Hi Debra! I am packing away baby clothes for a possible one in the far future :) Right now the clothes are in the house in cardboard boxes but they are soon moving into the garage. I'm afraid of smells and whatever else might get into the boxes (moths, mold, etc.)if they are not sealed. I'm trying to stay away from toxic plastic. Are there non-toxic storage containers out there big enough for storing clothes or are there non-toxic trash bags I should wrap the clothes in and then put in the cardboard boxes? Thank you in advance!
Yes! I have the perfect thing for you.
A few years ago my husband and I were planning a move back to California (which we never did) and started to sort through our things, selling and giving some away, and packing blankets, clothing, and other such items.
We found Hefty One Zip Big Bags which are like zip-lock sandwich bags, only huge. They are made from the same polypropylene, so toxic exposure is practically nonexistent. I still use these for storage if I want to store something in the garage and make sure it doesn't get damaged.
Most of the sandwich bag manufacturers make big bags. I've tried them all and like Hefty the best because the zip lock has a slider and it is easier to zip. Also the zip is more secure than other's I've tried.
A friend of mine sent me an email with no source that commented on Diane Sawyer's special report "Made in America," which aired last fall. It's an interesting piece of investigative work.
They removed ALL items from a typical, middle class family's home that were not made in the USA. There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink; literally. During the special they showed truckloads of items - USA made - being brought in to replace everything and talked about how to find these items and the difference in price etc.
It was interesting that Diane said if every American spent just $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create something like 200,000 new jobs!
The email I received was asking that we all look on the bottom of every product for "Made in China" or "PRC" and choose products made in the USA instead.
There's an interesting map on the "Made in America" website that lists companies making products in each state. There are not many listed in comparison to how many there are. Many of my Debra's List websites make products in America and I've noted them with an icon.
For more products Made in the USA, check out these websites. The products are not necessarily nontoxic, but there is a great reduction in shipping pollution and buying American supports our own economy at home,
A new service at SaferProducts.gov allows you to report toxic products to the Consumer Products Safety Commission online, and lets you search for and read reports on specific products of interest to you.
It lets you search by popular categories or specific your own detailed search.
So if you find toxic problems with products, here's a place to report them.
I came across the EPA's website Design For The Environment Label and was wondering what your thoughts were on the products they have listed? Thanks for your advice!
The EPA's Design for the Environment program allows manufacturers to put the DfE label on household and commercial products, such as cleaners and detergents, that meet stringent criteria for human and environmental health.
Their Alternatives Assessments Program helps industries choose safer chemicals by providing an in-depth comparison of potential human health and environmental impacts of the chemicals they currently use or plan to use. For situations in which safer chemicals have yet to be identified as viable substitutes, their Best Practices Program shows workers how to protect themselves and their communities' health by using chemicals safely and minimizing exposures.
One good thing about this program is that the manufacturers are required to submit the complete product formulation information. All ingredients are reviewed to ensure that the potential environmental and human health effects of prod ucts and ingredients are accurately and adequately identified. Applicants must report all ingredients intentionally added to the formulation, regardless of percentage. This is important because current law does not require disclosing to the public all ingredients of many hazardous products, such as cleaning products, which makes them difficult to evaluate. So seeing this seal, you know that all the ingredients have been considered.
I did spend some time looking for the standards they use when evaluating these ingredients. I went to DfE's Standard and Criteria for Safer Chemical Ingredients expecting to find maybe a list of acceptable chemicals, and what I found were documents with a lot of references to other documents and requirements for toxicity tests.
Just from this quick look it appears to me that the difference between their approach and my personal approach is that I'm looking for products that clearly have tried-and-true safe ingredients, like soap, for example. It appears at first glance that what this program is looking for is products made with safer industrial chemicals.
I took a look at their list of approved cleaning products and it contained some products I agree with and others I don't. It looks to me like the major motivation of this program is to get the major manufacturers to make less toxic products. My motivation is to find the least toxic products for consumers to use. That's why my list contains products like organically-grown bio-based cleaning products and not cleaning products with industrial chemicals that are less toxic. The EPA program is a step in the right direction, but I can see from looking at their list of approved cleaning products that their criteria is not as stringent as mine.
I would say for sure the products with this seal are less toxic than average products in their class. I'm also sure they are not the least toxic available.
Today the FTC announced a settlement with a company that allegedly sold worthless environmental certifications to more than 100 consumers.
Tested Green, and its owner Jeremy Ryan Claeys, are now barred from making misrepresentations when selling any product. The company claimed that Tested Green was the “nation’s leading certification program with over 45,000 certifications in the United States.” They charged up to $549.95 for the labels which were supposedly endorsed by two independent firms. However, Tested Green actually owned the firms!
