Front Cover
 Back Cover

Group Title: Water quality bulletin
Title: Recipes for a non-toxic household
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00096208/00001
 Material Information
Title: Recipes for a non-toxic household
Series Title: Water quality bulletin
Physical Description: 33 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wright, Julie ( Julie Anne )
University of the Virgin Islands -- Cooperative Extension Service
Donor: unknown ( endowment ) ( endowment )
Publisher: University of the Virgin Islands, Cooperative Extension Service
Place of Publication: St. Thomas, USVI
Publication Date: 199-?
Copyright Date: 1990
Subject: Household supplies -- Toxicology   ( lcsh )
Household supplies -- Safety measures   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States Virgin Islands
Statement of Responsibility: Julie Wright.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00096208
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 49936696


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Table of Contents
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    Back Cover
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Full Text
o P" It

Water Quaiy BaDBed #2


University of the Virgin Islands
Cooperative Extension Service
Julie Wright, Natural Resources Specialist


Many common household products used in the
Virgin Islands can trigger allergies, cause nausea or
other adverse healtK effects, harm septic systems,
and/or pollute our coastal or ground waters.

There are alternatives to these products available
locally, including recipes using common household items
that are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. Not
only can changing our habits improve our health and the
health of our environment, we can also save money!

When buying household products, we need to ask

+ Is toxic exposure possible when using the product?
(.What are the effects on humans?)
+ What happens to the product once we finish using it?
(What are the effects on the environment?)

Fewer than 1,000 of these chemicals have been tested
for acute health effects (immediate adverse effects
such as rashes, asthma or allergy attacks), and only about
500 have been tested for chronic (long-term) health
effects such as cancer, birth defects, or genetic
changes. Furthermore, almost no testing has been done
to determine possible adverse effects that can occur
when combining two or more different chemicals. Many
chemicals can be relatively safe by
themselves, but are extremely harmful
when mixed together.

The average home is filled with many products
made from inadequately-tested synthetic
chemicals. Many household products we
commonly use and may think are safe can actually be very
toxic. Common symptoms such as headaches, nausea,
allergic reactions, and depression can be related to
exposure to toxic household chemicals. For example,
insomnia may be a response to the formaldehyde resin
used on your no-iron bed sheets. developmental and
behavioral problems in children have also been linked to
exposure to household toxic chemicals. The table
provided in the back of this booklet lists many symptoms
and disorders associated with commonly-used chemicals.

Scientists know very little about the toxic health
effects of almost 80 percent of the more than 48,000
chemicals listed by the U.S. EPA.

It is difficult to determine the toxicity of a product
because of the many different factors that need to be
considered. Whether or not a product is toxic can
depend on how much of the product you are exposed to
and the method of exposure. Inhalation exposure is
from breathing in chemical compounds or particles;
ingestion exposure is from swallowing chemicals; and
absorption exposure is chemical absorption through the
skin. Some products may be hazardous only for one
method of exposure (such as ingestion), but others may
be harmful for any method of exposure.

What may be safe for humans can kill or harm more
delicate species and disrupt the balance of fragile
ecosystems such as mangrove lagoons and coral

When we use and dispose of these products, they can
contaminate the environment. In the Virgin Islands, our
landfills do not have liners to keep leachate (water that
collects pollutants as it seeps through the landfill) from
entering ground water, coastal waters, and sensitive
habitats. Toxic chemicals contained in products we use
and throw away daily can easily pollute our environment.

To determine the eco-toxicityof a product, we must
evaluate the basic toxicity of its ingredients, its
persistence in the environment (how long it takes for
nature to break down the product or chemical into non-
toxic components), and its tendency to accumulate in the
food chain. Toxic synthetic chemicals tend to persist in
the environment because their chemical structures do
not break down under normal conditions. Once these

artificial compounds are made, they become pollutants
because they cannot decompose and recombine into other
useful, non-toxic substances.

Naturally-occurring substances can be broken
/ down efficiently into simple elements by nature;
these substances are biodegradable. However,
the word biodegradable is often misused it is
applied to products that generally aren't
biodegradable (like detergents and plastics) and not used
to describe those that usually are biodegradable (like
soap and paper). Everything will break down (or
biodegrade) eventually, but the important consideration
is not whether a substance will eventually break down,
but how fast and how easily the environment can break
down that chemical.

Persistent chemicals that are not easily broken down
accumulate in soils, plants, animals and other
organisms. These are then eaten by other
animals, which are eaten by predators even
higher in the food chain, and so on. Each I
higher organism in the food chain contains a
greater accumulation of that chemical in its body.
Humans are at the top of the food chain, so our body's
fatty tissues can accumulate large levels of harmful
substances that occur in much lower levels in the
environment. These chemicals can then be passed on to
our children,

In order to determine the effects a product may have
upon either ourselves or our environment, we must
become experts at reading product labels.

Ifa product contains a chemical that is hazardous,
the label must, by law, specify what that hazard is.

