Submitted questions will be posted with my response by the following Tuesday or before.
Submitted comments will be moderated and approved within 24 hours.
Question from Donna
Where to buy chemcially free real leather couch that is affordable. ??
I wish it were as simple as directing you to a store to buy a well-priced model. You can look at Debra’s List for sources for non-toxic couches but they are mostly made-to-order and are expensive.
As for leather, there is no chemical-free leather. You can read more here about the chemicals used to process leather. There are safer leather products that use less toxic chemicals. There is a company called Pine Street Natural Interiors which can make a non-toxic couch using a safer leather. Read more here.
Question from ECD
Can a Wool blanket inside an Organic Cotton Duvet be worn over Linen Sheet on top of the body and still maintain a healthy frequency?
I am not familiar with healing frequencies.
At the beginning of January, I had some alarming symptoms that sent me rushing to the Emergency Room. It was cancer.
I was shocked. Being the one person in the world who has probably lived the most nontoxic life for the longest period of time (more than 40 years now), I went through life feeling sure my body would never develop cancer because I was avoiding all the usual known chemical carcinogens.
But even doing that and not smoking and eating organic food and drinking filtered water and everything else I’ve done to be healthy, my body still developed cancer.
The professionals didn’t know. They could identify the tumor was cancer, but not what type. And they still don’t know. But they knew it was a “rare” and “aggressive” type of cancer and that was enough for me to decide to have it surgically removed.
So that’s what I did. Last Friday I had my surgery, then I spent two days recovering in the hospital room, and today I am home sitting up at my computer. I won’t be able to sit here all day, but enough to finish what I need to finish today.
There are two things I want to share with you as a result of this experience.
First, I was 1000% happy with the hospital experience. The building itself was LEED certified to be completely nontoxic. It was fragrance-free, organic food…you can read more about the hospital at LIFELY: My Recovery From Cancer in a Lifely Hospital.
The other thing I want to be really clear about because this was a big lesson for me.
I spent forty years of my life devoted to finding hidden toxics in consumer products and shopping for nontoxic products for myself and others so we could all be safe from these toxic substances. And I thought that would protect me. It did, but only to the degree that it could.
I think there is a thing that happens—I know this happened to me—when people find out toxic chemicals are making them sick, and that you can get well by avoiding them, you begin to think there are only two worlds: the toxic world and the nontoxic world. The toxic world is dangerous and the nontoxic world is safe. It’s easy to be lulled into thinking that all you need to do is avoid toxic chemicals and you will never be sick or get cancer.
But that’s just not true.
What IS true is that toxic chemicals in consumer products make people sick. And eliminating your exposure to toxic products can help your body be healthier. But it’s not the whole story—it’s only the first step.
Last June, I retired from my toxics work because I had a feeling there was more I needed to do and I wanted to give myself the space and time to find out what I needed to do to have a high level of wellness in my body. Obviously I needed to do this because they removed a tumor that was large enough that it may have taken months, if not years, for it to grow.
My first months after toxics I spent researching and writing and developing a viewpoint around adding more Life to our individual lives, and moving away from industrialization.
But only this past week I found there was something else that we all really need to focus on. Not instead of toxics, but in addition to. And that is food.
I’m going to be writing a lot more about this, but I just want to start by telling you that certain foods can be even more harmful to health than toxic chemicals.
The night before my surgery I started reading a book called Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China Study. I read parts of The China Study about five years ago and I remember it saying “eating meat causes cancer” but I was so convinced at the time that toxic chemicals were much more probable carcinogens that I didn’t pay attention to this.
Yet, the very night before my cancer surgery, I open this book and it says
The food we eat is a much more powerful determinant of cancer than just about any environmental toxin…
Animal protein intake determined cancer development far more than the dose of the chemical carcinogens.
Animal protein is more powerful as a cancer-causing agent than chemical carcinogens. Dr Campbell writes about how his laboratory studies showed how they could turn cancer on and turn it off using nutrition only.
So where did I get cancer? I would say most likely from the years I spent eating a Paleo diet and later a Keto diet filled with animal protein of all types. Both at the insistence of my medical doctors who insisted I each this way to control my elevated blood sugar. I finally stopped eating these diets when I lost my left eye to diabetic retinopathy. After switching to a China Study type diet, my remaining eye has only grown stronger and my blood sugar is now normal, which I had never been able to achieve on the animal protein diets.
I had already planned to start a new food blog, but now it’s on the front burner. Apparently, nutrition affects health even more than most of us thought it would. I’ll be writing more about exactly how animal protein causes cancer and how we can create satisfying meals that eliminate this danger. And many other food and health and nature related topics as well.
My surgery was 100% successful, so I am now cancer-free. Thank goodness. But I can see there is much more to learn and do, while standing on my firm foundation of living toxic-free.
