Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ditch the Scented Candles

As the holiday season swiftly approaches, I was thinking "didn't we just do this?" Did I actually say that? What I meant to say is, "ditch the scented candles."  Once again, I'm not an expert here, but it doesn't take an expert to know that something is wrong when you get a splitting headache after walking past the Yankee Candle shop. Now to put things into perspective, I am a bit sensitive, some might even say neurotic. I'll stick with sensitive.  However you want to slice it, maybe my neurosis is like the canary in the coal mine; a good litmus test for all things bad. Fragrance oil scented candles are nasty little pillars of wax. I admit, some of them do smell good.  It's hard to get a natural candle that smells like fresh baked cookies. There's a price, though.  Did you know that fragrance oils consist of hundreds of synthetic chemicals. As stated in one article, "95% of the chemicals found in these oils are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum, and include chemicals such as benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and others capable causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions."

In an effort to have a healthy home, eliminating fragrance oil scented candles makes sense. Who knows, you might get wild and crazy and eliminate scented laundry detergent and bath and beauty products too. There is an alternative to synthetic fragrance oils. You can make sure to buy products that contain essential oils. These are oils that are mostly steam distilled from plants and flowers to create a very intense, pure oil. When used correctly, these oils can smell amazing and actually have therapeutic and medicinal benefits. Fortunately, I have an addiction to Etsy and was able to locate a soy candle maker who sticks with essential oils only. I also love that they are eco-friendly! Happy shopping...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zap Those EMFs

A healthy, green home is a healthy home period. It may not be happier, but it's important considering the barrage of unhealthy things we're exposed to when we walk out the door.  My home is far from perfect and I'm frequently plagued with "green guilt" from not composting those orange rinds from lunch, since the composting bucket wasn't under the sink. A walk outside to the compost pile is sometimes just a little too far on a day when my mental list is already making me mental. To add to my guilt, the cats insist on drinking out of the faucet. This requires sporadic tap drippings of fresh chlorinated water to quench their voracious thirst. Apparently, the filtered water I refresh several times a day isn't delicious enough. 

As I said, my home is far from perfect. I do know a few things, though. I know that many homes have hot spots of EMFs (electromagnetic fields) that should be avoided; especially while sleeping. Number one, the digital clock. Not your friend for many reasons, I agree. Your clock emits a very strong EMF field that drops off once you're about a foot away. You certainly want to make sure it's well away from your head while sleeping. Why? EMFs mess with our melatonin levels and we are most vulnerable while we sleep. Low melatonin can affect your sleep, mood and has even been linked to cancer (surprise, surprise). All electronic devices emit EMFs. The important factor, is that the EMF levels are low where you spend most of your time; sleeping, reading, watching TV, etc. One easy way to do this, is to make sure that these places are several feet from the closest electronic device. Keep in mind that walls don't protect you. If your refrigerator backs up to a wall and your favorite chair is on the other side, you could be sitting in a hot spot. For a little more reassurance, you could purchase a gaussmeter for $35 and test your house. Who knows, maybe you'll find some ghosts lurking around too. 

If you want a more thorough exam, call your local electricity provider. They don't advertise this, but they will come to your house and give you a full inspection with their super duper gaussmeter. Just make sure you tell them that you're concerned about the EMF levels in your home when you call. You'll find that their "acceptable" levels are way higher than they should be, but just take note of the hot spots and move your furniture accordingly. 

Making your home a clean, healthy environment is one small part you can do to protect your health and the health of your family. Certainly, more ramblings to follow...