Originally published April 19 2012
How to use lemon juice to replace toxic chemicals in your home
by Elizabeth Walling

(NaturalNews) You don’t have to waste money on toxic chemicals to clean your home, treat a cold, or pamper your skin. Lemon juice is a simple, natural alternative that can replace countless bottles of over-priced chemicals.

10 creative ways to use lemon juice

1. Grease removal – A mixture of plain water and lemon juice is tough enough to bust through any grease on your kitchen appliances and counter tops.

2. Disinfect and deodorize your kitchen – Is your refrigerator or cutting board really clean? Surfaces where we prepare and store food need to be clean, but this is also exactly where we don’t want to use toxic chemical cleaners. Lemon juice is excellent for disinfecting these surfaces, and will also remove unpleasant stains and odors.

3. Sooth a cough – Mix some raw honey with an equal amount of lemon juice to ease your coughing. This also works well for a sore throat.

4. Enhance digestion – Fresh lemon juice in water can aid digestion during meals. It’s also a great way to hydrate in the morning when you first wake up.

5. Tone your skin – Use a cotton ball to apply a light layer of diluted lemon juice to your skin. Let it sit for ten minutes and then rinse away with cool water. The lemon juice will naturally exfoliate your skin, and can also lighten dark spots and scars.

6. Clean glass – Lemon juice is just what you need to bring the sparkle back to that dull vase, coffee pot or decanter. You can also use one part lemon juice in ten parts water to shine your windows.

7. Clean and soften your hands – Lemon juice is excellent for removing stains and odors left on your hands. Lightly scrub the lemon juice into your hands with a sponge, then rinse and moisturize as usual. Your hands will feel clean, soft and fresh.

8. Remove tarnish – A simple paste of table salt and lemon juice can make tarnished copper, chrome and brass gleam again. Apply the mixture, allow it to sit for ten minutes, then rinse with warm water and buff gently to shine.

9. Get sun-kissed hair highlights – Chemicals used to lighten hair can be highly toxic. Get natural highlights by spritzing your hair with lemon juice before you go out in the sun. As an added bonus, rinsing your hair with lemon juice removes build-up and gives your locks incredible shine.

10. Clean your toilet – Toilet cleaning products are harsh and unnecessary. A mixture of borax powder and lemon juice will leave your toilet looking (and smelling) as good as new!

Sources for this article include:


About the author:
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welcome.htm

Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welcome.html

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. NaturalNews.com is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit www.NaturalNews.com/terms.shtml


Kraft Recalls 2 Million Pounds Of Turkey Bacon


If you’re a fan of turkey bacon and are used to eating some for breakfast, you may want to look a little closer at your package.

Kraft Heinz Foods Company is recalling more than 2 million pounds of turkey bacon that may spoil before the “best-by-” date.

The problem was discovered after the company received reports of illness related to the consumption of the bacon.

Kraft Heinz says approximately 2,068,467 pounds of turkey bacon produced between May 31 and August 6 are affected. They came packaged in the following configurations:

56 oz. cardboard boxes (containing four plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer “Selects Uncured Turkey Bacon” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC 0 4470007633 0, and with “Best When Used By” dates of 24 AUG 2015 through 26 OCT 2015.

36 oz. cardboard boxes (containing three plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon “Smoked Cured Turkey Chopped and Formed” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC 0 7187154874 8, and with “Best When Used By” dates of 28 AUG 2015 through 20 OCT 2015.

48 oz. cardboard boxes (containing four plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon “Smoked Cured Turkey Chopped and Formed” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC 0 7187154879 3, and with “Best When Used By” dates of 3 SEPT 2015 through 30 OCT 2015.
The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-9070” inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as the line number “RS19”. These items were shipped nationwide and exported to the Bahamas and St. Martin.

Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact the Kraft Heinz Consumer Relations Center at (800) 278-3403. Media with questions about the recall can contact Jody Moore, Head of Communications, at (847) 646-4538.
Aug 26, 2015
By Marcus Lumpkin


Published on Alternet (http://www.alternet.org)

11 Tips for Conserving Water
By Brittany Wienke [1] / Rainforest Alliance [2]
August 29, 2015

Taking a long hot shower is something many of us take for granted, just like turning on the tap when we need to drink, bathe or cook. But for the 750 million people [3] around the world who lack access to clean and safe water, finding enough to cook, clean, or bathe with is a harrowing daily ordeal.

By 2030, almost half the world’s population [4] will live in areas of high water stress, due to a combination of climate change, irresponsible water policies and rapid population growth. The mega-drought [5] in the western United States is likely to cause an agricultural crisis [6], while the wildfires ravaging California [7], Alaska [8] and British Columbia [9] signal that our forests have grown dry and brittle.

Water conservation and protection is a central element of the Rainforest Alliance’s work with farms, forests, and tourism businesses. Shade requirements for coffee farms, wastewater treatment measures and buffer zones to prevent the erosion and contamination of waterways are just some of many proven methods we promote in order to protect Earth’s most vital resource.

You can do your part by making some simple changes to your daily routine!

1. Consider the distance.The transportation of food and other goods requires a great deal of water. It takes anywhere from 2.8 to 6.6 gallons of water [10] to produce one gallon of crude oil. When you choose local foods, you’re eliminating many of these hidden water expenditures from the supply chain. And when you’re checking out at an online retailer, ask yourself—do you really need two-day shipping? Patience is a water-saving virtue.

