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More Reasons to Stop Using Disinfectant Wipes

Last week I shared my mission to get disinfectant wipes out of the classroom. My reasoning focuses on the fact that conventional wipes are harmful to the classroom environment and can affect the health of both students and teachers.

What I didn’t include is how unnecessary and often ineffective they are. Plus they’re just wasteful and bad for the environment.

Our society has become antibacterial crazy. The truth is that some bacteria are good and we shouldn’t be killing all bacteria everywhere! Before we had antibacterial products, people used hot soap and water, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide to clean. Soap helps loosen and lift dirt, while alcohol and hydrogen peroxide damage cell structures and quickly evaporate.

Antibacterial products, on the other hand, leave a residue on the surface. This may foster the development of resistant bacteria - plus studies show that we just don’t need antibacterial agents.

"Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water."  

- Janet Woodcock, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Until 2016, antibacterial soaps used a chemical called triclosan as an active ingredient. In September 2016, the FDA announced a ban on the use of triclosan, and 18 other antiseptics, in antibacterial hand soaps. 

What is triclosan?

Triclosan is an antiseptic. It is a registered pesticide, that bioaccumulates (builds up in the body). 

Why is triclosan bad?

Yes,  the FDA banned the use of triclosan in hand soaps, but it can still be found in other other items like acne treatment, deodorant, cosmetics,  and other items which aren’t under the FDA’s jurisdiction like: 

  • plush toys

  • building blocks

  • craft supplies. 

Unfortunately, with these types of items there are no labeling requirements to inform consumers that they  include antibacterial agents.

But back to cleaning...

All of this information is a good reminder to use the appropriate cleaning agent for the job. We shouldn’t be using harsh chemicals when soap and water will do. 

It’s also a good reminder that we need to be vigilant consumers. Antibacterial products became very popular. When they came on the scene you could see the word “antibacterial” highlighted everywhere. Perhaps this was because of the scare tactics used in marketing resulting in increased sales. As I often tell my daughters - don’t to believe everything you see on the screen.



Lipstick, Safe Ingredients, and Breast Cancer Prevention for National Lipstick Day!

Today is National Lipstick Day and I LOVE lipstick! It has always been my go to way to spruce up my look. In middle school I would head to the Clinique counter to try a new color and get a free gift - BTW, how many free Clinique bags did you collect over the years?

You may be wondering what National Lipstick Day has to do with toxin free living? 

I don’t know about you, but lipstick was one of the first makeup products I switched. I couldn’t stand the thought of not only wearing but actually ingesting lipstick with questionable ingredients - ingredients linked with hormone disruption, skin irritation, or cancer. No thank you!

Not only do I love lipstick, I also love organizations that share in my mission of educating and advocating for change. The Breast Cancer Prevention Partners are leading this movement through science, advocacy, and education. Their Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is spreading the important education of paying attention to the ingredients in cosmetics - something you know I stand behind! 

If you haven’t yet seen it, I encourage you to check out this video, a quick synopsis from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on why choosing safe products is so important.  

Along with education, BCPP focuses on advocating for systemic reform around exposures related to breast cancer and they create scientific reports highlighting research to further support this cause. Policy change causes systemic change, a much greater impact in reducing the number of chemicals affecting us and the planet.  

As I hope you know, my mission with Detox by Design is to help women change their every day routines to be healthier and more toxin free, so I’m thrilled that Crunchi has partnered with BCPP. Today’s National Lipstick Day donation is a great way to both spread the word about the great work done by BCPP and provide funding to BCPP through simply buying a lipstick.

So grab your favorite shades today, ladies and wear your lipstick loud and proud! 

I’ll be wearing Marilyn!

DIY Label Analysis - Learn the Basics of Label Reading

Label reading is something I do for my Detox by Design clients, but there’s a DIY version I’m happy to teach for free!

Why should you analyze and ingredient label? 

Toxic body burden is the cumulative amount of toxins in the body. These come from what we expose ourselves to every day, like: 

AIR  FOOD  WATER  WHAT WE PUT ON OUR SKIN 

The level of a person's body burden is affected by their age, gender, disease status, nutritional habits, and genetic makeup. Dose, time between exposures, duration of repeated exposures, and interaction with other chemicals also contribute to an individual's personal factors. 

Our bodies can process some toxins, but if overburdened, they accumulate in the organs and tissues of the body. 

In essence this is why paying attention to ingredients and choosing safe products is so important. We don’t want to overburden our bodies with unhealthy elements.

As my greenwashing post shared, we can’t exactly trust product packaging, can we? 

How can you determine if a product is safe?