Look for the following words on your cleaning and other
household products:

Toxic/Highly Toxic:
Poisonous if you drink it, breathe the
fumes, or if it is absorbed through your
Extremely Flammable/Flammable/Combustible:
Can catch fire if exposed to a flame or electric spark.
Will corrode metal, can eat away your skin or cause
inflammation of mucous membranes.
Strong Sensitizer:
May provoke an allergic reaction.
Could kill an adult if only a tiny pinch is ingested.
Could kill an adult if about a teaspoon is ingested.
Could kill an adult if an amount from two tablespoons
to two cups is ingested.

There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use alternatives
to common household cleaning products,
disinfectants, and pesticides that are non-toxic to
human health and the environment.

The best cleaning products are those that you can make
at home. They are simple, inexpensive, effective, and
non-toxic. Natural substances that can be used for many
cleaning purposes that you may want to keep at hand

Baking soda
Distilled white vinegar
Rubbing alcohol WE4
Lemon juice
Liquid soap save the ends of
bar soap in a jar with water. When you collect
enough, they will dissolve in to a good cleaning
Borax a naturally-occurring mineral that has no
toxic fumes and is safe for the environment, but
can be harmful if swallowed and irritates eyes.
Non-chlorine scouring powder
Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) and Sodium Hexa -
metaphosphate naturally-occurring minerals
that are non-toxic to humans, can be purchased
from hardware or paint stores


AIR FRESHENERS harmful ingredients-
aerosol propellants, colors, cresol, ethanol,
formaldehyde, fragrances, naphthalene*,
phenol, xylene. I

These products work by either using a nerve-deadening
chemical to interfere with your ability to smell; by
coating your nasal passages with an undetectable oil film;
by deactivating the offensive odor; or by covering up the
odor with another smell.

* Keep things clean.
* Open the windows. This will also help reduce any build-up
of fumes that may be in your home.
* Empty the garbage frequently and clean the can often.
One-half cup of borax or baking soda sprinkled in the
bottom of trash cans will help inhibit the growth of odor-
producing molds and bacteria.
* Distribute partially-filled bowls of baking soda or white
vinegar around the room to absorb odors.
* Make an air-freshening tea by adding herbs (such as bay
leaf, sweet thyme, or basil) to boiling water to release
their scent.
* Put drops of essential oils (like rosemary or lavender) on a
cotton ball placed at room entrance.
* Make citrus pomanders. Pierce a thin-skinned orange or
time with cloves.

*Cheniials trrarked hby aterrskh (') have been listed hv the U.S Environmental
Protection A enc. as priority pollutants recognized as heing hazardous" to human

ingredients- ammonia, artificial dyes, detergents and

Ammonia can be very toxic only use it in well-ventilated
areas and avoid inhaling it.

Mix one gallon hot water with I cup of borax
Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap or borax into one quart of
warm or hot water. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a
splash of vinegar to cut grease.
Mix three tablespoons baking soda in one quart warm
* Mix rubbing alcohol with hot water to disinfect and clean.
* For heavy-duty cleaning, mix 4 cup borax, I teaspoon liquid
soap and two teaspoons TSP into two gallons warm water.

ingredients- aerosol propellants, ammonia,
detergents, ethanol, fragrances.

* Use a non-chlorine scouring powder (see Scouring Powder).
0 For toilets, make a paste of /3 cup lemon juice and '/3 cups
borax, spread on stains, let sit two hours, then brush off.
* For regular toilet cleaning, brush toilet with baking soda.
* Use rubbing alcohol to clean toilet and tiles.

BLEACH harmful ingredients chlorine, lye,
artificial dyes, detergents, fluorescent
brighteners, synthetic fragrances.

The main hazardous ingredient in bleach is
sodium hypochlorite. Chlorine is toxic as a skin irritant
and by inhalation or ingestion. Chlorine residues left on
fabrics after laundering can also trigger allergic
reactions. Chlorine bleach also causes septic systems to
fail because it kills the beneficial bacteria that break
down waste in the septic tank.


* Use baking soda or borax in your laundry washwater.
* Use non-chlorine bleach.

blSHWASHER DETERGENT harm Ifuingredients- chlorine,
dyes, detergents, fragrances.

* Use the same amount of sodium hexametaphosphate as you
would detergent. It cuts grease, leaves dishes spotless,
and cleans the dishwasher with each washing.

bDSHWASHING LIQUmI harmful ingredients liquid
detergent, artificial dyes, fragrances, ethanol.

Hot water is the most effective dish-cleaning agent.


* Use plain liquid soap or fragrance- and dye-free detergent.
* Rub your sponge with bar soap.
* Add a few slices of fresh lemon or a few tablespoons of
vinegar to cut grease.
* To wash bottles, put sand and water in the bottle, cover
the opening, and shake vigorously.
* To clean wooden serving dishes(cutting boards, bowls,
etc.), rub half a cut lime or lemon over the surface, rinse,
dry with a cloth, and cover with salt to absorb moisture.
* To wash fine crystal, clean gently with warm soapy water
then rinse with a mixture of one part white vinegar and
three parts warm water.
* To remove stains on enamel cookware, use a salt and
white vinegar paste.
* To remove burned-on food, sprinkle the pot or pan with
baking soda and moisten with water. Let sit for a few
hours and food should lift right off. Plain steel wool or
cloth scrubs (with no added detergents) and a little elbow
grease work just as well.

