From Environmental Working Group:

"The human race is now polluted with hundreds of industrial chemicals with little or no understanding of the consequences. Babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world. Testing by Environmental Working Group has identified 455 chemicals in people, and again, no one has any idea if these exposures are safe."

Join one of the most important environmental campaigns in history. Help the EWG win this battle in the war against toxic chemicals. The Kid Safe Chemicals Act would fix this problem by:

  • Requiring companies to prove that their chemicals are safe for infants and children before products to on the market
  • Making all health and safety data public
  • Banning chemicals when manufacturers do not provide safety studies
  • Promoting green, safer chemicals in consumer products
Do you get it? It seems to me that global warming isn't going to matter -- our species won't be able to reproduce in a few generations. Visit EWG and see what you think.



Although they may make your clothes seem soft and smell "sweet", fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products around. And chances are that the staggering 99.8 percent of Americans who use common commercial detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches, and stain removers would think twice if they knew they contained chemicals that could cause cancer and brain damage.

Here is a list of just some of the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

  • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer

  • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant

  • Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders

  • Limonene: Known carcinogen

  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage

  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list

  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders

  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic

  • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders

  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

So how could products with pretty names like Soft Ocean Mist, Summer Orchard and April Fresh be so dangerous?

The chemicals in fabric softeners are pungent and strong smelling -- so strong that they require the use of these heavy fragrances (think 50 times as much fragrance) just to cover up the smells. Furthermore, synthetic fabrics, which are the reason fabric softeners were created in the first place, do not smell good either when heated in a dryer or heated by our bodies ... hence the need for even more hefty fragrances.

Fabric softeners leave an oil coating on clothes, which doesn’t really leave them softer or fluffy. This oil builds up on the fibers and takes the absorbency out (oil repels water). In the dryer, fabric softener leaves a sticky residue on all the components like the moisture sensors and drum of the dryer. This residue is very flammable, which is why on the back of some fabric softeners it tells you not to use on towels, terrycloth or fleece. The number one cause of house fires is the dryer. Fabric softeners even take the fire retardant out of baby’s clothes.

There are alternatives:

Anti-Static Ball (slightly different than dryer balls)
Dryer Balls
Here are some home-made DIY ideas
The Static Eliminator Dryer Sheet System

Do yourself and your family and your neighbors a big favor and skip the dryer sheets and fabric softener. Thanks, in advance, for your consideration.


I've just spent a whole lot of time on the road -- major relocation going on. So I found myself asking desk clerks across the country, "Does your hotel use air fresheners? Does your laundry service or housekeeping department use fabric softeners or dryer sheets?" And then the obligatory weird looks. You can see the wheels turning: "Is this some kind of nut? What's her problem?"

I found plenty of those automatic air freshener products. Sometimes the people who worked in the hotel didn't even know those products were being used. But in EVERY case, they were completely and totally unnecessary. There were no dogs lounging around the lobby, there was no kitty litter box under the table, I didn't see one unwashed bum in the area...nothing that would warrant the use of "air freshener". Nothing. No reason to use it. At. All. None. Not only was there nothing stinking up the place (except for the plug-ins), there was lovely fresh air pouring into the lobby every time a guest came in or went out.

The sad thing is that the advertising campaigns for these toxic little nasties are very very very good. Many people believe what they're told when they hear about the "freshness" or the "calming" or the "tropical" or the "citrus" -- the bullshit they're sold on.

I will never stop being angry about the use of these things. Especially in public places. These products are poisonous, dangerous, hazardous, toxic. How many ways can I say it?

So now I live in Portland, OR. I want to find like-minded people who want to make change happen. There are plenty of "clean air" laws. It's time for those laws to include air freshener products.

Join me. Let's do it.


Want your air freshened??? Think again.

But you knew that, right? You already knew that commercially produced air fresheners were hazardous to your health, didn't you? You knew because you've been reading labels, haven't you? You're so good.

