Category Archives: Healthy-n-Green Tip

Renovation Day!

Healthy-n-Green Bedroom Makeover Part 2: Renovation Day!!

Watch how we transform this bedroom into a healthy-n-green area. Lots of help from local and national community sponsors along with empowering the kids to help in their bedroom renovation.

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Healthy-n-Green Bedroom Makeover: Part 2: Renovation Day!

Healthy-n-Green Bedroom Makeover:Before Video

Check out this video of the “before” walk-thru of the bedroom which will be receiving a Healthy-n-Green Makeover
You will see common problem areas which may trigger an asthmatic/allergic person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjuqTvQRyfo

A bedroom should be one which promotes wellness!

Follow me for more tips on creating healthy-n-green interiors:  Facebook Group:  Denise Robinette – HealthyLiving Interiors – Healthy-n-Green

From Oil-Washing to Green-Washing

From Oil-washing to Green-washing

Watching the life-changing environmental disaster in our Gulf makes me angry and in disbelief as a sense of helplessness and hopelessness overcomes me.  How can such a catastrophic accident happen?  Where were the safeguards?  Why hasn’t our government taken control?   It is obvious that no one expected anything like this would or could occur.  They were wrong.  And, they were wrong not to have a plan in the event the unexpected did happen.  Hindsight is 20/20.

 I can’t even imagine how those who live on the coast in the Gulf region are coping.  This catastrophe has no end in sight, and will affect many generations to come.  The effect will not only be in environmental damage, but in a collapse of their economy in an already depressed state. I live in South Florida where the beaches are many times taken for granted.  They have always been there, looking beautiful and giving surfers, fisherman and beachgoers a lifestyle that is now in jeopardy like the rest of the coastlines.

I have heard many say “stop driving, ride bikes; use public transportation….it is OUR fault for depending on the oil companies.”    I do agree we are dependent and need to make changes, but, we need leadership to help make those changes a reality.  “Greening America” is not a trend anymore – it is a movement, and we all need to do our part in making this a reality.  Did you know that oil is used in many other products besides gasoline?  To name a few:  Plastics, Personal Care Products, Cleaning Products, Pesticides, Pharmaceutical Drugs, Paints, Etc. Etc.   Being dependent on oil is far-reaching to many industries who do not want to change.  Bottom line, change affects their profits.

Clean Water to our ocean life is like clean air is to our human life

We spend 90% of our lives inside bubbles we call our homes/offices/schools and public buildings.  The health effects we have by being exposed to petrochemical products on a daily basis are linked to increases in cancers, endocrine disruption, asthma and environmental illness.  The catastrophic death we are witnessing on the marine life is from an extreme one time event.  On the other hand, our daily exposure to low-levels of petrochemicals and other toxic agents has been well documented. We are being poisoned in our own homes every day by using products which have little if any testing.   

The fox is watching the henhouse 

Most of us have a false sense of security believing that corporations and our government is doing what is in the best interest of society to protect our health and the environment.  Many times, greed and money is a common motivator – not your health or mine.  The lack of planning and using the precautionary principle are thrown by the wayside in the mindset of “don’t fix it till it’s broke” –  “why re-invent the wheel, we have been doing it this way for years”  or “we’ll figure it out later”.

Precautionary Principle

Public policy using the Precautionary Principle protects us and the environment from harm:        

When an activity or product raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.  In this context the proponents of an activity (the product manufacturer), rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof  (to prove a product is safe).  The process of applying the Precautionary Principle must be open, informed, and democratic and must include potentially affected parties (the public and consumers).   (www.ecologycenter.com)

From Green Black                                                                                                                                                                         Did you notice that BP recently changed their logo and claims to be “green”?  Since green has become the new “black” – all companies are GOING GREEN.  But, just what does that mean? There are many companies who will tout this self-appointed designation; leaving you with the impression their products are healthy and safe.  While energy consumption, water consumption and waste management are all extremely important green features, many times the health and safety feature is ignored.  Uses a little recycled paper and call yourself green.  Put some plastic bottles in a recycle bin, call yourself green.   Until there are real standards, it is hard to know who to trust which is why third party non-profits or advocates who do not have a financial interest in a product or service are good sources of information.  

Education is key to change                                                                                                                                                     We do have the power to make positive change that will green our nation forward.   As we watch the oil spill disaster play out to our future generations, let’s become educated and empowered where we can.  You’re your home healthy and green.  Purchase products that are truly green and safe for your family and the environment.   Do not use plastics.  Change your personal care products to natural alternatives.   Practice green cleaning and integrated pest management.    As the Native Americans call their 7th Generation Law: 

“In our every thought and deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”   

 

We can make change, we can make a difference, it is up to us to fix what we have left our next seven generations.