DIStNFECTANTS harmful ingredients- cresol, phenol,
ethanol, formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, artificial dyes,
synthetic fragrances.

* Clean regularly with plain soap and water. Just a hot water
rinse kills bacteria.
* Keep things dry (bacteria, mildew, and mold cannot live
without dampness).
* Try a solution of I cup borax to one gallon of hot water.
* Clean with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. They
disinfect without leaving a residue.

DRAIN CLEANERS harmful ingredients- petroleum
distillates, sulfur compounds.

Use a plunger or a mechanical snake to dislodge clogs.
Pour i cup baking soda and + cup of white vinegar down
the drainpipe and let sit for ten minutes. Flush with j
gallon of boiling water and repeat as needed.
Pour 4 cup of salt and 4 cup of baking soda down the drain,
followed by six cups of boiling water. Let sit for several
hours or overnight, then flush with water.
Extra strength: use one cup baking soda, one cup salt, and
3/4 cup vinegar, let sit 20 minutes and flush with one gallon
of hot water.
* If these methods don't work, try pouring a & cup of 35%
hydrogen peroxide down the drain. Wait a few minutes,
then plunge. Repeat a second time, if needed.
* You can prevent clogged drains by using a drain strainer to
trap food particles and hair that cause clogs.
* For regular maintenance, pour four tablespoons borax
flushed with boiling water every two weeks.
* NEVER pour grease down the drain.

FABRIC SOFTENFRs harmful ingredients aerosol
propel plants, ammonia, artificial dyes, very strong
synthetic fragrances.

* Pour one cup white vinegar into the final rinse water.
* Use unscented dryer sheets rather than liquids added to
wash water or aerosol sprays.

FLEA CONTROL harmful ingredients r
pesticides* such as DDVP, propoxur, diazinon,
and carbaryl (which are nerve poisons that are
also toxic to pets and humans and con cause
long-term health problems),

* Management: keep pets healthy -- fleas are attracted to
unhealthy animals.
Establish one regular sleeping area for your pet that can
be cleaned easily and regularly. Fleas accumulate where
animals sleep, so it will be easier to collect them. Remove
and wash bedding materials (blankets, rugs) frequently.
Vacuum pet areas every week with a strong canister-type
machine. Use crevice tools for corners and out-of-the-way
places (including furniture). Empty vacuum bag outside the
house immediately.
* Repellents: Sprinkle two ounces of lavender-oil extract over
two or three quarts of rock salt and let the salt absorb the
oil. SprinkJe lavender salt under dressers, sofas, and rugs.
Dried pennyroyal can also be used.
Feed your pet brewer's yeast or garlic.
* Combine orange peels, grapefruit peels, three cloves garlic,
one tablespoon rosemary (optional), and one pint of water in a
blender, blend until liquefied, and then heat mixture on low
heat for 15 minutes. Strain liquid into spray bottle, spray on
pet, and massage thoroughly into pet's coat, avoiding the eyes.
* Flea Killers: Use a flea comb. Run the comb through your
pet's fur and drop the fleas that remain on the comb into a
nearby container of soapy water (flush water down toilet
immediately when through).

*(he'mtf. 's marked by asterisks (*) have been listed by the U.S. Flnvremnmental
Protection Agency s priority pollutants recognized as being hazardous to human
I 31 .. .

Shampoo animals to knock off fleas and drown others.
Use ordinary soap or insecticidal soap.

GLASS CLEANeRS harmful ingredients j
ammonia, artificial dye, aerosol propellants.

Half-fill a pump spray bottle with white vinegar and the
other half with water.
For heavily soiled glass, mix one cup of vinegar in one gallon
of water, add two tablespoons of cornstarch and mix well.

77Tips: If vinegar and water streaks, it's because you have
been using a type of glass cleaner that has left years
of build-up. Use a little rubbing alcohol to remove
Never wash windows when the sun is shining directly on
them. The mix will dry too fast and streak.
Use newspaper instead of paper towels to clean glass.
Newspaper won't leave paper fibers on the glass.

INsecTaI es harmful ingredients- pesticides*, aerosol

* Ants: There are a number of different methods for keeping
ants away, but first, keep things clean, don't leave crumbs or
garbage lying around.
Wipe up a line of ants with a wet sponge so other ants
won't follow. Wipe up stray ants that may be out looking
for food or other ants.
Sprinkle boric acid, talcum powder, powdered chili
*Chemicals marked by asteriskx (*) have been Isted by the US. Environmental
Protection Agency as priority pollutants recognized as being hazardous to humnum

pepper, paprika, dried peppermint, damp coffee grounds, or
borax where ants are coming in.
Squeeze lemon juice at the entry spot and leave the peel
Plant mint around the outside of the house to discourage
ants from entering, or spray them with strong mint tea in a
squirt bottle.
Spray ants and ant trails with a biodegradable soap,
both inside and outside the house.
* Cockroaches and Silverfish: Mix equal parts 4
baking soda and sugar. Spread around infested
Mix equal parts powdered oatmeal or flour with plaster of
paris. Spread on the floor of infested area.
Mix by stirring and sifting one ounce trisodium
phosphate, six ounces borax, four ounces granulated sugar,
and eight ounces flour. Spread on floor of infested area.
Repeat after four days and again after two weeks to kill
newly hatched roaches.
Mix two tablespoons flour, one tablespoon cocoa powder,
and four tablespoons borax. Spread around infested area.
Use cucumber rinds in infested area.
Use bay leaves in infested area.
Trap them: set an uncapped one-quart jar upright, with
grease on the inside of the neck and a piece of banana
inside for bait. Place a tongue depressor against the
outside of the jar so they can get in.
Flies: Hang clusters of cloves in a room.
Make fly paper by spreading honey thinly onto bright
yellow paper.
Use a fly swatter.
Scratch the skin of an orange and leave it out the
citrus oil released will repel flies.

* Beetles and Weevils: Put a bay leaf in each container of
cereal, crackers, cookies, flour and other grain products.
Store flour and grains in a cool cabinet, or preferably in
the refrigerator, or in a container sealed with a rubber
Hang small cloth socks of black pepper in your food bins.
* House 4& arden (all purpose :
Mix two tablespoons liquid soap in one quart water and
store in spray bottle. Spray plants evenly, aiming directly
at pests.
Finely chop one bulb of garlic and one small onion, mix
with one quart tap water, add one tablespoon cayenne
pepper, let sit for one hour, then add two tablespoons
liquid soap. Mix well; when foam subsides, strain into spray
bottle & keep refrigerated. Lasts one to two weeks.

INSECT REPELLENTs harmful ingredients- pesticides*
(most common ingredient is DEET); aerosol propellants.

* Splash a little vinegar on exposed skin or dab it on with a
cotton ball.
* Use commercially-available citronella lotions or oils.
* bi ute citronella or pennyroyal oil with vodka or vegetable
oil (a few drops to one ounce of either) and then apply at
strategic points (like perfume).
* Eat lots of garlicky food -- mosquitoes hate garlic.

LAUNDRY bETERSENT harmful ingredients- detergents,
ammonia, fluorescent brighteners, ethanol, fragrance,
naphthalene*, phenol.

"Chemicals marked by astensks (*) have been listed by the U S. Environmental
PrrtI'tiwn Agency as priority pollutuan recognized as being hazardous to human

developed especially to clean synthetic
fabrics. They are unnecessary for cotton,
linen, silk, and wool.

* Use a plain powdered or liquid soap. Bar soap can also be
grated and added to laundry. To prevent soap from leaving
a residual scum on fabric, add a water-softener such as
baking soda or borax to wash water.
* To remove odors, perspiration and to freshen clothes, use
one cup of plain baking soda, white vinegar or borax per
load of clothes.
* Use a detergent free of perfumes, dyes, bleach or other

LAUNDR STARCH harmful ingredients formaldehyde,
phenol, pentachlorophenol*, aerosol propellants.

Dissolve one tablespoon of cornstarch in one pint of
cold water. Place in pump spray bottle and shake
before using.
Use a steam iron instead of a dry iron.
Add I teaspoon of vinegar to water in your steam

MOLD AND MILDEW CLEANgRS harmful ingredients -
formaldehyde, phenol, pentachlorophenol*, kerosene.

*Chemicals marked by asterisks (*) have been listed by the U S. Environmental
Protection Agency as priority pildants recognized as being hazardous to human

* Aww twi Try to keep rooms dry and light. Allow air to
circulate to help keep things dry. Hang clothes so that
there is space between them. Let towels dry before
throwing them in laundry basket. Place a piece of charcoal
in bookcases to help absorb dampness. You can "bake"
musty books in the oven for a few minLrtes at a low
* Ceaner Mix borax or vinegar with water in a spray
bottle. Spray on and mold will wipe right off.
For mildew, pour one cup hydrogen peroxide in a spray
bottle and spray on stains. Scrub with a thin paste of
lemon juice and borax to inhibit mildew from re-appearing.
* Borax also inhibits mold growth, so you can wash down
bathroom walls with the borax solution, leaving it on, or
sprinkle borax in damp cabinets under sinks.

OVEN CLEANERS harmful ingredients ammonia,
detergents, synthetic fragrances, aerosol propellants.

* Prevention Prevent spills in oven by cooking food in
proper-sized containers and by placing a cookie sheet or
aluminum foil on the lower rack to catch spills. Also, clean
up spills in oven as soon as oven cools so that food does not
bake onto oven.
* Cleaner- Mix together in a spray bottle two tablespoons
liquid soap (NOT detergent), two teaspoons borax, and fill
with warm water. Spray in oven very close to oven surface
to avoid inhalation. Wear gloves and glasses or goggles
when using. Leave solution on for 20 minutes and then
scrub with steel wool and non-chlorine scouring powder.

harmful ingredients perchloroethylene*, naphthalene*,
ethanol, ammonia, detergents, fluorescent brighteners,
artificial colors, synthetic fragrances.

