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PureCure Denture Detox

Question from Mary

 

Can you tell me if Pure CureDenture Detox is still in business? If not, do you know of a similar product or company where I might purchase detox kits to make my partial denture non toxic. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

Lisa’s Answer

Here is the company website.  I do believe their process is safe as it is based on a proprietary blend including natural charcoal.  However, I just want to be clear that there is no third party testing to authenticate that this eliminates toxics.  I don’t think there is harm in trying.

Is There Such a Thing as Non-Toxic PVC?

Question from EM

 

Hello! I was recently trying to figure out what my garden hose is made of, and it turns out that it’s made of PVC (not surprising). What is surprising is that it’s advertised as “toxin-free — no lead, BPA or phthalates.” That’s confusing, and I’m suspicious. Your thoughts?

https://www.gardeners.com/buy/lightweight-garden-hose/8609547.html?SC=XNET0279#start=3Is

 

Lisa’s Answer

This is a great question.  The answer is complex because there is no government regulation of the term “toxic-free”.  That leaves the consumer in the position of evaluating the safety of the product.  Lead, BPA, and phthalates are among the more concerning chemicals in PVC but they are not the only ones.  PVC tends to have more chemical additives than some other plastics.  These additives are not typically disclosed.  They can include cadmium and biocides.  PVC also off-gases. The only way to know for certain what exposure you have from this hose is to test the hose itself or the water that passes through.  Out of caution, I’d steer clear of any PVC.

Are Air Fryers Really Healthy?

I’ve had several people ask me if air fryers are safe.  There are really two parts to this question.  First, we need to understand if the food made in an air fryer is healthy.  Next, we need to see if the appliance itself has unhealthy materials that can leach into food.  I’m not a nutritionist so the first part of the question is outside my area of expertise, but I have been learning about and eating a healthy diet for most of my life so I’ll offer my opinion.

 

Food made in an air fryer is healthier than deep fried food but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  The main benefits over deep frying are fewer calories, less fat and lower levels of acrylamide.  Air fryers use very hot, circulated air to cook the food.  As a result, you can use a fraction of the amount oil used for deep frying.  Some fryers claim to reduce fat up to 75%.  Acrylamide is a compound that is formed when certain high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes are cooked for long periods at high heat.  Acrylamide is a probable carcinogen and has been linked to certain cancers including endometrial, ovarian, breast, pancreatic, and esophageal cancer (source). One study found that air fryers reduce acrylamides up to 90% (source).

 

Cooking meat at high temperatures for long periods form harmful substances including heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer (source).  HCAs are formed when meat is cooked above 300° for long periods and PAHs are formed when meat is exposed to smoke and flames.  Meat cooked in an air fryer can still form these compounds.

 

To reduce the risk of forming HCAs and PAHs, avoid burning the food and remove any charred portions.  It’s also really important to use some form of ventilation.  At least when you fry on the stove top you can (and should!) use your range hood to ventilate and when you barbeque you are outdoors.  You need to find a similar method of ventilation when air frying.  Open a window or find a safe way to use the air fryer under your range hood to reduce the smoke and fumes.

 

Do air fryers contain toxic materials that could leach into food?

 

This part of the question is my area of expertise!

Many air fryers have non-stick coatings and are made of plastic.  I don’t recommend them.

Non-Stick Coatings

Many air fryers use either a PTFE-based coating or ceramic coating.  You can read more about why I don’t recommend either of these in The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Cookware.  Some people believe that ceramic coatings are safe but there is emerging evidence of risks associated with their use.  At best, more research is needed to prove their safety.

 

Plastic

Many air fryers have a plastic casing.  Even if the plastic does not touch the food it will heat up during cooking which can increase off-gassing.  Read more about the toxicity of plastic here.  Also, some may use insulation to keep the plastics from getting too hot.  It’s not known what materials are used for this insulation.

 

Not Recommended

 

I don’t recommend any of these models because they are made of plastic and/or use non-stick coatings.

 

Ninja Air Fryer

The basket and crisper plate are made of aluminum with a ceramic non-stick coating.  The casing is made of plastic.  It does have a California Proposition 65 warning label but the company was unable to tell me which material requires it.

