Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fresh Documentary Review


I have seen the documentary "Fresh" at least three times now despite its poor graphic quality. The documentary has many great messages, is inspirational, and I would recommend to anyone but especially those who want or have a farm, even if its just a hobby farm.

The documentary puts great emphasis on the evils of industrialized farming, and they aren't wrong about them. In industrialized farming we see alot of issues: Inhumane treatment of animals, toxic manure, waste problems, mass amounts of pharmaceutics entering our food supply, and a created need for synthetic fertilizer. Mono-cultures are not found in nature because they are very vulnerable especially to disease and pests. Manure if produced naturally is not toxic and is a fertilizer, but when industry farmers begin using cattle feed and introducing chemicals into the bodies of the animal their manure becomes tainted and no longer is to be used as a fertilizer, which creates the need for synthetic fertilizer and creates a waste issue.

Joel, a sustainable farmer from Virginia did the first part of the documentary. While he referred to the cattle as T-Bone steaks you could see how much he loved the animals by the fact that he provided a ladder for chickens that were facing a two foot drop. Clearly they could have made it on there own but that gesture shows that he cares. He said, and I quote, "Part of our duty as stewards of the Earth is to respect the design of nature". Those are words of wisdom right there, and he lives by them.

Joel moves his cattle from paddock to paddock to mimic there natural herding instinct. He follows the cattle about three days later with birds who pick the fly larvae out of the manure and also eat other pests. The manure fertilizes the field to provide more food for the cattle, its a great cycle! Joel respects the animals nature unlike factory farms. In factory/industrialized farms chickens beaks and claws are cut, which are crucial for them to scratch and peck/eat bugs including pests. Chickens are natures pesticides! He personally knows farmers feeding dead chickens to cows, who are herbivores. There is also dead animal byproduct in many herbivores feeds, given to the animals on feed lots. It's Joels opinion that this defiance of the laws of nature are what caused the avian flu, mad cow disease, and other food health safety issues that we encounter. He estimates that he makes about $3000 per acre, yet doesn't have to buy seeds or fertilizer. Another of his quotes "if we take care of the grass the grass will take care of the animals!".

Russ Kremer is featured in "Fresh" following Joel. He was once an industry style farmer. He ran a Hog Farm and discovered that his hogs were always sick so he was treating them with antibiotics and pharmaceutics all the time. When he got stabbed in the leg by the bore hogs tusk he developed strep, all the pharmaceutics he was giving the hog made the Strep resistant to the antibiotics prescribed and doctors didn't think Kremer would live to tell others about it. Since the near death experience Kremer has become an organic farmer. He hasn't used antibiotics on his farm in fourteen years and estimated he saved 14k in pharmaceutics the first year alone. His farm currently has 300 organic hogs.

David Ball, owner of Hen House Superstore, partners with Good Nature Family Farms, which is an alliance of 75 locally owned and operated farms. Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy, Meats, Poultry, Honey, etc can all be bought from his store and be supporting the local economy! Buying local in addition to boosting your local economy also contains more nutrients, because food begins loosing nutrients as soon as its harvested.

Will Allen, the director of Growing Power, was also featured in Fresh.

He grows a variety of produce on just 3 acres. His farm is chemical free, uses worm composting, and an impressive filtration system. In addition to growing produce Allen also has fish. I included the website where you can learn more, and he and the organization are featured in another documentary that I will be blogging about in the future in more detail.

Ultimately I would recommend this documentary. Anything that makes you think and reconsider how your living your life is worth listening to if you believe it might cause you or help you make a positive change. The main point of this documentary from my understanding is to promote people to buy locally and to promote decentralizing the food system in order to boost the economy, make our food system more sustainable, and less vulnerable.

Friday, January 25, 2013

10 Harmful Chemicals to Avoid in Your Home

Many chemicals today are known or suspected to be links to cancer, early puberty, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, autism, and other serious health issues.

The Safe Chemicals Act if passed would require chemical companies to prove that their products are safe, as of now responsibility lies on the consumers to prove the product is unsafe, which means that only after a product has done damage can it be forced from the shelves!

1. Arsenic
Arsenic is a known carcinogen that has been linked particularly to skin, bladder, kidney, and lung cancers. Certain foods contain organic and inorganic arsenic, and the latter usually raises the risk of cancer and other health problems. Both types of arsenic are found in apple and grape juice andin rice and rice products. Arsenic is found in pressure-treated wood made or manufactured before 2003.

