Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Switching to safer cleaning products

Many household cleaners can be harmful, full of chemicals and contribute to the plastic overload in the environment.
According to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory most of the household cleaners and air fresheners emit toxic pollutants at levels that may lead to health risks.


Phillip Nzuwah, creator of Kis Clean, a cleaning service offering services and products that are non-toxic and environmentally friendly said that cleaning products are closely related to some health issues and inhaling chemicals that are released into the air are bad for the environment and can cause serious health problems.
“Exposure levels to some of the pollutants can be harmful to your health,” Nzuwah said.
According to the study researchers found that turpentine and formaldehyde in many cleaning solvents can be very dangerous. These chemicals can irritate mucous membranes, eyes, skin and if it is inhaled it can cause headaches.

According to the International Agency for Cancer Research, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that these chemicals cause cancer in humans.
Nzuwah who has been in the cleaning business for six years has spent most of his life learning and educating others about health and the environment. He felt it was important to create a product that was not harmful to others and cleaned even better then chemically charged products.

“ It is just important to have safe products in your house as well as healthy food, a healthy fitness regiment and healthy personal care products,” Nzuwah said.

“Some of my employees were opposed to using some of the products because they did not feel that they would work without the blue coloring and harsh chemical smell that most toxic cleaning products have in them. They were wrong,” Nzuwah said. “They realized that products did not have to have chemicals in them to work and felt healthier and safer using them.”

Kis Clean Products are completely natural and biodegradable. All of the products are formulated in a base of purified water mixed with minerals and enzymes derived from edible and seed bearing plants.

Nzuwah said that Kis Clean products contain no hazardous ingredients such as ammonia, phosphates, or sulphates making them non-flammable, non-caustic and anti-corrosive and that his secret recipe is plant based and environmentally safe.

“ All products are child safe, pet safe, and never tested on animals.” Nzuwah said.

Nzuwah said that more companies should start to improve the quality of their products and make them safer and environmentally friendly to help support the ecosystem and preserve the environment.

“We opened our business with the intention of using nothing but the safest, environmentally sound products we could find,” Nzuwah said.

Nzuwah has have used his products in homes and offices for the past 4 years and has had nothing but positive feedback from employees and clients in helping them understand that products do not need to have chemicals in them to do the toughest jobs.

Trenton Horinek, who is the creator of his own product RE 2, which is electrolyzed alkaline water, said that his products are one of the greenest cleaners on the market.

Horinek said that the electrolyzed alkaline water is produced by applying an electrical current to dilute saltwater solution. It is used as a strong detergent to clean and dissolve grease and destroy bacteria. Alkaline water can also be used to eliminate pesticides from fruits and vegetables.

Horinek discovered electrolyzed alkaline water during a project for his economics class and ran with his plan.

“I came up with a product and marketing plan which later seemed logical and would benefit others," Horinek said.” “It was the perfect solution to greener and safer cleaning products without being toxic.”

Electrolyzed acid water rival chlorine and heat killing E.coli, salmonella and listeria. Electrolyzed water could also be used as a bacteria reducer for combs, salon chairs and other equipment.

“With more demand for green cleaning products and personal care products that are less toxic and are good for the environment, I am hopeful that my business will grow for the better for everyone,” Horinek said. “

Nzuwah is sure that everyone will catch on sooner or later and will soon start to realize that the harmful chemicals that they have been accustomed too have only been killing them over the years.

“ Sometimes it just takes one person to try out product and over time everyone is switching to a non-toxic, less harmful solution,’ Nzuwah said. “They also feel better about the environment.”

Alternative printng

Many schools and businesses across the U.S have become inspired to go paperless to help the environment. Some are also switching to other alternatives such as more eco-friendly ways to print.

Special education teacher Marie Daily who teaches at Manhattan Beach Middle School said that her students are cutting down on the paper they use to do homework.

“ I am always looking for new ways to help save the environment and educating my students on other products that are more green, organic, recycled and reused,” Daily said.

A new company called Printing Responsibly is an eco-friendly printing company that educates its clients on how important it is to print using green and recycled papers.

Christopher Gravagna, co-owner of Printing Responsibly said that the goal of the company is to push customers in the right direction and give them an education on how the technology works.

“Printing responsibly is not only to promote a different way of thinking, but also a way of printing,” Gravagna said.

The company prints on only recycled paper, which is Forest Stewardship Council certified and chlorine free papers that contain varying levels of post-consumer waste that are manufactured by popular paper mills.

The company prints using a waterless printing press and other Heidelberg presses that eliminates any dependency on chemicals that could be harmful to the health of their employees or the environment.

“We use Soy based ink as opposed to traditional petroleum-based ink,” Gravagna said.

Soy based ink is environmentally and non-toxic; it is also improves the life span of presses and makes it easier to recycle paper. Additionally jobs require less ink to print the same amount of paper compared to petroleum inks. Soy ink has been found to spread approximately 15% farther, reducing ink use and printer cleanup costs.

Studies show that most petroleum-based inks can cause cancer and birth defects. Many printed papers end up in landfills and toxins are released into the air as fresh inks dry.

According to the Printing Responsibly website the cultivation of the soybeans uses only 5 percent of the total energy necessary to produce the ink. Much of that crop requires no irrigation, limited fixed nutrients, and leaves fewer agricultural residues than other crops.
This cost for soy inks is significantly lower than the initial market price, and it is at this point that they become competitive with their petroleum counterparts.

The process of forestry is also important,” Gravagna said.

Recycled Products Cooperative, a non-profit coperatve dedicated to the conservation of natural resources and promoting the use of recycled paper and products, estimates that more than 100 million trees are cut each year to supply fiber for writing and printing papers in the United States.
Consumers can also help the environment by checking their products to see if they have the recycling symbols on the packaging and can check to see what percentage of recycled fiber was used during the manufacturing process.

Important stamps of approval include the emblems of the Forest Stewardship Council and Chlorine Free Product Association For these symbols to appear on products, they must meet specific standards determined by the International Standards Organization.
Some environmentally friendly products may be a bit more expensive than your normal bottle of bleach. It’s important, however, not to view pricing issues as constraints. Instead, think creatively to help balance benefits with costs.

Also combining projects whenever possible is wise. One idea is to print business cards and postcards from the same recycled paper. In the long run your clients may save money and they will also be honoring the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency mandates that federal agencies use uncoated printing and writing papers containing at least 30-percent post-consumer content. Consider using these guidelines when selecting paper for your projects.

Printing Responsibly gives you many alternatives to help you save money and the environment with their products and services. If a client does not want to switch to paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content, they will find a way to reduce the number of pages used instead. The company has many suggestions on what different types of paper you can use for various different projects. For example, some publications use high-quality coated paper for advertisements, but Printing Responsibly can help you choose an uncoated paper with higher post consumer content that is just as effective.

Even though we are moving into a paperless society, we still need to meet the challenges of what ends up in our landfill and sustaining our forests. If more businesses become more knowledgeable about their products and the chemicals they may contain the environment will be a much better place.