Please Hold the Chemicals

Chez Sven B&B

Today, I’m pleased once again to have Alexandra Grabbe as a guest poster. She runs the Chezsven Bed and Breakfast in Wellfleet, Mass., a green B&B and I’m proud to say is also a regular community member here at Living Large in Our Little House:

I run a green B&B and am very fortunate to have lots of guests who care about the environment.  Why fortunate?  We often pool our knowledge. I tell all my guests about Slow Death by Rubber Duck, whose authors set out to prove body burden exists.  The book made me understand what consumer products to avoid, and why.  Today Kerri asked me to share a few tips on how to eliminate toxic chemicals from our lives, a timely topic what with oil gushing from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico, and so very important as the Safe Chemicals Act comes before Congress.  Toxic chemicals are everywhere: in the air, in water, in the consumer products we use and the food we eat.  Installing a filter will bring immediate improvement in the quality of your water.  If you cannot afford the expensive type of filter, go with a simple PUR or Brita.  Unfortunately the installation of a filter will not be enough to protect you from all the synthetic chemicals that are now floating around in our environment.

Here’s how to fight back:

1)    Become better informed. Remember information is power.  Read Slow Death by Rubber Duck.  Share what you know with others.  Today, over breakfast, I was talking to a forty-something mother of two from Montreal, Canada.  She told me how her countrymen had been encouraged to stop eating wild fish, due to the plastic they now consume and the high levels of mercury.  Farm-raised fish were proposed as an alternative, one Canadians embraced.  Now, ten years later, the children of Canada are fatter than in previous generations.  Their mothers have realized farmed fish are chicken-fed. The chickens consume growth hormones.

2)    Learn to speak out and encourage green initiatives locally.  Suggest a shift to herbicide-free lawns.  If your town does not recycle, point to cities like Seattle, and ask why.  (This year recycling bins were placed on the pier here in Wellfleet. This was a great start.  But, today a guest asked why there were no recycling bins in the village center.  I intend to find out and make sure next summer the recycling bin initiative is extended to all areas tourists frequent.)

3)    Teach children to see beyond commercials.  In the 1970s, my kids listened to the record Free to Be You and Me.  One of the songs explained how housewives on TV look happy because they are actresses, paid to say how much they love the detergent or cleaner or yucky cereal that turns out to contain toxic substances.

4)    Read labels of cleaning products, food, and cosmetics.  Know which ingredients are bad for you. Eat as organic as possible. Be conscious of what you are putting in your body and on your skin.  The Environmental Working Group has a great database to help figure out cosmetics.

Finally, do your darnedest to get the Safe Chemicals Act passed.  Let your legislators know you really care about the environment, that you want it to be more than a talking point in their platform.  Support groups like EWG and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Toxic chemicals are unregulated and corporations are getting away with murder.  Let’s make them stop!

What have you done to eliminate chemicals from your life?

Living Large Readers: Next week, I will be running some fresh from the garden recipes. If you have any special recipes to share, please send them to me at by this Thursday, 7/29!

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10 Responses

  1. MarthaAndMe says:

    These are really important tips. I haven’t read the rubber ducky book and am going to look for it at the library next time I go

  2. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Great post and important. I sent it off to StumbleUpon.

  3. Mary Brown says:

    We are eliminating chemicals has we find other options to use. We did use a commercial deer repellent on the landscaping but, now use a home receipe of water, eggs and hot sauce which works great. We also had an annual problem with ants by the front porch and now successfully use cinnamon to keep them away. We change some household cleaning products and by some organic foods as well. We are trying to learn new and better ways to be earth friendly all the time.

  4. Alexandra says:

    That’s great, Kathleen. Yes, keep reading those labels. Heather, you are fortunate to live near Seattle, a great city. Ironically, I wasn’t a very good house cleaner, before starting a B&B, but that meant less exposure to toxic chemicals, so I guess it was a good thing, although my French ex complained all the time!

    Thanks, Kerri, for inviting me to guest post. Love your blog!

  5. Kathleen Winn says:

    I am glad to know about this pending legislation, Alexandra. I will definitely support it and encourage my representatives in Congress to get it passed. We’re moving to the country soon, and one of the things I’m looking forward to is raising as much of our own food as possible. I don’t trust product labels anymore. Even the word “organic” can be misleading. There is so much about commercial food production that I believe is kept from consumers, so we continue to buy things that aren’t good for us. Thanks for this important info- it’s time consumers demand that our environment be protected and our food supply safe.

  6. Heather says:

    I live in Tacoma, which is very close to Seattle so thank you for mentioning us. And we do recycle as much as we possibly can.

    I rarely clean house, so that’s how I avoid cleaning chemicals.