The Ultimate Guide to Safe Paints

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Paints

Did you know that even after paint dries, it can continue to emit VOCs? That’s right. According to the CPSC, formaldehyde can be detected 1-3 months after painting. So, it makes sense to use safe paints and stains that don’t emit harmful VOCs.

Get a new perspective on safe paints and learn why paint fumes are dangerous and how to shop for the safest alternatives. You may be surprised to learn that many of these safe paints are available at your local hardware store.

Let’s start with the basics about paint fumes.


Are Paint Fumes Dangerous?


Paints can release chemicals that are carcinogens, reproductive toxins, or ozone depleting compounds.

Conventional paints give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs released into the air can cause immediate problems like eye and throat or lung irritation, headaches, dizziness, and vision problems.

And, the chemicals can cause longer term problems. Some chemicals cause cancer or reproductive and developmental effects in laboratory animals.

It’s a troubling thought, isn’t it?


Are Safe Paints Available?


Safe paints are available. You just need to know which ones to buy.

You can find safe interior and exterior paints, primers, and stains without too much effort. But, first, you should understand some facts about paint and VOCs.


Three Quick Facts About Paint & VOCs


It’s pretty simple.

You only need to know three facts to keep yourself safe.

1. Low VOC paints actually have a lot of VOCs.

<<< Don’t buy low VOC paints.>>>

2. Zero VOC paints have 5 grams/liter or less of VOCs, but these paints may include other chemicals that simply aren’t good for you.

<<< Look for Zero VOC and the Green Seal 11 -2008 certification.>>>

3. It’s not just about the odor.

<<< Paint releases VOCs long after the paint is dry and you can no longer smell the odor.>>>

What’s so important about the Green Seal 11 certification?

The Green Seal certification will make sure that your paint has none of the following bad guys that can still be found in some Zero VOC paints.

  • carcinogens
  • reproductive toxins
  • mutagens
  • hazardous air pollutants
  • ozone depleting compounds

The Best Zero VOC Paints


If you want to buy Zero VOC paint locally, you’re in luck. Many hardware stores carry Benjamin Moore Natura™ and Aura™. These paints are Zero VOC as well as Green Seal 11 certified. If you need to do touch up painting over conventional paints, it isn’t a problem to match the color.

Another option is to use paints made from natural raw ingredients like water, plant oils, plant dyes, clay, milk protein, bees’ wax, earth and mineral dyes. These types of paints are some of the safest you can use. Try the websites listed below to order these paints.

Look into ECOS Paints – ecospaints.net. While not green seal certified, they publish their testing documents on their website, and they are a leader in VOC-free, organic paints.


What if you Need an Oil-Based Paint?


If you need to paint over oil-based or alkyd paint, you’ll have to opt for a Low VOC paint. Try Benjamin Moore  ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd line of waterborne alkyd paints. While it is not a Zero VOC paint, it is Low VOC (less than 50 g/l  compared to Zero VOC of 5 g/l).

Unfortunately, you cannot find Zero VOC alkyd paints, so if you must paint over oil-based enamel paint, then you’ll have to focus on good ventilation or the use of an air purifier equipped with a carbon filter.


Zero VOC Stains & Polyurethane


Conventional wood stains and polyurethane should also be avoided when possible. Ecos Paints offers Zero VOC wood stains as well as non-toxic polyurethane.

One last tip!

Remember to opt for Zero VOC primer.


So, now you’re informed with the facts about safe paints. You can paint your nursery, children’s rooms or any room in your house confidently knowing that you’re using the best non-toxic, zero VOC paints.

 

How to Solve Your Stiff Neck – All Natural Shredded Latex Pillow

All Natural Shredded Latex Pillow

I’ve always been a down pillow lover until my stiff neck sent me in search of a new option. I found a shredded latex pillow and now I’m hooked. In fact, I love it so much that I try to travel with it as often as possible. This from someone who used to find humor in people packing their own pillows on trips. I’m careful to hide my pillow from the hotel maid so it doesn’t get confused with the hotel’s pillows.

Initially, I was skeptical about latex because I worried about off-gassing and added chemical flame retardants. I didn’t realize that I could buy 100% all natural latex that wasn’t treated with added flame retardants that wouldn’t off-gas.

