Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Posts Tagged ‘health’

Gross Green Products

“Going green” has been a rising trend in the United Sates since the 1970’s. An immeasurable number of Americans are trying to live eco-friendly lifestyles. But what we wonder is how open are people’s minds when it comes “gross” green alternatives?

Below is a list of “grimy” but “green” concepts provided by As they point out, “Some inventions on this list may seem weird now, but who knows… maybe fueling boats with our own fat will be the new norm.” Check out this list from Newser:

  • Fertilizer: Instead of using fertilizer from animals, try human waste or human remains.
  • Clothing: Would you wear something as dramatics as clothes made out of cigarette butts?
  • Motor oil: Instead of using biodegradable motor oil, you might turn up your nose at the idea that it’s made from beef tallow.
  • Feminine hygiene: Tired of tampons? Wear the Diva Cup for up to 12 hours instead. Of course you have to empty it afterward...
  • Fur handbags: Not just any fur. Fur taken by grooming your very own pets.
  • Boat: Instead of running on regular fuel, this green boat runs on human fat from liposuction clinics.

The list doesn’t end here.  If you want to read about some more green products that make your stomach and mind turn, here are a few more links:

Weirdest Environmentally Friendly Green Ideas

10 Odd Green Ideas

Top 10 Odd Environmental Ideas

Buying eco-friendly products and having a compost pile in your back yard is great, but who knows what could change if people accepted these gross green product ideas as a natural way of living.

What do you think? Which of these concepts would you be willing to try out? Which would you absolutely refuse to use?


Posted by on January 30th, 2012 2 Comments

Choosing Safer Beauty Products–There’s An App For That

Just in time for Black Friday, there’s a new app to help you shop for safer products. “Read the Label” tells you how safe ingredients are (or are not) in your beauty products.

“Read the Label” includes more than 26,000 chemical ingredients found in common cosmetic products. Search for ingredients to see where they rank in terms of safety: safe, low risk, medium risk, or high risk. For example, Triclosan, an ingredient found in many hand sanitizers, is rated “high risk.”

All of the information in the app comes from the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database by the Environmental Working Group—one of the largest and most comprehensive databases on personal care ingredients in the world.  All rating in the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database are backed with up-to-date scientific evidence by independent researchers.

The app is available on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad in iOS 4.3 or later, and is also available on Android.

Posted by on November 21st, 2011 No Comments

Green Halloween

While most people have been brainstorming costume ideas, we’ve been brainstorming ways to make this year’s Halloween a greener holiday! You’ll be happy to know these tips won’t affect your favorite tricks or treats.

Our post about Halloween from last year told us the scary truths of toxic chemicals found in our favorite costumes, decorations, and treats.  Check it out to learn more about chemical exposure during this eerie holiday season.

Here are some other tips for an more environmentally-friendly holiday:

1.  Re-use costumes
Trade with friends, look in thrift stores, or tear apart your closet for old clothes or fabric. Find accessories at yard sales.  Don’t forget to avoid plastic masks and makeup containing harmful toxic chemicals, especially face paint. When Halloween is over, make sure you save your costume for next year, or trade it to someone who might find a good use for it. 

2.  Find a unique and reusable trick-or-treat bag
Get creative with this aspect of your costume and re-use a bag.  Kids will love to create their own personal trick-or-treat bag by decorating a blank canvas bag or old pillowcase with non-toxic paint or non-toxic markers.

3. Serve healthier treats.
If your family chooses to opt-out of sugary candy, think out of the box for other treats kids enjoy. Here are a few ideas:

  • Stickers
  • Yarn bracelets
  • Seashells
  • Acorns
  • Seed packets
  • Home-made barrettes or hair clips
  • Coins
  • Pencils made from recycled material
  • Polished rocks
  • Small pumpkins

4.  Support local farmers by eating and decorating locally
Shop for foods in-season, and stick to organic and pesticide-free options. Purchase natural decorations such as pumpkins, gourds, haystacks, and corn husks. If you’re hosting a party, use big bowls of snacks to serve guests rather than individually packaged treat bags.  Plastic food containers and candy wrappers quickly add up this time of year, and taking small steps to cut down on your own packaging makes a huge difference in plastic trash accumulation.

5. Spread the word and inspire others to use Greener Halloween ideas this season!

Posted by on October 28th, 2011 No Comments

Urge Senator Snowe and Senator Collins to Co-Sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Mainers, we need your help. Senator Snowe and Senator Collins have the opportunity to make real progress in the field of chemical reform. As you probably already know, there are more than 80,000 chemicals in the United States -- but only about 200 of them have ever been tested for safety. This lack of government regulation has let things like lead in lipstick, formaldehyde in baby shampoo, and BPA in our canned goods just slip by. And our health is suffering.

