Up to 80% of contact with pesticides happens indoors - we bring them indoors with our shoes and yard equipment. Several pesticides cause asthma and allergies; others are linked to lung disease, cause cancer or affect the nervous system. In one study, 90% of people tested had 5 to 16 pesticides in their bodies; most of the 6-11 year olds tested in one study had four times the amount deemed acceptable by the EPA (2005 CDC report).
Buy pest control products without chemicals. For alternative methods, go to www.beyondpesticides.org. Keep pests out by installing or fixing door strips on outside doors, sealing baseboards with caulk, plugging holes with caulk or steel wool, caulk cracks around windows and doors.
Another tip that is sometimes easier said than done but that provides serious savings! Up to 40% of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Standby power accounts for 10% of our electricity consumption. A laptop computer consumes 34.1 watts when turned on, and 16.5 watts on standby and your microwave oven consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating your food. So.....purchase power strips and plug your devices in. Turn the strips off when the devices are not in use. Invest in a SmartStrip for your computer and other office electronics and it can do the work for you
The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year—more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined; the production and disposal of direct mail consumes more energy than 3 million cars. And we pay for disposal! Between $320 and $370 million is spent annually annually to dispose of junk mail that doesn’t get recycled.
Although this is an ongoing battle, if you do it at least once a year, you should see a considerable decrease in your junk mail. See instructions on how to stop junk mail on the FTC web site. You can also go to www.optoutprescreen.com to opt out of insurance and credit card offers, and go to www.cataglochoice.org to stop those pesky catalog mailings. If you do not have time to research and would like a quick kit, go to www.stopjunk.com/ and order the kit (costs about $10) or Green Dimes (about $20).
I know you're heard this one over and over, but have you done it? Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use 50%- 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to ten times longer. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) do not contain mercury and have 60,000 hours of useful life. Replacing a single incandescent bulb with a CFL will keep a half ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb.
There are CFLs or LEDs for different types of lights, including soft and bright lights as well as for dimmers, so read the label carefully to make sure you are buying one that is appropriate for your needs and your budget. In addition, for spaces where you will only be using the light for a minute or so (ex: your closet), consider getting an LED or sticking to incandescents, at least for now. In order for CFLs to work properly, they need to be left on for at least 15 minutes (different studies will show varying times, but 15 minutes is a good yardstick). If they burn for less than that amount of time, they will not last as long as they are designed to.
Did you know that over 90% of all reported poisonings in America occur at home, with the leading reported cause being household cleaners? Not to mention, many chemicals in household cleaning products have been linked to long-term or delayed health effects; these include cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, asthma, organ damage and neurological problems.
The alternative? Buy natural alternatives. These can be found at natural food stores and increasingly, at regular supermarkets. Make sure that you read the label and understand the ingredients - not all products marked 'natural' or 'organic' are, since there are no regulations for what can be claimed (yet!). You can also
make your own: see Annie Berthold-Bond’s ‘Better Basics for the Home’ book for alternative recipes.