What to Look for When Buying a Shredded Latex Pillow

When buying a shredded latex pillow, the key is to look for pillows made with 100% Natural Latex (not a blend of natural and synthetic compounds like most other latex on the market).

Read the fine print!

Manufacturers can advertise Natural Latex even if their product is a blend of natural (30%) and synthetic (70%). So, if you don’t see 100% advertised, then the pillow is probably a blend including more synthetic latex than natural.


Why does 100% Natural Matter When it Comes to Latex?


Natural Latex is a milky product that comes from rubber tree plants grown in tropical locations worldwide. If you’re like me, you are probably surprised that Latex is a natural product and not always man-made.

The raw product is composed of water, latex and natural byproducts which is made into Latex foam. 100% Natural Latex produces a soft and elastic foam which is naturally antimicrobial.

Since it’s antimicrobial, Natural Latex inhibits mold and mildew growth, and is dust-mite resistant. It also absorbs moisture, circulates air and regulates heat which helps you sleep more soundly.

On the other hand, synthetic Latex is a man-made compound called Styrene-Butadiene (SBR). While molecularly identical to Natural Latex, it is derived primarily from petroleum, and so it is not as clean as Natural Latex. Synthetic Latex is firmer than Natural Latex.

Not only are there concerns about the synthetic Latex off-gassing, but also concerns about comfort. Customer reviews show lower comfort for synthetic Latex compared to All Natural Latex pillows.


Make Sure the Pillow Cover is 100% Organic Cotton


It’s a good idea to pay attention to the pillow covering as well as the stuffing. You’ll want to make sure your pillow has an 100% organic cotton cover, preferably GOTS certified.

Another important feature is a zipper which will allow you to remove the latex and wash the cotton cover.


Good Head & Neck Support


Shredded latex pillows offer good head and neck support, are long-lasting and extremely versatile.

Tired of repeatedly readjusting your down pillow?

You’ll love shredded latex pillows because unlike a down pillow, they won’t compress over the course of the night, meaning sounder sleep.

All Natural Latex pillow users report less neck pain due to consistent support and give the pillow high marks for holding it shape and molding to head and neck movements.

Great for side sleepers but back sleepers also enjoy it. If you’re a stomach sleeper, this pillow isn’t for you.

Check out our favorite All Natural Shredded Pillow.

 

Pillows, Toxins and How to Triumph Over a Stiff Neck

How to Select the Best All Natural Pillows

Are your bed pillows toxic and could they be impacting your health?  If you’re not using all natural, organic pillows the chances are YES your pillows are toxic, and YES they could be impacting your health. And, would you like to solve your stiff neck problem? Then, YES, all natural pillows may be your answer.

Your Typical Pillows

But first, let’s talk about your average pillow and look under the covers.

If your pillows are made of polyurethane foam or polyester fibers, they are made with petroleum by-products that can off-gas dangerous VOC’s that you breathe each night.

And, if that is not enough, since petroleum by-products are highly flammable, the pillows must be treated with flame retardant chemicals to pass flammability tests. Chemical flame retardants are best avoided. The EPA “is concerned that certain flame retardants are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment.” Enough said.

So why would you want to place your head every night on a synthetic pillow that has been saturated with flame retardant chemicals?

How to Sleep without Toxins and Lose Your Stiff Neck

Doesn’t it make more sense to rest your head on a pillow made from all natural, organic materials that have not been treated with any chemicals?

Before the advent of polyurethane foam and poly-fiberfill, people slept with pillows made from materials found in nature such as cotton, wool, kapok, buckwheat, and more recently 100% natural latex.

Not only are pillows made from all natural products better for your health because they are chemical free, often you will also notice an immediate improvement in the quality of your sleep. And, maybe even lose that crick in your neck. All natural pillows offer great options for head and neck support that you’re not going to find with a foam pillow.

Guide to Natural Pillows: Which Natural Pillow is Best for You?

Because there are so many excellent options, how do you know which one is best for you and your family? It all depends on your natural sleeping position and pillow preferences.