Sign your name below and ask Senator Snowe and Senator Collins to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 -- an act that would repair our broken chemical system, so that chemicals are proven safe before being added to our homes, schools, and places of work.
Senators Snowe and Collins - Please build on Maine's progress toward safer chemicals, healthy families, and a stronger economy by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 and helping advance it through Congress.
(* Required)


Posted by on October 25th, 2011 1 Comment

Marketing BPA to Kids

My nephew absolutely adores the movie Toy Story, and is particularly infatuated with the character Woody. He owns the Woody doll, loves to scream out “Howdy, Partner!,” and would probably watch Toy Story on repeat for HOURS if we let him.

I also know if my nephew saw some canned Campbell’s soup with his buddy Woody on the cover, he would beg his mom to purchase it. She most likely would, thinking, “It’s soup. It’s gotta be better for him than most of the other junk food out there, right?”


As Seventh Generation pointed out in a recent blog post, BPA is showing up in many canned products, specifically targeted to kids. The endocrine disrupting chemical was found in soups, juices, and veggies at disturbing levels. Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes was no exception.

Posted by on September 24th, 2011 1 Comment

Be Green, Even on the Grill

It’s almost the end of the summer and barbeque season is in its peak. But before you just grab any old burger to grill, we’ve got some tips for making the barbeque fun and healthy, for yourself and the environment!

1. Consider what you're eating…and what it ate! Purchase grass-fed free range beef over conventional corn-fed factory beef. Research has shown the grass-fed beef is better for you, and also healthier for the environment. Meat from grass-fed animals typically contains:

* Fewer calories.
* More of vitamins A, C, D, E and beta-carotene
* More Omega 3-fatty acids (which reduces the risk of heart disease, and decreases the risk of high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s).
*Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), another healthy fat, that has been linked with inhibiting various types of cancer, including breast cancer!

Check out the Eat Well Guide or Eat Wild to find grass-fed meat near you.

2. Turn down the heat. Like your burgers burnt to a crisp? It may be time to reevaluate. Studies have shown that cooking meat at such high temperatures forms compounds in the meat that are carcinogenic. These chemical compounds mimic estrogen, and with lots of exposure, increase your risk of breast cancer.

3. Frequent the Farmer’s Markets . Shopping for local, organic produce helps the environment, local farmers, and your health! Local Harvest is a great source for searching for farmer’s markets and CSAs nearby. Perks:

* Fewer chemicals and pesticides than in produce from factory farming;
* Local shopping cuts down the use of energy for transportation, often reduces the amount of materials needed for packaging.
* You’ll support your local farmers.

4. Buy reusable cutlery. Instead of reaching for a package of paper plates and plastic cups, consider buying reusable plates made from recycled material. Preserve offers a bunch of cute cutlery that is also eco-friendly, dishwasher-safe, and built to last.

Posted by on August 11th, 2011 No Comments

You & The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Think about all the personal care products you use in the course of a day.  Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, make-up, baby powder, after-shave… The average American uses about 10 of these products a day.  I, for one, am generally half-asleep when applying, and not always thinking of the more than 100 unique chemicals and toxins I am exposing myself to.

Thankfully, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is thinking about it. They’ve introduced the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 to ensure personal care products we all use are free of harmful ingredients, and that the ingredients are fully disclosed to consumers.  Legislation won’t just benefit us—the consumer—but also small business and innovation in green chemistry.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been providing us with the truth behind our once-favorite brands and helping us navigate the unsafe terrain of the cosmetics and personal care aisle for years. They’ve taught us all about the well-advertised, highly toxic, unregulated products that sit on store shelves and in our homes. And now it’s our turn to support the Safe Cosmetics Act by making our voices heard. 

TAKE ACTION! Make sure your legislators understand the importance of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Already, Congressman Mike Michaud of Maine has signed on as a co-sponsor. Stand up for your health and your right to know what’s in your products!

 Tell your friends and family to SPEAK UP to your legislators; don’t let them disregard the products that affect all of us—men, women, children, and the environment.  You can also check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s list of other creative ways to get involved.

 After you contact your legislator, remember to check out Skin Deep—the database that reveals what’s in your products and ranks their toxicity.

Posted by on August 2nd, 2011 No Comments