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Lead in My Blue Glass Dishes

Question from Becka

Curious about cobalt blue glass dishes I bought at cost plus world market on early 2000, Are they Lead free? They have no brand name on them

Lisa’s Answer

Colored glassware does not typically contain lead.  See this Q&A post with the chemistry of colored glass.  Given that there is no information on the product, I can’t say for certain what it contains.

Odor Neutralizing Laundry Products in EU

Question from Sharon

Does anyone know of a European supplier of laundry products odor-neutralizing (specifically chemical / formaldehyde) ? I learned about EnviroKlenz (only U.S., though) and their EU supplier in Denmark, called OdorKlenz — but they do not ship to where I am, in The Netherlands. Need help!!

Lisa’s Answer

I am not aware of any.  Readers?

Graphenstone Paint

Question from Marilyn

Have you looked into Graphenstone paint?

Lisa’s Answer

I had not heard of the product but I looked at the website.  The paint base is VOC free which means that it has a very low level of VOCs but not necessarily that it has no VOCs.  They do not offer a Material Data Safety Sheet for the pigment, which is the component of paint that typically has VOC content.  If you can get a copy of the MSDS of all the components you are interested in, I can take a look at them.

Windshield Adhesive

Question from Stephen

I’m looking for MCS safe Windshield replacement products.  What is the best adhesives/primers to use? How long does the chemical  off gassing take? and any tips to speed up the off-gassing process?

Lisa’s Answer

Look for a low VOC adhesive.  I’m assuming you will need one specifically for glass/windshields, correct?  Here is one I found by searching for low VOC windshield adhesive. I didn’t do an exhaustive search, this is just one that came up.  Also, I can’t tell you if you will react to it or not, as people with MCS have individual reactions.  I can simply point you to materials with lower toxicity.
Most adhesives are designed to off-gas quickly.  Heat will speed up the off-gassing.  You can try putting space heaters to the window for a few days.  If you do this in your garage, I would stay out of it until the bake-out is complete and then air it out.  Make sure your garage has a good seal from the main house.  Alternatively, you could leave the car outside with the windows open for a few weeks.


Question from Pamela

Brilliant website thank you! I’m concerned about the chemicals in our standard jacuzzi tub (all that plastic! and whatever is in the actual tub–hot plastic?)! AND I’m concerned about the old school tub at my ex’ place coated with a chipping paint of sorts. Is there any bathtub on the market made in Europe perhaps–that will be a healthier choice? IT seems there is no regulation and i worry about my son with medical condition and hormone disruptors etc….I  know you can lead test but really want to be able to buy or replace what we have but cannot find info on healthier tub material?

Lisa’s Answer

Porcelain-enameled cast iron or porcelain-enameled steel are the best choices, though they can be pricey.  You could also have a tub frame built and use all tile on the interior.

Ziplock bags

Question from Stacy

I am using Ziplock freezer bags to keeps things dry in the car for my emergency supplies. Do I have to worry about offgassing in the car and with the high temperature? It it made of PE.

Lisa’s Answer

Food grade polyethylene is the safest plastic there is.

You could also try silicone bags like these
There are many other things in a car interior that are more of a concern for off-gassing like foam cushioning, PVC, and leather.  Keep the windows down when possible and consider using some charcoal bags or a small air purifier in the car.
Read more here in Are All Plastics Toxic?

Cavities and Braces

Question from Miriam

My son needs two cavities filled.  The MSDS of the 3M filler our dentist uses has some unpleasant ingredients. What is the least toxic resin or non resin solutions for tooth fillers for a kid with allergies (including nickel allergy)? He also needs braces and I want to know the least toxic materials we can have placed.

Lisa’s Answer

The most comprehensive study I have seen that actually tests the composites is the following from
Table 4 shows a list of composites that do not contain bis-GMA ( the most commonly used BPA derivative).  Only 1 contained neither Bis-GMA nor TEGDMA.
You might ask your Dentist to help you identify some options and request a MSDS.  Look out for the following: BPA, bis-GMA, TEGDMA, or UDMA.  Just because it claims to be BPA-Free doesn’t mean there isn’t potential exposure to BPA as derivatives such as bis-GMA can convert to BPA in the mouth.

I can’t speak to allergies.  You would need to look at the individual MSDS to identify ingredients that your son is allergic to.

Is your son unable to wear metal braces due to his allergy?  If you are looking at plastic brackets, polypropylene would be a less toxic option.

Another thing to watch out for is that many bracket adhesives have slow -releasing fluoride in them.  Ask your orthodontist for an adhesive without fluoride.

Bike Trailer

Question from Debbie

I have a bike trailer which I’m guessing has flame retardants on it. Do these wear off over time? It is about 5 years old and I was wondering if I can safely use it for my new baby now?

Lisa’s Answer

It is impossible to tell without knowing what the product is and exactly what chemicals are used.  In general, flame retardants are designed to not wear off.  Other concerns are the use of PVC or water- proofing chemicals.