Cosori Air Fryer

The basket has a PTFE-based (Teflon) coating.  The casing is plastic, made from polypropylene and polyphenylene sulfide (PPS).

GoWise USA

The basket has a PTFE-based coating.  The casing is plastic.  It does have a California Proposition 65 warning label on it but the company was unable to tell me what material requires it.

 

Better Options

 

These options are better because they are made primarily of glass or metal but each has some areas of concern.

Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fryer

The frying rack is uncoated and made of a chrome-plated aluminum.  The baking pan is non-stick so if you purchase this item, I would avoid using the baking pan.  The interior of the oven does not have a coating.  The unit has a California Proposition 65 warning label for the 2 relatively small plastic parts (handle and legs), neither of which come in contact with the food.

Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer

The main compartment is made of tempered glass.  The basket and racks have a non-stick coating.  If you wanted to purchase this item, I would not use the basket and rack and look for an uncoated stainless steel rack with similar dimensions.  It does have a California Proposition 65 warning label but the company was not able to tell me the material that requires it.

 

This is the Best Option I Found

 

Oyama Turbo Convection Oven

The main compartment is made of tempered glass with uncoated stainless steel racks.  It does not have a California Proposition 65 warning label.

 

Please know that I have not used this model or any of those referenced so I can’t speak to performance.  This one seems to get good ratings online but you should check them out for yourself.

Personally, I plan to skip this trend and opt for healthier cooking methods like steaming and baking.  If you do choose to opt in, select a model with safer materials and only use it on occasion.

Decal for Kids

Question from Miriam

 

My son wants some ‘Paw Patrol’ decals for his room.  I’ve found some non-vinyl ones which supposedly are made from a “high quality polyester textile in North America”.

I emailed the vendor and asked if they contain PFAS or lead, BPA, or phthalates.  They replied ”

None of our products have any of these elements.” I’m not sure whether I can just take their word for it, or if there’s anything else to be asking about.

 

Lisa’s Answer

Unfortunately, there’s no way to verify their response other than testing the items.  There will be a small amount of off-gassing from the polyester and the adhesive but given they are small in size I don’t think there is a big exposure.  It’s definitely better than PVC.  Odor is not a reliable way to determine the amount of off-gassing but it can be an indicator.  If there is a strong smell I would not use them or at least air them outside for a few days.  Also, better not to use them in the bedroom.  Lead is regulated for children’s products and since the company makes specialty children’s products I would hope and assume they would avoid any use of lead so I would believe their claim.  I also wouldn’t expect any need for PFAS.  BPA would not really be an issue unless you were touching them and I assume that will not be the case.  Phthalates can offgas but, again, they have claimed they do not contain any.

Odor in IKEA furniture

Question from Judith

 

I have had the PAX wardrobe and MALM dresser for several years now. In the past year I have noticed that when put clean, dry clothes in the drawers they have a musty smell when I take them out. I read your reply about them earlier in this list and it seems the off gassing should have occurred by now. Is there any other reason you can think of for this odor? I have tried putting charcoal deodorizers and wiping them down with baking soda to no avail.  Thank you

 

Lisa’s Answer

I don’t think this is due to the furniture given that you have had it for some time. A musty smell comes from mold or mildew.  Do you have levels of humidity in your house that could be causing moisture?  Even though the clothes are clean do they have this odor before they go in the drawer?

Toxins in Dishes and Glassware

Question from Kelly

 

Do Mikasa Intaglio, Corelle Indian Summer, Fire King green dinnerware, any corning Ware or pyrex contain toxins? Does gold rimmed Monet glassware?   Does Monroe (Lenox) stemware contain toxins?

 

Lisa’s Answer

For the glassware, I don’t recommend any with rimmed decoration.  You can read more about glassware, including Pyrex in this article.  Regular clear glass that is not leaded crystal is very inert and does not typically leach.  The US Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has limit levels for the externally decorated lip area of drinking glass.  Glassware in the U.S. must meet these levels (200 ppm lead and 800 ppm cadmium) but they are fairly high considering there is no safe level of lead.  Unlike glass that that is inert, the decoration could flake off and be ingested.