Hanjin cargo ship and tugboat near Savannah, Georgia (image: mwms1916/Flickr CC)

2. When you buy products grown in the tropics (like coffee, tea, chocolate or bananas), look for the green frog seal [11]. Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms prioritize water conservation and the protection of local streams and waterways.

3. Buy less clothing, shop at vintage or used clothing stores, swap clothing (this is a great party idea), and recycle your old clothes [12]. The average consumer goes through 35 pounds [13] of new cotton clothing per year — and cotton is one of the thirstiest crops out there: It can take more than 20,000 liters [14] of water to produce 1 kg of cotton. And buying secondhand takes you out of the “fast fashion” cycle — you won’t be supporting unethical labor practices or unsafe working conditions [15].

4. Investigate organic options, which may use less water depending on where they come from. For example, rain-fed organic cotton from Brazil takes just 10.6 gallons [16] of water per pound to manufacture compared with the 782 gallons of water required to grow organic cotton in drought-stricken California. You can also choose clothing made from alternative fibers, like hemp [17], tencel [16], or silk. These fibers require less land and water than cotton, and they can be grown organically.

Leme, Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 10, 2005. A cotton picker worker during the harvest in Brazil. (image: AFNR/Shutterstock.com)

5. Stop buying bottled water. To visualize how much oil it takes to make a single-use bottle, imagine filling the bottle one-quarter full of oil [18]. That’s a lot for a single-use item. Only 15 percent of plastic water bottles are recycled, while every single day 66 million bottles [19] end up in landfills, or, more likely, as land or ocean litter. Try instead a reusable water bottle made out of BPA-free plastic or aluminum* (with caution*), filled with tap water [20].

6. Skip baths in favor of short showers [21] under a water-saving shower head, which can reduce the amount used in showering by 40 percent! Bonus tip: the simple act of shutting off the faucet while you shave and lather can save up to 75 gallons of water per week.

7. Do laundry only when you have a full load. Use the appropriate water settings and upgrade to energy- and water-efficient washers and dryers. Since there’s a hidden water cost in all energy use, air-drying your clothing saves both energy and water.

8. Choose responsibly produced cardboard and paper [22]— and recycle every scrap! The Rainforest Alliance-FSC certified seal indicates responsible forestry methods that include the protection of waterways. And for every pound of paper you recycle, you can save 3.5 gallons of water.

9. Calculate your household water use with this handy tool [23] and challenge yourself and everyone else in your household to lower your impact.

10. Water your lawn/or garden mindfully. Nearly 30 percent of daily water use in the U.S. alone is devoted to outdoor use, and of that water, about 50 percent [24] is lost to evaporation. The best time of day to water is in the evening just before the sun sets, when the temperature has dropped, and water is less likely to evaporate. Use a watering can or triggered hose if possible, and keep the stream close to the ground so the water goes right to the roots.

11. Wash your dishes efficiently: If you wash dishes by hand [25], try the 2-sink method: scrape every bit of food you can off the dish, then wash in a basin full of hot, soapy water, followed by a quick rinse in a basin of cold, clean water. But using a dishwasher properly can actually use less water [26] than handwashing. Also consider upgrading your old dishwasher to a new ENERGY STAR-qualified dishwasher [27], which uses less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand and saves nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year.\


4 Ways Bottled Water Ruins the Environment — and Your Health [28]

Five Easy Life Hacks to Help the Environment — And Your Own Health [29]

8 Car Hacks for a Cheaper, Eco-Friendlier and More Patriotic Ride [30]

Amazing New Process Treats Wastewater, Captures Carbon and Makes Renewable Energy [31]

You May Be Surprised That These Eight Major World Cities Are Running out of Water [32]

Brittany Wienke is Communications & Media Outreach Associate at Rainforest Alliance.
Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/environment/11-tips-conserving-water

[1] http://www.alternet.org/authors/brittany-wienke
[2] http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/
[3] http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/
[4] http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml
[5] http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/RegionalDroughtMonitor.aspx?west
[6] http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/03/411802252/drought-may-cost-californias-farmers-almost-3-billion-in-2015
[7] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/us/california-wildfires-rocky-fire.html
[8] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/06/29/over-a-million-acres-have-burned-in-alaska-wildfires-this-month/
[9] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/new-b-c-wildfires-spark-evacuation-orders-states-of-emergency-1.3138558
[10] http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Water-Consumption-in-Ehtanol-and-Petroleum-Production.pdf
[11] http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/shopthefrog
[12] http://www.epa.gov/wastes/conserve/materials/textiles.htm
[13] http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/water-conservation-tips/
[14] http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/freshwater_problems/thirsty_crops/cotton/
[15] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/world/asia/bangladesh-building-collapse.html&_r=0
[16] http://www.nrdc.org/living/stuff/choosing-between-organic-and-cotton-tencel.asp
[17] http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2011/04/high_on_environmentalism.html
[18] http://www.responsiblepurchasing.org/purchasing_guides/bottled_water/webinar/CorporateAccountability_ProblemsWithBottledWater.pdf
[19] http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mmehta/go_ahead_drink_that_tap_water.html
[20] http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/chap2.asp
[21] http://grist.org/living/baths-vs-showers-an-eco-smackdown/
[22] http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/work/forestry
[23] http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/change-the-course/water-footprint-calculator/
[24] http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/outdoor.html
[25] http://grist.org/living/ask-umbra-could-you-settle-the-debate-over-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing/
[26] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/hand-washing-dishes-vs-dishwasher_b_1542991.html
[27] https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=dishwash.pr_handwash_dishwash
[28] http://www.alternet.org/environment/4-ways-bottled-water-ruins-environment-and-your-health
[29] http://www.alternet.org/environment/five-easy-life-hacks-help-environment
[30] http://www.alternet.org/environment/8-car-hacks-cheaper-eco-friendlier-and-more-patriotic-ride
[31] http://www.alternet.org/environment/amazing-new-process-treats-wastewater-captures-carbon-and-producing-renewable-energy
[32] http://www.alternet.org/environment/you-may-be-surprised-these-eight-major-world-cities-are-running-out-water
[33] mailto:corrections@alternet.org?Subject=Typo on 11 Tips for Conserving Water
[34] http://www.alternet.org/
[35] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

