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Is Marble Toxic?

Question from Anonymous

Is marble non-toxic or does marble cause cancer?

I have a black marble mortar and pestle from IKEA and I’m wondering if black marble is safe and non-toxic or should I be concerned about using a black marble mortar and pestle?

Lisa’s Answer

Natural marble is non-toxic.  I don’t know if the product was sealed with anything to keep it from staining.  You could call IKEA and ask if it is sealed or treated with anything.

Choosing a Safe Steam Iron


Many of you have asked for help finding a non-toxic steam iron. The main concern with steam irons is that several models have non-stick coatings such as Teflon, the best-known brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). When PTFEs are heated to high temperatures they break down and release toxic chemicals. Some non-stick coatings may be free of PTFEs, but it is very difficult to find out which chemicals the coatings do contain.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to find a safer iron. Most irons have one of three types of soleplates. The soleplate is the bottom of the iron that comes into contact with your clothes. The most common types of soleplates are stainless steel, ceramic, and titanium. Stainless steel soleplates are the preferred type because they do not have non-stick coatings.

Many top-rated steam irons have stainless steel plates but there are pros and cons of using them. The advantages are durability, good heat conduction, even heat distributions and ease of maintenance. The main complaint with stainless steel soleplates is that they can cause sticking of glue or decals on their surface. Additionally, they can melt silk or other lightweight fabrics when used on a high setting.

The following stainless steel irons are highly rated on Amazon. Don’t be confused if some manufacturers refer to their stainless steel soleplates as non-stick. This does not mean that it has a chemical coating. It simply refers to the inherent non-stick property of the metal surface. I confirmed with each of the manufacturers below that they do not use non-stick coatings on their stainless steel models.

Rowenta DW5080 1700-Watt Micro Steam Iron 
Look for the model made in Germany.  Readers report leaking from the model made in China.
Pur Steam Professional Grade 1700-Watt Steam Iron .
Hamilton Beach Steam Iron with Retractable Cord (14881)
Maytag M400 Steam Iron 
Sunbeam Steam Master 

Ironing board covers can also be treated with PTFEs. Here is an untreated, 100% cotton cover.

Unfortunately, none of these options will make ironing more fun…just healthier!

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 2018, Are you cooking with these? Cookware considerations., accessed 29 July 2019,
IronsExpert 2017, Clothing Iron’s Sole Plate Types — Ceramic vs Stainless vs Titanium, accessed 29 July 2019,

DriCore Subfloor Panels

Question from Llya

I’m currently finishing my basement and planning to use DriCore subfloor panels.
It is almost impossible to find health effects of this product.
Would you know if the product emits formaldehyde or other chemicals dangerous for health?

Lisa’s Answer

The MSDS states that it is bonded with formaldehyde adhesive, so I would expect that it emits formaldehyde.

Latex-Free Condoms

Question from Anonymous

Do you know of any latex-free condoms that are safe?

Lisa’s Answer

I am not aware of any.  Readers?

Does Stainless Steel Leach into Water?

Photo by Ruijia Wang on Unsplash

A recent post on stainless steel cookware revealed when to avoid cooking with stainless steel and when it might be acceptable for some people.  The post was based on studies that showed that stainless steel cookware leached nickel and chromium into acidic food that was cooked for a long period of time.  But what about stainless steel water bottles?  Are they safe to use or do they leach heavy metals into water and other beverages that are not highly acidic?


Stainless Steel Does Not Leach into Plain Water

One study looked at a number of beverages with different PH levels and found that chromium and nickel did leach into beverages with high acidity such as fruit juice.  It also leached into a solution with high alkalinity.  However, there was no detected leaching into distilled water, which has a PH of 7 and is considered neutral because it is neither acidic nor alkaline.  It also did not leach into beverages with low acidity such as tea (PH of 6.65), coffee (PH of 6.50) and milk (PH of 6.88).  Tap water was not tested in this study but the EPA recommends that municipal drinking water have a PH level from 6.5 to 8.5.  Based on the result of this study, it is unlikely that tap water would cause leaching.


Does This Mean I Can Keep My Stainless Steel Water Bottles?

