Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Going Green and Toxic Free

Sorta . . . I have these grand ambitions. But, when reality sets in, I know that the best I can do is try.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how much we are exposed to. Now, before you go thinking I've hopped upon the crazy train and think that EVERYTHING is poison and that there is a HUGE, WHOPPING hole in our ozone, I don't. I'm not one for extremes. You won't catch me living in a cave, riding my bike everywhere, marching on Washington, burning my bra . . . you get my drift. I just ate a Twinkie (yummy), there is a dust monster (seriously, I live in fear of it) living in the corner of my dining room, I don't drive a hybrid, and I just used a gallon of Lysol to "freshen" the Diaper Genie (damn rice cereal!), so clearly I'm not a tree-hugging health nut (nothing against trees or nuts--both of which I like, a lot).

Anyway, with a new baby and a lot of spare time on my hands (not really, but there are only so many blog posts you can write and dishes you can wash --yeah, right-- while your little one is napping--and I WILL NOT watch soaps--I can't, I won't, I tell ya, I just won't) I've been doing some reading and researching. There is so much in the news regarding the chemicals we are exposed to and how many of these chemicals are toxic to both our bodies and environment. I mean, you all heard the news about how babies absorb phthalates from baby products, right? And then there has been talk for a long time, and garnering even more attention recently, about potential environmental causes/triggers/links to autism and autism spectrum as well as a number of other disorders. It just makes you go "hmmm..." A lot.

I think back to this old, old movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman with Lily Tomlin as a housewife who shrinks (down to microscopic size) due to exposure to a bunch of household chemicals. I mean, this was in 1981 (FOREVER ago) cheesy sci fi/comedy that could obviously NEVER happen, but I can't help but think about what COULD happen when I look around at all the stuff. There are lotions, cleaners, sprays, polishes, mousse, gels, pastes--not including the stuff on toys (lead), in the air, our water, our food, our carpets, the "new car smell", Andy Dick, the rays from the sun, the TV, cell phones, computers--UGH. I mean, alone it all seems so harmless, but together--a nasty concoction of who knows what might be brewing.

As I said before, to avoid all this basically means you would have to be shipped off to space . . . naked and starving, with really bad hair. That is unacceptable. So, I'm thinking of taking it slow, taking baby steps. Maybe cutting back or eliminating what I can--choosing organic more often, going fragrance free/(bad) chemical free when the options exist, using a mesh grocery bag (I have way too many of those plastic bags anyway), switching to those funky lightbulbs . . . just a little, here and there.

How to do this? Well, I'm not so sure, being as I am starting, well, today (though I did buy some California Baby Shampoo/Body Wash--doesn't smell pretty, but works). During the course of my research, here are some of the resources I've come across that I'll be using/have used:

ReusableBags.com--I have a different kind (that is currently being used to store gloves/mittens/scarves), but these are fairly inexpensive.

HealthyToys.org--This is the product search page. I started using this before buying J's toys/baby products. It is a decent database and is growing all the time.

Skin Deep--a cosmetic product safety database. I almost wish I hadn't looked here . . .This covers make-up, hair, skin, nails, baby products, teeth, and fragrances--comprehensive.

The Daily Green
--a "consumer's guide to the green revolution."

The Soft Landing Baby Blog--non-toxic baby gear news and reviews. She has a good blogroll, too.

The Green Parent--another awesome blogger who has taken to the cause for healthier kiddies. Because of blogs like this one and Soft Landing, I can stick with writing about poopy diapers, my nutty family, and American Idol.

There are so many more resources, but these are just a few that I've found useful.

Well, as for going green and toxic free . . . 'nuff said, for now! I gotta go--I hear a bag of sea salt "natural" potato chips calling my name.


Angela said...

Ooooh.. I look forward to browsing those sites! Thanks for the info share.

just jamie said...

Good topic Laskigal. I, too, am truly making an effort not to *consume* so much, and to be picky with products I choose.

Here's the thing that gets me: When GREEN cleaning products that I really want to bring home cost about 3 times that of the non-Green products. I *really* want to help our environment, but it's tempting to use my coupon and buy the Comet, 409 or Windex.

Guess I have to drink a few less fancy coffees to do my part.

LaskiGal said...

