Submitted questions will be posted with my response by the following Tuesday or before.
Submitted comments will be moderated and approved within 24 hours.
Mobile phone usage has become an integral part of our lives. However, the effects of the radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by these devices on biological systems and specifically the reproductive systems are currently under active debate. A fundamental hindrance to the current debate is that there is no clear mechanism of how such non-ionising radiation influences biological systems. Therefore, we explored the documented impacts of RF-EMR on the male reproductive system and considered any common observations that could provide insights on a potential mechanism.
Among a total of 27 studies investigating the effects of RF-EMR on the male reproductive system, negative consequences of exposure were reported in 21. Within these 21 studies, 11 of the 15 that investigated sperm motility reported significant declines, 7 of 7 that measured the production of reactive oxygen species documented elevated levels and 4 of 5 studies that probed for DNA damage highlighted increased damage, due to RF-EMR exposure. Associated with this, RF-EMR treatment reduced antioxidant levels in 6 of 6 studies that studied this phenomenon, while consequences of RF-EMR were successfully ameliorated with the supplementation of antioxidants in all 3 studies that carried out these experiments.
In light of this, we envisage a two-step mechanism whereby RF-EMR is able to induce mitochondrial dysfunction leading to elevated ROS production.
A continued focus on research which aims to shed light on the biological effects of RF-EMR will allow us to test and assess this proposed mechanism in a variety of cell types.
Question from Jody
Do you know of any health concerns related to infrared heaters? I am considering installing this:
Thank you. Jody
This looks fine to me as a heater.
However, the “air filter” is only a UV lamp and negative ion generator. This removes some particles and no gasses, but does kill bacteria and viruses and other micro-organisms.
The same caveat applies to this heater as to all others: the paint may emit odors when the heater is on until the paint is fully outgassed. But when outgassed, this heater should be fine.
Question from Bonnie
I had wanted to buy a new 2016 car until I smelled the chemicals. I was shown a 3 year old prior leased car as I would still have warranty and thought I detected new car smell, but less. When my friend was talking with the salesperson I decided to find where the 2016 odor was coming from – It is from the AC vent!
I can not put charcoal pads on that. I saw you mentioned a filter – does it sit in the car with me or does it get installed into the car?
I would rather have a very old car, but I am concerned financially I may not be able to cover repair costs.
How well does the filter work? What year car do you think is safe from offgasing.
Do you think some models are more safe than others? Foreign cars can last many decades – so I rather take an old car.
I checked some and the seats are squashed, but a friend said a upholstery shop could replace them.
Would like to give a big thank you for the suggestion you gave me many years ago about the sleep number bed. The odor is not detectable with the charcoal blankets. It was the only bed I could use due to a medical problem. THANK YOU.
You are very welcome.
The filter I have used in the past is from E.L. Foust It’s 160AN Auto/RV Air Purifier. It plugs into your cigarette lighter and sits on the floor on the passenger side. I found it to work very well. You plug it in and turn it on.
I try to purchase cars that are at least five years old. I manage to find used cars with low miles.
The car I currently have was only two years old when I bought it. It still smells like a new car. Mostly I drive it with the sunroof open so the fumes can escape.
Yes foreign cars last longer than American cars. Larry just bought an old Prius. They can last more than 200,000 miles.
Right now the choices seem to be 1) old and outgassed 2) use an air filter 3). Reupholster.
If you think the smell is coming from the AC, use the air filter.
Question from Melanie
I hate vinyl, but need a thin pad to go under my dining room tablecloth.
I have searched the Internet thinking I could find latex or rubber padding but was not successful. Thoughts?
There has got to be something less toxic than vinyl…
Thanks so much, Melanie
First, for those who don’t know why you might need a dining table pad…
If you have a nice wood dining table, it can be damaged by heat, scratches, and spills. A pad can protect the surface of your table from these accidents.
This is good for the table, but may not be so good for health.
The industry standard is to use vinyl and other possibly toxic materials and adhesives to make these pads.
There seem to be two types:
* solid, about 11/2” thick
* flexible, like a table cloth with thin padding.
The industry standard is to use vinyl and other possibly toxic materials and adhesives for both,
So the challenge here is to come up with some type of padding that will protect the table. I’m thinking if we can find a nontoxic foam in a thin layer, that should do it. And then put a tablecloth on top.
I actually did find something I think will work, but haven’t tested it.
There’s a website called Foam Order that sells thin sheets of foam made from EVA or polyethylene. Either of these would be fine to use. I don’t know if these are waterproof, however you can get it as thin as 1/8”. Call them and ask if this would meet your needs and let us know.
If it’s not waterproof, you could add a waterproof layer of something else. But this would give you the padding.
Readers, any suggestions?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally told manufacturers they can no longer put triclosan in consumer soaps.
The FDA says antibacterial do little or nothing to make soap work any better and the industry has failed to prove they are safe.
Manufacturers have one year to comply.
Triclosan is still allowed as an antibacterial in other consumer products.
Listen to these shows on Toxic Free Talk Radio about antibacterials:
An interesting article entered my email inbox the other day from the environmental blog Treehugger.
It was about the change that’s occurring in the way people buy soap.
Bar soap sales are declining and liquid soap sales are gaining.
I was sorry to read this. From a toxics viewpoint, soap is one of the few products that can be very pure.
