The dangers of common dust in your home

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Thinking about skipping out on dusting while you clean your home? Did you know that even the smallest amount of dust can harbor harmful chemicals? According to a new study, researchers analyzed dust samples collected from homes in 14 different states. The results revealed 45 chemicals in dust that came from simple household products, such as vinyl flooring, furniture, cleaning products, perfumes, and even pizza boxes and popcorn bags.

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The 45 chemicals were found in five classes of compounds: Phthalates, flame retardants, phenols, fragrances, and highly fluorinated chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health hazards such as hormone disruption, fertility problems, and cancer. Click Here

Children are more likely to be at a higher risk for exposure to these chemicals from dust, because children often crawl or play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths. “These categories of chemicals are certainly of concern,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, who was not involved in the study. However, the new research shows only that the chemicals are present in dust. Future studies are now needed to examine the extent to which these chemicals get in to the body and contribute to harmful effects on health, Spaeth said.

In addition, this new study explains that dust exposes people to multiple chemicals at once, as opposed to just a single chemical at a time. For this reason, more research is needed to better understand the exact health effects of dust exposure, the researchers said.

This makes it very difficult for consumers to avoid these chemicals, because many are found in common household items. Manufacturers are often not required to include the substances on the label. However, there are ways for people to reduce their exposure to chemicals in dust. These methods include washing hands frequently, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter, and opening windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the home, when possible.

Some companies have already banned some phthalates from children’s products, and the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a petition to ban phthalates from food packaging, according to researchers.

To find out more about this study, visit the website HERE

Tips To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly This Fall

house window overgrown with wild grapes with red autumn. Beautiful bright autumn leaves. Natuarlny autumn background.The days are getting shorter, leaves are beginning to fall and summer is officially over. Before settling in for the season, there are many ways we can look around our homes and ensure that everything is ready for the colder months ahead.

Here are some great eco-friendly tips for Fall:

  • Have your furnace inspected and cleaned.
  • Replace air filters
  • Clean your fireplace, to ensure maximum efficiency
  • Install a programmable thermostat
  • Ensure that all vents, baseboard heaters, and registers are free of obstructions so the air moves freely.
  • Open the blinds during the day to attract warmth. Close them at night to retain the warmth.
  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. The fan should run clockwise so that is pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls to gently recirculate the warm air.
  • Check windows for air leaks and replace the caulking, if needed.
  • Ensure weather stripping around doors is in good condition and replace, as needed.
  • Don’t overfill your refrigerator as the cool air can circulate more easily with fewer obstacles.
  • Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer
  • Bring out your blankets, sweaters, and socks so you can snuggle up rather than raise your thermostat.
  • Add a blanket to your bedding to keep you warm during the cooler nights.
  • Clean your roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house.
  • Reduce your house temperature one degree at a time to help lower the energy used in heating your home.
  • Insulate your water heater and pipes. Turn the temperature on your water heater down to 120 degrees.
  • Shorten your shower times and install a low-flow showerhead to lessen water used and the energy to heat the water.

Now that your home is ready for the fall you can cuddle up, relax and enjoy the beauty of the season!

The color of your sheets can be attracting bed bugs!

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According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, bed bugs have a favorite color.   These creepy little bugs are attracted to darker colors, with over 28% being attracted to red and 24% preferring black. The preference for darker colors is due to the fact that the bugs can burrow and hide more easily in them as opposed to sunny locations. To help minimize the chance of bed bugs being attracted to your sheets, you should switch to ivory or white, as they are much brighter and therefore offer less appealing hiding places.

Another great way to prevent those bugs from getting into your mattress is to encase your mattress in an OMI organic cotton Mattress Barrier Cover. Our barrier covers are made from tightly-woven 100% certified organic cotton and close with a heavy-duty brass zipper. Unlike other synthetic versions, our soft, breathable organic cotton barrier offers a more healthful sleep. The barrier is available in different depths and sizes to meet your specific needs.

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For the full study from the Journal of Medical Entomology click HERE.

Do You Make Your Bed in the Morning?

