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Organic Versus Chemical

Organic Versus Chemical

By Clifford Woods

The world, for almost the past two decades, has become highly aware and concerned about health and environmental issues. Though people were concerned about such issues earlier as well, they definitely lacked the means of raising their voice in this regard. With social media becoming one of the most influential tools in educating people, the advocates of organic have become very active in this dominion and quite rightly so, because there is no reason to doubt the accessibility and effectiveness of this medium.

So, what exactly is it about this organic food?

Organic Versus Chemical

Well, in the simplest scientific explanation, any food substances that are carbon based, which are known to be the basic building block of life, are referred as being organic. Many carbon compounds that are human-made, or synthetic are organic compounds too. Plastics are organic, and so are most synthetic wonder drugs, as far as chemists are concerned.

So a Chemist would even say most of the synthetic fertilizers, the ones that “organic” gardeners don’t use, are organic too. This is because synthetic fertilizers are made of molecules that are made of mostly carbon atoms. By this definition, almost everything that we consume as food is technically organic.
However, it is the agricultural context of food consumables that differentiates organic from inorganic or chemical produce.

Organic food must not contain synthetic chemicals at all, starting right from the ground level, as early as a farmer preparing his fields for cultivation of any kind. He needs to stay away from using in his soil any petroleum based fertilizers or any other material that is chemically altered. To make it easily understandable, compost and manure are to be resorted to as natural fertilizers, but Miracle-Gro is to be totally avoided.

As a matter of fact, the use of chemicals is unacceptable even for disease and pest control. When treatment is needed, the farmer is expected to treat the crops with insecticidal soap as well as Neem oil, but the store-brought chemical based sprays are prohibited when it comes to organic.

Organic food has to be all natural and totally free of any kind of genetic alteration. Instead of achieving the desired results through unnatural ways, organic produce requires resorting to conventional hand pollination and selective breeding procedures.

The GMO foods (genetically modified) are known to have gone through some tempering at a genetic level. For example, in order to produce higher yields or making the crops drought resistant, the genetics of GMO food products are tempered with, which makes it devoid of organic certification.

As a matter of fact, it is not only about how organic produce is farmed; one also needs to make sure that organic food does not come into contact with non-organic food. For that, one also needs to ensure separate packaging and shipment of organic food, avoiding any contact with any types of chemical ingredients at any level. People advocating organic produce not only recommend it for its chemical free nature, but they also deem it as more nutritious and tasty, as also backed up by the results of several studies and researches taken in this regard.

For instance, a study conducted at the Newcastle University, United Kingdom reported a boast of about 40% in various nutrients (such as zinc, iron, as well as vitamin C) in organic produce compared to inorganic produce.

Though there is ample room of further research in the domain of organic versus chemical, one cannot deny various health benefits resulting from following natural ways and staying away from chemicals and any genetic modifications.

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Clifford WoodsClifford Woods is the CEO of Effective Environmental Services and Organic Environmental Technology
We brew Beneficial Microorganisms that eat toxins and offer Natural Organic Solutions.

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The Truth About Air Fresheners

The Truth About Air Fresheners

By Clifford Woods

Do you buy air fresheners for your home or office? Hard to believe that something so small that smells so nice has ingredients in it that are actually dangerous chemicals. Chemicals that you, your family or your co-workers breath in on a daily basis. And to make it worse, there are no labeling requirements to warn you and even “natural” products can contain toxic chemicals.

the truth about air fresheners

It is virtually impossible for the average consumer to know which products may pose a risk or not.

These chemicals in air fresheners have been found to be toxic to humans and these chemicals have been recently investigated for their safety. Investigations concluded that these substances may cause or increase health problems. Air fresheners that are natural and healthy are now being used as alternatives in order to minimize health hazards and environmental pollution.

Basic Ingredients in air fresheners are:

  1. Phthalates
  2. Formaldehyde
  3. Petroleum distillates
  4. DCBs

1. Phthalates are known as “endocrine disruptors” because they mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage.

Toxic phthalates found in some air fresheners:

  • Diethyl Phthalate (DEP): May cause damage to the liver and central nervous system.
  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): May cause damage to the liver and central nervous system.
  • Diisobutyl Phthalate (DIBP): May be harmful if inhaled. May cause respiratory tract irritation.
  • Dimethyl Phthalate (DMP): The substance is toxic to the nervous system.
  • Diisohexyl Phthalate (DIHP): The available studies demonstrate significant effects on the male reproductive organs and developmental effects.2. Formaldehyde (CH2O) Nasal cancer, respiratory tract irritation; reproductive disorders, asthma, dermatitis; multiple organ damage.

2. Formaldehyde (CH2O) Nasal cancer, respiratory tract irritation; reproductive disorders, asthma, dermatitis; multiple organ damage.

3. Petroleum distillates (PDs) – can affect the nervous system causing headache, dizziness, nausea, and loss of balance and coordination. If inhaled – can irritate the nose, throat and lungs. Petroleum Distillates are on the Right to Know Hazardous Substance List because they are cited by OSHA, DOT, NIOSH and IARC. This chemical is on the Special Health Hazard Substance List.

4. Dichlorobenzene (DCBs) – there are three forms of dichlorobenzene. These chemicals are man-made and do not occur in nature.

1,2-Dichlorobenzene, 1,3-Dichlorobenzene, 1,4-Dichlorobenzene

  • 1,2-Dichlorobenzene- This substance is toxic to kidneys, liver, mucous membranes.
  • 1,3-Dichlorobenzene- Very little is known about the human health effects of this substance.
  • 1,4-Dichlorobenzene- This substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated or prolonged inhalation of dust may lead to chronic respiratory irritation.

