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.

Plastics Used to Make Telephones

The other day one of my consulting clients asked me a question about the plastics used to make telephones.

In the process of researching this, I came across this article:

It gives the materials used to make phones throughout the history of phones.
And then it concludes that the plastics used to make phones today are unidentifiable because they are custom plastics made for performance.
So if you are using a plastic phone, you just can’t find out what type of plastic or additives are used.
I also couldn’t find a wooden phone on the internet. They used to be available when I started looking for nontoxic products.
If you are concerned about exposures to plastics from phones, the solution is to cover the plastic parts with aluminum foil tape. It looks a bit space-age, but the aluminum foil will block any plastic exposure.
Debra Lynn Dadd
new website on life beyond industrialization:

Sink Repair

Question from Jade

My young daughter accidentally cracked my bathroom porcelain sink. It’s a very small crack so I would like to repair it over having it replaced but the products I’m finding are all very toxic. I suffer from Environmental Sensitivity Illness so a non-toxic product is necessary. Do you know of any porcelain sink repair kits that are non-toxic?

Lisa’s Answer

I do not know of any.  The total exposure would be very small, particularly once it is cured but given your sensitivity I understand that a non-toxic product is needed.  Readers, any recommendations?

Vinyl Flooring

Question from Liberty

Looking for your opinion for safety on the LifeProof Vinyl Plank Flooring, which claims to be both phthalate-free and formaldehyde-free, and Cali LVP flooring, which is supposed to be no voc odor free vinyl flooring.

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.


Question from Maggie

Typically we have used fiberglass insulation. Son is building a Tiny house and researching a good insulation I’m finding very mixed information…alot of it depending on what they are trying to sell. although hard at time to differentiate the information at hand. I was going with the cotton batting until I read that cotton is the most heavily sprayed product. So how that translates into insulation I am not sure. Any ideas?

Lisa’s Answer

Teflon EcoElite

Question from Tricia

Hi – thanks so much for this service.  I’ve been  searching for eco/health friendly outdoor gear and recently came across Teflon EcoElite as a new waterproof coating.  Have you heard about this or know anything about it? Seems to have won some eco/innovation awards, but who knows what that really means …

Lisa’s Answer

This is an alternative to PFC-containing products, so it is better.  But, it is not clear if that means it is safe.  The company does not say on their website what chemicals are used in place of the PFCs.  The industry experts cited in this post says that the new PFC-free products being developed have very limited testing and do not have consistent results that shed light on their health impact.  Teflon’s product is rated by GreenScreen, which is a for-profit rating organization for the textile industry.  It is scored as a “good” alternative with a 3 out 4 rating, with 1 being the most hazardous and 4 being the least.  The rating doesn’t really tell you much, other than it is better than PFC-containing products which would be rated a 1.

Water Bottles for Kids at School

Question from Sarah

Hello! Thanks for your dedication and helpful research. I’ve enjoyed your website for many years. What is the best water bottle to send to school with kids (first grade)? I know that I could send a Life Factory but worried about glass and having it sent home because it is glass.
Any stainless steel ones testing well?

Lisa’s Answer

If your kids do not have a known sensitivity to nickel, I recommend stainless steel when glass isn’t appropriate.  Read this post on stainless steel bottles.  I use Kleen Kanteen when I’m not using glass.  They have a lid that is made of cork and steel.  If a hands-free lids is needed, they have one made of polypropylene.  Make sure you do not use it with fruit juice or anything acidic as it will increase leaching.
Some stainless steel bottles have tested positive for lead but it is not from the bottle itself, but rather from paint on the bottle or a solder point at the bottom of the bottle.  Read more here.

Lacquer Paint

Question from Claudia

I found this website while searching how to remove the smell of lacquer paint from our home. We had our kitchen cabinets recently painted, and I never thought to ask what they would use. The smell was so horrible we had to stay in a hotel for the weekend. When I came back home, there was a layer of colored dust on the floors and counters. I moped it all up and cleaned as good as I could – only to have a sore throat in the morning and a stomach ache. I have 3 kids that sleep upstairs and I’m worried the smell will hard us. I have aired out the house continuously, used air purifiers, placed out activated charcoal….but I’m still worried because the smell is strong. It was a lacquer oil based paint and I regret it all now. My question is, if I try heating the house to 90 degrees, will it still be benifical to do it for say 3 hours a day and then air it out, repeatedly? I only have a few hours a day I can do it during the week with kids naps and school schedules. I appreciate your advice and time. Thank you so much.

Lisa’s Answer

I do not recommend doing a bake out.  Here is a post that explains my position.  I recommend sealing it with a product that is made to seal in chemical off-gassing.  AFM Safecoat makes several products for this purpose.  I’m not sure which one would be best for your application.  I recommend calling a green building supply store that has a lot of experience with this. Get their recommendation on which AFM Safecoat product to buy and purchase it through them. Here are two to contact. or

Colophon in Shoes

Question from Nikolay

Are there any shoes proven free of Colophon?

Lisa’s Answer

I am not familiar with Colophon.  Readers?

Water Repellent Treatment

Question from Anderson

Are the water repellent treatments used on clothing toxic? For example, the “Rain Guard” by Carharrt?  Its described as a DWR durable water repellent. It is  my understanding that it means its probably a fluoropolymer such as the cancer causing class of chemicals used in Teflon and firefighting foam.

Lisa’s Answer

Yes, it probably is a fluoropolymer.  The outdoor industry is working on developing alternative to fluorine-containing finishes but the alternatives are not without risk and require more frequent applications, so a greater amount of chemicals.  Apparently, they also do not work well.  Here is a link about PFCs in the outdoor industry.

Toaster Oven and Air Fryer

Question from Sandee

Are there any toaster oven-air fryer units that you recommend?

Lisa’s Answer

Non-stick coatings are the watch-outs for both of these items.  Waring is one of the few toaster brands  that do not have a non-stick coating.  Even products that claim to be PFOS- and PFOA-free should be avoided because testing has shown that the new chemicals used could be just as dangerous.  I have never looked for, nor used, an air fryer but all of the ones that I found in my quick search had non-stick surfaces.


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