Can you believe it – it’s already August! You know what that means - Soon the kids head back to school and the days become shorter and cooler. Make the most of the remaining days with a few tips from the Environmental Protection Agency to stay happy, healthy and safe outdoors. bridge

  1. Be sun healthy. Stay in the shade and wear a hat and sunscreen to avoid nasty burns. Remember, the sun is hottest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  2. Save water. Water your lawn only in the early mornings or late evenings and consider watering every two to three days. Keep use to just one inch per week.

  3. Play responsibly. Enjoy all the sand and surf San Diego has to offer, but make sure to be responsible! Swim safely, wear sunscreen, stay hydrated, watch out for pollution, and always pay attention to the lifeguards.lungtest

  4. Be aware of pollution. Pay attention to pollution in your community; Use the EPA’s tool to know where the air, water or land pollution is heaviest in your community and avoid those areas if possible. 

  5. Lower your energy use. Use energy star appliances to lower your energy use and save on your electricity bill.

  6. Stay cool. In the car, stay cool at low speeds by rolling down the windows; stay cool at high speeds by using the AC.

  7. Breathe right. Monitor air quality through apps like AirNow’s Air Quality Index to make sure you aren’t breathing toxic pollution.

Please share these tips with your friends, family and neighbors and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Warm(er) weather, setting our clocks forward an hour, more daylight in the evenings and more pollen in the air: Spring is here. And with spring often comes spring cleaning, a yearly ritual where we revamp our homes by decluttering, dusting and buying every cleaning supply in stock. But many store-bought cleaners are actually harmful and full of toxic chemicals that you and your family breathe in long after the cleaning is done. Set a new tradition in your family with easy, hand-made and toxic-free products.

image (39)With these tips from our Healthy Homes Experts, you don't have to worry about your loved ones breathing toxic chemicals and you can have the cleanest, healthiest home possible. 

  • Buy non-toxic cleaning ingredients. Combinations of vinegar, baking soda, lemon, salt and dish soap can get the job done.
  • Declutter.Clutter makes excellent hiding places for unwanted guests such as mice, roaches and spiders. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to clear the unnecessary items taking up space in your home. 
  • The kitchen.
    • Kitchens accumulate tremendous grease which becomes a food source for roaches. Mix baking soda, salt and dish soap together to make a great grease-cutting cleaner.
    • Clean the garbage disposal with a cut up lemon, salt and a few ice cubes to get rid of any residue or lingering smell.
    • Eliminate odors from the trash can by pouring baking soda into the can before replacing the plastic trash bag.
  • The bathroom.
    • High humidity in the bathroom causes black spots and mold around the shower area. To prevent this from building up, keep a spray bottle of a water and vinegar solution underneath the sink and spray the infected areas. Another solution is to open the windows (if possible) or keep a ventilation fan on for five to ten minutes after a shower. 
    • Clean the toilet bowl with baking soda instead of bleach.
    • Rub a lemon on water stains in the shower to make them disappear. 
  • The living and dining room.
    • In these rooms, focus on cleaning your windows, furniture, carpet, floors and curtains with a non-toxic solution made of vinegar, dish soap and water mixed in a spray bottle. This solution works like magic with dust around window sills and for removing stains on carpet or furniture.

Happy spring cleaning, everyone!

 

Valentines Day is upon us, and so are candies, chocolates, flowers, nice dinners, you name it. But before you fall head over heels into this holiday, learn how to protect your loved one, partner, girlfriend, parents and children from the hazards of lead. We know, it may seem like that last thing you want to think about on a day like today, but lead can be found in certain candy and make-up - two things not uncommon on Valentines Day. lipstick

CANDY
While most candies don't contain lead, there are still a few that do (mostly candies exported from other countries). This happens when the lead in the candy wrapper leaches into candies containing tamarind and chile because of the acid in the ingredient. This Valentines day, instead of taking a risk with candy, buy alternative loving gifts such as flowers or a card.

Click here for a list candies with unsafe lead levels.

More so than adults, children are most susceptible to lead poisoning. EHC conducts outreach in low-income communities to identify and eliminate sources of lead poisoning. Please call today if you want to a home lead test, and learn more about lead poisoning in children here.

MAKE-UP
Ladies, check your lip gloss. Recently, many popular lipsticks and glosses have been found to have traces of lead and up to eight other toxic metals including titanium, copper and nickel, to name a few. Questions are now being raised about the long-term effects of daily metal intake via these beauty products. Make sure the lip products you use aren't on the list of 20 lipsticks containing the most lead.

You can also try this personal test on your own lipsticks to make sure they are safe to use.

1. Put some lipstick on your hand
2. Use a gold ring to scratch on the lipstick
3. If the lipstick color changes to black then you know it contains lead
4. Share this information with your girlfriends, wives and female family members

To avoid the risk of absorbing any lead, stick with a non-candy gift and ladies, go au-natural. Happy Valentines Day, from EHC!

The only thing better than happy holidays are happy, healthy holidays. Follow these simple steps and head into a toxic-free 2014. holiday fireplace

  • Gift a bucket with non-toxic, multi-purpose cleaning products so your friends can keep their homes clean without using harmful chemicals.
  • Gift toys that do not have lead-based paint - check the label to find out!
  • Use a space heater to heat your home instead of your stove.
  • Make an appointment with the local utility company to check you gas heater or gas appliances - it's a free service.
  • Invest in a carbon monoxide detector and install it in your home.
  • Check and/or change batteries on your smoke detector.
  • If you are going to use a chimney and burn wood, make sure you take the proper precautions.
  • Do not leave candles unattended.
  • Develop and discuss a fire evacuation plan with all family members.
  • Turn your holiday lights off each night before bed.

Safe seasons greetings, everyone!

LETTY NBC LEAD

What makes a healthy home in San Diego? Our team would tell you reducing energy costs and making your home toxic-free is a fantastic place to start. But how? 

Silvia León, an EHC Healthy Homes advocate, visits homes door-to-door and educates residents on the small changes in daily habits that can have an enormous impact on health and the environment with less reliance on polluting power plants, lowered instances of child respiratory illnesses and cleaner air.

León brings with her simple tool kits coined "Healthy Homes kits", which contain: 

  • efficient light bulbs that provide immediate savings
  • a timer for the shower to help people understand hot-water consumption
  • fridge and stove thermometers to help tell when an appliance needs an adjustment or to be traded in

Her home visits teach families how to read and comprehend their energy meters and bills, provide customized room-by-room energy savings action plans and track energy and gas consumption.

One resident working with León, Jerry Guzman, saw drastic reductions in his energy and gas use. Living in a four-bedroom house with his family, prior to the education program they were using about 977 kilowatt-hours of energy a month. After going through EHC's program, they reduced their energy use by 36 percent.

"Prior to EHC working with my family, we had no idea about the easy ways to save energy," Guzman said. "Now I know how to read my energy bill and can better track my family's energy usage."

Results like the Guzman family saw were common among most families that León visited. León says that saving money motivated families as well as the desire to reduce demand of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions – helping to combat climate change and air pollution often seen in their communities.

In addition to putting their energy savings toward other things, such as school supplies or family activities, the major takeaway from this community work is the family's commitment to applying their new habits over the long term as they understand their role in protecting the health of their home, neighborhoods and the planet.

To evaluate your own energy usage, conduct a home energy assessment or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today.