* Prevention Clean spills immediately before they become
stains; keep carpets fresh by vacuuming regularly.
* To deodorize Vacuum first to remove dust. Mix one
quart white vinegar with three quarts boiling water and
apply with a wet rag (take care not to wet backing). Dry
thoroughly and then rub surface with warm bread crumbs
and vacuum.
* Blood stains Gently sponge stain with cold water and dry
with a towel. Repeat until stain is removed.
* Grease Cover with baking soda and rub lightly into rug.
Leave on for one hour and then brush off. Repeat as
* Grease and oil- Cover spots with corn starch,
wait one hour and vacuum.
* Ink Put cream of tartar on stain and squeeze a
few drops of lemon juice on top. Rub into stain for one
minute, brush off powder, and sponge with warm water. If
ink is still wet, immediately put a mound of table salt on
the wet spot. Let it sit for a minute, brush up and reapply
and remove until all ink is absorbed and the stain is
bleached out.
* Urine Rinse with warm water, then apply a solution of
three tablespoons white vinegar and one teaspoon liquid
soap. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse and rub dry.

*Chemicals marked by aterzirk(s ('*) have been listed by rhe U S. Environmental
Protection Agency as priority pollutants recognized as being hazardous to human

ScoUf6 PowDER harmful ingredients- dry chlorine
bleach, detergents, artificial dyes. Some brands may
also contain talc, which can be contaminated with
carcinogenic asbestos*.

* Mix f cup baking soda with J cup borax and one and I cups
hot water.
* Sprinkle baking soda, borax, or dry table salt on the
surface to be cleaned or on a sponge, then scour and rinse.
* For aluminum pots, add two pints of water and three
tablespoons vinegar to pot and boil until stains are
* For burned or baked on food, add two tablespoons liquid
soap, three teaspoons baking soda, and enough water to
cover the burned-on food; boil for 15 20 minutes and
then wash.

SHOE PoLIsH harmful ingredients- aerosol
propellants, ethanol, methylene chloride,
nitrobenzene*, perchloroethylene*, trichloroethane*,
trichloroethylene*, xylene.

Wear shoes that do not require polishing (canvas, linen,
suede, etc.).
Frequently clean and buff shoes with soft cloth.
Use natural or non-toxic polishes.

*Chemicals marked by asterisks (*) have been listed by the U.S. Eironmental
Protection Agency as prioley pttallt recognized as being haaMrdous to human

ingredients- ammonia, petroleum distillates, ethanol,
synthetic fragrance, sulfur compounds.

* Brass and Copper Polish There are a number of different
home remedies for brass and copper:
Use lemon juice or a paste of lemon juice and salt, or a
slice of lemon sprinkled with baking soda. Rub with a soft
cloth, rinse with water and dry.
Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply,
leave on for five minutes, then wash in warm water and dry
with a soft cloth.
Make a paste of salt, white vinegar, and flour. Apply the
paste, let it set for an hour, then rub off, rinse, and polish
with a soft cloth.
Rub with hot buttermilk or sour milk.
Rub with tomato juice.
-Brass will look brighter and need less polishing if rubbed
with olive oil after each polishing.
For tarnished copper, boil item in a pot of water with one
tablespoon salt and one cup white vinegar for several
hours. Wash with soap in hot water, rinse and dry.
* Chrome Polish Wipe with a soft cloth dipped in undiluted
cider vinegar or rub with a lemon peel, rinse, and polish with a
soft cloth,
* Fold Polish Wash in lukewarm, soapy water. Dry ( r
with a cotton cloth and then polish with a chamois cloth. -
* Silver Polish There are many different home remedies to
polish silver, but the best way is to magnetize tarnish away:
o Submerge silver pieces in water containing some type of
salt (table salt, sea salt, rock saoft, baking soda) and
aluminum (either use an aluminum pan or put strips of
aluminum foil in the water). The aluminum will act as a

magnet in the salty water and attract the tarnish away from
the silver. After leaving the silver in the salt water with
aluminum for a few minutes, remove the pieces and wipe them
dry (you may need to repeat the process a few times for badly
tarnished silver).
For large items (like trays), run very hot water into a
stopped up kitchen sink, adding a sheet of aluminum foil
and a handful of salt. Let sit for two to three minutes,
then remove, rinse and dry.
For silverware, put a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom
of a pan, add two or three inches of water, one teaspoon
salt, and one teaspoon baking soda. Add silverware and boil
for two or three minutes, then remove, rinse and dry.
For jewelry, fill a gtass jar half full with thin strips of
aluminum foil. add one tablespoon salt and fill jar with cold
water. Keep covered. To use, drop in jewelry for a few
minutes, remove, rinse and dry.

SPOT REMOVER harmful ingredients -
perchloro-ethylene*, ammonia, benzene*,
chlorine, synthetic fragrances, naphthalene*,
toluene*, trichloroethylene*, aerosol

* Blood- soak fabric in cold water, then wash with soap and
cold water. If necessary, bleach white fabrics in a solution
of + cup borax and two cups water, wash as usual.
* Cocoa, chocolate, and coffee Sponge stain with cold
water and then with a solution of one tablespoon borax in
two cups water. Wash as usual.

