How to Reduce Exposure to Harmful Flame Retardants

Flame Retardant Chemicals

The Zen of Pure Living Part 4 is about dust, flame retardants and your health. You may want to pay more attention to dusting especially if you have small children.

Get the facts because it’s probably not what you’re expecting.

Why Dusting Matters to Your Health


You’ve probably heard a lot about dust mites and allergies. And, you know the importance of controlling dust mites in your home. 

However, dusting matters for other reasons.

After reading this, you may want to move dusting closer to the top of your housekeeping list.

Flame Retardants & Household DustFlame Retardant Dust

Your home is filled with products containing flame retardants including:

  • Electronic devices (computers, TVs, radios)
  • Polyurethane foam (sofa cushions, mattresses, pillows, highchair seats)

So what does dust have to do with flame retardants?

Chemical flame retardants escape from your home products and become household dust

If you’re reading this at home, look around. The dust you see contains flame retardants.

What is the risk?

Inhalation And Ingestion Risks


You can inhale flame retardant dust or ingest it. Ingestion happens primarily with small children who put everything into their mouths.

Neither is good.

The EPA Is Concerned

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

Kinda of scary, right?

Time to Focus on Dust


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!

Learn how to reduce the levels of dust without dusting.

Yes, it’s true, there is a way.

And try to dust more often… if you can!


The Zen of Pure Living Is About Balance


The Zen of Pure Living isn’t about being “perfect”. The purpose of the series is to provide you with options and ideas for a healthier lifestyle. You pick the ones that make sense.

This quote says it well.

Health Quote

Warning: The Air In Your Home Isn’t Healthy! Four Ways to Fix It

Warning: The Air In Your Home Isn't Healthy! Four Ways to Fix Your Indoor Air Quality

—Part 3 of the Series—

Four Ways to Fix Your Indoor Air Quality

In Part 2 of the series, you learned that indoor air quality is generally worse and less healthy than outdoor air. Although initially, you might have been incredulous, you must admit that the facts about poor indoor air quality are glaringly clear.

After all, air gets trapped within your home, and so many of your home products and activities add to the mess like air fresheners and cleaning products.

By now, you’ve probably cut back on air fresheners and switched cleaning products.

Or, at least you are seriously considering it, right?

In this part of the series, you will learn four ways to fix your indoor air quality.

Some are so simple. One or two may surprise you.

 


1. Let the fresh air in


Simply open your windows to improve your indoor air quality.

Since you know that the indoor air is actually dirtier than outdoor air, airing out your house will go a long way toward improving what you breathe indoors.

Pretty easy, right?

The next one may surprise you.

 


2. Live with plants


That’s right. You’ll want to load up on indoor plants.

But not just any plants. You’ll want the ones that are scientifically proven to absorb VOCs.

Dr. Bill Wolverton who is an Environmental Scientist and wrote “Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them” explains the science and studies that support using plants as air cleaners.

You’ll need two plants in 10-12″ pots per 100 sq. ft.

Here’s the list of plants. Pay special attention to the type of VOCs the plant is best at absorbing.

  • English Ivy
    • Thrives in low sunlight
    • Absorbs formaldehyde (carpeting, curtains, plywood, particle board furniture, and adhesives)
  • Peace Lily
    • Adapts well to low light but is poisonous to pets
    • Rids air of the VOC benzene (paints, furniture wax, and polishes) and acetone (electronics, adhesives, and some cleaners)
  • Lady Palm
    • Tree-like species
    • Targets ammonia (cleaners, textiles, and dyes)
  • Boston Fern
    • One of the most efficient air purifying plants for formaldehyde according to study published in HortScience
    • Requires moisture and humidity to thrive
    • Removes formaldehyde (carpeting, curtains, plywood, particle board furniture, and adhesives)
  • Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
    • Thrives in low light
    • Lowers carbon dioxide and rids air of formaldehyde and benzene
  • Spider Plant
    • Easy to grow
    • Reduces formaldehyde and benzene

So, if you recently bought new carpet, furniture or laminate flooring you may want to consider English Ivy, Boston Ferns, Snake Plants or Spider Plants.