Cataracts: New Treatment?

Blue eye

attribution: wiki commons

Cataracts are the number one cause of vision impairment and blindness in the world. If you are over 40 years old you have an almost 1 in 5 chance of developing cataracts. The only treatments for cataracts up until now have been surgical—cutting away build up on the eye’s lens.

Coming up with a solution other than surgery has been tough. Scientists have been hunting for years for mutations in crystallin proteins that might offer new insights and pave the way to an alternate therapy. Now, it looks like a team led by University of California (UC), San Diego, molecular biologist Ling Zhao may have done just that. Her team came up with the eye drop idea after finding that children with a genetically inherited form of cataracts shared a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol, an important steroid in the body. When their parents did not have the same mutation, the adults produced lanosterol and had no cataracts.

Any non-surgical breakthrough in medicine is great news. However, cataracts affect so many people and are an even bigger problem in areas of the world where people have less money. According to the World Health Organization:

About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings.

And unoperated cataracts account for a third of those visually impaired. The researchers have used human lens cells in a lab and they have used rabbits and dogs.

“This is a really comprehensive and compelling paper—the strongest I’ve seen of its kind in a decade,” says Jonathan King, a molecular biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge not affiliated with the study. He has been investigating cataract proteins since 2000. “They discovered the phenomena and then followed with all of the experiments that you should do—that’s as biologically relevant as you can get.”Ruben Abagyan, co-author of the paper and molecular biologist at UC San Diego, is looking forward to seeing what the lanosterol drops can dissolve next. “I think the natural next step is looking to translate it into humans,” he says. “There’s nothing more exciting than that.”

Originally posted to weinenkel on Thu Aug 20, 2015 at 12:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Good News.


How plastic food containers could be making you fat, infertile and sick

Chris Kresser

In previous articles here, here and here, I wrote about the dangers of an environmental toxin called bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is a chemical that is found in several plastics and plastic additives. It’s in the water bottles some folks carry to gyms, the canned tomatoes and coconut milk they cook with, and in the baby bottles moms use to feed their infants.

We’ve known for decades that BPA has estrogenic activity. In vivo animal studies and in vitro cell-culture research has linked low-level estrogenic activity associated with BPA exposure to all kinds of fun stuff, like diabetes, ADHD, heart disease, infertility and cancer.

There is now significant evidence suggesting that even low levels of BPA-exposure can cause harm, and this is particularly true in vulnerable populations like pregnant women, infants and the chronically ill. (1)

Because of this research, and the growing public awareness that BPA should be avoided, a new crop of “BPA-free” plastic food containers and baby bottles has been introduced. However, a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in July has shown that even BPA-free plastics have chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA), and can cause serious health problems as a result. (2)

What is “estrogenic activity” (EA)?

Chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA) are those that mimic or antagonize the actions of naturally occurring estrogens. These chemicals are capable of binding with one or more of the nuclear estrogen receptors in the body.

The best way to think of chemicals with EA is as a counterfeit key fitting into a loose lock. When these chemicals activate the estrogen receptor, they produce an increase in circulating estrogen, which in turn can cause problems such as early puberty in females, reduced sperm counts, altered function of the reproductive organs, obesity, increased rates of certain cancers and problems with infant and childhood development. (3)

As I mentioned above, vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, developing fetuses, infants and children are especially sensitive to even very low doses of chemicals with EA. (4(READ MORE)


Types of Houseplants To Clean Indoor Air

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Why invest in expensive electrical air purifiers when you could purchase a few types of houseplants to clean and filter the air naturally and inexpensively?

Much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats. All indoors plants (flowering or not) are able to purify indoor air to some degree through their normal photosynthesis processes. But some were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!

The three main household toxins of concern are:

  • benzene
  • formaldahyde
  • trichloroethylene

These carcinogenic chemicals are used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials and are off-gased from new materials for some time (up to several years, depending on the material of product in question). Benzene can also be emitted from gas ranges during use, making some types of houseplants below great for use in the kitchen.

This means these types of houseplants may just decrease your risk of cancers, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders and other diseases.