And to help you with your battle, here is some more ammunition:

Our friends at Seventh Generation have recently written about the unsafe chemicals found in these products:

"Used in 75% of American households, air fresheners are big business, generating sales of about $1.72 billion a year. Found in everything from plug-in, fake candles to peel-and-stick evaporating disks, these products don’t actually eliminate odors but merely use one of several strategies to make you think they’ve vanished. Some products simply cover up bad smells with stronger chemicals. Others use a nerve-deadening agent to reduce your ability to smell in the first place; some even coat the inside of your nasal passages with a film that stops smells from getting through."

Read the rest of the article...

And then there's an article, aptly titled Air Freshener or Air Poisoner?, from a few months ago in Green Living Online:

"A study recently published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found the regular use of sprays increased the risk of asthma by 30 to 50 percent. The study was done by the European Community Respiratory Health Survey, and followed 3,500 people in 10 European countries."

Here's the article.

I live between two families that both are huge fans of air fresheners. When their front doors open, we get a blast of that stench. It is so strong that I can't smell the cut grass as I'm going over it with my lawnmower. It is so strong that just a few moments in my neighbor's house coats me with that nasty smell. I've tried talking to both of these families. I've tried showing them research. They simply don't want to know. They have other, more important things to worry about. Actually, that's really true. But, in my not-so-humble opinion, they would improve their ability to handle these other problems if they weren't breathing poison. That's my two cents, what's yours?


The solution

Because I was a hippie in the 1960's (Google it if you don't know what "hippie" means), I understand about


See, the deal is, if you don't do anything to get rid of toxic chemicals in your own environment, you are helping make the problem continue. If you keep using fragranced products, you put that toxic junk into the air and you harm yourself and others. That is the problem. So, every tiny step you take, every little bit of toxic chemical you eliminate from your life, every person you influence (even a wee bit), helps make this a cleaner world. It may not seem like much. But it is.

If individuals did not believe they could make any difference in this world, we'd certainly be doomed. Absofuckinglutely.



As usual, Environmental Working Group is doing all the hard work and research. They have put a page on the Skin Deep site with this title (What not to buy). The article begins:

"Major gaps in public health laws allow cosmetics companies to use almost any ingredient they choose in everything from sunscreen and mascara to deodorant and baby shampoo, with no restrictions and no requirement for safety testing. To help you navigate your store's aisles, Environmental Working Group researchers have scoured thousands of ingredient labels to bring you our top recommendations for what not to buy — products with worrisome or downright dangerous ingredients that don't belong in your shopping cart or on your skin."

Why this matters:
Have you ever counted how many cosmetics or personal care products you use in a day? Chances are it's nearly 10.

And chances are good that they include shampoo, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, hair conditioner, lip balm, sunscreen, body lotion, shaving products if you're a man, and cosmetics if you are a woman. And what about your children? On any given day you might rub, spray, or pour some combination of sunscreen, diaper cream, shampoo, lotion, and maybe even insect repellent on their skin.

Most people use these products without a second thought, and believe that the government must certainly be policing the safety of the mixtures in these myriad containers. But they are wrong about this. The government does not require health studies or pre-market testing for these products before they are sold. And as people apply an average of 126 unique ingredients to their skin daily, these chemicals, whether they seep through the skin, rinse down the drain, or flush down the toilet in human excretions, are causing concerns for human health, and for the impacts they may have to wildlife, rivers and streams. Read more...



This was posted way back in September -- urging Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to enact a bill that would protect Californians from super-toxic flame retardant chemicals. I found it on Huffington Post.

Dear Readers,
I apologize for being gone so long. It's a long and boring story, but I'm back. Please keep fighting the good fight. Keep letting people know that there really is something to look at and understand about living in the 21st century.
Yours in activism,



This is an excerpt from an interview with Mike Adams at NaturalNews.com:

"Medical care in the US will drive our nation bankrupt, period. It will bankrupt our cities, our states and our federal government. It will collapse and it would be a very dear price to pay for that because I think we are losing the health of several generations in this country. I predict massive infertility, massive widespread neurodegenerative diseases, widespread cancer, mental disorders, depression. Basically, we’re going to have a population of mutants because of all the chemicals that are in our foods, and products, and drugs, and you can quote me on that, a population of mutants."

And then there's this:
Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health. The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900's) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.
Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University

From a recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal:
"Today more than 75,000 chemicals are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency but less than 20 percent of them have been tested for toxicity. That lack of research means doctors and researchers often know little about the effects these substances have on humans or how much is safe."

