It seems like since I became a mom I had to overcome many of my fears in order to be a hero to my children. One of them was getting over my fear of roaches.
I used to flee at the sight of a roach but now I have to arm myself with a newspaper and swat it till it is dead. The spray is only allowed if:
1. The roach is unreachable by newspaper.
2. Can find way quickly to the bedroom.
3. Washable area.
After all that stuff is poisonous to everyone and the environment but I have made peace with myself for using it only one out of 20 roaches if at all after trying virtually every safe and environmental method out there but failed miserably.
I have had to resort to roach poison traps which they bring back to their nests and that has been the only way they can be stopped. That and swatting the live ones.
Last night I had to take out 3, rolled up newspaper in hand. Wolf was very proud of me in the morning.
I live by the road. In fact, come to think of it, I’ve always lived by a road with a substantial amount of traffic and with it, a substantial amount of pollution. As a child, I lived by a main road, watching motorcycle riders race through the night and by day, count the number of cars that passed and mentally run myself like a Frogger across the road and back.
Traffic pollution, along with cigarette smoke, contains several hundred volatile organic compounds (VOCs), increasing your risk of various kinds of cancer and numerous health problems. This is a scientific fact.
These days I’m not sure if opening the windows to let in random car exhaust or an unfortunate waft of cigarette smoke is worse or closing all my windows and sitting in the toxic wasteland of modern living with our cheap plywood adhesived furniture and VOCs from our every day things like paper or packaging.
Regardless, there’s no escape. I’ve sought to improve my home’s air quality by introducing plants into the home with the help of NASA scientist Wolverton’s book How to Grow Fresh Air, which helped even this brown thumbed woman here keep some plants alive, namely the Snake Plant, Lady Palm, and Corn Plant. Hardiest plants around.
I really think that companies and communities should take a step further and install a thermal oxidizer equipment in our living spaces. A thermal oxidizer service basically cleans your air. In a closed environment, such as a large office building where the windows are never open (yes, I’ve worked in many of those and seen bugs play musical humans for weeks on end), thermal oxidizer equipment would definitely help.
In truth, it is more likely that factories manufacturing products with toxic chemicals would use them most (and would see a value in installing one). Worker productivity and health matters to their bottom line and an investment in thermal heating services, for instance, would make most sense.
For us civilians living in our shoeboxes, we can only rely on the magical ability of plants to do the same as these equipment. I really do recommend the book and can state for the record that having those small 5 Corn Plants, 2 Snake Plants, 2 Peace Lilies, and 2 Spider Plants in my room has helped my sinuses clear. My Lady Palms do a great job of cleaning the air in the outer rooms and they stay alive too. I have given up on Areca Palms which all die on me. But the tall and graceful Bamboo Palm I just acquired has been thriving, except for a single mealy bug incident that was quickly cleared up with some rubbing alcohol.
According to Wolf, the wool is much cooler and the BumGenius, covered with PUL, is about the same as a disposable. A touch test with the kids here with our hot and humid tropical weather reaffirms this. Kitten’s bottom is dry when wearing wool but sweaty when wearing her BumGenius.
More evidence that houseplants clean our air.
The experiment was conducted by Dennis Decoteau of Penn State’s Department of Horticulture with a snake plant, spider plant, and golden pothos inside “experimental chambers in a greenhouse equipped with a charcoal filtration air supply system to measure ozone depletion rates.”
While it took 75 minutes for ozone levels to come down in plantless chambers, air in chambers with plants reached the target in just 50 minutes. He speculates the plants take in the ozone through their stomates (tiny pores used for gas exchange) and then break it down once inside the plant.
The article also recommended keeping plants in our rooms because:
* Plant-filled rooms contain up to 60 percent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without plants, studies show.
* People who work in offices with windows and plants are happier than others, according to a study of 450 office workers in Texas and the Midwest. In fact, 82 percent of the participants who worked with plants and windows around said they felt “content” or “very happy,” compared with 58 percent in windowless plant-less offices who said the same.
* Plants seem to make people more contemplative and self-reflective, according to one ethnologist.
For 47 more houseplants that clean your air, check out How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office.
My sinuses have cleared since I put houseplants in my bedroom (since January actually). To date, we have a large Areca Palm (temperamental thing), 2 Snake Plants (hardy), 6 Corn Plants (easiest to manage), and 1 Spider Plant (who goes out for sun and rotates with its brethren outside). These are ideal for an air conditioned bedroom in the tropics. My poor Peace Lily just died. RIP dear fellow.
And we just had a leak. A big one. A small puddle and half a soaked pj later, I changed the perplexed toddler (who confessed to peeing several times) to a L diaper and had a revelation:
The XL simply did not fit the XL wool cover. The L fitted it perfectly.
The leak had seeped out the side where it was peeking, although the soaked through hemp soaker and diaper technically should have contained it if the wool had covered it properly.
Now, Kitten is using a L-L combo and the cover covers all quite comfortably so I suspect either the XL was accidentally shrunk or Wolf’s simply grown.
The solution: forget wool covers, just buy a wool shortie (underwear with cuffs) for your wool+diaper solution. That will solve the diaper peekaboo problem (and if I find a diaper without too-tight elastic on the back and thighs, I’ll get them all).