Some Helpful Tips

1. Read the labels and you may be able to identify phthalates in some products by their chemical names or abbreviations: (DEP)(DBP)(DIBP)(DIHP)

  • DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes, cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions.
  • DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics, including some medical devices.
  • BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and personal care products.

Be wary of the term “fragrance,” which is used to with a combination of compounds, possibly including phthatates, which are a subject of recent concern because of studies showing they can mimic certain hormones.

Preventative Measures

Ventilation: Good ventilation systems reduce the need for air fresheners by stopping the need to cover up odors and naturally eliminate unpleasant odors. Air fresheners cannot substitute for adequate ventilation.

Use Natural and Safe Air Freshener: Alternatives: many products are available that offer healthy alternatives to commercial air fresheners.

  • Organic Odor Control
  • organic soy and beeswax candles
  • natural potpourri
  • fresh flowers or herbs
  • natural essential oils
  • baking soda

Businesses that are looking to find non-toxic air fresheners should investigate available products to ensure not only their own health but also the health of their employees.

the truth about air fresheners

References:

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Science Lab
Sigma Aldrich
ECHA – European Chemicals Agency
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): Formaldehyde
Refuels Recycling Contaminated Fuels
State of New Jersey


Clifford WoodsClifford Woods is the CEO of Effective Environmental Services
and Organic Environmental Technology.
We brew Beneficial Microorganisms that eat toxins and offer Natural Organic Solutions

All Purpose Cleaners

All Purpose Cleaners

By Clifford Woods

All purpose cleaners are soaps and detergents that are multi-purpose. This means that they can be used for various cleaning duties, such as cleaning surfaces and appliances at the same time.

All Purpose Cleaners

While these all purpose cleaners are convenient, they have also come under massive disapproval due to their high toxic content. Many contain hazardous chemicals and in a bid to keep our homes clean, we are also filling them with lots of harmful toxins. Though the law requires products to list their ingredients, what they do not indicate is the amount of toxicity you get by using these detergents.

It is therefore, up to us to ensure that we know what products to use and avoid.

Some of ingredients to avoid are:

  • Petroleum solvents: Commonly found in oil-based paint, paint thinner, spot remover, gasoline, kerosene, and lubricating oil. This solvent can damage the mucous membranes and exposures to paint and solvents have been suggested as potential risk factors of childhood leukaemia.
  • Phenols: Phenols are both naturally occurring chemicals and are manufactured by man. ‘Phenol’ is the name of the simplest member of the family of chemicals of that generic name. Pure phenol is a color-less or white crystalline solid with a powerful sickly sweet antiseptic odor. Commonly found in disinfectants. Excessive exposure to phenol may cause health effects on the brain, digestive system, eye, heart, kidney, liver, lung, peripheral nerve, skin and the unborn child. Phenol may also cause genetic damage.
  • Diethylene glycol: Is a colorless, practically odorless, poisonous liquid with a sweetish taste commonly found in window cleaners, Diethylene glycol is toxic to the nervous system and has resulted in numerous epidemics of poisoning since the early 20th century.
  • Perchloroethylene (Perc): This is a colorless, nonflammable liquid and another toxic chemical to avoid. It has been associated with liver and kidney damage as well as cancer. It is most popular in spot removers dry cleaning fluid and shoe polish.
  •  Chlorinated phenols: Chlorinated phenols are believed to be almost entirely man-made in origin. These phenols are harmful to the circulatory and nervous system and are more toxic to aquatic life.
  • Butoxyethanol also called Butyl cellosolve: This is a colorless liquid with a sweet, ether-like odor. It is a common chemical in the all-purpose cleaners. It’s quite toxic and has been known to damage the liver, kidneys, bone marrow and the nervous system amongst others.

Unfortunately, we cannot list all of the ingredients to steer clear of here as the list is far too long but we can suggest a better way forward, which is using the organic or non-toxic cleaners.

Buying Non Toxic Detergents

There are many non-toxic detergents on the market and the good thing about these is that they are made using plant based and organic ingredients. This means that they are not only great for cleaning your home, but also do not harm your family or pets. They also do not become toxic when they interact with your sewage system or septic and you can rest assured knowing that you are not generating toxic fumes while cleaning the home.

Non Toxic Home Substitutes
There are also ways you can keep your home safe from toxins without spending much on commercial all purpose detergents. This obviously depends on the cleaning duty you are undertaking. Great cleaning substitutes you can easily source from your pantry include:

  1. Baking soda: This is one of the best multi cleaning products you can have in a home. It’s great for scouring and is a great deodorizer as well.
  2. White vinegar: Vinegar can help you remove wax build up, grease, mildew, odors and certain stains.
  3. Lemon juice: Lemon contains strong acids that are effective in cutting grease and disinfecting as well.
  4. Borax: Borax not only cleans, it deodorizes, disinfects and softens water as well.
  5. Plain soap: Plain soap consists of water, oil and alkali and has no synthetic additives, making it a great all purpose cleaning agent.
  6. Cornstarch: Cornstarch acts as a great shampoo for rugs, carpets, and windows and can be used as a furniture polisher as well.

As you can see, there are simple ways to keep your home clean and toxic free either with manufactured cleaning agents or non toxic all purpose cleaner substitutes.


Clifford Woods is the CEO of Effective Environmental Services and Organic Environmental Technology

Find out more about our Organic Cleaner

We brew Beneficial Microorganisms that eat toxins and offer Environmentally Friendly products

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