If you think buying plastic products labeled BPA free puts you in the clear, think again. A 2011 study in Environmental Health Perspectives shows the majority of plastic products still capable of leaching health hazardous chemicals-even those advertised as being BPA free.
To stay on the safer side, avoid exposing your plastics to heat (re-heating leftovers in the microwave) and storing food in plastic that has significant wear and tear (scratches or bubbling). Alternatively, consider nixing plastic containers altogether and replace them with more Eco-friendly options, such as glass or stainless steel.
Don’t imediately throw out all of your current plastic or wire hangers all at once, but considerreplacing them as they break with with eco-friendly hangers made from bamboo, corn, or wheat. It’s the greener lifestyle option – bamboo is a highly renewable plant, and options made from wheat are actually compostable. Petroleum-based plastic, on the other hand, never fully biodegrades.
Also, try taking the gazillion wire hangers you’ve accumulated from years of dry cleaning back to the cleaners – most will gladly reuse them! Check out your local Wal-Mart or Target to purchase your new green hangers.
Recent studies have revealed that the water in our nation’s lakes and oceans are chock full of hormones, medications and other toxins. If you are dumping your meds down the drain or simply throwing them in the trash, sadly, you are most likley contributing this very dangerous problem. “Disposal via the toilet takes your drugs into the local sewage system. Modern water treatment plants are not fully designed to deal with medication disposal. The long-term health risks posed by consumption of even minimal quantities of these medications in drinking water and the full extent of environmental damage remains unknown.” (about.com) Yikes!
Instead of trashing your expired meds or flushing them down the toilet, consider taking them back to the pharmacy from which they came.
We often think, “surely this makeup (or other personal care product) is safe to use, my drug store wouldn’t have put it on the shelf otherwise.” Sadly, many personal care products come with a false sense of security. To find a solid list of specific ingredients in more than 74,000 personal care products, check out cosmeticdatabase.com. Find out which ingredients to avoid (such as triclosan, BHA, Fragrance, & oxybenzone) and learn about safer cosmetics, sunscreens and many other personal care products.
So if you are going to break the greenie cardinal rule and buy plastic, at least buy “good plastic.”
When buying plastic containers, try to buy those that are labeled with a 1 or 2 within the chasing arrows symbol. These two types of plastics are widely recycled. Avoid buying plastics with numbers 3 through 7 – they are difficult to recycle.
Freshen up your indoor air with a little green.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently ranks indoor air pollution near the top of a handful of constant threats to human health. (Not good.) As a matter of fact, indoor air is normally two to five times more polluted than outside air. And to think, you thought you were getting away from all of the outdoor pollution by escaping to the sanctuary of your home.
One solution to this problem is to utilize purifying plants in your home. Some of the most effective plants are bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, dragon tree, English Ivy, peace lily, and snake plant. (Unfortunately, some can be hard to find locally, so try searching on-line.)
These plants reduce carbon dioxide, reduce airborne chemicals and VOCs (stuff that comes from cleaners and paint in your home), and cultivate healthy levels of humidity.
Who knew a potted plant could be so multi-functional!
Cleaning-up a broken CFL light bulb is not as easy as pulling out the broom and dustpan. CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which if consumed can be dangerous to your health. Don’t worry, the mercury can’t harm you just by using the bulb, however, proper clean up is necessary if one breaks.
Check out Energy Star’s guide to cleaning-up broken CFL bulbs:
Select question #8
Many contaminants can be tracked into our homes on the soles of our shoes. Consider becoming a shoe-free household by removing shoes upon entering the house, & placing them in a designated shoe basket. This can help prevent toxins and germs from entering into your home, and also help keep indoor air cleaner.