Today's Rant

1. Borax is toxic--is it safe for laundry? Borax is an ingredient in skin creams. (sodium borate) According to the material data safety sheet, it is toxic/fatal if ingested. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and absorbs much of what is on it. If borax is dissolved in hot water, and well-diluted, it may be safer than laundry detergents, which have more potent chemicals. However, check your skin care product labels--if sodium borate (borax) is on the label, discard it!

2. Flawed studies! A study by the University of Alberta says that for children who eat fast food more than twice a week, the beneficial effects of being breastfed as an infant are reversed, and the incidence of asthma is increased. The news report did not mention whether the study took into account other socio-economic factors that might be involved, such as hectic lifestyle, or a general lack of healthy practices such as nutrition and exercise.

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Make Your Family Budget turn Green!

It's easy to save thousands of dollars while raising your family.テつ It's also better for your health, and the environment too.テつ

1) The average household uses 2 rolls of paper towel a week--but if you have children, it is more likely 2 garbage bags full per week!テつ Go "cold turkey" and use towels or old clothing cut into wipe rags.テつ This new habit will save you bags of money, and bags of garbage too.テつ

2) Growing your own garden will save you money AND give you organic food. Cooking and baking from scratch is good for your budget, your health, the environment (especially if you use home or locally grown unpackaged food), and gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

3) What happens to your old clothes?テつ Ones that are in questionable condition can be donated to quilters, or can be made into rags for yourself or for a local mechanic.テつ If they are in good condition, there are consignment shops, thrift shops, and charitable organizations.テつ Don't donate clothing that is not in good condition because organizations don't have the resources to fix it and it will go to the landfill.テつ When you buy new clothes, get classic styles in organic cotton, silk, bamboo, hemp, wool.テつ These materials will not cause health problems like synthetics, and will not harm the environment as they will biodegrade when they eventually are disposed.テつ The nose knows that a cloth hankie is gentler on the skin, and the environment.テつ

4) Cloth shopping bags are a returning trend.テつ Some stores reward shoppers for using their own bags; other stores charge extra for plastic bags.テつ Some municipalities have banned plastic shopping bags altogether.テつ Consumers save indirectly by reducing the cost to retailers and landfills.テつ In Ontario alone, shoppers use 7 million plastic bags a day. If you forget your cloth bags, plastic shopping bags can be re-used as garbage bags.
5) For gift wrap, the obvious economical and environmental choice isテつ gift bags, preferably fabric ones.テつ Both paper and fabric gift bags can be re-used many times.

6) How much plastic wrap do you use in a year?テつ Plastic wrap leaches chemicals into foods, so to save money and to save your health,テつ store food in china bowls.テつ You can use saucers or plates for lids, making a stackable system from dishes you already own, so it costs nothing.テつ To wrap sandwiches, use parchment paper, available in any food store.
7) Remember the BPA "scare" about chemicals in plastic baby bottles?テつ Europe banned some plastics years earlier, not just for baby bottles, but for baby toys and teethers too. Plastics have estrogen-mimicking chemicals which results in infertility in men and breast cancer in women, as well as other health and environmental concerns.テつ Since most of our water and drinks, and many foods are contained in plastics, this is a lifelong issue.テつ Alternative teethers, toys, dishes, and food containers are becoming more readily available, or you can research to find out what people used "in the good old days".

8) It goes without saying, that baby needs to be fed.テつ But, you can feed baby for almost "free", if you breastfeed, and later, make your own baby food.テつ Breastfeeding saves between $1000-2000 per baby and leaves no garbage in the form of cans or bottles.テつ Formula is an expensive product that cannot duplicate breastmilk, and its manufacture and distribution consumes valuable resources and creates waste. Breastfeeding builds a healthier body for baby, decreasing health care costs, and increasing quality of life.テつ For example, infants breastfed for the first 4 months of life have a 40% less chance of getting asthma.テつ When it's time for solids, use a hand-held baby food mill to turn some of your regular table food into pureed or chunkierテつ food for baby.テつ It's hot, fresh, and nearly free, since a food mill costs only $17, and the tiny quantity of food used will probably just mean fewer leftovers from your meal, not extra food that is purchased.テつ By making your own baby food, you will save over 600 jars of commercial baby food.テつ

9) Now, to the other end.テつ Two and a half TONS of disposable diapers go to the landfill for EACH baby using them during the first two years of life.テつ Babies diapered in cloth, or raised "diaper free", won't suffer the related health issues which range from diaper rash to male infertility.テつ And you will save about $4000 per child diapered in cloth.テつ Disposable diapers are not recycled--Consumer's Union of New York successfully sued one disposable manufacturer for using an ad showing a tree growing out of a disposable diaper, implying that the diapers could be recycled.テつ Water used to launder cloth diapers is less than water used to manufacture disposables.テつ If you are wrapping your disposable diapers in plastic and throwing them into the garbage, they are not being recycled.テつ In Canada, 4 Million disposable diapers per day are thrown into the landfill.テつ While you're still at that end, use washable cloth baby wipes for baby's bottom.テつ Disposable wipes are costly and contain chemicals that release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, as well as adding to the garbage.

10) There's an underground movement back to cloth feminine pads.テつ Thousands of women are using cloth pads because they are comfortable, inexpensive, and there is less odor. Another popular choice is dioxin-free cotton disposable tampons. There is a concern that rayon fibers and chemicals in disposable pads cause health problems over the long term. Each woman who uses cloth or cotton savesテつ the environment from two and a half TONS of garbage over a lifetime--the same amount as a baby diapered in cloth.
Living simpler, consuming less, and therefore leaving less garbage behind, is not only good for your family budget, health, and the environment, but you'll feel great just knowing that you personally have prevented tons of trash from scarring the Earth.

Grace Hope, has run Kidalog,テつ a cloth diaper manufacturer and baby supplies business, for over 25 years.テつ She says that most parents over-buy baby gear before the birth, only to find out later that many of the expensive purchases were unnecessary.テつ And, working moms tend to over-buy because of guilt and trying to find ways to save time, which becomes a vicious circle that keeps them in the workplace even longer.テつ