May 15, 2010

Open Your Windows!

Posted in appliance parts, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cleaning, Health, Home, RepairClinic.com tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:02 am by Liliana

Open Your Window

Open Your Windows

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies indoor air pollution as one of the top risks to public health in our environment. Often, the air inside is more polluted than the air outside. What can we do to keep the air in our home fresh, clean and healthy? EPA offers a few easy to follow suggestions:

Open the Windows and Air Your House Out
Every day, even in winter, it is a good idea to open as many windows as you can in your house. The cross breezes will purify the air and make your house smell fresh and feel comfortable.

Keep Houseplants
Green houseplants not only clean the air in our homes by removing toxins but look beautiful and refreshing as well.

Candles and Air Fresheners
Most candles and air fresheners contained phthalates. These chemicals, used to spread fragrance through the air, are believed to cause birth defects, hormonal abnormalities, and reproductive problems. Burn only beeswax and soy-based candles.

Combustion Gases
Gas stoves produce open flames, and places where open flames reside (kitchens, living room fireplaces, furnace rooms, or basements) nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide have a chance of building up. It is important to check  and make sure that your gas appliances are properly adjusted. All should have a blue flame; a lot of the yellow or orange color are a sign of higher pollutant levels. If this is the case in your home, you should alert your gas company to adjust the setting. If you are buying a new appliance, select a model with a pilot-less ignition; this type does not have a continuously burning pilot light.

Dust Mites
Although not deadly, dust mites (hiding in bedrooms, linens, sofas, carpets) cause a number of allergies and  may be responsible for stuffy noses and itchy eyes. They could also make asthma symptoms flare up. Cover your pillows and mattresses with tightly woven “allergen protector” covers. Vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter; or even better, select wood flooring for your home. It is much easier to keep dust free.

PBDEs (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers or Flame Retardants)
These dangerous chemicals have been linked to thyroid and liver cancers, as well as neurological and immune disorders. Many Mattresses, upholstery and electronics are made with them. Mattresses made from wool (a natural fire retardant) are a healthier choice. Electronics manufacturers such as Apple, Dell, and Sony are starting to phase out certain PBDEs. IKEA is one of the furniture manufacturers that has stopped using these chemicals (as they have been banned in Europe.)

Formaldehyde
This chemical emits toxic gases that can cause nausea and dizziness; in severe cases, it may harm the liver and the kidneys. Formaldehyde can hide in adhesives in furniture, flooring and cabinetry. Particleboard products have a lot of adhesive, so buying solid wood furniture and flooring instead may help you avoid this harmful chemical.

Mold
Anywhere that there is water (refrigerator, washing machine, shower walls) there is potential for mold. Mold causes itchy eyes, runny noses, asthma, and other respiratory disorders. In order to control mold, it is important to control indoor moisture levels (those levels can easily be measured with an inexpensive humidity meter – a hygrometer.) Don’t forget to regularly clean the spots in your home that hold standing water – the drip trays beneath your refrigerator and the bucket on your dehumidifier. Run a cycle without clothes on your washing machine once a week with 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to prevent mold from invading there.

Pesticides
These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, coughing, and dizziness and over long periods of time have been linked to central nervous system damage. They accumulate on floors, plants, pets, bottoms of shoes. Be careful of what kinds of chemicals you spray on your pets and plants to ward off pests and insects. Removing shoes before entering your home, can significantly cut down on the amount of lawn fertilizer tracked inside.

Every bit counts. Keep the air in your home clean and healthy. Keep those windows open.

May 14, 2010

Organic or Conventional?

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Food, Garden, Health tagged , , , , , , at 7:07 am by Liliana

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen

Most health experts and nutritionists advise us to purchase organic foods whenever possible. This is a good guide of which foods have the most pesticides, and which are not as contaminated.

The Dirty Dozen
Pesticide levels in these foods are so high that even by washing and peeling carefully, there is no way to avoid ingesting  high dosage of chemicals. If you buy organic varieties of just this group of foods, the estimate is that you can reduce your total pesticide exposure by 80%.

Fruits:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Vegetables:

  • Bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach

Thin-skinned fruits and vegetables are usually more susceptible to pesticides, because it is easier for the chemicals to penetrate the flesh. Apples, because of the crevices at the top and bottom of the fruit, are especially susceptible.  Spinach and celery are very porous, leaving pesticides trapped in the small openings of their skin. Peppers, on the other hand, have thick skins; but because pesticide residue clings to the surface even when scrubbed, they are also highly contaminated.

The Clean Fifteen
Even when grown conventionally, these fruits and vegetables usually have lower levels of pesticide contamination. When you go shopping, these are the good items to compromise with.

Fruits:

  • Avocados
  • Pineapple
  • Mangos
  • Kiwis
  • Papaya
  • Watermelons
  • Grapefruit

Vegetables:

  • Onions
  • Sweet corn
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes

Most of these foods have protective skins, husks, or pods. Broccoli and cabbage are cold weather crops grown when pests are not as prevalent. Fruits grown on trees often require fewer pesticides because they are high above the ground and less susceptible to insects.