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Posts tagged ‘Crafts & Hobbies’

10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your Home

10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your Home


Given poor government regulation, many of the cleaning products available on  the market contain “everyday” carcinogens such as formaldehyde, nitrobenzene,  methylene chloride, and napthelene, as well as reproductive toxins and hormone  disruptors. Not to mention other ingredients that cause liver, kidney and brain  damage, allergies and asthma. I really am a happy person–not your basic Eeyore  type, but toxic cleaning products seriously get my goat. One of the best things  you can do to detox your home is to create one of Annie’s simple non-toxic  cleaning kits to use–most of the ingredients you probably already have on  hand.

But there are a host of products, other than those used for basic cleaning,  that often contain carcinogenics. This list, from Cancer: 101 Solutions to a  Preventable Epidemic (New Society Publishers, 2007) by Liz Armstrong et al,  cautions against 10 household products, in addition to cleaners, that you should  avoid having in your house.

1. Air fresheners: Often contain napthelene and  formaldehyde. Try zeolite or natural fragrances from essential oils. For more  information, see Easy  Greening: Air Fresheners.

2. Art supplies: Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic  paints and solvents, and permanent markers often contain carcinogens. For more  information, see Arts  and Crafts: Make it Safe.

3. Automotive supplies: Most are toxic. Keep them safely  away from the house and dispose of at a hazardous waste disposal center.

4. Candles: Avoid artificially scented paraffin candles that  produce combustion by-products, including soot. Beeswax only, with cotton wicks.  For more on beeswax candles, see The  Brilliant Beeswax Candle.

5. Carpet and upholstery shampoos: Use only wet-clean,  natural ingredients. For DIY carpet cleaning, see how to Remove  Stains and Pet Odors from Carpets.

6. Dry-cleaning: Choose clothes that don’t need  perchlorethylene to clean them. Ask for the wet-cleaning option at you local  cleaners, or seek dry-cleaners that use liquid C02 or citrus juice cleaners. For  more information, see Healthy  and Green Dry Cleaning.

7. Flea, tick and lice control: Avoid lindane-based  pesticides. For more information, see Natural  Flea and Tick Control.

8. Paints and varnishes: Always chose low- or no-VOC  finishes. For more information, see Is  Your Paint Making You Sick?

9. Household pesticides: Go natural. Make a Sugar  Ant Hotel.

10. Microwaves: Never microwave or heat food in a plastic  container. For more information about the dangers of food and plastic, see Kitchen  Plastic: Easy Greening.

Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable  living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True  Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine.  Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

5 Things to Do With Bad Wine

5 Things to Do With Bad Wine

Old wine, old wine. Hmm . . . well, it’s not a problem I often come  across,  to be perfectly honest. We’re pretty fond of spiky beverages,  ‘round these  parts. (Some of our neighbors here in Portland even send  their plumbers home with a bottle of wine.)

But  okay, I suppose it happens every now and again. A lonely bottle of   Chardonnay gets pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. Or a  post-party  Merlot gets left open, left out, for far too long to consider  salvageable.  These things happen to even the most dedicated of drinkers.

Then of course, there’s just the tragic occasion when a bottle, brand new and  freshly poured, simply . . . stinks. Much like electrical work, winemaking is an exact science. Sometimes  things just don’t come together.

Ah well. All’s not lost, my friends. As long as your wine isn’t growing fur  or smelling  like something long since dead, you still have options. Here are a few  ideas:

1. Cook with It.

Contrary  to popular belief (sorry Julia Child), it’s actually okay to cook  with  less-than-stellar wine. Blind taste tests have shown that as long as   you’re boiling, braising, or otherwise reducing the liquid, the quality  of the  wine isn’t so important. So add it to a slow-simmered stew or a  from-scratch  pasta sauce. Try an on-it’s-way-to-vinegar white for  cooking down onions or  mushrooms. Don’t worry – no one will be any the  wiser.

2. Bathe In It.

Yes, really!  It’s called vinotherapy and it’s a great way to make use of a  bottle  you opened but didn’t care for. Celebrities such as Teri Hatcher pour a   glass of red wine into the bath each day. The treatment is purported to  soften  the skin, as well as firming it up and adding elasticity. The  magic is  apparently in the resveratrol, a compound found in wine that’s a  powerful  antioxidant. And whether a wine bath really works or not, it  sure does sound  like a way to get some “me time” in the bathroom!

3. Make Artisan Red Wine Vinegar.

Red  wine vinegar comes in two main types: that stuff you buy at the store,   and the stuff that’s really amazing. Want to get your hands on the  amazing  kind? Then make it yourself!  It is a perfect project for wine  that’s already started to sour. It’s  actually very easy and man, the taste is  just incomparable.

4. Use It As Dye.

We’ve  all spent our fair share of time trying to remove red wine stains from  tablecloths, so there’s no doubt that the stuff has powerful staying  power.  This is a great project for a bottle that’s gone well past its  prime, since  there’s no ingesting or immersing involved. Wine-dyed  fabrics have a lovely “crafty” quality, much the same as the popular  tea-dyed look. Try it on linens  or comfy cotton, Boho-style garments,  and anything else that you want to endow  with an earthy, natural vibe.

5. Don’t Forget Compost.

For the bottle that’s really, actually gone, don’t worry – you still won’t  have to throw it away. Wine is completely compostable and can even act as a “starter” to give the bacteria in your heap a little “kick-start”.

By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

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