“It’s really tough for most people to know whether green or environmental claims are credible,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Legitimate seals and certifications are a useful tool that can help consumers choose where to place their trust and how to spend their money. The FTC will continue to weed out deceptive seals and certifications like the one in this case.”
full press release from the Federal Trade Commission
Here's an interesting interview with Meryl Streep, in which she talks about how she lives green and her more than twenty years of environmental activism.
I read your blog about the portable 6” ceramic space heater. It was helpful, but did not find a match when I looked around my local stores. I found this style of heater, but with baked on enamel coating and/or plastic housing. When you say painted does that include baked on enamel?
I’ve had trouble with the oil filled portable radiator type heaters; I thought it was the oil I smelled. But it makes more sense that it was the paint. This had baked on enamel.
I had been using a gas heater in my apartment. I was getting headaches and dizziness that might have been related. PG&E came out several times and said there were no leaks. But a couple of months ago a technician did a more thorough search and found a significant leak. He shut it down as a major hazard, and the landlord replaced the heater.
When I call PG&E they have not been helpful re: hooking me up with the thorough technician who helped me. Unsatisfying customer service.
This new gas heater is painted, not baked on. I have not used it. I suspected there was still a problem with the gas line and I continued to have symptoms, though less often. A couple of weeks ago PG&E was drilling holes near my house and told me they were repairing a gas leak. I don’t know if there is any connection. I’m considering trying the gas heater. But again the new paint is probably toxic.
Now I’m starting to have a problem with mold because I’m not heating the apartment. And I’m cold.
I have been running the burners on my gas stove for warmth in the kitchen. Is this toxic? I’m considering trying some light bulbs that generate heat. Is this toxic? I have special needs due to Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. I appreciate any support you can offer.
Thank you Debra,
Frosty in Berkeley, CA
First, I wouldn't use the gas heater.
There is a discussion of space heaters and brands listed at Q&A: Is plastic heater OK?.
A baked-on enamel or "powder coated" finish shouldn't outgas, because it has already been heated.
This blog is a good place to get info from others with MCS.
Have you ever heard of Scanpan cookware? Its made in Denmark, and their products are made of a creamic-titanium compound. Their website is www.scanpan.com. I was considering purchasing one of their large pots which is on sale at a local store, but I wanted to get your opinion on the safety of this product.
Thanks so much for all you do. I love your website!
OK. Here's the deal on Scanpan.
First, there seem to be several types of cookware made by this company. The one I think you are asking about--the one with the ceramic-titanium finish--is their Classic New Tek.
At www.scanpancookware.com/pages/scanpan-background-pv-c0-6.html it says the following:
"Both ceramic and titanium are incredibly hard materials. After having pressure-cast the raw pan body, the ceramic-titanium compound is super-heated to 36,000º F (thirty six thousand degrees!) at which point it liquefies. The ceramic-titanium enters a "plasma state". That liquid plasma is then fired into the pan surface at twice the speed of sound. Lots of heat and impact. The ceramic-titanium literally anchors itself in the aluminum surface and becomes one with the pan." So far, so good.
"When looking at SCANPAN CLASSIC NEW TEK under a microscope, we see something like a lunar landscape. A myriad of mini-craters, all similar in size and shape. These craters were created when firing the ceramic-titanium compound into the cooking surface, and are then filled with our specially formulated NEW TEK non-stick compound. The compound is in the craters, not on them. The ceramic-titanium protects it from being scraped away. Even if you use a metal spatula." This is the part I am concerned about. They say their nonstick coating is PFOA-free, but that's all we know about it.
The selling feature of the Scanpan is that you can't scrape away the nonstick finish, but the nonstick finish is still there.
I'm skeptical about this. Not enough information for me to recommend it. But I also don't have enough information to say it's not safe.
A lady at the Earth Day fair mentioned 25 year old hotdogs found in a landfill when I said biodegradable is better than recyclable. I searched on the internet to satisfy my curiosity. No, not to satisfy by macabre tastes!
“Typically in landfills, there’s not much dirt, very little oxygen, and few if any microorganisms,” says green consumer advocate and author Debra Lynn Dadd. She cites a landfill study conducted by University of Arizona researchers that uncovered still-recognizable 25-year-old hot dogs, corncobs and grapes in landfills, as well as 50-year-old newspapers that were still readable." About.com: Do Biodegradable Items Really Break Down in Landfills?
The study was called The Garbage Project. The best description I could find today is at Treehugger: The Garbage Project. Originally, when I cited it in a book I wrote in the mid-1990's, I think I read about it in National Geographic magazine.
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