*Chemultai marked by asterisks (*} have been listed by the U.S. Environmental
Proection Agency as priority poltamis recognized as being hazardous to human

* Fruit and fnit juice Stretch the fabric over a basin
and pour boiling water over the stain. Wash as usual.
6nss Rub with glycerin soap and let sit for one hour.
Wash as usual.
Ink- Soak fabric in cold water, then wash as usual. If
stain has set on a white fabric, wet fabric with cold water,
then apply a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice and
let sit for one hour. Wash as usual.
* M/WAw-Wash in hot, soapy water, rinse and dry in the sun.
* Milk Soak fabric in warm water and rub gently with
glycerine soap. Then wash in cool, soapy water, rinse and
* AMud- Brush off excess dried mud, then rub the stain
with water left over from boiling potatoes or a solution of
two tablespoons borax in two cups of water. Rinse well and
wash as usual.
* Perspiration Stretch the fabric over a basin and pour
boiling water over stain. Wash as usual.
* Urine Sponge stain with a solution of baking soda and
water, then rinse in warm water and wash as usual.

WOOt POLUSH harmful ingredients -
aerosol propellants, ammonia, detergents,
synthetic fragrance (particularly lemon, that
causes extreme sensitivity in some people),
nitrobenzene*, phenol, acrylic, and polystyrene plastics.

(use a soft cloth to apply one of the following mixtures)
* Wipe with mayonnaise.
* Rub with a cloth dipped in cool tea.

*Chemicsh marked by asterisks (*) have been listed by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency as priority pollutants recognized as being hazardous to human

* Mix three tablespoons of lemon juice with one quart of
vegetable or mineral oil. Wipe on and then remove with
clean cloth.
* Mix one teaspoon olive oil, juice of one lemon, and one
teaspoon water (one teaspoon brandy or whiskey optional).
* Mix three parts olive oil and one part white vinegar.
* For mahogany: mix equal parts white vinegar and warm
water; wipe onto wood and then polish with a chamois cloth.
* For oak: boil one quart beer with one tablespoon sugar and
two tablespoons beeswax. Wipe cooled mixture onto wood.
When dry, polish with a dry chamois cloth,
* Use plain mineral oil, apply sparingly with a small cloth (can
add one teaspoon lemon oil to two cups mineral oil for
lemon scent).

Many textiles are treated with formaldehyde. I

For example, "No-iron" percale bed linens are treated
with formaldehyde to prevent wrinkling. It is also used
on nylon fabrics to make them flame-proof. Such
clothing finishes labeled "easy care," "permanent press,"
"no-iron," "crease resistant," "durable pressed," "shrink-
proof," "stretch-proof," "water repellent," "water-
proof," or "permanently pleated" combine formaldehyde
resin directly with the fiber, making the formaldehyde
irremovable. New textile products treated this way can
contain free-formaldehyde levels of 800 parts per million
(ppm) to 1000 ppm. Washing can lower levels to 100 ppm,
but formaldehyde will continue to be released as the
residue breaks down.

Wash new sheets and clothing labeled as described
above a couple of times to remove formaldehyde

Building and furnishing materials can also contain harmful
materials such as formaldehydes. The following is a list
of materials and the harmful materials they may contain.
Again, read labels carefully

CAAP~TzI AND AREA Rues harmful materials -
formaldehyde, pesticides (moth-proof ing), plastics

FLOOmNG harmful materials- formaldehyde, plastics

FustMrhsMIs harmful materials formaldehyde, plastics

ADHesVES harmful materials aerosol
propellants, ammonia, benzene*, ethanol,
formaldehyde, glycols, kerosene, lead*,
pentachlorophenol*, phenol, plastics, toluene*,
trichloroethylene*, xylene

Woob PRObucrs harmful materials- formaldehyde,
plastics, pentachlorophenol*, phenol

*Chemicals marked by asterisks (*) have been listed by the U S Environmental
Protection Agencey as pr foity pollrants recognized as being hazardous to human


American Lung Association: 1-800-LUNG-USA

Consumer Product Safety Commission: 1-800-638-2772

National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences
(EnviroHealth Clearinghouse): 1-800-643-4794

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH): 1-800-356-4674

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse (IAQ
INFO): 1-800-438-4318

National Lead Information Center: 1-800-LEAbFYI

National Pesticides Telecommunications Network:

UVI Cooperative Extension Service
St. Croix: 692-4080
St. Thomas/St. John: 693-1080

V.I. Department of Health
St. Croix Hospital: 778-6311
St. John Hospital: 776-6400
St. Thomas Hospital: 776-8311



These substances are those that are classified as and
known to be hazardous. Those indicated with an asterisk
(*) have been listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency as "priority pollutants" recognized as being
hazardous to human health. This partial list was taken
from NAntowic, Natural & Earthwise by Debra Lynn
Dodd (G.P. Putnams's Sons, 1990).



