Tag Archives: Green at Home

Can You Fit Natural Products in Your Budget?

Can You Fit Natural Products in Your Budget? Emma Rohmann
Emma Rohmann

Emma Rohmann
Green at Home


Emma Rohmann is a mom of 2, environmental engineer, and environmental health expert who helps families create healthier, greener homes simply.

Age: 34

 

Skin Type: Combination

Hair Type: Curly, dry (and red!)

Skin Concerns: None

Values: I prefer locally-made, small-batch products. Reduced packaging is an added bonus.

Can You Fit Natural Products in Your Budget? Emma Rohmann

The number one struggle I hear from members of my Green Product Forum about making the switch to healthier, greener, more natural products is time and money. OK, that’s two struggles. But they are more often than not connected.

It’s not surprising. Green products are notoriously more expensive than their conventional counterparts, at least when comparing the initial price tag in the store.

And trying to find healthier, greener products that actually get the job done? That’s not only a time suck, but also another money problem.

So what’s a time- and money-strapped, health- or eco-conscious consumer to do?

Start with your mindset.

Take a look at where you’re spending your money over a two to four week period. What are you prioritizing? What have you decided (unconsciously or not) is worth spending your hard-earned dollars on?

Now, decide how important it is to you to reduce your exposure to toxics, choose products that will last, or support a local business.

Is there a disconnect between where you’re spending your money now?

Chances are, there are at least some areas you can reassess in your budget. Take-out coffee, lunches or dinners. Impulse buys. Replacing a cheap gadget with another cheap gadget that will likely break after a few months. Even a utility bill that’s higher than it needs to be because you keep your home too warm or too cool depending on the season. These are all choices you make, just like the choice to invest in healthier products or not.

And it doesn’t have to mean you “give up” something. It can simply be a shift in the way you make choices.

Taking a holistic look at your expenses can help you understand whether there is room for some healthier choices. Sometimes it might take a little shuffling and effort, but if it’s really important to you, you can make it happen.

Afterall, you make those pumpkin spice lattes, Uber rides, take-out orders, or other simple luxuries happen. They all bring you joy, save time, or reduce frustration. That’s why you’re willing to invest in those things. Now you have to decide if you’re willing to invest in your health too.

Once you decide what’s important to you, then you can reassess how you spend your money. And if you truly want to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals in your home, it is doable on a budget.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start making the shift on a budget:

  • Natural products often go further. I find that well-made products last longer than conventional brands – whether it be body care or housewares. So while the upfront cost may be more, you won’t have to replace them as frequently (just be sure to check the best before date on body care, as the preservatives aren’t as strong so shelf lives are often shorter).
  • Healthy products might reduce your medical bills. The ingredients in every day products are impacting our health. That is no secret. You might not be directly affected, or you could be severely impacted. Choosing natural products can help reduce symptoms and medical bills. That’s not a guarantee, but it is a potentially significant cost consideration. Especially if you suffer from asthma, autoimmune disease, or hormone imbalance.
  • Making is cheaper than buying. I’m the first to admit that I am not a DIYer. But I make my own cleaners (I make these 5 household cleaners in 5 minutes once I have the ingredients), lip balm, body butter, and sugar scrub. They’re incredibly simple and are much more cost effective than store-bought.
  • Try before you buy. If you have a friend who has gone down this path before you, bring some containers over to her house and test some of her products. Or ask the community in my Green Product Forum for recommendations. If you tailor your shopping list, it will be much easier to find replacements.
  • Buy less. If you’re investing in well-made products with a higher price tag, it can help you simplify and focus your efforts on fewer products overall. This will help reduce clutter, stress, as well as your expenses.

I hope this helps you with the initial mindset hurdle that many associate with choosing green products. Know that you’re not alone, but also that it is totally doable if you decide it’s important.

If you’re ready to take serious action, and want some support, accountability, and meaningful ideas, sign up for my newsletter and get all this delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

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What’s in Fragrance and Parfum

Yellow Field What's in Fragrance and Parfum
Emma Rohmann

Emma Rohmann
Green at Home


Emma Rohmann is a mom of 2, environmental engineer, and environmental health expert who helps families create healthier, greener homes simply.

Age: 34

 

Skin Type: Combination

Hair Type: Curly, dry (and red!)

Skin Concerns: None

Values: I prefer locally-made, small-batch products. Reduced packaging is an added bonus.

Yellow Field What's in Fragrance and Parfum

HINT: Mountain air and meadow flowers are not actually used in your air freshener.

