Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's Not Easy Being...Well, You Know

I believe in global warming, just as I believe in gravity, osmosis and medicine. It's science, it's real, and I know we ignore it at the serious expense of future generations. Politics aside, I think it's up to all of us to find small ways in our busy lives to try and do what we can to preserve resources and reduce our footprint. But I'm also a realist, and I know that the really big changes are up to the powers that be -- the scientists behind the products and infrastructure that really operate the country and the world. Without real fundamental change, I suppose I feel a bit fatalistic about the whole thing -- like what can I really do as an individual to make a difference? Other than vote. Which I do.

Global warming aside, I must admit that the real reasons I look for eco-friendly, nontoxic products for health & beauty and home cleaning are selfish ones. When I was pregnant with H, I started to think a lot about what I was putting in my body. I know I went over the top at times and grossly overestimated the potentially harmful effects of given products and foods. But I did a lot of reading about the variety of chemicals in everything, from food to moisturizer, and it disturbed me. As an oncologist recently told a friend, at this rate we're so chemical-ed out that for too many women it's not a matter of if they'll get breast cancer, it's when. It's a sobering thought.

So I try to maintain a healthy balance for me and for the kiddo (the husband too, though I can't get him fully on the bandwagon). I do use chemicals in products, and there are certain things, like foundation, that I just can't let go au naturale. But I read labels and try to avoid parabens, phthalates, etc. I just don't buy the argument that "we're all going to die anyway" or that "there are harmful things everywhere." I just think, why not try to limit some of that junk and avoid carcinogens? Again, it's science. I mean with those arguments, why not avoid the doctor and try blood letting next time you're sick, too?

Anyway I started thinking about it all again this week as I am setting up cleaning service in my new house (the old-school, hardscrabble New Englander in me still feels very tentative and slightly embarrassed when talking about my cleaning ladies, but yes, I have them, I love them, and I just think people have different gifts, that mine is not cleaning, and my time is more wisely spent on other things). I'm trying to get cleaning products down and it's hard to get the right balance between "green," nontoxic choices and things that will really work. I think I've got it down to vinegar and water for floors, Bon Ami for scrubbing sinks, etc., Whole Foods Green Mission all-purpose spray (or similar) for general purpose cleaning, and a harsher Tilex or Soft Scrub in showers around once a month for build-up. Oh and this great product called "Spit and Polish" for stainless steel from a company called Murchison-Hume.

That's my lineup, at least for now. What green products are you loving these days?


Turia said...

I am really trying to be much greener as well, for similar reasons. Q. is really not on the bandwagon, so I seem to end up cleaning the house more often because that way I can use the products I want rather than the chemical nasties he still chooses. (I want a cleaning lady but would also feel embarrassed to have one, if that makes sense. Q. grew up with one; I did not. He finds my internal debates amusing.)

I just cannot find the right option for shower tiles/grout. It seems we always have to use something nasty on it a couple of times a month.

My go-to for cleaning the tub is baking soda and water- with a scrub brush any soap scum comes off really easily.

Do tell us some more about the new house!

Anonymous said...

Shaklee makes a range of products called Get Clean that are earth-friendly and really work.
I ignore the shower, to my eventual detriment, I am sure.
Thanks for these suggestions!

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