Head To Toe

The Main Sources of Pollutants at Home Could Surprise You

Do you know what’s in your home right now that’s polluting the air you breathe? Rodale reports that scientists at the Silent Spring Institute analyzed roughly 200 common products to get the answer. Here are their top 3 main sources of toxic chemicals:

1) Fragranced Products
That includes soaps, shampoos, dryer sheets, air fresheners, and more. Companies don’t usually have to reveal the chemicals used on their ingredient list either.

2) Vinyl Curtains and Bedding
Products made from vinyl (think shower curtains and pillow protectors) may contain hormone disrupting phthalates and BPA. And it’s tough to shop for ones without it because most aren’t properly labeled.

3) So-called “antibacterial” products
These days there are everything from antibacterial soaps to socks. Many of these products contain the controversial ingredient Triclosan. Not only can that ingredient cause health problems but our obsession with killing germs is creating a rise in drug resistant bacteria.

Antibacterial Ingredient Declared Toxic – But Not Here!

Canada is about to declare Triclosan, a controversial chemical found in many antibacterial products, as toxic to the environment. Triclosan was created more than 40 years ago as a surgical scrub for hospitals. It is now found in commonly used products like soap, toothpaste, furniture and toys. Several scientific studies have shown the chemical may alter the regulation of hormones in lab animals. The FDA says other studies have shown triclosan may contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Canada.com reports that once Canada makes that declaration, health officials will begin work to phase out triclosan especially in personal care products.

Meantime, half of all liquid hand soaps sold in the U.S. are antibacterial or antimicrobial. The FDA plans on reviewing the safety of triclosan in the coming months. Right now, the FDA says the agency does not have sufficient evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan.

Top 7 Ways to be Green from Head to Toe


Being fashionably green is about more than just what you wear. It’s also about the other things we put on our bodies such as sunscreen and even shampoo. Terri helps you be fashionably forward thinking as she runs down her ‘Top 7 Ways to be Green from Head to Toe.”

1) Pick Safer Personal Care Products

Many personal care products we use contain toxic chemicals and preservatives. Preservatives usually contain dangerous parabens. And some ingredients won’t be found on the ingredient list because they’re hidden under the term “fragrance.” That term is used to avoid listing things like phthalates which can alter hormones. CosmeticDatabase.org is an easy to use resource to easily find what’s in all the products so you can choose ones with the safest ingredients. Another good bet is to avoid products which contain the ingredients: quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea formalin and methylene oxide.

2) Buy Better Make-Up

There’s nothing pretty about what could be lurking in your favorite blush, lipstick, or eyeliner. Some brands actually contain mercury, lead, or chemicals which are known to cause everything from cancer to reproductive problems. Again, CosmeticDatabase.org is a good place to start researching the products you use. You can search by specific brands and product names.

3) Be a Resale Shop Regular

Resale shops are the perfect places to get a steal of a deal on gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories. There are resale chains that specialize in all kids’ clothing. Not only can you buy fashions for less, you can also sell what your kids have outgrown. Check out consignment shops where you live to get deals and unique finds for the grown ups in the family. And don’t forget your local Goodwill. Many locations now look like department stores and you could put together a complete look for an unbelievable price.

4) Rent High Fashion Clothes & Accessories

You know the problem with trendy clothes and accessories. One day they’re in…and they next day they’re out. Consider renting instead of spending top dollar for items that will be used occasionally. WearTodayGoneTomorrow.com is a fashion lover’s paradise. And, BagBorrowOrSteal.com rents everything from handbags to sunglasses.

5) Opt for Organic Cotton

Make a fashion statement by opting for organic cotton. 25 percent of all insecticides and 10 percent of all pesticides are used on conventionally grown cotton. That doesn’t even account for all the chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Organic cotton clothing may cost you a little bit more than conventionally produced cotton but it is almost always softer and it tends to last longer. It’s also becoming easier to find; just look for the 100% organic cotton label.

6) Shop for Safer Sunscreen

Your best bet when picking sunscreens is to buy ones which contain zinc and titanium. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding the controversial ingredient oxybenzone because it is thought to alter hormonal systems. It’s also recommended to avoid spray on or powdery sunscreens because the potentially harmful ingredients can be easily inhaled. The EWG has an online sunscreen guide that rates hundreds of sunscreens by safety and tells you what’s the best and what’s the worst. They also have a free smart phone app that allows you to look up sunscreens by name while you’re shopping.

7) Give Back

When you’re no longer wearing that favorite look or those must have shoes – do something good with them instead of letting them sit in your closet for ages. Soles4Souls is a charity desperate to give those gently used shoes to people in need around the world. Goodwill takes all kinds of clothing to sell in order to raise money for job training programs. And, another worthy organization is Dress For Success which wants business appropriate clothing for women in need who are going out for job interviews.

Team USA's Uniforms Made From Plastic Bottles

Team USA will be showing off more than their skills during the Olympics in London this summer. These basketball greats will also be showing off their green fashion sense  as they sport eco-friendly uniforms. Nike is behind this eco-friendly look. The company says the jerseys are made from 22 recycled plastic bottles and the shorts are made from recycled polyester. The uniforms weigh less than traditional ones and designed to keep athletes cooler.

