Browsing: Environmental Issues

Carbon Monoxide – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a serious public health concern. Over 10,000 are poisoned by carbon monoxide requiring medical treatment each year; over 500 people in the US die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning.

CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

So, how can you prevent CO poisoning in your home?

  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alerts, such as outside your bedroom. Replace your CO detector every five years.
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters' Laboratories.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal ventilation pipes for appliances should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors. This results CO from leaking if the joints or pipes are not fitted tightly.
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build-up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

Stand-alone carbon monoxide detectors typically cost between $ 20- $ 50. In spite of the relatively low cost, safety checks have shown that fewer than one in ten homes had a carbon monoxide detector.

Being informed about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and adopting some proactive safety measures can help prevent unnecessary harm to you and your loved ones.

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Reduce Your Plastic Use – One Room At a Time

It is affordable, it's a multipurpose, and, it's an element that few people can live without. Although these elements designed to throw after a single use, this element does not go away. Guess what is it? It's our beloved plastic!

There's no second thought regarding the excellent use of plastic products that have made our life easy. Products like helmets, car seats and medical equipment (just to name a few) are essential items which not only enhance, however, saves our life. We can call them a “good plastic”.

The plastic I am going to talk about today is Superfluous plastic. As you are reading this article, chances are huge that it is present nearby you! Turn right, then left, do you see any pen, food container? No? Try that again! Now, do you see a computer or mobile? Maybe mouse or keyboard? I think the answer is obvious now. So where I am going with this? The answer is pretty much obvious. Bad plastics are everywhere! It's like watching your own nose every single day. Although you watch it every moment, however, like your own body you also tend to disregard this bad plastic.

Considering no one (even me. I can not lose my job!) Going to stop using a cell phone or computer, I will go room by room through the home highlighting what throwaway plastic can be found and I will definitely offer some solution ( practiced by me) to reduce the use of it.

Plastic Containers: Let's start with the kitchen. Everyone has nowdays owned a microwave-friendly plastic container to save their leftover food. Without any doubt, saving food is good and the container works the way it should be. However, there's catch, the lifespan of this container is quite short in accordance with the usability. When the times come, once your beloved container gets cracked and broken then without any second thought you thread them into the bin. And there goes your US $ 10 for eternity within a month!

Not only these containers are pretty easy to break, it is also causing many severe health hazards as well. When you keep your food in the plastic container, plastic release unhealthy chemical toxin in the food. Keep using this plastic container and I am certain within months you have to go doctors. Trust me, I was there too!

What should you do? Let me tell you what I did! After getting back from doctors, I went to the supermarket and bought food grade steel container. They cost me a bit more and it would you as well, however, they are robust and not as flimsy as a plastic container. They are super easy to clean, I can easily put them in the freezer. I have been using them for almost a year now and I think I will be able to gift them to my grandkids as well! Although it's not possible to use them inside a microwave, however, it's quite easy to transfer the food into a serving plate / bowl before reheating.

Food Packaging: We have all got to eat, however, sometimes it's quite impossible to keep a good distance between plastic packaging. When I go to groceries sometimes I stare at the foods and think “Food producers are probably be obsessed with single-use packaging!”. Yeah, it would be a great idea for everyone to just go to local farmer's shop and buy foods and vegetables covered in mud in a jute bag. However, most of us live in the city and to buy from the farmer's market we have to travel even miles. If you are okay and excited about that, I would say “Do not”. Since the air pollution can be as bad as plastic pollution itself. In this situation, you may use your right right of speech against over packaging.

You can also do something what I usually do. After completing the transaction, you can remove the plastic and throw them in the bin in front of an authorized person. This is a good way to promote a non-violent protest against over packaging.

Cleaning Products: This one is pretty frustrating- cleaning products generally come inside a bottle and you obviously can not make your own Eco-friendly bottle. However, there's a way. Have you ever heard of Ecover? If you have not, you can use our good old internet to gather information! They are pretty much a trend nowdays. You can find them in almost every supermarket. What is so great about it? Well, they are committed in use of 100% renewable material and this helps a lot in building a healthy and green future.

So there you have it – just three suggestions of how you can conquer the throwaway plastic in your kitchen. I'll be back next week with ideas to less the plastic devil in other parts of the home.

