Monday, February 15, 2010

Amaranth Porridge Recipe

After reading Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry, I stopped buying even organic cereal and started looking for alternative breakfast choices. I bought some Red Mill 7 grain cereal, have been making smoothies and the latest Amaranth Porridge. I bought some amaranth from the bulk store to try it because we will be including it in the garden this summer. The recipe turned out great so here it is:

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup amaranth
one organic apple, peeled and chopped
one teaspoon cinnamon

Bring to boil all four ingredients. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve topped with milk, hemp seed, slivered almonds, or your choice of toppings.

Yields two servings.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another Victory- GM Wheat Rejected in 26 Countries

GM Wheat rejected by 233 Consumer, Farmer Groups in 26 Countries
CNW Group, 9 February 2010

OTTAWA, MONTREAL, WASHINGTON, TOKYO and SYDNEY - 233 consumer and farmer groups in 26 countries have joined the "Definitive Global Rejection of GM Wheat" statement to stop the commercialization of genetically modified (GM) wheat and remind the biotechnology corporation Monsanto that genetically modifying this major crop is not acceptable to farmers or consumers. (1)

The 233 groups signed the rejection statement first launched by 15 Australian, Canadian and U.S. farmer and consumer groups in June 2009.

"Canadian farmers have just lost their export sales to Europe and other markets because of GM flax contamination from a GM variety deregistered a decade ago and never even sold. Our current experience with GM flax contamination clearly illustrates the crippling losses Canadian farmers will suffer if GM wheat is introduced," said Terry Boehm, a flax and wheat farmer and President of the National Farmers Union in Canada. "Flax is yet another warning that once a GM crop is introduced, contamination is inevitable."

In July 2009, Monsanto announced new research into GM wheat and industry groups kicked their promotion of GM wheat into high gear. "Widespread farmer and consumer resistance defeated GM wheat in 2004 and this global rejection remains strong, as demonstrated by today's statement," said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

"In 2004, a coalition of Japanese consumer and food industry groups delivered a petition to the Governments of Canada and the U.S. urging them not to introduce GM wheat. Today, consumer rejection of GM wheat in Japan is just as strong as ever. 80 organizations in Japan have already signed the rejection statement," said Keisuke Amagasa of the Tokyo-based No! GMO Campaign. "A large majority of consumers here in Japan are voicing their strong opposition to the cultivation of GM wheat. We see strong opposition from all sectors of society."

Japan's flour companies are also rejecting GM wheat, echoing consumer opposition. In a statement released today, the Flour Miller's Association of Japan wrote to the No! GMO Campaign indicating its opposition.

"Under the present circumstances, with all the doubts about safety and the environment that the consumers in Japan have, including the effect on the human body from GM foods, GM wheat is included among the items that are not acceptable for the Japanese market," Kadota Masaaki, senior managing director of the Flour Miller's Association wrote to the No! GMO Campaign.

In the U.S., a recent report from the Western Organization of Resource Councils, a network of seven community farmer, rancher and consumer organizations, shows that U.S. wheat prices could fall by 40 percent or more if industry efforts to develop GM wheat succeed. (2)

"U.S. family farmers will do everything to protect our wheat from Monsanto and we do not accept that any corporation has the right to patents on life, including seeds," said Dena Hoff from the National Family Farm Coalition in the U.S. "GM wheat would contaminate our crops and food supply, and put an end to organic grain production. Farmers in the U.S. have already rejected GM wheat and Monsanto is sorely mistaken if they think farmers will ever accept GM wheat."

"The big push is on from Monsanto to pave the way for GM wheat but the reality is that strong and widespread opposition from farmers and consumers in Australia and across the world is here to stay," said Laura Kelly from Greenpeace Australia Pacific.


(1) The list of signatories to the "Definitive Global Rejection of Genetically Modified Wheat" statement can be viewed at

(2) "A Review of the Potential Market Impacts of Commercializing GM Wheat in the U.S." January 2010, Western Organization of Resource Councils,

For further information:

In Canada:
Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union Canada, (in Paris) 33 144 84 7250; Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, (613) 241-2267 ext. 6, info@cban.caThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

In Tokyo:
Michiyo Koketsu, NO! GMO Campaign, 81 3 5155 4756, office@gmo-iranai.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Ryoko Shimizu, Policy Research Institute for the Civil Sector, 81 90 6001 0495, ryoko-s@prics.netThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

In the US:
Kathy Ozer, National Family Farm Coalition, (202) 543-5675;

In Australia:
Laura Kelly, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, (61) 040741 4572

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mastronardi to add non-GMO seal to packaging

by Ashley Bentley
KINGSVILLE, Ontario — Mastronardi Produce plans to start using a seal on its packaging later this year that identifies its products as non-genetically modified organisms.