Tips for Choosing and Caring for Your Plants

Below you’ll find the common name and botanical name of each plant, its benefit to you and your home and a few ideas of the type of care it needs.

Along with a corresponding photo and the following tips, you can decide which plant is best for your home.

  • Choose one 10- to 12-inch potted plant per 100 square foot of your home for the most effective air purification.
  • Cross-reference several care guides to check for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Because common names can very, be sure to cross-reference the botanical name of any plant you get to ensure it will do the job you need it to do.
  • Consider where you might place your plants and the amount of sun they will receive to ensure your plant will thrive in that area.
  • Make note of the water needed and write it on a calendar so that you can keep the watering schedules balanced.
  • Periodically dust the leaves of each plant with a damp cloth to ensure proper absorption of air particles and toxins.
  • Keep their soil replenished with rich compost or compost tea. Avoid non-organic or synthetic fertilizers.
  • Whenever possible, capture rainwater for your plants. All types of houseplants thrive best with natural sources of water.

IMPORTANT: Please note that these houseplants are good for purifying air, but that doesn’t mean they are safe for pets or kids who like to put things in their mouth. Check out this list for more details, read the descriptions of each plant, and do some research on any plant you bring into your home.

Nineteen Houseplants That Clean Indoor Air

The following list of beneficial types of houseplants should get you started in finding the right plants for your home.

Common Name: Aloe Vera
Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis

Benefits: Not only can it be used for burns on the skin, it is also known to remove formaldahyde from the air.

Notes: Needs well-drained soil with slight drying between waterings, full sun is best with protection from high heats. Although largely known for its healing properties, it is considered to be an irritant to some.

Common Name: Areca Palm
Botanical Name: Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Benefits: General air purifier, especially as it grows larger. It’s known for being one of the better performers in purifying the air.

Notes: Moderately drought tolerant and prefers partial sun and well-drained soil.

Common Name: Baby Rubber Plant
Botanical Name: Peperomia obtusifolia or Ficus robusta

Benefits: These houseplants clean the air by emitting high oxygen content, and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldahyde or other toxins.

Notes: Likes filtered light, infrequent watering and rich soil. I’ve found conflicting information as to whether or not this plant contains any poisonous parts.

Common Name: Bamboo Palm or Reed Palm
Botanical Name: Chamaedorea seifrizii

Benefits: According to NASA, it removes formaldahyde and is also said to act as a natural humidifier.

Notes: Likes bright, indirect light and prefers to remain moist but not too much and doesn’t like sitting in water.

Common Name: Boston Fern
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis

Benefits: Said to act as a natural air humidifier, removes formaldahyde and is a general air purifier. Said to be among the best in air purifying houseplants.

Notes: Likes bright light and damp soil but can be tolerant of drought or partial light.

Common Name: Chinese Evergreen
Botanical Name: Aglaonema sp.

Benefits: Emits high oxygen content, and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldahyde, benzene or other toxins.

Notes: Does well with full shade and good draining; variegated plants need more sunlight. The sap of this plant is considered poisonous and is an irritant.

Common Name: Corn Cane or Mass Cane
Botanical Name: Dracaena massangeana or dracaena fragrans Massangeana

Benefits: Known for removing formaldahyde and known generally as one of the houseplants that clean the air.

Notes: Does great with low light and low water.

Common Name: Dwarf/Pygmy Date Palm
Botanical Name: Phoenix roebelenii

Benefits: Said to remove formaldehyde and xylene (a chemical found in plastics and solvents) from the air.

Notes: Loves lots of sun, moist soil and warm water.

Common Name: English Ivy
Botanical Name: Hedera helix

Benefits: It’s known for removing the chemical benzene, a known carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides, and the off-gasing of other synthetic materials, is said to be fantastic for asthma and allergies and also removes formaldehyde.

Notes: Can be invasive, making it great for a potted plant.

Common Name: Ficus alii
Botanical Name: Ficus maeleilandii alii

Benefits: Said to be a great overall air purifier.

Notes: These types of houseplants love indirect sunlight; be careful not to overwater. Those with allergies to latex may react to this plant!

Common Name: Gerbera Daisy
Botanical Name: Gerbera sp. or Gerbera jamesonii

Benefits: NASA says this plant is fantastic at removing benzene, a known cancer-causing chemical. It also absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen overnight, which is said to improve your sleep!

Notes: Likes bright light

Common Name: Golden Pothos
Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum syn. Scindapsus aureus

Benefits: NASA places this plant among the top 3 types of houseplants great for removing formaldhyde. Also known for removing carbon monoxide and increasing general indoor air quality.

Notes: Needs less water in colder temps and partial sun.

Common Name: Janet Craig
Botanical Name: Draecana deremensis

Benefits: Lady Palm is said to be a good overall air purifier, removing most air pollutants.

Notes: Prefers indirect sunlight, and watering without fertilizers.

Common Name: Kimberly Queen Fern
Botanical Name: Nephrolepis obliterata

Benefits: These types of houseplants clean formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene out of your home.

Notes: Prefers bright but indirect sunlight, with dry soil between waterings (but not dry for too long).

Common Name: Lady Palm (plus 10+ varieties)
Botanical Name: Rhapis Excelsa

Benefits: These types of houseplants are said to be a good overall air purifier, removing most air pollutants.