How to Avoid
a) The FDA has tested apple and grape juices and determined that they can be consumed in small amounts, but guidelines for an arsenic threshold have yet to be established. Instead of juice, parents can offer water, milk, and whole fruits.
b) Daily rice drinks for children under age 5 are not recommended. If possible, avoid rice-based foods, such as rice milk and rice flour rice syrup.
c) Avoid older pressure-treated wood, which might be found in sandboxes, playgrounds, swing sets, and decks. Pressure-treated wood can usually be identified by the numerous short slits cut into the surface.

"Because harmful chemicals such as arsenic enter children's bodies at such a higher rate relative to their body size, it is especially important to reduce their exposures," says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group.

2. Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (it has been linked to nasal squamous cell cancer) and a skin irritant that can cause allergy-like reactions including watery, burning eyes and throats, stuffy noses, and skin rashes. Allergic skin rashes can occur as a result of contact with products that contain formaldehyde, which can also cause respiratory symptoms, headache, fatigue, and nausea.

It is commonly used as an embalming fluid, but is also used to preserve a number of household products that contain a higher concentration of urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins. It can be found in pressed wood medium density fiberboard (MDF) furniture (used for drawer fronts, cabinets, and furniture tops), permanent press clothing and draperies, as a component of glues and adhesives, and in cleaning and beauty products, including some brands of baby wipes.

How to Avoid
a) Avoid any furniture made of pressboard or MDF. If you do buy formaldehyde-treated furniture, get it well before you intend to use it and air it outside or in a well-ventilated garage or basement. Or use "exterior-grade" pressed wood products that contain a lower concentration of phenol-formaldehyde resins.
b) Avoid household and personal care products that have these ingredients or materials: quaternium 15, bronopol (also written as 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol), diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.

3. Mercury
Exposure to mercury impairs neurological development, and recent research has linked high levels of mercury to ADHD. Because neural development happens rapidly in pregnancy and early childhood, it is important to eliminate exposure where possible. Mercury enters the environment through air pollution and industrial waste. When mercury enters water, fish absorb it through their gills. For people, the primary exposure to mercury is from consuming shellfish and large, older, and predatory fish, which accumulate higher concentrations of mercury in their flesh. Older thermometers also contain mercury.

How to Avoid
a) Eliminate large fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from your family's diet. The American Pregnancy Association has a complete guide of fish to limit or avoid. "The omega-3-fatty acids in some fish can offset some of the mercury issues," Lunder says.
b) If you have mercury-filled glass thermometers, replace them with newer models that do not contain mercury.

4. Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates
Both BPA and phthalates are endocrine disrupters, products that mimic natural hormones and can affect reproductive development and health. BPA is linked to early puberty in girls and phthalates are linked to low testosterone and to male reproductive problems. BPA and phthalates are additives in plastics; BPA creates a rigid plastic and phthalates make plastic more flexible.

Even though major manufacturers are no longer making baby bottles and children's drinking cups with BPA, it can still be found in the lining of food and beverage cans, in bottled formula, and even on shopping receipts. And even though three types of phthalates have been banned in toys for young children, they are still used to soften vinyl plastics (raincoats, backpacks, shower curtains, blow-up toys) and preserve scents (soaps, lotions, and perfumes).

How to Avoid
a) Do not microwave food in plastic containers because they can release BPA and other harmful or unstudied additives into food.
b) Avoid buying canned food or food storage containers unless they are marked "BPA-free."
c) Look for children's raincoats and backpacks that are marked "PVC-free."
d) Avoid personal care products for children with "fragrance" listed in the ingredients, which may indicate presence of phthalates.

5. Flame Retardants
A type of flame retardant called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is particularly worrisome. Exposure to even small doses at critical points in development can damage reproductive systems and affect motor skills, learning, memory, and hearing. Flame retardants are nearly ubiquitous in upholstered furniture, including couches, pillows, mattresses, and carpet padding. Because the chemicals are not bonded to the foam, they can be released easily in dust as the furniture ages. PBDEs are most likely to be found in polyurethane foam products manufactured before 2005. They are also present in some electronics, though they will no longer be used starting 2014.

How to Avoid
a) Do not let babies and toddlers put electronics like remotes or mobile phones in their mouths.
b) Replace furniture and pillows if the foam is old and breaking down or if the fabric is torn beyond repair.
c) Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and/or run HEPA air filters in rooms.
d) Throw out older items such as car seats and mattress pads whose foam is not completely encased in a protective fabric.

6. Fluoride
Despite its positive effect in reducing cavities, too much fluoride can cause health problems, including discolored teeth, pits in tooth enamel, brittle bones, and, some studies suggest, neurotoxicity. The trick with fluoride is getting enough to reap the benefits without ingesting too much. Experts believe that drinking water should be fluoridated to 0.7 parts per million, but even at this level, as many as one in five kids are occasionally getting too much fluoride. Fluoride is naturally occurring chemical, found in soil and groundwater, but it is commonly added to municipal water supplies as a public health measure. Fluoride is found in many toothpastes and mouthwashes.

