Toxics

Each Monday, the Metro News features David Suzuki's Queen of Green column where Canadians pose questions on green living. Have a question? Send it to queenofgreen@metronews.ca
  • Photo: How to choose a safe sunscreen

    How to choose a safe sunscreen

    The most effective sun protection: Covering up! If you know you'll need sunscreen, choose wisely with these tips. More »

  • Photo: How to choose a non-toxic nail polish

    How to choose a non-toxic nail polish

    Many Canadians believe that because nail polish is widely available on store shelves and sports no warning label, it is free of health risks. They are, sadly, mistaken. Your bottle of nail polish might contain ingredients linked with health and environmental concerns. More »

  • Photo: Fighting Dry Skin Naturally

    Fighting Dry Skin Naturally

    Plagued by dry, itchy skin? You're not alone. We're well into winter and the season is taking its toll! Luckily, relief is probably hiding in your pantry. Or your fridge.... More »

  • Photo: What's the eco-friendliest shower curtain?

    What's the eco-friendliest shower curtain?

    I'll tell you what's not: PVC or plastic number 3. If you have a shower curtain made from polyvinyl chloride(PVC), you should recycle it. Polyvinyl chloride is known to off-gas... More »

  • Photo: How to avoid toxic flame retardants in the home

    How to avoid toxic flame retardants in the home

    If you don't plan to get rid of your TV and furniture, the simple answer is to dust. Studies have shown that consumer products, not industrial releases, are the likely... More »

  • Photo: Eco-friendly ways to get rid of ants in the home

    Eco-friendly ways to get rid of ants in the home

    As a temporary fix, try diatomaceous earth. Say that fast three times! It said to be safer than using borax (sodium borate) especially if you have pets. Sprinkle a small... More »

  • Photo: What's the best water filtration system?

    What's the best water filtration system?

    It really depends on what you're trying to filter out—the chlorine taste or contaminants like lead and pesticides. Generally speaking, water filters can improve the overall taste, smell and appearance... More »

  • Photo: Make your own shampoo

    Make your own shampoo

    Try my eight simple hair-care recipes (including shampoo for your dog) to help you avoid toxic chemicals found in many hair products—from SLS and SLES to parabens and fragrance. These... More »

  • Photo: Are there harmful chemicals in discarded cigarette butts?

    Are there harmful chemicals in discarded cigarette butts?

    Flicked out of car windows, stomped out on sidewalks and strewn about our parks and beaches — several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide each year. Cigarette butts can leach... More »

  • Photo: Are bamboo towels

    Are bamboo towels "green"?

    Simply put, yes and no. Over the past few years, bamboo has gained popularity and has become a widely available option for products like textiles and flooring. When it comes... More »

  • Photo: How to choose eco-friendly flower arrangements

    How to choose eco-friendly flower arrangements

    Ask your favourite florists if they have local, seasonal and pesticide-free flowers. Those three factors alone ooze eco-friendliness! Avoid flowers that have been shipped from far, far away—and not just... More »

  • Photo: The difference between sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)?

    The difference between sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)?

    SLS and SLES play similar roles in home cleaners and cosmetics. You can often find both of these surfactants or foaming agents in dish soap, liquid laundry detergents, toilet-bowl cleaners,... More »

  • Photo: Do plastic nightguards contain toxic chemicals?

    Do plastic nightguards contain toxic chemicals?

    I don't know very much about the plastic used to make night guards. However, my mom happens to be a dental assistant. She was able to get the manufacturer's Material... More »

  • Photo: Is there tuna with low levels of mercury?

    Is there tuna with low levels of mercury?

    There is such a thing as low-mercury tuna — albacore! This is the best choice, allowing you to maximize the health benefits of high omega-3 fats, yet minimize contaminants like... More »

  • Photo: Is silicone bakeware eco-friendly and safe?

    Is silicone bakeware eco-friendly and safe?