Notes: Prefers partial sun all day and shade in the winter, with more frequent water in hotter months, but never allow to sit in water or be overwatered.

Common Name: Marginata or Dragon tree
Botanical Name: Dracaena marginata

Benefits: Known for purifying the air of the carcinogen, benzene, commonly found in the off-gasing of synthetic materials, ciagerette smoke and other household chemicals. Also known for removing formaldahyde, xylene (found in varnishes, paints and paint thinners) and trichloroethylene (found in solvents) from the air.

Notes: It requires little attention, tolerates dry soil and irregular watering and prefers no direct sunlight. It is, however, susceptible to fluoride toxicity (so fluoridated water sources may need to be avoided).

Common Name: Moth Orchid
Botanical Name: Phalaenopsis

Benefits: Said to remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and formaldahyde commonly off-gased from paints, solvents and other synthetic materials.

Notes: Thrives in high humidity, lots of light (but not hot, mid-day sun) and thorough waterings with, unlike many types of houseplants, almost complete drying out between.

Common Name: Mums
Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum sp. or Chrysanthemum morifolium

Benefits: Very effective at removing benzene, a carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) associated with most chemicals, plastics, cigarettes and off-gasing. Also removes trichloroethylene (found in solvets and cleaners), formaldehyde and ammonia.

Notes: Likes partial sun, and lots of water. Although they’re among the houseplants that clean the air, they only flower once and are generally annual plants, especially when planted outdoors.

Common Name: Peace Lily
Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum sp.

Benefits: Known for removing benzene, a common household chemical and known carcinogen. It’s also said to remove mold spores in the air, making it great for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms; purifying the air of trichloroethylene, a chemical found in cleaners and solvents; and removing alcohols, acetone, and formaldehyde.

Notes: Easy to care for, it prefers lots of water, less often and bright, indirect light.

Common Name: Philodendron
Botanical Name: P. cordatum, P.scandens or P. selloum

Benefits: Also noted by NASA among the best tyoes of houseplants for removing formaldahyde, especially higher concentrations.

Notes: Philodendrons are considered poisonous, so keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Common Name: Snake Plant
Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata

Benefits: Found by NASA to absorb toxins, such as nitrogen oxides and formaldahyde.

Notes: It tolerates low light levels and irregular watering (and needs only a few waterings throughout winter).

Common Name: Schefflera, or Umbrella Tree
Botanical Name: Brassaia actinophylla

Benefits: Said to remove benzene (a carcinogenic substance) from the air.

Notes: Can be toxic to pets and children. Prfers bright but indirect sun and lots of water and humidity.

Common Name: Spider Plant
Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum

Benefits: NASA places this plant among the top 3 types of houseplants that are great at removing formaldahyde. Also removes carbon monoxide and other toxins or impurities.

Notes: Likes bright, indirect light and lots of water while growing.

Common Name: Warneckii or Dracanaena warneckei
Botanical Name: Dracaena deremeusis or Dracanea deremensis warneckei

Benefits: Known for removing trichloroethylene, a chemical found in many solvents, dry cleaning solutions and refrigerants. Also said to remove benzene, a carcinogene.

Notes: Moderate sun and water needs, but, like most types of houseplants, dislikes sitting in water. Avoid fluoridated water sources.

Common Name: Weeping Fig or Ficus Tree
Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina

Benefits: Known to remove common airborn toxins and increase oxygen levels.

Notes: Prefers bright light and sun, but is also shade-tolerant. Moderate water needs for these types of houseplants.

Reader Questions

I live in an apartment on the 2nd floor. The people below me smoke. It comes through the air vents (I think) in the bedroom and bedroom bathroom. The bathroom gets absolutely no light. The bedroom has a large window facing southeast but also gets late afternoon sun. What kind of plants might survive in the dark shower/toilet area? What plants for very indirect lighting in the sink and dressing area? What plants for the bedroom? (For the moment I have open baking soda containers in each area.) Thank you so very much. – Susan S.

Hi Susan! I’m so sorry to hear about this. What a yucky situation. All plants need at least some light, but from my own personal experience the plant that has been the best for us has been Philodendron (a pic of which can be found above). We’ve had it in some really low light situations and it still lived (although didn’t thrive until it gone a little more light). What you might find necessary though is to take your plants and outdoors for a few hours or place it in a full sun window, doing either 1-2x a week.

If that doesn’t work it may well be worth it in this scenario to invest in an air purifier (or even a grow light for hydroponic plants that you can use a coupe hours a day, perhaps on a timer). I’d also highly recommend looking into local laws as I do believe that the apartment management may be liable by law to better seal the vents or air exchange between apartments for this reason. I hope this helps! Good luck!

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Essential oils can be easily diffused to make them airborne. You can also add it to homemade cleaning products, washing machines, or create a room spray with distilled water.

To learn more about purifying essential oils, click here.

Study: Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Like Chemicals : NPR

Study: Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Like Chemicals : NPR.

Study: Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Like Chemicals : NPR

March 02, 2011 4:07 PM ET
Jon Hamilton
Makers of water bottles, including Camelback, now sell products that don’t contain BPA, a chemical that can mimic the sex hormone estrogen. But a new study says that even if they don’t contain BPA, most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals.