How to Avoid
a) Avoid using fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash until your child is old enough to spit them out.
b) Call your state department of environmental protection or municipal water supplier to determine if your water is fluoridated and at what level. If your water supply has high fluoride levels, find an alternative drinking source -- particularly for formula-fed babies -- or invest in a reverse osmosis water filtration system for your water. These filtration systems are costly but effective for reducing the amount of fluoride. Before installing one, use the EWG water filter buying guide to find the right option for you, and be sure to get it tested by certified organizations from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

7. Pesticides
Potentially carcinogenic pesticides have been linked to Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia in children, and they have been shown to have negative effects on neurobehavioral development. Pesticides can leak into the groundwater supply. Given their body weight and the food and water they drink, infants and small children can have increased exposure to pesticides. A recent review by the USDA found unacceptable levels of pesticide residue even in some baby food.

How to Avoid
a) Don't use Pesticides, or go on treated areas.
b) Buy organic fruits and vegetables or stick to produce with lower pesticide levels. Use shopping guides and free apps.
c) Always wash fruits and veggies with a soft brush and water, or peel and trim them before eating. The benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables still outweighs the risks of pesticide exposure.

8. Lead
Lead poisoning can cause nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, and delayed development. Lead was a common additive to paint prior to 1978, when federal law banned its use in household paint. At the same time, the use of lead was banned in products marketed to children. It can still be found in older houses and in some imported toys, jewelry and even candy.

How to Avoid
a) If you live in a home that was built before 1978, be sure all paint is in good repair, and frequently mop floors and wipe surfaces with a damp cloth.
b) If you have an older home, use a lead-safe certified contractor if renovating and stay away while renovations take place.
c) Avoid painted or metal toys made before 1978, and avoid imported toys and children's jewelry, as many countries have not banned the use of lead in toys. Do not buy candy made in Mexico.

9. Perchlorate
High doses can interfere with iodine absorption into the thyroid gland; this interferes with thyroid hormone production needed for growth and development. Naturally occurring perchlorate is found in arid states in the southwestern U.S., but it is also an industrial chemical contaminant used in rocket fuel, fireworks, explosives, bleach, some fertilizers, and flares. It is present in groundwater, surface water, drinking water, and irrigation water around the country, and it can also be found in food.

How to Avoid
a) Contact your state department of environmental protection or management to learn about the levels of perchlorate in your public drinking water supply. If your water is contaminated, consider a reverse-osmosis filter.
b) Pregnant women should speak with their doctors about the possibility of taking iodine-containing multivitamins during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
c) Use iodized salt -- not sea salt, unless it has added iodine -- for seasoning. Iodine buffers the thyroid and helps offset damages from thyroid-disrupting contaminant.

This article first appeared on

My stockpile now


Since I posted the entry My Stockpile:In the Beginning, I feel the need to update you all on my progress! So to begin I'm going to give you the list of what comprised my stockpile in the beginning and remind you all that NONE of these products were eco friendly, then for items that I have gotten rid of I will cross out the item and put the amount I currently have highlighted after it.

                                                 In total my un eco friendly stockpile consisted of about: 
3 packs of pad refills for our swiffer wetjet
1 cleaner refill for our swiffer wetjet
2 packs of dryer sheets
3 laundry detergents    2
3 packs of clorox wipes
3  packs of dish detergents (20 count)
2 secret deodorants (for me)   1
6 Old Spice Deodorants (my hubby's)   3
4 hand soaps    2
4 air fresheners
8 bottles of woman's body wash    4
2 bottles of old spice men's body wash   1
4 bottles of conditioner   2
1 bottle of shampoo
1 bottle of men's shampoo & conditioner
3 opened face masks
6 various hair-care products
2 unopened biore face cleansers    1
8 bottles of women's shaving cream    6
2 edge men's shaving cream        1
17 unopened packages of women's razors    8
9 boxes of 40 count tampons           5
6+ boxes of 18-20 count tampons    2
6 packages of 20 count carefree liners

In total my stockpile before had 107 items that weren't beneficial to the environment and probably weren't that beneficial to my or my husbands health. According to my calculations I have gotten rid of 35 of those items from my stockpile which is approximately 1/3. I didn't throw ANY of these items away, I simply used them, returned them, or gave them away. I donated some items around Christmas, gave my mom a few things that she wanted, and I gave her one or two of my hubbys products to send to my brother who is serving overseas!