Although GMO use in greenhouse vegetable growing is not commonplace, consumers don’t necessarily understand which products come from genetically-modified seeds and “want to know black and white that our products are non-GMO,” said Joseph Darden, vice president of food safety for Mastronardi.

“It wasn’t retail-driven — just a response to the consumer questions from our Web site,” said Chris Veillon, director of marketing. “People don’t know how you can produce the same tomato time and time again.”

The answer comes down to the greenhouse growing method, Paul Mastronardi said.

“It’s a closed environment, no outside elements, that allows us to produce great-looking fruit with reliable production, all with the safest food safety program,” Mastronardi said.

Mastronardi identifies itself as the first in the industry to be certified by the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit group of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed companies and consumers set to make information about GMO products more accessible, according to its site.

Of the eight fruit and vegetable companies in the program, Mastronardi is the only one with fresh produce.

Hurry Up Spring!

Is it really only February 9th? I am itching to start the garden. Yesterday we started our peppers, cucumbers and tomato plants. I am a few weeks early but I couldn't wait. This year will be a learning experience because we will be growing Quinoa and Amaranth. I have read that Quinoa and Amaranth are easy, hardy plants to grow which is comforting. I am also interested in finding some quality organic blueberry bushes to line the back fence. Anyone have an Ontario source on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Nephew Causes Serious Cooking Spree

I went to my sisters this weekend to help out while the new parents managed a bit of personal time and filled up the fridge with prepared food by cooking all day Saturday. Well, actually I started Friday making brownies for the older kids. Then carrot cake, chickpea kale and potato soup, curried lentils with peas and cauliflower, and two broccoli-cheddar quiches for dinner. Everything turned out awesome! (All ingredients were organic as usual) If anyone wants the best carrot cake recipe ever,or any of the other dishes, just let me know!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dole, Monsanto, and the GMO – genetically-modified food war

Monsanto Company through a June 23, 2009 press release announced a “collaboration agreement” with Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. “to develop new products that will enhance consumer vegetable choices.” Brace for the next round in the GMO War that has been raging for over a decade.

The Monsanto-Dole agreement is for five years of collaboration with a focus on developing new versions of spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, and lettuce. Their goal is to “improve” the taste, texture, flavor, aroma, and even the nutrition of these foods. Monsanto brings expertise in making rapid advances in agricultural development to the table, while Dole excels in marketing the fruit of big agriculture to the public. Pun intended.

Genetically-modified food (GM), also known as genetically-modified organisms (GMO) has become a battleground between “natural” food proponents and the big agriculture “biotech” business. As with all battles of this type, there is bound to be plenty of misinformation and exaggeration on both sides, and with accusations flying it can be difficult to detect the sane and thoughtful voices among them. The issue is complex and worthy of study.

Monsanto is firmly in the biotech camp, with a stated commitment to the development of modern agricultural practices to increase crop production, thereby conserving resources. Dole has taken some steps to straddle the fence with consumers by offering organic prepackaged salad greens, pineapples, and bananas, along with their traditionally grown produce. It will be interesting to see what if any effect this move to produce new versions of vegetables will have on Dole’s organic consumers.

Monsanto is a dominant player in the development and advancement of biotech agricultural methods and is closely watched by opponents to the genetic engineering of food. Perhaps for this reason, Monsanto spokeswoman Riddhi Trivedi-St. Clair was quick to state that this agreement between Monsanto and Dole will involve breeding research and will not involve the genetic engineering that Monsanto employs with its herbicides, soybean, and corn products. According to Ian Sherr of Reuters in his article, Monsanto, Dole to collaborate on veggies, this is one more step in Monsanto's efforts to expand the vegetable segment of their business.

