Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Friday

Today's triclosan article:

I found the overall tone of the information on wikipedia to be that the side effects of triclosan were not as bad as some people claim to be. I tried not to let this color my opinion and discount what the article said, as I am predisposed to have negative thoughts about triclosan's 'cost vs. benefits'.

As several of the residents at the facility where I work have developed MRSA infections due to frequent hospital stays, and the article stated triclosan was particularly effective in combating MRSA, I'm actually all for it in a health-care setting. And I think I posted the following example recently, although I am not sure: a co-worker sprayed (over-sprayed?) disinfectant at work one day and I had to wear a mask in order to keep my cookies down, if you get my meaning. It was hard to breathe.

Of course, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone with an account, but has built up credibility as a source of information over the years. They certainly were thorough in citing sources: 31 for this page.

is a simple one-sentence question and 1-2 paragraph answer, that any high-concentration of bleach should be handled as little as possible and only in a well-ventilated area.

The upshot is that my opinion about triclosan and bleach use in a home setting is not really much different today than it was yesterday. I would still prefer to (personally) use products that have as little to do with a laboratory and engineered products as possible, but part of the carnival assignment was learning more about the substances and one article on each (triclosan and bleach) this week seemed to be about right for me.


I came up with the following list for a set of basic natural household cleaners:
1 spray bottle
1 opaque spray bottle (to prevent breakdown of peroxide)
white vinegar
hydrogen peroxide
baking soda

All that should be easy enough to acquire on Monday when I get paid.


Here are some websites I found to aid in DS1's lessons:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Thursday

Today's article read on triclosan:

For me, the most interesting thing about this article was that they claim the American Medical Association (AMA) is against use of products containing triclosan in households. Reading this article at the AMA site suggested it would be better to avoid the use of household products in which triclosan is an ingredient, but qualified this statement by including that insufficient research data exists to draw a conclusion. It was interesting to me to note that this was the only article found by doing a search of the term triclosan at the AMA site. The information on household products was found on pp 4-5 of the article, and centered on questions of the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents such as triclosan and the possibility of increased antimicrobial resistance.

I also checked this article at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) site. It was 26 pages long, and no, I didn't read the whole thing. My eyes started to blur in front of all the scientific data. To me, the FDA's findings were not significantly different from that of the AMA. Mostly it seemed that people were not washing their hands long enough with whatever product to make much of a difference in the amount of bacteria left on their hands.

Even though we wore gloves when assisting residents with toileting and bathing at my job, I always washed my hands between each resident served and changed gloves at least once (things could get messy) with and/or in between people. I use the "ABC Song" method to time my handwashing. :O)


Today's article read on the effects of inhaling bleach:

The suggestions in this article included:
  • wearing protective gear (mask and/or gloves), especially when dealing with full-concentration bleach;
  • working in a well-ventilated area;
  • diluting the solution;
  • vinegar or lemon can help remove bleach that comes in contact with skin;
  • high concentrations (more than 500 ppm-which is way more concentrated than household bleach) can cause serious inhalation problems.

I don't know about y'all, but I want to go outside and breath some semi-fresh air, go wash my hands when I get back in and make sure I have the Poison Control Center toll-free number (1-800-222-1222) readily at hand!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Wednesday

OK. Here are the personal care products we use in the bathroom:

Aussie Cleanse & Mend shampoo
Suave Jumpin' Berry body wash (yeah, not just for the kids *lol*)
Listerine Total Care cinnamint mouthwash
Crest Whitening Expressions toothpaste - cinnamon rush flavor
Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash

While none of them list triclosan or bleach, the acne wash has something called "microclear technology" ... and it's got the color of most 'antibacterial soap', so it makes me wonder....

Here are the articles I found to be reading over the next 5 days on triclosan:

5 Articles on the effects of inhaling bleach:

Anyway, these particular articles were chosen randomly from the first page of a Google search result on the topics of "triclosan" and "effects of inhaling bleach". I'm just trying to increase my knowledge of the subjects in order to construct an informed opinion on whether or not to have them in my household, and if so, to what extent.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Cleaning Carnival - Week 1 - Tuesday

Ok. So I went to the Kitchen Stewardship blog site today, actually from a link in the email feed for another post, and was thrilled to find out that the Spring Cleaning Carnival (SCC) post was up! I read through the entire thing a couple of times, taking time to get the background from various links shown throughout the entry.

I went through our apartment at, oh, let's just say 'close' to midnight and found the following potential 'nasties':

  • Dawn antibacterial hand/dish soap
  • Mr. Clean w/Febreze multi-surface cleaning
  • DC Home Lemon Bleach
  • Febreze extra strength
  • Glade Powder Fresh room spray
  • GV Sheer Spring Laundry Detergent
  • GV Fresh Scent Color-Safe Bleach
(Please note I am not passing judgment on the above products. I mean, we've been using them to clean and disinfect, so they are apparently meeting a perceived need.)

The dish soap contained 'triclosan', one of the evil elements in question. Two of them contained the other - bleach. The remaining products (#2, 4, 5, and 6) did not list either triclosan nor bleach, but had the usual "touch or inhale this product and you can kiss your *ahem* life goodbye" warnings. To me that would mean, if there is a safer alternative, wouldn't that be a good idea? My dear husband (DH) and my dear son #2 (DS2) both suffer from sometimes horrendous allergies, so eliminating potential irritants is of great interest here.

And, I must confess, I have searched out "antibacterial" products in the past. *cringe-have mercy on me*

My level of action is a combination of "baby steps" and "making strides". Wholesale replacement is not a possibility for us right now, especially since I'm in the middle of an indefinite medical leave from my work due to on-the-job injury to my right arm. (Thank goodness computer use is not painful! *haha*)

Subscribing to the theory that it's not 'really' the new day until the sun comes up, I will say that on Monday, 3/22, I went through my family's pantry/cleaning products, identifying sources of triclosan and bleach.

For the rest of the week:

Tuesday 3/23 - go through our personal hygiene products etc (see the "sneaky sources" info at the Spring Cleaning Carnival post linked above)

Wednesday 3/24 - search a list of 5 articles on triclosan and/or bleach's effects on people, to be read one a day starting on Thursday 3/25 until Monday 3/29.

Thursday 3/25 - make a list of supplies needed to make homemade cleaning products (click on the link to see Kitchen Stewardship's (KS's) post on the subject).

Friday 3/26 - make a lesson plan for our DS1 (age 13) relative to his capabilities of understanding on the subject.

Saturday 3/27 - make a lesson plan for our DS2 (age 11) ...

Sunday 3/28 - make a lesson plan for our dear daughter DD-age 7 ...

Monday 3/29 - amass at least some of the supplies identified on 3/25 by repurposing or purchasing.

*breathe* . . . "Baby steps, baby steps"

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Went Away for a While . . .

...and now I'm back.

I'm starting a blog carnival hosted over at the Kitchen Stewardship blog starting *egads* tomorrow, and thought I'd better get back into the swing of things.

Quick recap - I work at a residential/teaching facility for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. At the end of January, I was injured (tendon damage in right elbow - can't lift much of anything w/o pain right now). I have worked about 1 week since that time; thank goodness for built-up sick and annual leave and worker's compensation. Last Thursday I finally went to a 'specialist', who put me off work for 3 more weeks. So, I should have lots of time for blogging, right?

I tried one of the 'making your own yeast/sourdough' recipes on the above-mentioned site, and it worked well, but I don't really have a big enough jar to keep it going on any sort of scale. I'll have to change that in the coming week.

Anyway, off until tomorrow and the carnival. YEEHAW!