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 Irina
Hi there! I’m shopping for a new fridge, and I’m looking at the descriptions, ALL of them so far have prop 65 warning, which I’m not happy with, plus some of them smell terrible, like a toxic factory inside when I checked some out at stores.
Are there any refrigerators that are made with non toxic materials at all? Without the prop 65? Please share anything you know about this. Thank you.
Brenda: this site may have some suggestions. A Non-Toxic Kitchen
Leidy: I got a French door LG this past summer. The electrical readings are very very low (bought on advice of an EMF engineer guy) and there is no wifi feature. I am somewhat sensitive to smells and offgassing and I got zero smells coming from outside or in the fridge. It probably does have a prior 65 warning though. Most things do….but I think sometimes it is not fully in context?
Irina: Thank you for sharing your experience! I went with an LG French doors, no water dispenser (I hate those things filled with mold) and it was one of the better smelling ones. I was told that all of them have prop 65 warning.
Debra Lynn Dadd: One of the problems with the Prop 65 warning is there could be a tiny piece inside where you are not exposed to it and it’s not outgassing because the toxic substance is a particle and they still have to out the warning. But the bigger problem is the amount of plastics used in the interior that are outgassing. Here are a number of posts about choosing refrigerators from my Q&A, including How I Found My New Refrigerator.
Irina: Thank you! Thankfully, the one I ordered was the only one left so it’ll be a floor model it thankfully already did not have the smell at the store, I was super happy about that.
Alberto: my wife suffers from MCS pretty bad. We just went through a total kitchen renovation. We purchased Electrolux. I am familiar with most kitchen appliances as I am a Chef by trade. We’ve had it for several months now and without incidents, a great product.
Larry: Prop 65 was developed by ANTI-environmentalists. The original idea was sound: Call out bad stuff in the marketplace to protect consumers. What happened instead was a law that states that ANY published study ie real, not real, double blind or on the neighbors kids and duplicated or NEVER duplicated that indicates a precancerous condition for any ingredient has to be listed. So they get to use questionable (non) science to call out nearly every molecule in existence as a way to make the law unworkable and generally ignored (as it should be in its current form). Please do not use Prop 65 as a guide to anything. It is misleading. Instead use that magic sensor we evolved to protect ourselves…your nose! Best to All
Irina: I am aware of the flaws with the prop 65 yet in combo with the offgassing odors fr the fridges which are by the way worse than ever! It made me triple concerned. I’m just so glad that there’s a group like this with people who are like minded and knowle…
Debra Lynn Dadd: Thanks Larry. I totally agree and didn’t know this background. Now I understand why it’s so unworkable. As a resident of the State of California I vote they just abolish it!
Irina: So our new fridge has been here for a couple of nights and I have to say I’m in love with it! No off-gassing at all and no reactions of any kind! The only parts that smelled a bit were all removable cheaper plastic/vinyl shelving, which we removed and placed outside and they aired out in a few hours we cleaned everything with my vinegar and essential oil mix and there was no toxic smell left. Thanks everyone for sharing your experience and recommendations!!! I really appreciate this knowledgeable group.
I have used many ECOS paint and varnish products, but I’ve never used their “air purifying” products, and I just had a thought about them. They have trade-secret “inert minerals” that “trap” various harmful toxins and “transform each wall in your home into a massive indoor air filter.” This sounds good until you realize that this means THE HARMFUL TOXINS NEVER LEAVE. I wondered what group members think about this, and if anyone has used these products.
Since I can’t write a lengthy response on Facebook that includes multiple images and links, I thought I would respond here and link there.
This is actually a very good question.
I read everything on the webpage and then called ECOS and spoke with Julian Crawford, CEO of the company that is the US Distributor of Ecos Paints. I interviewed him in 2014 when I was doing Toxic Free Talk Radio (listen to our interview here)
Julian answered all of my questions and explained very clearly that the paint TRAPS the chemicals and then HOLDS them on the walls, thereby removing them from floating freely in the air where you can inhale them. The chemicals DO NOT release back into the room.
The web page says “VOC-neutralizing.” To me that means make something that was previously toxic becomes neutral. To ECOS this means that the room becomes neutral of toxic chemicals.
