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Submitted questions will be posted with my response by the following Tuesday or before.
Submitted comments will be moderated and approved within 24 hours.

Soundproofing Materials

Question from Min

Hi again, Debra! We did have another question as well:

Do you or any of your readers know of soundproofing materials for walls that would be safe for the chemically-sensitive? If so, where can these materials be purchased?

Debra’s Answer

Remember, there is a search box for this blog at SEARCH box. Type in “soundproofing” and you’ll get Nontoxic Soundproofing.

I would love any further ideas you all have on this subject.

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How to minimize risk from swimming in chlorinated pool.

Question from Water Baby


After many years of staying out of chlorinated pools due to MCS I have returned to swimming. I live in New England where winter exercising is limited for me due to arthritis and the benefits of swimming are enormous for me.

I am concerned about how to protect myself from the harmful effects of chlorine. Currently I take a soapy shower followed by a sauna to sweat out any chlorine I might absorb. I swim and do exercises in the cooler lap pool and avoid the warmer exercise pool since I believe chlorine is absorbed more through heat. I am not noticing any immediate symptoms from the pool except that the achiness in my hands has increased. Could that be chlorine induced? My doctor says probably it is more temperature related.

My dream is to build my own nonchlorinated pool, but until then I want to keep swimming.

Any thoughts about purging chlorine further and its possible delayed effects? I have heard that Vit C filters out chlorine in shower water; could it counteract the effects internally? Any other supplements that bind chlorine i.e NDF [nanocolloidal detox factors–a heavy metal detox]?

Water Baby in Massachusetts

Debra’s Answer

These are good questions.

You are already doing everything I know to recommend, but perhaps my readers have some ideas.


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Cedar Dock

Question from Kim

Hi Debra,

We love your site; thank you for this wonderful reference.

Our family needs to make a decision on a new dock. I prefer cedar for many reasons but worry about health and environmental issues with what to treat/weather proof it with AND if we can get wood that is not chemically treated in the first place.

Does anyone out there know of any green marine suppliers?

Thank you!!

Debra’s Answer

There are some water-based DECK finishes that I gave in Q&A: Water-based Deck Finish, but I don’t know if these would stand up to the constant water exposure of a dock. You might contact these manufacturers and see what they suggest.

Readers, does anyone have any experience with this?

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Crisco replacement

Question from Gloria

Hi Debra,

Could you tell me what to use instead of Crisco in baking, and how much to use? I really enjoy your newsletter and all the hard work you put into it.

Debra’s Answer

Well, you could use organic butter for sure, but if you want a shortening product like Crisco, try Spectrum Shortening, made from organic palm oil. I think you could also use coconut oil (professional bakers used to use coconut oil). All of these fats “firm up” like Crisco.

You would just use the same amount of these as you would Crisco in your recipe.

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Question from jkw

Because I’m extremely chemcially sensitive, I’m looking for very good and very bad experiences, as well as brand names, regarding reactions to new flooring with 1) cork flooring and 2) laminate flooring.

Debra’s Answer

OK, readers. What do you recommend?

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Car air purifiers

Question from Denise Arias


I need an air purifier for the car. Can you recommend a certain brand?


Debra’s Answer

Many years ago I had an air filter in my car. I used the auto air filter from E. L. Foust Company and I was very happy with it.

Readers, do you have experience you’d like to share with any others?

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Vinyl windows question

Question from Carol

Hi Debra,

I have chemical sensitivities and two years and three months ago I had to move after new vinyl double pane windows were put in all the windows in all the apartments in the building I was living in. I moved out during the installation period, when the smell was incredibly terrible. I tried moving back over a course of I think it was almost two months. Both times I became horribly sick on the second night back home. (Flu symptoms and vomiting.) So I moved out but now have an opportunity to move back. The apartment I am living in currently has vinyl windows so I know I can handle older vinyl. I am wondering if there might still be a risk after this period of two years and three months.

Thank you.

Debra’s Answer

The older vinyl is, the less it releases toxic fumes, for they already have been released . For an average healthy person, two years and three months is probably fine. Since you are so sensitive and have been sensitive to vinyl, I would test out being there for a day or two before committing to living there.

Personally, I wouldn’t live in a home with vinyl windows.

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Awesome Popcorn popper!!!

Question from Christine

If you are searching for a fun healthy popcorn popper, you may want to try BACK TO BASICs stove top popper. There are different styles. Look for the one that is stainless steel. It was so fun to use the first time, my daughter was jumping up and down in excitement. It can be used on most any stove top surface and works great on my ceran stovetop. We just crank the handle as popcorn is heated in the pot . We bought ours at target for about $30. May I also suggest trying organic all vegetable shortening ( palm oil) made by Spectrum to use with the popper…yumMMM!



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Have your hater tested for this….nitrates!

Question from Christine

Unfortunately, I learned a little too late about a potential health hazard that is not often in the limelight. Please have your water tested for nitrates. This test is usually not included on regular well testing. It is especially important if you live around any agricultural areas, as nitrates often come from the decomposition of manure. For my family, it produced numerable digestive complaints, along with bluing around the lips for my young children. Nitrates can also cause blue baby syndrome, and is especially dangerous for children under a year old. Nitrates CANNOT be filtered completely out of water unless it is distilled. To lower the level of nitrates , one can use a reverse osmosis or special ionizer.The level of nitrates are also INCREASED with heating and boiling the water.

Wishing you all well,, Christine

Debra’s Answer

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Jacuzzi Cleaner?

Question from Patricia

You have been and continue to be a life saver for me and so many other people. Thank you so much for all your kind work.

I am chemically sensitive and I have a Jacuzzi where I take a whirlpool bath each night to help me with chronic back pain. I have not been able to find a non-toxic product to do heavy cleaning of the jets and circulation system.

Do you know of any products I may be able to use or where I might do research to help me find a useable product? My husband, lucky me, does all the cleaning so I wouldn’t have to do cleaning but I find it difficult to be in the steam of a hot bath where toxic products have been used. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again.

Debra’s Answer

Don’t have a jacuzzi, so don’t have any experience with this. Readers?

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