Super Search

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 Christine

Hi: I just ran across this new non-stick cookware – The Always Pan – and wonder if it’s as healthy to use as the Xtrema cookware line (I purchased.

Lisa’s Answer

This is coated with ceramic, or gel sol, coating.  I do not recommend it.  You can read more about it in The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Cookware.


Cali Bamboo Vinyl Plank Flooring

Question from Christina

Hello! I have been researching and driving myself crazy trying to find a safe flooring. We have vinyl peel and stick squares in our kitchen (they’ve been there since we bought the house 13 yrs ago) I’m sure they are done off gassing (no smell what so ever now) we are looking for safe flooring that can with stand our two huskies. We just purchased Cali Bamboo website – Cali Vinyl Pro Mute step in Dock Wood Oak color. It is Floorscore certified their website does list the reports of emissions. Have you heard any concerns of this brand? Any help would be appreciated. I am the only member in the family who is chemically sensitive. Since we already have the product, should I have my husband cut a plank open and put it in a glass jar for a week and see how it smells? I noticed it’s not free of phthalates – their reports states emissions under 50ppm. Can you help me to understand the danger the this? Thank you so much!!!

Lisa’s Answer

If you have to use a luxury vinyl flooring I think Cali is the best choice. That said, no vinyl flooring is a first choice for safety.  It is the only brand that Andy Pace, owner of The Green Design Center, has tested and found no formaldehyde emissions.  The company posts formaldehyde test results on their website.  It does contain phthalates, thought they are at very low levels.  Cali posts their test results that show phthalates very well below California Proposition 65 standards.

If you are sensitive, I always recommend testing a sample before installing.  Putting a piece is a glass jar and leaving it out in the sun is a great method.

Safe Lighting

Question from Cynthia

I am looking for a safe sofa lamp and bedside lamp.  Are there any manufacturers that you recommend?
I have chronic Lyme disease, “sick building syndrome”, reactive airway disease and more.
Also, what about light bulbs?  Recommendations?

Lisa’s Answer

Incandescent light bulbs are the safest choice.

For lighting, I don’t have specific brands to recommend other than custom made.  I do recommend Etsy to find makers who will tell you all of the materials used to make their products and who may substitute safer choices.  For example, wood bases are ideal.  Many makers on Etsy already use low VOC finishes and seals and some will use them on request.  If you are not EMR sensitive, a metal base is also a good choice.  For the shade, look for natural materials such as linen, silk or untreated grasses.  Glass shades are a great choice.  Many lampshade are lined with polystyrene, which does offgas.  Again, you can ask the makers to use a natural material in its place.

Polyester Fiber Vs. Polyurethane

Question from Zkel

In shopping for a mini or portable crib mattress.  The mattress is usually made of polyurethane foam or polyester fiber batting and covered by either nylon or vinyl to provide waterproofing. Between polyurethane foam and polyester fiber batting, which one do you think is less toxic? My goal is to select a filling material that is less toxic and remove the nylon or vinyl cover and replace it with a TPU padding.  Do you think that is a sensible thing to do?

Lisa’s Answer

None of these materials are ideal, particularly for a crib mattress but I understand that you budget may be an issue.  I recommend Naturepedic organic mini crib mattress.  

Polyurethane foam can include many chemical additives and they are usually not disclosed.  Additionally, it is highly flammable and likely contains harmful flame retardants.  I don’t recommend it, particularly for a mattress.  Polyester fiber is more flame resistant and may not include added flame retardants but you should check the specific product to make sure. It is made with petrochemicals and does offgas.  Unknown chemicals may also be added.  Without more information, if I had to choose one over the other I would choose the polyester.  However, I really don’t recommend either.

TPU is made from petrochemicals but has relatively low toxicity.  A better option, if affordable is a Naturepedic organic mini crib cover.

Carbon Steel Cookware

Question from LM

I looked on the site and did not find anything about carbon steel cookware. Apparently it’s  a “perfect hybrid of a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel frying pan. It has a cast iron’s heat retention, seasoning, and non-stick properties and stainless steel’s heat control, lightness and cooking speed.”  Is it non toxic?

Lisa’s Answer

I recently published the Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Cookware.  Carbon Steel is one of the safest options as long as it does not have a non-toxic coating on it.  Carbon steel that is not coated needs to be seasoned regularly, just like cast iron.

Dental Floss

Question from Patricia

I hesitated in bothering you but I am frustrated with not getting answers to questions regarding dental floss. After reading about the dangers of Pafs Teflon coatings on floss I am trying to find a brand to purchase that is organic and chemical free. I threw my Oral B glide in the trash. I love the Listerine Ultraclean brand because it’s easy to use and doesn’t break but it’s a light blue plastic string. I called them and they said no chemicals. Do you know if that’s true? I went to purchase other organic chemical free brands but after reading bad reviews Like from too thick, breaking easily…to poor packaging I am lost as to what to buy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I would love to continue using the Listerine product but if it has chemicals I will stop.
Thanks for any feedback.

Lisa’s Answer

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you anything beyond what the company will disclose.  If the product is plastic, the claim that there are no chemicals is not possible.  Perhaps they said no chemical coatings?  In any case, out of caution, I would not use it.

I use FlossPot. It’s made of silk and is fairly strong.  My teeth are tight together and I do occasionally break the floss but not so often that it bothers me.  I love that is comes in a stainless steel container that can be refilled.

Sprays in Stores

Question from Karen

Does anyone else react to disinfectant sprays used in stores during this virus?

Lisa’s Answer


Micro Sanded Bed Sheets

Question from Bonnie

I found bed sheets on the bed,bath,& beyond website. The description states micro sanded. What does that mean? Sanded with what? It does not list the manufacturer.

Lisa’s Answer

Sandwashing is a process in which the fabric is put in a container with lava rock, silicone or rubber balls and rotated so the material is brushed to make it softer.  While the process in theory should not add any toxics to the material I can’t say for certain if any chemicals are added to the process.

Asian Countries

Question from Debbie

Looking for references for nontoxic flatware and pots and pans made anywhere except Asian countries

Lisa’s Answer

You can look at my Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Cookware.  Many of the companies listed manufacture in the U.S. or France.  While I am all for buying products made in America, when I evaluate the healthfulness and safety of a product I am more interested in the practices and transparency of the company than the country of manufacture.  I am more confident in the companies who demonstrate commitment to producing safe products, willingness to share information about materials and manufacturing processes, and have strict oversight of the production than I am about the location.


Question from Jennifer

I was wondering if you might be able to recommend safe bakeware, in particular a cake pan and muffin tin. What is the best material that won’t leach chemicals into my food?

Lisa’s Answer

You can read more about cookware and bakeware in the Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Cookware.  Glass, stainless steel (if you are not sensitive to nickel), and cast iron are best choices.

I use a cast iron muffin pan and glass cake pans.


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