Super Search

Submitted questions will be posted with my response by the following Tuesday or before.
Submitted comments will be moderated and approved within 24 hours.

Tiny House

Question from Mary

I have severe mcs
Looking for what would be the best place to live toxic free.
Possibly a tiny home
Would u give me direction.

 

Lisa’s Answer

Debra is blogging about her reasons to build a tiny house as well as the progress she is making.  You can follow her here.

Another good source is mychemicalfreehouse.net.

Air Purifier

Question from Mary

Do you know what is in enviroclense purifier?
I have mcs and this purifier destroyed my whole home clothes and all textiles.
I can’t breathe in 15 min.
I can’t wash the smell out of anything and nobody knows how to get it out
I only ran the purifier for 3 hours and now I cant live in my home
Smell is between ammonia bleach smell and cascade is how I explain it w a little sweet smell added.
Please can u help me so I can live in my home

 

Lisa’s Answer

EnviroKlenz is made with MCS users in mind.  Have you tried calling the company and asking them for ideas?  I can’t tell you what you are reacting to because everyone is different.

Here are some threads where other readers have commented on how they have handled odors from air purifiers.  I hope they help,

Yeast-Like Small from Air Purifiers

MCS Suffers Which Air Purifier Helped You?

Home Printer

Question from Martha

Do you know of a home printer that does not offgas when in use?

 

Lisa’s Answer

All printers will offgas.  In addition to off-gassing, printers can emit particles into the air which is also harmful.  Always use a printer in a well-ventilated area, keep it away from your bedroom, and use a high quality air purifier.

Here is a helpful resource to identify less harmful electronics.  Look for “gold” level printers that  score highly on reducing environmentally sensitive materials.

Mattress Wrapping

Question from Kristin

I’d like to wrap my mattress to protect myself from off-gassing. My research has brought me here, after this site was referenced in an idea to use foil insulation. I love this idea, but does it pose any risks?  Are there any toxins I need to be aware of that might be added to the insulation? Any recommendations on brands? If I buy a polyethylene roll to wrap, what are the specs I’m looking for. So many choices pop up, and I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for except high density, clear. Does it need to be food grade?

 

Lisa’s Answer

I believe you are referencing this post from 2011.  Debra recommends a specific product that is just aluminum foil and polyethylene.  I would be very careful to select a product that does not have any added chemicals.  Here is a company that sells polyethylene wraps for mattresses.  This may be a safer bet.

I know that buying a safe mattress is not affordable for everyone but it is a much safer option than wrapping a traditional mattress in plastic.

Cabinets

Question from Tamra

Hi I am trying to find bathroom and kitchen cabinets that will not off gas, and a healthy choice for home. Seems finding a painted finish on cabinets that is Low VOC is difficult, as I am told they do not wear well. Are there any companies you like for MCS? Mainly I have looked at Crystal cabinets ( seems if I understand right that their stained cabinets do have a low VOC finish top coat? But I do not think painted ones do?) Wood Cabinets 4 less I came across on this site, but I did not see much on Crystal cabinets. Also trying to find a more affordable, but HEALTH and not reacting to new cabinets is the most important thing.

 

Lisa’s Answer

Crystal Cabinets do not specify on their website if their paints or stains are low VOC.  You could call them and ask.  You could purchase solid wood cabinets from Wood Cabinets for less and get them unfinished and have someone paint them for you using a low VOC, or preferably a zero VOC paint.

I can tell you whether or not products are toxic but I can’t tell any individual whether or not they will react to something as everyone is different.  Readers, are there any recommendations for cabinets for those with MCS.

Laptop Computer

Question from Sherry

Any suggestions for a laptop computer that doesn’t outgas much.  Thank you for any help you can give.

 

Lisa’s Answer

There is a very helpful resource called the Green Electronics Council.  “Purchasers can search for electronics based on product category, manufacturer, geography or EPEAT rating. EPEAT-registered products can even be identified based on specific attributes valued by an organization (reduction of toxic materials, recyclability, use of recycled plastic, etc.).

Manufacturers register products in EPEAT based on the devices’ ability to meet certain required and optional criteria that address the full product lifecycle, from design and production to energy use and recycling. Bronze-rated products meet all of the required criteria in their category. Silver-rated products meet all of the required criteria and at least 50% of the optional criteria, while Gold-rated products meet all of the required criteria and at least 75% of the optional criteria.”

Also, check out this post on printers.

More Sources for Non-Toxic Clothing

I’ve gotten a lot of comments and questions about my posts on toxins in clothing and where to find non-toxic clothing.  It occurred to me that some readers may not be aware that Debra’s List currently profiles over 80 companies that sell all, or predominantly, non-toxic clothing.  You can either look through the entire list or search specifically for companies that use only botanical dyes.

I have been searching for more companies to add to the growing list.  The following five web-based companies have unique or hard-to-find styles.  All are committed to using non-toxic materials and production processes and are fully transparent. Three of the companies are based outside of the U.S. so ordering may be more of a challenge but their wide range of choices may make them worth the effort.

 

Mate

Mate sells California-style basics, dresses and sleepwear for women.  You can shop by fabric type which is helpful because some of their fabrics are better than others.  Their cleanest fabrics are GOTS certified organic cotton and Super Flax, which is 100% linen.  Their less optimal fabrics are slub cotton, which is not organic, and Tencil, which uses petroleum-based chemicals for processing.  All of their clothing uses low-impact dyes and the company is considering natural dyes for the future.

matethelabel.com

 

Brook There

Brook There is based in New England and sells organic cotton and silk underwear and minimalist lingerie.  The cotton is GOTS certified.  These items are a step-above most organic cotton undergarments.

brookthere.com

 

People Tree

People Tree is based in the UK but they sell and ship to the U.S.  This is a unique company with a full range of clothing for women, men, and children including denim, jumpsuits and outerwear.  The great selection may make it worth the hassle of ordering from overseas.  Just be aware, if you need to return items you will need to pay return shipping costs.  They use FLO certified organic cotton.  “Although FLO (Fairtrade International) is for cotton itself, goods made with the cotton have to be certified throughout the supply chain and adhere to strict social and environmental standards.”  Most items are organic cotton but some use Tencil or a percentage of synthetic fabrics.  The materials are clearly identified in the product description.

peopletree.co.uk

 

Thought

Thought is UK based company with a great selection of contemporary women and menswear.  The line includes hard-to-find items like work clothes, outerwear, and denim.  All finishes are Oeko-Tex certified and all dyes are Azo-free.  You can search for clothing by fabric, which is helpful because some are better than others.  Look for organic cotton, hemp and wool and avoid bamboo, Tencil and modal.  Some cottons include a small percentage of synthetic fabric like elastane but it is clearly listed in the description.

wearethought.com

 

Shift to Nature

Shift to Nature is based in Australia and ships to the U.S.  Returns are not allowed from orders outside of Australia but, like Thought, this company has a great selection of unique clothing for women, men and children.  You can search by fabric so look for organic cotton and hemp and avoid bamboo and recycled synthetics.

shiftonature.com.au

Portable Air Purifier

Question from Karen

I have been looking at the IQ Air Atem personal space air purifier: https://www.iqair.com/us/support/tech-specs/atem-desk

Do you have any experience with this? I would like to use it in our car (offgassing new car chemicals) and hotel rooms.

Lisa’s Answer

I don’t have personal experience with it but I have looked very closely at the brand and it is a very good portable unit.  Readers, does anyone have experience with it?

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

Readers?

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.

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ARE TOXIC PRODUCTS HIDDEN IN YOUR HOME?

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