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Household Chemicals

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Things Worth Knowing

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Author: the Inkslinger

They say we live in the age of information. Wireless internet, satellite TV, digital radio, ThisTube, ThatTube, a zillion channels and everything’s on. Information is everywhere. People traffic in it. Profit from it. Spread it. Share it. Find it. Know it. We cram our tired heads with trivia and ephemera and worse, but to what end?

Because the fact is, information is only as useful as the things we can do with it. If we can’t do anything personally constructive or publicly useful with a specific piece of information, that’s the tip-off that we should ignore it and move on. There’s nothing to see here.

Slap that kind of filter over your private inputs and watch the static and the noise drop like a stone. Listen to how quiet it gets. See how very little useful necessary vital information there actually is swirling around out there in the i-storm we call the modern world. 99.99% of it just goes poof. Still, there is always information we can use in some way. There are always some things worth knowing. Here’s a few that are…

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Periscope Up…

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Author: the Inkslinger

Midweek arrives. Time for a scan of the distant horizon to spot approaching signs and incoming indications. Must peer out into the virtual firmament and across the murky ether that separates tomorrow from today to see what may soon come this way. Is the periscope predictive? Perhaps. Even the biggest of changes starts with the smallest of whispers. But not every whisper becomes a shout. We can only listen, watch, and wait, and navigate the waters immediately ahead to the best of our ability and on the course that the persicope at present says will steer us closer to truth and how to act upon it. The view may change. The course may need correction. But for now, this is what the eyepiece sees…

San Francisco’s got a brand new bag. And it better be biodegradable. Definitely an idea to get to-go and carry elsewhere.

To bee or not to bee, that is the question. The other question is whether or not genetically modifed crops are what’s causing them all to bee gone.

Low impact!? What about no impact? Let’s hope it won’t come to that or this, that we’ll find a way to do sustainably rather than do completely without, but an interesting experiment in possibilities nonetheless.

Oops! They did it again! Reticent [insert type] industry cites [insert bogus self-sponsored study] and says [insert latest necessary good idea] will cost way too much to do. [Insert type] industry is soon proven [insert adverb] wrong by [insert organization name] which found [insert actual facts]. Bet you won’t find that on any label…

Wait a minute… I thought soap was supposed to be clean! Guess it depends on what’s inside. (Go here for the source of all the suds.)

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Science of the Times

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Author: the Inkslinger

Our man, Scienceman, has been one busy lab-coated crusader. Seventh’s grime-fighting superhero has fired up the Factmobile and left his super secret research lair deep beneath Explain Manor to do battle with the forces of eco-evil. Whether it’s banishing dangerous chemicals from the local water supply or being profiled in a leading industry publication, Scienceman is everywhere. Chemical criminals beware!

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This Week Around the Blogosphere

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Author: Kendra Sibilia

Here I am again with more comments on what people are enjoying or learning while using Seventh Generation products.

On the Ecotality blog, Steve Caratzas writes an article titled, “When You Gotta Go, Go Green.” He describes his admiration for Seventh Generation and appreciates the efforts and knowledge expressed by Seventh Generation. It is great to hear that someone is using the information on the website to educate people on how to make their homes clean for themselves and the environment.

On another blog, Three Million Moments, there is a post titled “A Green Home is a Good Home.” The author explains how her and her husband decided to “really” clean their bathroom. They decided to use the last of the “happy bubble scrub” even though it is hazardous. The smell of the remembered freshly clean bathroom as a child was anticipated. To their surprise, the couple felt guilty for using this product and had to air out the house before they felt it was safe for the family to breathe inside again. It is nice to hear that the consumer will return to equally effective natural cleaning product brands like Seventh Generation. Welcome back!

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Around the Blogosphere...

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Author: Kendra Sibilia

While looking at other bloggers who use our product, encourage others to live non-toxic lives, and generally promote everything we work for here at Seventh Generation, I became inspired. Reading about others’ passions and missions to save the Earth is incredibly rewarding. On the blog Something Good, O My Goodness writes about the irony of having to hide away the toxic cleaning products you spray all over your home. She rarely has children at her home, however when the occasion does occur, she realized safety is an important issue. She advises placing the toxins out of reach of children and away from food, but especially using non-toxic products to begin with.

Another blog that caught my eye was The Good Human. David from California writes about the bizarre advertisements promoting pouring bleach where children play, eat and pee. David notes that bleach is an extremely toxic chemical with harsh side affects if contact is made. Again, solutions are proposed and replacing this harsh chemical with safe products that cause no side effects is feasible. It is truly exciting to read in their own words how people are enjoying the positive results of using Seventh Generation.

