Latest posts in Queen of Green

One thing you can do for fragrance-sensitive people

September 27, 2016 | 1 comment
Photo: One thing you can do for fragrance-sensitive people

It's hard to comprehend how we suffer, because environmental sensitivities are a poorly understood medical condition.

Believe us!

I get scent headaches. They hurt, make me irritable and make it difficult for me to concentrate. Often, I have to flee the area—or person. I'm lucky all I get is a headache. And I'm grateful for a scent-free workplace and home.

Many suffer much worse from toxic chemicals in synthetic fragrances. They can't find a safe place to live (e.g., free from laundry scents), have quit their jobs, and can't ride in a bus or elevator or new car, take a plane, use a new laptop, or enjoy a movie in the theatre.

It's hard to comprehend how we suffer, because environmental sensitivities are a poorly understood medical condition. They're complex and not easily defined. And the causes, symptoms and triggers vary from person to person. Three per cent of the Canadian population suffers.

Did you know that environmental sensitivities are considered a disability in Canada (PDF) as well as the U.S. under the Americans with Disabilities Act? And employers (but unfortunately not neighbours) are asked to show reasonable accommodation.

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Avoid colourful home cleaners

September 21, 2016 | Leave a comment
Photo: Avoid colourful home cleaners

Colourful cleaners don't work any better. (Credit: Michael Porter via Flickr)

Unfortunately, in Canada, there is no legal requirement for manufacturers to disclose all ingredients and hazards in household cleaning products. What's a person to do?

Avoid dyes. (Or, make your own cleaners.)

Manufacturers add dyes to cleaners for two reasons (as far as I can tell):

  1. For looks (marketing and branding at work!)
  2. To see where you've sprayed

And, they're inexpensive. But they are unnecessary to the cleaning function of the product.

Dyes are found in most types of home cleaners. But they are often derived from petrochemicals, and may be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead.

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How to make lip balm

September 17, 2016 | 2 comments
Photo: How to make lip balm

Make lip balm with shea butter, beeswax, avocado oil and then store in compostable paper tubes! (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Pucker up!

Make your own lip balm—something many of us use daily. This simple, effective recipe contains no toxic chemicals, so it's healthy for your skin AND the planet.

Lip balm recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately six months

5 ml (1 tsp) organic, fair trade shea butter or cocoa butter
15 ml (1 Tbsp) avocado oil
15 ml (1 Tbsp) local beeswax (grated or pastilles) or soy wax
Optional: 5 drops essential oil (e.g., peppermint, lime or grapefruit) and/or 1 drop Vitamin E oil.

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How to make dry shampoo (that's also body, baby and shoe powder)

August 30, 2016 | 2 comments
Photo: How to make dry shampoo (that's also body, baby and shoe powder)

Sprinkle this recipe onto your hair, massage into your scalp and brush it through. (Credit: Shannon Ruth Dionne Photography)

Before you could buy dry shampoo, many people used baby powder. But that contains talc and fragrance...

Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance) is one of our Dirty Dozen ingredients to avoid. It's any mixture of smelly ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics. And they stink!

Talc is a made of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Once it also contained asbestos! It has two human health concerns:

The good news? You don't need either!

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How to make non-toxic dog shampoo

August 22, 2016 | 6 comments
Photo: How to make non-toxic dog shampoo

Store bought pet products are loaded with toxic ingredients like parabens, SLS/SLES, and fragrance. (Credit: Laura Milne)

You read ingredient lists on personal care products to avoid the Dirty Dozen. But parabens, SLS/SLES and fragrance also lurk in pet products — from shampoo to ear wash and tooth gel.

Shop smarter. Avoid ingredients which may cause cancer, interfere with hormone function and harm fish and other wildlife.

Next time your dog rolls in it make dog shampoo:

Dog shampoo recipe

Time needed: five minutes
Shelf life: approximately one month

177 ml (¾ cup) water
60 ml (¼ cup) liquid castile soap
15 ml (1 tbsp) aloe gel (optional)
5 to 10 drops essential oil (optional) Try any combination of anti-flea essential oils including rosemary, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, spearmint and citronella.

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