Makers of water bottles, including Camelback, now sell products that don’t contain BPA, a chemical that can mimic the sex hormone estrogen. But a new study says that even if they don’t contain BPA, most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals.

Most plastic products, from sippy cups to food wraps, can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen, according to a study in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study found these chemicals even in products that didn’t contain BPA, a compound in certain plastics that’s been widely criticized because it mimics estrogen.

Many plastic products are now marketed as BPA-free, and manufacturers have begun substituting other chemicals whose effects aren’t as well known.

But it’s still unclear whether people are being harmed by BPA or any other so-called estrogenic chemicals in plastics. Most studies of health effects have been done in mice and rats.

The new study doesn’t look at health risks. It simply asks whether common plastic products release estrogen-like chemicals other than BPA.

The researchers bought more than 450 plastic items from stores including Walmart and Whole Foods. They chose products designed to come in contact with food — things like baby bottles, deli packaging and flexible bags, says George Bittner, one of the study’s authors and a professor of biology at the University of Texas, Austin.

Then CertiChem, a testing company founded by Bittner, chopped up pieces of each product and soaked them in either saltwater or alcohol to see what came out.

The testing showed that more than 70 percent of the products released chemicals that acted like estrogen. And that was before they exposed the stuff to real-world conditions: simulated sunlight, dishwashing and microwaving, Bittner says.

Exactly how BPA affects humans, and how serious its effects are, are still very much up for debate. The U.S. government generally advocates caution and more research, but agencies have issued a range of hesitant warnings. The National Toxicology Program, a division of the National Institutes of Health, says it has “some concern” about potential BPA exposures to the brains and prostate glands of fetuses, infants and children. Other agencies say they have lingering, unresolved “questions” about the chemical.

Those questions largely circle around how prolonged exposure to the chemical in childhood or adulthood could affect reproduction and growth; how low-dose exposure at sensitive developmental stages could affect children and babies later in life; and how parental exposure could affect the next generation. Studies have shown links between BPA and cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses.

One major sticking point for scientists is the challenge of drawing conclusions from hundreds of studies, each using different animals (mice and rats among them), doses, and routes of exposure. As the Environmental Protection Agency has noted, “there is controversy about whether effects seen at lower doses in animals are meaningful and relevant to humans.” And scientists have also wondered whether rodents are more sensitive to the chemical than us because they metabolize it differently.

Last year, the NIH launched a new round of studies, all with the same methodology, designed to answer the some of the niggling questions and help the government provide clearer guidance than it’s been able to so far.

— Eliza Barclay

“Then, you greatly increase the probability that you’re going to get chemicals having estrogenic activity released,” he says, adding that more than 95 percent of the products tested positive after undergoing this sort of stress.

But what about all those products marketed as BPA-free? That’s a claim being made for everything from dog bowls to bento boxes these days.

The team concentrated on BPA-free baby bottles and water bottles, Bittner says, “and all of them released chemicals having estrogenic activity.” Sometimes the BPA-free products had even more activity than products known to contain BPA.

The testing didn’t show which chemicals are to blame, which is likely to be frustrating to manufacturers.

But Bittner says consumers should be encouraged that at least some plastic products had no estrogen-like activity. He says that shows it is possible to make these products.

Early reaction to the study was mixed. Some scientists wondered about the test’s reliability. Others noted that wine and many vegetables also can act like estrogen. And a few observed that Bittner has a financial interest in the testing lab and in a company involved in making plastic products that don’t release estrogenic chemicals.

On the other hand, groups that have warned about the potential dangers of BPA in the past seemed to welcome the new research.

“This is really helpful because they took a look at very common products,” says Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group.

But the results suggest that concerns about plastics can’t be solved by worried consumers at the checkout counter, Lunder says. It’s a problem for government, she says.

“Regulatory agencies need to study the effect of chemicals leaching out of plastic,” Lunder says, adding that an EPA program formed more than a decade ago to do this sort of research still hasn’t produced many results.

Until scientists come up with more definitive answers, Lunder says, worried consumers can follow the old advice to avoid putting those baby bottles and other plastic products in dishwashers or microwaves.

“We’ve long cautioned consumers to avoid extreme heat and cooling for plastics, to discard scratched and worn plastics and we feel like this [study] validates one of our many concerns,” she says.


Natural Health and Alternative Medicine Newsletter
Issue #688, August 23-24, 2012
Publisher: David Riklan – http://www.naturalhealthweb.com


*** Article of the Week:

10 Brain-Smart Things You Can Do at Your Desk in 5 Minutes or Less– By Cynthia R. Green, PhD

Here are 10 brain-smart things you can start doing right now to boost your brain power at work. You can do them in 5 minutes, or spend more time on them over the course of the day if your schedule allows. All are geared to giving your brain an awesome on-the-job workout.

1. Rearrange Your Desk.
Clear some clutter from your life. Folks who are organized remember better. Why? Because they have mastered one of the secrets to better memory — getting organized. Spend 5 minutes organizing your desk, getting rid of what is non-essential. Keep out papers that require immediate attention, filing away what you can. Look over how your desk is organized and see if you can think of a better way to put it all together.

2. Read a Poem.
Reading poetry gets us to think out of our workday “box” and is a wonderful source of intellectual challenge and pleasure. Find a poem and spend 5 minutes reading and musing it over. Bring a book of favorite poetry to keep on your desk or visit the website of the Academy of American Poets. You can even sign up for their “Poem a Day” program and get a poem sent to your inbox each day.