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Mainstream Media Catches On To Cleaner Issues

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The wave of change continues to accelerate. For almost 20 years stories about whether or not household cleaning products are safe appeared only in relatively obscure environmental magazines if at all! At last these challenges are being raised in the mainstream media, specifically, in this case, in a big article in today's New York Times.

That’s cause for celebration. We’ve come a long way, but in many respects we have also only just begun. Household cleaning products are still exempt from having to disclose their ingredients (which of course Seventh Generation does), independent third party safety testing or government supervision of warning labels. There's more work to do! But it starts with getting the word out, which, given the New York Times' large national circulation, this coverage of the issue does on a promising scale.

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Are We Turning the Toxic Tide?

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Author: the Inkslinger

Greenbiz posted an excellent excerpt this week from a new report from Innovest that looks at the forces reshaping various industries whose products either consist of or depend on synthetic chemicals.

The gist is that government regulations (especially in the European Union) and consumer concerns about chemicals are inspiring all kinds of companies to phase-out the big bad toxins they use and replace them with safer alternatives. And in a global marketplace, the decision to ban something one place often ripples out to other places as companies simply decide to reformulate their products to meet the strictest standards they face rather than deal with selling different formulas in different markets.

Even more extraordinary (given the history here) is the fact that many companies are voluntarily making changes and launching their own chemical phase-outs because they think they see some handwriting on the wall and they want to avoid what the report calls “toxic lockouts,” i.e. having their products shut out of a market because they contain newly banned substances.”

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Precaution is Not Toxic

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Author: the Inkslinger

Chrystie in our marketing department just forwarded an interesting article from the January 22nd issue of New York Magazine entitled Indulge Your Paranoia in which writer Susan Burton discusses her parental struggle to banish toxins from her Brooklyn family’s life. Coming from someone without a background in this stuff, it’s an enlightening take on the subject not so much for the information it provides but for what it tells us about what’s going on in other people’s minds as they think on the issue of playing chemical roulette in daily life.

Her main point is that in today’s chemically intensive world it’s hard to keep track of all the potential toxins around us and even harder to take preventative action on on each and every one. That’s pretty true. But I don’t agree with the throw-up-your-hands-and-surrender attitude that seems to creep in at the edges of the piece. And there are several places in the article where Burton lets myth and misinformation stand.

Bisphenol-A, for example, may not yet have been studied by the National Institutes of Health, but the jury is hardly out. In fact, the vast preponderance of the evidence that exists very strongly suggests that it mimics estrogen to dangerous effect in the body, and the case against it is “still being argued” mostly only by industry spokespeople. Elsewhere she comments on a mother’s worries about a (most likely totally safe) recycled fleece blanket even as she blithely watches her own child dubiously jamming (very probably toxic) “low-VOC” carpet samples into her mouth.

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Hunting for Clues On the Chem Trail

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Author: the Inkslinger

There was an interesting article in yesterday’s Oakland Tribune about the little known effects that chemicals can have on human health. It's well worth checking out. Everybody knows that a big chemical exposure (or smaller exposures over time) can make cells go wiggy and turn cancerous. But there’s also a host of other things that chemicals do, and these don’t get much press even though I think they're as important as the carcinogenicity factor.

For example, there’s what happens when chemicals mix and mysteriously magnify each other’s effects. Or what happens when you’re exposed to something inthe womb vs. being exposed later in life. Not to mention the fact the tiny doses of certain substances seem more insidious than big ones.

Then there’s the issue of epigenetics, which I’m convinced is going to be the next big story where chemical toxins are concerned, much in the same way hormone disruption went from wacky fringe science to mainstream acceptance. Epigenetics theories say that chemicals our ancestors encountered can affect us without mutating our inherited genes. Instead, they work by altering the way those genes are expressed.

The Oakland Tribune article touches on all this and more, and while I think they could have done a better and/or more detailed job of explaining some of the ideas they present and offered a little more in the way of evidence, the article is still the first time I’ve seen most if not all of the hugely under-reported aspects of chemical contamination reported in one place.

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Let’s Stop Being Stupid About Smelling Nice

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We’ve known it for a long time... Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are bad news. But new research from the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) has now found that one particularly common VOC is particularly hazardous.

According to a just-released NIEHS study, the chemical, 1,4 dicholorobenzene (1,4 DCB), is likely reducing lung functioning in people exposed to it. 1,4 DCB is a chemical found in many air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, mothballs, and other deodorizing products. According to the NIEHS, “even a small reduction in lung function may indicate some harm to the lungs.” The agency suggests that the use of such products and materials be reduced, especially around children and those who have asthma or other respiratory illnesses.

That’s an important statement, but the bigger point of the study is this: We live in a world where there’s no one to protect our families from ordinary consumer products. We all need to be our own gate keepers. Let’s start by getting smart about smelling nice.

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