The first thing I do when considering whether I want to buy a product is check the ingredient label. First I look for these ABSOLUTELY NOT ingredients:

Then I search the EWG Skin Deep Database to see if they have a rating for the product.  If they do have a rating, then I make sure it is the same version as the product currently on the market and determine if the product and the ingredients meet my personal safety standards.

And if the product isn’t in the EWG Skin Deep Database… then I enter every ingredient into the database and determine if the ingredients individually are up to my safety standards. 

That’s a quick glimpse into my process. Yes it takes time and can be a bit annoying, but it’s worth it!



The sun is out! And so are the bugs!

Last month, I got some major bug bites, sand fleas, I think. They were so bad I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t stop itching. It was miserable! I finally got some relief from an epsom salt bath. It happened again the next night, and I ended up taking benadryl the next few nights so I could get some rest! (Yes, I need to find a homeopathic version of benadryl - if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them.)

I’m a huge magnet for bug bites and they are so annoying! Does this happen to you too?

Now that July 4 has past, we’re at the height of summer and the sun is finally making a more regular appearance in the Pacific Northwest. Warmer weather means more time outside (yay!) and temperatures that insects thrive in (boo!).

So besides citronella candles, wearing long sleeves and pants, staying indoors, how can we safely prevent bug bites? Here’s what I’ve found to make sure I’m not itching all night long.

DEET - What You Should Know

DEET, not to be confused with DDT, is the most effective mosquito repellant out there. According to many research articles it is still considered safe. However, those research articles are considering the “severe adverse effects” of DEET, not the long term health risks. In reading some of the articles summarizing the risks and benefits of DEET, I’m going to say “no thanks”. Not worth it. 

Popular Science may claim it is safe, but I’ll take my natural bug repellant and suffer with a few bug bites than risk nervous system toxicity. After all, we don’t have to worry about malaria, dengue, or yellow fever where we live.

Plus it’s not great for the environment. Because DEET doesn’t dissolve in water, it’s commonly found in groundwater systems, streams, and surface water.

DEET-free Bug Repellent

Greenerways Bug Repellent

I saw this stuff at Costco when I was earlier this spring and I grabbed it. A friend said it worked pretty well, but honestly, I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. Have you?

I’ve also heard good things about Pure Luxe Apothecary’s Herbal Bug Repellent

Do you have a favorite bug repellant that works? Please share!

 

Also, Check out this handy dandy tool - 

I’m guessing that even with my favorite natural bug repellant and other preventive measures, I’ll still get bitten. I learned about this cute little tool from a Facebook ad (silly, but true) and I had to grab it. The reviews are great and I’m hoping it really works! If not, no loss since it was only $10. The ability to extract the itch inducing poison sounds like a dream!

So how do you manage summer bug season? I’d love to hear your tips!





Mrs. Meyer's Products...Have I Been Greenwashed?

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Have you ever been greenwashed? I know I definitely have!

There’s something about a beautiful label that draws me in. That’s what it’s designed to do, after all! 

Marketers use clever labels and popular phrases to catch the eye and make the sale. When those phrases are focused on clean and eco-friendly living but the product itself isn’t exactly as clean as the label, that’s called greenwashing.

Greenwashing is when a company markets or presents itself as an environmentally conscious or that their products are safe and healthy - but in reality they aren't.

When I see terms like…

  • Vegan

  • Green

  • Eco-friendly

  • Non-toxic

  • Cruelty Free

  • Natural

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Free of… (parabens, preservatives, aluminum)

My greenwashing radar turns on. Most of these terms are unregulated and hold no real meaning.

Healthy living has become trendy. Marketers are paying attention, redesigning labels, and creating new product lines to fill this niche.

What about Mrs. Meyers???

Let’s chat about a brand that greenwashed me (and maybe you too)…

Mrs. Meyers:

  • Super cute packaging

  • Inspired by grandmotherly figure Mrs. Meyers

  • They claim: “All of our cleaners are made with plant-derived ingredients, essential oils, and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients.”

  • Sold on websites like Gove Collaborative and Thrive Market

But when you look past the clever marketing, are the ingredients truly safe? 

I spent a little time looking into each of the ingredients listed for the Basil Dish Soap

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Here is a diagram of the ingredients listed on their website. I listed the rating next to the ingredient for those ingredients rated lower than a B by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Six of the ingredients are rated a C or D! Additionally, the ingredients disclosed in “fragrance” are all rated a C and many aren’t even rated by the EWG. 

Also, Mrs. Meyers isn’t exactly a small family owned business. The parent company is SC Johnson. 

As I admitted earlier, I was totally greenwashed by Mrs. Meyers! I’m so glad I have the knowledge to choose safer products, not just those that say they are.