Peace Lily’s are perfect for your entertainment area since they will absorb the acetone from the electronics.

Too much plant life? Consider the next approach.

 


3. Love your air cleaner


Air cleaners are a smart option. In fact, you may just end up loving your air cleaner.

If you buy the right air cleaner, it will:

~Absorb VOCs.

~Remove airborne dust, mold, and pollen.

Can you picture less dust gathering? It’s a nice visual, isn’t it?

~Eliminate odors.

Think about it. It solves the air freshener problem, doesn’t it?

A word of caution, though.

Not all air cleaners/purifiers are equal. Many are only equipped with a single HEPA filter that can’t handle VOCs and odors.

Doesn’t do you much good, right?

If you’re serious about refreshing your indoor air quality, you’ll want to buy an air purifier specially designed to handle VOCs, odors, mold, and more. Find out which air cleaners are worth it.

The last way to clean up your indoor air quality is an unusual one.

 


4. Let your drywall do the work


Yes, drywall exists that absorbs VOCs for 75 years even when painted with up to 25 coats.

How does it work?

The drywall captures and converts VOCs into inert compounds and safely stores the compounds within the board.

You’re skeptical, right?

Don’t be skeptical because UL Environment and Greenguard Indoor Air Quality validated the claims. Both are reliable certifications. Check out AirRenew.com for more information.

Unless renovating or building new, you may not find it practical to redo your entire home, but it could make sense to do the bedrooms and nursery.

 


Ready For Clean Air and Cheerfulness?


You’re loaded with ways to do some clean up and start breathing cleaner air.

What’s the benefit?

Living with cleaner indoor air means you’ll be healthier and if Joseph Addison is right, more cheery too!

“Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other”

–Joseph Addison

Could you do me a favor and share this with your friends?

Don’t miss the rest of the series! You’ll learn about all natural/organic pest care, safe paints and cookware, the best non-toxic personal care products and more. Sign up for the full series!.

Do You Make These Two Mistakes That Taint Your Indoor Air?

Air Freshener and Cleaning Product  Chemicals

—Part 2 of the Series—

Air Freshener and Cleaning Product Chemicals Taint Your Indoor Air

Do you believe that outdoor air is dirtier than indoor air?

Well, you’re mistaken.

You’re incredulous – right? You were always warned about outdoor air pollution. But, in reality, it’s really the air trapped in your home that is dirtier than outdoor air.

Here’s one important fact you need to know:

—-EPA studies confirm that indoor air pollutants could be 2-5 times higher than outdoor air—-

How can this be?

First of all, you live indoors with the windows closed with the same air being circulated by your heating/air conditioning systems trapping all sorts of airborne particles inside.

Yes sure, your air filters catch some of the larger particles, but it is really the finer particles and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that cause health issues. And, your air conditioner/heating filters are no match for these airborne particles.

Second, if you’re making the mistake of using air fresheners and the wrong cleaning products, you are adding to poor indoor air quality.

Kinda of disturbing, isn’t it?

Air fresheners and cleaning product chemicals release VOCs that could impact your health.

Here’s what you need to know about air fresheners.

Air Freshener Chemicals

Bad News About Your Air Freshener

You like your home to smell fresh and clean, so you use spray air fresheners, scented candles and plug-ins. The scents smell great, and you don’t have to worry about your house smelling funny when people stop by.

You’ve smelled bad odors in other people’s homes, and you don’t want that happening to you!
Unfortunately, while you may love the way your air freshener makes your home smell, you may unknowingly be subjecting yourself to dangerous chemicals.

You can read the full article (What’s In Your Air Freshener?), but the facts are simple.

Research shows that air fresheners contain hormone disrupting chemicals and chemicals that are likely or known carcinogens.