Mary Ann Lien

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods

One Woman's Story

This is my true story, nothing altered. These are facts as they relate to my experience, my opinions based on what I have read and felt. I am relating them to warn other young health-conscious women who are unwittingly harming themselves and so that what I went through and what I am going through has some purpose. It would make what I have gone through worth something and not in vain.

In 1989 I graduated from high school in a small town in Texas and couldn't wait to hit the big college city so I could begin to live my own life. One of the changes I wanted to make was to eat healthier. My family wasn't big on tofu, yoghurt or fruits. I also didn't want to gain the freshman 15. Once I moved to health-conscious Austin, Texas with its parks, hike and bike trails, and health food stores, I began to fortify my body with the best and healthiest foods I could find. Tofu was the main ingredient in every healthy dish and I bought soy milk almost every day because it was better than milk. I used it for everything from cereal to smoothies or just to drink for a quick snack. I bought soy muffins, miso soup with tofu, soybeans, soybean sprouts, etc. All the literature in all the health and fitness magazines said that soy protected you against everything from heart disease to breast cancer. It was the magical isoflavones, it was the estrogen-like hormones that all worked to help you stay young and healthy

But I wasn't that healthy. I looked great, I was working out all the time, but my menstrual cycle was off. At 20 I started taking birth control pills to regulate my menstrual cycle. One brand would work for a few months but then I would become irregular again. The doctors kept switching the brands and assuring me that I'd find the one that would work. In addition to this I began to suffer from painful periods. I began to get puffy--not fat, I wasn't gaining weight, just getting rounder. It was as though I was losing my muscle tone. I wasn't looking as good as I had before, despite all my exercising. I began to suffer from fits of depression and get hot flashes. I mistook all this for PMS since my periods were irregular. I had no way of knowing when I was going to begin my period.

Now, I had started using soy when I was 19. The onset of these problems quickly began at 20. By the time I was 25 my periods were so bad I couldn't walk. The birth control pills never made them regular or less painful so I decided to stop taking them. I went on like this for another two years until I realized my pain wasn't normal. In 1998, when I was 27 years old, my gynecologist found two cysts in my uterus. Both were the size of tennis balls. I was scared to death! I went through surgery to have them removed and thank God they were benign. The gynecologist told me to go back on birth control pills. I didn't. In 1998 he discovered a lump in my breast. Again I went through surgery and again it was benign.

It was in November, 2000 that my glands swelled up and my gums became inflamed. Thinking I had a tooth infection I went to the dentist who told me that my teeth were not the problem. After a dose of antibiotics the swelling still did not go down. At this point I could feel a tiny nodule on the right side of my neck. No one else could feel it. I told my mother I had thyroid trouble. This was based only on a hunch. She, along with others in my family, said I was being silly. No one in the family suffered from thyroid trouble. What's a thyroid?" was what my friends would say.

Going on a hunch I saw a specialist who diagnosed me with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. After a series of tests he told me it was cancer. My fiance and I sat stunned. I was dreading another operation but so far every lump had been benign. We were not prepared and I was so scared. We scheduled surgery right away. The specialist told us that it would only be after the operation that a pathologist would be able to tell us for sure if it was cancer. They found a tumor on my right lobe composed of irregular cells and another smaller tumor growing on the left, so the entire thyroid was removed. No harm was done to my vocal chords, no harm to my parathyroids but I now had an ugly scar and would be dependent on thyroid hormones the rest of my life. They told me that after undergoing radioactive iodine I would be safe and assured me that I could live a long life.

After treatment I began to search for the cause of all these problems. An x-ray I had done at age 8 was under suspicion, as was stress--everything got blamed on stress, genes, maybe that time I tried to smoke a cigarette (I was never a smoker but tried once), maybe that summer when I was 25 and began to drink vodka and try mixed drinks ( I was never one for alcohol but wanted to know what the hype was about). I began to look for esoteric reasons like not being spiritual enough. I never once thought it could be all the soy I had consumed for nearly ten years. After all, soy is healthy. I never drank soft drinks, and even when I was under excruciating pain, never took aspirin or headache medications. Maybe it was birth control pills.

