Paranoid Green Edition Friday Wrap-Up

The worst thing about being eco-conscious is learning about all the things you need to worry about. Here, for your convenience in one location, are a few of the latest:

Your kitchen counter

Granite counters are natural, right? That’s good. Unless they’re irradiating you. Check out this link at Green Daily for the rundown. I guess we must buy clean recycled counters … or have no kitchen at all.

Your car & your tot’s carseat

Yep, toxic — not only from the tailpipe, but from the materials inside. Worst off: Drivers of Mitsubishi, Suzuki and BMW models, and kids sporting a Britax or Alpha Sport seat. This one is also from Green Daily.

Your cell phone

They’re toxic to produce, toxic to dispose of, and now, more evidence that they shoot radioactive waves into brain tissue. Find the radiation rating of your phone on CNET. You can minimize the badness by using the speaker phone, a wired headset or (less good) a bluetooth headset. New research recommends kids not use ‘em at all, because of their delicate little noggins (and quickly developing brain tissue). Try a can and string. Organic cotton string!

Your dry cleaner

Face it, you knew that organic dry cleaner on the corner was too good to be true. Sure, you can recycle the dry cleaning bag now. Take a look at the real scoop, courtesy of Fake Plastic Fish. If you live in San Francisco, you can just piggy back on her research and call up her cleaner for a little clean-green-delivering.

Your kid’s toys and your shower curtain

Green Daily is on it with more depressing news about phthalates. Not only are they chock full of the same rare consonant combination as the word “diphthong,” they are full of hormones that will turn boys into girly-men. Fortunately, Congress has passed a ban. Unfortunately, no one knows if Dubya will sign it.

Your tires

Not only are tires bad for the environment, they could be risking your life. Check out this post from Wise Bread about how to find out if your “new” tires have been sitting around for years.

What are your favorite things to be paranoid about? Let’s get worrying, people.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

plozano76 August 1, 2008 at 9:13 pm

I’m mortified of children standing in front of the microwave oven. I don’t use one at home, but at school we have to nuke their food (hate it!). They always want to stand in front of the oven and watch their food spin on their tray!! The horror!!

Also, paranoid about the chlorine from the dishwasher soap, which floats out in vapor form during the drying process! I switched to a “healthy” soap, but it doesn’t clean well!! :( Any suggestions?

I don’t use Lysol at home, but we use it to disinfect materials at school, and my boyfriend recently told me that it contains dioxin, a known cancer-causing chemical.

I could go on forever. :D But I’ll spare you the nightmares.

IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE???

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cheaplikeme August 2, 2008 at 9:26 am

@plozano76, I use Ecover dishwasher soap and find that it works great! And the box is such a cool design – all paperboard, including the pull-out spout. If that doesn’t work, it could be your dishwasher? :(

As for sanitizing, you could check out this forum from Seventh Generation: http://www.seventhgeneration.com/mrsa-does-seventh-generation-products-kill-mrsa-virus
They suggest hydrogen peroxide … you could do some research about that as a surface sanitizer?

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plozano76 August 2, 2008 at 10:33 am

Thanks for the link! I’ll definitely consider using hydrogen peroxide, and I was thinking that a cleaner with tea tree oil might also work well.

And you are right about Ecover dishwashing soap. I’ve used it before (expensive!) and it’s the best of the biodegradable bunch. I guess I’ll just have to fork over a couple of extra bucks for clean dishes…

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cheaplikeme August 2, 2008 at 11:12 am

Have you experimented with how little you can use? I fill my one dishwasher cup about 1/4 to 1/3 full and it works fine … helps to stretch a box.

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Whirled August 2, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Wow, sometimes there is a benefit to being poor and not able to afford nice granite counter tops, BMWs or Britax car seats. My cell phone kinda sucks though…

I need an environmentally friendly way to get rid of brown recluse spiders. (Although I’m not sure “environmentally friendly” is a term that should be used when refering to eradicating a species). I’m open for anything that does not involve me on my knees with a my vacuum cleaner (we’re not on speaking terms).

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Condo Blues August 4, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Some commerical floor cleaners contain chemicals that are toxic to pets. If you pet licks it’s paws afer walking across a newly cleaned floor they injest the cleaner. Unfortunately, since it’s not required to have the ingredients listed on the label, it’s hard to tell which cleaners are the bad ones. (although i’ve read but have not verified that cleaners with “sol” in the name will make pets woozy.)

If that’s the case, then I guess that the environmentally friendly solution is not to clean my kitchen floors! But that’s too high on the ick factor for me. I now clean my floors with a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water with a sloosh of dish soap for extra cleaning oomph.

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cheaplikeme August 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Oh my gosh, hadn’t thought of that one. I just use a bucket of hot water with a splash of Dr. Bronner’s soap. Hopefully no “sol” there. But my dog takes steroids for his allergies, so that’s its own kettle of fish …

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jessimonster August 5, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Pthaylates freak me out. I have discontinued all use of fragrenced products and anything else I have read may contain pthaylates. I live with my mother, and we’re currently having a dryer sheet battle. I don’t want to use them on my clothes or my sons, she does want to use them and is very offended that I dont. We agreed to separate our laundry, but she keeps throwing my son’s clothes in with hers and using dryer sheets! Frustrating!

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MK August 8, 2008 at 2:22 pm

I do the following to sanitize:

1) steam clean anything that can “take the heat.” However, I used it in my tub, which had been resurfaced and it took some of it off. So be careful.

2) Vinegar will clean your stainless water bottles. It’s acidic enough to kill many bacteria.

3) Not sure if it’s scientifically true, but I understand that hydrogen peroxide will burst the cell walls of bacteria and viruses. I use that a lot, and dilute it for a mouthwash as well. [both a dessert topping and a floor wax -- kidding!]

4) instead of using the powdered scrubbing cleansers like the ones we used back in the day, I use baking soda if I need to scrub soap scum from the bath tub.

And finally…

5) I do still use diluted bleach in a few places. Like the toilet bowl. I know. Some day I will have to get over that.

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cheaplikeme August 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm

@jessimonster – Ugh! I don’t understand dryer sheets. We used them in a trailer we were given to keep the mice out …

@MK – I use baking soda to scrub everything, and I scrub the toilet bowl first with baking soda, then pour in some vinegar and it bubbles away. Once in a great while I might use a little bleach to sanitize there … but very seldom. So far we haven’t caught anything lethal. ;)

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