The key to a good night’s sleep for most people is using a pillow that helps to keep your head and neck in “neutral alignment” meaning your head is squarely on your shoulders without bending too far back or reaching too far forward.

First, decide which sleeping position you favor: Side, Back, or Stomach.

Sleeping on your SIDE is the most common sleeping position. Side sleepers generally need firmer, higher lofted pillows to fill the distance between the ear and outside shoulder. Good choices for side sleepers to consider are latex, wool, kapok, and buckwheat/wool combos.

Sleeping on your BACK is the next most common sleeping position. Back sleepers generally need softer to medium firmness pillows with high moldability that cradle your head yet have enough loft to fill the gap under your neck. Good choices for back sleepers include shredded latex, wool, cotton, kapok, buckwheat, and buckwheat/wool combos.

Sleeping on your STOMACH is generally not recommended and best avoided. But if it is your preferred sleeping position, then you should choose a very light, low lofted pillow. The best options for stomach sleepers are soft wool or cotton pillows.

Now choose the natural organic fill that best suits your specific needs and preferences.  Here are some of the unique properties and features common to various organic pillow stuffing options.

100%  Natural Latex Pillows

Be sure to look for 100% Natural Latex, Natural Latex or just Latex is most often a blend of Natural and Synthetic rubbers, and you want to avoid synthetic rubber.  100% Natural Latex is an ideal choice for pillows because it is flexible, provides good support and is long-lasting with little or no compression over time.

Natural latex resists dust mites, inhibits mold and mildew, and regulates heat. Latex pillows are available with solid foam core for firm support, or as shredded latex that is easier to shape and adapt. Selecting a shredded latex pillow with a zipper it allows you to add or subtract fill to adjust the loft even more. Check out our top 100% all natural shredded latex pillow.

100% All Natural Shredded Latex Pillow

100% Virgin Lambswool Pillows

Pillows filled with virgin lambswool wool offer many properties favorable to a good night’s sleep. Wool has a natural moisture wicking ability helping to keep your head cool and dry leading to sound sleep. The ability to wick moisture and circulate air also keeps mold and mildew from forming. Dust mites do not thrive in wool making it naturally hypoallergenic. Wool is light weight with good loft providing soft, comfortable support. Wool does have a tendency to compact, become firmer over time.

Our top recommendation for 100% Virgin Lambswool Pillows offers soft, medium and firm options. So, this is a great option for many people.

100% virgin lambswool pillows

100% Organic Cotton Pillows

Cotton is as pure and natural as you can get, but it is important to look for Organic Cotton to avoid any residual pesticides. Cotton breathes during warm weather, unlike synthetic pillows, keeping you cooler and more comfortable while you sleep. Organic cotton is a good choice for people with chemical sensitivities. While cotton starts out puffy, it will compact and become firmer over time.

Our top recommendation for 100% Organic Cotton Pillows offers soft, medium and firm options. It’s a good idea to get an added zipper so you can adjust the amount of cotton in your pillow over time.

100% organic cotton pillows

100% Natural Kapok Pillows

A natural down alternative, Kapok is the perfect option for those who want the loft and soft feeling of down without the allergy or cruelty issues. Kapok is a healthier, all natural option compared to other down alternatives which are usually made with synthetic, polyester fibers.

Kapok is a silk-like fiber that provides a soft yet supportive fluffy feel. It is 8 times lighter than cotton and does not compress as quickly as cotton, wool, or down. It is hypoallergenic and is naturally water-resistant so it wicks moisture for a comfortable dry sleep.  Kapok fiber is a renewable resource that is extracted from the seed pods of the kapok tree, which grows in tropical rain forests.

It is also fluffier than wool, is washable, and maintains its loft longer. Kapok is an excellent choice for people who like soft, fluffy pillows while offering more support than down.

Here’s our recommended 100% Natural Kapok Pillow. It is also offered in soft, medium and firm to fit all sleepers.

100% Natural Kapok Pillows

100% Natural Buckwheat Pillows

Used in Asian countries for centuries, buckwheat pillows offer superb support and the ability to conform to the shape of your neck and head. They cradle your neck and head with a steady but gentle support that does not compress during the night. Buckwheat hulls allow air to circulate freely keeping you cool and dry. Best for back sleepers, side sleepers should consider a combination wool/buckwheat pillow to better suit their needs.

