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Toxic Soup Consumerism

February 21, 2010

We live in an ecovillage where all the waste water including sewerage goes to a central waste water treatment plant. The water is treated using a system of filters and bacteria before it is sent back for use on our gardens – so called “grey water”.

This week, all the residents received a bright orange laminated card with all the information about what we should and shouldn’t be flushing down our drains. Basically, all those toxic cleaning products that we grew up with: bleach, domestos, napisan, etc. destroy the water treatment system here by killing the good bugs that break down the waste and clean up our water for us.

The notice was an important reminder but kind of funny for me as I don’t think I’ve ever used toxic cleaning products since reaching adulthood and independence. I grew up with all the chemicals: Mr Sheen, Pine-o-cleen, Domestos, Windex, Spray ‘n Wipe, you name it, we had it. Funny that I still remember all the brand names and even the smells of those products even though I haven’t been around them for 25 years or so.

To me, all those products are just consumerism and marketing and they’re pretty much all rubbish. Not just rubbish actually, but toxic chemical soups that we should all be avoiding. It’s not just that they are manufactured from fossil fuels, it’s not just that there is a lot of carbon energy that goes into manufacturing, packaging, distributing and selling them, it’s not just that they further pollute the environment through the waterways and landfills, it’s not just that they are bad bad bad for our health, it’s also that they are a bloody waste of money and WE DON’T NEED THEM!!! Wake up everyone, they are purely consumerism and they are poisoning you.

Did you know that bleach doesn’t kill mould, it only makes it colourless? Mould is one of the most toxic subtances and after you’ve used Domestos, White King and Shower Power in your bathrooms and toilets, the mould continues to release its toxic little spores into the air – you just can’t see it anymore! My friend in Perth is a Tenancy Advocate – she goes to court to support and advocate for tenants who are in dispute with their landlords. They are often lower income and disadvantaged people living in sub-standard housing and being overcharged (particularly since the mining boom in WA sent rents sky-rocketing). Mould is a frequent issue (landlords refusing to deal with rising damp for example) and a mould expert is sometimes called in. My friend told me about the evidence he presented to court demonstrating that bleach only bleaches mould and doesn’t kill it.

You know what kills mould? VINEGAR! simple, cheap, white cleaning vinegar. You can buy it in the cleaning section at Woolies. It also makes a wonderful rinse for the clothes in the washing machine. I put it in the rinse cup and add a bit of eucalyptus oil. Vinegar is a great de-greaser and it helps to remove the soap residues from the wash during the rinse cycle. As for the rest of the house? Steam cleaning with a mop, micro-fibre cloths, bicarb soda in the bathroom and Enjo gloves for scum. Et voila! A clean house that is chemical free. I use environmentally friendly dishwashing detergent (Eco Store) and clothes washing liquid. Also, did you know that Lavender oil is a fantastic anti-bacterial? I’ve heard it’s even used in some French hospitals instead of chemical disinfectants.

So next time you start to get sucked in by clever advertising that preys on your fears and senses, think about it: do you really need that chemical cleaning product polluting your air, getting into your blood stream and organs, polluting your water? It’s not just about the environment, it’s about survival – yours, your children’s and the planet’s.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 22, 2010 11:18 am

    Well said Filippa!
    Thanks for a great post. Why earth do people use all of those chemical products when all they need is vinegar!?

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