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The documentary Stink! that was shown last week got us thinking about how we can eliminate chemicals in our homes. 

Today, we live in a technological synthetic society. We are surrounded by chemicals everywhere, many of which are not good for the health of humans, animals or the environment.

The folks at Naturepedic Organic Mattress Gallery here in town shared some of the following information about toxins in our homes.

The home can be particularly harmful as far as chemical exposure is concerned. Our homes are sealed environments which amplifies exposures to any chemicals present. We spend so much time living, eating, and sleeping in our homes. Controlling what we bring into our homes is the best way to make our home a safer healthier environment.

The home contains all kinds of chemical substances that are mixed into consumer products during the manufacturing process. Examples of these chemicals are:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

    • VOCs are found in furniture, couches, mattresses, plastics, building materials, carpeting, cosmetics, shampoos, paints, and more

      • VOC exposure has been associated with cancer, birth defects, respiratory irritation, headaches and more

  • Flame Retardant Chemicals (FRs)

    • FRs are found in almost all consumer products including clothing, furniture, mattresses, plastics, memory foams, toys and more

      • FR exposure has been associated with cancer, reproductive & development damage, thyroid disfunction and more

  • Per-fluorinated Chemicals (PFCs)

    • PFCs are waterproofing and stain-resistance agents. They are found in many consumer products including mattresses, carpeting, clothing, furniture fabrics and more

      • PFC exposure has been associated with reduced immune system function, multiple organ damage, developmental problems and more

  • Phthalates

    • Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics, such as found in vinyl mattress covers, and as fragrances in cosmetics and cleaning products

      • Phthalate exposure has been associated with reduced fertility, increased risk of breast cancer, allergies, asthma and more

  • Lead

    • Lead is a toxic heavy metal and found in a few cosmetics, paints, and textile products and more

      • Lead exposure is associated with reproductive and developmental harm; muscle disorders; organ problems

When purchasing consumer product to bring into your home, make sure that you are not bringing in toxic chemicals. To do this you need to educate yourself and make healthier choices as to which products and which brands you purchase. Every product group mentioned has a corresponding alternative available from companies that strive to reduce and/or eliminate toxic chemicals in their products. 

There are MANY suggestions that came from the Stink! film — click here — such as when buying skin care products (skin being our largest organ), try the Environmental Working Group’s useful Skin Guide or their household cleaning guide here.

Many products on the market use terms like “organic” or “non-toxic” or “eco-friendly” or “natural” to advertise their products. More often than not, these words are unsubstantiated claims. The only way to know is to check the validity of the claim through objective sources, i.e. certifications and lab testing proof.

Feel free to email us at info@SustainableWellesley.com with your thoughts on this topic and suggestions on reducing toxins in your home.

 

Phyllis Theermann

Idling  Is Against the Law
Has Costs & is
Unhealthy!

Town departments across Wellesley, Girl Scout Troop 73505 and Wellesley Green Schools are proud to launch the Earth Day 2019 No Idling Campaign.

Commencing on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, Girl Scouts have been out at a variety of schools thanking drivers for NOT IDLING with handmade car fresheners with a no idling message.

The Girl Scouts are sharing the message that not only is idling against the law and there are costs associated with idling, but it’s unhealthy, especially for children around school car lines.

Thanks to a coordinated campaign with Wellesley’s Board of Selectmen, Health, Police, Public Works, Recreation, and School Departments, as well as Wellesley’s Housing Authority,  Natural Resources Commission, the Municipal Light Plant, Sustainable Energy Committee, Trails Committee, Wellesley Free Library, and Youth Commission, in conjunction with Dana Hall School, Friends of Brookside, Friends of Morses Pond, Sustainable Wellesley, Temple Beth Elohim Green Team,  UU Wellesley, Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley Conservation Council, Wellesley Council on Aging, Wellesley Green Schools, Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, Wellesley United Soccer Club, Wellesley Weston Chabad House, Wellesley Youth Baseball & Softball, Wellesley Youth Lacrosse Club, and the inspirational Girl Scout Troop 73505, it will be hard to ignore the town-wide no idling messaging.  

Look for IT’S VITAL NOT TO IDLE signs at schools as well as at the RDF, at Longfellow Pond and other areas around Wellesley. There are MANY good reasons not to idle.

Did you know?

 

  • 40+ hazardous air pollutants are emitted from engine exhaust

  • 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than restarting the engine

  • Driving warms up your car 2 times faster than idling on a cold day

  • 5 minutes is the legal limit before violating Massachusetts State Law

  • Penalties for the first offense is $100 and the second and subsequent are $500

  • Children have developing respiratory systems, breathe 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults, and are closer to exhaust pipes

  • Outdoor air pollution is one of the 8 leading triggers for asthma attacks

  • 1 gallon of gas produces 17lbs of CO 2 – a contributor to greenhouse gases

  • 2 minutes of idling uses as much fuel as traveling 1 mile

Consider turning your engine off the next time you are waiting in the car. It can improve public health, protect the environment and enhance the quality of life.

Phyllis Theermann

Learn More About Impressive ROI, Trendy, Successful Wellesley MORE Power to Choose SUN Program at Upcoming 3 Open Houses

allegro solar photoResidents are moving quick to sign up for solar before the August 31 deadline. Signing up for solar before this date enables them to have their panels installed before the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant solar rebate expires on December 31st (panels need to be installed by that date) and in time to get 2014 tax credits. Reserve your no-obligation estimate by going to WellesleyPowerToChoose.com.

With a very impressive ROI, many Wellesley residents are investing in solar.

“As new parents, it was important to us to create a healthy environment for our son,” said Jo Kaplan Lee, new solar owner and partner of Wellesley’s Allegro Photography. “The economics and ease of installing solar in Wellesley will allow us to sleep a little better at night knowing we are working to provide a healthier environment for our family, and our community,” Lee said proudly.

The trendy, Wellesley MORE Power to Choose SUN program has been so successful this summer, there are many open houses to allow other residents to talk to installers and locals and see the installations happening live. Please put these open house dates in your calendar:

Saturday, Aug 2: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm – 11 Stanford Road

Saturday, Aug 9: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm – 9 Crown Ridge Road

Wednesday, Aug 20: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM – 12 Granite Street

The 2014 state average solar costs are expected to increase based on new tariffs on some imported solar panels. For “solar suitable” homes, the financials under the current Wellesley discount combined with Federal, State and local incentives are very attractive at this moment in time. Also, the time-limited Wellesley solar price is around 30% below the state average*!

The MORE Power to Choose program is run by Wellesley volunteers and sponsored by the Town of Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee. The solar portion of this program offers discounted group pricing from installer partner Astrum Solar along with a rebate from Wellesley’s Municipal Light Plant and generous state and federal incentives. Find out how easy and affordable it is to install panels on your home and produce your own electricity. By going solar you help the environment and your community, while saving on your electric bills. This program is working to lower the carbon footprint of the Town of Wellesley and setting a standard for the future of our town.

The overall MORE Power to Choose program provides residents opportunities to meet their individual goals of personal responsibility and engagement. Whether you are fully vested in living a green life or are interested in taking small initial steps, the More Power to Choose campaign allows residents to participate at their own pace.

(* based on MassCEC data on installers and costs updated on 4-24-2014)