As mentioned many items were returned for Walgreens store credit.... by my mom =)  
I however didn't return all of the disposable products! I still have 7 boxes of tampons, 2 opened, and 8 packs of razors. Since using the Divacup I no longer need Tampons and I prefer the Divacup. I plan on donating 3 boxes, returning 2 and keeping the 2 open boxes in case I ever lose my Divacup and have to reorder. I have kept all of my liners, given I still use them. My 8 packs of razors are a mixup of the cheap ones that work better on my underarms and the more expensive ones that I use for everything else. My skin is delicate, if you couldn't guess by the fact that I have to keep two different razors in the shower. My skin is in fact so delicate that I can't shave my legs everyday, even using shaving jel, without developing severe painful razor burn (you can ask my husband)! I have bought a electric reusable wet dry razor that has great reviews and is said to be able to be used for any part of your body, however since its in the mail and I haven't tried it yet I wasn't ready to let go of all my razors!

Given that I plan on using many of the products until they are gone I can't say that I will have another update on my stockpile anytime soon. I can say however that I'm accumulating eco friendlier options including: 3 shampoos ($2-$5), the divacup ($25), a reusable electric razor ($20), hand soap ($4), toothpaste ($3), toilet paper ($5), paper towels ($1), deoderant ($3), and laundry stain remover ($2). Instead of using the store bought carpet sprinkles on my carpet to get rid of pet odors I have substituted baking soda (.75). Notice that I have included the price points of what I paid for these items. I want to emphasize that you can go green on a budget, yes it does require additional work. To go green on a budget you need to either be like me and shop sales and clearances or make some of the products yourself, but I would encourage you to try!

DivaCup Personal review and thoughts


IMG_2305.jpgI know, I know. I already have a posting about the DivaCup, however that one focused on other gathered reviews, and information that I had found and compiled. This review labeled personal because its my own experience with using the Diva Cup.

Trial Run-
In one of the hundred reviews I read prior to purchasing and blogging about the DivaCup someone suggested women give the cup a dry run to get accustomed to it and figure out how to correctly insert it. I tried this twice but my problem with it was knowing if the cup was in correctly, since I wasn't bleeding how would I tell? The Dry Run did help me get used to insertion, folding, and taking the cup out so even though I was worried if it was in correctly I would recommend it.

Day 1-
There is a certain Ick Factor in using a menstrual cup, everything that collects in there you get to see when you take the cup out, dump it and rinse! Fortunately for me at least, my first day is light so I wasn't to worried about the mess that might come with the learning curve.

Day 2-
This would be today, and its not great. On my cycle lately I get headaches which I got a really bad one last night, cramps which started this morning, and this morning also started the heavy bleeding stage. I'm not sure why but my bleeding is coagulated so it comes out in lumps, gross! The only reason I'm TMI'ing my cycle is to make a point. Since I'm heavy and the blood is lumpy at this point the only changing every 2-3 times a day isn't working for me. It's 3 and I have had to deal with the cup two to three times already. Once when I woke up because it was overfull which resulted in leaking... I had a pantyliner on so no problems. The second time I had inserted the cup wrong resulting in leaking, which was my fault. The third time it didn't need done but I needed reassurance! Using a new method of period control is a little stressful, given how embarrassing it is to get blood stains in your pants... even if your husbands the only one who sees them!

Days 3 to 5- When my period seemed to slow down significantly on day three night I switched to a light tampon and I will definately be returning the rest of my tampon stockpile because by trying both methods my preference became very clear. Despite some uneasiness with the Divacup due to worry that I inserted it incorrectly I greatly prefer it to tampons or pads. Unfortunately I still find that I use pantyliners which is still not the most eco friendly solution, however I'm no longer using Tampons so its still a benefit to the environment.
Pantyliners for me are a security measure given this was my first cycle using the Divacup and I felt unsure of my ability to correctly insert it, which hampers its ability to work effectively. While I believe that I will always wear pantyliners with the Divacup during my heaviest times/days I feel that with a little more practice using the Divacup I will be perfectly comfortable to be pantyliner free on the lighter days!
When comparing pantyliner use with the Divacup compared to a Tampon I had to change pantyliners frequently with tampons due to blood getting on them. With the Divacup blood rarely every got on them except on my heavier days, and even then it wasn't as much as got on them when compared to me using a tampon!

I would reccommend this product and can't wait until my mother gets one, as strange as that may sound! There is a saying "even the smallest person can make a difference", I believe that goes for action or inaction as well. I still create waste, unfortunately I'm creating alot more than I hoped I would be by now... however I'm attempting to cut down on waste that I once created every month and I believe that even a small change can make a difference, especially when made by a large amount of people!

I would encourage everyone to at least give the Divacup a try. It's a more natural, healthy solution for both you and the environment!

