New Quick Reference: Detox Your Home Room by Room!

I’ve shared over 10 yrs of learning and talked to many experts on this blog and podcast.  Now, you can read some of my blog posts room by room.  You can find more posts in the archives.

Quick Start List.  Start Learning Today!

A Healthier Home: Room by Room
(Some of My Blog Posts, Organized!)

*For people interested in learning about the health effects of everyday products/methods AND safer alternatives…


Living Room:
Safer Sofas, Flooring and Sofas
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs and Health Problems
Toxic Sofas Made in China-Sold in the UK

What’s in Particleboard and Wood Products?  And Better Choices
Oven Cleaner: A Corrosive Hazard
A Non-Toxic Tip: Prevent Bugs in Flour
Teflon, Non-Stick Pans and Cooking without Harmful Fumes
What the Numbers on Plastics Mean
Fewer Cleaners to Clean Your Kitchen
What is Castile Soap?
Green Cleaning – A Free Guide with Recipes

Healthier Bathrooms
How to Sanitize Without Chlorine
Freshen the Air without Harmful Chemicals
Disinfectant Overkill

AUDIO: EP.24- Interview w/Stacy Malkan, The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry

Safer Sheets, Bedding and Fabrics
Chemical Clothing: Formaldehyde and Health
Non-Toxic Mattresses and What’s in Flame Retardants

Humidity, Mold, Laundry and Solvents in the Basement
Hazards of Ozone Generators
Healthier Laundry

AUDIO: Ep.23 Talk with Dr. Tang Lee-Mold Prevention and    Clean-up and Health

Garage and Yard:
Mindboggling List of Household Products Made from Petrochemicals
Paints: Low Odor, No VOC, What Do The Terms Mean?

Non-Toxic Arts and Crafts: A Great Web Resource
PVC-Free School Supplies- A Web Resource

Hazards of Fragrance:
Phthalates in Air Fresheners
New Study:Toxins in Common Scented Laundry Products and Air Fresheners

AUDIO: Ep. 21 Talk with Dr. Anne Steinemann about Toxins in Products and Home      

Male Fertility and Household Products:
The Disappearing Male/Infertility and Common Products
Healthier Toys- A Web Resource
Why Boys are Turning into Girls

Greenwashing and Labels:
What “Non-Toxic” on a Label Means
Greenwashing: Why Being “Green” or “Natural” is Not Enough Anymore
Organic Means Free of Pesticides, Right?  WRONG!
The Deadly Sins of Greenwashing: Download a Poster with Reminders

Building Materials:
Finding Safer Sealants and Caulk
Building Materials for the Environmentally Hypersensitive- A Book
Chinese Drywall in Homes in the US and Canada
Green Renos and Home Building-Free Guide

AUDIO- EPISODE 20 -Enviromental Inspector and Building Expert, Stephen Collette

AUDIO- EPISODE 19 -EPISODE19 – Special Guest, Stephen Collette from

Treating Lice
Free E-Book: What’s in This Stuff?
Chemical Filters in Sunscreens Killing Coral: Greener Alternatives
Free Download: The Non-Toxic House

AUDIO: Ep. 22 Talk with Dr. Magda Havas about Electromagnetic Fields and Health
AUDIO: EPISODE17 – Earth Day Special with guest, Tim Penstone, Organic Lawn Care
Check Out More Blog Posts and Audio Interviews to Help Get Out of the Chemical Soup!
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Claims of New Diaper Technology Giving Rashes and Burns

Article from the Toronto Sun

Group on Facebook wanting Return to Old Technology

Some reviewers posting about the burns/rashes on their babies and a lot just think they’re messy, thin diapers.

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Toxic Leather Sofas made in China Cause Severe Burns and Other Health Problems

The cause was discovered to be a highly sensitizing fungicidal chemical called dimethyl fumarate (DMF).  Inserted as solid sachets to inhibit mold growth, the chemical off-gassed in people’s homes, causing severe burns and illness. Reports came from the UK and one person even died.

For info on safer sofas and carpets, please read a past article I’d posted.

