Are you mosquito bait?

PRODUCT & PRICE Lemon grass oil from Taiwan HK$62

PRODUCT RATING Safe and very effective. Rub it liberally on all exposed skin (use alot) and you’ll rarely get bitten. Needs to be re-applied after a couple hours. Has a strong smell – some people like it, others don’t.

GREEN RATING Quite green. Chemical free. Made of plant-based essential oils. Packaged in a re-fillable glass spray bottle. Completely bio-degradable leaving no trace in the environment.

AVAILABLE AT Health Aims

There is nothing more annoying when you’re enjoying a hike on a nice day than being bitten by mosquitoes.  Since I spend a lot of time outdoors, I’ve tried many of the mosquito repellents on the market. Here is a review of the repellents most commonly found on store shelves.

DEET

The active ingredient in most insect repellents is DEET. It is the most effective insect repellent, but there are human health and environmental concerns associated with its use. According to the US EPA, DEET is slightly toxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates. The overall impact of use on the environment is limited because it is applied only to skin and clothing. However, the production of chemicals such as DEET is inherently environmentally unfriendly.

Of greater concern may be the effect of DEET on humans and this is where it gets more complicated. While deemed safe when used in accordance with instructions, incorrect application can lead to health issues such as skin irritation, disorientation, dizziness and, in extreme cases, seizures or death. According to Cornell University study “Everglades National Park employees having extensive DEET exposure were more likely to have insomnia, mood disturbances and impaired cognitive function than were lesser exposed co-workers”. In 2002, citing human health reason, Health Canada barred the sale of insect repellents for human use that contained more than 30% DEET. The environmental group Beyond Pesticides, lists DEET as neurotoxin. For both environmental and personal health concerns, I avoid all repellents containing chemicals.

PATCHES and WRIST BANDS

I have found that these patches and wrist bands don’t work because they only cover very small areas effectively – mosquitoes will inevitably bite you where you don’t have a patch or wristband. Continue reading “Are you mosquito bait?”

The Truth: Bar Soap vs. Liquid Body Wash

I remember as a child, my whole family used the same bar of soap. Gradually though the bar of soap seemed to disappear and was replaced by liquid hand and body wash. Using bar soap had come to be considered to be unhygienic and a source of bacteria. The strange thing is even though we shared soap, we seldom got sick and had no diseases. … Continue reading The Truth: Bar Soap vs. Liquid Body Wash

Replaceable Head Toothbrush

PRICE HK$60 for 1 handle with 3 heads

PRODUCT RATING Performs well. Go green without compromising your dental health.

GREEN RATING Deep Green

AVAILABLE AT Herbal Bliss

The constant advertising and the blue strip on bristles have ingrained in us how important it is to change our toothbrushes regularly. But why do we have to throw away a whole toothbrush when it’s only the bristles that are worn out? Why can’t the head be replaced just like a razor? It always seemed kind of wasteful to me to throw away a perfectly good handle each time I needed to replace the worn bristles.

So you can imagine my delight in finding a toothbrush with a replaceable head. As a consumer, the Fuch’s EkoTec Replaceable Head toothbrush seemed to check all the right boxes for me: it’s high quality (made in Germany), performs well and is reasonably priced. As an environmentalist, it really struck a note, with its convenient to use replaceable head and recycled paper packaging. The replaceable head system not only reduces landfill waste but also reduces shipping volume.

The toothbrush looked great on paper, but how would it actually perform? Continue reading “Replaceable Head Toothbrush”