(including Ammonium
Chloride, Ammonium
HycxAride, BenrolkwAitu
Chloride, and
Quoternary Amman/wn




Heart problems, birth defects, lung
cancer, and liver damage. Symptoms
include headaches, nausea, dizziness,
shortness of breath, eye and throat
irritation, skin rashes, burns, lung

Symptoms include irritation of eyes
and respiratory tract, conjunctivitis,
laryngitis, tracheitis, pulmonary edema,
pneumonitis, and skin burn.


Asbestosis (a chronic lung disease),
mesothelioma (an often fatal form of
cancer). There is NO safe level of

I asbestos exposure

Substances marked with a asterisk (*) have been listed by the U.S. Environmental
Prtection Agency as "priority pFoliuanfs" recognized as being hazardous to human
heath. 26


Carcinogenic. Symptoms include
BENZENE* drunken behavior, light-headedness,
disorientation, fatigue, and loss of

BENZYL Symptoms include intestinal upsets and
ALCOHOL/SODIUM allergic reactions.
Exposure has been linked to high blood
pressure, anemia, diabetes, and heart
disease, and causes a 44% greater risk
of gastrointestinal or urinary-tract
cancer. Symptoms include pain and
inflammation of the mouth, throat, and
CHLORINE stomach, and erosion of mucous
membranes, vomiting, circulatory
collapse, confusion, delirium, coma,
swelling of the throat, severe
respiratory tract irritation, pulmonary
edema, and skin eruptions.
Affects the central nervous system,
kidneys, lungs, pancreas, and spleen,
and can be fatal. Can be absorbed
through the skin and mucous
membranes. Symptoms include
CfRESOL dermatitis, digestive disturbances,
faintness, vertigo, mental changes,
sweating, pallor weakness, headache,
dizziness, ringing in the ears, shock,
delirium, and skin numbness and
I doloration

Subtvances marked wifrk on avierisk (*) have brew isted by the U.S. En vironmenal
Proteceion Agency as "priori4 pollutants" recognized as being khazrdoMs to human
A en It .27
__ P I4


Symptoms include dermatitis, flu-like
DETERGENTS and asthmatic conditions, severe eye
damage, and severe upper-digestive
tract damage if ingested,
Do-it-yourself, at-home-dyes contain
highly carcinogenic dichlorobenzidene,
which is very easily absorbed through
the skin. Can also cause anemia,
jaundice, and damage to the central
DYES nervous system, kidneys, and Jiver, as
well as death. Azo, basic, disperse
fiber-reactive and vat dyes all can
cause allergic reactions, as can
fluorescent whitening agents.
Symptoms include central-nervous-
system depression, anesthesia, feelings
of exhilaration and talkativeness,
impaired motor coordination, diplopia,
ETHANOL vertigo, flushed face, nausea and
vomiting, drowsiness, stupor, coma,
dilated pupils, shock, hypothermia, and
possible death.
Reported symptoms include headaches,
dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration,
FRAGRANCE violent coughing and vomiting, and
(can indicate the allergic skin irritation. Central-
presence of up to 4000 nervous-system symptoms may include
separate substances) depression, hyperactivity, irritability,
inability to cope, and other behavioral

_28__ chan2S




i I _II I9






Suspected human carcinogen. Vapor
inhalation symptoms: cough, throat
swelling, watery eyes, respiratory
problems, throat irritation, headaches,
rashes, tiredness, excessive thirst,
nausea, nosebleeds, insomnia,
disorientation, broncho-constriction,
and asthma attacks. Ingestion
symptoms: nausea, vomiting, clammy
skin and other shock symptoms, severe
abdominal pain, internal bleeding,
vertigo, loss of ability to urinate, and
coma, possibly leading to death. Skin
contact symptoms: skin eruptions.
Speculation exists that formaldehyde
may be a contributing factor in sudden
infant death syndrome.

Symptoms include cough, depression,
heart problems, nausea, vomiting,
abdominal swelling, and headache.

Symptoms include intoxication, burning
sensation in chest, headaches, ringing
in the ears, nausea, weakness,
uncoordination, restlessness, confusion
and disorientation, convulsions, coma,
burning in the mouth, throat, and
stomach, vomiting and diarrhea,
drowsiness, rapid breathing,
tachycardia, low-grade fever, and



There Is No
demonstrably Safe
Exposure Level for Lead!



Chronic low-level exposure has been
found to produce permanent neuro-
psychological defects and behavior
disorders in children, such as low IQ,
short attention span, hyperactive
behavior, and motor difficulties. High
doses can cause brain damage, nervous
system disorders, and death. Lead can
also affect the kidneys, liver,
gastrointestinal system, heart, immune
system, nervous system, and blood-
forming system, and can cause
malformations in sperm and low sperm
counts. Early symptoms of Jead
poisoning include abdominal pains, loss
of appetite, constipation, muscle pains,
irritability, metallic taste in the mouth,
excessive thirst, nausea and vomiting,
shock, muscular weakness, pain and
cramps, headache, insomnia, depression,
and lethargy.

