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Keep Toxic Chemicals away From Wildlife and your Family

World Wildlife Fund

You do a lot to keep you family healthy, but you may not have considered all the potential dangers of toxic chemicals in your surroundings. Toxic chemicals can be found in virtually all creatures and in all environments. Enormous quantities are released every day and once in the environment, many toxic chemicals can travel great distances, persist for years, and grow more concentrated in living things as they move through the food web.

An estimated 1,000 new chemicals enter the market every year, in addition to the tens of thousands of chemicals already in commercial use. Very few of these have been tested adequately for the threats they may pose to wildlife and humans. There is growing evidence that many of these chemicals can alter sexual and neurological development, impair reproduction, cause cancers, and undermine immune systems.

WWF has created a list of actions you and your family can take to reduce your consumption and use of toxic chemicals at home and in your community:

    1. Buy organic cotton clothing, fruits and vegetables, and other goods.

    2. Wash and peel fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

    3. Stop using pesticides. Green up your yard using natural methods:

       

    • Use traps and biological controls such as parasites and natural predators.
    • Use disease and pest-resistant plants. Include in your garden plants that repel insects such as basil, chives, mint, marigolds, and chrysanthemums.
    • Use compost and mulch to improve soil health and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers.
    4. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products in your home:

       

    • Don't buy or use chlorine bleach.
    • Use simple and inexpensive cleansers such as soap, vinegar, lemon juice, and borax (see WWF's Household Recipes below).
    • Avoid air fresheners and other perfumed products: Freshen your air by opening windows or using baking soda, cedar blocks, or dried flowers.
    5. Urge your schools and communities to use non-toxic cleaning products and to stop using pesticides.
Use these easy household recipes to help make your home toxic-free:

All purpose cleaner
3 tsp. liquid soap, or
cup vinegar, or
cup lemon juice, or
cup Borax
(per gallon of water)

Oven Cleaner
Sprinkle salt on spills immediately
Baking soda
Vinegar
Salt
#000 steel wool
Clean grease with rag and vinegar. Sprinkle salt on spills. Let it sit for a few minutes, then scrape the spill and wash the area clean. For stubborn spots, use baking soda and steel wool.

Window Cleaner
cup vinegar
1 gallon warm water
Fill your own spray bottle.

Stain Remover
Soak fabrics in water mixed with borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar.

Controlling Cockroaches and Ants
Powdered Sugar
Borax
Combine in equal parts and sprinkle where they crawl.