What is Fracking? 4 Facts You Should Know

woman with fire coming out of her kitchen tapWhat is fracking? Here’s the short answer: Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a drilling practice that calls for injecting millions of gallons of a toxic mixture of chemicals, water and sand into the earth in order to create enough pressure to cracks open rocks and release oil or natural gas.

And here’s what you need to know:

1. The nearly 600 chemicals used in fracking include known carcinogens such as benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene, among others, which can leach into drinking water. [Read more…]

Why You Should Care About Chemical Safety

capitol building with white clouds behind itAutism, ADHD, asthma and allergies — increasingly, they’re all being linked to chemicals in our environment. Babies are now born pre-polluted with more than 200 industrial chemicals in their blood, just from pre-natal exposure. How can that not have an effect?

Yet the manufacturing industry’s position remains firm, lobbying that regulating chemicals will hurt small businesses, leading to increased production costs and job losses.

As a result, there are still 84,000 chemicals used in commerce that have never been tested for children’s safety. They are supposed to be regulated by the Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TSCA) but it doesn’t have a lot to do with chemical safety.

Guess how many chemicals have been restricted since TSCA was passed in 1976? Five. Yes, you read that right. Five. But luckily, there are changes afoot. [Read more…]

Want a Natural Pregnancy? 12 Tips to Protect Your Baby for Life

little girl listening to her mom's natural pregnancy bellyGetting ready for baby—or pregnancy? Congratulations! Going green for your growing belly—or for when you bring that baby home—sounds good on paper, but is a natural pregnancy doable in reality? Yes! Here’s how:

1. Eat organic: The dangers of common pesticide exposure are equal to those of smoking during pregnancy: low birth weight and early labor. Studies have shown that eating organic for just five days can eliminate many of the pesticides—linked to cancer, among other health problems—in our bodies. Following the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists can reduce your family’s exposure by 80 percent. [Read more…]

Body by Vegan

alicia silverstone in short shorts and strawberry t-shirtA few years ago, a friend forwarded me a picture of Alicia Silverstone. The subject line was simple: body by vegan.

It got my attention. Because even though I try to exercise two or three times a week, there remains that stubborn five pounds of fat that took hold right below my belly button while I was pregnant and never came off.

Now I know that I’m active and healthy, and I knock wood daily for that. But there is a vain teenager inside of every woman. And on the day that my friend sent me Alicia Silverstone’s picture, that teen spoke up. I wanted to have a body by vegan. Desperately.

The photo-sending friend happens to be a vegan, mind you. And she also happens to be very thin, which may have less to do with the fact that she doesn’t eat animal products, and more to do with the fact that when you don’t eat animal products there is really very little that you can eat. Why live like that? [Read more…]

Green Cleaning in 3 Easy Steps

vinegar and sponges next to a red bucketWhen I was a kid, I knew the house was clean because it smelled like fake lemons and pine. But it may not have been as clean as my family thought: The EPA estimates that the air inside our homes can be as more polluted than the air outside, in part because of chemical cleaning products.

Indoor air pollution can lead to serious health problems like allergies and asthma; childhood asthma rates are now at epidemic levels, with more than seven million children affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s one in 10 kids. So I’ve spent the last few years replacing those  familiar from childhood with green cleaning products that I know are safer. [Read more…]

5 Tips to Fight Air Pollution—And Asthma

Close up photo of houseplant leavesThere’s nothing Southern California weather, with its nearly 300 days of sunshine. But here’s one teensy-tiny drawback to the cloudless skies and general lack of atmospheric commotion: The clearer and calmer the weather, the more we Angelenos hear the freeway. And the more we think about air pollution.

Now, some people aren’t bothered by the sound of the freeway. I have a friend who claims to simply imagine that she lives closer to the beach and is hearing the distant sound of crashing waves. She says the constant flow of freeway traffic noise is easily tuned out.

Except I can’t tune it out. I obsess over it. To me, the freeway noise that’s somehow magnified by the alley that runs alongside our back garden is the one significant flaw of my otherwise perfectly lovely house. It’s the reason I don’t like to sit outside in the back yard. It’s why I worry about contamination of the vegetables that we grow, and encourage my kids to play in front of the house.

[Read more…]