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The Basics Of Water Purifying Systems

Back when Neanderthals roamed the Earth and had a mammoth for a best friend, water was but a simple substance, a simple necessity. But that's way before Antonie van Leeuwenhoek identified Giardia lamblia in his stool. Today, drinking water is not mere a process of fetching a useful and then taking it in. With the rise of more bacteria and viruses, water has never been more deadly. So we have purifying systems-and we have never been safer.

Purification is a process that eliminates undesirable contaminants. These contaminants may include chemicals, debris and foreign bodies. Basically it cleans the liquid before it becomes absolutely free of damaging contents, making it safe for human consumption.

Most water purification systems involve complex processes and makes use of advanced technological apparatuses. The simplest, sometimes, is the method of boiling. Most households use this technique, but for the more complex water purifying systems this is just one step of the way.

I'm sure you've bought bottles of H2O in convenient stores. But have you ever wondered what the difference of distilled, purified and mineral is?

Distilled drinking H2O was made possible by distillation. It is a process of separating mixtures by heating liquid until it becomes vapor. As vapor rises, cooling coils separate the contents of water according to their volatilities. All contaminants are left inside the boiling tank while low-temperature vapors proceed to volatile vents. The separated vapor will be condensed back into its liquid form. This is one of the best ways to clear liquid of unwanted substance-a process naturally employed by Mother Earth as evaporation and precipitation.

While distillation separates contaminants by letting it rise in the air, sedimentation processes the role of gravity and cleans liquid by letting contaminants suspend at the bottom. The rate of sedimentation depends on additional chemicals in the mix such as iron salts. Sometimes carbon is added to absorb unpleasant taste and color in the liquid. As a stand-alone process, sedimentation can not completely sterilize the liquid, but rather it only reduces its microbial content. Purified water is a result of several levels of sedimentation and other processes such as floculation (process that clarifies H2O).

Filtration is another common process which makes use of layers granular beds as filter, to separate solid material and other contaminants. Sometimes carbon is also added into the process.

Another type of drinking substance is mineral water. This simply contains added minerals to change how it tastes. Sometimes the additional minerals increase the substances therapeutic value.

There other purifying systems that clean out our life sustaining liquid we drink to satisfy our needs and ensure our safety. The above mentioned processes are the most heard of and basic in difficulty level.

Sometimes these steps are used altogether to ensure that the substance we drink is tasty, clean, and healthy.

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A Commodity That Is More Precious Than Oil

We hear about oil every day on the news, read about it in newspapers, and find articles about it online. Oil plays a pivotal role in our society. Oil companies have a monopoly, and so prices continue to go up and up. People cut back on buying gas as much as possible, but it still takes a certain amount to power our country. It is estimated that gas will go over the $ 5.00 per gallon mark later this year which will be the highest it has ever been. No wonder oil has been called “black gold”, and everyone considers it one of our most important commodities. However, would you believe that there's another approved resource that plays even a larger part in our society than oil does?

We tend to take it for granted so much that few people would probably list water as one of our most valued resources. As long as we all can remember, we've just had to turn on a tap to gain access to all of the clean, fresh drinking water we need. Most of us think that we have a never-ending supply; however, fresh resources are dwindling, and the problem is only expected to get worse. Whereas we will not be as mobile without gas for our vehicles, we will not be alive at all if the water were to run out. Water is the most important substance to all living things, and without it, life can not be sustained.

Experts with the United Nations have predicted that by the year 2050, at least 48 countries in the world will run out of fresh water alike. Even though it looks like we should have plenty of water on our planet, especially when we look at the amount of blue on a globe, we have to realize that between 97 and 98 percent of all the water resources are saltwater. Of the 2-3% that is fresh water, the majority of it is contained within the polar ice caps and glaciers. The bottom line is that the water sources we have in lakes, rivers, and streams only makes up about 1% of all the world's water. Such a small number to be staking all of our lives on.

You might think that global warming will lead to melting of more fresh water to help augment our dwindling supply; however, that's far from the case. Instead, it will cascade into saltwater sources which will make it too salty to drink. In addition, it will raise the levels of the oceans significantly which could mean that saltwater will run over and taint fresh water resources in the coastal areas of the world. So instead of the melting ice caps adding more water, it may actually decrease our supplies. At the same time, world population continues to grow by leaps and bounds. You do the math!

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How to Reduce the Risk of Radon Exposure in Your Home

Radon is an odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that all too often goes untested in homes. Elevated levels of radon pose serious health risks and have become responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in the United States. To reduce your risk of radon exposure, it's important to understand the causes of high radon levels as well as effective ways to maintain a safe radon level in your home.