Resources for further study:                                                                                                                                                 www.healthylivinginteriors.com   make your home healthy-n-green         

www.healthy-n-green.com   educational books for kids, downloadable CD about healthy indoor air     

www.ewg.org    safety guides on personal care products                       

www.greenguide.com  list cleaners, personal care products, home & garden products   

www.buildinggreen.com  green building products

Healthy Home vs. Anti-bacterial Cleaners

Healthy Home vs. Anti-bacterial Cleaners

Spring – a time to clean up our homes and open up our windows. Everyone loves a clean and healthy home, but beware of being “too clean”. In a recent article in The Washington Post, the FDA said “recent research raises ‘valid concerns’ about the possible health effects of triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in a growing number of liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, dishwashing liquids, shaving gels… It is literally in every type of product – - most soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, clothes and toys”.

The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) states that the concerns about triclosan are unfounded. Brian Sansoni of the SDA states “It’s more important than ever that consumers continue to have access to these products. It’s a time of increased threats from disease and germs.” Would we expect any other statement from a $ 30 billion cleaning products industry? It is interesting that other countries including members of the European Union have banned or restricted the use of this chemical.

Just how clean is clean?

Anti-bacterial soaps kill 99.6% of germs while regular soap (without triclosan) kill 99.4% of germs. In my opinon, it is not worth the .2% risk to use a chemical which has been found to cause health effects such as disrupting the endocrine system as well as creating bacteria which is becoming resistant to antibiotics. In 2005, the FDA said that there is no evidence that the antibacterial soaps work any better than soap and water.

Back to the Basics

If you are looking for a “natural” alternative to the chemical warfare, try vinegar.
Vinegar kills 99% – viruses, 82% – mold, 80% – bacteria
If you do not like the vinegar smell (which dissipates in about 5 minutes) you can add your favorite 100% pure essential oil.

Many hand sanitizers, such as Purell, use alcohol and do not contain triclosan. You need to read the label.

April Healthy-n-Green design principle:  Safe Maintenance Products

For more information, read The Washington Post article                                            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/07/AR2010040704621.html

Abalone Shell – One shells ‘trash’ is a jewel for your home to treasure

                        One shell’s ‘trash’ is a jewel for  your home to treasure.  

 

 This could be said for the abalone shell, which is a by-product of the abalone sea snails.

 The inside layer of the shell is made up of mother of pearl, which are in a variety of beautiful iridescent changing colors. This material is used in many decorative objects. The meat inside is considered a delicacy, and the shells are a by-product of catching paua for their meat. The paua fishery is managed with a quota system in order for the sustainability of this natural resource. Paua fisher’s free-dive and pry the mollusks from the rocks. This beautiful by-product has been adored for centuries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As a designer, the sky is the limit in using this material. Use it on the walls, floors or anywhere you want a special detail. I have used it as an accent inlay in floors and it is stronger than most man ceramics and/or granite. The photo above shows it being used to frame out a mirror in a stairwell. Be creative and have fun using this unique material – it will reward you with its iridescent qualities that change like the skyline.

check out other uses at  www.healthylivinginteriors.com    Gallery Photos

Lead is in the air…causing ADHD??

hli-candles-photo12-07-0062

Lead is in the air………..causing ADHD?

February – the month of hearts, chocolates and wonderful gifts. Is love in the Air … or is it Lead??!! As we look to have a romantic time with our loved ones, remember that those candles you may be burning could be releasing lead, perfumes, paraffin and carcinogenic dyes. I don’t mean to ruin the mood or ambience – just beware!

A recent study published in the February 2010 issue of Psychological Science (Current Directions) states that lead may be a cause of ADHD, according to Joel Nigg, (a psychological scientist at Oregon Health & Science University). He stated that lead might disrupt brain activity in a way that leads to hyperactivity and attention problem. The American Association of Psychological Science states that lead is a prime suspect among possible environmental causes of ADHD. Researchers have been trying to determine the cause for 30% of cases – since genes are believed to be responsible for up to 70% of ADHD in children.

Where is lead found?

Lead is a known neurotoxin, and has been found in nearly all US children at varying levels, the report stated. It can be found in the soil, (which can be later tracked into our homes), our drinking water and costume jewelry in addition to candles. The focus of this blog is candles. Once they are burned, the lead is airborne. Besides breathing the lead fumes, children are more at risk because the particulates are left on the floor, furniture and walls – and then children put their hands in their mouths.

