Don’t Purchase Products with Triclosan

English: Lake Harriet and Minneapolis

For those of us who love our lakes and care about clean water:  You should be paying attention to the recent debate about Triclosan.

What is Triclosan?  It is an antibacterial used in hand wash and soaps and some other products.  For some time it has been recommended not to purchase products using this Triclosan because it can lead to antibiotic resistance. A recent study by the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota has shown that Triclosan is converting to harmful toxins in our Minnesota lakes as well as Lake Superior.

How do you find if a product has Triclosan?  Always read the ingredients in the products you purchase, Triclosan will be listed as an active ingredient on the product label.

How do we dispose of Triclosan?  According to the Minnesota Pollution Control (PCA), “Do not put Triclosan down the drain or toilet!”  At the present time their advice is to throw Triclosan products in the trash.  In the future they hope to have a better plan to dispose of them.  The best is NOT to purchase any product with Triclosan.  “Consumer avoidance can be more powerful than any legislation!” says the Minnesota PCA.

From the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)

  • MDH recommends against using products containing triclosan at home. Using products with triclosan offers little or no  benefit, and may contribute to the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
  • Use products without triclosan to reduce your exposure and environmental impact. Most products advertised as “antibacterial” contain triclosan. Check product labels to see if triclosan is listed as an ingredient.
  • Lake Superior in winter
    Lake Superior in winter

January on Lake Superior

Superior Views, January, 2013

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass


Downy and Hairy woodpeckers devour the suet, and happy Black-capped chickadees are everywhere and there is an invasion of red poles.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Common Red-Poles
Common Red-Poles

Lake ice is solid out about 200 feet from shore, then open water with floating chunks of ice. A coyote paces back and forth looking for something to eat on this life threatening white surface.


Do Not Use the Chemical Triclosan

Cosmetic Ingredient Tainting Minnesota Lakes, Streams and the Great Lakes

An antibiotic widely used in cosmetic products is converting to toxins in Minnesota’s lakes and streams according to research by the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Triclosin was listed as an active ingredient in a handwash product I had not opened, and I never purchase antibiotic products.  Do NOT put these down the drain, or use them.  I would suggest bringing any of these products to the hazardous waste disposal site.

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Resolve put Less Harmful Chemicals on Your Body in 2013

005How can You Reduce your use of Chemicals?
I know I am naïve, but I think it is the government’s job to protect us from harmful chemicals. Unfortunately there is little reliable research on most of the chemicals we put on our skin, hair and mouths. After reading the book Ecoholic by Adria Vasil, I wondered why I would put chemicals on my body when I never put chemicals on my yard or plants? I went to my local coop to research organic beauty products. Choices for organic body products are not huge, and they are expensive, but this is the only body you have and this should be a priority. Deodorant has some harmful chemicals, and I would start with a chemical free deodorant.
Next, I would purchase an organic or a scent free body lotion, and then research the ingredients in other products you use.
Part of the mission of this website is to encourage the use of less chemicals, and I hope the list below will help you make smarter cosmetic choices and have a healthier life in 2013. As with everything we purchase, it is always important to read the labels and purchase low carbon impact products( buy local and non-toxic.) Good Luck and remember to recycle all containers when you are finished.
Environmental writer, Adria Vasil has 15 chemicals to avoid in our personal body products:  Her list follows:
1. BHA and BHT
2. DEA/MEA/TEA: (diethanolamine):
3. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives:
4. Oxybenzone (BP-3/ benzophenone) and octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate)
5. Palm oil: unless it’s fair trade/organic
6. Parabens:
7. Parfum/fragrance:
8. PEGs:
9. Petrolatum/paraffin/mineral oil/petroleum distillates:
10. PPD In all permanent hair dyes.
11. Phthalates:
12. Retinyl palmitate:
13. Siloxanes:
14. Sodium laureth sulphate:
15. Triclosan/triclocarban:

The source:
Look up unfamiliar terms at

New Year on Lake Superior

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.—Rachel Carson

A New year on the Big Lake: December into 2013
A Merlin hunting in our yard, but the chickadees are too smart for him. A bald eagle sits on the morning lake ice eating her breakfast.
Three deer walk through: small, medium and large!! Wildlife tracks everywhere in the fresh snow: bobcat, coyote, fox??
The best: The face of the lake changes hourly as it renews itself. A patchwork of ice in the morning and then open water by the afternoon. Icebergs of all sizes are pushed around. The constant moving and shifting of the ice flows is beautiful and surprising. It is a magical mystery where the ice disappears to and then reappears. It is never predictable nor will it look the same again.
Wow, three ore boats pass at the same moment on the shipping highway. These boats will soon tie up for the winter.
Cloudy days create a black and white picture. White contrasted with dark bark, and the pileated, downies and chickadees add to the black/white birch tree look. 018

Resolutions You Can Keep

Bring your own reusable bag
Bring your own reusable bag
Easy Resolutions You Can Keep
*Shop with washable reusable shopping bags.
*Recycle all electronics
*Purchase products that have a minimum of packaging, and also recyclable packaging.
*Composting food scraps can cut waste in your home by 30%
*Use both cloth napkins and washable rags instead of paper products
*Use a water bottle and reduce your use of single use plastic.
*When shopping bring refillable containers and bags to reduce plastic bag consumption, and recycle all clean plastic bags.
*Never use Styrofoam products!
*Recycle everything possible and set up recycling baskets near your trash containers throughout your home and office. for recycle locations if you lack curbside pick up.
*Keep a bag in your car to collect recycling from road trips or fast food, but patronize restaurants that use real dishes and cups.
Good Luck, and Happy 2013!

Wishing you a Green Holiday!

022Waste increases by 25% over the holidays. What are some things we can do to reduce waste?
My tips for a green holiday
*Use “real” plates, silverware and glasses. Plastic party glasses can now be recycled, but reusable is best.
*Cloth napkins reduce waste and add quality to your dinners.
*Wrap gifts in towels, cloth napkins, reusable shopping bags, or reuse a gift bag. Wrap gifts in materials that can be recycled, composted or reused.
*Purchase products that have a minimum of packaging, and have recyclable packaging.
*Compost food scraps
*Use rags instead of paper towels and chemical free cleaners for cleaning.
*After the holidays place your Christmas tree outside for the birds to use for the winter.
*Reduce use of plastic bags, and reuse them if possible. Always recycle clean dry plastic bags.
*Shop with reusable containers that can be filled with bulk purchases.
*Avoid plastic drink bottles and never use Styrofoam

Congratulations, you are on your way to a “zero waste” home!
Please share your ideas for greening the holidays

Tackling Climate Change and the Fiscal Cliff

How many life threatening storms and floods and droughts can we survive?

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of us are frightened by the drastic changes we have seen in our climate.
Climate Change and Fiscal cliff: Two enormous problems. Both are everyone’s problems and we all need to sacrifice and work together to solve them. Now that the price of gas has decreased $ .46 in the past 9 weeks, I am calling on Congress and President Obama to raise the gas tax. Also, we need a commitment from everyone to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by eliminating one automobile trip a week through carpooling, using public transport, combining trips, or walking/biking. Lack of demand would lower the price of gas even more!!
The costs of hurricanes, floods and drought are staggering. And the costs to the victims, and all of us through reconstruction and insurance is becoming enormous. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut put the cost of Hurricane Sandy at 82 Billion!
I propose a temporary 50 cent tax on gasoline. Not only would this cause individuals to drive less, it could create jobs to work on our crumbling infrastructure, research for more efficient vehicles, transit, and incentives for cleaner air.
The New York Times makes a plea for investment into our infrastructure:

A gas tax increase of $.50  would put a stimulus into our economy, and make a big difference for the health of our earth. It would be an enormous leadership move FORWARD, demonstrating to the rest of the world we take stimulus and climate seriously. It is time to work towards a national goal, to use less fossil fuels and make the world a healthier place for all. This could be the magic wand for the fiscal cliff.
Links about climate: Sack Cartoon Union of Concerned Scientists

All of a sudden, Winter on Lake Superior

A Snowy Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving Snow

After a non-winter last year, Thanksgiving was unusual on the weather front. It was a warm, sunny day that evolved into an evening winter storm. The night wind and snow blew across the big lake, and all night the waves pounded our rock cliff. Friday morning 4 inches of snow covered everything. The snowy landscape was beautiful and quite a surprise. In a few hours time lake effect flurries became the norm, and winter began.  And 5 days later it continues to snow.
Not bothered by the weather change, chickadees, a nuthatch and common red pole are busy at their feeder. Downy woodpeckers are everywhere and the eagles and seagulls fish the lake. These are our local winter birds.
Most plants and seed heads are now covered with snow but the stately little blue stem still stands proud and is unaffected by the severe weather change.
From land you can observe the silhouettes of enormous waves surging far out in the big lake.
The firearm deer season ended on Sunday and maybe some of the wildlife will come out of their hiding spots to explore this new snow covered land.

Buy Local this Holiday

Shop local, shop green

Buy Local this Holiday
This week we enter the biggest shopping time of the year. Questions we should ask ourselves are: How can we keep dollars in our own communities? What purchasing choices are the best for the health of our families, friends and our planet?
Every holiday season I start with a goal of purchasing USA/Minnesota made products and putting my dollars into companies that match my values for fair wages and good working conditions.
This week I was thrilled at how much local produce I could find at my local coop, and shopped a local craft fair where I purchased items made from recycled and upcycled Minnesota/USA products which put me on track to reach my “Buy local” goals.
These are my suggestions to buy local:
1. Always read all product labels and become aware of where your purchases are coming from. Ask if they are not labeled. It must say “made” not distributed by!
2. Shop craft fairs and your local stores. Let businesses know you are looking for products made in this country or state, and demand they offer you choices. At our house we do not shop “Big Box” and try to patronize businesses that pay a living wage.
3. Shop your own home. What do you have that you can reuse? Remember grandma, and how she did things. Reuse, Reuse Reuse and Reduce-Cut back on the new items and use items in the back of your closet.
Have a wonderful healthy holiday!