Is Stainless Steel Cookware Toxic? (Read This Before Throwing Away Your Pots and Pans.)

Are you wondering if it’s safe to use your stainless steel cookware?  Searching the internet for answers can be confusing because some tout it as among the safest of choices and others deem it a toxic source of heavy metals and recommend complete avoidance.  A more detailed assessment reveals that the safety of stainless steel is more complicated than a “use it” or “avoid it” label.  Some individuals can use it safely under certain conditions while others should avoid it completely.  Let’s break it down.


What Are the Concerns About Cooking with Stainless Steel?

Studies show that stainless steel cookware can leach nickel and chromium into acidic food.  Before we get into specific results of these studies, let’s look at the health effects of nickel and chromium.

Is Nickel Harmful?

Nickel is an essential micronutrient that plays an important role in human metabolism (1).     Too much nickel can be toxic, and therefore the National Academy of Sciences sets a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) at 1000 µg (micrograms) per day.  Adults ingest an average of 69-162 µg per day.  Most nickel exposure comes from food and water.  Foods that are naturally high in nickel include chocolate, soybeans, nuts and oatmeal.  Once nickel is ingested it is removed by the kidneys and quickly passed out of the body.

Jewelry that contains nickel can also be a significant source of exposure and is thought to be why women are more at risk of developing nickel sensitivities than men. An estimated 10-20% of the population have a sensitivity to nickel that leads to dermatitis.  For those who are sensitive, a single dose of 67 µg can cause a flare up or lead to systemic dermatitis.

The most serious risk is to people who breathe dust containing nickel compounds while working in an industrial setting.  The EPA has determined that, under these conditions, nickel is a carcinogen.

Is Chromium Harmful?

Chromium is not as much of a health concern as nickel.  It is an essential trace mineral in the human diet but is poorly absorbed.  The recommended intake for adults is 50-200 µg and the most adults get 60-80 µg from their diet.  Up to 7% of the population may have a chromium sensitivity that can cause dermatitis (2).

How Much Nickel and Chromium Leach During Cooking?

One study found that nickel and chromium leached into acidic food.  A number of variables were studied:

The grade and composition of the stainless steel.  The most common grades of steel are 304 and 316.  The grade refers to the quality, durability, and heat resistance.  Higher numbers mean higher quality.  Many cookware items will also have a ratio, such as 18/8 or 18/10, which tells the percentage of chromium and nickel, respectively.  This study did not find a correlation between the percentage of nickel and the amount of nickel leached, so it is unclear if there is any advantage to buying 18/8 over 18/10.   Similarly, the study did not show that the higher grade (316) leached less than the lower (304) in all cases.

The cooking duration. In general, the longer cook times resulted in more leaching.

The age of the cookware.  New cookware leached significantly more nickel and chromium.  After the 6thcooking cycle, the amount of leaching levelled off.

On average, after the 6thcooking cycle, the cookware leached 88 µg of nickel and 86 µg of chromium.  This is well within the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of 1000 µg.  For perspective, a ½ cup of peanuts contains 68 µg of nickel.  So, cooking with stainless steel may add a significant amount of nickel to an average daily intake but still be within acceptable levels. All tests were done using a high-acidic food (tomato sauce), so presumably foods with lower acidity would result in less leaching.  It is important to note, however, that sensitive individuals could react to just one meal cooked in stainless steel cookware.

Recommendations for Using Stainless Steel Cookware.

  • If you have a known sensitivity to nickel or suspect you may have one, avoid all stainless steel cookware.
  • If your cookware is new, wash it thoroughly. Cook a solution of 50% vinegar and 50% water for a 2 hour period and discard the solution. Repeat these steps 6 times (3).
  • There is a very high grade of stainless steel (430) that has only trace amounts of nickel. If you can afford it, look for cookware with this grade.  Avoid any products that have an aluminum core as it could leach aluminum if deeply scratched.
  • Avoid cooking highly acidic food, such as tomato sauce or chili, for long cooking durations.
  • Rotate your cookware so that you do not get too much exposure to the same materials.


If you are simply more comfortable avoiding stainless steel cookware, it is a personal choice and do what it right for you.  But, if you hate the idea of giving up your favorite pot or pan, follow these simple guidelines and keep cooking.





Dry, Chapped Lips

Question from Audrey

Would like to know what you and your mcs  followers use for dry, chapped lips. I used to use vitamin E in a dropper from Needs – but they stopped making it.  Too expensive to open up a vitamin E capsule.  Coconut oil which is supposed to be great , smells and I cannot tolerate it. I have been using olive oil, but it gets rancid too fast and if I put it in the refrigerator it  makes the oil get hard and cannot use.

Lisa’s Answer

I use Badger Unscented Lip Balm.  It is non-toxic, but I can’t tell you if you will react to it or not.  Everyone reacts to things differently.



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