May 31, 2009

Cancer and Greener Cleaners

cleaning-lady

I try to reduce my exposure to household carcinogens without entering the territory of enviroparanoia.  I buy products that are inexpensive, free of scary ingredients, and don’t have heavy perfumes or essential oils (I just don’t like the smell).  I also like products that actually work.  Buying something green that only does half the job is just a waste. Here are the products I like and a few I don’t:

Dr. Watkins – All purpose cleaner, lemon scent, available at Target.  Cleans counters, tile, bathroom, entire kitchen.

Bon Ami – This stuff has been around for 120 years.  That’s before most scary chemicals were even invented.  It works like magic on my tub and faucet handles, and cleans super skanky pots and pans like a dream.

Vinegar and Water – Cleans windows, hardwood floors, and mirrors.

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent -  Ecover and Seventh Generation have failed to do the trick. Instead, we’ve been using Cascade, which seems like it belongs in a super fund site. Any recommendations?

Has cancer or any other illness made you more conscious of the cleaners you use? What are your favorite green cleaners?  Which ones don’t you like?  Can you recommend anything for my dishwasher dilemma?

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April 29, 2009

Cancer and The Environment

eco-chic

As a teenager I made out in abandoned factories, where mysterious steel drums leaked on the floors and industrial grime came in all colors and textures. I guess high schoolers in farm country drink Boonsebury and go cow tipping, but in Pittsburgh, we smoked pot on slag heaps.

Did growing up amid Pittsburgh’s steel town relics contributed to my cancer? And more importantly, how do I reducing my current exposure to carcinogens. This is the subject of my guest post featured yesterday on Blue Planet Green Living.

Survivors and healthy folks alike are focusing heavily on how to be more green, but going green is not just a consumer lifestyle trend; it is a public health issue that will never be solved one eco-purchase or CFL at a time.

Let’s face it, shopping for organic sheets at Bed Bath and Beyond is way more seductive than educating ourselves about coal fire power plants or vehicle emissions standards. But buying more crap – even if it is eco-organic crap still makes a negative impact on the environment. As young adult cancer patients, often with low incomes and medical debt, we are better off resisting most eco-marketing and buying less in general.

Indoor air quality is a major health issue and choices about the chemicals we eat and wear are important. But as a cancer patient, I’ve gotta look beyond my consumer habits and stop ignoring the big enviro-elephants. My eco lip gloss does not matter if toxic power plant emissions are drifting in the wind.

Do you think something in your environment when you were a kid caused your illness? Are eco-products affordable for your budget along side healthcare costs? How do you decide what to buy? Are you enticed by beautiful, hip, enviro marketing? Do you know what a coal fire power plant is? Is environmental policy interesting to you, a bore, does it matter?

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February 21, 2009

Eco Friendly and Affordable Body Care

shampoo

With medical bills, college loans debt, and entry level jobs, most young adult cancer patients cannot stroll into Whole Foods and shell out $39.95 for a 5-oz. bottle of Dr Hauschka’s body moisturizer. But, that doesn’t mean you have to slather your skin or wash your hair with superfund site sludge either.

Beth, the blogger at smartfamilytips, has scoured the extensive Skin Deep Cosmetics Database in search of personal care products that are low in toxicity, affordable, and available outside of the bourgeoisie bodycare belt. Beth’s list includes products available at Target and CVS, and ranging in price from White Rain to Burt’s Bees. An important note that Beth makes is that just because one specific Pantene, L’Oreal, and Maybelline product is on the list does not mean that all of those company’s products are eco friendly.

Another option is to crack open the kitchen cupboard and your fridge. I’ve been using olive oil all winter long to moisturize. I have yet to wash my hair with eggs.

Has cancer made you want to reduce the toxins you apply to your skin and hair? If so, how does it affect your wallet? What brands do you choose to use? Do you ever venture into homemade beauty products?

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