Question from Sheryl
We are allergic to dust mites in pillows and mattresses. There are organic cotton encasings for pillows but from my research and an allergist the tight weave in cotton will loosen over time allowing the dust mites to get in to the pillow. The other option which holds it’s tight weave is micro-fiber. I like a brand called “Mission Allergy”. Do you think it would be toxic to sleep on micro-fiber?
Question from Sanda
My daughter has special needs. She has self-injury behaviors and sometimes aggression towards others, mostly due to her lack of communication skills, so she easily gets upset. Her current “reward” of reducing these behaviors that seems to be working for her, is receiving a temporary tatoo at the end of the day for good behavior. I am a very health conscious mom and only have ever used natural products on her including natural soap and shampoos, lotions, hair products, cotton clothing, organic bedding and organic mattress. I’m slowly turning her playroom into mostly natural products as well (cotton carpets, curtains, more wooden toys vs plastic). However, I worry that the only thing that is helping with her behaviors (the tatoos) could also be harming her health due to all of the synthetic dyes that I see are in body tattoos (despite the FBA claiming that they are safe). I use mostly the Melissa and Doug brand temporary body tatoos, but I am on a desperate hunt all over the internet to try to find a “plant based vegetable dye” temporary tatoo, if there even is such a thing. I know that there is vegetable dye play-doh and crayons, but I have had no luck finding natural temporary tatoos. I am also open to using kids stamps on her skin sometimes as a reward in place of a tatoo, but I also cant find any natural plant based stamps. My daughter enjoys the colorful pictures of the tatoos (so henna would not work). Please help if you know of any 🙂
Readers, any suggestions for safer tattoos?
The Melissa and Doug tattoos meet global safety standards but there are concerning ingredients that I would not want to use regularly on a child. Here is the information from the company:
The ingredients in our Temporary Tattoos are: Styrene/ butadiene copolymer, Paraffin, Rosin/ Colophane, Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15895), Iron Oxides (CI 77499).
Question from Sandee
Do you think Gotham’s stainless steel fry pan is safe to use? My husband wants a pan as close to nonstick as possible.
The pan is billed as nonstick ceramic/copper/ titanium, PTFE/PFOA/PFOS-free, tri-ply reinforced stainless induction base.
The company did not respond to my request for additional information on the materials used in their pans but I’m guessing that it is a quasi ceramic coating. You can read here about research that shows that quasi ceramic coatings released titanium dioxide nanoparticles into food and that chronic exposure to these nanoparticles can lead to immune disruption and pre-cancer lesions in the gut. Again, I can’t say for certain that these pans use this coating, but I find that things that seem too good to be true, often are.
Question from Andy
Why don’t you wash it in the sink so you don’t need to worry about getting it on clothes in the washer? The company does not disclose their formula but it is a petroleum-based product. The Safety Data Sheet shows the following toxicity:
Inhalation: High concentrations may cause nasal and respiratory irritation and central nervous system effects such as headache, dizziness and nausea. Intentional abuse may be harmful or fatal.
Skin Contact: Prolonged and/or repeated contact may produce mild irritation and defatting with possible dermatitis.
Eye Contact: Contact may be irritating to eyes. May cause redness and tearing.
Ingestion: This product has low oral toxicity. Swallowing may cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This product is an aspiration hazard. If swallowed, can enter the lungs and may cause chemical pneumonitis, severe lung damage and death.
Question from TG
I’m looking for least toxic options for
1) solid wood floors to replace carpeting
2) solid wood kitchen and bath cabinets
3) bathtub to replace old lead glazed tub
For solid wood flooring, you need to use a finish that is free of VOCs and toxic solvents. I recommend Rubio Monocoat, but please understand that it is not as durable as more toxic products. You can read more about wood finish products on Debra’s List or work with The Green Design Center or Green Building Supply.
For solid wood cabinets, if you want as non-toxic as possible you need to have them custom made. You can find a local cabinet maker or check out solid wood options on Debra’s List. You’ll want to choose your own finishes. The Green Design Center has a good selection of non-toxic finishes.
For tubs, 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.
Question from Gale
We do cabinet refacing and I’m looking for a non toxic cleaner to use in cleaning and preparing the face frame surface for an adhesive used to attach the new laminate covering to.
Also looking for a non toxic adhesive for this application.
I know they are out there but would like your recommendation on which are the best.
Readers, any suggestions?
Question from Dorothy
We are planning to have the carpet removed in the house due to our cat urinating on the carpet. We are looking for non-carpet flooring that is cat friendly and low toxins. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. I have allergies. I am afraid of fixing one problem and causing another.
I usually recommend solid wood flooring with a non-toxic stain such as Rubio Monocoat, but that might not be the best option for a cat owner. The Rubio Monocoat is a beautiful finish but it is not as durable as traditional finishes. I have a dog and he does scratch the floor, but I am okay with that tradeoff. For an engineered floor, I recommend looking at the options at The Green Design Center. They test their products to ensure they are free of formaldehyde.