I came upon a web page that linked thyroid problems to soy intake and the conspiracy of soy marketed as a health food when in fact it is only a toxic by-product of the vegetable oil industry. This was insane, I thought. After all, the health and fitness magazines had said nothing about soy being harmful. I visited an herbalist who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1985. She informed me that soy was the culprit. She was a health-conscious individual who in her twenties fortified her diet with soy. A few years after that she had to have a hysterectomy due to cysts and other uterine problems. A few months later another acquaintance who had consumed soy came down with thyroid cancer. She was 27. A girl in England I met through the internet in a thyroid cancer forum had just undergone surgery and she was only 19. What was going on???? The research said that thyroid cancer was more common in older women, age 50 or older. It was said to be genetic or the result of nuclear fallout like in Chernobyl.

Today I found out that yet another acquaintance--another health-conscious individual--just found out she has thyroid cancer and she is 29. I got on the internet and found breast cancer linked to the radioactive iodine given during treatment. This didn't seem true. As fearful as I am of anything nuclear, the treatment has been given for over 150 years. Breast cancer is linked to estrogen. What mimics estrogen in the female body? SOY! I am not a scientist nor a doctor but I know my body. I knew that there were changes going on and I did search for clues as to why, but I never suspected soy because until now I never once found a single article that stated soy could be dangerous. Evening primrose oil I heard taken in large amounts, vitamin A, C and E can make tumors grow if taken in large dosages, MSG, even tuna is harmful but never once SOY. Women who took soy prior to thyroid problems will continue to take it after if they are not aware of what soy actually does, what it contains and how it reacts in the female body. I think this is the reason that women with thyroid cancer often develop breast cancer later.

Now it all makes sense. If you trace the problems I have had, they are all related to hormones. Taking birth control pills I believe only added more hormones to my body that I didn't need. I believe it was the fruit, no smoking, no drinking, exercise and veggies that kept my first surgeries benign. I wasn't as lucky the last time.

My co-worker is big into soy and I see her losing hair and gaining weight despite a walking workout during her break and after work, and apples and oranges for lunch. She just had cysts removed from her uterus too. I warn her to stay off the soy. I refer her to websites but until it is on the evening news on all four networks, women will suffer. I say what I can but at the Christmas potluck every dish contained soy in one form or another. It's now the staple of the new American diet--eat right, eat for health, eat to ward off cancer, AND IT'S SOY!

Back in 1994 I did have my thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) checked, again on a hunch. I was suffering from lethargic days, fits of depression, feeling off, and mild digestive problems. My TSH was a 6. A good physician, taking into account my symptoms, would have explored this. We are not always blessed with good physicians. Many don't know what a thyroid gland is, what it does or even where it is, and they miss important signs.

By the way, today I have normal periods even though I am not on birth control pills and even though I have had to change my dosage of thyroid hormone since the thyroidectomy. I do not touch soy, haven't for two years.

Dear readers, please use my story in any way you can. There are so many young girls who are consuming soy because they think they are taking care of themselves, and women taking soy because they want to be healthy. It is so unfair that the information about the dangers of soy isn't more widely circulated. It is sad. Health is wealth and until 1998 no matter how badly things went--car breaking down, bills, bad dates--I felt comforted in that I had my health. There are many out there who feel this way and it is a terrible blow when you realize you are not as healthy as you thought and that the information that you depended on was wrong.

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2002.

Gerber toddler meal given 'Salt Lick' award for high sodium content

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Gerber, one of the best-known names in baby food, has been named this year's recipient of the "Salt Lick Award" due to the high sodium content in one of its prepared meals for toddlers.

The Canadian Stroke Network and the Advanced Foods & Materials Network chose Gerber Graduates Lil' Entrees because the product line's Chicken & Pasta Wheel Pickups dinner contains 550 mg of sodium - more than half a toddler's adequate daily intake of 1,000 mg.

The organizations say the amount of sodium in the prepared food is equivalent to that contained in two medium orders of McDonald's french fries. McDonald's Canada website says a medium order of fries contains 270 mg of sodium.

Yet labelling on the Gerber Graduates meal says it is "appropriate for children one year or older" and is "specially made for toddlers." Two other Gerber meals for toddlers also received dishonourable mentions for high salt content.

"There is a concern that eating too much sodium in childhood can lead to a preference for salty foods and, consequently, an increased risk of disease as an adult," Dr. Kevin Willis, who leads efforts by the Canadian Stroke Network to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive sodium intake, said in a release.

