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Organic Pillow

Question from Andi

I always have trouble getting a pillow to stop smelling strong.  This one is from Janice’s and they aired out the stuffing for a week.  I also have trouble with the smells of pillows from White Lotus , so it is not any particular store, it is the organic cotton. (Also had trouble with smells of kapok, etc).  It has been airing out since end of August. It still smells so strong that I cannot use it.  Any suggestions?

Lisa’s Answer


Air Purifier- Bissell air320

Question from Bonnie

Just saw an ad for a new purifier called the Bissell Lifestyle Air 320. Wondering if you have heard of it or if anyone here has tried it. Thanks.

Lisa’s Answer

I don’t have personal experience with it.  After a quick look, it appears to be a much lower-cost option than the most powerful purifiers but it does have activated carbon to clean gases and VOCs.
It does not have a HEPA filter so it will not clean particles from the air as effectively as a unit with HEPA.  Also, it does not say how much activated carbon it has.  The area of carbon determines how effective it is.
Generally, it looks to be less effective at cleaning particles and gases/VOCs than more powerful, more expensive models.  As a low cost option, it looks to be better than other similarly priced products.


Question from Judy

More on styrofoam please.  I have orchids on windowsills that are terrazzo and very cold in the winter.  I’ve put styrofoam boards from a craft store on top for their protection.   Should I be worrying about this particular application?

Lisa’s Answer

The more significant health concern about styrofoam is that it can leach styrene, a probable carcinogen, into food and beverages when it is used as a container.  There is probably not a significant exposure from this application.

I try avoid styrofoam, in general, because it is particularly bad for the environment due to a chemically-intensive manufacturing process and its inability to break down when it is disposed.

Air Purifier for MCS- no carbon

Question from NIT

I’ve tried two air purifiers and they unfortunately exacerbate my symptoms, particularly in the sinuses.

I believe the problem is the carbon. I get similar symptoms when using a nose filter with carbon in it.

Are there are any alternative air purifiers which can remove formaldehyde and other VOCs which may not trigger me?

Lisa’s Answer

EnviroKlenz does not use any carbon.  Everyone is different so I can’t tell you what will or will not trigger you.  If you use the search button on the site, search for air purifiers and you will find threads where readers with MCS comment on what has and has not worked for them.

Yeast-Like Smell from Air Purifiers

Question from JP

My doctor prescribed an Austin Air for my MCS in 2005.  It emitted a yeast-like smell, but I thought it was normal.  Then, I purchased a smaller Austin Air and the air was mega fresh.  I could tell instantly when I shut it off for a few hours and then turned it back on.  So, I ordered another one, plus a filter for my original unit. Every single one them are now emitting a yeast-like smell.  So, I purchased a Dyson air purifier and it worked like a charm, so I purchased another one.  Every Dyson filter I have order in the past two years emit the same yeast-like smell.  Has anyone ever complained about yeast-like smells?  I’m wondering if that means the filters are old and have been sitting on the shelf for too long?  I recently ordered an EnviroKlenz purifier and it emitted a strong odor and now it seems to be fine.  I put it in my garage because I have a piece of new furniture that is off gassing, and the purifier is not helping.  I’ve spent thousands of dollars and I’m losing hope.  🙁  Any suggestions or ideas?


Lisa’s Answer

Readers, has anyone else had this experience?  Any suggestions?

Chantal Induction 21 Cookware

Question from Chris

I see that Chantal cookware is on the list of recommended products. I have read concerns about ceramic coating in numerous sources. What are your thoughts on the safety of Chantal’s Induction 21 cookware with ceramic coating?


Lisa’s Answer

I agree that new research has shown that ceramic-enameled coatings can leach nanoparticles.  I will remove Chantal from Debra’s List.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Question from Janett

Hello. We have been looking at vinyl plank flooring . Home Depot carries a brand called Lifeproof  that has the Floorscore stamp on it. I read on this site that Floorscore doesn’t test for everything that is dangerous.
We are also looked at Homecrest Cascade and Coretec Plus. Homecrest has a product safety assurance statement on their web site of what chemical are not  in them.
Do you know anything about either of these products by chance? We definitely need waterproof.


Lisa’s Answer

Check out The Green Design Center.  The owner, Andrew Pace, tests the products he sells and has found formaldehyde emissions from products that claim to be formaldehyde-free.  Cali LVP flooring is the only LVP brand he sells.

Mattress Options for a Toddler

Question from Liz

I’ve been agonizing over what type of twin mattress to purchase for my 3.5 year old. I was set on buying an all natural mattress with organic cotton and latex components. However, I’ve been reading that many people have had issues with all natural materials developing mold. With a young child who is going to wet the bed (potty training at night), mold is a big concern to me, even with a waterproof pad. I can’t decide what the lesser of the two evils is – the potential for mold, or a polyurethane mattress (flame retardant free). Help!


Lisa’s Answer

Naturepedic 2-in-1 kid’s mattress is your best bet.  One side has a food-grade waterproof coating made from sugarcane.  I have not heard of any mold issues with these mattresses.

Styrofoam Sheets

Question from Hope

I love your site…as I appreciate your info so much…I’ve been through a lot with chemicals ~yikes!

I have a question, do you know of a “toxic-free” styrofoam sheet product/company that is available in the market? I need it for a major project. I need to buy in sheets, but everything I have found so far seems to have fire retardant and other chemicals added. Do you have a suggestion?


Lisa’s Answer

I am not aware of any, readers?

I try to avoid all styrofoam.  Using it in a project is probably not a significant exposure but it can leach styrene into food and drink.  Also, it is terrible for the environment due to it’s chemically-intensive production process and inability to bio-degrade.



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