Tag Archives | self cleaning ovens

Pesticide Free Lawn!

It’s been a long time since we’ve run a contest but an opportunity to network with David Suzuki’s, Queen of Green Lindsay Coulter and the Canadian Cancer Society has me waving my hands in the air! Do you garden pesticide-free and are proud of it?  Five contest winners will be mailed a lawn sign. Sounds simple, but the ripple effect of  informing people that your lawn and garden is treated without chemicals is super effective with these signs. And the best part is the artwork makes the connection that pesticides are connected to cancer.  There isn’t a more simple way to educate that pesticides are bad for human health …especially for children and pets.

We’ve learned that anything that makes your life easy with quick convenience is usually not healthy for the environment or human health. The examples are too numerous to mention: self cleaning ovens, air deodorizers, dryer sheets, plastic in the kitchen, non-stick pans, convenience foods, & more!  Fast acting weed killer, chemical bug deterrents, lawn fertilizers are simply a convenient option for lawn & garden care (and are not healthy). As we look towards Spring and lawn care, think of greening the outdoors and show off to your neighbors that you’re taking this step!

There are some great all natural lawn treatment tips listed below. Enter for a chance to win a sign by posting a comment on both (extra entry) Facebook fan pages: Mommy Footprint and Queen Of Green. Lindsay will be mailing out 5 signs to contest winners and the contest is open until February 18th for North American residents. Here’s how they look on my front grass:

Need some scary facts to ditch the pesticides this year?  Here are some information from the article by Cathy Vakil MD from the Suzuki Foundation site and her research with 104 studies looking at a number of different cancers & Pesticides:

~ Most of these found a link between pesticide exposure and cancer.

~ Increases in Non-Hodgkin lymphoma were found in farmers, pesticide production workers and golf course superintendents, and one study in children found elevated rates of the cancer when pesticides were used in the home and when parents had occupational exposure.

~ Other studies showed that exposure to pesticides in early childhood, prenatally and even pre-conception may increase risk of leukemia.

~ All the studies on brain and kidney cancer showed increased risk with pesticide exposure even in the children of exposed workers.

~ All eight papers on prostate cancer showed elevated incidence in workers who were exposed to pesticides, with one showing higher rates in exposed workers with a family history of prostate cancer.

How can you adopt some better strategies for maintaining your grass and garden without chemicals? Best tips include:

~ Bring on the vinegar!  We put white vinegar in a spray bottle and the kids have lots of fun squirting the weeds. Not as effective as chemical weed killer, but safe and fun because the kids can help. We also pull out our weeds manually!  Really helps with stress and I love it when the kids help me and we talk about all the bugs under the weeds we’ve pulled. There are ‘grips’ or ‘arms’ that can also be purchased to assist with pulling out stubborn weeds from lawn or garden.

~ Ladybugs are great for gardens!  You can purchase refrigerated ladybugs from garden stores so they are still. Put them in your kid’s hands and when they warm up, they fly into the garden. A really great activity for Earth Day month or preparing your pesticide free garden!

~ Find a suggested deterrent for the bug or pest assaulting your garden. I personally love slugs, but if they are impacting your garden, leave out 1/2 a citrus fruit.  Check out the Fine Gardening site for a natural deterrent for the bug giving you a hard time. . . . awesome information in this article!! Remember to first research bugs that are actually assisting your garden’s health (lady bugs, spiders, etc.) since you don’t want to get rid of them!

~ Slugs and snails can be deterred by using crushed egg shells or coffee grounds!  Great tip for those of you with overflowing compost buckets or bins. Up-cycle this waste into your garden instead!

~ Mix Dr. Bronners liquid with water and spray on diseased plants.  Another great reason for using Dr. Bronners!!  It’s our only cleaner here and now it can be used outdoors too – so awesome!

~ Do your research if purchasing all natural lawn care treatments advertised as ‘organic’ . There is a ton of ‘greenwashing’ out there on this topic and needs to be researched with a garden expert. Take the time to talk to your local garden shop and treat your lawn safely. Toxic exposure on a lawn or garden effects more than just your family – birds and backyard visitors can be also be harmed so help make your neighborhood a safer place to grow and play!

Related Articles:

Eco-Cleaning Made Easy

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Self Cleaning Ovens – Toxic For Humans or Only Birds?

A friend recently mentioned she was cleaning her oven using the self cleaning option on her machine and the terrible smell. Anyone that has used this feature knows what I’m talking about. I’ve only used it once – maybe 5 years ago and I had the worst reaction physically; my eyes went dry and itchy, throat burned, and I had a wicked headache for days.  I realize I’m more sensitive that most with how my body reacts to strong scent, but it reminded me to research this topic and the news isn’t great for you that love the convenience of this feature on their oven.

It’s very interesting the limited amount of information available on the topic of self cleaning ovens and just how toxic they are for human health. But (and it explains the title of this article) there is loads on the effects of what happens when pets (birds especially) are near a room with the oven using the self clean feature. Even the company DuPont (the creator of Teflon) acknowledges that hundreds of pet birds die each year.  Remember DuPont?  They are the creators of Teflon and other non-stick chemicals that have been poisoning their community in West Virginia for years.  Although they pay their employees well – the environmental destruction is significant and several law-suits have ensued from members of their community when their water system was contaminated and people working at the DuPont plant were suffering from significant health problems (asthma, birth defects, cancers, etc.). With all of the controversy surrounding DuPont, it really freaks me out when even they admit chemicals (PFOA) they still use, should be phased out by 2015. So here is the quote from a website dedicated to bird health who has summarized the self cleaning oven debate quite nicely…the site is called  Avian Web site and I quote:

Do not run the self-cleaning cycle on ovens when birds are around. Self-cleaning ovens are lined with PTFE (Teflon) and reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit during the self-cleaning cycle and emit gasses into the air that kill birds rather quickly.

Huh?  Self cleaning ovens are lined with Teflon?  We know what happens when Teflon is subjected to high heat (especially 900 degrees Fahrenheit) and the off-gassing is very toxic for humans.   While shopping today I popped into a department store to ask a sales rep her opinion on self cleaning ovens, Teflon, non-stick coatings, etc. The look I got was that I was speaking from another Planet. So my idea on this is even if you are told a non-stick coating is Teflon or PFC free – like your oven – always be cautious. I would recommend simply not using the self clean option on your oven.  Especially if you have babies, children, or pregnant people that might be exposed to the fumes.  Yes, you can ventilate your home, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned about the PFOA crowd of chemicals – they are bad friends that don’t go away easily. They are carcinogens and unlike our friends phthalates or PBA, they do not flush out of our systems quickly. They have a very long existence making them one of the worst offenders within man made chemicals to stay away from.

And just in case you are wondering how to clean your ovens naturally – I tried this incredibly simple and easy oven cleaner recipe from the Cleaning Naked site and what do you know? It worked on my oven that hasn’t had a deep clean in years. I let the baking soda sit for maybe 5 hours – didn’t even require the overnight recommendation in the directions.

I promise to talk more about Teflon this month. Until then, if you are using Perfluorochemicals chemicals: non-stick pans/pots, microwavable popcorn bags, clothing or furniture that repels stains are the best places to start phasing out this chemical from your life. Also stay clear of products with the ingredient starting with perfluoro. I sorted out my scratched Teflon frying pans and pots that I received as wedding gifts a few months ago and although eggs will never be easy again – I’m getting the hang of using my stainless steel frying pans.  The extra time is worth not serving up a portion of Teflon in family meals each day.

 

This article was submitted to the Frugal Days Sustainable Ways Blog Hop on April 17th, hosted by Frugally Sustainable.

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