A high-sodium diet increases blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke, heart and kidney disease, and dementia. Too much dietary salt has also been linked to osteoporosis, asthma, stomach cancer and obesity.

A spokesman for Nestle, which owns Gerber, said reducing sodium "to an acceptable level" in the brand's six toddler meals is a key priority.

"Current packages of Gerber 'Lil Entrees overstate the sodium level as they include the sodium contained in the brine (liquid) surrounding the vegetables, which is not consumed," Dr. Andrea Papamandjaris, head of Nestle's medical and scientific unit, said Tuesday in an emailed statement. "The package includes instructions to drain the brine before serving."

The brine accounts for 19 to 33 per cent of the sodium, depending on the recipe, said Papamandjaris, noting that new packaging showing sodium levels only for the consumed food will be on store shelves in July.

Health Canada's Sodium Working Group, appointed in 2007, is developing a salt-reduction strategy for Canadians, which will include voluntary reductions of sodium in processed foods.

But the Stroke and Advanced Foods networks say some industry officials have responded to calls for less sodium by saying such cuts are difficult because Canadians have a taste for salty foods.

The two networks suggest that craving for salt is likely programmed early in life - in part by the food industry itself.

"One-year-olds do not demand salt in their food," said Dr. Charlene Elliott of the University of Calgary, who is studying the marketing of children's food.

Food companies are "totally playing into adult conceptions of a meal," said Elliott, adding that unfortunately "there is a presumed halo effect around baby and toddler foods because people expect these foods to be held to higher standards."

The two networks, which studied the ingredients in popular baby and toddler foods to determine salt content, found some popular brands have no added sodium.

The list of toddler meals considered to have excessive sodium includes:

-Gerber Graduates for Toddlers Lil' Entrees, Macaroni and cheese with peas and carrots: 520 mg per serving.

-Parent's Choice (Wal-Mart brand) My Little Meals, Shells & Cheese with Frankfurters: 520 mg per serving.

-Gerber Graduates for Toddlers Lil' Entrees, Cheese Ravioli in Tomato Sauce with carrots, peas and corn: 480 mg per serving.

-Heinz Toddler Vegetables, Beef & Pasta Casserole: 470 mg per jar.

-Heinz Toddler Beef Stroganoff: 420 mg per jar.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rude Awakening

A wise customer wanted to find out if the corn nuts she was eating were from genetically modified (GM) corn. She emailed the company and got a shocking reply. It began:

"Thank you for your contact. We are not aware of any GMO free corn in the U.S. We feel it is a ridiculous concern based on very poor science."

The email, reproduced at the blog of Kelly the Kitchen Kop, even recommended:

". . . if these concerns are truly important to you, you may be better served at a health food store.

We appreciate your patronage.

The Customer Support Team,

American Importing Co., Inc."

Talk about being opinionated and misinformed.

There's overwhelming evidence showing that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are unsafe. And there are plenty of sources for non-GMO corn.

Did this email get you angry? Are you thinking about flooding the company's email with hostile missives? I had another idea.

I phoned the company owner.

I figured that although the email's author was clearly misled, I also knew all about Monsanto and the other devious corporations that dis-informed him—and how they skillfully depict GMO critics as ridiculous and unscientific.

When I got President Andy on the phone and asked if his products were genetically modified (GM), it didn't take me long to realize that he was almost certainly the author of his company's tactless email. He launched into a diatribe blasting GMOs as the most misconceived issue in the entire food industry.

As I took notes documenting his string of incorrect statements, (no, there is no GMO wheat yet, same with apples; no there was not a massive death of monarch butterflies in Europe), he heard my keyboard tapping and stopped momentarily to ask who I was. I told him that I was a leading spokesperson on the dangers of GMOs, that I wrote the world's bestselling book on the subject, and that I was doing a blog based on an email response sent by his customer service.

That didn't slow him down in the least. Andy continued his rant, which literally went on for 12 minutes. I was impressed.

When he finally ran out of steam, I decided to begin my response by agreeing with him—that we certainly do need to apply real science on this issue. Then I told him the truth.