METHYLENE CHLORIDE Suspected human carcinogen.
Suspected human carcinogen.
Symptoms include skin irritation,
NAPHTHALENE* headache, confusion, nausea and
vomiting, excessive sweating, urinary
irritation. In sufficient quantity con
I lerd to deth _

Substances marked with an aterisk (*) have been listed by the U.SA Etivironmental
Protection Agency as "priority pollutants" recognized as being hazardous to human


NETROBENZENE* Symptoms include bluish skin, shallow
breathing, vomiting, and death.
PARAFFIN Impurities in paraffin are carcinogenic.
Carcinogenic. Can also cause central-
nervous-system depression, light-
PENTACHLOROPHENOL headeddness, dizziness, sleepiness,
nausea, tremor, loss of appetite,
disorientation and liver damage.
Suspected human carcinogen.
Symptoms include skin eruptions and
peeling, swelling, pimples, hives,
PHENOL burning, gangrene, numbness, vomiting,
circulatory collapse, paralysis.
convulsions, cold sweats, coma and
Over 100 in common use are thought to
be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or
PESTICIDES, teratogenic. Symptoms include
HERBICIDES, AND paralysis, neuritis, sterility,
FUNGICIDES* convulsions, dizziness, weakness, tiny
pupils, blurred vision, muscle twitching.
(Owr 150 are used in slowed heartbeat, aplastic anemia,
conswner procfts, nausea, cough, diarrhea, tremors,
combined with -2000 damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs,
other poss/ble toxic to ear, nose and throat,
substances to make hyperirritability, brain hemorrhages,
nearly 350 pesticide central-nervous-system effects,
products) decreased fertility and sexual function,
l I" Iand altered menstrual periods.

Substianwmces marked with an asterisk () have been listed by the U.& Emn ironmental
Prnectiion Agency as "priry polteMutants" recognized as being hazardous to human


PLASTICS Plastics cause problems because of
"out-gassing" the release of fumes.

Suspected human carcinogen.
ACRYLONWTR tE* Symptoms include breathing
(Lucite/Plexiglas) difficulties, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea,
weakness, headache, and fatigue.
EPOXY RESTNS Suspected human carcinogen.
PHENOL Releases formaldehyde when new (see
Can cause eye and respiratory tract
POLYESTE7R irritation and acute dermatitis
POLYETHYLENE Suspected human carcinogen.
Can cause bronchitis, coughing, and skin
and eye problems. Also releases
POLt YRETHANE toluene diisocyanate, which can cause
severe pulmonary effects and
Releases vinyl chloride" whi ch is
carcinogenic, mutagenic, and
teratogenic. Symptoms include
POLYVINyL CHLORIDE mucous-membrane dryness, numbness in
(PVC) fingers, stomach pains, hepatitis,
indigestion, chronic bronchitis, ulcers,
Raynaud's disease, and allergic skin

Substances marked with an asteriskA () have been listed by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency as "pririoy pollutants" recogn ied as being hazardous to human

POL/ayNV Corcinogenic. Can also cause
P OWSOOAE (PVP) thesaurosis, a lung disease affecting
some hairspray users.
Symptoms include irritation of eyes,
TETR4AFLPAWO- nose, and throat, and breathing
E77OT E EA (Tefon) difficulty. Produces poisonous gases
when burned.

(Includh PotassrAm wed Can cause fatal allergic anaphylactic
sodium Brsuffoe, shock and asthma attacks, and can act
Meftbisufts, Suvtir synergistically with carcinogens to
boxAn r, and Sdiflc make them more potent.
~ Acid)
Symptoms include nervous system and
TOLUEE* mental changes, irritability,
disorientation, depression, and damage
to liver and kidneys.
Suspected human carcinogen.
Mutogenic. Symptoms include
TRPCHLOROETHYLENE* gastrointestinal upsets, central-
nervous-system depression, narcosis,
hear and liver malfunction, paralysis,
nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and
psychotic behavior.
Symptoms Include nausea, vomiting,
salivation, cough, hoarseness, euphoric
XYLENE feelings, headaches, giddiness, vertigo,
ringing in the ears, confusion., coma,
and dethl

Substances marked with an asterTsk (-) have been listed by the .US EnvironMMental
Prcion Agency a "prioty pollutants" recognized s being hardous to human

Copies of this Bulletin are available from:

UVI Cooperative Extension Service
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-9990
(340) 693-1080
UVI Cooperative Extension Service
RR#2 Box 10,000
Kingshill, St. Croix, USVI 00850
(340) 692-4080

Printed on recycled paper with say ink

Recipf/or a Non-Txic Honwuse is published by the University
of the Virgin Islands, Cooperative Extension Service, Kwme
Garcia. State Director, Contents of this publication constitute
public property. No endorsement ofprodcts or flrms is intended
nor is criticism implied of those not mentioned. Issued by the Virgin
Islands Cooperative Extenwion Service and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture n furtherance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914.
Extension programs and policies are consistent withfederal and
state laws and regulations on non-discrimination regarding race,
color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, and gender


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