They consider applying this paint turns your room into a giant air filter. And it does, to a degree. It passively and silently is removing chemicals 24 hours a day to the capacity of the paint to hold the chemicals. How long it takes for the paint to reach capacity depends on how much VOCs are in the room. I have always been an advocate of removing chemical exposures as the first choice, but I also know there are times when it’s not possible to remove. A paint like this just might be perfect for a rented apartment, for example, where neighbors are sending toxic VOCs your way. But I would also have on hand a dedicated air filtration unit that removes both particles and VOCs to turn on when you need it.
Here are the reductions in chemicals present in the air of a room following the application of this paint (to read more, Click on tab “Data Sheets” then “APP Performance Test”.
I also noticed that ECOS is participating in the “Declare” program of the International Living Future Institute.
Below is the ECOS Declare statement that lists all the materials that are used in this paint. I’ve rewritten the ingredients along side because I find this format difficult to read.
Binder: Oleic Acid, Sulfonated, Potassium Salt
Extender Pigment: Titanium Dioxide, Kaolin Clay (Calcinated), Hectorite
Thickener: Calcium Carbonate, Xanthan Gum
Absorbant: Zeolite, Rheology
Modifier: Hydroxethyl Alcohol Cellulose, Polyoxyethylene Trimethyldecyl Alcohol
Dispersant: Ammonium Polyacrylate, Polyacrylic Acid
Preservative: 1-Hydroxy-2(1h)-Pyridinethione, Sodium Salt
Defoamer: Paraffin Oil
Antimicrobial Adhesion: Vanillin
This is an interesting list of ingredients. Ecos does not claim their paints are “natural,” they claim their paints are “odorless.” Julian sent me a box of samples of all their different types of paints and finishes before our interview in 2014 and they certainly were odorless. But if you have a personal need to eliminate petroleum, this isn’t your paint.
It’s interesting to me that on one hand there are petroleum ingredients and on the other hand there are edible food ingredients such as sodium and potassium salts, xanthin gum, and zeolite.
In addition to air purifying paint, ECOS also has
- Air Purifying Primer
- Air Purifying Varnish
- Anti-Formaldehyde Paint
- Anti-Formaldehyde Radiator Paint
See them all at ECOS Air Purifying Products.
Question from JC
Thanks for all your efforts to keep everyone safe and healthy!
I was wondering about using the Seventh Generation Disinfecting Spray (lavendar scent) on my son’s mattress where he was sick recently.
His skin would not come into contact with it directly and it dries quickly, but I wanted to double check with someone more knowledgeable regarding its safety!
Thymol (present as a component of Thyme Oil): 0.05%.
- sodium lauryl sulfate
- copper sulfate pentahydrate (bluestone)
- citric acid
- sodium citrate
- essential oils fragrance††
Compressed air (propellant).
- Coriandrum sativum (coriander) fruit oil
- cymbopogon martini (palmarosa) oil
- eucalyptus globulus leaf oil
- lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil
- lavandula hybrida (lavandin) oil
- mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil
- pelargonium graveolens (geranium) extract
- pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil
- vanilla planifolia flower extract
†† Linalool is a component of this fragrance
OK so first, let’s note that the active ingredient is Thyme Oil. That’s what is doing the disinfecting. Just search on “thyme oil” and you’ll find many articles on it’s effectiveness as a disinfectant. So you could simply buy thyme oil and spray it on his bed and it would be like using the herb in food, but stronger. And there are other essential oils that could be used for disinfecting as well.
But back to the product you want to use.
I don’t see any ingredients that are particularly toxic here, they are just unnecessary to do the disinfecting.
I’m not sure about how they have worded the fragrance ingredients. There seems to be an “essential oil fragrance” that contain Linalool along with other essential oils. And then they list some other essential oils. So I’m not really sure about all this fragrance. And linalool might cause skin rashes but…
I don’t have a toxic reason to tell you not to use this product,
My only reasoning is simpler is always better.
Here’s another interesting post I came across while researching this:
KITCHEN STEWARDSHIP: EPA Says Natural Disinfectant as Effective ass Bleach
Question from Jason
I was wondering is clothing with recycled nylon in it such as Tracksuits,outwear jackets &etc are they safe to wear? Reason i ask is i am intrested in buying this Rain jacket https://www.patagonia.com/product/mens-torrentshell-rain-jacket/83802.html.
Nylon is made from petroleum but it not a major chemical of concern. So I wouldn’t call this fabric “toxic” but it may not be suitable for some people sensitive to petroleum.