What is Radon?

Radon is produced when uranium breaks down in rock, soil, and water. Although rock and water can emit small amounts of radon, soil is the primary source of elevated radon levels in US homes. If the soil around your home has elevated levels, the radioactive gas can enter your home through cracks or other openings along the foundation, polluting the air you breathe. This gas can also enter your home through water, particularly through ground water sources or well system.

Testing for Radon

The only way to determine if your home has dangerous levels of radon is to administrator a radon test. You can either hire a certified, independent contractor to test your home's level, or you can use a Do-It-Yourself radon test kit. Either method is affordable and easily administered.

Studies show that the average level of radon in US homes is 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi / L). This is wonderful considering the action level indicated by the EPA rests at 4.0 pCi / L. If your home shows a radon level of 4.0 pCi / L or higher, you could be at risk. Keep in mind that if you smoke and your home has an elevated radon level, you are at an even higher risk for contracting lung cancer and other harmful conditions.

How to Reduce Radon in Your Home

There are several steps you can take to reduce the radon level in your home, however, be sure to measure the radon levels first and implement a way to get the current radon out of your home. Otherwise, you might trap the radon and prevent it from exiting your home-quite counterproductive!

  • Seal cracks and / or openings along your home's foundation to limit radon from entering. Focus on the lower levels of your home, such as the basement or garage. If your home has a crawlspace foundation, cover the ground with a high-density plastic sheet.
  • Prevent radon from entering your home with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). An HRV improves a home's air quality by increasing ventilation and reducing radon levels. HRVs can ventilate your entire home or just a particular area that is susceptible to radon, such as the basement. Be sure to regularly change your HRV's filter to ensure optimal results.
  • Pressurization is an effective radon reduction technique designed to increase the pressure in a home's basement, where radon typically enters from the soil. This increase in pressure prevails radon from entering the home through its lower levels.
  • For temporary radon reduction, open windows, doors, and lower-level vents to let in outdoor air and increase natural ventilation.

Testing your home for radon is easy and inexpensive, and can drastically reduce your risk of lung cancer. You can perform a radon test yourself or hire a professional. So do not wait – take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of radon exposure in your home today!

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Indoor Pollution – How Clean Is Your Home?

Indoor pollution is a growing national problem here in the United States. There are so many sources of pollution that we bring into our buildings every day, it's difficult to even pick a place to start. Then, once the germs, bacteria, fungus, and particulate get inside, our homes are required to be built so air tight that we can not seem to find a way to get this stuff back outside. I should know, I am an architect in California, and we have despite the most stringent design standards in the entire country.

Once upon a time … oh my goodness, I did not mean to say that. But it does seem fitting, because I can remember when we used to say that our house could “breathe.” Literally, you could hear the house as a breeze might whistle through a window or door that did not seal up perfectly. Or, in the Winter, you could tell that we did not have 10 “of fiberglass insulation in the attic, or in the walls for that matter. And air conditioning, well we would just open a few more windows.

Somewhere along the way we decided that air-tight was going to make things all better. What we ended up doing was locking ourselves into a prison where dust collects on a massive scale, mold grows in all the wrong places, and germs & bacteria thrive in the climate controlled laboratory we call our home! Along with that came one more thing, Sick Building Syndrome, or what we call SBS. The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has identified 3 of the top 4 causes of SBS; 1) Inadequate ventilation, 2) Chemical contaminants from indoor sources, and 3) Biological contaminants.

When we lowered the requirement of the percentage of outdoor air supply to ventilate our buildings, we began the slow process of carbon dioxide poisoning. Then with the advent of 'wall-to-wall' carpet, and the padding, and the adhesive to hold in all place, therein started the generation of 'off gassing'. Formaldehyde was everywhere. We were breathing it, and our children were playing on it every day for years. Then, as the dirt came inside, we could not just sweep it up, we had to clean it. Chemicals everywhere, the odors in our nostrils, the moisture in our lungs, and the fluids absorbed through the pores in our skin. We have mold growing inside our walls and behind the bathtub or shower pan. Now we have wonderful little bugs like MRSA, CRKP, H1N1, the hits just keep on coming.

I know, this is a gloomy picture I paint, but check with other infectious disease experts, they will confirm that one of the worst places to spend too much time, is to be stuck indoors for too long.