Sounds serious, doesn't it? That's because it is. You can do so much to protect yourself and those you love: go natural, go organic, get off drugs as much as possible, exercise, eat really good food, no perfume, no fragranced products, clean with vinegar and lemon juice (that's all you need), read labels, cook your own food, don't buy anything wrapped in plastic, reuse as much as you can.

But what about the on-going poisoning of America by big industries? Can we do anything about that? Sure we can: stop buying their products! I mean it, STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCTS. If it's made by Proctor and Gamble, SC Johnson, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Avon, you get the idea -- we're talking about the BIG companies -- DON'T BUY IT! Find alternatives.

And do it now.



Today started with a shock. Debra Lynn Dadd sent an email to her mailing list that opened with this:
"For the next few weeks I'm going to be on a 10-city media tour. Proctor & Gamble is sending me out as their spokesperson to explain the environmental benefits of their new concentrated detergents, and I get to promote my new Really Green book, too."

Spokesperson for Proctor & Gamble? I thought there might be some other company with a similar sounding name, but no, she means THE Proctor & Gamble, the quintessential transnational consumer-products company that has a presence in almost every American and European home. That Proctor & Gamble. I'm stunned. I'm speechless. I can't believe she's serious. But I looked at Fox Morning News in Kansas City and sure enough, there she is, touting her book and a new P&G laundry soap.

Now, I suppose one way to look at this is that perhaps P&G is trying to make things more right. Maybe they're attempting to move in the right direction. I'm not buying it.

P&G is one of many companies that complies with the seventh amendment of the European Union's Cosmetic Directive which came into force in March 2005. This directive requires that all "products intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body" would henceforth be subject to scientific review. The seventh amendment mandates that chemicals determined to be carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxins -- known collectively as CMRs -- be removed from cosmetics sold in Europe.

That's right, CMRs are prohibited from cosmetics that are sold in Europe. P&G still uses CMRs in products sold in the US. That tells me something very important. This new laundry soap is not enough.

It also tells me that I cannot support Debra Lynn Dadd. I assumed she was serious about helping us get out of the chemical soup. Nope. Not this way.

If you want to see the incredibly long list of brands owned by P&G, go here. It's staggering. I thought they owned L'Oreal, but it turns out Nestlé owns most of L'Oreal.



Slayde writes:

It is overwhelming, especially since I'm worried about cost as well. Judging from this and the previous post, I should probably stop buying bulk Garnier at Costco, and the cheapest linens I can find that aren't complete crap. So much to think about. It is unfortunate that being concerned about cost AND things like the environmental and human impacts of products makes shopping such a stressful experience. I appreciate all the information you pass along, though, making the research part that much easier for me and others.

It is overwhelming. That's the truth of it. When we stop believing the lies that are fed to us by company after company, when we wake up from our dream of beauty and loveliness and everything-is-fine, we are confronted with horrendous greed, unbelievable greed, terrifying greed. Why would anyone make a decision that involves the poisoning of human beings?

For me it has become a sort of mission or quest to become more of a human being and less of a consumer. When I stop thinking in terms of things and think in terms of living, life, creating, I find it simplifies the choices. The other day I was reading a blog by a woman who has committed to NO plastic in her purchases. Wow. NONE. I went around my house and looked at ALL the plastic that we bring home. Again, it's overwhelming. But it can be done. Eliminating harmful chemicals from your personal life can be done.

We are taking the first baby steps when we are willing to look. We must look first. That is the beginning of undoing the brainwashing. I have stopped wearing make-up, coloring my hair and worrying about the shape of my body. I don't know if I could do these things if I was 25 years old. It would certainly be harder, but still it's possible to let go of someone else's idea of what is beautiful.

And the money part should get easier too. What if I didn't own anything I didn't make myself? What if I pretend I'm living in the distant past, when there weren't trucks to haul products all over the country? What if I have to make, or find someone nearby who can make, the things I need? There's another important word: need. Consumerism is all about want, as in The Real Housewives of Orange County. How impossible it would be to live that way once you've opened your eyes.