Active Chair for Kids

Question from Miriam

 

We are setting up our homeschool environment and I have a few questions about furniture.
We’d like to get an ‘active’ chair for my son.  Most of the ones I’ve found don’t look great, materials are not really disclosed.  I did find this one, although more pricey, does this seem like a good option?
Made of beechwood grown and harvested in Northwestern Germany
Certified sustainable by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
https://www.fully.com/chairs/kids/tic-toc-tyke-chair.htmlIt has 3 options for finishes:
1. PU varnish as a finish for naural,
2.  black nitrocellulose lacquer for black, or
3.  red nitrocellulose lacquer for red
Would you feel comfortable with any of these?

p.s. here are a few of the non-wood ones I had found, here and here – if any of these look decent, we’d do one of these perhaps:

 

Lisa’s Answer

 

I’d like a little more information about the chair from fully.com but it seems like the better choice over the 2 plastic alternatives.  First of all, fully.com is a B corp and states that they are committed to transparency and minimizing toxins and waste so I imagine they will be willing and able to provide the information we need.  The chair looks to be solid wood but the top of the chair is probably engineered.  I would want the following additional information:

Is the top of the chair solid wood and if not does the engineered wood have any certifications such as CARB Phase 2, NAF, etc.?

Is the adhesive used low VOC?  Is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) available?

Is the PU lacquer low VOC?  Is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) available?

I’d also ask if there anything else they can tell you about what steps are taken in the production of the chair to reduce toxins.
Let me know what you find.  You could also get the chair and paint it with an AFM Safecoat product to seal in any minimal VOCs.

Safety of Microfiber Sheets

Question from Reenie

 

A friend ordered bamboo sheets and they sent her a soft microfiber set of sheets.  Are these safe for the body and the environment?  Thanks!

 

Lisa’s Answer

Microfiber refers to the size of the threads so without more information I can’t tell you exactly what it’s made of and the health or environmental profile.  In general, it is a synthetic fabric and usually made from polyester but can be a blend of materials or polypropylene.  I don’t recommend sleeping on any synthetic material.
Bamboo, however, is also not a great choice.  Bamboo is a sustainable material but it requires intensive chemical processing to make it into a soft fabric.  I recommend organic cotton, linen or silk for sheets.  GOTS certified cotton is ideal.

Empire Home Fresh Carpet

Question from April

 

Thank you so much for all your priceless info! Seriously. Thank you for this resources. I don’t know what I would do without it! I’m wondering if you’ve reviewed or have any insight into Empire Today’s Home Fresh carpet? It’s being touted as low to no VOCs and hypoallergenic. Not much is said about the installation materials. I’m wondering if this is a valid low cost option. I would greatly appreciate any info you can offer.

 

Lisa’s Answer

In general, I don’t recommend wall-to-wall carpet as it collects and traps dust and VOCs from the air in addition to the VOCs emitted by the product itself.  I looked at the website and it doesn’t give much information.  They say that it has no VOCs (that is highly unlikely because the backing is made from plastic.  It’s a better plastic than some carpets use but any plastic will emit something.). It doesn’t list any certification to help verify any of their claims.  I would ask them for a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) as well as any testing they have done to verify these claims.  Once you get them post them here and I can take a look.  As you point out, the installation materials also need to be considered.

Building a Non-Toxic Home

Question from Jordan

 

In your “about me” description you mentioned you have built a few homes using nontoxic/low emitting materials. My family and I are going to be building our first home and would like to do the same. I am interested to know how you did this and materials used. So more on this topic would be helpful and I would be willing to pay for a consult as well if that is something you do.
Looking forward to seeing/reading all your knowledge on non toxic living.

 

Lisa’s Answer

I will be doing paid consultations in the coming months but I am not right now.  If you need to start right away I recommend hiring a BBNC, which is a Building Biology New-Build Consultant.  They are trained specifically for this purpose.  A great place to start is to get the book “Prescriptions for a Healthy House”, 3rd edition, by Paula Baker-Laporte.  A 4th edition is in the works but I’m not sure when it will be out.

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