We’ve been sold on the idea of a clean smell. So we use air fresheners, room sprays, plug-ins, candles and dryer sheets to add fragrance to our home. But the ingredients used to create those “Mountain Fresh”, “Spring Meadow”, and “Lavender Vanilla” scents are not as natural as their names imply. Instead, conventional fragrances are created with synthetic chemicals, some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, hormone disrupters, and asthma or allergy-inducing chemicals.

Commercials even suggest that we can leave a month’s worth of take-out containers and old gym bags in a car – but it’s OK, because there’s a product that can cover up the smell. How did we get to a place where this sounds reasonable?!

What We Know

I tried to find what ingredients make up a “fragrance” or “parfum” in common household products. On Proctor and Gamble’s website (manufacturer of products such as Swiffer, Pampers, and Tide), there’s a document with 19 pages of chemical names that are used as potential fragrance ingredients. Spot checking this list, I found hormone disruptors, potential carcinogens, and allergens.

While present in small quantities, chemical fragrance often includes phthalates to help make them last longer and dissipate the scent into the air. Phthalates are a group of chemicals also found in PVC (like shower curtains and medical tubing) and some soft plastic children’s toys. In high doses, phthalates have been found to cause cancer and fertility problems in animal studies. The Canadian Cancer Society also reports a connection with hormone disruption.

In addition, synthetic musk compounds, which are found in fragrances of common household items, are persistent environmental toxins (classified by Environment Canada), and are showing up in fish and sediments in the Great Lakes.

To make things more complex, “scent-free” or “sensitive skin” on a product doesn’t necessarily mean it’s free from fragrance. Because of the other chemicals in conventional products, some fragrance is needed so the product smells scent-free. Note that essential oils are commonly used in “natural” and DIY recipes. These are more natural than chemical fragrance ingredients, but can also trigger allergies. Consider foregoing them too, or choose high quality organic brands and always test them first for allergies and sensitivities.

What We Don’t Know

According to Ecoholic’s Adria Vasil, of the 80,000 chemicals on the market for personal care products, only 7% have received toxicological testing. Obviously no company wants to release a product that causes noticeable reactions or harm, but there are less obvious impacts that take more time to show up.

Very little is known about how these chemicals interact with each other. But scientists are finding that, especially with hormone disrupting chemicals, even the low doses in our household products are enough to cause health concerns. We also often don’t learn of ecological impacts until it’s too late (like triclosan and microbeads).

What You Can Do

Many employers are starting to adopt a scent-free policy to promote a healthier work environment and help those with allergies. Even if you don’t have known allergies, consider doing the same in your home to help avoid the potential problems with chemical fragrances. Help reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals by avoiding any product with undisclosed fragrance ingredients. These can be hiding in air fresheners (sprays, plugins, and candles), personal care products, cleaners, and laundry detergent. Train yourself to read labels – look on all sides of the package and go beyond the marketing hype.

Have you gone scent-free? What have been your challenges or wins?

Read the original post here!

How to Detox Your Bathroom

How to Detox Your Bathroom Emma Rohmann
Emma Rohmann

Emma Rohmann
Green at Home


Emma Rohmann is a mom of 2, environmental engineer, and environmental health expert who helps families create healthier, greener homes simply.

Age: 34

 

Skin Type: Combination

Hair Type: Curly, dry (and red!)

Skin Concerns: None

Values: I prefer locally-made, small-batch products. Reduced packaging is an added bonus.

How to Detox Your Bathroom Emma Rohmann

A couple of weeks ago, I shared 3 steps to help you avoid overwhelm when making green changes in your home. Over the next few blogs, I’ll be diving into more specific strategies for every room in your home, with a focus on reducing toxic chemicals.

Why am I focusing on detoxing your home? Because so much of what we bring into our homes is being shown to affect our health – from hormone issues to asthma and allergies, the science is substantial. This is why I think detoxing a great place for you to start if you’re struggling to figure out where to start on your health and wellness journey!

Last week on the blog, I covered the basics of how chemicals in our homes affect our health. Today, I will show you how you can apply my 3 strategies to overcome overwhelm and detox your bathroom starting today.

Getting Started

Your bathroom is a great place to start with a home detox because it’s relatively easy to stay focused. You’re really looking at one category of products to detox – personal care products. Now, looking back at my 3 steps to overcome overwhelm, step one is to identify what’s important to you. With personal care products, this could be anything from reducing asthma or eczema symptoms to switching to natural products for baby to avoiding hormone disruptors or carcinogens. Put some thought into what’s important to you, because it will make it a lot easier to make a change if it’s something you care about.

Reading Labels

Next, you want to focus on one thing to change that will get you closer to your goal. This could mean looking at what’s in your shower, make-up bag, or baby care products for example. Read the ingredients on products only in the one area you’re focusing on and determine if there are any you want to switch out.