I’ll have to admit I am a little addicted already. I found myself scouring Loveybums if they have any seconds I could get and was relentlessly clicking through Whoopeekiddies to look at the BumGeniuses (and very very heavenly hemp wash cloths, supposedly cloth wipes but I stuff them in my cleavage to soak up excess sweat when I carry Kitten and emergency burp cloth).
Then I realised this was the perfect time to try different diapers. I had enough diapers for 1.5 days really, and seriously needed another night cloth diaper for Wolf because it was his diaper that I had to wash and dry daily so he could wear it again the next night and another wool cover because his Loveybums XL cloth diaper seems to keep peeking out of the XL wool cover. Not good cos it caused one leak already.
I found some wonderfully soft bamboo hemp diapers from the awesome Twig & Vine I plan to order soon when some money comes in. I like that the elastic at the back and legs are not sewed as crunched up tight as the ones on the Loveybums ones which cause Kitten to have red marks in those areas when I carry her in the Ergo. Don’t the Twig & Vine diapers look heavenly?
That brings my count to:
1 NB/S organic cloth diaper (which might retire soon)
5 M organic cloth diaper
2 L organic cloth diaper
1 XL organic cloth diaper
4 organic wool cover (1 for each size)
To order another 4 bamboo hemp diapers (still deciding on the sizes but most likely 2L + 2XL)
Total: 20 diapers for 2 kids (half the stash is shareable)
That should tide us through washing once in 2 days + air drying the laundry rather than using the dryer every day. Our electricity bill has gone up $50 since we started cloth diapering but we save that $50 too on not buying disposables.
Hemp is tons more absorbent than cotton and bamboo is somewhere in between. I was thrilled that a single insert (hemp or bamboo+cotton) is sufficient stuffing for the kids overnight and by day they don’t need any stuffing.
Why organic? I figure if we go cloth, we go all the way. It is better for the planet and for our kids. The process of making cotton and even bamboo fabrics is pretty darned harmful to our planet, so supporting the organic textiles industry is the way to go.
DH says that cloth diapering and laundering indulge my OCD tendency to clean. Well, it should feel good to be good to our children and our planet, no?
Yes it is possible.
Kitten got a recurrent rash which came back after her all night pee party using the BumGenius + Hemp Doubler + Loveybums fleece liner.
Hope that helps. We’ll find out tomorrow morning.
Another alarming article about the dreadful effects of cigarette smoke on children. Point of the article is, don’t smoke at home and don’t go anywhere where there is third-hand cigarette smoke sitting on furniture or carpeting (or any surface for that matter) if you don’t want your children’s health affected.
A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Published: January 2, 2009
Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air for their children, but experts now have identified a related threat to children’s health that isn’t as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke.
That’s the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after second-hand smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.
Doctors from MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston coined the term “third-hand smoke” to describe these chemicals in a new study that focused on the risks they pose to infants and children. The study was published in this month’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.
“Everyone knows that second-hand smoke is bad, but they don’t know about this,” said Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
“When their kids are out of the house, they might smoke. Or they smoke in the car. Or they strap the kid in the car seat in the back and crack the window and smoke, and they think it’s okay because the second-hand smoke isn’t getting to their kids,” Dr. Winickoff continued. “We needed a term to describe these tobacco toxins that aren’t visible.”
Third-hand smoke is what one smells when a smoker gets in an elevator after going outside for a cigarette, he said, or in a hotel room where people were smoking. “Your nose isn’t lying,” he said. “The stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: ’Get away.’”
The study reported on attitudes toward smoking in 1,500 households across the United States. It found that the vast majority of both smokers and nonsmokers were aware that second-hand smoke is harmful to children. Some 95 percent of nonsmokers and 84 percent of smokers agreed with the statement that “inhaling smoke from a parent’s cigarette can harm the health of infants and children.”
But far fewer of those surveyed were aware of the risks of third-hand smoke. Since the term is so new, the researchers asked people if they agreed with the statement that “breathing air in a room today where people smoked yesterday can harm the health of infants and children.” Only 65 percent of nonsmokers and 43 percent of smokers agreed with that statement, which researchers interpreted as acknowledgement of the risks of third-hand smoke.
The belief that second-hand smoke harms children’s health was not independently associated with strict smoking bans in homes and cars, the researchers found. On the other hand, the belief that third-hand smoke was harmful greatly increased the likelihood the respondent also would enforce a strict smoking ban at home, Dr. Winickoff said.
“That tells us we’re onto an important new health message here,” he said. “What we heard in focus group after focus group was, ‘I turn on the fan and the smoke disappears.’ It made us realize how many people think about second-hand smoke — they’re telling us they know it’s bad but they’ve figured out a way to do it.”
The data was collected in a national random-digit-dial telephone survey done between September and November 2005. The sample was weighted by race and gender, based on census information.
Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician who heads the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said the phrase third-hand smoke is a brand-new term that has implications for behavior.
“The central message here is that simply closing the kitchen door to take a smoke is not protecting the kids from the effects of that smoke,” he said. “There are carcinogens in this third-hand smoke, and they are a cancer risk for anybody of any age who comes into contact with them.”
Among the substances in third-hand smoke are hydrogen cyanide, used in chemical weapons; butane, which is used in lighter fluid; toluene, found in paint thinners; arsenic; lead; carbon monoxide; and even polonium-210, the highly radioactive carcinogen that was used to murder former Russian spy Alexander V. Litvinenko in 2006. Eleven of the compounds are highly carcinogenic.