However, there is a solution. It comes in the form of 21st Century Green Technology, and it's called 'Fresh Air Surround'. This is not a filter, in fact there are no filters to change, none to buy, or clean, or replace. It takes what nature does outside and brings it inside. Through UV, oxygen & hydrogen, and patented 'Active Pure' technology, your home can be as fresh as your front porch on a clear Spring day. It removes particulate from the air down to 0.5 microns. For reference, an average human hair is between 40-120 microns in diameter. And, it does one other thing that makes it unique & the most amazing Air Purifier available today, it kills germs and it will sanitize the surfaces inside your home. It will disinfect counter tops, furniture, door knobs, light switches, baby toys, and floors, up to 99.8% pure! University level, peer-reviewed studies have proved this to be true. In less that 24 hours the technology in 'Fresh Air Surround' killed MRSA, salmonella, E.coli, black mold, and others.

Many of the Green technologies available to us today are astounding. Progress is passing forward at amazing rates, year after year. And to date, I have not seen anything that even remotely comes close to what this product can do for us in our home. In a time when we want to live longer, live healthy, and enjoy the later years of life more than any generation before, do not you think it's time we stop looking for an 'outside' fix? I suggest we start looking indoors, at our homes, at our families, and at ourselves.

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Things to Consider When Buying a Water Dispenser

A water dispenser is a typical appliance for convenience at home or at offices. Apart from making water easily handy, this machine also serves both cold and hot water. Although there are plain water dispensers out there, people drink more cold water than just the warm serving. A water cooler dispenses a refreshing drink on a hot day, however there are different features and functions that you can find out especially when you want to shop for a new one or possibly replace your old defective water dispenser.

First to consider is to know what benefits that would address your needs. If you have teenagers around, keeping water dispensers with coolers is one way of encouraging them to drink enough water for their health, especially that young ones are not that conscious about the importance of water to their health. The very handy levers of dispensers are also easy for our little kids to get their own glasses of water independently rather than giving them a hard time to open up the fridge and carry out the water filled pitcher. If most household members are commonly working adults who are often staying out at workplaces, a water cooler would also be switched off most of the times to save the electric bill, consequentially water coolers are useless. These sounds very basic at home though, yet pointing out your needs ahead before buying a new one would let you to save time and expenses to stick with the best brand.

Secondly, think over your budget. Branded water dispensers are most expensive expensive, but surely you would not regret the quality and durability of the product. Another thing to consider is the volume capacity of the dispenser that also goes with the price. If you want to know more but do not really want hassles to waste time before deciding which to buy and where to shop, join online forums where people are giving out their comments and reviews about the different brands of water dispensers sold from anywhere. Through interacting with the other users, you would spend less time on reading all details and hypes from the marketing labels of the product. As a buyer, also take note of the warranty and other additional services that you can take advantage of such as free water check up or anything else.

Third, prioritize your health by drinking the cleanest and purified water quality. Stock enough gallons of purified water at your place to keep the water supply like flowing all the time. Choose the best water refilling stations that provide good services of providing your needs with quality purified drinking water.

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Black Mold Removal Is Necessary For Protecting Your Health

Molds are a natural part of our outdoor environment. They play an important role in breaking down organic matter and exist in a number of varieties. However, indoor growth is not a positive development. Concern about molds has increased with public awareness that exposure can cause a variety of health problems, including allergic reactions. With public awareness of its potential hazards, there is increasing demand for black mold removal.

As the death of actress Brittany Murphy revealed this fungus can kill. In the case of the deaths of both herself and her husband, fungal growth in their home caused respiratory failure. The general public is unaware there are thousands of varieties. But, only about ten types cause health problems, such as sinusitis, bronchitis, other respiratory conditions and allergies.

The most common places for fungal growth in buildings are wallpaper, flooring, behind wall tiles and on window frames. It can form in any poorly ventilated structure. It is especially likely where there is moisture leakage. Even a small leak can be enough to create the condition that supports the growth of this fungus.

Normally the immune system detects the spores and helps you to get rid of them by coughing or sneezing. But, for those with vulnerable immune systems spores take hold and begin to germinate within their body, usually in the lung tissue. Those most at risk for health problems are babies and young children, the elderly and those who are in poor health.