My greater concern for a product such as this is waterproofing. Patagonia is a very conscious and responsible company that is working hard to eliminate toxics in an industry where waterproofing has historically been very toxic.
The description says they use ” H2No® Performance Standard ”
You can go to this page to see all their materials and this page to see H2No® Performance Standard specifically. It has a lot of data about how they test for waterproofness but doesn’t say anything about the chemicals, nor does it claim to not be toxic,
I think I’ll give Patagonia a call and see how far I can get with them about full disclosure or materials.
I’ll report back next week.
For now, recycled nylon OK, waterproofing UNKNOWN.
UPDATE 12 March 2019
As promised above, I did call Patagonia customer service at 800) 638-6464.
I have not recommended Patagonia clothing in the past because of their use of toxic waterproofing. While Patagonia has taken many steps to improve the environmental impacts of their products, human health does not seem to be as much a priority.
If you do want to purchases a Patagonia product, please call customer service and find out what type of waterproofing is used on the product, which is NOT clearly disclosed even on website descriptions.
So this particular jacket description says that it has a DWR (durable water repellant) finish. Sounds like it will keep you nice and dry, but what they don’t tell you is that DWR waterepellants are made from fluorinated chemicals (think Teflon).
I went to their Durable Water Repellant page . It says, “Patagonia has long relied on a DWR with perfluorinated compound (PFC) but we have been searching diligently for an alternative because of its harmful environmental impacts.” No mention of health effects to their customers.
Then later on the page they say “And for the Fall 2019 season, we are pleased to introduce our first products that use PFC-free chemistries.”
Customer service told me the above statement applies to only a few products, and this jacket in question is NOT one of them. So it has PFC waterproofing.
READ MORE ABOUT PERFLUORINATED CHEMICALS (PFCs) ON ZERO TOXICS KNOWLEDGE BASE.
Question from Andie
So grateful for you and loving your new website! Congrats!
My question: we desperately need a new oven and don’t know what to do!
Is it safer for us to purchase a floor model, that’s been sitting in an open room for a time? Or will it still outgas when it’s home and used for the first time(s)?
Really do not know what to do about ovens and this issue. Thank you!
I wish I could just tell you to go purchase a certain brand but haven’t found one yet that has been designed to be toxic-free. This is one of those items where I need to educate the industry. That’s part of why I’m establishing my Zero Toxics website.
The last time I purchased a stove, I purchased a floor model at Lowe’s. And it was fine.
The last time I purchased a refrigerator was at a Sears Appliance Outlet. Just type that into your favorite search engine and your local outlet will come up. Also try Sears Scratch and Dent Appliances.
These appliances have been returned or refurbished or scratched during shipping. They all work just fine but have minor imperfections. I bought my last washer/dryer at a Sear Appliance Outlet store too.
So that would be the first place I would go.
Question from LM
I buy organic produce but I still feel like I have to wash it. Are the “non-toxic” fruit and vegetable washes safe? I’m reading the ingredients for a popular one by ECOS that sells at my local food co-op and the ingredients are:
- Alcohol Denatured. (corn-derived solvent)\
- Decyl Glucoside (plant-powered surfactant)
- Potassium Sorbate (food grade preservative)
- Citric Acid (plant-powered pH adjuster)
Comments? Thanks Debra!
I can’t make a case for this product being “toxic.” It certainly doesn’t contain any of the major chemicals of concern. So in that sense I would have to call it toxic-free.
But here’s my concern. It’s basically an industrial product made from industrial ingredients. Yes the source material for these ingredients are plants, and they appear to be organic (at least there is an organic logo on the label, though nothing says “organic” in the ingredients list.
So these plants are put into a factory and broken down in some way into industrial ingredients that are then combined in a factory into a wash that you are going to push on your organic vegetables and fruits.
Just look at this for a moment. You’ve purchase organic produce. Now you are going to clean it with industrial ingredients. The first ingredient is water. Hmmmm. What kind of water. Probably tap water. If you are buying organic produce you probably are using filtered water. We don’t know what their water is. They are not telling us.
Is this really a necessary product? What is it that you want to remove from your organic produce with this product?
I just rinse my organic produce with filtered water. I’ve never used produce washes and don’t find them necessary.
I just found a very long list of certified biobasaed fruit and vegetable washes.
If this is a product you are interested in, this list would be a good place to compare what percentage of their ingredients are not petroleum.
Question from Catherine
This product says “The World’s First Total Air Solution. Detect pollutants then clean them right up.
