Did You Know? Many of us spend up to 90% of our time indoors - either at home, or at the office or at school, where levels of indoor pollutants can be 2-5 times higher than outdoors. Source: WHO
Over the past 20 years we’ve gathered a lot of useful information about the things we can do to have a healthy home. On the ecostore blog we’ll be looking at everything from how to have healthy indoor air to using energy more efficiently and how to identify the nasties hidden amongst the ordinary household cleaning products you use to clean your home.
So when you have a moment, head on over to our blog and find out about our easy suggestions to help you live more sustainably and protect your family’s health.
Recent Blog PostsWant to see how ecostore shower cleaner stacks up against the big brands?
We know that for people to make the switch to healthier and safer eco products like ours they have to work as well as mainstream brands and fair enough too. But there’s a lingering prejudice that eco products just won’t cut the mustard compared to products containing stronger or harsher chemicals. This was probably true once, but with advances in science and technology there’s no longer any need to accept anything less than utterly awesome.
Our lead formulator, Sir Ray Avery, is a fan of Einstein who believes that the most elegant formulations are the simplest ones. Because of this he always aims to use the least number of chemicals at the lowest concentrations to get the best results. Once we’re happy that a new formulation meets our health and safety criteria, we start independent laboratory testing to prove that they work as well as, if not better than leading brand alternatives.
You might have seen the NZ herald article comparing ecostore shower cleaner to 18 other mainstream shower cleaners. Our 4.5-star rated shower cleaner uses just 3 ingredients, compared to more than 20 in some of the competing products. You can read the New Zealand Herald article here Tests put acid on bathroom cleaning aids
Have you tried our shower cleaner? Let us know what you think.The number one reason for taking your dog or cat to the vet.
Did you guess? It’s skin disease and the annoying licking, scratching and nibbling that goes with it. Itchy pets are a frustrating condition for all involved. Having to listen to your cat scratching or your dog licking its feet all night, and the sleep deprivation that comes with it, means a quick fix is often necessary but how often do we get down to the underlying reason for the scratching? Simply put – it’s either because of something we put on them or something we put in them. External parasites and dietary allergies are easily rectified but what about our pet’s home environment?
We’re currently seeing an increasing number of allergic skin disease in our indoor animal companions. Cleaning products, laundry and dish detergents, carpet cleaners and controlled air conditioning are all likely suspects when trying to identify what it is that our pets are allergic to. It makes sense doesn’t it? If we can be hypersensitive to cosmetics and chemicals applied to our skin why wouldn’t our pets be? Actually, we think they’re the canaries in the coal mines often showing symptoms earlier than their owners. Chemical toxicity, especially for indoor-only pets, can also be life threatening. If they drink from showers, sinks and toilets, which may have been recently cleaned then fatal gut, liver or kidney disease may occur. We need to be more eco-aware when it comes to taking care of our pets.
Our guest blogger today is Dr Megan Alderson from The Strand Vet in Auckland. Find out how they can help you to ‘spring clean your pet’ by visiting their website or take a look at their facebook page to WIN some great prizes (including 10 ‘pet friendly’ buckets of ecostore goodies).Walmart phasing out 10 nasty chemicals from household cleaners and body care products.
Wal-Mart announced recently that it requires suppliers to phase out hazardous chemicals from the household cleaners, cosmetics and personal care products sold at its stores. They have prioritised a list of 10 chemical ingredients for ‘continuous reduction, restriction and elimination’ and will have protocols in place to monitor and carry out regular reviews of ingredients.
Their intention goes above and beyond regulatory compliance to meet the concerns of their customers and the environment, joining a much-needed industry shift away from potentially toxic chemicals in consumer products. Procter & Gamble has also recently announced plans to eliminate phthalates and the antibacterial ingredient triclosan. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson pledged to remove those two chemicals, along with formaldehyde and parabens, from its personal care products worldwide.
Many people assume that the products sold in our supermarkets have been tested for safety, but as the Walmart announcement shows, this is far from the case. Because of their sheer size and their buying power Walmart’s decision to phase out 10 nasty chemicals from products sold in their stores will have a huge effect not only within the US but also in the rest of the world. This is an example of the private sector being ahead of the government by being proactive about chemical safety for consumers – Malcolm Rands.
Wal-Mart has not yet disclosed the names of the 10 chemicals because they want to work collaboratively with their suppliers so it may still be some time before we see big changes but as one of the biggest retailers on Earth, it’s quite likely that Wal-Mart’s new policy will help ban these same chemicals everywhere as suppliers reformulate their products to meet the directive of their biggest customer.Nasty chemical of the month: cocamide DEA
Do you know what’s in your shampoo or in your baby’s bubble bath? If not it could be time to find out. Many of us assume that if a product’s available on our supermarket shelves then it must be safe, but this is not always the case. Another easy assumption to make is that all plant-based chemicals are better for you than petrochemicals. While this is true to an extent there are also a few plant-based or ‘natural’ chemicals such as cocamide DEA that are worth avoiding.
cocamide diethanolamine or cocamide DEA is a modified form of coconut oil that’s used as a thickener or foam stabiliser (to produce long lasting bubbles) in a range of household products including shampoos, soaps, bubble baths and other body care products.
A report released in August 2013 by an Environmental not for profit group called ‘Center for Environmental Health’ (CEH) has confirmed that cocamide DEA is still being used in a number of consumer goods despite being listed by the State of California EPA in June 2012 as a chemical known to cause cancer. Recent tests carried out by CEH found cocamide DEA in 98 shampoos, soaps and other body care products.
My suggestion – err on the side of caution and next time you’re in the shower or out shopping for hair shampoo or other personal care items, be sure to read the labels of the products you and your family are using, is there any cocamide DEA in them?Breathing Easy Inside our Homes (Video).
We tend to spend a lot of time indoors – particularly when our kids are little – so it’s important to make sure the air inside our homes is safe to breathe. Many things can affect our indoor air quality including fumes from paint, new furniture, cleaning products, disinfectants, air fresheners, insect repellents and more. The problem is that babies and young children are more vulnerable to pollutants in the air because they have narrower airways and need more oxygen relative to their size, they also breathe more rapidly which means they inhale more pollutant per kg of body weight than adults do (Source: World Health Organisation). So what’s the answer? Our ‘Breathe Easy’ video (which takes less than 2 mins to view) will give you some simple and effective tips to make sure the air inside your home is safer to breathe for yourself and your family and as always – if you have any other great tips to share we’d love to hear them.What are unacceptable levels of chemicals in our lives?
Latest research from Colmar Brunton shows that many of us don’t actually know what’s in the products we use every day around our homes and on our bodies, yet at latest count, there are around 80,000 chemicals being used in products today, with 1000 new chemicals developed every year around the world.
Legislation can’t keep up with chemical development and many regulations worldwide are out of date.
- In the US, outdated chemical laws make it extremely difficult to ban or restrict a chemical’s use. Regulators must prove a chemical poses a clear health risk, but the Environmental Protection Agency has sufficient health and safety data for only about 200 of the 80,000 chemicals in use. For example asbestos (a known carcinogen) can still legally be used.
- In NZ Triclosan, a widely used antibacterial agent used in soaps, hand washes, toothpaste and cosmetics, has been determined by the Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) as hazardous and should be classified as an irritant to skin, eyes and respiratory system and toxic.
One of the first steps to protecting the health of our families and our homes is to be better informed about safe chemicals and to take a precautionary approach to anything that could be harmful to our health. That’s why I’m so excited about this movie, take a look at the trailer when you have a minute and let us know what you think.