Thursday, August 22, 2013


                I had the opportunity the other day to witness a post-party landscape that is always alarming to me. There were people of all ages present, but those of focus are of the youngest of ages that can walk, or run and… blow bubbles. Not having any children, I  am by no means an expert here, but I have witnessed many, many children’s birthday parties and have witnessed the same post-party landscape in quite a few. And here it is…

What is it? Here is a closer view…

It is an area of dead grass.
                Having witnessed this after a few such parties, it took a while to realize why a patch of grass, otherwise healthy before said party, would choose to die after the soirée. In fact, the culprit for such grass decease was not difficult to determine. Those patches of grass, like the one pictured above, were the result of bubble blowing!
                When I was a child, over three decades ago, I sort of remember attempting to “blow” bubbles, or rather, form bubbles using Palmolive dish detergent. It seems to be quite fascinating to a child to watch bubbles float into the air and then burst or dissipate, etc. What a fun activity! And after all, is it not important for a child to have fun?
                Yes, indeed, it is. But the question arises as to what extent…
                For my own distant memories of Palmolive, that is Palmolive circa the mid 1970s, I can make no claim as to how that product was derived, made up, etc. And that is very much the point of this entry. That product was dish washing liquid… soap… that cleans off the plates from which we eat… or did eat… many, many years ago. I do not wish to elongate this approach here, but the products that I assumed were safe as a child for use in “cleaning” situations, probably were not. I do know that those same substances have been altered over the years, and they are most definitely NOT safe… but I digress.
                OR, perhaps I have NOT digressed. What IS safe? From my own limited and naïve perspective, I have always thought that government agencies would be knowledgeable and protective shields when it comes to what is safe and what is not… for consumption, for cleaning, for… you name it…
                Egads, but I was woefully in error!!! AND, I have come to realize that MANY, MANY of us are in the same situation, that is, reliant upon a government overseer there to protect us, who is doing exactly the opposite. As I have learned over the years, corporations are able to veritably purchase at will the ability to proclaim something on their packaging label, whether it has anything to do with reality or not. I have witnessed this throughout the food marketing in grocery stores ad nauseam, but those situations are for another entry…
                This entry focuses on the dead grass pictured above that was the result of bubble blowing at a kid’s party. I was able to find the bottle of, I guess, bubble juice?, and read the label. The product was “Made in Mexico”. I will pause here to assert that I am by no means a racist on where the product originated, it was simply “Made in Mexico”. The label read: “Non-toxic. Do not consume.”
                WOW! What easy instructions! That product was not toxic, however, do not drink it… What?
                Okay, my opinion on the matter IS tainted. (See the pictures above…) How does a liquid, whatever that liquid is/was, (the label does not state what it is/was), earn the distinction of being “non-toxic”, when the aftermath of a bubble blowing session at a kid’s party renders grass… DEAD!!? If this is not a shocking question to you… ARE YOU AWARE OF HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO KILL GRASS?!!!
                And I will pause here again as well. As an organic farmer, that is, one who uses no form of synthetic anything, no chemicals whatsoever, grass is perhaps THE MOST vibrant plant form encountered! Grass grows through both seeds and root systems and are relentless in their pursuit for more growth. Just think about how many people mow their lawns ritually with no thought other than to keep the grass growth down!
                And yet, the bubble formula kills that grass dead one day after the activity! Non-toxic… to whom?!!... to what?!!... Obviously it kills grass, that otherwise very difficult to kill plant. The question lingers. After doing a search on what “non-toxic” on a label actually means, I discovered that it essentially means nothing. The company using the term can use it with almost no oversight. So long as, say, skin does not immediately burn from contact of such liquid… it MUST be safe. And yet grass decrees otherwise…
                Oh how frustrating such a situation is!!! A non-assuming parent buys a bottle of bubble concoction for their kids to enjoy as an activity at a party. The parent reads “non-toxic” and thinks, “Oh, this will be just great!” And in fact, the party goes on, the bubbles are blown… and chased, etc… and everything is great!
                But how many actually… first off, witness the dead grass the following day, and secondly… realize what was at stake?!!! It is so easy to ignore, laugh off, etc. an issue like this, but for me… it is completely aggravating. We assume that the products we use are not harmful… and yet bubble concoctions KILL grass. Images appear in my mind of the children who used that bubble concoction with the liquid dripping off of them at points. And yet their parents make those same children wash their hands almost constantly! I only hope the disinfected soap substance they use for washing their hands are not as lethal as the bubble concoction…


  1. Tom, Such synchronicity!

    I have had the same thoughts recently when playing in the yard with my grandchildren. Though we have no dead spots from the bubble juice I thought I should check the ingredients next time I purchase said bubbles. Perhaps a test with Dr. Bronner's to see if that non-toxic mix works.

    These days we have to be vigilant about products we took for granted in the past. Especially those made in other countries. If our government oversight is bad, and it is, that leaves us. Thanks for the post and thoughts!

  2. Unfortunately, there is very little control over ingredients and safety with this. I have been told that instructions for a "natural", that is, non-toxic bubble concoction can be found on line.
    I hope this helps.