Organix Rejuvinating Cherry Blossom Ginseng Review


This is not a personal review but one by my mom who I've been attempting to get to switch to green products. Fortunately I did get my mother to switch over to a more eco friendly shampoo and conditioner. Walgreens carries the Organix line, in addition to Kroger and select other stores. My mother and I have both purchased Organix hair care products and she couldn't be more thrilled with hers!

Before switching to the Organix shampoo and conditioner my mother suffered from dry, brittle, hair and split ends! My mom is a natural red head but takes to dying her hair frequently to avoid her natural color and the grey hairs that comes with maturity! My mom is also in general a fairly cheap person which in reference to hair means that she colors it herself, and uses cheap boxes of dye which do nothing for her hair but dry it out!

Since using Organix my mom is always telling me to "feel her hair" everytime I see her. She also has told me that she now frequently runs her hands through her hair now! I have noticed that her hair is looking more healthy myself.

My mother would rate the smell of the Cherry Blossom Ginseng an 8 and said she loves it/really likes it. She has also mentioned needing to return to Walgreens to get more, and is considering permanently switching to this line, although she wants to try the different Organix shampoo and conditioner options. She was actually just mentioning getting rid of the other shampoos she was using before trying Organix, which given her stockpile and the fact that she really is loving the Organix shampoo and conditioner she has tried means she will be doing returning she stockpiled hair care items for the Organix Line.

The Fact that my Mom is willing to pay $5 a bottle on shampoo and conditioner that is on sale is saying alot given how frugal she generally is. I have two Organix shampoos in my bathroom right now and can't wait to try them out after her raving about hers since she started using it.

About Organix:
1. These products are NOT organic, although they may use some Organic ingrediants.
2. These products are Cruelty Free, they aren't tested on animals!
3. These products are Sulfate, Gluten, and Paraben Free!
4. Labels are made using environmentally friendly practices/materials, no fossil fuels are used in making the labels on these products which differs from many other lines!
5. The bottles/packaging are both eco friendly and recyclable!

Friday, January 18, 2013

College Textbooks. Save Money, Go Green.


Since I'm a college student who loves the environment, animals, and saving money I thought it was only natural that I do this blog. This particular blog is all about saving resources both our own and the Earths!

My Spring semester just started meaning I just bought textbooks for my new courses and sold my old textbooks! I had 5 books last semester but decided to keep one due to it being inexpensive and useful, I figured if I'm not getting much for it anyway and it could be helpful in the future why not keep it! Out of four remaining books I sold two of them via craigslist, one I sold to amazon with their trade in program, and the last I'm still hoping to sell.

There are many ways to save money on textbooks.

Buy Used- If its possible then you should almost always buy used, occasionally thats not an option because its a new text, you can't find it used, or it has a needed access code that makes the price of buying new lesser!

Buy the Kindle Version- I actually just found out about this, but for Kindle owners you can buy a Kindle version of the book and save alot of money. I found one book for $100 cheaper for the Kindle then for the physical copy! That's almost enough money to buy a Kindle new! I also want to add that some textbooks have a FREE kindle version at least on Amazon!

Rent- I haven't ever rented a textbook because I have always found for the textbooks I needed that the cost to rent versus to buy a used copy was very close... this isn't always the case, but for me it has been. Even when renting was $20 cheaper I figure in what I can expect to get back by selling the book. With my Comp book I spent just about $4.00 to use it all semester after figuring the purchase price from the sell price, much cheaper than renting it!

Buy an older edition- I am not this bold but if your really struggling with money or your confident, or you discuss it first with your instructor this can be a great option. Editions usually don't change much, I have talked to several people who used an older edition and noted the changes were usually that pages had been rearranged so they had to look harder for the information.. that or pictures were changed, but never core information it was always small stuff! Many instructors will actually give out page numbers for the older edition if they know students are using it and the number differs, some however will not...

Trade- We no longer live in a barter economy but I don't think it was such a bad thing. I haven't gotten to trade textbooks yet but its an easy way to avoid paying anything for new books, you don't get any money back on your old books but your also not shelling any out, sounds good to me!

Shop Around- I personally use Amazon,, ecampus, craigslist, the campus bookstore if I have to, and a local textbook store. Since all the online sites I use are marketplaces I usually find the best deals online because there are many different sellers competing to sell their book meaning it drives prices down. For books I can't find online or in some cases are more expensive I shop locally.

So how is this green?
By buying used I am saving virgin materials from being used to make a new textbook, which helps prevent deforestation (pictured below), and helps to conserve our Earths resources!

Have any other Ideas on how to save on textbooks, comment below!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Daily MIRRA volumizing shampoo review


This week I finally got to switch to a more eco friendly shampoo choice. Eco friendly doesn't have to mean expensive though, this shampoo was also an economical choice. I bought it on clearance for less than $2.00.