3. Take a 5-Minute Yoga Break.
This tip is all about bringing a little “ohm” into your life. Yoga is the perfect brain-health exercise. It supports aerobic workouts by building strength and stamina, trains our focus, and is a terrific resource for maintaining emotional balance. Try taking a 5-minute yoga break (or relaxation break if you are more inclined). The Kripalu Center offers a series of such breaks you can download to your computer or other media player on their website.

4. Doodle.
Do you doodle? Many of us (including folks such as Bill Gates, former President Clinton and others) do. But did you know that doodling is good for your brain health? Recent research suggests that doodling helps us maintain focus and remember more effectively. A recent study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology found that subjects assigned a doodling task performed 29% better than their non-doodling counterparts on a surprise memory test covering the material they were learning simultaneously. Doodling improves attention, making it more likely that you will acquire things that you later want to recall. So when you are in a meeting or on a conference call, go ahead and doodle — no need to apologize!

5. Keep Up Your Social Network.
Studies have shown that folks who are more social have an associated reduced risk for memory loss. In one recent study, Harvard researchers found that persons with lower levels of social interaction were much more likely to show memory problems after 6 years than their more social peers. Remember, no man — or woman — is an island. Reach out from behind that desk and connect with your family and friends for 5 minutes. It’s good for your soul and good for your brain.

6. Play Online.
Research has shown that we can better maintain intellectual skills critical to our work performance by giving them a good “workout.” One of the best ways to keep these skills sharp is to play games against the clock, since timed activities force us to focus, think fast and be nimble in our approach. Games we play online tend to be timed and can give our brains a terrific skills challenge. So take 5 minutes during lunch or as your schedule permits to get your brain in the game.

7. Jump Some Jacks.
Here’s a tip that’s pretty basic, but packed with brain boosting power. Aerobic exercise is one of the best things we can do for our brain, as it revs up our daily performance and reduces our long-term dementia risk. Jumping jacks are a simple callisthenic exercise you can do in a small space that will quickly get your blood pumping. So go ahead! Stand up at your desk and try out some jumping jacks for 5 minutes.

8. Wear Your Watch Upside Down.
Give your brain a little stretch each time you check your watch by wearing your watch upside down. This subtle change doesn’t take much effort, but will force your brain to think out of its comfort zone in making sense of time gone a bit topsy-turvy. These kinds of “neurobic” activities may seem simple and fun, yet are a terrific way to challenge your brain’s flexibility and routine.

9. Plan Some Brain Healthy Meals.
Invest 5 minutes in laying out a meal plan for the upcoming few days or week. Giving some thought in advance to what you are going to eat will increase the chances that you will make brain healthy food choices. Deciding ahead can also get you organized and save you time shopping and cooking your meals (and who doesn’t need more time?).

10. Learn How to Remember a Name.
Here’s a smart tip we can all really use: Spend 5 minutes learning some simple memory strategies to boost your memory for names. For example, try repeating information as you hear it. This easy technique will force you to focus on what you are learning and give you the chance to rehearse it, increasing the odds that you’ll remember it. Or use my Connections Technique and make a connection between what you are learning and something that you already know. Meeting Florence? Connect her name to a famous Florence, such as Florence Nightingale, or to the city of Florence in Italy.

About the Author Cynthia R. Green, PhD visit the website @ http://www.naturalhealthweb.com


US Gov’t: “We don’t know what’s going on” in Pacific — Many ill baby seals being abandoned; Dozens of walruses found dead; Dying whales, birds, fish — “Unprecedented things happening” — Experts: “It’s been a very unusual marine mammal year… I’m really worried, very concerned” (AUDIO)


Alaska Dispatch News, Jul 24, 2015 (emphasis added): Ailing seal pup rescued in latest discovery of distressed Alaska marine mammals … one of a string of marine mammals injured or killed in Alaska waters this year. An orphaned and injured seal pup… was one of several found this summer, federal agency officials said… The pup was lethargic and very thin — only 16.5 pounds… It was the second such case this week, NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle said Friday. An orphaned seal was picked up in Metlakatla… NOAA officials were also called out to another case in Yakutat recently, she said. “We don’t know what’s going on in the environment, but it does seem to be an unusual year,” Speegle said. Seal pups are not the only marine mammals experiencing some difficulty in waters off Alaska. NOAA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks are conducting an investigation into the deaths of 14 whales… U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been investigating the deaths of approximately 25 walruses found in the area of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge… Carrie Goertz, a staff veterinarian at the SeaLife Center, said… she agreed that there have been some out-of-the-ordinary events with marine mammals in general. “There’s definitely been some clusters of unusual deaths,” she said.

Kate Savage, NOAA Fisheries, Jul 23, 2015: “She was one of a number of seal pups very recently reported abandoned in Southeast. It’s unusual to get pup reports this late in the summer, but it’s been a very unusual marine mammal year in many respects.”

KTVA CBS 11 News, Jul 23, 2015: Savage says this pup is one of many recently reported abandoned in Southeast Alaska.