Do we REALLY need to risk it?

Of course, the best thing would to not burn candles at all. Even if you have an all-natural candle with essential oils, bees-wax and cotton wicks – you are still breathing particulates in the air.  Breathing any type of pollution is not good. But, for those who insist on the ambience of candles – here are a few tips:

- The National Candle Association says to take a piece of white paper and rub it on the tip of an un-burned wick. If no mark is left, the candle is lead-free. If the wick leaves a light grey pencil-line mark, it has a lead core.
- Don’t use candles in jars when the candle leaves a soot ring on the jar’s lip. It may be lead dust.
- Look for beeswax candles with pure paper or cotton wicks.
- Try aromatherapy by putting a few drops of 100% pure essential oil in boiling water or in a defuser – a tray with a light bulb to heat it.

Protect your kids and family from preventable long-term damage. Love is not in the air when we are breathing lead. Long-term irreversible damage is done. Prevention is key to keeping our indoor air healthy.

Have a Healthy-n-Green® Valentines Day! (buy some chocolate:o)
xox

February Healthy-n-Green® Tip: Personal Care Products

Can you clean your floors with YOUR personal care products?

Can you clean your floors with YOUR personal care products?

Many of the same synthetic chemical ingredients in cleaning products are found in personal care products. Since the 1940’s, over 80,000 man-made chemicals have been invented, mostly from petroleum or coal tar.

“No toxicity information is available for over 80% of the chemicals in everyday use products. Less than 20% have ever been tested for acute toxic effects and less than 10% have been tested for chronic, reproductive or mutagenic effects.” National Research Council

Wow – and we freely and willingly lather ourselves with chemicals which we do not know the effects. Listed below are some we DO know the effects of. These are just a few examples, but this should give you a small eye-opener that what we are using to degrease our stoves is being sold in pretty pink packages to make us look beautiful.

Phthalates: A chemical used to “carry” fragrances and help other chemicals absorb into the skin.
Cleaners: glass cleaners, fabric softeners, air fresheners, laundry detergents and most products which have fragrances
Beauty products: fragrances in nail polish, hairsprays, skin lotions
Health effects: It is known to aggravate asthma and has been linked to reproductive harm.

Formaldehyde: A chemical identified as a toxic air contaminant by Air Resources Board on March 12, 1992, and the Office of
Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Household products: Cleaning products and building products such as particleboard, insulation, glues, flooring and cabinetry.
Beauty products: Skin, body, hair and teeth products, nail polish, antiperspirants sun block and baby products such as baby wipes or bubble
bath.
Health Effects
: Listed by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as a “probable human carcinogen” and was determined that NO safe
exposure existed for a prelude to cancer. Respiratory irritant, asthma trigger, watery eyes, burning nose and nausea.

Triclosan: An artificial anti-microbial chemical used to kill bacteria on surfaces and on the skin. (Anyone heard of Hand Sanitizers??)
Household products: “Antibacterial” dishwashing soaps, footwear, toys and trash bags. “In the United States, 75% of liquid soaps and nearly
305 of bar soaps now contain triclosan and other germ-fighting compounds whose prevalence can foster the growth of bacterial
resistance.” (Worldwatch Institute)
Beauty products: “Antibacterial” liquid soaps, body washes, acne treatments, deodorants and toothpaste
Health Effects: It is a thyroid function disruptor, hormone disruptor and accumulates in fat cells, building up in the bodies of people and
animals. It actually “promotes” antibiotic resistance in bacteria due to repeated use of killing most bacteria, allowing resistant strains to
flourish. We need the “good” bacteria to fight the “bad” bacteria, and this is wiped out using triclosan.

Find out what is in YOUR personal care product by looking at the rating system www.cosmeticdatabase.com

February Healthy-n-Green® Tip: Health – Personal Care Products

Love is in the Air….but does that air hurt your Heart?

Love is in the Air…..but does that air hurt YOUR heart?

February, the month of love – hearts, candy and romance. When I think of the heart – and the health of the heart, never did I wonder about how the air can affect it. Yet, studies show that it CAN affect the heart. A recent U.S. study found that there is a very strong link with heart disease and strokes in women who have been breathing small particles in air pollution. In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine used information involving 65,893 women from 36 U.S. cities.

The researchers believe that women may be more susceptible than men to heart problems because of biological differences such as smaller blood vessels. When polluted air is inhaled, pollutants become embedded in the lungs. This may cause inflammation and hardening of the arteries which could lead to stroke or heart disease.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) states that our indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the outside air – and is in the top five environmental health risks to public health! Wow! But the good news is, you CAN control the indoor air quality by the products you use and the behaviors you perform within your home. With the health studies that are consistently linking our health to our interior environment – doesn’t it make sense to take precautionary steps?

