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July 11th
Issue #14
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Scorpion Solitaire

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Thursday 7/11/13
Issue #14
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Scorpion Solitaire


Ecology: Cleanse yourself

By Jacquelyn Schneller - 7/11/2013

Ecology, Concept
  Photo Credit: Vibrant Image Studio /

You're green and selflessly dedicated to sparing the planet and its delicate ecosystems from suffering even more abuse. But, the planet's not the only entity that needs protection and care. We need a little green love, too. Let's begin with a very special part of our bodies: that large, broad and beautiful organ, softly embracing every other organ, our threshold to the world-our skin.

Enter any drug store and you notice, towered around you, skin products galore. You're probably already drawn to some soaps based on your own green morals and safety concerns. But feeling clean and green may demand a closer look and more informed and investigative shopping experience.

We all know and feel the anti-bacterial hype. Diseases are scary, and with global communication and media, we hear about every case (no matter how rare) of every terrifying strain, from every corner of the world. The dialogue is sometimes daunting and extreme, and so, many of us may feel our cleansing should behave similarly. Not necessarily.

It is often assumed a clean and safe environment (and body) should be germ free. Not necessarily. There are plenty of safe (and useful) types of bacteria coating our glorious outer organ. Plain, natural soap is considered adequate by experts (and recommended) for the general public. Now, of course, there are special circumstances in which one should be more extreme, soap-wise. According to Dr. Elaine Larson from Columbia University, these situations where antibacterial soap may be used as an extra safety measure include:

  • when in close contact with vulnerable or at risk populations (newborns, very old, those with immune system weaknesses)
  • when in direct contact with someone with a known infection
  • working in commonly transmittable settings (food prep, hospitals)

It's a narrow group, truly benefiting by anti-bacterial soaps, but check with your doctor before you make any grand changes. For the general public, by avoiding anti-bacterial and super-soaps, they're protecting their good bacteria while also be avoiding a certain pesticide. Yes, I said pesticide. Companies love to flaunt their plant powered ingredients, but even the most boastful may be using their 'tea tree oil' as a distraction ingredient, giving the feeling of 'natural', in order to overshadow the inclusion of more dangerous components. Triclosan, found in many antibacterial hand soaps, was declared 'toxic' by the EPA. Toxic, and they've registered it as a pesticide. I don't know about you, but I'd rather leave a healthy coat of microbials, than apply a gloss of pesticide to my palms. Another grave problem with these soaps, is that their chemicals (and pesticides!) do not degrade, but rather linger in and haunt our environment for much longer than they keep our grubby hands "clean".

So, for the general public, and the environmentally responsible, I'd stick with natural soap and good ol' water.


Scorpion Solitaire

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