Mirra is sold in a cute recyclable bottle and is paraben free, formaldehyde donor free, and uses some natural ingredients. Well I will admit I'm sure this isn't the MOST eco friendly option it is certainly better for the environment than most of the commonly used name brands.

I was excited to try a shampoo that would be a little bit better for our environment and hopefully healthier with less chemicals. I won't discourage you or anyone from buying Mirra, its certainly not the worst shampoo out there, however I'm also not going to recommend it. 

Mirra didn't do anything special for my hair, it washed it yes but for a volumizing shampoo I didn't notice anymore volume in my hair. I also didn't notice additional shine or healthier looking hair. It left my hair clean, but no additional benefits.

The smell of Mirra chia and elder extracts is odd but I would say its refreshing because it smells more natural than most personal care products. 

I won't be buying anymore MIRRA volumizing shampoo, chia and elder extract. I would be willing to give their other shampoos, conditioners, and products a try if I found a good deal on them. 

I will also be asking my mom for her opinion of the MIRRA color treated shampoo and conditioner for a review of them!


Edit: I would like to add on that after a few weeks this shampoo no longer worked for my hair at all. I washed my hair and it would be greasy the next day, however my cousin with thick hair uses it along with the conditioner and they leave her hair very soft.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

10 most dangerous chemicals used in personal care products


I was planning on going through my old products ingredient by ingredient and explaining what I found on any dangerous of each ingredient  and well that was taking way to long and many of the chemicals I couldn't find much research on at all! It's like the chemical companies and the govt. don't believe that we the consumers have a right to know about all the risks or potential risks of using a product! However despite not going line by line of my shampoo that I have been using, which is Garnier Fructis 3x nutrition and is leaving my hair looking greasy, I came across this great article online. I edited the article to shorten it a little bit and also bolded and underlined risks etc.

1. Isopropyl Alcohol:This is a solvent and denaturant (poisonous substance that changes another substance's natural qualities).According to A Consumers Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting and coma.

2. Mineral Oil:Baby oil is 100% mineral oil. This commonly used petroleum ingredient coats the skin. The skin's ability to release toxins is impeded, which can promote acne and other disorders. This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age.
3. PEG:Also known as polyethylene glycol. PEG's contribute to stripping the Natural Moisture Factor, leaving the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially carcinogenic, and have been linked to some forms of cancer, most notably breast cancer.
4. Propylene Glycol (PG):As a 'surfactant' or wetting agent and solvent, this is the active component in antifreeze. There is no difference between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. PG is used to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most personal care products. It is also used in food processing. Because of its 
ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this toxic substance. The Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact, as PG has systemic consequences such as brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. Consumers are not protected nor is there a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than that in most industrial applications.
5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES):SLS and SLES are used as one of the major ingredients in 
personal care products. Mark Fearer in an article, Dangerous Beauty, says " tests, animals that were exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, along with depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and corrosion and death." According to the American College of Toxicology states, "...both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children's eyes. Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties. It is possibly the most dangerous of all ingredients in personal care products. Research has shown that SLS when combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens, which causes the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate-contaminated food." According to the American College of Toxicology report, "SLS stays in the body for up to five days...Other studies have indicated that SLS easily penetrates through the skin and enters and maintains residual 
levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain.
This poses serious questions regarding its potential health threat through its use in shampoos, cleansers and toothpaste."
6. Chlorine:According to Doris J. Rapp, M.D., author of Is This Your Child's World? Exposure to chlorine  can effect health by contributing to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium, diabetes, dizziness, irritation of the eye, mouth, nose, throat, lung, skin and stomach, heart disease, high blood pressure and nausea. It is also a possible cause of cancer. Even though you will not see Chlorine on personal care product labels, it is important for you to be aware of the need to protect your skin when bathing and washing your hair.
7. DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (monoethanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine):DEA and MEA are usually listed on the ingredient label in conjunction with the compound being neutralized. Thus look for names like Cocoamide DEA or MEA, Lauramide DEA, etc. These are hormone disrupting chemicals and are 
known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. These are commonly found in  personal care products. Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental health at the University of Illinois said, "repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of two cancers- liver and kidney 
." John Bailey, who oversees the cosmetic division for the FDA said the new study is especially important since "the risk equation changes significantly for children."
8. FD&C Color Pigments:Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Debra Lynn Dadd says in Home Safe Home, "Colors that can be used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics are made from coal tar. There is a great deal of controversy about their use, because animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic."
9. Fragrance:Fragrance is present in most personal care products. Many of the compounds in fragrances are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. "Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes.' Home Safe 

10. Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM Hydantoin:These are two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde (formaldehyde-donors). According to the Mayo Clinic, formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Serious side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients.