I love to buy soap from a local soap maker who doesn’t even put a wrapper on the soap. They just stamp the information right into each bar. Whenever I drive in that direction, I stop and buy a few bars.
One of my pleasures in life is buying all different kinds of handmade soaps at various craft fairs and trying them out.
But I can understand about soap in a bottle.
Reading about this, I took a conscious look at whether I was using bar or bottle soap. I hadn’t really thought about it.
What I observed was that I use bar soap in the shower and bathroom sink, and liquid soap in the kitchen.
For me, the issue is soap melting all over the soap dish. In the kitchen I often need to wash my hands because I have been cutting up chicken, and I don’t want to put bacteria on the soap. A squeeze of foaming soap from the bottle seems to be much more sanitary in that regard.
But it makes sense to stick with bar soap. We certainly don’t need yet another plastic bottle.
What do you think about this?
There have been so many questions about finding affordable sofas I thought I would make a separate post to answer this question.
First, there are no ready-made affordable sofas that I would call toxic-free.
All the ready-made sofas cost thousands of dollars.
But there are some things you can do. [I’ve mentioned these before in other places, but am gathering them all together in one place for you.]
My first nontoxic sofa was a sectional sofa where the pieces were made with cotton canvas over metal frames, with toxic pillows on top. I just replaced the toxic pillows with 100% cotton pillows stuffed with some of the first organic cotton batting that was available. It was a great sofa and I wish someone would make this type of frame now.
Here are three strategies I know of. Please comment if you know of any others.
My current sofa started as an old frame, which I stripped and had reupholstered. I bought the sofa frame at a storage auction for $50. The upholsterer said it had “nice bones.” It’s a beautiful, old, solid wood frame.
I chose a 100% linen upholstery fabric in a plaid to honor my Scottish heritage. The cushions are old spring cushions covered with wool batting.
All in all the total cost was about $1500. That was maybe 20 years ago. It’s held up very well, It still looks the same as it did 20 years ago. No wear and tear.
FILL A FRAME
Ever since futons became popular in the 1980s, there have been wood frames available to turn those futons into sofas. Today they are also available made of metal. And you can fill them with any kind of cushions you can imagine.
Wood frames for futons come in two designs: clamshell (sofa only) or bi-fold (which converts into a platform bed).
Here are some sofa frames from White Lotus Home made out of sold wood with water-based glues and nontoxic finishes. But there are many more online. Just search on “futon frame for sofa.” Even places like overstock and wayfarer have them for only a few hundred dollars (be sure to check materials before buying).
There are many more frames online—I just checked. Search on “sofa plans” and other similar terms.
Some frames come complete with pillows you probably don’t want, but other frames you can purchase separately (and you can always toss the pillows if necessary and replace them with natural ones.
Doesn’t say what pillows are but I assume they are synthetic. I would replace the cushions and pillows.
Wow. Just exploring futon frames for just a few minutes showed me there are MANY more inexpensive sofas in this category than ever before, but you’ll need to provide your own cushions.
BUILD YOUR OWN
And it turns out nowadays you can even get plans for making your own sofa.
DIY may be the way to go if you are handy or can enlist help (I am fortunate that Larry is always willing and able to repair or build anything I want). You could also get the plans and materials and hiring someone to put it together and it would still be affordable. And you could modify the plans to get exactly the sofa you want.
Here are some plans sent by a reader. There may be more:
Here’s a massive Use this for ideas and plans, but substitute your own toxic-free materials.
Please comment with your ideas, questions, and photos of affordable sofas (if you have one) and even a natural sofa that’s not affordable (if you have one).
Question from Katherine
I’m confused about PET and PETE. Are they the same thing or different?
PET and PETE are both acronyms for polyethylene terephthalate.
Polyethylene terephthalate is a clear, tough plastic in the polyester
family. It is made from only two chemicals that are tightly bonded together.
PET has been approved as safe by the FDA and the International Life Sciences Institute
(ILSI). In 1994, ILSI stated that “PET polymer has a long history of safe consumer use,
which is supported by human experience and numerous toxicity studies.”
There is one important thing to know about polyethylene terephthalate.
Because it has “phthalate” in its name, some people think PET contains toxic “phthalates.” This is not correct.
The toxic “phthalates” that leach out of plastics are “orthophthalates,” which is a completely different type of chemical than “terephthalate.”
I also researched to see if there was any outgassing from PET into the air. NASA has a website (outgassing.nasa.gov) where you can look up all kinds of materials they have assessed for outgassing because they need to choose materials for spaceships that do not outgas. They found that PET needed zero curing time to be used in a spaceship.
There have been some questions about what type of colorant is use to make brightly-colored silicone products.
I’m in the process of reading a book called Advances in Polymer Coated Textiles=which states that coloring agents for silicone coatings need to be chosen carefully because organic pigments are not suitable for high-temperature uses. [Organic pigments are carbon based and can be natural or synthetic. Synthetic organic pigments are made from petroleum.]
Therefore inorganic pigments such as iron oxides and titanium dioxides are used.
I’m thinking this would hold true for silicone kitchenware as well.
I also found a study that measured color leaching from silicone: EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF DENTISTRY: Color Stability of Silicone or Acrylic Denture Liners: An in Vitro Investigation. Their tests show the silicone dental liners showed far less change in color than the acrylic liners.