I have a few pet peeves, and one of my biggest is an unmade bed. Every morning, after I’m up and dressed and before I leave my bedroom, the bed gets made. It’s that simple. However, I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t believe in making their beds in the morning; you’re just going to crawl back into it in the evening, so why bother, right? I know I can’t be the only one out there who sees this as a messy way to start a day (or end it, for that matter), so It thought I would do some digging…and digging I did. I’ve come across a few reasons why you SHOULD make your bed in the morning, and have listed them below:

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First and foremost, when you start your day by making your bed, it will give you a sense of accomplishment. It’s a great way to start your day by having that small feeling of success before leaving your bedroom. It only takes a few minutes, so skip the snooze button and make this a new habit.

Come bedtime, it becomes a positive state of mind as you climb into a freshly-made bed. After a long stressful day at work, going to bed with a positive note will help you to sleep more restfully and deeply.

It’s been shown that a clean space helps to lower your stress. I know that personally a messy space raises my blood pressure and stress level, so it only makes sense that a clean space lowers it. Try it – put your clothes away and make your bed in the morning. You’ll be surprised at just how much easier things become when you are more relaxed and calm.

There is the obvious: It will prevent embarrassment from unexpected company if they happen to go near your room and see the messy unmade bed. Have you ever been in this boat?

Last but not least, it leads to other good habits. Imagine how this could grow. Look around your room, for starters; put your clean clothes away and your dirty clothes in the laundry basket. It’s the little things that make a big difference. It will lead to other rooms, too, and before you know it, you’re a cleaning machine and your house shows it!

26 Eco-Conscious Ideas for Earth Day

With Earth Day fast approaching, now is the time to start incorporating some eco-friendly ideas into your everyday life. In my search for fun ideas I came across several great ways to not only celebrate Earth Day, but keep the eco-friendly ideas going throughout the year.

  1. Plant a tree
  2. Clean up a park, lake, trail, river, beach, or other natural site 
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  3. Go for a walk
  4. Plant a garden 12035372145_d495f33afc_z
  5. Start a compost pile
  6. Make an indoor herb garden
  7. Implement a recycling system, or ensure that your current system is the best it can be 6881231757_3cb80f7652_b
  8. Pay bills online
  9. Stop paper bills and bank statements
  10. Limit your water usage
  11. Reduce energy consumption
  12. Lower your water-heater temperature to save energy
  13. Visit a farmers’ market vegetables-353926_640
  14. When shopping, bring your own reusable bags
  15. Ditch the plastic water bottles and use a reusable bottle instead
  16. Bring your own coffee mug when visiting a coffee shop DSC_0741
  17. Check your home for water leaks
  18. Plan a vegetarian meal once a week pizza-442058_640
  19. Skip the baths and take a shower
  20. Take a shorter shower
  21. Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter to save energy
  22. Eliminate excess junk mail by removing yourself from unnecessary lists Pile_of_junk_mail
  23. Use rechargeable batteries
  24. Unplug appliances when not in use
  25. Wash laundry in cold or warm water
  26. Have a picnic

However you decide to spend Earth Day, be sure to try to lessen your impact on the planet by changing one thing you do. Be sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature!

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Plan A Picnic

 

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Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect occasion to pack a picnic and head outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather. First you have to decide what dishes to bring. Typical picnic foods can include hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and cookies, which are not the healthiest choices (though they may be delicious). If you’re looking for better options, here are 10 healthy finger-food ideas for your next picnic outing!

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1. Edamame

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2. Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)

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3. Grilled Vegetables (zucchini, squash, mushrooms, etc.)

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4. Pita Chips with Hummus

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5. Homemade Trail Mix (dried fruits and nuts)

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6. Turkey Sandwiches with low-fat ingredients (whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and low-fat cheese)

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7. Shrimp and Lemon Skewers

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8. Yogurt

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9. Fruit Salad

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10. Angel Food Cake (low in calories) with fresh fruit and fat-free whipped cream

Now that your basket is packed with delicious foods, it’s time to head out and enjoy the beauty of nature!