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 Ted
My daughter just bought a house and she was questioning the dura- flame logs versus natural wood. Which is more toxic.? They have a four-month-old baby and she’s concerned about the toxicity.
This past summer I wrote a post about PFAS chemicals in farm produce. The source of the chemicals was from ground water that had been contaminated from firefighter foam used primarily on military bases. At the time, the contaminated ground water seemed relatively contained to areas in close proximity to military bases. Now, EWG has updated their database and it shows PFAS contamination of tap water in almost 1400 sites in 49 states. This is impacting up to 110 million Americans.
As a resident of New Jersey, I was shocked to learn that over 500 water sources in my state are contaminated. I went back onto the updated EWG interactive map and found that, sure enough, my town is one of those sites. While there is no federal standard for PFAS chemicals in drinking water, studies estimate the safe level at 1ppt (part per trillion). My town has 8 times that amount and one site in New Jersey exceeds that amount by more than 200,000.
According to EWG, even very low doses of PFAS chemicals in drinking water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, liver and thyroid disease, and other health problems.
What You Can Do
- Find your municipality on the EWG PFAS Contamination Map to see if your water supply in impacted. You can also check to see if there are other contaminants in your tap water.
- Contact your local government to ask questions and demand answers. Learn more here.
- If you don’t already have a water filter, invest in one that filters out the specific contaminants found in your local water. I believe the best water filter on the market is PureEffect, which removes a broad range of toxic pollutants, adjusts the quality of the water, and is made with non-toxic materials. PureEffect has recently discontinued its whole-house filter but you can meet most of your needs with their Undercounter or Countertop model and their shower filters for a lot less money than the whole-house system. For those of you still interested in a whole-house system I will be looking into other options now that PureEffect does not offer one.
- If a comprehensive system like PureEffect is not affordable, purchase a carbon-filter pitcher. While they do not remove a full range of pollutants, some do filter out PFAS chemicals.
After the holidays, I will contact my local government to find out what they plan to do to address the contamination of our water supply. I will keep you posted on my progress. Please share your stories if you find successful ways to encourage local authorities to take action.
Versatile Almond Cookie Recipe Will Let you Make Almost Any Holiday Cookie You Love Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, and Dairy-Free
I know many of you reading this have enjoyed my holiday cookies recipes in the past in my food blogs.
This year I don’t have a food blog, but I will be launching a new food blog in January. It’s called Wholefood Cuisine, and all the recipes will be made with whole foods, like this almond cookie recipe. If you want to be notified when it goes live, you can subscribe here to the Wholefood Cuisine newsletter list.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the almond butter in a bowl and mix with a fork or mixer to soften. (If you opened the jar and the almond butter had separated, mix the oil back together with the butter and then measure.)
- Add the almond flour, sweetener, and extracts and mix thoroughly.
- Place parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on a baking sheet. If you want, you can roll this dough between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick and cut with decorative cookie cutters. Or, you can just put all the dough on the baking sheet, pat it down to about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick and then cut squares with a dull table knife. Or roll into balls and make thumbprint cookies. Either way, take the cut pieces and spread them out across the baking sheet, about 1/2″ apart. They WILL spread.
- Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and set. Cookies will crisp as they cool.
- Allow cookies to cool and store in an airtight container.
For crisper, harder cookies, bake them longer at a lower temperature.
Question from Sandi
I can’t find a radiant heater that doesn’t smell& also have small duraflame which only supposed to smell at first but I still smell have sinus issues & allergies bad headaches t,nausea wondering if from fumes & if toxic?I need heat for bedroom. I’ve googled and called companies with no good answers,all say fumes will go away ,keep looking & when find rated good one,it will have proposition 65Thanks
Question from Stacey
I am trying to find safe/safer, affordable furniture. I see one popular store (Crate and Barrel) makes a sofa that has “soy-based polyfoam” cushions, “wrapped in fiber-down blend and recycled fiber, encased in downproof ticking.” There are also springs in the sofa.
What do you think about this sofa? Is it better than most or would you completely avoid it?
Question from Eugenia
bot in thrift store.
65% new wool
35% reprocessed wool
looks in good condition – cant judge age of blanket – has one small tear on an edge.
I want to cut it up for mini blankets to put in Catio (indoor/outdoor) cat beds for extra warmth this winter .
Should I wash it first (& with what?) or might it be safe for cats as is?
My research does show blankets can be washed with Woolite and rinsed with white vinegar.
But nowhere does it say it might be a problem for warm cat or dog beds. Also my daughter buys wool sweaters etc at thrift stores for catsbeds for the Hobo cats shelters and her indoor cats too. (She lives in cold mountain area.) We always washed first.
Question from Reenie
My niece wants to buy her mom new cake baking pans. She wants to buy some sort of coated copper bakewear. Is there some writeup in Q & A that you could point me to that reviews best green bake ware. Thank you!
Question from Judy
Are silicone bakeware products safe for cooking/heating food or liquids?
Question from Kristen
We have lived in our home for 10 years. My daughter is now 18 and her health has steadily and drastically gone downhill over the same time period. She has been seen by every specialist you can think of but they’ve all been stumped. It recently occurred to me that maybe our house was the problem so I bought an air quality test on Amazon. The report came back that we have very elevated levels of VOCs, particularly those from flooring, coating and cabinets. We never open windows due to allergies, which now seems like a bad idea. I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to start to eliminate these VOCs as quickly as possible. I did buy a couple Vornado air purifiers to get started. Specific advice or steps to take would be most welcome. My poor daughter has missed all of high school (had to actually drop out) and most of the past 10 years. I’m pretty desperate to help her. Thank you.
Question from Shelley
I would like to get some Peppa Pig play sets for my granddaughter. I wrote to the company about materials, and this is the response I got:
“Thank you for contacting Jazwares LLC and for your interest in our products. All of our toys comply with CPSA standards as required by law. We also have the COC (Certificate of Compliance) Tests results posted on our website www.jazwares.com. You do have to have an item number to check the COC on that item. Having said that, I hope this helps and answers your questions.”
I’m not sure what this means, and I’d love your perspective on their toys. Thank you in advance.