Check out this scary example:

—-Febreze was found to contain 89 airborne contaminants—-

Sadly, any freshener containing perfume is problematic. So, whether you’re using scented candles, plug-ins, sprays or solids, it’s all the same. Even unscented or free and clear products may contain perfume or fragrance. The manufacturers add fragrance to cover the scent.

It’s troubling, isn’t it?

So, do a good thing for your health, and stop making the mistake of using air fresheners or use them on a more limited basis.

The Second Mistake – Using the Wrong Cleaning Products

Cleaning product chemicals are another source of bad stuff released into your air that you really want to take seriously.

Check out Get The Truth About What’s In Your Cleaning Products for the full Cleaning Product Chemicalsstory.

Want the simple truth?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has lax regulations for disclosing ingredients so anything labeled as fragrance is largely unregulated and untested.

Fragrances can contain any one of 3000+ ingredients – many synthetic, petroleum-based and toxic.

Think that buying products labeled as Green or All Natural are safer? They aren’t. Green and All Natural are marketing terms that aren’t regulated.

Admit it.

You’re a bit dismayed that labels aren’t trustworthy. And, that you are using products with untested, unregulated ingredients.

How do you find the safest cleaning products?

You can easily find the safest cleaning products though.

Use the Pure Living Space Shopping List for the Safest Cleaning Products. Click to sign up for a free printable shopping list that is all set for your next grocery run.

You’ve got what you need to improve your health today, so what’s stopping you?

Unless maybe….you’ve got an evil genius like Mary Todd Lincoln!

My evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry ’til a more convenient season.”

Mary Todd Lincoln

Don’t miss the rest of the series! You’ll learn some surprising ways to clean up your indoor air, and you’ll learn the truth behind more myths. Sign up for weeks 3-12.

Seven Undeniably Good Reasons to Drink Filtered Water

Should I Drink Filtered Water?

Welcome to Part 1 of The Zen of Pure Living.

The first of 12 installments that will help you live healthier and wiser at home. You can rely on this advice because it’s science-based and thoroughly researched.

Let’s start with the basics – clean drinking water.


Seven Undeniably Good Reasons to Drink Filtered Water


Sometimes, you worry about what’s in your drinking water. Some of the stories you read strongly suggest that you should filter your water, but you wonder if the authors are exaggerating.

It’s troubling to think that your tap and bottled water are not safe.

Aren’t regulations in place to make sure you have the cleanest drinking water?

The answer may surprise you. You may want to start drinking filtered water.

Here are seven good reasons why.


Reason #1 

Tap water has hundreds of contaminants from a growing list; a lot for a regulatory body to keep up with


Tap water has contaminants from agriculture (pesticides, fertilizers), industrial pollutants, urban runoff chemicals (car emissions, road surfaces, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, flame retardants), and water treatment chemicals (disinfectant byproducts like trihalomethanes & haloacetic acids).

It’s an overwhelming list, isn’t it? Especially since studies have linked many of these contaminants to cancer and liver, kidney and nervous system problems.

So what’s the problem? New chemicals are being constantly developed, so the list of contaminants for the EPA to regulate continues to grow.

To see what type of problem this creates, think of what happens in an overcrowded classroom.

Say you’ve got an outstanding third grade teacher who starts the year with a class of 20 students. During the year, the principal sends a new student to his class every week.

How well do you think that teacher is doing by midterm when the class goes over 35? How about spring break when the class is over 45?

Probably not very well. In fact, you can imagine that this outstanding teacher is struggling terribly with a class that is too large and bursting at the seams.

The same situation applies to the EPA and water contaminants. Lots of contaminants, new contaminants piling up and not enough time or resources for studies and regulations.

 


Reason #2

EPA enforceable standards are not always stringent enough


Did you know that the EPA sets two levels for water departments?

You are probably wondering how this works.

The EPA sets two contaminant measures-one standard is enforceable while the other is not.

