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3 Rules of Thumb for Non-Toxic Living

3 Rules of Thumb for Non-Toxic Living

I was poisoned in 1979 and 1980, two back-to-back exposures—one to a gas leak and another to pesticides—and developed permanent central nervous system damage resulting in extreme sensitivity to most synthetic chemicals.

The result is that I’ve learned to live without toxic chemicals in my home for 25 years. I did this without getting a Ph.D. in chemistry. What I used were these rules of thumb, based on common sense. Try these guides for your life. Your health and the environment will be better for it.

1. Buy the most inert materials that you can find. These are materials that have low odor if any odor at all. One good way to identify them if the material doesn’t smell much, such as polycarbonate, is to realize that you would smell chemicals if they are burned. Examples of inert ingredients would be those made of stone or wood.

2. Buy ingredients with no label with a stronger “signal word” than “caution.” For example, “flammable” or “fatal if swallowed” indicates a warning stronger than “caution.”

3. Choose the least toxic product available every time you make a consumer purchase.

Read more: Home, Health & Safety, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Home Enlightenment

Practical, earth-friendly advice for creating a nurturing, healthy, and toxin-free home and now


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10:00AM PDT on Mar 30, 2008

Ladies, if you're really interested in creating a non-toxic and safer environment in your home, I'd like to suggest you visit the A Health Cafe site There you will find a wealth of information ranging from how toxins are everywhere in todays world and solutions on how we can eliminate them from our nutritional info for those who are trying to manage their weight with healthy inexpensive products, or help with their children's health concerns from allergies and much more. Check it out...tell me what you think...

11:27AM PDT on Mar 25, 2008

Sara, You might find that having a bottle of hydrogen peroxide is useful for some kinds of cleaning too. If you go to this website for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity at:
there are many suggestions for using safe products for laundry, general cleaning, and other things.
~ jani

9:27AM PDT on Mar 25, 2008

Hi Annie, I didn't find what you shared to be "useless". I'm sure you have so much that you could share though and didn't have space for in one Care2 Soular energy page. Maybe you could take up this important topic again and give more info taken from your experience. So many people are needing help dealing with the challenges they have due to exposure to toxins in our environments. Thank you for all you do already. ~ jani

7:27PM PDT on Mar 24, 2008

Yes Hun, Bleach is bad. Stay away from it.
Try white vinegar or a baking soda paste. I also use basic H and Basic G from Shaklee.

1:53PM PDT on Mar 24, 2008

Is bleach bad?

8:58AM PDT on Mar 24, 2008

I find it surprising that people find this "useless" given that it encapsulates genuine wisdom of mine garnered over many years of struggling with toxics in the world but personally and professionally.

8:26AM PDT on Mar 24, 2008

Check out the COMMENTS written in response to this not-so-great ABC news story. Some powerful stuff written by people who have have had their health severely damaged due to exposure to chemicals in the environment. I don't think voices like these can be kept silent. Positive change must be coming soon.
For people with multiple chemical sensitivity or environmental illness, joining a yahoo group like GreenCanary may be helpful. Being with others going through similar challenges has been good for me. Before that, i felt very alone with this illness. People there are generally very supportive, and often knowledgeable.

~ jani

5:43AM PDT on Mar 24, 2008

The title says "Three Rules of Thumb," which is exactly what the article gave us. These are great starting points. Short, sweet, and to the point makes them easy to remember, easy to follow, and easy to incorporate into my own lifestyle changes. Lori C.

12:26PM PDT on Mar 23, 2008

I will say in Annie's defense, this is "rule of thumb" piece, not a comprehensive list of things that we should do. With this basic information newbies to green issues can research more comprehensive information without being overwhelmed. Look at past postings to seek more guidance regarding chemical to watch out for. In addition, the environmental working group gives a comprehensive list/rating of consumerables that we should aviod.

11:48AM PDT on Mar 21, 2008

Kathy, I too have noticed alot of very generic articles on this site. One site you may like that is abundant with information is

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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