Help feed shelter dogs!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cleaner cleaners

I've always had quite a sensitive sense of smell, something that Rich calls my "dog nose". Because of my olfactory condition, I avoid anything that is heavily perfumed/scented. I don't wear perfume or buy air fresheners, etc. I do use scented candles but only in open spaces. I can't sit next to one without getting a headache.

Watson's illness really got me thinking about the environment within our house. Our cat, Crusty, died a month a half before him with a double-whammy of lung cancer and renal failure (like I said, it's been a tough couple of months). The vet said it was probably environmental exposure for Crusty. We adopted her when she was 10, so she could have lived most of her life with smokers, for example. Same with Watson; the cause of his lymphoma will always be a question for me. He was also around 9 or 10 years old when we adopted him, so who knows that he was exposed to before then.

I've always prided myself on a clean house and the way I achieved that was any number of commercial, over-the-counter cleaning sprays, solvents and liquids (all unscented, so I thought I was doing my environmental best). My recent mission has been to discard many of the cleaners I have always used - Windex, Pine-Sol, Fantastik - in favor of more natural and less toxic cleaners. My new favorite is method's window wash, with ingredients of rice alcohol, naturally derived surfactant, biodegradable solvent, fragrance oil blend (mint), color and purified water.

Winter is coming and now is the time of year that I tend to wash the windows, take out the screens, etc. I took a look at the Windex bottle and discovered that it doesn't list ingredients. A look on their web site says that "multiple household cleaning challenges require powerful multi-surface cleaners" -- how's that for marketing brain wash?? The web site also doesn't list what's actually in Windex, except to note the powerful cleaning effect of Ammonia-D(r).

So, what is Ammonia-D? A quick Google search led me nowhere except I noticed that alot of other people also were asking the same question. Is it ammonia with a bunch of other chemicals mixed in? If so, then what other chemicals? Further digging and I found the Material Safety Data Sheet for Windex. See page 3 of the MSDS sheet for Windex regarding toxicity and rats and rabbits. Blech. Out goes the Windex, never to be bought again.

I feel good that hopefully this is one less toxin that Waldo will have to breathe in. Pollutants tend to settle toward the floor, so I need to be conscious of that since he's only about 6 inches from the ground. I also found this article called "An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality" from the EPA that was interesting. It says, in part, that "Studies have found that levels of several organics average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels." Yuck. Open a window.

If all this talk has led you to want a drink, I also found that there is a "Windex shot" made of vodka, triple sec, and blue Crua├žao for color. Uh....Yum?

1 comment:

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

It's really scary isn't it...

Thanks for your comment over at my place - don't worry, I'm not going to hang myself just yet! I know just what you mean about the market - there are still a few places I haven't been to yet that will be very hard. I have replicated most of the walks I used to do with Prince, which was hell at first, but I've come to realise that the last thing he would want would be me walking around his favourite places with a miserable face.

I hope 'facing your emotions' isn't too hard. I'm sure it'll be tough - but I think it'll help in the longer term.