Earth Day 2019

Every year we hear something about Earth Day and it becomes apparent that Earth Day is just another day to may people. Why do we need an Earth Day? What started Earth Day?

I started reading Silent Spring about a month ago and was impressed that Rachel Carson published this book before I was born. She saw and documented widespread usage of pesticides and how it affects the environment back in 1962. This book is hailed to be influential to the environmental movement in the US and may have helped create the Environment Protection Agency. As I was reading the first chapter a term came to my mind: bioaccumulation. If I am anything, I am not a scientist. But I am concerned about the affects of chemicals not just on myself but on the human race. We’ve created things that we don’t understand and we need to deal with those consequences afterwards.

Back to Earth Day… When we think of Earth day, do we equate Earth day with Recycling? Do we think about our environmental impact on the earth as a single person? What can a single person do? I’ve always recycled, I’ve always worried about reducing the chemicals in my own home. Until recently, I hadn’t thought much more about plastics until seeing a video of Plastic Ocean ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju_2NuK5O-E ). These graphics / videos really move me to be more mindful of what we do as a family related to plastics.

I have always felt that bringing my own reusable grocery bags when I shopped was an easy win. But we still had plastic bags that showed up in our home. I found that there are local locations to manage recycling just plastic film. Search for a location near you that offers recycling at:
https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/

What about purchases that are always in plastic? I thought about products that I purchase on a regular basis: cleaning products, hygenic products, food purchases. Purchasing in bulk doesn’t always mean that there is a reduction in plastic- sometimes the packaging has even more plastic.

I found a local company that provides cleaning products in which you are able to refill your containers. I went to refill my containers the other day and was told that I was one of the few people using this service. It really made me wonder, where are we going wrong? What about bulk food purchases? Is there one item you purchase weekly, monthly… that could be purchased in bulk? If you have a local farmers market or an Earth Fare near you, you are able to purchase many staples in bulk. Taking advantange of both of these options has helped me bring less packaging into my home.

As Earth Day approaches, I encourage you to find chemical free ways to clean your home and ways to reduce the plastics that you bring into your home. It’s not a once a year thought, but it needs to become a daily thought. How do we honor our Earth? Small changes make big differences. It does start with one person- look at Rachel Carson- her one book has influenced generations. It has been suggested that her book is one book to list, along with Origin of Species that has changed science.

Chemistry in the Shower

Recently, I found out that I’m allergic to the ethylenediamine dihydrochloride, or edetic acid.  What’s interesting is that even after pulling edetic acid out of my diet, my symptoms didn’t subside until I also took EDTA out of my environment. EDTA is in a ton of different things, from detergents and fabric softeners to soap, shampoo and conditioner.   It is also found in a number of allergy medications.  OK, so I thought going gluten free was hard, this is harder.  This isn’t an easy allergy, it’s a lifestyle change.

Now that I know what allergen is bothering me, I now have to get it out of my household, or at least get it out of my immediate vicinity.  My doctor immediately went through my medications and pulled a few medications.   She sent me home with all sorts of reading.  My initial thoughts were that it  could be in detergents and fabric softener.  So I changed from my Shaklee fabric softener and detergent. I’ve sent Shaklee a request for ingredients in those products.  My symptoms didn’t get better, so I started reading more labels around the house.   Sodium EDTA or EDTA is in sensitive skin soap, dermatologist recommended creams and cleansers, shampoos, hair conditioners, and lotions.  I took a shower and thought about the chemicals that are in my shower.   Most of us use soap, shampoo and hair conditioner.   I also use a separate facial cleanser. In my shower, I can only use the facial cleanser.   When I got out of the shower, I read all the labels of the cosmetics that I used.   I could use the facial moisturizer, but couldn’t use my whole body lotion.   Of all of the lotions in my home, I could only use one.  Oh my-   I’m going to throw away a LOT of products.   That’s a lot of money down the drain.

So you might ask, what products am I using?  I tried making my own laundry detergent out of Washing Soda, Borax and Zote soap. I’ve even tried soap nuts.  This past month, I’ve tried using a goats milk soap from the local health food store.    I’ve used an olive oil based soap and have a friend who made me some lye based moisturizing soap.   I love it much better than the goats milk soap that I purchased.  I’ve gone back and forth between soaps and shampoos and detergents  from different companies and home made.

Update (April 2019) Although I love the Shaklee promise and the non-toxic nature of the products-  I’m worried about the plastic containers in which they are packaged.   Are those plastic containers really getting recycled when I place them in the recycle bin?

I found a company that provides products that are good for my skin and good for the environment.   Instead of offering recyclable containers, they offer refillable containers.   What a concept!   The chemicals are reduced in my shower and we have a company that believes in making a difference for the environment.   Learn more about  Plaine Products sustainable products and let me know what you think!

For the first time in two years, my skin has finally cleared up from the eczema rash that I get from EDTA.  I may be able to wear short sleeves this summer!   Now that is something!