1. More on the Chinese sofas, company names and compensation for consumers-
A BBC Article on the sofas:
Shops agree to £20m pay-out over ‘toxic sofas’

2. Consumer Reports wrote about leather sofas.
Make sure to check out the comments below the article about leather
and other materials making people sick all over the world.
Is your leather sofa making you sick?

Posted in green, green home, healthy home, mold, non-toxic home, Non-Toxic Living, sick building syndrome | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Michael Pollan on The Precautionary Principle Regarding Toxic Chemicals

Over the years, I’ve come to understand there is a name for a new way of thinking about toxic chemicals and policy.  It’s The Precautionary Principle.  I’ve pointed out the failings of our current “dose makes the poison” and “risk management” system.  It’s not that I’m against scientific testing of chemicals.  I’m all for it and if reform happens, industry should carry the burden of proof, not consumers/individuals.

However, I don’t think scientific testing ALONE should determine our course of action, nor our public policy.

In an article from 2001, Michael Pollan makes some excellent points.

He wrote,

For the last several decades, American society has been guided by the ”risk analysis” model, which assesses new technologies by trying to calculate the mathematical likelihood that they will harm the public. There are other ways, however, to think about this problem. Indeed, a rival idea from Europe, the ”precautionary principle,” has just begun making inroads in America.

The problem with risk analysis, which came out of the world of engineering and caught on during the late 70’s, is that it hasn’t done a very good job predicting the ecological and health effects of many new technologies. It is very good at measuring what we can know – say, the weight a suspension bridge can bear – but it has trouble calculating subtler, less quantifiable risks. (The effect of certain neurotoxins on a child’s neurological development, for example, appears to have more to do with the timing of exposure than with the amount.) Whatever can’t be quantified falls out of the risk analyst’s equations, and so in the absence of proven, measurable harms, technologies are simply allowed to go forward.”

He also wrote, “Critics argue that the precautionary principle is ”antiscientific.” No and yes. No, in the sense that it calls for more science in order to dispel the uncertainties surrounding new technologies and to develop less harmful alternatives. And yet there is a sense in which the idea is ”antiscientific,” if by scientific we mean leaving it to scientists to tell us what to do. For the precautionary principle recognizes the limitations of science – and the fact that scientific uncertainty is an unavoidable breach into which ordinary citizens sometimes must step and act.”

You can read the whole article here.

Thank you, Michael, for expressing how I feel.  Variables like age and health of one’s brain won’t be accounted for in such testing.  In one bottle of hand lotion alone can be thousands of chemicals.  Who’ll be the watchdog?  And if they have to be tested in combination with other chemicals, what does this mean to testing on animals?

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Don’t Be Duped: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Family Advises

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families posted this helpful article. (Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a coalition of diverse groups united by their common concern about toxic chemicals in our homes, places of work, and products we use every day.)

In the article, we learn about what advocates and industry want regarding toxic chemical reform in the USA.

Here are some key points:

What Advocates Want vs. What the Chemical Industry Wants

1.  Advocates want ALL CHEMICALS to be proved safe before being allowed into commerce.

The industry believes only priority chemicals defined by the EPA should be tested and considered for tighter regulation. The public would be left in the dark about the others. Sound familiar?

2.  Advocates believe chemicals the EPA has already defined as likely hazardous should be regulated now.

The industry wants new risk assessments and more studies before any regulation.

3.  Advocates believe chemicals should be studied to assess the cumulative effect of exposure to multiple chemicals simultaneously.

The industry believes the health effects of only some chemicals should be studied, each in isolation and from one source at a time.

They Advise Us to Be on the Lookout for This Group:
Coalition for Chemical Safety. They have the website with claims to be made up of “People like you”.  Well, a look at their membership list shows it to be heavily populated by industry.

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Alice Shabecoff Asks “What’s Amiss with our Children?”

What’s Amiss with our Children:
by Guest Blogger, Alice Shabecoff

As we watched each of our five grandchildren and their friends enter this world and begin their life’s journey, it became more and more clear that something is amiss with this generation. How are your children and your friends’ children doing?

Most likely, one of three of the children you know in this generation suffers from a chronic illness. Perhaps it’s cancer, or birth defects, perhaps asthma, or a problem that affects the child’s mind and behavior, such as Downs Syndrome, learning disorders, ADHD or autism. Though one in three may sound exaggerated, unbelievable, the figures are there amidst various government files.