Is it love or candles in the Air?

One of my hardest “sells” to people who truly want healthy indoor air is getting them to stop burning candles. I am guessing it may be the magical ambience it creates, along with the fragrance and “mood” it puts on in. But it is obvious from the study above it would not be prudent to burn candles because they release particles into the air. Many times after a discussion about this subject, I will have someone chime in “yeah…my boyfriend just had sinus surgery – and we burn candles every night”. Or, “I know my daughter has asthma, but we really love to burn candles”. I really don’t understand that mentality – but, hey, I am just the messenger!

How long do YOU want to wait?

Did you know it took thirty years for the Surgeon General to report that smoking was the chief cause of the rise in lung cancer? (June 12, 1957)  How long do you think it took for the Surgeon General to state that there is NO risk-free level of breathing second hand smoke, and it is a major health concern?  Most of us figured this out soon after it was established that smoking was bad.  But, it took forty-nine years for the govenment! That is longer than it took to prove cigarettes are harmful. Who knows how long it will take to have the scientific proof many are waiting for on the many issues of indoor air pollution. Why not use an ounce of precaution?

Tuesday:  Can you clean your floors with YOUR personal care products?

February Healthy-n-Green® Tip:    Health – Personal Care Products

Scents make NO Sense

Scents make NO Sense

Have you ever stood next to someone and could barely breathe because of the perfume or cologne they are wearing? Guess what, they don’t even smell it! Our bodies have a process called olfactory adaption which means a temporary, normal inability to distinguish a particular smell or odor after a PROLONGED exposure to it. Our bodies become DESENSITIZED to stimuli in order to prevent the overloading on our nervous system. The reason is – our body wants to be able to allow it to respond to “new” a stimulus that is out of the ordinary. In other words……….our bodies are ignoring the fact that you have showered yourself in that overpowering smell of perfume or cologne. PEEEWW!!

Our bodies do try to give us warning signs that we may be in danger. When we ignore them, our body retreats. A good example of this is when someone first smokes a cigarette. He may choke and fight to resist the smokes irritation to his lungs. The next time, it may not be as bad and soon the smoky air is tolerated by the body. We all know that smoking is very toxic and has many harmful effects which are not usually immediate. Lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema are some that takes years to form. Damage happens over time with little awareness of any harm initially. Fragrances have many of the same chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

Do you ever sneeze or get a headache then you use a personal care product? Maybe you never noticed your eyes itching or nose running after you put on lotion, used hairspray or dabbed on some perfume. I know my children with asthma are the first to show signs of being exposed to toxins….they are hypersensitive to a lot of the sprays and scents that don’t seem to affect most of us.

Wait till you learn just what is IN your personal care products…..you can clean your face, or clean the floor with some of them.

Tuesday: Can you clean your floors with YOUR personal care products?

February Healthy-n-Green® Tip: Health – Personal Care Products

What’s YOUR largest organ?

What is YOUR largest organ?

Body Burden: Find out how chemicals burden your health

Did you know that your skin is your largest organ, absorbing 60% of any substance applied to it?

Think about it. Our skin is our shield of armor, the first line of defense by absorbing and excreting toxins through its pores. When a substance is applied to the skin, it enters your bloodstream and your body tissues. This is much different than eating toxins. When you eat toxins, your digestive systems can produce specific enzymes to excrete and break them down.

“Petrochemical cleaning products in the home are easily absorbed in the skin.. Once absorbed, the toxins travel to the blood stream and are deposited in the fatty tissues where they may exist indefinitely.” (“In Harm’s Way,” a study by “The Clean Water Fund” and “Physicians for Social Responsibility” May 11, 2000)

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) does NOT regulate the health and beauty industry. Manufacturers use potentially harmful ingredients because they are cheap and readily available. No wonder it is a 160 billion dollar business. They are not looking out for your best interest.

Some chemicals stay in our bodies for a short time before being excreted. Continuous exposure can create a “persistent” burden on our bodies. And get this; some chemicals remain for YEARS in our blood, fat tissue, muscles, bone, brain tissue or other organs.   SCARY STUFF

The month of February, we will discuss how personal care products affect YOUR indoor air quality. We will talk about the health effects and how you can check to see how your personal care product rates with others. You will learn who is at a higher health risk. And, we will give you solutions and reputable sites to further educate yourself.

Thursday: Scents make NO Sense

February Healthy-n-Green® Tip: Health – Personal Care Products