We start Earth Month, our favorite of the year, with the element of Air and how we can all do better to make our air less toxic. Stay tuned each week in April for more elements & tips!
What's in Our Air?
Toxic chemicals from petrochemical plants and oil refineries are the main cause of dirty air that causes or exacerbates health conditions ranging from cancer to asthma. People living in Texas, Louisiana and Florida are particularly at risk due to having the largest quantities of hazardous air pollutants released into their air by what Bloomberg calls “Super Polluters.” But, due to the low cost of living in such areas, many Americans can’t afford to move.
What can we do about it?
Chemicals in the air are responsible for 15% of air pollution in America though quantities are much more concentrated in the states mentioned above.
Tip: Consider calling your local, state and federal elected officials to bring more awareness and positive change to this issue. Boycott companies in your state that are part of the problem.
We can reduce our use of electricity. Electricity Generation makes up 49% of toxic air pollution in the US.
Tip: Opt for sweaters and jackets in fall and winter to keep your thermostat around 68 degrees in winter and dress in warmer climate clothing to keep your indoor temperature between 75 and 78 in the spring, summer and parts of fall. Ceiling fans are helpful in all climates and use lower electricity than whole-house air conditioning.
Cut down on paper products; manufacturing them puts another 13% toxic air pollution into US air. If you’ve ever driven near a paper plant, you know you don’t even have to roll your window down to smell the sulfuric acid that breaks down wood fibers into paper.
Tip: Rip up old T-shirts and worn towels to use as cleaning rags. Wash and reuse them!
- Note the Other category in this graphic ranks high also includes solid and liquid particles and certain gases that can come from car and truck exhaust, dust, pollen, mold spores, volcanoes and wildfires. The solid and liquid particles suspended in our air are called aerosols. [Thanks Nasa.gov for that info]
What does Sally B's do to help?
We champion clean air! While we can’t remove the pollution from the air, we are doing our part by not using artificial fragrance in our products. Dermatology researchers rank fragrance as a top five allergen. As many as 3,000 chemicals, mostly synthetic, are used to manufacture an artificial fragrance. Use of these chemicals causes topical reactions like contact dermatitis or itchy skin rashes. Worse, they can exacerbate asthma and a range of problems in the immune, reproductive, and nervous systems.
Tip: Only buy perfume or scented products from brands like us that has most of its products verified by Environmental Working Group and Leaping Bunny.
What's in Our Water?
We continue Earth Month, our favorite of the year, with the element of Water and how we can all do better to protect our water, a vital element to staying healthy.
What are some of the biggest issues surrounding water?
Lack of safe water for all to drink and use for washing hands and bodies, foods, clothes, homes, etc.
This is not just a crisis in third-world countries. Remember what happened in Flint, Michigan?
Tip: Consider supporting organizations whose missions are to solve the water where you live. Some of our favorites include Chattahoochee Riverkeeper in our state, along with national nonprofits like The Nature Conservancy that help protect our rivers here. You can also reduce the amount of water your own family uses by installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances and offering incentives for everyone to shorten their showers.
Limited access and quantity of safe water holding back mostly women and children from education, empowerment, employment and reaching their potential
Women are disproportionately affected by the world’s water crisis. And sadly, every two-minutes a child dies from a water-related disease.
Tip: Learn more about this by visiting water.org. Teach your children about the lack of water in other places so that they will learn to be more mindful about their own consumption. Even if you live in a place with clean and abundant water, your actions matter toward everyone’s health.
Disruption of ocean and river eco-systems due to toxic chemical releases into water
Release of toxic chemicals into our US water sources continues, though reduced amounts of nitrate compounds since 2008 have significantly helped. Every day, we all passively introduce our personal care product ingredients into our environment by washing our hands, face, or body.
Tip: Try to reduce your dependence on products that contain toxic chemicals. Read our “What’s Not in Our Products” blog to help you know which products to look out for when shopping for everything from skincare and makeup to household cleaning products.
Dangerous toxins entering our food chain because fish unwittingly eat them
Research shows that one bottle of facial cleanser could contain as many as 300,000 plastic microbeads, which enter our waterways after being washed down the drain. Not only do other chemical toxins leach onto the lingering beads, but fish eat them, confusing them for fish eggs, thus allowing dangerous toxins to enter our food chain.
What does Sally B's do to help the Earth's waterways?
- We don’t send any toxic ingredients into our waterways. We ensure that our products you send down the drain do not harm aquatic life or their eco-systems. Microbeads are a no-no here! We use only high-quality natural and organic ingredients from the Earth that can safely be returned there.
- We’re keeping plastic out of the water through the use of recyclable containers for the majority of our products. And we personally avoid purchasing plastic water bottles.
