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 Karen
Do you have any recommendations for fabric/material for truck seat covers? We need fabric or leather that does not off gas.
I recommend Two Sisters Ecotextiles. All of their products are free of harmful chemicals. You can contact them and find out if their upholstery fabric is durable enough for truck seats. Leather is very durable but can be processed with hundreds of chemicals. You can read more here about the chemicals in leather, natural leather, and sythetic leather. There are vegetable tanned leathers that aren’t as chemically intensive, but you would need to find out what chemicals are used in the specific leather you are considering.
It’s also worth noting that the cushioning under the fabric is probably a bigger exposure than the cover. The foam degrades over time and can release toxic dust. Unfortunately, the fabric will not mitigate the exposure. If you are re-covering your seats anyway, consider replacing the foam cushioning with natural latex.
Question from Shirley
Which toaster oven is safe to use?
I have not done a full evaluation of toaster ovens. It is challenging and time-consuming, and sometimes impossible, to accurately evaluate appliances because manufacturers are often unable or unwilling to disclose all of the materials used in their products.
Here is a link to one reader’s experience trying to find out more about the Proposition 65 warning label on the toaster oven box. She found that while the oven contained BPA and styrene, 2 chemicals that should be avoided, they were present in the plastic feet on the bottom of the toaster. While it would be better that they were not in the product at all, such small amounts in pieces not in contact with food, should not be a case for concern.
Question from Dee
Hi there I am really at a loss.
My baby is 10 months old and a couple of months ago for some reason I was looking at plastic and toxins and it’s heightened my anxiety. I am very scared about everything my baby has been exposed to and scared about his future.
I immediately changed to giving his food in glass bowls, he drinks out of glasses and I store his food in glass bowls. I bought Kilner (rayware) freezer glass containers and chop and cook and store all my baby’s different fruit, vegetables and lentils etc in there so they are stored over a month in the freezer usually and this allows me to give him homemade food.
I noticed black kilner writing on the base and I emailed them.
I received the below response:
“Thank you for contacting The Rayware group with your enquiry.
Whilst we are unable to advise all our products to be entirely lead/cadmium free I can advise that any trace would be to minimal and that all our products meet all European and UK standards for metal release.
I can also advise that any products that we supply directly to our stockist in America do not require a proposition 65 label”
My dilemma is do I go back to storing and using baby plastic bowls, cups and containers or not as I’m scared about the lead and cadmium.
I’m so confused and really unhappy as everything I try seems to be toxic so what do I do?
This has all made my anxiety worse and I’m feeling very down.
I would not recommend going back to plastic. Plastic has the potential to leach an array of harmful chemicals into food. It has been shown to leach under most conditions. You can read more about it here.
Most glassware purchased in the U.S. and EU is safe to use. You can read more about glassware here.
If you read the link above about glassware, you will find that there are some types of glass that it is best to avoid. Lead glass, or lead crystal, can contain high levels of lead that could leach into food or drink. Glass with decorations, such as painted rims, may have a high lead content from the decoration which could flake off and be consumed. Vintage glass could have been made before regulations to limit leachable lead levels were in place (in the U.S., the FDA started regulating leachable lead levels in 1971).
Question from Ruth
I have MCS. Would like to find a ‘safe’ oven liner. What is available from Amazon is a non-Teflon material which I don’t think would be good even though the company says it doesn’t have a smell.
What do you recommend? Might a silicone kitchen mat be a possibility if it tolerates temps up
to 500 degrees?
Thank you so much and keep sharing great information.
I did a quick search of oven liners and I would not recommend any of them. I do not use them myself.
It’s hard to say if silicone is safe for use as an oven liner. More research needs to be done on silicone and I plan to look into it further. There are different types of silicone and some can release formaldehyde when heated. You can read more about it here. Using silicone in the oven at low temperatures is probably okay but I would not recommend it for use over 350 degrees.
Question from Suzie
I’m looking to find out what waterproof mattress protectors are least toxic for my daughter’s bed.
I bought one from a reputable company made of organic cotton and what I assumed was a P.U.L. waterproof membrane. When I arrived it smelled that horrible toxic plastic way. It turns out the membrane is polyester. Would this give off a smell and is it toxic?
Another (cheaper) option I was looking at was an organic cotton with polyurethane laminated directly onto the back. Do you think this would be less toxic?
Any other options I could look into? Do you think I should return the one I have bought?
Polyester will offgas. Polyurethane is less toxic and a better option. I recommend this one from Naturepedic. Pure polyurethane is one of the least toxic plastics but some have additives that are not disclosed to consumers. Read more about the toxins in plastics here.
Naturepedic is GOTS certified and uses pure polyurethane.
Question from Kris
I need a chair where I put my legs up above my heart. I went through the furniture you have listed but unable to find any.
I am not aware of any lazyboy-type chair that is non-toxic. This type of chair is typically filled with polyurethane foam, which I do not recommend. You could look into having one custom made, but it would be quite expensive. Have you considered getting a solid wood footstool and using cushions to prop up your feet? You could use cushions filled with natural fill such as kapok, wool or cotton.
Question from Bonnie
Readers, any suggestions?
Question from Lindsey
Debra is an advocate of zeolite. You can read more about her thoughts on it here. It is not something I have personally used. We don’t currently sell any products on the site.
Question from Sandy
AFM Safecoat and ECOS paints are both non-toxic and have low odor. I don’t know of any paint that is truly free of any odor until it cures. You might want to try a sample before applying it to a large area.
Question from K
I live in an apartment so I have to bring my wet, snowy and salt filled boots inside from a day in the snow. I have not been able to find a mat that does not smell awful. Any recommendations? Right now I am using a silicone kitchen drying mat but they are so small. Maybe what I am doing is the best idea? I need to find a really large silicone mat then. If using the silicone as I am, no toxins would escape into the air correct? Is there any way to know if the silicone is made out of sand vs. plastics?
Silicone is made out of sand, but like plastic, it can have additives that are not disclosed by the manufacturer. Some silicone may be safer than others. This is a topic I plan to do more research on.
Have you considered a metal tray. Here is one example, but they come in many styles and price points. Just make sure it does not have a finish or coating on it.