This type of fungus forms anywhere there is an adequate food supply and moisture. Typical places in the home is the bathroom, the kitchens and near the washing machine. Also, the moist soil of potted plants is another location. Flooding is likely to lead to its development. If it grows quickly, the evidence will be visible in months. But, it can also take years to form stealthily before it is noticed.

Breathing in spores can cause an infection, which usually strikes people with a weakened immune system. It is opportunistic and can spread quickly inside the body, stopping the organs from working properly. So, it can be fatal. It can also cause allergic reactions, including the development of asthma. This is a response of the immune system to the spores as they make their way into the respiratory system. Health symptoms include constant coughing and constant tiredness, eye and throat irritations, headaches, skin irritation or nausea.

The fungus needs only the right temperature, moisture and an organic food source to multiply. There is plenty of appropriate material in buildings which is suitable for reproduction. Synthetic materials can not host the mold. But any organic debris that lands on synthetics such as dead skin, dust or oils is a nutrient.

Black mold removal specialists are experienced in remediation, mildew removal, and water damage prevention. They use special equipment and follow industry guidelines. They follow a certain process for mold inspections. Technicians usually begin by performing a complete diagnostic assessment of the problem area. They take samples and use infrared cameras to evaluate the source of moisture intrusions or condensation to determine the source of growth. This is an important step as it is necessary to correct any source of moisture intrusion, to remove this problem. The samples are then tested and a mold report is prepared detailing the technical findings of the technicians. The client will be advised of the process recommended for the removal of the problem and the prevention of its recurrence.

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Advantages Of A Vegetarian Diet: Health And The Environment

For years, the debate still lasts on when a healthy diet should be incorporated with meat. Currently, there are increasing evidences that vegetarianism can prevent multiple life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases among others.

Vegetarian diet is said to enhance mental health and improve body endurance and strength, as well as an effective way to reduce weight and bad cholesterol level.

Because of the absence of meat consumption, they do not get the high saturated fat content and growth hormones that are linked with meat. The large amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by vegetarians often result in a reduced risk of developing cancer. Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants which help boost immune system and help eliminate free radicals which cause cancer. Besides cancer, these antioxidants also help people feel younger due to enhanced energy, healthy skin and hair and optimism enabling them to easily cope up with stress.

From the Chinese perspective, vegetables are said to the Yang as they grow towards the Sun. Yang energy is important for growth and energy. Whereas meat is the Yin, that is why animals are low-lying and attracted to the ground. Yang energy keeps one's body positive and changes the mental state of mind.

Aside from the health benefits of consuming food for vegetarians , it can also reduce your food expenses. It is a well-known fact how meat is more expensive than vegetarian food, particularly if you are a fan of heavily processed foods such as chicken nuggets, hotdogs, ham and beef patties. If you want to find it out yourself, you can always do grocery shopping with zero meat products and you'll be surprised on how much you can save.

The vegetarian diet promotes positive impact not only to one's health but also to the environment. With the increasing demand for meat, the act of raising and slaughtering animals causes negative effect on our environment. One of the top pollutants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is the animal feces which amount to 2 billion tons. This, in turn, causes air pollution due to the release of methane gas by a major of farm animals which contributes to the greenhouse effect. It also causes water pollution because the chemical and other substances from feces, pesticides and urine are seeped into bodies of water.

Along these, it takes huge amount of grains to feed animal livestock. Wide areas of lands are required to grow crops to supply the growing numbers of animals every year. This causes soil erosion, land degradation and water shortage.

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Earth Day Tips 2011

Earth day 2011 is fast approaching on April 22nd, which makes most of us wonder: what can we do to pitch in this year? Every year, it becomes more attractive that our planet is in dire need as the environment around us slowly deteriorates. Climate change, air pollution, deforestation, and a shrinking natural eco-system is constantly enriching our way of life as well as the quality of life for future generations to come.

So, on Earth Day 2011, why not start something meaningful that can have an impact on the earth for future generations? Here are a few green tips and activities for your 2011. Keep in mind, it's not just about doing these things once and then dropping them, but rather it's about starting a regular activity pattern for your whole life.