What do you think of it?
I’ve been studying and reviewing air filters for forty years and I just want to say that this is an interesting piece of marketing but it won’t clean your air.
It’s a Kickstarter campaign, not for sale yet.
There just is not enough carbon in this filter to remove much of anything. It might work well enough for a day or a week but if you really need to remove pollutants, this is not a dedicated air filter.
Please consider the EnviroKlenz Mobile which uses more advanced technology that actually breaks apart toxic chemical molecules, and has enough filter media for enough contact time to make a difference.
Question from Colleen
Does anyone have experience with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and having a dental implant, root canal or excision and bridge put in. These are my 3 choices. Any thoughts or suggestions? What procedure did you choose, why, pros, cons,did you have the procedure in the oral surgeons office, any complications during or after the procedure, complications of the root canal, implant or bridge?
Thank you for all your help.
Readers? What is your experience?
Since it’s Valentine’s Day this week, I thought I would offer you the giveaway as a Valentine’s gift.
I hadn’t read it since then, but I loved reading it just now. It warmed my heart and I want to share it with you.
Here is an excerpt from the ebook.
What Self-Love Means to Me
I want to tell you a story about something that laid the foundation for me about what love is. It happened many years ago, in 1985, when I was 29 years old. It was one year after my first book about toxics in consumer products was published—actually it was the first book about consumer products ever published.
Now I have to correct this story. I told it one way in the Self Love Revolution Summit interview, but as I am working on this giveaway, I am realizing some of the detailed were incorrect in my memory that day.
I was living in San Francisco at the time, not Marin County, and I decided to go for a drive. Some days, you know, you just feel like you just have to take the day off. And I got into my sporty little Volkswagon GTI and I just started driving.
I drove north over the Golden Gate Bridge and just started driving the backroads up into Sonoma County where they all have the vineyards, and I ended up in a little bookstore. As I was looking at books in the bookstore, a book fell off the shelf into my hand. It fell off the shelf into my hand, honestly.
I just want to share a little portion of the book to you because it touched my heart. And here it is:
When we love something, it is of value to us. And when something is a value to us, we spend time with it, time enjoying it and time taking care of it.”
Observe a teenager in love with his car and note the time he would spend admiring it, polishing it, repairing it, tuning it. Or an older person with a beloved rose garden and the time spent pruning and mulching and fertilizing and studying it.”
When we love, our love becomes demonstrable or real only through our exertion, through the fact that for that loved one, we take an extra step or walk an extra mile.”
Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.
I have probably read this a hundred times in my life. I always come back to this. The book is still available. It’s such a beloved book. It’s a classic book.
I had never heard anything like this before. I always thought love was romantic. It’s what you see in the movies and it happens between a man and a woman or a mother and a child or something. But this was such a universal definition that it’s like . . . when you really love, when you truly, deeply love, it sparks you to want to care for that which you love.
And so if you don’t love yourself, you won’t take care of yourself. It’s really love that is the motivating thing within you that makes you want to be the best that you can be, to make you want to take care of your body, to make you want to do all those self-exploration things, to find out who you are and how you can be a better person. It comes from love. And we all have that. And so health comes from loving yourself and taking care of yourself is the result.
You feel better and then you get reinforced and you want to continue to do the actions once you start taking them.
It turns out that love has many health benefits, including:
* longer life
* fewer colds & flu
* better blood pressure
* healthier eating habits
* better stress management
* less depression
* less pain
* faster healing
Here are some articles with more information on love and health:
New Survey Asks California Women About Consumer Product Use to Determine Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
A new study is looking to survey about six hundred women across California about their use of consumer products “to better learn the types of products women use, how often women use them, and how women choose the products they use. This information will help us understand exposures to chemicals in consumer products.
Responses will be used to help the State of California learn how to protect people’s health.
I just took it myself. Just taking the survey actually made me more aware of what I use and don’t use. They also ask question about things like what you look for in making your product choices, which gives you an opportunity to look at that too. They included “scent” as a reason you would purchase but not “unscented.” I typed in unscented because I think they will consider “scent” to mean because you want scent, not scent/unscented as an issue. Ah later they ask if the personal care products you use are scented, fragrance-free, or not sure.
They also ask where you purchase your products (natural food store wasn’t included but there was a space where I could type it in).
Doing this survey really showed me how few products I actually use and also showed me how many products-of-concern there are.