Our favorite Natural Buckwheat Pillow is perfect for back sleepers who like support.

100% Natural Buckwheat/Wool Combo Pillows

Offering the exceptional support of buckwheat with the softness and comfort of wool, these combination pillows offer a great solution for people who like or want to try the support of buckwheat but are concerned about the “rustle” and/or the feel of the hulls against their head. They can either be half buckwheat/half wool allowing you the option of using either side or a buckwheat core wrapped in wool. These pillows are a good option for both back and side sleepers.

Our favorite Natural Buckwheat/Wool Combination Pillow is half buckwheat and half virgin lambswool. It’s perfect for back and side sleepers who like the support of buckwheat but prefer no buckwheat rustling sound.

Natural Buckwheat and Lambswool Combination Pillow

Cheers to sleeping better with healthier choices and fewer stiff necks!

Questions? Contact us. We love to help.

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23 of the Best Ways to a Healthier, Less Toxic Home

23 of the Best Ways to a Healthier, Less Toxic Home

Creating a healthier, less toxic home doesn’t have to be difficult. Get a good start by selecting a couple of the best ways to a healthier, less toxic home because it’s easy and you’ll feel better.

Create a Healthier, Less Toxic Home


1. Switch from perfume scented paraffin candles to pure beeswax candles. Perfume scented paraffin candles have a few strikes against them.

First, most candle makers use paraffin, a petroleum by-product that is chemically bleached and hardened. Burning paraffin pollutes your air. Second, these candles are typically synthetically scented. These synthetic perfumes are not well-regulated so you have no way of knowing what substances are released into your home. Perfumes can contain any one of 3,000 or more ingredients many toxic, unregulated and synthetic. Third, some candle wicks contain lead. Enough said.

You’ll love the natural scent of pure beeswax or you can enjoy scented beeswax with essential oils.


2. Opt for glass storage containers and not plastic. This is an easy change that you will love. The glass containers clean up more easily (no more oily residue), and you can easily see what’s been stored.

Using glass is especially important if you like to microwave leftovers because when plastic is heated, it’s more likely to leach into your food.


3. Filter your water using a counter top or water pitcher filter. Both solutions are portable and effective. And, you can easily install a counter top water filter in ten minutes or less.

You may think that your tap water is healthy, and your local water department has you covered.

But, do they?

A couple hundred common contaminants aren’t regulated yet. And, your water department isn’t perfect, so even regulated contaminants exceed safe levels from time to time. Learn why you should drink filtered water.


4. Rethink your use of plastic wrap by using it less often or not at all. Plastic wrap can be made with PVC or BPA. Neither is good.

Try Bee’s Wrap. It’s the perfect way to cover bowls and wrap cheeses, produce, sandwiches and nuts. Really anything. It’s made of organic cotton and bee’s wax.

And, it lasts. Up to one year. Wash it in cool water with mild soap.

Watch this short demo. The wraps are so versatile. The warmth of your hands molds the beeswax to whatever you are wrapping.

Read more about which plastics to avoid.


5. Fire your pest exterminator. Instead, use Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to control ants, roaches, and spiders. Sprinkle DE in problem areas under sinks, garages, basements, attics, and behind appliances. Never heard of DE?

DE is a white powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When a roach (or any bug with an exoskeleton) comes into contact with DE, it gets under the shell, punctures the body, and kills the bug.

Sounds like just what you need, right?

But, admit it. It also sounds dangerous.

You don’t have to worry though because DE is completely non-toxic. While it certainly is dangerous to bugs with exoskeletons like roaches, all mammals are safe from its effects.

More good news.

There is no buildup of tolerance like poisons because the killing method is physical, not chemical.

Keep these things in mind:

  • Remember to keep the DE dry
  • Although you can eat food-grade DE and rub it on your skin, do not inhale DE because the silica is bad for your lungs (wear a mask when applying)
  • Buy it at your local natural gardening store or order from arbico-organics.com
  • Always use food grade DE and not pool grade DE

It’s the perfect all-natural insecticide. No harm to humans, your pets or the environment, but deadly to bugs.