  1. This is the year to start recycling: Recycling is the type of thing that everyone assumes everyone else is already doing, so it will not matter if they do it or not. This is absolutely not true. Every additional person that reuses and recycles their waste on a regular basis is going to make a huge difference in determining the future of our environment. Recycling not only prevails hazardous materials from ending up in landfills, but also stops deforestation and unnecessary and harmful production of materials.
  2. Teach Your Kids to be Green: It's almost as important to get your kids off to the right eco-friendly start as is it is to take action yourself. Giving your children a basis and reason to conduct an eco-friendly life in the future can make all the difference for our earth. Start with the basics – learning to appreciate the natural world around us. Take your kids on a hike, or somewhere out into nature and let them appreciate why it's really a miracle to live on this planet.
  3. Take Advantage of Green Technology: There have been a plethora of recent advances in green technologies that are now accessible to the average person. Now is the time to start taking advantage of them! Whether it is installing a solar panel that activates your outdoor lighting to driving an electric car like the Chevy Volt – it's both eco-friendly and often cost-saving to take advantage of clean energy technologies.
  4. Get Help to Recycle the Big Junk: Although we can all handle recycling the small items around the house or office on a regular basis, it's the big stuff that gives many of us problems. How do you recycle a 200 pound couch? Or a refrigerator, or washing machine? Not only do many of us not know here to take these items to properly dispose of them, but we also do not have the manpower to haul the items out of our homes. This is the type of job where a professional junk hauling team is best employed. Look for one that is eco-friendly and make sure they have a commitment to responsible junk recycling.
  5. Challenge Yourself to be Eco-Friendly: Sometimes it takes a bit of a challenge or competition to get people going. It that's what it takes, than make a game of going green. Keep score or track of your recycling, composting, organic farming or any other green activity. Involve your friends or co-workers by tracking your progress through social networks or via email. Maybe even throw in a prize for the winner over a certain period of time. Whatever it takes – get going with your green activities!

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Toxic Home: Did You Know These Things Could Kill You?

Some environmental diseases come from the worst air we breathe. And it's sneaky; it's inside our own homes. Two of the most common toxic exposure components in the home are Mold (Mycotoxins) and Lead.

Mold

Mold spores can be found everywhere. It does not need sunlight, it just needs a little moisture and, just like that, mold's there. There are so many different types of mold, it is impossible to list all the symptoms of toxic mold exposure, but a few common ones are:

headaches,
breathing problems,
worsening of Asthma symptoms, Egypt
skin irritations and rashes.

All mold spores are toxic.

Mold in the home: How can I get rid of it?

You will never get rid of 100% of the toxic mold, but some simple things can help.

Have your air ducts professionally cleaned. (Go on a picnic in the backyard while this is happening, you do not want to breathe the air while the ducts are being cleaned.)

Dust, vacuum and dump the bag. Toxic mold spores can grow and cause problems while still in the vacuum cleaner bag.

Damp wipe. Sometimes, plain water and a little (OK, a lot) elbow grease is all that is needed. Other times, detergents and bleach will be needed. Since molds gradually destroy the things they live on, use harsh chemicals as a last resort.

If severe mold has found an item of value, consult a professional in mold remediation or water damage.

Lead

Do you or someone in the house have
trouble concentrating?
High blood pressure?
ADHD?
Behavior problems?

Lead toxicity from everyday objects could be the culprit. An older house could still have lead-based paint. Any house could have lead additives in the blinds. Many childrens' toys made in foreign countries may have toxic lead-based paint on them. (Luckily, there is a test you can buy to see if the paint contains lead.) Your drinking water, even if it does not come through lead pipes, may have lead in it.

Lead in the home: How can I get rid of it?

Get everyone out of the house. While wearing safety goggles, gloves and a dual filter respirator, use a commercial-grade solvent to peel off the lead-based paint. Use a putty knife to scrap off the peeling paint. (Do not sand.) Those paint chips are considered hazardous waste. Check with your local authorities on the proper way to get rid of them.

After the dust has settled (a few days), dust everything in sight. Use a commercial-grade, HEPA filter vacuum to suck up the dust left on the floor. Repaint with water-based paint.

Replace all lead pipe segments with PVC pipe.

Use either a water softener or a water filter.

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The Key Benefits of Water Purification

As our world is getting more polluted, drinking tap water is no longer safe for our health. Unlike way back, when huge water streams exist as exceptionally natural, the water that people consumed was rich in minerals and free from any impurities. But, when the human race began the manufacturing industries that trash out toxic wastes, major water supplies can no longer be trusted for it's safe consumption and even its other usage. To address such issue, science cave the chance for brilliant people to discover and implement the water purification method. Through such process, contaminants from its main source are being removed to produce pure and totally clean drinking water.

