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Unacceptable Levels

Unacceptable Levels examines the results of the chemical revolution of the 1940s through the eyes of affable filmmaker Ed Brown, a father seeking to understand the world in which he and his wife are raising their children. To create this debut documentary, one man and his camera traveled extensively to find and interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy, and law. Weaving their testimonies into a compelling narrative, Brown presents us with the story of how the chemical revolution brought us to where we are, and of where, if we’re not vigilant, it may take us.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tips to Avoid Toxic Chemicals Before, During, and After Pregnancy

It's Friday's Instead of This, Use This. Today, I want to guide you to an excellent resource that will give you tips on how to replace toxins with safe and natural alternatives.

This fact sheet is courtesy of Women's Voices for the Earth and can be accessed by clicking here.

Here are some highlights:

* Make your own cleaning products

* Avoid synthetic fragrance

* Make over your personal care

* Go "BPA-Free"

* Turn down the heat on non-stick cookware

* Avoid exposure to paint

* Pass on pesticides

* Skip certain beauty services

* Minimize household dust

Here is their list of some chemicals of concern which have been detected in pregnant women's bodies and/or breastmilk:

* Bispenol-A: receipts, canned foods

* Flame retardants (PBDEs): furniture, electronics, foam-padded baby products

* Triclosan: antibacterial cleaners, antibacterial handsoap

* Benzophenones: sunscreens

* Pesticides: food, insect repellents, lawn chemicals

* Phthalates and synthetic musks: fragrance, cosmetics, air 
fresheners, scented cleaners

* PFOAs: non-stick cookware

* Parabens: personal care products

Learn more about avoiding these toxins by clicking here. Then you'll be better equipped for saying, "Instead of this, I'm using this."

Keeping it green and healthy,


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Heart Rate Monitors -- Yea or nay?

This is a sponsored post. I received compensation and/or product in exchange for this pre-written post.

Image by George Hodan

What is the Purpose of a Heart Rate Monitor?

The desire to improve health via a fitness routine is a popular choice for many, and subsequently there is a lot of talk about heart rate monitors, and how monitoring your heart rate is a great way to tweak and improve your exercise regiment. But what is a heart rate monitor, exactly, and how does having one and using it to keep tabs on your heart rate improve a workout?

First, understand what your heart does: it pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body. Your muscles and organs need oxygen in order to function and perform. Without sufficient oxygen, your muscles and organs will suffer, as well as cause you pain. Since you are using your muscles more vigorously during exercise, your heart must work harder to deliver oxygenated blood to them. Thus, by monitoring your heart rate, you'll be able to see if your heart is working hard or not. If it isn't, then you need to work harder in order to work your muscles harder. The more oxygen your muscles burn through during exercise, the better your workout will be.

Of course, it's possible to work too hard during a workout, and overtax both your muscles as well as your heart. It's for this reason especially that a heart rate monitor is such a good idea. With the guidance of a health instructor or your doctor, determine what your optimal heart rate during exercise is, and what your maximum heart rate should be. Then, wear a heart rate monitor while exercising, and you'll have up-to-the-second updates on what your heart rate is.

You can purchase heart rate monitors in varying styles at any sporting goods store, or visit or any other health website that sells heart monitors to see what's available online. Both in stores and online you'll be able to see a generous selection of heart rate monitors, and you're sure to find at least one or two that fit your budget. Be sure to check over the features of the heart rate monitors you're considering, as some offer features like recording your heart rate, having a long-lasting battery, or being waterproof. Pick the heart rate monitor that fits your exercise routine best, and wear it whenever you exercise.

Now, let's get up and get moving!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Congratulations to Moon Area HS -- Leading the way through aluminum can recycling

Since we're talking about ways to help the earth this week, I wanted to take the time to applaud some local students who are making a difference. Throughout the 2013-1014 school year, students from Moon Area High School (Moon Twp., PA), accepted the Alcoa Aluminum Can Recycling Challenge and came out on top as winners. This is the first year for the recycling competition, which is facilitated by the Pennsylvania Resources Council. 