6. Reduce dry cleaning chemicals in your closet. Most dry cleaners use Perchlorethylene (PERC). Did you know that PERC is a suspected carcinogen and neurotoxin?

It’s true. And to make matters worse, a Georgetown University study proved PERC is not only retained in dry-cleaned clothes, but also builds up with repeat cleanings.

You can get PERC out of your bedroom by following a few quick tips.

  • Remove the dry cleaning bags and air out your clothes before hanging in your closet.
  • Reduce dry cleanings by opting for the “press only” option.
  • Find a green alternative like a wet or CO2 cleaners–try nodryclean.com for details.

7. Replace toxic dryer sheets. Dryer sheets have two problems. They contain harmful chemicals that adhere to your laundry AND filter into your air. What should you use instead?

Try dryer balls. You can either make your own or buy them. Dryer balls made of 100% wool naturally soften your laundry in the dryer. They last for months.

Wool Dryer Balls

Add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to the dryer balls so when you slip into bed at night, your sheets will smell great.


8. Dust more! You may want to move dusting and vacuuming closer to the top of your housekeeping list.

Many products in your home contain flame retardants including:

  • Electronic devices – computers, TVs, and clocks
  • Polyurethane foam – mattresses and pillows

So what do flame retardants have to do with dusting and vacuuming?

Chemical flame retardants escape from your home products and become household dust. You can inhale flame retardant dust or ingest it. Ingestion happens primarily with small children who put everything into their mouths.

The EPA “is concerned that certain flame retardants are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment.”

It’s scary, right?


9. Change your hand soap to a Triclosan-free soap. Read the label on your liquid hand soap. Does it contain Triclosan and triclocarban? They are antibacterial chemicals commonly added to consumer products. Laboratory studies show they disrupt hormones and can encourage the growth of drug-resistant bacteria or “superbugs.”

It’s a challenge finding a hand soap without these harmful ingredients. What to use instead? Try this foaming hand soap or this liquid soap that are free of parabens, phthalates, and triclosan. The Environmental Working Group rating is a 0 out of 10 meaning these are the safest products you can use.

Foaming Hand Soap - Triclosan-Free


10. Stop using air freshening products. The Environmental Working Group tested Febreze Air Effects and found 89 airborne contaminants including acetaldehyde which the EPA considers a likely human carcinogen.

In 2010, a University of Washington study found that eight widely used air fresheners released an average of 18 chemicals into the air. On average, one in five of these chemicals were hazardous substances.

Half the air fresheners tested released acetaldehyde, a likely carcinogen.

Kinda frightening, isn’t it?

By using air freshener chemicals, you are releasing carcinogens and hormone disruptors into your home.


11. Ditch your vinyl shower curtain. Plastic shower curtains made with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) are toxic to your health. You may have noticed a strong smell when you opened a new vinyl shower curtain or had a vinyl shower curtain in your hotel room.

A study showed these PVC shower curtains release as many as 108 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) some of which cause developmental damage as well as damage to the liver and central nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems.

In addition to VOCs, the shower curtains were also found to contain phthalates and metals. The study found some of these chemicals lingered in the air 28 days after a curtain was hung. Clearly, this is a significant contributor to indoor air pollution that is easily avoided.

Your best bet is to look for shower curtains with a vinyl-free or PVC-free label or ones made of organic cotton. Also, many bath mats are made with vinyl, so shop for mats made with silicone instead.


12. Use Zero VOC paints and stains. Here are a few facts you need to know about paint.

– Low VOC paints actually have a lot of VOCs, so don’t buy low VOC paints.

– Zero VOC paints only have 5 grams/liter or less of VOCs, but these paints may include other chemicals that simply aren’t good for you.

Look for Zero VOC and the Green Seal 11 -2008 certification.

It’s not just about the odor. Paint releases VOCs long after the paint is dry and you can no longer smell the odor. So, buying zero VOC paints is a healthy choice.

