This past week I discovered reducing toxins in our environment is no easy job.

Today I have a rather higher appreciation and respect of the power (and danger) of chemicals NaClO (Sodium Hyprochlorite) the active ingredient in household bleach, and the chemical processes sometimes starting with something as innoxious as salt to produce chemicals with VERY specific cleaning/bacteria killing properties.

Many household cleaning products are listed/described as green when in fact their track record is short and hardly impressive. Clean solutions can be simple, including water and vinegar! Got to the a great publications resource at Georgia Strait Alliance Publications Page for excellent resources and information.

The cleverness applied by humans to create infinite permutations of harsh chemicals can as easily be used to come up with chemical interactions that are quite adequate for most household chores using mildy acidic household products.

excellent resources for environmentally safe products:
toxic free canada
easy to read guide by Toxic Free Canada, Labour Environmental Alliance

My favourite summary is from the Tyee: “learn from a Pro at Non-Toxic Cleaning” by Amanda Euringer (July 20, 2009)
Let your friends know…

I will add these permanently to the friends and links at the bottom of this page.
If you want a brand name product for your home chores Seventh Generation is very good.

We need to be aware of our preconceptions of clean. People can equate the smell of clean with deadly toxins like Chlorine… in fact Chlorine kills germs and harmful bacteria as well as other life. The fumes itself are dangerous to humans. In the Second World War chlorine gas was used as a horrible chemical agent to kill soldiers.

I recommend re-visiting the Georgia Strait Alliance Toxic Smart Glossary of Ingredients to research chemicals. Findings and safety information changes.

It is so complex, you can come up with a widely different outcome faster than you can form a sentence.

Our water in the Lower Mainland is very soft, so we require much less cleaning product to reach effective sudsing for home cleaning. Many may be aware of the joint GSA and North Shore Cities promotion of less detergent in your clothes washing than is recommended on product labels. This practice is wise home economics as well as environmentally friendly. Each neighbourhood of the GVRD has particular qualities of overuse – one area may have excessive use of fertilizers, shampoo. So each area needs a specific plan to tackle its own environmental issues.

When a plumber come to my apartment to fix a clog he recommended using 3/4 of my Seventh Generation tablets in the dishwasher! Anything more is excessive.

I find this works!

Let’s even look at tap water. Water is very good at cleaning. In Burnaby it also contains chlorine.
I recommend buying a water quality test from a hot tub manufacturer to see for yourself.

It is difficult to understand the toxins we are exposed to daily. A little extra attention will bring us forward.

No doubt you can fall into a mania in order to be toxic free.

I learned this when I dropped an Compact Flourescent bulb in our bathroom during a switchout. CFBs contain trace Mercury, that requires an amount of care.

an unglamorous toxic clean-up crew

To make it easy for my readers and finish my story… Home Depot in Park Royal Village accepts worn out CFB bulbs in their contractors’ zone at the back (South) of the store.