    It's hard to say if there's a dark side to these brightly coloured cookie sheets and spatulas. You won't dig up a lot of safety information about silicone...yet. Health Canada... More »

  • Photo: How to avoid toxic chemicals in toothpaste

    How to avoid toxic chemicals in toothpaste

    Toothpaste is tricky. When we asked 6,000 Canadians to look for the Dirty Dozen in their personal care products, we learned that oral care products were the ones most likely... More »

  • Photo: Eco-friendly carpet options

    Eco-friendly carpet options

    Sourcing a "green" product for a small purchase like a rug might not seem like a big deal, but we spend about 90 per cent of our time indoors. The... More »

  • Photo: How to kill bed bugs without pesticides

    How to kill bed bugs without pesticides

    To prevent bed bugs, keep clutter to a minimum. Bed bugs thrive in clothes, newspapers and piles of stuff in general. And stay vigilant! Watch for signs within your apartment... More »

  • Photo: Choose hair dye without PPD

    Choose hair dye without PPD

    Eco-friendlier hair dyes exist! Avoid ammonia, petrochemicals, sulfates, phthalates, parabens and P-phenylenediamine (PPD). It's hard to find permanent colours that don't contain PPD. PPD-free products often use aminophenols—people allergic or... More »

  • Photo: Is it safe to microwave plastics?

    Is it safe to microwave plastics?

    The answer is simple: Do not microwave plastic containers or plastic wrap, ever. Heating up plastics can cause phthalates (a toxic petroleum derivative) to leach into your food. Instead, reheat... More »

  • Photo: Avoid petrolatum in personal care products

    Avoid petrolatum in personal care products

    The David Suzuki Foundation compiled the results of our survey of the toxic ingredients found in the cosmetics of Canadians. We asked people to pull back the shower curtain and... More »

  • Photo: How to avoid toxic non-stick cookware

    How to avoid toxic non-stick cookware

    There are safer alternatives to frying pans and cookware coated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — a key chemical found in Teflon. Try cooking with stainless steel, glass, ceramic or cast... More »

  • Photo: Avoid toxics in plastic baby products

    Avoid toxics in plastic baby products

    Always do your best to avoid plastics that contain toxic chemicals, like Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates. Plastic #4 is low-density polyethylene or LDPE, and it's your safest bet, while plastic... More »

  • Photo: Avoid parfum in baby products

    Avoid parfum in baby products

    Lots of people trying to avoid harmful chemicals — like parabens, petrolatum and phthalates — are stumped when they run into parfum or fragrance on a label. The truth is,... More »

  • Photo: Do reusable cloth bags contain lead?

    Do reusable cloth bags contain lead?

    In the past, high levels of lead have shown up in many reusable totes and grocery bags. To find out if the bags you own contain lead, contact the manufacturer.... More »

  • Photo: Choose an eco-friendly mattress

    Choose an eco-friendly mattress

    A mattress is a big purchase not to be taken lightly, given the number of hours you'll use it, the years you'll need it to last and the cost. They're... More »

  • Photo: Choose eco-friendly deodorant

    Choose eco-friendly deodorant

    There are safer products that don't contain ingredients linked to the "C" word. Be prepared for a steeper price tag. Eco-friendly deodorants will run you about seven dollars a stick... More »

  • Photo: How to dispose of toxic cosmetics

    How to dispose of toxic cosmetics

    Identifying the Dirty Dozen ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics is a huge first step. Now that you've done your homework — reading the fine-print ingredient lists with their numerous... More »

  • Photo: How to avoid BPA in baby formula

    How to avoid BPA in baby formula

    Bisphenol-A or BPA is a human health concern because of its ability to mimic estrogen. It's an industrial chemical used primarily in polycarbonate plastic. You might remember in 2008 when... More »

  • Photo: How to dispose of old medications

    How to dispose of old medications

    The next time you find yourself decluttering the medicine cabinet, make sure you don't flush old medications down the toilet, and don't throw them in the garbage either. The safest... More »

  • Photo: What's the safest and eco-friendliest sunscreen?

    What's the safest and eco-friendliest sunscreen?

    Unfortunately, there are chemicals of concern in sunscreens. Four substances commonly found in chemical sunscreens — parabens, cinnamate, benzophenone and camphor derivatives — are thought to be the culprits killing... More »