There are some tools you can use to help, like the Dirty Dozen cosmetic ingredients to avoid, or apps like Think Dirty or online databases like EWG’s Skin Deep.

Switching Out

Replacing all your products at once is not only daunting, but just not feasible in many cases. This is why it’s so important to focus on a small category of products first. Once you know which products you want to replace, make a plan to find replacements. Don’t forget the option to not replace something! Take stock of what you actually use and need and decide if there’s something you can just stop using altogether.

When you’re ready to replace, you can take a trip to your local health food store or pop into the Green Product Forum for starters. You can also check out PurPick’s product review site too.

Rinse and Repeat

When you’ve got your first batch of products detoxed, move onto the next category and follow the same process.

This doesn’t have to be time consuming, but it does require some thought and focus. The great news is that once you go through the process once and find products you like, you can just keep buying them – no extra effort required!

It’s Not All Money

This is just one way to start your detox. There are other strategies that don’t cost anything at all but can help you detox your bathroom. And I make sure to share lots of these free tips in my upcoming online program, Your Healthy Home. Not only will I walk you through exactly how to choose which products to focus on, how to read the labels effectively (and simply), what products to replace them with, and where to find them, but I will also share the free and easy strategies you can do right away.

If you’re ready to take your health into your hands, and truly create a healthier home, I would love to help you! Join me for my online program, Your Healthy Home. Join the waitlist to be the first to learn more here.

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How to Detox Your Cosmetics: Getting Rid of What you Have

How to Detox your Cosmetics Emma Rohmann
Emma Rohmann

Emma Rohmann
Green at Home


Emma Rohmann is a mom of 2, environmental engineer, and environmental health expert who helps families create healthier, greener homes simply.

Age: 34

 

Skin Type: Combination

Hair Type: Curly, dry (and red!)

Skin Concerns: None

Values: I prefer locally-made, small-batch products. Reduced packaging is an added bonus.

How to Detox your Cosmetics Emma Rohmann

So you’re ready to ditch your conventional cosmetics, toiletries and body care products. Maybe you’re sick of the eczema, or allergies, or headaches that many people get from products with synthetic fragrances. Or maybe you want to stop contributing to water pollution. Perhaps you are now aware of the carcinogens and hormone disruptors in every-day products. Whatever your reason, you’ve made the choice to detox your toiletries.

Great, you say. Now what?

I hear lots of people who want to make the switch, but then get stuck on making the first step. Often, it’s because you’ve got a closet and make-up bag full of products that you don’t want to use any more, and throwing them all in the trash just doesn’t sit right with you. Don’t worry, you’ve got options that don’t include landfilling all your unwanted products.

Here’s your guide to ditching your conventional toiletries – just find the description that best matches how you’re feeling and you’re on your way to a healthier body care regime!

How you feel #1:I know the long-term use of these products aren’t good for me, but I’m OK to finish what I already have.”

What you can do #1: Finish using the products you already have. Since concentrations of potentially harmful ingredients in any one product are small, finishing up the products you’ve already bought and started using probably isn’t going to do much harm.

If you want to start reducing your exposure to the ingredients, you can transfer the product amounts to travel-size containers for infrequent use (i.e. when travelling, going to the gym, office drawer, etc.). Your decision to replace the potentially harmful ingredients means that you won’t be exposing yourself (or the water supply) to them over the long term, and that’s something to be proud of.

How you feel #2: “I want to stop using all these products, but I feel bad throwing them away.”

What you can do #2: If you have brand new bottles, consider donating them to a shelter. I know this doesn’t exactly solve the problem of keeping the chemicals out of the water supply, but there are many folks who would greatly appreciate the gift of basic personal hygiene products. You’d be helping them get back on their feet when they need that kind of support the most. You can also try taking them to your next Community Environment Day (if you have them, like we do here in Toronto). Or you can dump the product down the drain or in the garbage, then rinse and recycle the container (if recyclable).

How you feel #3: “I feel duped and want to tell these companies what I think of their crappy ingredients.”

What you can do #3: You can go all activist and mail back the products with a letter to the company explaining why you’re no longer using them. This likely doesn’t avoid sending them to landfill, but it lets the company know what you think of their products.

No matter what your strategy, don’t let disposal paralysis get in the way of making the move to healthier toiletries. If you’re still working on finding some healthy replacements for your conventional toiletries, head on over to my Green Product Forum Facebook Group to crowd-source advice on the best natural products (because nobody wants to waste money on stuff that doesn’t work!).

Read the original post here!