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 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 …
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?
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.
Question from Nikolay
Are there any shoes proven free of Colophon?
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.
With fall in full force and Thanksgiving looming on the horizon, I started to stock up on some kitchen staples that I don’t buy at other times of the year. A favorite is pumpkin puree that comes in a shelf-stable box, which I use to make soup. During the summer it’s easy to eat mostly fresh food but during the colder months, I admittedly look for a few short cuts. My pumpkin puree got me thinking about aseptic boxed packing, more commonly known by its brand name, Tetra Pak.
I remember when I first started to see items that were typically packaged in aluminum cans cropping up in boxed packaging in the supermarket. I had sworn off canned food because of concerns about BPA in the lining and was happy to have a safer alternative for the few packaged staples I liked to have on hand. But my recent pumpkin purchase got me wondering, just how safe are Tetra Paks?
Tetra Paks are made with 75% paperboard, 20% polyethylene, and 5% aluminum and the layers are adhered using heat and pressure. Polyethylene is the only material that comes in contact with food. Food-grade polyethylene is considered one of the safest plastics but, as I wrote about in this post, even plastics thought to be safe can leach chemicals with estrogenic activity.
I only found one study that specifically tested Tetra Paks and it concluded that Tetra Paks showed estrogenic contamination similar to that from plastic water bottles. So, are they any safer than cans? Cans with BPA lining have been widely tested and are known to leach BPA. The evidence is clear that they are best avoided. Read more here about BPA-free cans and why they may not be any safer. The evidence is not as clear for Tetra Paks, but there is enough to cause concern. I’ll be keeping my purchases of boxed shelf-stable food to a minimum. Fortunately, more products are being introduced in glass jars, such as organic diced tomatoes, ready-made soups, and nut milks. Glass is the safer choice.
Question from Karen
I know that Debra has recommended Le Creuset in the past and I would love to own one one day, but its just not in the budget for me right now. When I was in Ikea the other day I noticed they have their own enameled steel pot. It says that the materials are just steel and enamel and that there is no lead or cadmium added.
Do you think this is a safe alternative or is there more information that I need?
Question from Stacey
I am trying to find affordable, safe, comfortable dining chairs for my family. I see one company makes a slipcovered chair but the slipcover is made of polyester. The foam in the chair is polyurethane and polyester-wrapped. A customer service rep told me that this company does not add flame retardants to any furniture (Pottery Barn). The slipcovers are washable, which I would wash a couple times before first use. Would you say these chairs are just too toxic and not safe, or would they be okay?
Question from Lisa
Staub is on your list of safe products. But does include their ceramic stone ware rectangular baking dish here?
I read your post about enamel coating- it’s essentially glass sometime mixed with something else.
But this uses “porcelain enamel.” It’s my understanding enamel is as you describe glass based. Porcelain though is clay based. So what is “porcelain enamel.”? Does that meet your safe criteria?
To make it more confusing it’s called “stoneware.” Does that give you an idea what the enamel is coating exactly?