Once you start paying attention, you’ll see greenwashing everywhere!

Let’s Support Ethical Companies!

Transparency is important to me! I get very irritated when a company actively misleads customers. 

When we buy products, we are financially supporting the company and their product. 

Yes, it takes more time to determine which products are safe. Yes, it’s confusing to analyze an ingredient label. 

That’s why when I find companies I trust, I stick with them. (And I keep checking up on them to make sure they haven’t been bought out and reformulated their products.)  

While it may take more time to determine which products are safe and eco-consciously produced, it is important to do! Making informed purchases supports transparent and ethically minded businesses. 

So the next time you shop, look beyond the label and dive a little deeper. You might consider researching:

  • If the brand is owned by a larger parent company or corporation.

  • Where the product is made.

  • How the ingredients are sourced.

  • And if the ingredients live up to your personal safety standards

I hope you now feel confident to make informed decisions and can more easily spot greenwashers! 

Have you been greenwashed before? How did you feel when you realized you’d been misled?

Why YOU need to wear (safe) sunscreen every day!

Commit to wearing sunscreen EVERY day!

Commit to wearing sunscreen EVERY day!

Do you wear SPF every day? I admit it, I didn’t used to. But I recently made the commitment to wear it EVERY day. It is important!

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. My dad has had several malignant melanomas (thankfully all 0 stage or pre-melanomas) and my mom has had one pre-cancer cell removed. This is scary stuff.

There ARE safe sunscreens that can prevent skin cancer! Plus, a daily SPF protects against aging, wrinkles, and sun spots.

I often hear reasons why someone doesn’t need sunscreen. Like, “I’m in an office all day”, “I need the vitamin D” or “it’s raining, do I really need to wear SPF?”. I’m going to bust some myths and hopefully convince you to start wearing SPF every day. It is such a simple way to protect yourself!

I work in an office all day. I don’t think I need to wear SPF every day.

  • UVA rays can penetrate through glass. So you are exposed to damaging rays while driving. Plus you are exposed while walking into the office and during breaks.

  • This jarring photo of a truck driver from the New England Journal of Medicine shows just how damaging the sun can be while driving. This photo is a scary visual of what 28 years of sun exposure can do to the skin.

28 years of UVA ray damage from driving (NEJM)

28 years of UVA ray damage from driving (NEJM)

It rains all the time here, do we really need SPF? 

  • 95% of ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from UVA rays which are 30-50% more damaging than UVB rays. UVA rays are also around year round and come through cloud coverage. On cloudy days 80% of the sun's rays pass through the cloud filled sky.

I prefer to get my vitamin D as naturally as possible, through sun exposure. I don't think I need to use SPF on my face every day.

* I want to start by saying that getting natural Vitamin D through sun exposure is very controversial. I'm not a doctor and I'm not trying to be one. I'm simply sharing information.

  • It's true that exposing your skin to sunlight is a great way to get Vitamin D. HOWEVER, you don't need to tan or burn your skin to get Vitamin D, you only need about 15 minutes to get ALL the Vitamin D your body can produce in a single day. The paler your skin, the more easily your skin produces Vitamin D. The Vitamin D Council suggests only exposing your skin for 1/2 the time it takes to get burned. Then it is time to cover up, stay in the shade, and use sunscreen. You also get the most Vitamin D when you expose a large area of your skin, not your face. Exposure to UV light is one of the factors that leads to wrinkles, so we definitely don't want to skip sunscreen on your face, even when spending a few minutes outside getting that natural Vitamin D. 

  • You can get Vitamin D through the following foods:
    - Fatty fish
    - Beef liver
    - Egg yolks
    - Fortified milk and orange juice
    - Fortified cereals

  • You can also get Vitamin D through a supplement.

Safe SPF & My Favorite Sunscreens

I hope I have convinced you to wear SPF every day. Of course you also need to be aware of the ingredients in your sunscreen! There is a big difference between chemical sunscreen (one that absorbs into the skin) and mineral sunscreen (provides a physical barrier on top of the skin). I prefer mineral sunscreen because they work better and there are more mineral sunscreens with safe ingredients.

You know I’ve done my fair share of label analysis on sunscreens! And I’ve tried a ton! I’ve narrowed down my favorites to those that don’t leave my skin look white and ghostly.

My favorite face sunscreen is Crunchi Sunlight. It is broad-spectrum (blocking both UVA and UVB rays), and uses non-nano zinc oxide while also nourishing the skin with aloe, vitamin E, jojoba esters, açaí, and goji fruit antioxidants. It rubs in well and doesn’t leave the skin greasy or opaque like other mineral sunscreens.