  • The unenforceable standard is the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG). The EPA sets the MCLG at a level where they expect no adverse health effects.
  • The enforceable standard is simply called the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – this is often set higher than the goal

Think of the MCLG as considering your health and the MCL as considering your health and the costs of removing contaminants.

As a result, your tap water may have unhealthy levels of contaminants (exceeding MCLG) but still be meeting the enforceable standards (meeting MCL).

It’s a troubling thought, isn’t it?

Your water is not meeting the EPA experts’ standards for good health because the EPA also factored in the cost of meeting those safety levels.

To get an understanding of how this works, consider arsenic standards.

The EPA classifies arsenic as a known human carcinogen. Its MCLG is 0.00 meaning that to avoid any adverse health effects, water should not contain any arsenic. However, arsenic’s MCL or enforceable level is 0.01 which allows water supplies to contain arsenic and meet standards.

You’re probably not on board with drinking arsenic–didn’t think so.

 


Reason #3

The EPA does not regulate all pollutants


The EPA does not regulate all pollutants. In fact, a 2009 study detected 316 contaminants and 202 of those contaminants had no safety standards. About 132 million people in the US had unregulated pollutants in their tap water according to the study.

Admit it. You’d rather have safety standards for more contaminants.

In the 2009 study, only 1/3 had safety levels. Does that seem like enough to you?

 


Reason #4

Your water department isn’t perfect


It’s possible that your water department is failing on certain regulatory standards.

People make mistakes. Processes fail. Equipment malfunctions. When these mistakes happen, they can affect many people.

For example, during 2004-2009, EWG reports that water departments serving 53 million people failed to meet the goal for Trihalomethanes a “likely carcinogen” according to the EPA.

 


Reason #5

Your house plumbing can add contaminants


Your house plumbing could be contributing to contaminants because water pipes can add significant pollutants to your water.

As your tap water travels from your water treatment plant into your house, it can pick up contaminants along with way. It’s up to you to control these contaminants.

 


Reason #6

Fluoride levels may exceed healthy levels


Tap water contains fluoride which can cause adverse health effects. A 2006 study of Fluoride in Drinking Water sponsored by the EPA recommended lowering the MCLG due to concerns about increased bone fracture rates and enamel fluorosis in children 0-8 years old. The committee also recommended further study about fluoride’s impact on thyroid and brain functioning.

Unfortunately, the MCL and MCLG are still set at 4 mg/L, an unsafe level according to the committee. For a full copy of the report, click here.

Seems hard to believe, right?

A huge study conducted by many experts from around the country says that the fluoride goal is too high nine years ago, and the goal hasn’t been reset.

 


Reason #7

No one regulates bottled water


You may think that bottled water is a great solution since it’s clean and pure. Advertisements say that bottled water is pure, but how do you know?

The answer is…you don’t know.

Why? Because the bottled water industry is unregulated.

Really! No one is regulating or testing what goes into your bottled water.

And then there’s the problem with plastic waste as well as plastics leaching into your bottled water.

Bottled water doesn’t look very attractive, does it?

 


How to get the cleanest water


To get the cleanest water, use a water filter. You can easily install some solutions without a plumber.

Do you need help finding the best water filters? Learn more about water filters and solutions.

Want to fast track this? Find the right water filter type and brand using The Minimalist Guide to Water Filters for unbiased, performance-based recommendations.

Now, you’re armed with the facts about your drinking water, and you know that finding the right solution is pretty easy.

So, what’s stopping you from drinking filtered water?

Don’t miss the rest of the series! You’ll find out that indoor air is really dirtier than outdoor air and learn the truth about other myths. Sign up for weeks 2-12.

Seven Good Reasons to Drink Filtered Water

Sources:

  • 2012 Edition of the Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories; US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPAs Standards 2006. For full report http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11571.html
  • EPA.GOV: Fluoride at a Glance
  • Environmental Working Group: Study Finds Hundreds of Pollutants in Nation’s Tap Water, Dec 2009,