This generation is different. Childhood cancer, once a medical rarity, has grown 67 percent since 1950. Asthma has increased 140 percent in the last twenty years and autism rates without a doubt have increased at least 200 percent. Miscarriages and premature births are also on the rise, while the ratio of male babies dwindles and girls face endometriosis even in teenage.

This generation is the first to be raised in a truly toxified world. Even before conception and on into adulthood, the assault is everywhere: heavy metals and carcinogenic particles in air pollution; industrial solvents, household detergents, prozac and radioactive wastes in drinking water; pesticides in flea collars; artificial growth hormones in beef, arsenic in chicken; synthetic hormones in bottles, teething rings and medical devices; formaldehyde in cribs and nail polish, and even rocket fuel in lettuce. Pacifiers are now manufactured with nanoparticles from silver, to be sold as ‘antibacterial.’ What’s wrong with rinsing a pacifier in soapy water?

Despite naysayers (who pays them to say nay?—that’s a whole story in itself), it’s clear there is both an association and a causative connection between the vast explosion of poisons in our everyday lives and our children’s “issues.” Over 80,000 industrial chemicals (tested only by the manufacturer) are in commerce in this country, produced or imported at 15 trillion pounds a year. Pesticide use has leapt from the troubling 400 million pounds Rachel Carson wrote about in the 1960s to the mind-boggling 4.4 billion pounds in use today. Nuclear power plants, aging and under-maintained, increasingly leak wastes, often without notifying their community.

What could be more elemental than our desire to protect our children. Children and fetuses, because of their undeveloped defense systems, are ten to sixty-five times more susceptible to specific toxics than adults. These toxics diminish the capacities of our children…the future of our families, our communities, our nation.

Illness does not necessarily show up in childhood. Environmental exposures, from conception to early life, can set a person´s cellular code for life and can cause disease at any time, through old age. This accounts for the rise in Parkinson´s and Alzheimer´s diseases, prostate and breast cancer.

Yet this is not the dispiriting ‘Bad News’ it might seem. It is, actually, a message of hope and optimism. We are fearful only when we are ignorant and powerless. Now that we know what is happening, we can determine not to let it happen further.

These poisons are manmade; manufacturers can take them out of our children´s lives and make profits from safe products. ‘Green chemistry’ can replace toxic molecules with harmless ones. We can connect global climate change actions to environmental health strategies. If we replace coal-fired power, in the process we reduce not only carbon but also emissions of the tons of lead, mercury, hydrochloric acid, chromium, arsenic, sulfur and nitrogen oxides that cause autism, Alzheimer’s and other public health menaces.

In a riff on Pogo, let’s say, “We have met the heroes and it is us.” We cannot bury our heads and hope it will all go away. We cannot leave the job to someone else. Some may feel the problem is so massive, it’s best to pretend it doesn’t exist. But it isn’t more massive than we allow it to be. It’s totally within our reach.

We are mothers and grandmothers. There are 23 million children adversely affected by our toxic lives. That makes (more or less) 23 million mothers, 46 million grandmothers. We are a powerhouse. It is in our power to learn about what harms our children and to share our knowledge. It is in our power as a community of citizens and parents to demand action against the current harmful policies and practices and against the indiscriminate use of processes and practices that destroy and degrade all life on our planet.

Alice Shabecoff is the co-author with her husband Philip of Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on our Children, Random House. She’ll be participating in a call-in podcast episode of Living in a Chemical Soup next month. You will be able to ask questions and talk with Alice.
See her website,

Posted in green, healthy home, living in a chemical soup, mcs, News, Non-Toxic Living, non-toxic podcast | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Good Interview with Environmental Defense Fund Scientists

They’ve been asked many of the questions we all want to know.

From the article:

We recently had the opportunity to speak with two EDF scientists in this field: Richard Denison, EDF’s Senior Scientist specializing in policy, hazard and risk assessment and management for industrial chemicals and nanomaterials; and Caroline Baier-Anderson, EDF’s Health Scientist providing technical and scientific support on chemical regulatory policy, air toxics and nanotechnology.

Go to Toxic America: Time for Reform Interview.

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