Friday, January 11, 2013

DivaCup Review


Just a forwarning to any men out there that read my post the Diva Cup is a menstrual cup that is an eco friendly alternative to pads or tampons. Unless you have a wife or a daughter, and even if you do, I know how men are so if continue reading any scarring you receive from talk of our products is completely 100% on you!

Now then, lets begin. 

My eco friendly journey will probably be a lengthy one. I am the kind of girl who never finishes what she starts, and while I plan on changing that it is the reason that some of my posts are so far apart. 

For over a month now I have been reading up on a product called the Diva cup. I was thinking about all the disposable products we use and I've been set on using cloth diapers when I have children for a while now, however I always joke that tampons, pads, and pantyliners, are womens' diapers. Although I'm more educated on the cloth vs disposable diaper debate I'm going to take a swing at the Eco Friendly Menstruel cup vs disposable womens products debate!

Diva Cups mission statement includes being environmentally friendly. Every year millions of pads, tampons, and pantyliners are thrown into landfills every year, or worse make their way into our waterways. These items are single use disposable, if you read my chemerical overview you know that we don't like those.

Single use disposables are made to be convenient, but are they really? Having to worry you will run out of something, having to run to the store at odd times because you did run out of it, having to take the trash out everyday, smelling garbage blocks from the landfill because you and your city create SOO much? Having a single use disposable item (styrofoam) that will be around longer than the statue of David. How is that convienant? You buy something to use once for less than a day that is around longer than you are, does that make any sense?

In addition to me caring about the environment and being an animal lover I also had other motivations to try the Diva Cup. I read many of the amazon reviews and a few sparked my attention:

-No longer will I have to haul around pads, tampons, and pantyliners. The initial cost of a menstrual cup is far less than what I was spending per year on other products, and the Cup lasts a lifetime. Not to mention that the Cup is much better for the environment and much easier to port around. The Cup comes in a cute little floral cloth pouch that looks similar to a tiny change purse.

-Diva Cup claims 12 hour protection and so far has lived up to that on even my "fire hydrant" days. Instead claims the same and doesn't live up to that at all - I had to change mine about every 6 hours or else my cup runneth over. I so far haven't needed even a panty liner with the Diva Cup, even though I would never tempt fate enough to go without one.

-I’ve been using a mooncup for about 5 years now. I love it. Yes, it does get a bit messy sometimes, but it’s great not to have to stock up on sanitary products and worry about getting caught short! I started using it for environmental reasons, but I’ve also saved myself a lot of money so far, and I really believe that my menstrual cramps have hugely reduced since I started using it – a great bonus!

- I’ve definitely seen a shorter duration of bleeding. You can’t argue with that!

These are reviews from two different sites, Amazon and I read pages of reviews when I was debating trying the Diva cup and I wanted to share on here that users have said that they experience less cramps and pelvic pain with the Diva Cup.

The Diva Cup is also chemical free which can't be said of the pads, tampons, and pantyliners! One reviewer attributed the lessening of her cramps to the fact that no longer is her body subjected to foreign chemicals. From my Chemerical post we all know that just because something is sold in a store in the United States doesn't mean its totally safe! We definitely need stricter chemical enforcement over here, but if we can get a product that does the same thing as chemical laden products then why not try it!

I just got my DivaCup in two days ago. Mine cost me less than $25 shipping included, I bought it on Amazon after shopping around for the best price. I do have a stockpile of tampons and pantyliners but if this DivaCup works those are all being returned to the store or getting donated to a battered womens shelter that I donated to around Thanksgiving! While I do have mine, I haven't started my cycle since obtaining it and have been to chicken to give it a dry test run!

From all the pages of reviews I have read here are the pros and cons!

