Art | Resources
Question from Deborah
I’m looking for advice on a few toxic free items such as blackout shades and curtains and couches. My husband died from leukemia so I’m very concerned about toxins in the home. I’ve searched but have been unable to find zero VOC blackout shades and curtains.
Question from Jamison
I’m wondering do you know of any Organic Wool or Cotton Suit dress slacks available for purchase. I have some wool ones however they are not organic and i know non organic natural materials has toxins in it but im dealing with it at the moment ssince im unable to find these types of slacks.
Question from Mary
I’m wondering if there is anyway you (or one of your associates) could comment on the toxicity of OdoBan?
I am disabled due to autoimmune problems. I live with my Mother – along with my five rescue cats, including one of whom has asthma).
My Mother uses a lot of OdoBan to clean the carpets and the floors. Because it’s used in hospitals, she thinks it’s “safe”. The fumes make me nauseous for days. If someone besides myself were to explain that there is reason to be cautious of this product, she would be much more likely to listen to reason. (Some mothers think they always know more than their kids).
Question from Marcella
I have decided to start eating healthier by going plant-based. This will require a blender. Are there any companies on this website that sell toxic free blenders and juicers? I look forward to hearing from you.
Question from Brenda
We are looking to find a good non-toxic sealer to seal plywood sheathing from entering our living space. Also, looking for non-toxic hardwood prefinished flooring without formaldehyde or pesticides. Need to know a company ? I’m on the east coast . Any updates on safe building materials would help. I have MCS! Are there any pre-finished floors that use water based sealers?
Question from Michael
I have a toxic brain injury and I just moved into
a condo and it has natural gas heat. I turned it on and got so sick we could not get my pulse down.
I react to mostly hydrocarbons and toluene very bad. I have a Gaba / glutamate receptor
I have a 800 sq foot condo and I’m trying to figure out how to heat it now. I’m in the Midwest and it gets cold.
I read all about space heaters for large rooms and I also read Debras recommendations.
My choice were between a
1) wood base edenpure infrared with metal inside.
2) Penoris oil filled radiator
I tried plastic heaters and they give off odors that make me sick.
I was worried about the oil filled radiator leaking or possibly off gassing because petroleum is the end of me and I go to the ER room.
I was also concerned about the wood base around the eden pure because I react to paint
And chemicals new wood finishes. But I’m more scared of oil.
Do you have any suggestions? Winter is coming and I’m stuck. I was looking for used oil heaters off eBay that may have been off gassed. As for the Eden pure I would buy that new.
Question from Linda
Question from AJ
Question from Jane
We often hear that some types of plastics are safer or less toxic than others, but what does that really mean? There are many guides available that categorize plastics according to their toxicity. These guides can be misleading because most plastic consumer products have additives to enhance their functionality. A single plastic product can contain dozens of chemical additives. Most manufacturers don’t disclose those chemicals which makes it very difficult to assess the toxicity of a particular item.
Chemical Additives Can Be More Harmful Than the Plastics Themselves
One study tested over 400 plastic food packaging products including baby bottles, plastic bags, deli-containers, and water bottles. Most of the products leached chemicals that have estrogenic activity, meaning they mimic human estrogen, which has been linked to adverse health effects. Products that were stressed to replicate normal usage leached even more. Also, some BPA-free products leached at greater levels than BPA-containing products.
A surprising result of the study was that some of the products that leached these harmful chemicals were made of plastics thought to be safe including:
- polypropylene (yogurt cups, ketchup bottles),
- low-density polyethylene or LDPE (grocery bags, food storage bags),
- high-density polyethylene or HDPE (milk jugs, butter tubs, juice bottles).
The study went on show that in these particular materials, it was the additives and not the plastics themselves that were the source of the leached chemicals. When they tested pure polyethylene and polypropylene resins with no chemical additives there was no detectable levels of chemicals with estrogenic activity. Additives are more likely to leach because, in most cases, they aren’t chemically bound to the plastic (1).
This highlights why it’s so important for manufacturers to disclose all of the materials used in their products. Safer plastics are possible. But without full transparency, it is very difficult to determine the toxicity of any individual item.
Treatments Added to Finished Plastics May Also Be Toxic
I’m often asked if plastic fabrics such as Nylon or polyester are non-toxic. In their pure forms, they are relatively inert. However, treatments can be applied to add features such as waterproofing to nylon or wrinkle-resistance to polyester. For example, most nylon raincoats will have some type of Durable Water Repellent (DWR). Most DWRs are made with perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) which are linked to numerous health concerns and are persistent in the environment. Some manufacturers are working to find PFC-free waterproofing treatments but they are not yet as effective. See a statement from Patagonia, the outdoor retailer, on their progress with finder safer alternatives.
When you can’t determine all of the additives or treatments, here are some general tips to follow:
- Always avoid plastics known to be harmful to humans and the environment. Avoid PVC, Polystyrene, and Polycarbonate.
- Avoid all plastic products that come in contact with food or drink. If you must use plastic, avoid heating and dishwashing. When the plastic becomes scratched or damaged, throw it out.
- Look for manufacturers that fully disclose the additives and treatments used in and on their products.
- Consider how and when the product will be used to determine the exposure to you and your family. For example, a plastic storage bag used to hold paper clips is much less of a concern than one used to hold orange slices for a child’s lunchbox.