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.

Minimally Toxic Camping Gear

Question from Anna

I have been becoming sicker and sicker and am not sure if I will be able to tolerate living in society much longer. I have already been sleeping in a tent behind a house rather than in the house itself.

I think perhaps what I might need is a very long camping trip to get away from the toxic chemicals and the cell phones and the WiFi and all of it.

I was wondering if you might suggest a decent portable water filtration device (I was thinking Lifestraw, but I don’t know if there’s something better but still affordable), a low-toxicity sleeping bag that will still be fairly winter-proof, reasonably affordable wool or other non-cotton clothing that is at least free of naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, a low-toxicity bivouac sac, minimally toxic boots, some sort of first aid kit appropriate for a chemically injured person, and some sort of non-plastic water bottle durable enough for hiking. I was reading that for winter hiking, you basically have to use an insulated stainless steel water bottle anyway, but maybe some of these are better than others. I was also wondering if you might have any suggestions on re-usable pads and/or period underwear.

Lisa’s Answer


I’m sorry you are having such a difficult time.  For non-toxic clothing and shoes/boots you can look at Debra’s List or use the search button on the site to look up clothing.  There are several articles and threads where readers have reported on clothing that is both non-toxic and tolerable.  As always though, because everyone is different, what is tolerable to one person may not be to another.

Here is information on a lightweight wool sleeping bag that might work for you.

Here is some more information on Lifestraw.  I have not done a full investigation of these type of filters so I can’t tell you about other options.

I use Kleen Kanteen for hiking because glass is not practical for this purpose.  If you are sensitive to nickel you should not use stainless steel.  Here is some more on using stainless steel for drinking.

You might want to consider reaching out to Debra for a paid consultation because you have many specific needs.  She is available for paid consults until June 18, 2020.

Readers do you have any other suggestions?

Paint Smells a Month Later

Question from Dac

My wife painted a room in our house a few months back with a dark grey Behr paint and primer in one. Months later I still get a strong smell from it. She doesn’t think it’s bad but does smell it.  How do I get rid of it? Bake out seems to be not advised currently? Any advice? Also she painted a wall in another room off white Benjamin Moore regal select and I have no issues with it after one day

Lisa’s Answer


See below comments from Andy Pace of The Green Design Center.

Toxic Free Products in the UK

Question from Zara

Hope you are doing well. I absolutely love this website, I am a recent convert to non toxic products. I’ve scoured your website but can’t find any UK sites for toxic free dishware.
I was really hoping for some help in that direction.

Lisa’s Answer


I am glad you are finding the site helpful!  Unfortunately, I am not familiar with dishware from the UK.  Readers, any suggestions?


Question from Jen C.

Hi- I’m intrigued by the mattresses that are shipped directly to your home in a smaller, manageable box. Can you recommend a particular brand/model of one that would be a healthy addition to my home?

Lisa’s Answer


Yes, take a look at Happsy.

Lead-Free Glassware and Non-Toxic Cookware

Question from Pia

is pyrex safe for food storage and cookie? and what is the safest cookware? and are mason jars lead-free ?

Lisa’s Answer


Pyrex is safe to use.  Pyrex made in the United States is made from soda lime glass.  The only glass that uses lead as an ingredient is leaded glass (otherwise known as leaded crystal).  Lead can be found in small amounts in other glass as a contaminant.  The main source of contamination is recycled glass.  Out of caution, it is best to avoid recycled glass.  Colored glass is often made with recycled glass, so again out of caution, it is best to avoid colored glass.  Mason Jars, as long as they are not recycled or colored, are probably fine.  Decorations on glassware can be a source of lead so it also best to avoid glassware with decorations.  You can read more about lead in glassware here.

My favorite brand of cookware is Xtrema.  I will be publishing a Buying Guide for cookware in the near future.  In the meantime, you can look at recommended brands on Debra’s List.

Gas Stoves and Indoor Air Quality

Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

I have written previously about how cooking is a major source of indoor air pollution but a new report highlights particular risk from gas stoves and ovens. Homes with gas stoves can have nitrogen dioxide concentrations that are 50 to 400 percent higher than homes with electric stoves.1

Gas appliances can emit a range of pollutants including:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen oxides, including nitrogen dioxide
  • Fine particulate matter
  • Formaldehyde and other VOCs

Health effects from these pollutants include respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.  Children who are exposed to nitrogen dioxide have an increased risk for asthma.  There is also evidence that suggests a small increase in fine particulate matter can lead to a large increase in COVID-19 death rates.2 

The impact on air quality from gas cooking is greater the smaller your living space because the pollutants are more concentrated.


What to do if you own a gas stove or oven?


  • Consider replacing it with an electric stove/oven.
  • Properly ventilate.

Make sure your range hood meets code requirements.  It’s estimated that only half of new U.S. homes meet code requirements for range hoods.  Studies also show that many people do not use their range hoods when cooking.  If your range hood doesn’t extend over your front burners, make sure to cook on your back burners.

If you don’t have a range hood that vents to the outside, open your windows while cooking.

  • Purchase an air purifier that removes small particles and gases.

Be aware that many popular air purifiers are not effective at removing small particle and gas pollutants from cooking.  (see Air Purifier Buying Guide)

Refrigerator Water Filter Proposition 65

Question from Phil

I recently purchased an every drop water filter for a Whirlpool refrigerator. I was shocked to see a prop 65 warning on it.  I’m wondering if there is a company that makes a refrigerator that does not require proprietary toxic filters?

Lisa’s Answer


I called the company and they claim there is no Proposition Warning label for the filters.  I also did not find one on the filter.  Where are you seeing it and on what model?  Could you be referring to the copy of the filter that states that if it is not maintained and operated properly as specified in the owner’s manual, there is a risk of exposure to contaminants?  If so, that is not a Prop 65 warning but rather refers to the fact that if the filter is used past its intended life, some contaminants from the water that have been collected by the filter could be re-released.  If you can provide me with more information on the model and exactly where you see the Prop 65 warning I might be able to be of more help.

Washers and Dryers

Question from Dalin

Do all dryers have the prop 65 warning?
I looked at some at Home Depot and I didn’t
see the prop 65 label on them.When I was shopping I only saw the prop 65
label on the GE stack combo washer and dryer
Which I bought now I’m really worried.

Lisa’s Answer


Unfortunately, I am not aware of list that tells which washers and dryers have the Proposition 65 warning.  You can call GE and ask them what chemical is used in your model that requires the warning.  Then you can ask where it is used in the machine and what the consumer exposure is.  Often times, the warning is for something that is used in the cord or another component that the consumer has little or no exposure to during normal use.

Ozone Deodorant

Question from Whitney

Hello, I hope you’re doing well and staying safe. I was using to it website to find a non toxic deodorant. I came across a post on your website from 2016 about Ozone Deodorant. You sad they don’t us actual ozone, but on video on another site the co-founder does say they use actual ozone. I’ve included the video below. Does this change how safe you find this product? Based of my research ozone can be pretty dangerous stuff, would using it in this form be dangerous as well? Thank you so much for your help!

Lisa’s Answer


Indeed it does say they use ozone!  I have removed it from Debra’s List.  I will need to do further research to better understand the risk.  In the meantime, I would chose another deodorant.

Toaster Ovens

Question from Joseph

Hi. Thank you for this great website. We are looking to replace a toaster oven and are wondering if you have recommendations. It’s almost impossible to find out if they’re prop 65 compliant. We definitely want stainless steel and NOT non-stick. Thank you for any recs.

Lisa’s Answer


I am working on a Buying Guide for Toasters that will be posted next week.  Check back then!


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