I am SO with you, Jamie! It is what always holds me back from buying organic! The California Baby cost me a few dollars extra and no coupons--ugh. I mean, I want a product with less STUFF yet I have to pay MORE--I know, I know . . .volume, processing play a role, but come on!

chocolate girl said...

you had me at the potato chips..but i am with you...great topic and thanks for the awesome sites! i try to live as simply as possible, use coupons as much as possible while at the same time really thinking as 'green' as i can....little things matter too!

Lindsey said...

Well said.

I can start getting beside myself when I think of all the things that we expose our children to. I just had read the report on the toxic lotions/bath stuff, etc. VERY scary, indeed!

I blogged about Skin Deep before. It is a beneficial but definately scary site.

Please let me know if you find any good smelling baby stuff. I love it when the girls smell all wonderful and baby-like!

We are still drinking the organic milk!!! And we like it!!!

RJTrue said...

Hey there ... thanks for the tips. I can honestly say that this is not something I think about until it's brought to my attention. Thanks for bringing it up! I was just watching that movie the other day ... funny at the time, insightful in hindsight ...

Pam said...

Okay- I now this was not the point- but you really made me hungry for chips! How sad am I??

Great post and thanks for the tips! I too think about these things and do little things (we are switching to those funky light bulbs as a bulb burns out and needs replaced)- but there is always more I can do. I'm not about to be shipped to space naked and with bad hair- yikes! Everyone would run back to earth screaming and taking the pollution and lead paint over that sight!

girlymom said...

I try to do what I can, change light bulbs, recycle, but I have a hard time buying the more expensive cleaners and taking my own bags to the store, I already have children to carry as it is.

HRH said...

I remember that movie--how funny.

MamaGeek said...

OOOOOoooooh great post. We're trying to go greener each year and buy more organic (if dang it wasn't so costly), but those are some great resources. Little changes add up so quick!

tommie said...

We are moving in the green direction....more like a faint green right now, but we are getting there. I just blogged about these green bags my commissary is selling. I have even taken them into Walmart and Target. we bring way too many plastic bags into our home!

Jen said...

great post! when we started recycling religiously, i was appalled at how much stuff we'd been throwing away. yikes!

every little bit counts. i'm going to check out the sites you listed. thanks for sharing!

Beth is wfg said...

We've been slowly going green over the years. I even cloth diapered! ;) I do agree that the little things add up.

I can't bring myself to buy the "Green" products that are twice as much for half as much. I know, I know, they are probably better for the environment, but they sure aren't better for my wallet!

suchsimplepleasures said...

hey...maybe we are long lost twins!!!
where in michigan? email me...i wanna hear about stuff...
melissabrodsky at sbcglobal dot net!!!

Kathryn said...

I'm always looking for ways to cut out all the chemicals too. They seem to be everywhere. So scary.
Thanks for all of the links. I'm going to check them out. :)

huddtoo said...

Great Green sites! I'll have to check them out.

Love your site! :)

Becky said...

You know those funky light bulbs that you mentioned?? I went out and bought a whole big bunch of those and switched all my bulbs over to those funky ones. Know how they claim that they last longer?? Yea well I did this a few months ago..think it was September and i have to say that I have had to replace them just as often as I do the normal ones.
Just thought I would share my luck with those funky light bulbs with you!
Great Post!!!

Karen said...

Weirdly, I've been thinking about this myself. My hubbs switched all the light bulbs over but only for energy's sake. I started carrying mesh grocery bags because they hold a ton more and I have less bags to carry in. And I've discovered Ammonia cleans just about everything well. But that's it.

LaskiGal said...

Becky--funny you mention that. Hubby just reminded me that we didn't have the best of luck with their either! So, it looks like I might have to just go around making sure I keep the lights off . . . sometimes my house could light up the whole block with all the lights I've got burnin'--shame on me . . .

abby p- said...

I'm so glad you are writing about this. I think about the toxins all the time. We are trying to go green and we need to go toxic free as well. Thanks so much for the resources.

Misty said...

Thanks for the information. I admit, too - - it's not some thing I normally think about.... but maybe I should..... when I have time..... like that's ever going to happen.... (wink)

Sandy C. said...

Very cool post! I love those links. I definitely need to invest in reusable bags..thanks!!!

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