Nike's New Green Shoe

For years now, Nike has been striving to make their products more eco-friendly. Their newest shoe is part of their ‘Better World’ initiative and in manufactured in a greener way. This is the Nike Flyknit shoe and is made differently than most other sneakers. It has a minimal design, is lightweight, and the upper piece is actually one piece instead of several cut pieces from different materials. The shoe is expected to be on store shelves in July. And, be sure to check out this Do Your Part video to see Nike does with old running shoes and how you can join the effort.

Surprising Steals at Goodwill

We all know that donating items we no longer need to Goodwill is a great way to Do Your Part. But, if you haven’t checked out one of their retail stores lately, you don’t know what you’re missing because this is not your grandfather’s Goodwill.

Just take a look at all the stuff you’re missing. Most of the items are gently used but you can find a number of items that are brand new. Terri found a $190 Ralph Lauren dress that still had the tags on it for less than five bucks. And, you can accessorize your outfit with the perfect purse or a pair of shoes.

And for the guys, you can find amazing deals like suit coat and pants for just a few dollars a piece. There are also plenty of unique items like garden fountains or even weather radios.

Goodwill’s retail stores make you feel like you’re shopping in a department store with things like brand named sunglasses here, jewelry, even wedding gowns that have been preserved and boxed up.

There are so many treasures to uncover and it is easy to put together an entire outfit for less than ten bucks.

Remember, whether you’re donating or shopping at Goodwill you’re Doing Your Part to help put people back to work in your own community. You’re also Doing Your Part to keep valuable items out of the landfill.

Use All Of That Carved Pumpkin

With Halloween coming up, many of you will be carving a pumpkin or two but many times we simply throw out the pulp and seeds that we scoop out of the pumpkin. Of course you can roast the seeds to make a healthy snack or cook the pulp down to use in a recipe but here’s another use for this scooped out treasure. Use it on your face! Pumpkin is rich in anti-oxidants and beta-carotene plus it’s loaded with vitamins A, C and E. The same vitamins that are found in many expensive skin care lines. When you make a simple mask from pumpkin you’ll be creating less waste, you’ll save money and it’s good for your skin.

It’s super simple. Just put the scooped out pumpkin into a food processor. You can add a few seeds for extra exfoliating power. Rub the pumpkin on your face and neck and let it set for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse. You will be amazed at how good your skin feels afterwards. You can store any remaining mask in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

So this Halloween, Do Your Part and treat yourself by putting the entire pumpkin to use.

Top 5 Surprising Sources of Formaldehyde in Your Home

Have you heard about formaldehyde in pressed wood furniture – or in your flooring? They release the most formaldehyde in our homes – which is a leading cause of indoor air pollution. Do Your Part to track down other surprising sources of formaldehyde. Here are my top 5.

First up – nail polish. Formaldehyde is often used in them to act as a preservative and hardener. One solution is to pick polishes that are water-based and formaldehyde free.

Next – hair products. Formaldehyde is actually released from preservatives found in many personal hair care products.

Seeing the ingredients quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea formalin and methylene oxide on the back of any bottle should raise a warning flag.  So, just avoid them.

And, if you’re at a salon. Ask questions about what they’re using…especially if you’re getting a hair straightening treatment.

Source number three – bedding. So-called “wrinkle free” bedspreads, sheets, and pillowcases are usually loaded with chemical products which release formaldehyde which can’ be washed away. Opt for bedding made from flannel or cotton jersey.

Then, there is kids’ hard plastic dishware. Avoid ones made from melamine resin. One way to tell if it’s labeled not safe for microwaves.

And air fresheners come in at number 5. Formaldehyde is a basic ingredient in the popular brands. But you have many natural options including sprinkling baking soda in problem areas, airing out your home, or lighting a soy candle.

Formaldehyde causes all sorts of problems from asthma to cancer. When you Do Your Part to keep it out of your home and our environment we’ll all breathe easier.

Top 5 Ways Chemicals Sneak Into Your Home

Everyday we bring dangerous chemicals right into our homes. It could be from our shoes, a new piece of furniture we buy, or even the type of shower curtain we pick out. Here are ‘Terri’s Top 5 Ways Chemicals Sneak Into Your Home’ and the solutions you need to make a healthier home for you and your family.

Pick A Safer Sunscreen

It’s something we should all do before heading outside – put on sunscreen. But did you know some may not really work? And, others contain ingredients that can be bad for us and our planet. Do Your Part and pick a better sunscreen.

One common and controversial ingredient to watch out for is oxybenzone. It’s allowed in sunscreens but is linked the health problems and even cancer. Many other chemicals found in the most popular brands of sunscreen can also seep into your bloodstream, triggering rashes or even altering our hormonal systems.

Not only that, most popular sunscreens on the market aren’t effective when it comes to preventing skin cancer. And if you opt for spray on sunscreen, you could inhale dangerous chemicals. So what should you look for?

The Environmental Working Group recommends looking for sunscreens that contain zinc and titanium instead of oxybenzone. Those will provide the safest protection from the sun. Their website rates sunscreens for you and if you’re stumped in the store, they’ve got an app that makes it easy for you to shop smart.

Remember, chemicals in the sunscreen we use eventually build up in our bodies and the environment! And, since the labels on sunscreen bottles go largely unchecked, it’s critical to Do Your Part and pick the safest sunscreen.

Learn more
• Is Your Sunscreen Safe? New Database Has Answers
• Environmental Working Group’s 2011 Sunscreen Guide