Zero VOC Paints

Finding paint without carcinogens, reproductive toxins or ozone depleting compounds was a chore. It’s easier now. Benjamin Moore Natura™ and Aura™ interior latex paints are good choices because the paints are Zero VOC as well as Green Seal certified. And, they are readily available.

Get information on other safe paint brands. And, remember to choose zero VOC primer.


12. Limit use of bottled water. Aside from the astounding waste problem, there’s another problem with bottled water. The bottled water industry is completely unregulated, so no one is watching out for you.

Who knew?

The water quality might be better or worse than your tap water. No one really knows.

In a Natural Resources Defense Council study, 22% of bottled water brands contained chemical contaminants at levels above health limits. That’s almost a quarter over the limits for what’s deemed healthy.

Sigh.

Also, phthalates can leach from the plastic bottles or lids on glass bottles after being stored for just ten weeks. Unlike tap water, no one regulates phthalates in bottled water. (source: NRDC: bottled water)

So, what to use instead? Carry your own water in a glass or stainless steel bottle. Or, get a bottle that filters water as you drink so you always have clean water.


13.  If you are using a pillow made with synthetic materials, you could be sleeping with any number of dangerous chemicals like toluene diisocyanate, formaldehyde, PBDE’s just to name a few.  Toss that old chemical-laden synthetic pillow and start sleeping with a chemical free natural pillow.

You have many options for all natural pillows without flame retardants like natural latex, lambswool, buckwheat, and kapok. You may even find you have less neck and shoulder pain sleeping with a new all natural, well-made pillow.

All Natural Pillows


14. Try an all natural deodorant that really works. If you’ve tried other all natural deodorants, you know how difficult it is to find one that really works. So, if you’re like most people, you revert back to your original brand with the questionable ingredients. After all, you’re not interested in offending people.

Here’s one deodorant with safe ingredients that works. It’s free of parabens, phthalates, triclosan, and aluminum. So if you’ve got it in you to try one more, this is a good bet.


15. Instead of liquid fabric softener add 1/2 cup white vinegar to your laundry final rinse. Many washers have a special rinse cycle setting that you can use.

Why switch? Many liquid fabric softeners can harmful ingredients that you should avoid.


16. Use safe kitchen cleaners. Many kitchen cleaners contain harmful ingredients. The Consumer Products Safety Commission regulates these items and has lax guidelines for ingredient disclosure.

So lax, in fact, that manufacturers can disclose all, some or none of the ingredients. So, even if you do a good job of label reading, you could still be using a product that produces harmful fumes.

It’s disturbing, isn’t it?

Learn more about what’s in your cleaners and soaps. Find safer alternatives for kitchen cleaning products.


17. Do not use your self-cleaning oven feature. You may think that using the self-cleaning setting on your oven is a great idea because you’re simply heating up the oven and not using any cleaners.

Unfortunately, when your oven reaches over 600 degrees, it can start emitting nasty fumes. These fumes come from your oven’s interior coating off-gassing or residual food burning and releasing carbon monoxide. Neither is good.

While it is well documented that pet birds can succumb to self-cleaning oven fumes, it’s unclear how toxic the fumes are to humans, with the exception of carbon monoxide.

Why risk it?

You know when you use the self-cleaning feature, your house fills with fumes that last for hours. Do you really want to breathe that?

Learn how to safely clean your oven without the dangerous fumes.

The Surprising Way to Clean Your Oven Without Fumes


18. Opt for an organic, all natural mattress. Due to strict fire safety standards, conventional mattress makers use large amounts of flame retardants to meet safety regulations. While it is generally accepted that these fire-retardant chemicals are toxic at a certain level, the debate continues to wage about safe levels.

All natural/organic mattresses use naturally flame retardant wool coverings to comply with safety regulations. With organic mattresses, you don’t have to worry about inhaling or absorbing harmful chemicals.

When shopping for an organic mattress, look for 100% all natural latex.

Why?

Because man-made latex can release harmful chemicals.

If an organic mattress is not practical, you have other options. Consider an organic mattress topper. It can act as a safe, chemical-free barrier between you and your conventional mattress.


19. Open your windows. One of the simplest things you can do to make your home healthier is to open your windows.

Why? Because indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air. Airing out your house periodically will improve the air you breathe. EPA studies confirm that indoor air pollutants are typically 2-5 times higher than outdoor air.