A total of 30,657 beverage cans were collected during the five-month challenge, with Moon Area HS leading the way, despite the tough competition from the participating schools. In addition to Moon Area HS, there were four other schools that took up the challenge: Donegal Elementary School, Jeffery Primary School, Keystone Oaks Middle School, and Level Green Elementary School. 

"This competition was a great way for our science/environmental club to engage a large group of students and expand our recycling program here at Moon High School," said Andrea Schriver, a teacher at Moon. "In the last month of the competition, we challenged the entire school to contribute through their science classrooms, and everyone came through in a big way!"

Each of the schools involved in the challenge received recycling containers and signage. There were also classroom education and assembly programs. Through these programs, PRC was able to teach thousands of students in first through twelfth grades about resource conservation. "The goal is to encourage these schools to continue to recycle the aluminum cans long after the competition ends and to sustain their positive impact on the environment," explained PRC Regional Director, Justin Stockdale.

As excited as I am for the schools who participated and the lessons learned by the students, I must say I am surprised and disappointed that only five schools accepted this challenge. Here's hoping that next year will see a significant increase in numbers for a program that not only helps the environment, but helps develop a greener mentality in all who participate.

If you're in the Western PA area and want your school to get involved, contact Sarah Shea at the Pennsylvania Resources Council by phone: 412-488-7490 ext. 236 or by email:

Caring for the earth right alongside the rest of you,

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fifteen simple changes we all can make starting today!

This is a sponsored post. I received compensation and/or product in exchange for this post. However, all opinions are my own and were not influenced by what I received.

Happy Earth Day 2014!

I started my day by heading to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh where my granddaughter was being seen in the Emergency Room. She had a 105.6 fever and it was a bit scary. Fortunately, she was released a few hours later, with a much lower temperature and a diagnosis of an unknown virus.

Needless to say, this threw off my plans for the day, which included writing this post before noon. Ahh well. The best laid plans of mice and men...

This year, I've teamed up with the good folks at Conserving Now to offer you some good information about greener living and to give away an Omnisax bag (winner's choice) to one lucky reader.

In a previous blog post, I already told you about the fantastic classroom kits Conserving Now had available to help teachers guide their students to greener living. Today's post honors Earth Day by giving you fifteen great tips from Conserving Now that can help you live greener lives, too.

Fifteen Simple Changes We Can All Make -- Starting Now!

  1. Start carrying a reusable bag whenever you are shopping.
  2. Bring a travel mug to your favorite coffee shop.
  3. Walk to the park.
  4. Start using rechargeable batteries.
  5. As old light bulbs burn out, start buying and using LED light bulbs.
  6. Switch to homemade or store-bought natural cleaners. (Check out my book Vinegar Fridays for tips and recipes for cleaning with vinegar.)
  7. Stop using paper plates.
  8. Buy a bunch of tea towels and ban paper towels from your home.
  9. Build a backyard compost bin.
  10. Install a water-saving shower head.
  11. Invest in cloth napkins and stop buying paper ones!
  12. Turn your thermostat down at night or when you're at work (during the cold weather).
  13. If you're not doing it already, start recycling!
  14. Carpool with coworkers or friends who work close to your office.
  15. Donate your old cell phone to a charity.
Simple, right? There's no reason why you can't do every one of these, or nearly one of them. Will it make a difference? Absolutely.

So why not start off with reusable bags? I personally love my Omnisax bags (formerly Envirosax bags). I have a whole bunch of them and I've given many away as gifts. They are durable and slip easily into your purse so you can always have one or two available. They hold a ton. Well, not really a ton, but they can hold up to 44 pounds, which seems like a ton when you're lugging the goods very far! And, since the Omnisax bags are machine washable, they are perfect for taking to the grocery store for meat or produce. No cross-contamination going on here. Just toss the bag into the wash when you get home.

Entering is easy and is for residents of the U.S. who are 18 and older. The contest runs through April 30 12:00 a.m. ET. Entries will be verified. Winner has 48 hours to respond to email. If there is no response, an alternate winner will be chosen. Good luck!


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