I told Andy of concerns by FDA scientists that GMOs might create serious, hard-to-detect health hazards, and how Monsanto's man placed at the top of the agency ignored and covered-up the warnings. As a result, the FDA lets GMOs onto the market without any required safety tests.

I told Andy that I worked with more than 30 scientists to document 65 health risks of GMOs for my book Genetic Roulette, which cites peer-reviewed science, industry research, and medical investigations, among its 1100+ endnotes.

I told Andy about the American Academy of Environmental Medicine's condemnation of GMOs, and their prescription of non-GMO diets for all patients. And how this renowned physician's organization linked GMOs to infertility, immune system dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, organ damage, and disruption of insulin and cholesterol regulation.

And I told Andy how the same corporations that fed him the lie that GMOs are safe, fired and gagged scientists who discovered that they're not.

Now Andy was impressed.

And he realized he had been duped—that the information given to him and others in the food industry had been "filtered" by those earning profits from GMOs. He said that the science that I presented was not getting to the executives in the food industry, to people like him who want to give customers healthy food.

Andy was again on a roll, but with a different agenda. He now urged me to get in front of the decision makers in the food industry, and he even offered to help make it happen.

I told Andy that I was impressed by his passion, which he had unleashed on me like a fire hose at the beginning of the call. And I knew that once armed with the real evidence against GMOs, he could use that same passion and make a big difference.

Andy committed to order and read Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. And while waiting for it to arrive, he and his colleagues will review my keynote speech online, Everything You HAVE TO KNOW About Genetically Modified Foods.

Before we hung up, Andy thanked me over and over for not being reactive to his initial onslaught, and for staying with him and leading him through the science.

I now have a new friend. And I am reminded again about the importance of educating leaders in the food industry as part of our campaign to rid the food supply of GMOs.

If you know a food company executive, please take the time to send him or her a link to the online video presentation, to the article showing that doctors now prescribe non-GMO diets, and to a summary of the GMO health risks. It's time well spent.

And if they run a very large food company, please introduce me. I'm on a roll.

Safe eating.
Jeffrey Smith
Author and Founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology

Healthy Child Healthy World: The Top 10 Toxic Products You Don’t Need

It's become so common in our culture to assume we need things - a lot of things. Over-consumption is not only a strain on our bank accounts and environment, it can also be harmful to our health. Whether there's a warning label or not (usually not), many of the things we buy have associated health risks.

Here are ten toxic products, in no particular order, that you don't need. And, once you read about them, you probably won't want them either. Be aware that different homes may have different products that are more toxic than these. This is just a basic list of some of the most commonly purchased products that are almost entirely unnecessary, but pose significant risks.

1. Air fresheners: Most air fresheners mask odors with a synthetic fragrance or numb your sense of smell with chemical anesthetics. But, they do nothing to eliminate the source of the odor. Also, aerosol air fresheners spew out tiny droplets of chemicals that are easily inhaled into the lungs. Instead, ventilate well and choose natural deodorizers, such as zeolite or baking soda, which contain minerals that absorb odors. How to Freshen Indoor Air Naturally includes recipes for other homemade remedies. Plants are also helpful for purifying your indoor air.

2. Drain, oven and toilet bowl cleaners: Yes, three products instead of one, but they all fit under the category of cleaners - and these are the three nastiest. Corrosive or caustic cleaners, such as the lye and acids found in drain cleaners, oven cleaners and acid-based toilet bowl cleaners, are the most dangerous cleaning products because they burn skin, eyes and internal tissue easily.

* To clean extra-greasy ovens, mix together 1 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup of washing soda, then add enough water to make a paste; apply the paste to oven surfaces and let soak overnight. The next morning, lift off soda mixture and grime; and rinse surfaces well.
* Prevent clogged drains by using hair and food traps.
* To de-grease and sweeten sink and tub drains, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down drain followed by 1 cup vinegar; let bubble for 15 minutes; rinse with hot water. You might have to repeat the whole procedure more than once. This same mixture can be used prior to scrubbing your toilet bowl to deodorize and scour away grime.

3. Canned food: It's probably shocking to find a food item on a toxic product list, but it's no mistake. Food cans are lined with an epoxy resin that contains bisphenol-A (BPA). Most experts believe this is our main source of exposure to BPA, which has been linked to hormone disruption, obesity, heart disease, and much more. Eden Foods is currently the only company with BPA-free canned foods (other than the canned tomatoes, which they haven't found an adequate substitute for given the acidity of the tomatoes). Opt for fresh, frozen, dried or jarred foods.

4. Pesticides: This is a huge category of products, but they deserve inclusion in their entirety because of how extremely toxic they are. They're made to be. That's how they kill things. But, solving your pest problem may leave you with another problem - residual poisons that linger on surfaces, contaminate air, and get tracked onto carpet from the bottom of shoes. There are so many non-toxic ways to eliminate pests and weeds - next time you need to get on the offense, check out the recommendations at Beyond Pesticides.

5. Dry-cleaning: Okay, it's a service and not a product per se, but the chemical used to do it, perchloroethylene, has been linked to cancer as well as nervous system, kidney, liver and reproductive disorders. Even bringing dry-cleaned clothes home is risky. EPA studies have found that people who reported visiting a dry-cleaning shop showed twice as much perc in their breath, on average, as other people. EPA also found that levels of perc remained elevated in a home for as long as one week after placing newly dry-cleaned clothes in a closet. A Consumers Union study found that people who wear freshly dry-cleaned clothes, like a jacket and shirt, every week over a 40-year period, could inhale enough perc "to measurably increase their risk of cancer" - by as much as 150 times what is considered "negligible risk." Try wet-cleaning, CO2 technology, or even hand-washing.

6. Bottled water: Most people buy bottled water thinking they're avoiding any contaminants that may be present in their tap water. For the most part, they're wrong. Bottled water can be just as, or even more, contaminated than tap water. In fact, some bottled water IS tap water - just packaged (in plastic that can leach chemicals into the water) and over-priced. Also, from manufacture to disposal, bottled water creates an enormous amount of pollution - making our water even less drinkable. Do yourself and the world a favor and invest in a reusable stainless steel water bottle and a water filter.

7. Rubber duckies: How does such a cute toy end up on a toxic product list? When it's made from PVC - the poison plastic. Banned in over 14 countries and the European Union, PVC, also known as vinyl, is still legally sold by U.S. retailers although it threatens environmental and consumer health at every stage of its product life cycle, according to the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ). When it's in your home, PVC can leach phthalates (linked to hormone disruption) and lead (a potent neurotoxicant) - contaminating air, dust, and eventually you. Go PVC-free by reading packages and avoiding the #3 in the chasing arrows symbol (usually found on the bottom of a product). If a plastic is not labeled, call the manufacturer. Learn more.

8. Couch cushions: No, you needn't get rid of all your cushions and consign yourself to a future of discomfort. Just avoid cushions, pillows, and anything with foam labeled as meeting California TB 117, as it is likely to contain toxic fire retardants. These chemicals migrate from the foam to dust to people. In animal research, these chemicals are associated with cancer, birth defects, thyroid disruption, reproductive and neurological disorders such as hyperactivity and mental retardation. Don't worry about increasing your fire risk, data does not show that this standard has resulted in increased fire safety. Look for foam and cushions made with polyester, down, wool, or cotton as they are unlikely to contain toxic fire retardants.

9. Perfume and cologne: Colognes and perfumes may make us more attractive. But mixed in with the colors and scents are a wide variety of unattractive chemicals. Perfumes and fragrances can consist of hundreds of chemicals. Testing of Calvin Klein's Eternity by an independent lab, commissioned by Environmental Health Network (EHN), revealed that the perfume contained over 800 compounds. Among the chemicals of concern is diethyl phthalate (DEP) that is absorbed through the skin and can accumulate in human fat tissue. Phthalates are suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptors that are increasingly being linked to reproductive disorders.

It's not so simple to avoid phthalates by switching products because they are rarely listed on product ingredient labels. Phthalates are claimed as a part of trade secret formulas, and are exempt from federal labeling requirements. Find out if products you currently use contain phthalates and find safer ones on Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Searchable Product Guide website.

10. Oil-based paints and finishes: There are 300 toxic chemicals and 150 carcinogens potentially present in oil-based paint, according to a John Hopkins University study. Still interested in coating your walls and furniture with this gunk? I hope not. Look for water-based options - ideally those that are low- or no-VOC. You could also explore natural finishes like milk paint and vegetable or wax based wood finishes.