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May. 16th, 2007

EcoLiving

alienrage

EcoTip #5: Don't fall into the antibacterial trap!

Antibacterial soap seems like it should be a good thing, since its touted as such a powerful germ killer.  However, these days, it is being used more and more in home and family environments.  While it does serve some purpose in society, it is totally unnecessary and potentially harmful when used regularly.  Here's why...

The main antibacterial ingredient in antibacterial soap (and in many toothpastes and antiperspirants) is triclosan, a chemical that does in fact kill germs.  During the manufacturing process, however, triclosan produces a byproduct of dioxin, which is a highly carcinogenic chemical that can cause many bad health defects.  Daily use of antibacterials can also cause increased allergic reactions, skin irritation, and has the potential to breed supergerms that may be resistant to antibacterial ingredients.

As far as the environment is concerned, 95% of all triclosan products are eventually flushed into our waterways.  Triclosan is highly toxic to algae, and has the potential to destroy some very important parts of the aquatic ecosystem.

Not worry, however!  Normal hand soap has been found to get rid of 99.4% of harmful germs (versus 99.6% using antibactieral soap) without the use of triclosan.¹  Antibacterial soaps are safely used in hospitals for avoiding infections, but beyond that there is no point in using it at home (except on cuts, wounds, etc.)  So, buy some of that nice smelling, moisturizing, non-antibacterial (and maybe even all natural) hand soap and feel good about yourself!

(Note: Sorry for the long hiatus, but EcoLiving Online is back and better than ever!  Don't forget to add our RSS feed, and direct all your friends to our new address, http://www.EcoLivingOnline.info!)

Dec. 19th, 2006

EcoLiving

alienrage

EcoTip #4: Stair down energy usage!

When you goto work or any other place with an elevator, it's easiest just to wait for it and ride it up to your floor.  This makes sense to most people...you have an elevator, why not use it?

Well, the average office elevator uses 350 watts of electricity to go from one floor to the next¹.  That means that if you work on the fourth floor, you are using a total of about 2100 watts every day to get to and from your office, just by using the elevator!  By taking the stairs, you can save all of that electricity, plus you won't have to wait around for the elevator or be subject to many of those awkward "elevator conversations."  You'll get some good exercise, too!

Dec. 7th, 2006

EcoLiving

alienrage

EcoTip #3: Even carpets have emissions now!

You heard right, we've gotten to the point now where even our carpets give off emisssions!

Have you ever wondered what that "new carpet" smell is when you walk into a new apartment or build your house?  Well, you are actually inhaling a volatile organic compound (VOC).  This gas, called 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH), actually comes from the adhesive that is used to glue the little carpet tufts to the backing of the carpet.  It can be present for up to a week, and has been shown to contribute to several health problems, including:

▪  Nausea
▪  Fatigue
▪  Dizziness
▪  Headaches
▪  Allergies
▪  Respiratory Problems

To stay away from this,when building your home: make sure you use low-VOC carpet and carpet adhesive, that your carpet meets or exceeds the Carpet and Rug Institute Indoor Air Quality testing, and don't use carpet pads that contain styrenebutadiene rubber, as they can also be dangerous.  Try buying low-VOC carpet made of wool...it's only a little more expensive, but is renewable and more environmentally friendly than nylon.  If you get environmentally responsible carpeting, you'll not only be helping the planet, but you'll be sure to enjoy it for years to come!

Dec. 4th, 2006

EcoLiving

alienrage

EcoTip #2: Put your money where the Earth is!

A large amount of people in the US today trade on the stock market.  They often make handsome returns, but don't really care about the businesses which they are funding.  Fortunately, there are some simple ways to make sure that your money is helping the companies that are, in turn, being kind to the environment.

To set up an ecofriendly stock portfolio, the simplest thing to do is to buy an SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) mutual fund.  An SRI mutual fund will contain a wide range of socially conscious companies to create a well balanced and low risk portfolio.  There are several SRI funds that exclusively choose environmentally friendly companies to make up their portfolios.  Some of the more popular ones include:

▪  Sierra Club Mutual Funds
▪  Green Century Funds
▪  New Alternatives Fund

By investing your money in ecofriendly companies, you are not only allowing them to continue helping the world on a much larger scale, but you're also turning a profit from their well deserved success!

Nov. 23rd, 2006

EcoLiving

alienrage

EcoTip #1: CFL's are a bright idea!

Switching from normal incandescent light bulbs to the more efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamp bulbs can save you loads of money and energy usage!

Incandescent bulbs waste a great deal of electricity by heating up to such a high temperature and just letting it go to waste.  In comparison, CFL bulbs are full of efficient gases which make them almost cool to the touch.  They don't have filament like normal bulbs, so they last much longer (usually about 8+ years!).  They work in normal lamps, so you don't need any extra fancy equipment.  These days, they are sold directly beside the normal bulbs in almost any store, so they are simple to find!

While a dollar or two more expensive, they pay off in the long run.  The average home has approximately 24 light bulbs.  If you replaced 24 normal 60 watt light bulbs with CFL bulbs, you can enjoy an average energy bill savings of about $157.68 (according to GE).  Over the life of the bulbs, the savings would equal about $864!  If you care about simply saving energy, that equals out to saving 1576.8 kilowatt hours a year, and 8640 kilowatt hours over the life of the bulbs!