1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

June 3, 2008

:155 Air Fresheners

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:155 EcoTip: Air fresheners may contain very toxic chemicals. They are best avoided. Healthy homes don’t need air fresheners. Instead of covering up odors first look for the source.

Once the source of your odor problems has been identified try to eliminate the source. If the problem is a temporary one like from smelly food or bathroom visits – you can increase the ventilation or use a safer deodorizer.

Natural deodorizers will be tomorrow’s topic

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :149

The following quote about fragrances is from my co-authored book Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders and Homeowners The 3rd edition was released earlier this month.

In the days before “better living through chemistry,” fragrances were made from flowers. Now approximately 95 percent of all ingredients used by the fragrance industry are synthetic. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, about 4,000 petroleum derived chemicals are used in fragrances. These include toluene, formaldehyde, acetone, benzene derivatives, methylene chloride, phenyl, ethyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, and benzyl acetate. A single fragrance can contain as many as 600 different chemicals.

In a 1988 study, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health identified 884 toxic substances in a partial list of 2,983 chemicals now being used by the fragrance industry. Many of these substances are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, reproductive disorders, and skin irritation. According to the National Academy of Sciences, there is minimal or no data on toxicity for 84 percent of the ingredients found in fragrances. Currently there is no agency regulating the fragrance industry. The FDA is aware of the serious nature of the problem but is unable to undertake the astronomical expense of testing each of the chemicals found in fragrances. Without such testing, the FDA would be subject to lawsuits by manufacturers if fragrances were banned. Thus, as is often the case, the onus falls on the consumer to make informed choices.

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February 26, 2008

:057 MTBE in Gas

Filed under: :057 MTBE in Gas — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

U.S. Production of Ethanol and MTBE, 1993-2002 Credit: US Dept of Energy

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:057 Tip: MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a gasoline additive that has been turning up in various water supplies. Of course gasoline contamination of any kind is a problem, but MTBE is long lasting and water soluble so it is presenting a number of additional environmental issues. Fortunately ethanol (alcohol) is an additive that can perform the same oxygenation function as MTBE without the same consequences to the environment. Alcohol is used in concentrations of up to 10% in gasoline to improve the burning characteristics and cut down on pollution (over 10% requires specially modified vehicles). Alcohol also will remove condensation moisture from gasoline (its the same thing that you purchase in many gasoline additives for removing water from your tank).

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Additional Information

You can get more information about MTBE in gasoline and the problems it causes from the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/gas.htm

I have heard that all gasoline in Califoria and New York now contains alcohol and no MTBE, but I am still working to confirm that. Every Union 76 station I have visited has had a sticker saying the gasoline may contain up to 10% ethanol.

I suspect that other states are also labeling their pumps.

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