How does indoor air get so polluted? It’s pretty simple. Your household furnishings and daily activities release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). And then to make matters worse, most of the time you’ve got your windows closed trapping pollutants inside.

So, what is to blame for all the VOCs in your bedroom?

Here’s a partial list: carpets, paint, wall coverings, fabrics, scented candles, air fresheners, perfumes, pressed wood furniture, polyurethane foam furniture, adhesives, and showering.

One of the main indoor air polluting culprits is formaldehyde. Tests show formaldehyde in homes is 20-200 times higher than outdoor suburban air.

If it’s not practical to open your windows, then get an air cleaner that will purr gently, cleaning your air while you sleep. The top rated air cleaner is ideal for removing 99.97% of airborne dust, mold, formaldehyde, bacteria, viruses, pet dander and pollen.


20. Try a new perfume that doesn’t contain harmful substances. Perfumes can include any one of 3,000 or more ingredients that are synthetic, petroleum-based and toxic. Some formulations include formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) and phthalates which are increasingly linked to brain, behavioral changes, cancer and reproductive system harm.

Givescent is one brand to try. Its perfumes are free of alcohol, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and sulfates. The scents are lovely and alluring. And, they support wonderful organizations that aid women including Women for Women International and Every Mother Counts. Five percent of each sale goes to these worthy organizations.

Givescent All Natural Perfume


21. Avoid non-stick cookware. You should try to avoid any type of non-stick cookware like pans, pie tins and cupcake tins. And, don’t forget the cookie sheets.

Non-stick cookware can release dangerous fumes if overheated. There’s actually a name for the flu-like symptoms. It’s called Polymer Fume Fever in humans. Overheated non-stick cookware fumes are sometimes fatal to birds.

Try these other great ways to cook without the worry or risk.

  • Stainless Steel (actually better for cooking than non-stick)
  • Cast Iron
  • Ceramic Baking Dishes
  • Glass Baking and Pie Dishes

22. Switch to safer personal care products. Research shows that harmful ingredients from your personal care products like phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and sunscreen ingredients are commonplace in the bodies of men, women and children.

So, how do you find safer products?

Use the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The site has over 70,000 product ratings. Start with one product type like hair and bath products, and then move on to other products. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so take small steps. After you enter the product name, the database will return a rating and risk information. The database also provides safer alternatives.

To get you started, try these highly rated brands.

 


23. The last way to a healthier, less toxic home is to sign up for the 12-week email series called The Zen of Pure Living. Each week, you’ll cover a different topic.

The emails take about 5-6 minutes to read. If you’re a real overachiever, you can click on the “learn more” links within the emails, but it’s not necessary to get the facts you need. And, most importantly, you’ll get a short list of next steps.

Subscribers call it a “must read”.

Zen of Pure Living Register Now

Sign up today! You’ll be happy you did.

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Seven Simple Ways to Get a Toxic Free Bedroom

Seven Simple Ways to Get a Toxic Free Bedroom

The last place you want to worry about toxins is your bedroom, right? After all, you spend a lot of time sleeping. You’d like to think it’s a clean spot.

So what’s the best way to get a clean, healthy bedroom?

Here’s a valuable list of seven simple ways to get a clean, toxic free bedroom. Try one or two of them.

How to Get a Toxic Free Bedroom


1. Open Your Windows


One of the simplest things you can do to make your bedroom healthier is to open your windows.

Why? Because indoor air is dirtier than outdoor air. Airing out your bedroom periodically will improve the air you breathe. EPA studies confirm that indoor air pollutants are typically 2-5 times higher than outdoor air.

How does indoor air get so polluted? It’s pretty simple. Your household furnishings and daily activities release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). And then to make matters worse, most of the time you’ve got your windows closed trapping pollutants inside.

So, what is to blame for all the VOCs in your bedroom?

Here’s a partial list: carpets, paint, wall coverings, fabrics, scented candles, air fresheners, perfumes, pressed wood furniture, polyurethane foam furniture, adhesives, and showering.

