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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Common Household Boogie-chems

Chemicals have become so much a part of our work and play that we dont' stop to think about their impact on our lives. Have you noticed that more people seem to have alergies? That more people has problems, etc. That wildlife isn't as abundant in neighborhoods? Chemical proliferation is as much a trend as nuclear proliferation in our modern world.

But we can do something about chemical proliferation. We can wean ourselves from unnecessary chemicals. We can prioritize. We can think about how those chemicals are affecting children and sensitive elders. We can think about how chemicals are absorbed into our food supply. And our groundwater. Then we can find alternatives. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking!

Hazardous Household Items

Healthier Alternatives

Cleaning Products

* Oven cleaners
* Drain cleaners
* Wood and metal cleaners and polishes
* Toilet cleaners
* Tub, tile, shower cleaners
* Bleach (laundry)
* Pool chemicals
Simple is better -- but might take a bit longer. Nature doesn't specialize in pristine -- and neither need we. A little dirt can add important nutrients, protection from the sun, etc. to our bodies. Fresh water is wonderful in many ways, and by using fresh, clean water for cleaning, we not only protect our own bodies, but our water table.

Indoor Pesticides

* Ant sprays and baits
* Cockroach sprays and baits
* Flea repellents and shampoo
* Bug sprays
* Houseplant insecticides
* Moth repellents
* Mouse and rat poisons and baits
Removal of food and moisture materials is the best prevention for unwanted pests. "Clean your plate" is good motherly advice in more ways than one! Then clean you closet, your car, your yard, etc. :-)

Automotive Products

* Motor oil
* Fuel additives
* Carburetor and fuel injection cleaners
* Air conditioning refrigerants
* Starter fluids
* Automotive batteries
* Transmission and brake fluid
* Antifreeze
While you can't go without automotive chemicals, you can limit the number of cars you own, and make sure the chemicals are changed in ecologically respectful ways. Don't drip. Don't flush. Don't pour chemicals into water drains, ditches, driveways or even lawns. They belong in hazardous waste recepticles.

Workshop/Painting Supplies

* Adhesives and glues
* Furniture strippers
* Oil- or enamel-based paint
* Stains and finishes
* Paint thinners and turpentine
* Paint strippers and removers
* Photographic chemicals
* Fixatives and other solvents
Don't we love our chemicals! Hobbies can be some of the most dangerous activities in our day -- if we rely on high energy equipment, strong chemicals, etc. How about using elbow grease, brainpower, and toejam as a low-tech alternative? :-)

Lawn and Garden Products

* Herbicides
* Insecticides
* Fungicides/wood preservatives
Lawns are home not only to children who love to roll and tumble and crawl around in the grass and dirt...but home to beautiful, essential butterflies, insects, earthworms, etc. who absorb all those chemicals we spray, douse and sprinkle on the lawn and garden. Try natural methods such as companion plantings, composting, hand picking unwanted insects and natural materials that weather nicely. These techiques can save you big bucks, too!


* Batteries
* Mercury thermostats or thermometers
* Fluorescent light bulbs
* Driveway sealer
It's everywhere! It's everywhere! Basic is better. The best innovation is the simplest -- not the most complicated. A child once told me he didn't like food with more than three ingredients -- good logic to apply to any helpful substance.

Other Flammable Products

* Propane tanks and other compressed gas cylinders
* Kerosene
* Home heating oil
* Diesel fuel
* Gas/oil mix
* Lighter fluid
Yes, George, we are addicted to oil. Cold turkey day needs to become a national holiday!