Chemical burnout and the death of Pot Pourri

This post will be shorter than the last few. I promise. But first, click here to watch a commercial. My wife and I went as chemical-free as we could about a year ago. No more non-organic dishwasher powder, sunscreen, laundry detergents, cleaning sprays etc. (Shampoos and deodorants are not so easy to switch away from, but that’s all for another blog.) But lately I am increasingly worried about chemicals in the home and how many people are wilfully ignorant as companies continue pushing even more audacious concoctions.

This all started for me when I saw an ad for ANT SAND. This is a product you throw around your backyard like confetti (imagine you were having a wedding, for ants) and it will eradicate all ants within five metres. (A tragic wedding massacre, did i mention?) So, really, Ant Sand is like a granule form of Ant Rid.

Tried that? It does wonders. How? Arsenic.

Go on! Spread arsenic around the house!
Go on! Spread
arsenic around the house!

This chemical wants to be spread pretty much anywhere you or kids like going; “just sprinkle Ant Sand in cracks and crevices, in between pavers, on lawns…” See more Are people really developing such a fear of natural life in urban areas that they must destroy all evidence? This Ant Sand is like fly spray that is so toxic you just spray it on a surface and small insect that comes near will miraculously drop dead. Oh, they have that? If you go outside people, you might expect an occasional arachnid, buzzard or airborne thingamajig. A swipe of the face usually deals with it. No need to poison yourselves, your visitors and your children, is there?

Then, this week I came across the next insidious invention from those great unsung heroes, industrial chemists. How about an insect spray for the outdoors – and this is no Aerogard, you don’t want to get me started on suspect repellents we are supposed to lather onto our bodies – this great new product just keeps spraying and killing and spraying and killing!



Now, RAID®, bless them, have had ‘Automatic Insect Control Systems’ for some time. In their words, it “uses a “unique automatic dispenser uses advanced MicroMist™ technology which creates a mist of incredibly fine micro particles to eliminate insects. Because it’s a mist, not a spray, it stays in the air longer, and is more easily spread throughout your whole room.” They literally call it ‘set and forget’. That will seem ironic when later on you get Alzheimer’s for some unknown reason. What a joyous land of fresh-aired achievement we live in. Why would I want to breathe in air when a lab can produce something that can kill any small living thing and allow me to keep breathing too!


Brand Power likes

But why not take this genius outside? Don’t worry, they have. Introducing NaturGard.

  • The Naturgard Automatic Outdoor Insect Control System provides outdoor protection against flies and
    mosquitoes when used continuously
  • Protects a sheltered outdoor area of 5m x 5m
  • Automatically releases small bursts of mist containing natural pyrethrin plant extracts** at regular intervals.
  • Adjustable setting which allows you to regulate the timing depending on your conditions

Jamie Durie would be so happy to know his Outdoor Room wasn’t going to be tainted by anything actually typical of the outdoors, like evil flies.

The chemical mentioned – pyrethrin – is the insecticide you can’t spray on herbs you are planning on eating because it will
make you sick. But don’t let that worry you. Mortein make NaturGard, but they have competition. Here’s how one company, the reliably named DoItTV describe the effects their product has on its target: “This spray not only kills when you spray directly onto the insect but it also leaves an invisible residue on surfaces which is fatal to any bug or insect that comes into contact with it. And it keeps on killing for months without having to reapply.” Months! I can have my backyard infected, sorry, protected, for months with just one spray. And if kids come over and eat dirt, lick a leaf, or touch a piece of decking have sprayed… well… that will be fine because I am sure it’s only microtraces that are just enough to kill hardy cockroaches on contact.

Why care about these chemicals when clearly people are living longer lives? While many chemicals may be absorbed into our system without ongoing harm, many cancers continue to claim people at all stage of life with no known cause. Afflictions including depression and ADHD are on the rise, and few people stop to think if choices to live in a mist of chemicals could have an impact on the chemicals in their brain. (This point, obviously needs more probing.)

Lastly, can I recommend a bit of subterfuge. No one will complain if you quietly disconnect the deodorising spray you may have in your office bathroom. These, like innocent old oil burners, spread sweet-smelling fragrances that you then breathe in all day.

It’s less than smart, masking odours by getting you to breathe in carcinogens that smell only slightly better.

Not everything should be an easy fix. But it can be without being so harmful.

What ever happened to a bowl of Pot Pourri?

How to Have a Baby with an iPhone

Having a baby used to be about getting to hospital on time and finding the right pain relief.

Whether you choose that route or to ditch both those options and have a midwife-attended birth at home as we did, the technology in your pocket could deliver a more delightful time for all.

The role of a husband in child birth is always unclear so in the run up, I devoted some time to picking out the best apps for research, managing and capturing the intensity of labour and then tools for broadcasting the good news.

For a variety of reasons we chose to have an midwife-attended homebirth. I consider it to be a brave choice and one that has enhanced my marriage beyond any other single experience.

But enough about love and how great my wife is pushing out a 4.5kg tele-tubby, the whole thing went as smooth ad it did partly due to my iPhone.

Here are the apps I used in order of their appearance;

1. Baby Name apps
2. Stopwatch for contractions
3. Phone/SMS for contacting midwives/family/work
4. Photos for memories
5. Playlists for soothing tunes
6. Videos for shock & awe
7. Twitter for updates
8. Facebook/SMS/email for the announcement
9. Alarms for reminders

Notes on the use if these apps during labour;

1. Baby Name apps — we used four in all. Some were good for checking meanings, origins and others popularity. We developed a rule that anything in the US top 100 was off limits. No Jayden or Jesus for us.

2. Twitter for updates — I sent one for novelty’s sake when my wife woke me at 3.30am. See pic.

3. Stopwatch for contractions — invaluable. The native app has a lap timer enabling me to watch length of the surges and the time between them (see pic)

4. Phone/SMS for contacting midwives/family/work — I had promised my fill in that I would inform her when things got real. I cc’ed the staff set up to do my tweeting and my youtubes too. (no joke!)
5. Photos for memories — From lving room couch to floor to hot shower to soothing bath, the phone’s quick start-up camera meant I could get a few timely shots of different parts of labour without leaving the action.
6. Playlists for soothing tunes — With tracks chosen weeks before (our baby was a fortnight overdue) we hit play on my wife’s birth tunes playlist of mostly gentle female singer-songwriters. I wish we had chosen three times more songs as the long labour meant there was much repetition. See pic.

7. Videos for shock & awe — Yuk. Who videos a birth? Well not me, until one midwife said ‘you can always delete it but you won’t get the chance to film it again!’ I agreed to capture bubba’s first moment on mum’s chest. Very glad I did. It was the biggest sense of relief ever.
8. Facebook/SMS/email for the announcement — See pic.

9. Alarms for reminders — With wifey on some recovery treatments and herbal remedies in the hours and days following the birth, a few clicks and I have alerts set up to keep her popping pills and downing potions on schedule.

Despite the valuable contribution of my iPhone during the birth we chose against naming our child Apple.

Catch a photo of Darcy as he is on my wallpaper below.

%d bloggers like this: