Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Natural Hand Sanitizer Vs. Alcohol Hand Sanitizer

It seems all everyone is talking about at the moment - at least on the playground - is the flu. There's an abundance of questions out there and we decided to put ours directly to Dr. Larry Weiss, the Stanford-educated MD behind our new Cleanwell all-natural hand sanitizer, and get a clear understanding of the facts about fighting germs - naturally.

Is a natural hand sanitizer like Cleanwell as effective in fighting germs as traditional alcohol-based products?
Alcohol is not the only effective germicide. In fact there are many classes of chemicals that are laboratory documented germicides including the Thyme Oil based active ingredient in CleanWell. It is a not-uncommon mistake to misinterpret the warning that alcohol based products must be greater than 62% alcohol to be effective as an indication that nothing else would be effective.

CleanWell natural hand sanitizer is a safe and effective product proven in independent laboratory studies to perform as well as alcohol based products. So you can confidently use CleanWell just as you would an alcohol hand sanitizer. In fact CleanWell hand sanitizers are registered with Natural Health Products (NHP) in Canada and exceed the efficacy requirements for Human-Use Antiseptics as per Health Canada's Natural Health Products Directorate.

How do you know Cleanwell instant hand sanitizer really does kill germs?
Cleanwell hand cleaner has been tested against a wide range of germs by one of the top independent microbiology labs in the US, using methodology accepted by the FDA and EPA and in compliance with GLP (Good Laboratory Practices) standards. It has been proven to kill 99.99% of germs on contact, including MRSA (resistant Staph), E. Coli and Salmonella.

Is Cleanwell effective in fighting H1N1?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates this category of products in the United States and restricts all products, including alcohol, from making any antiviral claims especially H1N1 claims. This is a policy decision and doesn’t mean that the products aren’t effective against the virus, only that any company that makes such claims is subject to enforcement action including fines and product seizure. Although Health Canada permits antiviral claims on these products, CleanWell is a US based company and it is our policy to comply with all FDA regulations. As such, we make no antiviral claims on CleanWell hand sanitizers.

Fortunately, Orthomyxyovirus, the family of viruses that includes Influenza A is relatively fragile and easily killed or inactivated by most germicides. ((H1N1 is the currently accepted designation for the Swine Flu which belongs to the Influenza A family of viruses.) Not surprisingly, the key to effective prevention is compliance with good personal hygiene practice. The foundation of good personal hygiene is hand washing with soap and water. However, since this is not always readily available when the risk of exposure is high during cold and flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of both alcohol and non-alcohol based hand sanitizers.

Is Cleanwell safe for kids?
With no artificial chemical agents, Cleanwell hand cleaner is safe for kids, pets and those with sensitive skin. It is safe to touch, inhale and expose to food surfaces. The hand sanitizer dispenser-spray system and small pocket size make it easy for kids to apply the right amount of sanitizer - two sprays - every time. Cleanwell is made with a patented formulation of natural essential plant oils. These ingredients are all recognized as safe by the FDA, and have been safely used by people around the world for centuries.

With Cleanwell
alcohol-free hand sanitizer, there is also no risk to ingestion, especially by kids.

What's the best way to avoid getting sick - washing my hands or using a hand sanitizer?
Whenever it is available, good hand washing is your best way to prevent infection. Period. Hand sanitizers serve a very specific purpose in the personal hygiene toolkit and that is to provide a level of prevention when soap and water are unavailable and the risk of illness is high. However, just like soap and water, hand sanitizers only work if they are used properly. CleanWell offers the benefits of the alcohol based products to those who don’t or won’t use the alcohol products because they don’t like them. A substantial number of people don’t like the drying or fixative effect that alcohol has on their skin and for them CleanWell is a safe and effective alternative.

Cleanwell natural hand sanitizer is available in two scents: original and orange vanilla at Vancouver-based Lavish & Lime. Learn more about Cleanwell here. Save $3 on a 6-pack now.

If you have a question you'd like to ask Dr. Weiss, post it below and we'll be sure to get an answer from him for you. If you have any other thoughts or ideas about the flu, H1N1 or how to prevent it, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Accessorize those Rain Drops: Rain Hats for Kids

While there may be snow already in other parts of Canada, here in Vancouver it's all about the rain - at the moment.

After our great summer, we honestly can't complain. In fact, to us born and bred West Coasters, the grey days are a bit of a comfort at this time of year. For kids however, they're not so great. There's more clothes to wear, boots and hoods that never stay on and if they do, they don't seem to protect their little faces from getting soaked.

Next time you bundle them up to play outside on a rainy day, consider adding a wide-brimmed rain hat to their gear. Not only does the brim protect their faces - and eyelashes - from being laden with wet drops, but the velcro chin strap keeps the hat on so there's no more need for you to worry whether a hood is on or not. Plus, unlike a hood, the hat allows a child full peripheral vision and doesn't cover the ears. They're also lined with a viscose from bamboo/cotton blend that's ultra-soft and keeps their heads warm.

The best part is these hats are made in Canada and feature colourful and funky prints that kids love. Choose from flower power, paisley or pink bloom for girls and a stripey blue bucket style for boys. Even better, for the next two weeks they're our Rainy Day Special and have been reduced by 15% - shop now while stocks last!

Browse our collection of kids rain hats at Lavish & Lime. If you have any thoughts or ideas about playing in the rain or rain gear, leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hidden Spooks Inside Your House

It's that scary time of year again and while the spooks will be out on Halloween night, it's what's lurking inside your home that might actually be more frightening.

From PVC to parabens, here are a few ways to help create a safe, atoxic environment for your kids.

First off is PVC. You know that 'new shower curtain smell'? Well that's polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as PVC or vinyl. PVC contains harmful chemicals, including phthalates, lead and cadmium which can be toxic to a child's health. Phthalates and other toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time causing potential danger to children. That's why PVC is called the poison plastic.

A recent study commissioned by the Centre for Health, Environment and Justice found that one PVC shower curtain can release as many as 108 volatile organic chemicals into the air. Some of these chemicals can cause developmental damage as well as damage to the liver and central nervous, respiratory, and reproductive systems.
PVC has even been linked to autism.

A recent Swedish study published in Scientific American found that infants or toddlers who lived in a bedroom with vinyl or PVC flooring were twice as likely to have autism five years later than those with wood or linoleum floors.

In addition to shower curtains and flooring, PVC is found in everything from mini-blinds to lunch bags. The best thing is to seek out PVC-free products - and there's lots out there. This alternative chlorine-free EVA shower curtain features funky bright gerber daisies and for lunch bags, you can't beat this chemical-free neoprene apple lunch bag.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is another nasty chemical to avoid. It's found in polycarbonate plastic, which is the material most plastic water bottles, baby bottles and food containers are made from. Recent research has shown the chemical, which mimics the hormone estrogen and is a known developmental, neural and reproductive toxicant, can leach from bottles or containers into the contents. Water at room temperature leaches a little BPA - boiling water, 55 times as much. Animal studies have linked low levels of BPA to hyperactivity, learning disabilities, early onset of puberty, increased diabetes risk, age-related neurodegenerative diseases, and certain cancers, including breast cancer.

So play it safe and clear out your cupboards. Replace all that tupperware with
non-leaching stainless food storage containers or buy glass dishes and use freezer- and oven-safe BPA-free eco food covers (why buy endless saran wrap?). Certified BPA-free water bottles or non-leaching stainless steel bottles are an undeniable must.

Then there's parabens. Increasing concern for the safety of the wide use of parabens – synthetic preservatives – in cosmetics and lotions has made natural products more popular than ever. Potential links have been reported between parabens, which research has shown can mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, and cancer. Check for parabens listed in the ingredients on your moisturizers and all your beauty products. There's loads of different kinds, methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, butyl- and benzyl- and they can all interfere with your hormonal systems and more.

As a healthy alternative, try 100% paraben-free natural body butter made in Canmore, Alberta or what about all natural apple blossom deodorant? (It really does work.) And for the wee ones, choose paraben-free body wash/shampoo and natural baby bum spray.

It's true we've been living with these chemicals for years but knowing what we know now, for the good of our health and that of our kids, can we afford to live with them any longer?

If you have any thoughts or ideas about scary things to be aware of inside your home, please feel free to leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!
Visit Lavish & Lime for more non-toxic and eco-friendly ideas for your home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

3 Ways to Green Your Halloween

Who says you can't be green and spooky too? Here are three ways to enjoy a spooktacular Halloween that's fun, good for you and the planet too.

1. Choose non-toxic face paints and pencils
There are loads of products out there for making up your little lion, pirate, princess, witch or black cat, but aren't you just a little concerned about the potentially toxic ingredients you're smothering on your child? And what about the washability factor? Then there's the quality, ie. do they actually work.

Lyra is an established European art supply company that's been around since 1806. Their pack of six face painting pencils is dermatologically tested and non-toxic. The leads are extensively compressed (for high intense colour) and encased in a wooden barrel for easy handling. You don't need to dip them in water to start painting and they wash off easily with warm water. Check
out Monday's review on for more. These top quality pencils are made in Germany and come in two different colour packs of six - the basic has the primary colours plus green, black and white and the plus pack includes gold, silver, pink, purple, orange and brown.

For more coverage, try these plant-based body and face paints. They're all natural and completely toxin-free - ideal for any little witch, devil or ghost with sensitive skin. They're also
made in Germany. And for dressing up nails and eyes without the nasty chemicals, try made in Canada water-based nail polish or mineral eye shadow in bright blue or glittery pink.

2. Choose eco-friendly decorations
With eco being the trend, why should Halloween be the exception? Admittedly, spooky and gruesome does translate well into highly toxic plastics found at the dollar store but why not go green on October 31st with biodegradable classic pumpkins - carved and glowing or even painted - hay bales, ornamental corn, cobwebs fashioned out of hemp string. Give the little ones
a pack of non-toxic window crayons to go crazy with on the front window - rather than splurging on throwaway paper or cardboard decorations that tend not to last.

3. Choose local for costumes
If buying Canadian to help lower your carbon footprint and support the local economy and jobs is important to you, stay the course for Hallow's Eve. There's no need to stray. These kids' helmet covers are made in Ontario and ideal to top off any Halloween costume. Choose from a red devil, lion, shark, zebra, pig, bunny or turtle. They'll keep your little one's head warm during the big trick or treat and beyond. These covers stretch to fit any helmet - bike, ski, snowboard, skate, equestrian - and not only increase visibility of the wearer on the slopes, roads, rink, etc. but encourage kids to wear their helmets and provide added warmth.

For the ideal black cat costume that doubles for dance class, there's a lovely all-black tutu - often a challenge to find - made in Vancouver.

If you're pressed for ideas, there's always rentals - a great way to reuse. Don't forget local thrift stores and charity shops are are virtual costume treasure troves - and supporting them means you also support a good cause for a Happy Halloween all around.

Enter our contest to win a Glam Pack for a green Halloween simply by telling us about your best ever Halloween costume. If you have any thoughts or ideas about how to green Halloween, we'd love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Forget the 100 Mile Diet, Let's Eat Within 10 Feet

A couple of years or so ago the Sunday Times ran an article about Harrod's offering fresh produce from their rooftop garden. 'From vine to store within the hour' or something along those lines was the spin. Clearly 'fresh' was at premium and people were willing to pay.

And why not? There's nothing like a fresh tomato still warm from the sun. A carrot pulled straight from the dirt at its crunchy best. What about picking green beans and depositing them directly into a pot to be put on the stove? These are pleasures we've had during this lovely westcoast autumn we've been enjoying. All because we decided to plant some seeds and seedlings last spring.

We thought it would be good for the kids to see how plants actually grow and reap the benefits of fresh organic veg from our own garden - grown 10 ft from our door. The kids enjoyed seeing the plants grow, fending off the slugs, picking carrots, peas and eating them on the spot. Funnily enough, when their friends came over, picking fresh tomatoes and beans seemed to take precedence over the new trampoline.

It may be, however, us adults that have enjoyed the garden the most. We never realized how satisfying it is to pick fresh veg you've grown yourself, harvest it (we discovered our collapsible shopping basket makes an excellent trug) and serve it up for dinner, knowing it's nothing but healthy for your kids and you.

So we say yes eat local but forget the 100 mile diet with its 100 mile radius - if you can, grow your own and you'll reap benefits you never imagined.

Browse our collection of Gardens-in-a-Bag and bring the fresh taste of growing your own inside - on any sunny window sill. We've got a great selection of herbs for cooking and flowers to keep the spirit of summer alive.

If you have any thoughts or ideas about home gardens or the 100 mile diet, we'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Burnaby Resident Wins $100 Shopping Spree at Lavish & Lime

Giving feels good but knowing what you give is appreciated, feels great! We felt great this week when we gave away a $100 shopping spree to Olivia S., of Burnaby BC.

Olivia was chosen as the winner of our quarterly newsletter subscriber draw. You could be the next to win $100! When you sign up to receive our newsletter, you not only get our latest news about new products, sales events plus exclusive offers and competitions, you could win a $100 shopping spree!

When we contacted Olivia to tell her the good news, her response was "Wow! thank-you so much! This is so exciting!!" She already has an idea about what she'd like to spend her prize on, which is great.

Congratulations Olivia! We hope you enjoy your spree.

For the latest in unique eco-friendly products to help you live life a little greener, visit Lavish & Lime.

If you have any thoughts or ideas about competitions and winning, just leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!


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