Consider This: Air Fresheners


If I were to lock you in a room, shut the windows and door, and then proceed to shower the area with a concoction of formaldehyde, and say another couple hundred or so chemicals (I wouldn’t know exactly what they are because there is no ingredients listed on the can), would you thank me? Probably not. How about if when I sprayed this magic fog, it got rid of a disgusting wet dog smell or yesterday’s fish stench? I would like to hope that you would still opt out of the toxic brew. But for a huge portion of the population, they choose to breathe in these poisons in the form of air fresheners over and over, day after day!

We spray, plug-in, heat up and even burn these deadly cocktails to the tune of over 8 billion dollars’ worth each year! We seem to be obsessed with Island Breeze, Clean Linen and Berry Burst. The commercials show us spraying enough of this stuff to ‘wash rooms’, entire families are euphoric as they plug in their car vent clips, and spray-happy women are dousing shoes, clothing and even pets. We melt them and light them and even have them change scents as if they were a music player on shuffle. And yet, most of us know very little about these addictive air fresheners.

The next time you go to purchase a can or a candle or plugin, I would like you to Consider This…

The top few ingredients in air fresheners are phthalates, formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, dichlorobenzene, DBP’s, DEP, and DIBP, collectively called VOC’s. Then add another couple hundred others – one study listed 350 chemicals in a sample. Unfortunately for us, it is impossible to know exactly what we are buying because for the most part companies do not list the ingredients on their products, nor do they have to. All of these toxic chemicals are apparently an industry secret and also, none of our business. Numerous studies do show that a large number of the chemicals used are linked to cancer, asthma, allergies, birth defects, changes in hormone levels, heart and lung problems, poor semen quality, and changes in genital development!


Many of the products out there simply mask odors; the scent of the spray is stronger than the actual stink you are trying to cover up-especially if you spray as much as the ads suggest! Others contain chemicals that trap the smelly smells and block them from escaping to our noses. Some coat our nasal passages with a film and others actually use nerve-deadening chemicals that interfere with our sense of smell-yikes!! 

Now this is when I would like to suggest the all-natural route, the organic choice. Unfortunately even air fresheners advertised as green or natural, tested about the same for toxic and hazardous chemicals as did the other brands.

So, then what can we do?

Personally, I try to keep odors to a minimum to begin with; wash up and open windows. Even then, my seriously stinky dogs can override my best efforts. So for those times, I have several Mason jars around the house half filled with baking soda to which I add about a dozen or so drops of my fav essential oils (you can buy these anywhere – they are especially cheap at the bulk food stores). The fancy way to do this is to pierce the metal lids but I just put a piece of tin foil on top and poke holes in it. I also have a pot on my stove which is always filled with water and a combination of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, rosemary, lemon peels or vanilla pieces.

You can also purchase air fresheners made of distilled water and essential oils in a pump bottle or diffusers made from basically the same ingredients. Eco Me offers a great product.

As it is with everything we buy, we are in control of the products made available to us. Knowledge is our power and ignorance is theirs

Consider This: Chocolate

Today I am going to talk about one of our favorite treats - Theobroma Cacao which actually translates to Food of the Gods - also known as chocolate.

Whether it’s a Valentine’s gift, a pacifying bribe for a child or a special treat just because we are having a bad day, for many of us, eating chocolate feels like food for our soul. Some even claim the rich brown delicacy to be better than sex. But seriously though lol, one thing for sure is that even though we consume 8 million tons of chocolate yearly, we know very little about this treasured treat.

Our love affair with chocolate began thousands of years ago in the form of a bitter drink called xocoatl in present-day Mexico. They believed it to be an aphrodisiac containing mystical properties and was reserved for the elite. For a time, it was even used as a currency and counterfeiting the pods with clay look-a-likes was a booming business. Chocolate, they way we know it didn't come until much later when sugar and flavorings were added in the 1500’s, next the Dutch invented a cocoa press and finally in 1847, Joseph Fry was the first to give us the familiar chocolate bar. Companies like Lindt, Cadbury and Hersheys brought the sweet treats to the masses and continue to do so today.

And now for the bad news-sorry to do this - but the next time you grab a Kit Kat, a box of Coco Puffs or a bottle of your favorite chocolate Vodka, I would like you to Consider This…

In many of Africa’s poorest regions tens of thousands of children as young as five are kidnapped or sold by their parents for as little as $30 to traffickers, who then sell them to one of the many cacao plantations, located in Western African countries like Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Most are never paid and many never see their families again. While enslaved, the children are beaten, injured, over-worked, exposed to pesticides and deprived of an education. The top players in the game; Mars, Nestle and Hershey all deny supporting these practices, but because about 70% of all chocolate comes from these African countries, it is difficult to believe they don't know that the chocolate they sell has been touched by the hands of a child slave. A recently freed African slave, Drissa, had a message for people who eat chocolate from his country, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh”.

If that isn’t enough to stop you from grabbing that bag of chocolate chip cookies, you might want to Consider This…

Most of the chocolate we eat contains very little cacao and more ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, GMO’s in the form of soy lecithin and all of the corn products, artificial colors, PGPR’s and TBHQ’s – you seriously don’t want to know, and palm oils (an ingredient that should enrage us all!) Palm oil production causes the destruction of rain forests resulting in a serious threat to the environment and to the elephants, tigers, rhinos and orangutans that live there.

Now for some good news. We all have choices! We can give up chocolate altogether – just kidding!! Seriously though, there is a ton of chocolate out there that is ethically sourced. There are vegan and organic products everywhere you turn. I get mine from the bulk food stores and from my local grocery store. A quick Google search can find you lists of companies and products that have great ingredients and do not support child trafficking.  Sjaak's is one we really like. Also remember to use social media and let companies like Nestle, Mars, Kraft and the others know that we do not want chocolate sourced from countries that use child labor. I personally have chosen not to purchase any products from these companies. There are even apps out there that will help you to avoid buying from companies you wish to boycott. This one works well.

Understanding where and how products get to our shopping carts is key to cleaning up our food supply! Most importantly, we really need to understand that we have all of the power. When we speak with our dollars, they will either listen to us or they will disappear! Knowledge is our power and ignorance is theirs.