Volume 13, Issue 24 ~ June 16 - 22, 2005

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Got an Environmental Question? Send it to: EARTH TALK, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881. Or submit your question at: www.emagazine.com. Or e-mail us at: earthtalk@emagazine.com.
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Keeping Your Wheels Clean — and the Environment, Too
Are there environmentally friendly car waxes, washes and bug removers?
Conventional car waxes, bug removers and other auto detailing formulas are good at their jobs because they contain strong chemicals. Unfortunately, these synthetic substances — including glycol monobutyl ether, a registered pesticide, and the petroleum derivatives naptha and cosmoline — can irritate skin, cause other more serious health problems and get into our groundwater once they are rinsed away.
            Luckily consumers have many alternatives. A handful of forward-thinking companies have risen to the challenge of developing car care products that won’t harm our bodies — or the environment. Many car wax manufacturers have discovered that wax naturally extracted from the Carnauba palm of Brazil does a great job of protecting auto paint and clear coat from bird poop, dead bugs and other nasties. Optimum Car Wax, for example, can protect your car’s finish without abrasive chemicals and instead combines Carnauba wax with lanolins (obtained from sheep’s wool) like those found in gentle hand lotions.
            For washing your vehicle, Simple Green Car Wash Cleaner handles automotive dirt, grime, grease, bug stains and everything in between without polluting. The concentrated formula contains none of the toxic volatile organic compounds found in most car cleaners. It can be used safely to clean paint, clear coat, windows, chrome, rubber, canvas and vinyl. Another environmentally sensitive way to clean off caked-on bug guts and other gooey debris without resorting to noxious chemicals is by dissolving baking soda in warm water, then gently rubbing the mixture into the car with a soft cloth.
            Detailer’s Pride Gel Wheel Cleaner — available online at driveit.com, among other retailers — is an environmentally sensitive choice for removing caked-on brake dust on wheels and stripping grime off trunk lids and engine compartments. It also gets off stains on vinyl and convertible tops, cleans greasy door jams and is ideal for loosening and removing bug and white wax residues. It is water based and contains no harmful solvents or chemicals.
            For keeping your vehicle’s moving parts at optimal performance, Balchip Corporation, based in Toronto, Ontario, offers a wide range of environmentally friendly engine treatments and fuel additives that dissolve corrosive build-ups and keep parts working together smoothly. Based on the pioneering research of Canadian biochemist Paul Deogrades, all Balchip products are derived from plants and trees and as such are completely biodegradable and non-toxic.
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