Water purification dominates imperatively in places where there is no adequate supply of fresh water. Moreover, it can be done in different forms which are adapted by different countries and communities depending on the availability of resources and the nature of their main water supply. Since the process is mainly a course of water treatment against harmful microorganisms, substances that can be removed are bacteria, algae, fungi as well as minerals such as iron, sulphur, manganese and calcium. It also eradicates other polluting agents like synthetic chemicals such as the different types of non-natural soil fertilizers.

Purified water is not only used for drinking. It can also be used for laboratory tests to ensure the non-effects of unwanted results when water contaminating substances are present. The need for supply of pure water is evident in the rise of many companies that supply purified water and in having water purification systems installed in many houses. Water purification variants from several specialized method which involves boiling, deionization, reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, distillation, and ultraviolet (UV) water purification.

Although water purification has the tendency to wipe out essential body nutrients, other people who are especially allergic to some minerals can take advantage of some certain types of a water purification process. Babies and young children who are typically sensitive to develop gastrointestinal problems should consume purified water, especially used for their milk. One very simple and convenient method is boiling. Despite considering the very few negative health effects of water purification, people are of course more concerned with prioritizing the cleanest and disease-free drinking water possible. Illnesses are rather prevented than risking the body for it. Minerals can also be consumed through fruits and vegetables anyway.

Consider water purification as a must in our households. Do not give chance to harmful substances to flow down through your water dispenser. Be aware and adapt the key benefits of this useful technology to sustain and keep life on the go.

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Recycled Office Supplies Are Good For the Environment And Your Office

Recycling continues to grow significantly across the country, and more people recycling means more interest in buying recycled products. There may be no product segment today that offers a greater selection of recycled, or “green” products than in office supplies. There are literally thousands of office products manufactured using recycled materials that are kinder and easier on our earth. In addition, most green office supplies are excellent quality, which provides recycled choices to small business that are gentle on the environment, and functional for the office.

The most common recycled office item searched for online is copy paper. Most offices number one consumable office supply is copy paper, and so people rightly think they can do more to help the environment buying copy paper that contains recycled material. Recycled paper making technology has improved to the point you can purchase very high quality and high brightness recycled paper without sacrificing performance. My favorite is Navigator Premium Recycled Paper (# SNANR1120), because it's high 95 brightness is actually better than most non-recycled copy paper, yet it contains 75% recycled material and 30% post consumer waste.

Other office supplies that are high use and have great recyclable options are binders like standard 3 ring vinyl binders for business. The good news is most of today's binders all contain recycled materials. Universal brand binders are my preference because of their value compared to national brands. Whether you buy a common 3 inch binder or go all the way up to a big 5 inch binder, Universal binders contain 48% recycled content, and 38% of that is post consumer waste!

Similar to binders, standard file folders and hanging folders now all contain recycled material, which is great for our environment. Most will contain a minimum of 10% recycled material. If you're looking for filing products that are even more beneficial for the planet, check out the line of Earthwise filing products from Esselte. Hanging folders in this line contain 100% recycled material, and 30% of it is post consumer waste, which is really the true measure for how “green” a product is. Earthwise also has file folders with a whopping 60% post consumer waste, and the folders are made with 100% recycled fibers.

Where is the best place to find a huge selection of green office supplies? I have two suggestions. First, never shop at mega-corporations like the huge Big Box office superstores. They no longer have the best prices, and the service is terrible. In addition, their selection of recycled products is not that great. Second, I buy my office supplies online, and always buy from an independent company that donates significantly to the community. I've actually discovered one that does good work by supporting great charities with 50% of their profits donated to charity. Search out those companies that practice conscious capitalism, and treat the environment, the community, their employees, vendors and customers with respect and honesty.

So we've covered the really easy product categories that have recycled alternatives. What about more obscure products. House of Dolittle makes a full line of desk calendars and appointment books for business that are 100% post consumer recycled material. Marcal is a great line of recycled paper towels and toilet tissue that are both 100% recycled with 60% post consumer waste, and are awesome because they are lint free.

Ampad makes a line of recycled writing pads, scratch pads and other office paper items called Envirotec that are great “green” alternatives. And, how about using rechargeable batteries for all those office electronics. It keeps hazardous batteries out of landfills, and really helps our earth. Last, how about recycled scanners – Kleen Earth brand scissors by Westcott. The plastic handles are 70% recycled plastic! There are really thousands of options. My favorite office products company has over 200 categories alone!

