Monday, March 31, 2008

Household Cleaners Can Cause Asthma

Who would have thought that cleaning your house could cause asthma-like symptoms and other hazards? One would think that ridding ourselves of the bacteria and other ickies that take safe harbour in our kitchens, bathrooms etc. would make for a cleaner healthier home. However, a whopping 44 products that we use to clean our abodes, contain a chemical called Monoethanolamine, which has proven to be a major irritant to both skin and lungs.

"May cause dermatitis by defatting the skin from prolonged or repeated
contact. Repeated or prolonged exposure may cause severe irritation of the nose, throat and lungs, as well as liver and kidney damage."

According to an article in Prevention Magazine, researchers discovered that those who use cleaners in spray or aerosol containers, once or more per week, were 50% more likely to develop asthma than those who didn't. While there isn't much research that supports this theory, there have been many research studies that have found that there is a definite link between occupational asthma and those who work in the janitorial and domestic cleaning field.

There is also some thought that the increase in childhood asthma could be a direct result of the asthma-inducing chemicals in our household cleaners and detergents.

Known Irritants:

Monoethanolamine (MEA), a surfactant found in some laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners and floor cleaners and is a known inducer of occupational asthma

Ammonium quaternary compounds, disinfectants found in some disinfectant sprays and toilet cleaners that have been identified as inducers of occupational asthma

Phthalates, carriers for fragrance in glass cleaners, deodorizers, laundry detergents and fabric softeners, and are linked to increased allergic symptoms and asthma in children


Pour liquid or powder cleaning products on a cloth or a sponge.
Buy less toxic cleaning products at your local health food store.

For a great list of healthier, do-it-yourself cleaning recipes, and other resources, click here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cell Phones Can Cause Hearing Loss

It seems that they're discovering more and more problems with long-term cell phone usage. This is particularly dismaying for those of us who have all but substituted our landlines for our cell phones. For some of us it has become an added appendage we're not readily willing to relinquish. I'll admit, I'm lost without mine, although I have ceased (at least I've tried to) chatting before bed, since I posted about pre-bed chatter adversely affecting the quality of our sleep. I'm not sure it has made much difference in my sleeping habits, but it certainly is worth the effort.

Now, they are claiming that yakking too much on your cell can significantly increase hearing loss. According to a research study in India of 50 landline and 100 cell phone users, those who chatted on their cells for more than an hour, on a daily basis for four plus years, had greater auditory damage than those who used landlines.


Cut down your cell phone usage.
Text message more.
Use a hands-free earpiece with volume control, and keep it low.

HatTip: Prevention Magazine

Friday, March 14, 2008

Nails in the fence: how anger can harm

I love this story. It illustrates, quite vividly, what happens when we allow anger to rule our lives.


There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. "

What most people don't realize is how harmful anger can be, both to one's own physical, mental and spiritual self, as well as to the recipients of that anger. There are times when anger can appropriately galvanize people into action: our anger about a particular situation (say Darfur, for example), might prompt us to try and do something about the problem, but uncontrolled anger has no place in our lives. If we want a life of peace and harmony. The thing to remember, as with all emotions, is that we might not have control over the onset of anger (annoying things happen) but we do have control over how long we allow those negative feelings to reside within us.

Make a choice to not let anger get the best of you. Acknowledge it and let it go. Communicate.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Keys to happiness: Help Us Remember

This is a lovely reminder for us all, to stop and take a moment to realize that in our harried, hurried, craze-filled days not everything is what it might seem to be. That it's better to take the high road: to be patient, tolerant, kind and loving, because you just never know, and in doing so you make your life much more joyful.
Help Us Remember

Heavenly Father,

Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

- Author Unknown

Saturday, March 1, 2008 - Feed The Poor And Learn

Want to increase your vocabulary while doing something charitable? Then check out, a wonderful website that donates 20 grains of rice to the U.N.'s World Food Programme for each word definition that you get right. is a non profit organization which is affiliated with the world poverty site: The free rice is provided through the sponsorship of advertisers. believes:

Learning new vocabulary has tremendous benefits. It can help you:

-Formulate your ideas better
-Write better papers, emails and business letters
-Speak more precisely and persuasively
-Comprehend more of what you read
-Read faster because you comprehend better
-Get better grades in high school, college and graduate school
-Score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT
-Perform better at job interviews and conferences
-Sell yourself, your services, and your products better
-Be more effective and
successful at your job

After you have done FreeRice for a couple of days, you may notice an odd phenomenon. Words that you have never consciously used before will begin to pop into your head while you are speaking or writing. You
will feel yourself using and knowing more words.

This is a great way to help end hunger while educating yourself and having fun, at the same time.

Go have fun and feed the hungry.