KSRM, Jul 24, 2015: Unusual Marine Mammal Activity Puzzles Scientists… Julie Speegle with [NOAA] said their veterinarians have stated that this has been an unusual marine mammal season… “We just have seen a higher than usual number of harbor seal pups, or I should say seal pups because it hasn’t just been harbor seals.”… Another puzzling trend, the Gulf of Alaska has seen 14 fin whales die this summer.

Bruce Wright, senior scientist for the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Jul 17, 2015: “During the last 10 days I have received reports of dead and dying whales, gulls and forage fish (sand lance) from… the eastern Aleutian Islands and Adak in the western Aleutian Islandsalert me if you observe sand lance predators such as gulls, eagles, foxes, bears, whales acting sick or dead in coastal Alaska.”

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, 2014: Wales, Alaska… we are spotting dead baby Spotted and Ring Seals washing up on the beach… They looked like they have washed in after high tide last night to day before. Most appear to have been eaten by seagulls or ravens… this is the first time I have seen baby seals wash up in front of the village.

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, 2014: Bering Strait Region… This observation is posted in collaboration with Dr. Hajo Eicken and Dr. Olivia Lee with the UAF Geophysical Institute… communities [have reported] about the recent die‐off or young seals in the region

Juneau Empire, Jul 17, 2015: … unusual happenings, worried scientists… Unprecedented things are happening in Alaska’s marine environment… “I’m really worried. I’m very concerned”… said Juneau-based marine ecologist Michelle Ridgway.

More recent reports from Alaska: AP: Unprecedented deaths along U.S. Pacific coast — Scientists: Mass die-offs of mammals, birds, fish… “No one’s sure what happened” — Gov’t wants Unusual Mortality Event declared — Samples “being tested for radionuclides from Fukushima” (PHOTOS & AUDIO)

KUSM broadcast here


FDA’s Proposal to Curb Mercury Fillings Was Secretly Overruled by Senior Government Officials

A much-needed proposal was hypocritically rejected, then buried—and this time it wasn’t the FDA’s fault.


Action Alert!

A recent news report revealed an FDA proposal from 2011 that would have told dentists to avoid using mercury fillings in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and people with mercury allergies, kidney diseases, and neurological problems. It also contained a more general alert to dentists asking them to consider alternatives to mercury fillings on all patients.

This proposal was generated after FDA officials reviewed scientific literature and, at a “town hall” meeting, heard from dental patients who described the health problems they experienced with mercury fillings.

Unfortunately, the FDA’s proposal was rejected by senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after a so-called cost-benefit analysis was performed. It was then hushed up. According to HHS, out-of-pocket costs to patients would triple if alternative fillings replaced mercury, and an Obama Administration official said the increased cost would disproportionately affect low-income Americans. We wonder if what they really meant was that it would cost Medicare and Medicaid—that is, the government itself—too much money?

Mercury fillings—also called amalgam fillings—are blends of mercury and other metal alloys like silver (for a long time, in a deliberate deception, dentists called them “silver fillings” to avoid the stigma attached to mercury). The fillings release very low levels of mercury vapor that patients inhale continuously. Patients with multiple fillings, of course, inhale more vapor. Certain activities, such as chewing, brushing, or drinking hot liquids, can increase the amount of vapor released.

Mercury is a Deadly Neurotoxin. When mercury gets into the central nervous system, it has a half-life of between fifteen and thirty years. Once it’s inhaled into the lungs, it enters the bloodstream and can accumulate in the kidneys, liver, and brain. The effects of exposure to mercury are devastating. Studies have shown mercury fillings to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmunity, kidney dysfunction, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, neurotransmitter imbalances, food allergies, multiple sclerosis, thyroid problems, and an impaired immune system. Mercury in the nervous system is especially harmful, causing all sorts of problems: tremors, insomnia, polyneuropathy, headaches, weakness, blurred vision, and more.

Public concern about the toxic effects of mercury has increasingly caused many dentists to turn to alternative fillings. But mercury fillings are still widely used by dentists serving some of our most disadvantaged populations—in the taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs, in the military, in prisons, and on Indian reservations.

HHS’s behind-the-scenes rejection of FDA’s proposal is especially inexcusable given the recent United Nations ban on mercury, both in the products themselves and in processes where mercury is released. If 140 countries can agree that mercury should be removed from consumer products, why is HHS adamant about keeping mercury in the mouths of poor people—while hypocritically expressing concern for those same poor people?

The proposed FDA warning didn’t even go very far. It includes numerous statements such as “there is no direct evidence of harm” from mercury fillings in the general population.

It should be noted that some of the alternatives to mercury fillings, such as composite fillings, are not without risks. We’ve previously reported that bisphenol-A (BPA)an endocrine disrupter linked with cancer, birth defects, and heart disease—can be found in some composite tooth fillings. There are no perfect options, but well-informed consumers should be able to make their own decisions.

That the proposed FDA warning, half-hearted as it was, remained secret for so long is especially worrisome. How much other information is being withheld from the public at the behest of special interests—or for other political reasons?

This story is also a reminder that even the FDA has overseers who exercise control over it. In this case, the agency tried to move in the right direction and was overruled by its political masters.

Action Alert!

Write to the Department of Health and Human Services and tell them how disappointed you are to learn that this warning from the FDA was rejected and then kept secret. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin and should be removed from all fillings to protect the health and safety of all Americans. Please send your message immediately.


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