Recycling in homes and offices is growing, and that is a good thing. The majority of households recycle in some way. However, buying recycled products is lagging behind. The good news is today there are many great quality green office supply options that will let you do good work while helping our Mother Earth. Enjoy today, do a little research, and buy recycled products! It's a small way you can feel good about your choices, and help future generations.

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The Truth About SLS

What is SLS?

SLS is a chemical named Sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), it is a detergent found in many personal care products and even some household cleaners (soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream, mascara, skin cleanser, moisturiser, bubble-bath, washing-up liquid, laundry detergent, carpet cleaner, degreasing car engines etc).

Why is SLS in our products?

SLS is a popular ingredient in shampoos and the other products mentioned above for two main reasons, the first is it's low cost to produce, this makes it ideal for low cost brands. Secondly, it is a very effective foam agent, which makes it highly effective in the removal of oily stains and residues.

What effects does using SLS have?

With regular, prolonged use of shampoos containing SLS, scalp irritation and tangled, split hair can often occur. It has also been reported to have other undesirable effects on skin and the environment. In several cases, these effects can include swelling of the hands, face and arms.

If being applied directly to the skin through a body wash or moisturizer the SLS within the product acts as it does when degreasing a car engine- it dissolves the essential oils in the skin, these oils are vital in keeping skin supple and moisturised. It has been well documented that SLS dries out the proteins in the skins cells, causing irritation in the form of rashes and itching as well as opening up the lower, more sensitive layers of skin to other environmental contaminants.

Even more alarmingly, when SLS has been used in highly concentrated quantities applied to the skin the health implications become more serious. Studies have been carried out discovering SLS can mimic the activity of the hormone oestrogen. For men and women this should be a concern as it could cause bad PMS, menopausal symptoms, an increased risk to female cancers, such as breast cancer and can cause a significant drop in male fertility.

Why is using SLS-free shampoo and natural products better for you and the environment?

Aside from the obvious health benefits to using a non SLS based product the benefits to your skin and hair would become apparent. Using products with natural, organic or eco friendly ingredients allows skin to remain naturally moisturized for longer and hair's natural texture would come alive, as natural ingredients will gently cleanse without drying out natural or curly hair textures, meaning less frizz.

By reducing your personal use of SLS mass production of the chemical would become less, in turn, causing less harmful toxins to be released into the atmosphere created during the production process. When using SLS and washing it away down the drain, some of the chemical enter the rivers and oceans before it has been treated. SLS is lethal to fish at 7ppm and does not break down well in the environment. There really is no reason not to switch to non-SLS based natural beauty products.

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Making Your Own Simple Water Purifier

You've probably heard about the importance of having fresh, clean drinking water at all times, but you may not have wanted to spend the money buying some kind of portable water purification system. Even though you know that water filtration companies can fail during times of disaster and that lakes and streams are so polluted that it is not safe for hikers and campers to drink from them, you may not have taken the steps necessary to ensure the healthiness of your water. This can be a fatal mistake in some situations and a concept that you should not take lightly. You can save a lot of money by learning how to make your own water purifier.

Creating a simple filtering device is not difficult. All you need for it is a couple of 3 “pieces of PVC, a PVC connector, PVC glue, screening, duct tape, charcoal pellets, a faucet aerator, a 2” x 2 “piece of cotton fabric, and a supply of pebbles Start by using the connector and gluing one piece of PVC to each end of it. Make sure that none of the glue gets inside the pipes. “larger all around than the pipe, and duct tape it to the bottom of section 2.

Add a 1 “layer of small pebbles to section 2 and top with charcoal pellets until the section is filled within 1/4” of the top. Both of these materials can be purchased in a store that sells pet products. Once the pebbles and pellets are in place, you can add the rubber and screening materials from the faucet aerator in the top of section 2 in order to provide extra screen protection. Place the square of fabric so that it fills section 1 of your pipe. This fabric will serve to collect larger particles which are in the water.

After you've constructed your filtering device, place a clean container under it, and pour the water you wish to cleanse through it. Keep in mind, however, that this type of filter is only for use as an extra filter used in order to augment existing systems. Untreated water will still need to be boiled after passing through the filter in order to rid it of all pathogens. This simple little device will also make a great project for your child's science fair entry.

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