metal - the nonstick coating will break down and release toxic fumes. To be safe, don't use metal utensils on nonstick cookware, don't let temperatures go over 450 degrees, don't stack nonstick cookware, and don't use steel wool. Try out:
NATURAL GARLIC PESTICIDES
Use garlic as a spray, drench or in mixed cropping.
- Obtain 5 medium-sized garlic bulbs.
- Garlic bulbs
- Spray bottle
- Garlic press or mortar and pestle
- Potash-based soap
- Glass jar with lid
- Fine cloth
- Extract the cloves and remove the outer skin.
- Use a garlic press or mortar and pestle to crush the cloves into small pieces.
- Mix garlic pieces with 1/2 liter of water allowing the mixture to soak for about 5 hours.
- Add in some dishwashing soap. It is best to use a potash-based soap.
- Using a fine cloth, strain the mixture. Place in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
- When ready to use you can dilute the mixture in 4 liters of water. Use immediately after preparation, the mixture loses potency over time.
PAINTS AND VARNISH REMOVER
Paint and varnish removers may contain some of these hazardous ingredients: acetone, benzene, isopropyl alcohol, methanol, methylene chloride, petroleum distillates, toluene, trichloroethane, and xylene. Although not presently used in paint and varnish removers, benzene, a known human carcinogen, was an ingredient in older products so properly dispose of older products. Find new non toxic products here:
Eco Safety Products
TOXIC PAINTS AND SOLVENTS
To be honest, there's no such thing as 'non toxic' paint - we're really talking about the degree of toxicity. Paints and finishes release low-level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. The source of these toxins is a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Pick your poison when painting but try these natural and low-toxic alternatives.
Green Planet Paints
Spray cans no longer contain CFC's but now contain hydrocarbon which has a 'negligible' effect on the environment and can still induce bodily harm depending on what's in the can you're spraying. Try to purchase products that roll-on, are in liquid form, are non-aerosol sprays, or use a spray gun. Alternatives include:
Compressed air canisters
Electric dust blowers
PLASTIC FOOD WRAP
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and DEHA are components and plasticizers found in some plastic wraps and food packaging and can migrate into food at high temperatures. DEHA has long been regarded as a possible human carcinogen so take the proper precautions by using only plastic containers or packaging labeled "Microwave Safe" in microwave ovens and if plastic wrap is used when microwaving, it should not be allowed to come into direct contact with food. Here are some alternatives:
Pyrex containers (Corning Incorporated)
Saran Wrap (S.C. Johnson & Son)
Glad Cling Wrap (Glad Products Company)