- We use our brand as a platform to inform others about how to be mindful of how they use water and how they consume products than can be harmful to water, animals, and humans across the globe.
- Recycling Program: As part of our earth stewardship and to keep our product containers out of the landfill, we accept all your used Sally B’s product containers. Whether you mail or drop them off to our store during open hours, we’ll email you a $5 gift certificate any time we get our clean, empty packaging back! To read more visit our Recycling Program page on our website here.
Why is Fire Important?
We continue Earth Month, our favorite of the year, with the element of Fire and how we can all do better to use fire for the good it’s meant for and avoid letting it get out of control.
We and our ancestors used fire to warm our homes, cook our food, light our candles and ward off the darkness of night. Fire can only take place by consuming some other element; as the transformer, it converts the energy of other objects into heat, light, ash and smoke. Fire is actually helpful to clear away underbrush in the forest and allow seeds lying dormant to burst forth into new life.
What are some of the biggest issues surrounding fire?
Climate change, according to the C2ES, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, enhances the dryness of organic matter in forests and has caused the number of large fires between 1984 and 2015 in the US to double. While California is just one state with massive wildfires over the last few years, its wildfires have had the most impact in terms of loss of life and property.
Tip: If you spend anytime at all in a forest, never put out a cigarette or a campfire without being 100% certain it’s out. Watch this great video from the Forest Service/USDA to learn how to do it right.
Changes in climate create drier, warmer conditions, increased drought, and a longer fire season, which are all really hard on wildlife.
Tip: Consider donating to or volunteering for organizations that measure water around lakes and rivers in forested areas or others that track changes in wildlife habits and population size in vulnerable areas. Find a list of Top 10 Wildlife Conservation Organizations here.
The growing number of people who live in or near wild lands is increasing the risk to life, property and public health. Smoke reduces air quality and can cause eye and respiratory illness, especially among children and the elderly. Wildfires that burn in residential areas can melt plastic water pipes and cause contamination of water systems with a known carcinogen.
Tips: Avoid burning waste outside. Don’t smoke or consider giving it up as soon as possible. Quitting is challenging for long-time smokers and will not only positively impact your health and that of your loved ones, but you will be doing the entire planet a big favor. It’s never too late to quit smoking!
Fire is needed for warmth in many countries around the world. Who doesn’t want to sit by either an outdoor fire pit or indoor fireplace at home during colder months?
Tips: With outdoor firepits that are not built into your landscape, be sure not to place your firepit directly on a wood deck or next to any item that can easily catch fire. Use a firepit pad to protect your deck from gas, embers and ash. Pour a couple inches of sand on the bottom of the firepit before lighting it. Never use your firepit in windy conditions. Here’s a good source to help you effectively put out your fire before you leave the site.
What does Sally B's do to prevent harmful fires?
- We don’t smoke or allow smoking in our lab and store.
- We take precautions when lighting and putting out indoor or outdoor fires at home or while in nature.
- None of our products are flammable!
The Element of Earth
We wrap up Earth Month this year with the element of Earth itself, the basis and foundation of all the elements.
We think of Earth as our mother, with its fertile and nurturing farmland, and ability to provide all creatures with nourishment and shelter. Earth takes on qualities of the other elements, from the dry, dusty and hot aspects of Fire and Air found in deserts to the moist and fluid aspects of Water in swamps and marshlands.
Have you tried the practice of Grounding, which probably dates back centuries but has caught on in the last ten years or more, as more people feel its benefits? Grounding is when you go outside and place your bare feet on soil or grass, close your eyes and let yourself feel any energetic vibrations.
To explain grounding in a nutshell, humans are electro-chemical organisms. Most biological processes in our body are driven by differences in electrical potential across cellular membranes. When we are connected (or grounded) to the earth, we connect to the earth's electrical field, and benefit from what is known as the grounding effect. The earth has a net negative charge, and when our bare feet come into contact with the earth's surface, electrons are able to flow freely from the earth into our bodies.
This effect of grounding/earthing neutralizes the buildup of positive charges in our bodies. If you've ever shuffled across a carpet and touched a doorknob then you've experienced firsthand how an electric charge can build up in our bodies and be released when we contact a grounded source.
In the modern world, lack of contact with the earth coupled with life in a modern technological environment means that we are constantly bombarded with electromagnetic fields. Leading EMF researcher Dr. Martin Pall has demonstrated that electromagnetic fields directly impact us at the cellular level, particularly in cardiac and neural tissues. Unwanted activation of these channels can result in myriad negative health symptoms, including pain and inflammation.
So, walk outside, find a spot where you can remove your shoes and stand in Earth. Just a few minutes of this will make a difference in your day!