Parents, back to school is here --that means summer is coming to an end! Now is the time for your kids to shift back from play time to study time. And, as a parent, you want the very best for your child in everything: education, fun and health.

Have you thought about how clean is the air in your child's school?
Do you know if your child's indoor environment is safe?

One way to improve the indoor air quality in your child's school is to eliminate the use of cleaning supplies with toxic chemicals and use alternative cleaning methods which work just as well without catalyzing asthma and respiratory problems.

Help make your child's classroom bleach free- Ask the teacher NOT to spray chlorine bleach on your the desks, as this causes asthma in young kids. Water, soap and vinegar can replace bleach when cleaning and disinfecting your child's desk. 

Share Environmental Health Coalition's Multi-Purpose Non-Toxic Cleaning Solution with your child's teachers:

1 Spray Bottle
2 Cups of Water
½ Spoon of Liquid Dishwashing Soap
3 Spoons of White Vinegar
Mix all together in a bottle

A few small changes can make your child and their school healthier. Help children breathe easier and get ready for school by staying asthma free. Children with asthma and other respiratory problems will thank you!

Click here for information about green cleaning and safer disinfectants, wall paints, computers, office equipment, and art supplies.

salsa

The answer may be yes. A recent study revealed four popular brands of salsa contain unsafe levels of lead. 

The four salsas to avoid are:

El Pato Salsa Picante
Salsa Habanera
Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero
Bufalo Salsa Clasica

The FDA is working with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to determine a standard for lead in salsas. UNLV has been one of our strongest allies in the lead in candy battle.

In the meantime, avoid eating these salsas. Our Latino community, including children, eat El Pato Salsa Picante in chilaquiles and enchiladas and Bufalo Salsa Clasica with popcorn and snacks.

Remember to pay attention when buying salsa and avoid these four. EHC will post updates to help keep you, your children and your family safe from lead-poisoning.  

Read more about lead in salsa here.


Kids Playing Outside 3As the days get warmer, your kids and your inner child will head outside to enjoy the outdoors! Do you know if your play area is safe for your family? 

Playing outside is great fun and exercise, but dirt around older homes can contain lead. Unfortunately, lead was used in gasoline many years ago and can now be found along our curbs and yards - especially homes near freeways. 

Lead is a heavy metal and a poison to the human body; It is the #1 environmental health threat impacting children under the age of six. Lead poisoning can cause brain damage, hyperactivity, learning disability, and aggressive behavior. Without an identifiable smell or taste, it is up to us to take precautions to protect ourselves.

Here are some tips to keep the kiddos happy and safe!

  • Cover bare soil with grass, mulch, wood chips, stones, bark or gravel to avoid exposure to lead, which may be in the soil.
  • If you have bare soil, it's time to do some planting!
  • If you are planning on making home improvements to the exterior of your house (i.e. repainting), make sure you or your contractor use lead-safe work practices. This includes: safely containing any dust, thus avoiding lead contaminated dust from filtering into indoor of your home. For more information about lead-safe work practices, contact EHC.
  • If you are at a new play area and you do not know if the bare soil is contaminated, tell your kids to stick to the #1 Play Rule: Play in the grass, not in the dirt!
  • When it is time to go inside your home, ask your children to remove their shoes or wipe them off at the doormat.
  • When heading outside to play, be sure to turn off all of your household lights to save energy, save money, and help our planet!

Ten Ways to Be Toxic Free and Energy Efficient: The Spring Cleaning Edition

EHC's Toxic Free Cleaning Kit from Home Safe Home

May is here and Spring is in full force. What better time than now to discuss how your Spring cleaning can help ensure you have a green and healthy home? Here's a list of ten quick and easy tips to be toxic-free and energy efficient with your Spring cleaning:

  1. As a general rule of thumb, try to use non-toxic cleaning products when spring-cleaning. One easy and effective recipe can be achieved by mixing white distilled vinegar, dish soap, and water.

  2. Clean out the dust from your windowsills with this mixture or just plain vinegar.

  3. Toss out unused prescription pills and expired pain medications. With fewer pills lying around, your kids will be safer at home. Questions about disposal? Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222

  4. Wash your curtains, and open them up to let in daylight. Longer days mean less use of electric lights. This saves energy costs while eliminating any toxins that can blow onto your curtains from outside.

  5. Clean your light bulbs to conserve energy. Dust can cut light output by as much as 25 percent.

  6. Use baking soda before you vacuum to clean your carpet and area rugs. Spreading baking soda over carpet helps eliminate moisture and odors, absorb dirt.

  7. Get rid of old boxes! Roaches and other pests love them and come summer time, it's their favorite hiding place for lounging around and laying eggs.

  8. Clean your clothes-dryer lint filter after every load. Clogged filters drive up the drying costs and can be a fire hazard.

  9. Clean the burner pans on your stove. When clean, they will reflect heat more efficiently back up to pots and pans.

  10. Clean out food particles from your microwave. Without dust and left over food particles, it will cook food more efficiently.

In addition to this list of toxic-free cleaning tips, EHC can help with more tips and education. EHC also offers Healthy Homes kits which come complete with non-toxic cleaning supplies, roach traps, lead check swabs, and much more. Best of all, these cleaning kits are absolutely free if you qualify and sign up for a Healthy Homes Visit. For more information and help setting up your home for toxic-free cleaning, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at 619-474-0220 ext. 163.

blood lead testing king chavez 2013 2On February 26, 2013, EHC, the San Diego Housing Commission and La Maestra Health Center hosted a blood lead testing event for kids at King Chavez Primary Academy. This was our seventh blood lead testing event, testing 79 kids and bringing the total up to 542 for the program since October 2010. The testing events help families know if their children have any levels of lead in their blood and provide education on eliminating lead from their homes.

Blood-lead level testing is important because lead poisoning does not produce physical symptoms. Childhood lead poisoning is a silent disease. We don't see it. We don't smell it. Yet it is hidden in the paint of many of our older homes. There is no safe level of lead exposure.

Blood-lead levels can be detected easily with noninvasive portable blood analyzers. The blood analyzers require only a small pinprick to a child's finger and provide results within three minutes. Families with children who test positive are referred for further medical evaluation.

The blood lead testing events are a part of the "Home Safe Home" program. Visit the San Diego Housing Commission's YouTube channel for a video about the event.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at EHC for more information on future events.

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