One of the main indoor air polluting culprits is formaldehyde. Tests show formaldehyde in homes is 20-200 times higher than outdoor suburban air.

If it’s not practical to open your windows, then get an air cleaner that will purr gently, cleaning your air while you sleep. The top rated air cleaner is ideal for removing 99.97% of airborne dust, mold, formaldehyde, bacteria, viruses, pet dander and pollens.

 


2. Live with Plants


Living with plants can improve your health especially the ones that absorb VOCs. Scientific studies show that certain plants clean your indoor air. Dr. Bill Wolverton an Environmental Scientist provides detailed information on how to use plants to cut VOCs in his book “Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them”.

You’ll need two plants in 10-12” pots per 100 sq. ft. The top air cleaning plants are: Boston Ferns, English Ivy, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and Spider plants.

Start with a Boston Fern or two which according to HortScience is the best formaldehyde purifying plant. 

 


3. Reduce Dry Cleaning Chemicals in Your Closet


Most dry cleaners use Perchlorethylene (PERC). Did you know that PERC is a suspected carcinogen and neurotoxin?

It’s true. And to make matters worse, a Georgetown University study proved PERC is not only retained in dry-cleaned clothes, but also builds up with repeat cleanings. 

You can get PERC out of your bedroom by following a few quick tips.

  • Remove the dry cleaning bags and air out your clothes before hanging in your closet.
  • Reduce dry cleanings by opting for the “press only” option.
  • Find a green alternative like a wet or CO2 cleaners–try nodryclean.com for details.

 


4. Replace Dryer Sheets with Dryer Balls


Dryer sheets have two strikes against them. They contain harmful chemicals that adhere to your sheets and towels AND filter into your air.

What should you use instead?

Try dryer balls. You can either make your own or buy them. Dryer balls made of 100% wool naturally soften your laundry in the dryer.

Add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to the dryer balls so when you slip into bed at night, your sheets will smell great.

 


5. Opt for Non Toxic Pest Solutions


Be honest. You hate the sight of bugs and would do anything to keep them out of your bedroom.

Using an exterminator seems like the only solution, but what about the harmful chemicals?

The good news is that you can control pests using safe methods. Your bug-killing arsenal should include food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE). DE is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.

Sprinkle DE under bathroom sinks. When any bug with an exoskeleton comes into contact with DE, it gets under the shell, punctures the body, and kills the bug.

DE performs these miraculous feats while being non-toxic to humans.

You can find this healthy pest solution at your natural gardening store.

Safety tips: Remember to use food grade and never pool grade DE. And, while food grade DE is perfectly non toxic, it is harmful to your lungs if inhaled. So, wear a mask while sprinkling.

 


6. Choose an Organic Mattress


Due to strict fire safety standards, conventional mattress makers use large amounts of flame retardants to meet safety regulations. While it is generally accepted that these fire-retardant chemicals are toxic at a certain level, the debate continues to wage about safe levels.

If you prefer to skip the debate, then choose an all natural mattress.

All natural/organic mattresses use naturally flame retardant wool coverings to comply with safety regulations. With organic mattresses, you don’t have to worry about inhaling or absorbing harmful chemicals.

When shopping for an organic mattress, look for 100% all natural latex.

Why?

Because man-made latex can release harmful chemicals.

 


7. Dust More


After reading this, you may want to move dusting and vacuuming closer to the top of your housekeeping list especially in your bedroom where you spend eight hours of your day.

Many products in your home contain flame retardants including:

  • Electronic devices – computers, TVs and clocks
  • Polyurethane foam – mattresses and pillows

So what do flame retardants have to do with dusting and vacuuming?

Chemical flame retardants escape from your home products and become household dust. You can inhale flame retardant dust or ingest it. Ingestion happens primarily with small children who put everything into their mouths.

The EPA “is concerned that certain flame retardants are persistent, bio accumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment.”

It’s scary, right?

Just think, all this time you’ve been focused on eradicating germs when you probably should have devoted just a bit more time to cleaning up flame retardant dust.

For a toxic free bedroom, dust often and sweep with a HEPA filter vacuum.

 


Just Curious

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Seven Simple Ways to Get a Toxic Free Bedroom