Dear Slayde,

I understand about the difficult choices. I'm driving my husband crazy trying to "do the right thing." So we compromise, tell ourselves that even a small change is better than none and that we will try harder each day to make the best decisions. What else can we do? And the same goes for you. You've opened your eyes, you're willing to look at the hard stuff, and you acknowledge that you have a bit of responsibility in this whole thing. What else can you do?





L'Oreal and its offspring Garnier. I was doing some research about parabens, what they are, what they're in, what might be wrong with them. And, using SkinDeep, I discovered that all parabens are not created equal. There are some completely benign parabens that could be in your cosmetics, hair care and shower/bath products. BUT, there is also a really nasty, you-should-stay-away-from-it, paraben. It's name is SODIUM METHYLPARABEN. On the SkinDeep database there's a list of 163 products containing sodium methylparaben. The way the list works, the higher the number, the more toxic the product. In the #153 position is L'Oreal "Kids 2 in 1 shampoo, extra gentle, burst of fruity apricot." Not only does this shampoo contain sodium methylparaben, it also contains two other toxic chemicals -- one of them a known immune system toxicant. THIS IS A SHAMPOO FOR CHILDREN!

Here's the key thing: you must read labels, especially if you're the one buying products for babies and children. The companies that have not signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics do NOT CARE about your children. They do NOT CARE that they are risking your children's future health. They do NOT CARE that they are risking the health of future generations.

Note: Just because a label doesn't say "sodium methylparaben" on it, doesn't mean it's not in there. This chemical goes by a dozen other names. I have adopted a simple rule since I cannot memorize all the possible names. If I need a degree in chemistry to read the label, I don't buy the product. Now, it may be that the things I cannot pronounce and have never heard of, are non-toxic, possibly even beneficial. But, at the moment I'm considering that product, I will put it back if it sounds like something made in a laboratory instead of something I could grow. I know that's too simplistic. Perhaps the thing to do is carry around A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter. I noticed that used copies are going for $.36 on Amazon.com.

There really is a lot to know about the stuff you put on your skin and in your hair and on your children's skin and hair. A lot. Too much actually. We shouldn't have to know all this chemistry. At least that's my feeling about it.

L'Oreal is a huge multi-national corporation. They do not care about you or your children. I wish I could write to and convince the beautiful actresses that do L'Oreal and Garnier commercials to stop promoting those products. Pretty unrealistic, huh? I love Penelope Cruz and Sarah Jessica Parker -- they're both wonderful. And it seems to me that neither of them NEEDS to do commercials. Why do they?



I mentioned buying real perfume and trying it out, right? I mentioned that it's different than commercially produced perfume, right? Did I mention that I love it? I picked a favorite out of the ten tiny samples I bought from Ayala Moriel. It's called Rebellius.
It is so incredible to put a drop on my wrist and then experience the layers of scent. There's the initial layer -- a burst of luscious fruit in a tropical jungle. That settles into "greenness" and finally, just as that fades, comes leather, cumin, and something else, very masculine. And this last deep scent doesn't cling to clothes or the air or the furniture. It slowly, but completely, dissipates. That is the BIG difference between real perfume and the other stuff. The other stuff has synthetic (and sometimes natural) ingredients added to it to keep it going. That's a large part of what makes that other perfume toxic: the fixatives used to prolong the evaporation process. Often coal tar is used and that's a known carcinogen. These unnecessary ingredients make the perfume linger in the air, but they also make the scent into fine particles that embed themselves into fabric and travel long distances in the air. Haven't you ever smelled someone's scent on their clothes? Or the perfume worn by someone on the other side of the room? Sure you have. (I can smell my neighbor when she walks from her front door to her car. Yuck.) I noticed that my new perfume doesn't do that and I really, really, really like that it doesn't do that. I like that the fragrance is so subtle only someone standing right beside me would notice it. I like that it doesn't bond to my clothes, my pillow, my favorite chair. I don't want to smell it when I've stopped wearing it.

Note: I've also been trying other products from that list (the one on the right with better-for-you products) -- soap and deodorant from FragranceFree Body Products; shower gel and shampoo from Terressentials; household cleaning goods from Seventh Generation. So far I like and will continue to use these new items. It's a different world -- one without harsh, harmful, toxic chemicals. And it's easy to think about making more and more changes. I invite you to join me.