The choice to drink out of stainless steel is a personal one.  Individuals with nickel sensitivity may choose to avoid any contact with stainless steel.  Also, this is the only study found that looks specifically at water and other low-acid beverages.  Further studies would be beneficial.

Glass bottles are a safe alternative however, they are prone to breaking and are often heavy.  If you do choose to keep your stainless steel bottles make sure they do not have the following features:

Sealing dot or painted markings

Read more about how one blogger detected lead from the sealing dot, which is a dimple at the bottom of some bottles, and from paint or painted markings on the bottles.

Plastic lids that are not BPA or BPS free

In my opinion, plastic lids are of greater concern than the stainless steel bottles because hormone disrupting chemicals can leach from all types of plastics depending on the additives used.  Unfortunately, there are no safer alternatives that provide the functionality and convenience of a plastic lid, particularly if used for sports or other outdoor activities.

Low-grade stainless steel

Look for #304 or 18/8 food-grade stainless steel.

Is Nylon Toxic

Question from T

Is nylon toxic?

Lisa’s Answer

Nylon is made from petroleum but, in its pure form, it is one of the safest plastics.  The problem with nylon and many other plastics is that they may contain additives for additional functionality.  For example, nylon fabric may be treated with highly fluorinated chemicals (PFASs) to make it waterproof.

Lead in Corelle Dishes

Question from Becka

Yes wondering also if the color in the
Corelle dishware actually is lead free
And if it is not if it leaches into say a Corelle
Bowl if the color /paint is only on the outside of the bowl ?
Appreciate ur help ,,
Also if Anchor Hocking blue glass made today is also lead / toxic free or not?

Lisa’s Answer

It depends if it is new or vintage.  All new Corelle dishware  are lead-free and pass California Proposition 65.  New Anchor Glass items also are lead-free.

Glass Water Bottle with Non-Plastic Lid

Question from George

I am looking for a water bottle (glass preferably), to have the alternative to stainless steel.

Since I use reverse osmosis water, it can be 6.5-7pH with no minerals left in it (rain water).

Apparently this type of water due to being ‘demineralised’ can react with stainless and make the stainless leach into the water (chromium nickel etc) to balance the water out.

This would result in using a stainless steel bottle 7 days a week for 2 litres of water a day (14 litres of water in a week) a very unpleasant metal flavoured health hazard.

So I look for glass… (alternatives like you said you look for alternatives).

Problem is, every glass bottle has either plastic, aluminium, or stainless still lids.

The ones with silicon lids that I found are narrow mouth and a pain to drink from.

Where on earth can one get minimum of 1L water bottle without the metal/aluminium?

Lisa’s Answer

Unfortunately, I have not found a glass bottle without a plastic, aluminum, or steel lid that is functional. The only material I can think of that would replace the ones you mention is glass.  I can’t envision how that would be functional.  Readers, any suggestions?

Softer Latex-Free Mattress

Question from Bonnie

I am allergic to latex but would love to know if anyone has found a comfortable softer type mattress without latex.

Lisa’s Answer

There are many safe mattresses on Debra’s List.  Readers, can anyone comment on which of these are soft?

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Question from Grace

Thank you for all the fabulous info. We are looking to remodel our house and live in it 5-7 years before we build a house with a more non toxic budget. I am trying to find a good wood flooring that I won’t be worried about us living with but also something that we can afford for our remodel. Our contractor would like to use lifeproof vinyl plank, which claim to be phthalate & formaldehyde free. Any other cautions for this brand? This seems good but I would prefer hardwood. I was reading your post which I will link below, was there any final decision on Home Legend Hardwood? Also have you looked into OptiWood? We live in Alaska and have animals & kids so trying to find a balance between price, durability & non toxic.

Lisa’s Answer

While Home Legend claims to be formaldehyde free, an independent test by Andrew Pace of Green Design Center found that it does emit formaldehyde from the back.  Andy tests the products on his site, so you can trust what he sells.  If you are considering another brand, ask the manufacturer for independent testing to support their claims.  Of course, solid wood flooring finished with no or low VOC finishes is less toxic than engineered wood.


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