Eco Friendly- produces virtually no waste
Hygienic- although alot of people would think this is not the case the Divacup stores the blood in the cup, I always get a bunch of blood on my hand when removing tampons its gross, even when the part in me hasn't soaked much blood up there is ALWAYS blood on the string!
Chemical Free- I've already pointed this out but I'm making a list now so its reiterated
Saving Money- Tampons are $5-$8 a box plus you need pantyliners which are only like $2 but still thats $10 a month, I have no clue how much pads are but this shows that in a month and a half the Diva Cup pays for itself... and it can be used until it needs replaced although given the type of product it is "the general guideline is every year", I have read reviews of ladies who took care of theirs and had it 3-10 years!
Convenient- The DivaCup unlike other products only needs taken care of 2 to 3 times a day. Many reviewers mention that they just wash the Divacup out and reinsert in the morning and an hour before bed and don't worry about it the rest of the day
Lessens Cramps for Some- I did have to put for some since only some reviewers mentioned this as an effect of them changing to this product, I'm hoping I'll have this side effect!
No Risk of TSS- pretty self explanatory!
Shortened Period- I can't say for sure on this but some reviewers noted their cycles were a day shorter which they attributed to the suction of the cup, it might also be the free fall collection who knows but if it can shorten my cycle I'm in!
Keeps your vagina in its natural state- Your vagina is a self cleaning part of your body, its meant to stay a certain degree lubricated and to have a specific PH level. Where as the other products, or chemicals in other products, can dry you out or throw your PH level off some reviewers felt more comfortable with the cup because they weren't uncomfortably dry or didn't notice the odor they did when using other products (Ladies and Gentlemen, its perfectly normal for a ladies oder to change around her cycle, but if its caused by the product she is using rather than being an affect of her cycle its not!)
Discreet/Space- you no longer need to lug around tampons and pantyliners or pads and hope no one sees them. If you have already started your period you will be wearing your Divacup and therefor not need to carry anything on your person as they last up to 12 hours without needing rinsed and reinserted. If your going to start you period soon than the Divacup comes with a cute little pouch to carry it in. 

Learning Curve- Many reviewers said that its hard initially to get in correctly and that there is a learning curve, they also suggested giving it a dry run to learn how to inset and take it out correctly without any messes
Pain with Incorrect insertion/take out- Some reviewers complained that the cup was painful when they were learning how to use it.
Upfront Costs- The Diva Cup cost me about $25 and its recommended you buy the DivaWash with it... well I didn't need the Wash because the cup is silicone and to I have a silicone cleaner already that was never used because what it was bought for doesn't get used ;) nuff said! =)
Requirements- to use the Divacup you need to get acquainted with yourself which for some is very uncomfortable.
Have to buy online- I didn't find the Diva Cup or any reusable menstrual cup at any of the stores near me. For me this wasn't a problem but I listed it under cons because I know for some it might be.

Ultimately I would be thrilled if I got even one person to switch over to a Divacup or any reusable menstrual cup. I personally choose the DivaCup because of the reviews and stars it received on Amazon, but I'm not saying its necassarily better than the Luna Cup or any of the other brands. If you would like to learn more about it has alot of information, however I prefer hearing about products from other consumers which is why I use so many reviews in one place!

Anyone who switches over, has questions, comments, or currently uses one feel free to review/share/ask in the comment section!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year New Products


We made it, 2013! Unfortunately I didn't do anything special to celebrate, husband had to work early ;) I did however get out to do some grocery shopping since we had been out of groceries for over a week! I found great sales on some eco friendly shampoos such as Krogers Mirra line, and Organix shampoo. I also picked up some burts bees body wash and hand soap. I will be reviewing the products as soon as I have a chance to try them out!

Pictures of the lines are posted below, I don't have all the products shown. I bought: Organix  hydrating macadamia oil Shampoo and nutritional acai berry avocado Shampoo, I didn't need any conditioner as I still have plenty so I stuck to getting two shampoos to try. At my Walgreens these were on sale 2/$10. From the Burts Bees GUD line I bought Orande Petalooza foaming hand wash, and Vanilla Flame Body Wash. These Items were both on clearance the hand wash was about $2 and the body wash $3. I found some of the Mirra line on clearance for $1.87 at my local Kroger and picked up two chia and elder extract volumizing shampoos for myself and sunflower and red tea extract color care shampoo and conditioner for my mom who I'm trying to influence to make some eco friendly choices.

I will be switching over to eco friendly shampoo as soon as my current shampoo runs out however which is good news, since I'm editing this post I want to share that I only have 1/3 of the bottle of shampoo left then its eco friendly shampoo! I did notice when shopping that it is pretty difficult to determine what is and isn't eco friendly. Even doing internet searches asking about how eco friendly the product is I either drew a blank or had one reference as to the answer. I also forgot my shopping bags... because they are still filled with recyclables so I did use plastic which was my bad!

When I review each product I will go over the ingredients list and what is or if the case may be is not eco friendly! My point in sharing the prices I paid for these items other than the fact that I love getting a good bargin was to show that being eco friendly doesn't have to be expensive. My sister told me that especially the week of earth day there are great sales on eco friendly products and now with all these store brands coming out that are eco friendly its easier to find eco friendly products that are priced similar to the non eco friendly!

For the new years I didn't make any new resolution. Every day is a new chance, every day you have hope to change yourself and your life, so the new year is nothing different than the new day! I'm only hoping that my husband will give up smoking like he has been meaning to since before we were married.