For body my favorite right now is All Good. I think it rubs in better than ThinkSport or Badger, two other brands that use safe ingredients.

What other questions do you have about SPF? What are your favorite safe sunscreens and what do you like about them?

What?!? There are parabens in this? But my doctor recommended it! (if you’re not sure what parabens are...keep reading, I’ll get to it.)

So on Sunday, I was chatting with a new client during a virtual visit. (We’ll call her Sarah to keep her anonymous.) Before our call she sent me some photos of what she’s currently using. As I looked them over I immediately knew that Sarah might have some surprises during our call.  

You see, I’ve known Sarah for a while. I know for a fact that she’s really been trying to choose safer products. This fact was evident from her photos. There were some products that were totally safe and there were others that I used to use too...of course, that was before I started diving deep into ingredient analysis and product safety. Now, I wouldn’t touch those products with a ten foot pole.


Sarah was shocked when she read the ingredients of her current face wash. When I asked if I could share her story with you she said, “Yes! That facial cleanser blew me away!”


So what ingredients were on that label? Parabens. Yep, and lots of them!


If you’re not familiar with this common preservative, here’s some more info for you…


Parabens are often used as a preservative in health, beauty, and personal care products. The name paraben includes any chemical with “-paraben” within the name, like methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. Parabens are used worldwide and the health concerns include endocrine disruption, cancer, and developmental and reproductive toxicity. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has the best breakdown of research on parabens that I’ve found.


But back to our story about Sarah, honestly, I wasn’t surprised that there were parabens in her facial cleanser. It’s a super common preservative and if you’re not actively paying attention to ingredients, IT’S EASY TO BE FOOLED!


Opening Sarah’s eyes to the fact that her “doctor recommended” facial cleanser included a potential endocrine disruptor is exactly why I started Detox by Design. This information is important. EVERYONE deserves to know ingredients to look out for and which products aren’t safe.


I feel confident knowing that Sarah now has the information she needs to make safer purchases. AND she has a safe swap shopping list in hand so she’s prepared to swap out her products when she’s ready.  


Nice work, Sarah! You’re on your way to making informed, healthy purchases for you and your family!

Oven Cleaning Woes

My mom is super irritated by our dirty oven, right Mom?!? She even looks forward to times when she is at our house without me so she can use the “self-cleaning” function on our oven.

Have you used the self-cleaning cycle on your oven? Do you remember the smell? I do and that’s why I hesitate to use it.

What happens in “self-clean” mode?

When you use the self-cleaning function on your oven the inside heats up between 900 and 1000 degrees to burn off the food remnants. There are a few reasons why this is bad and not all of them are related to toxin free living.

Why you should skip self-cleaning your oven

It could potentially break your oven. Newer ovens have hidden heating elements beyond those you see on the bottom of your oven. These are harder to vent and keep air circulating, so at temperatures that sometimes reach over 1000 degrees, self-cleaning can cause fuses to pop and electrical panels to burn out. Sometimes the calrod element burns out. This is more likely the more times you use the self-cleaning option.

The enamel coating of ovens is made of a pyrolytic ground coat enamel and contains glass. This helps breakdown the food to ash. Unfortunately there are some potential health effects from the fumes released during the self-cleaning process.

  1. Carbon monoxide - according to the North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association, your self-cleaning oven can produce a concerning amount of carbon monoxide during the cleaning cycle.

  2. Self-cleaning can release toxic fumes that are dangerous for people who have asthma or respiratory issues.

Even though no one in my family has asthma or respiratory issues, I prefer to skip the self-cleaning function and use good old elbow grease. If it’s not safe for some, then it’s not good for my family either.

And those aerosol oven-cleaners are no good either. Easy-Off gets an F from the EWG. The warning labels are enough to scare me off!

So what CAN you use to clean your oven?

Two of my favorites, baking soda and vinegar. Here’s how:

  1. Remove all racks from the oven.

  2. Make a baking soda paste: Start with a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water and adjust the ratio until you have a spreadable paste.

  3. Spread the paste all over your oven. Coat the whole oven adding more paste in the greasier areas.

  4. Let it sit overnight for at least 12 hours.

  5. Wipe out the paste: Take a wet cloth and wipe it clean. You might need a spatula to scrape off the paste.

  6. Spray vinegar: Put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the portions that still have baking soda residue. This will create a foam.

  7. Wipe it clean again: Repeat step 6 until the baking soda residue is gone and your oven is sparkling clean.

  8. Clean your oven racks and replace them in the oven.

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The #1 Question I Get - Deodorant

I’ve been helping people switch over to safer products for over two years now, and deodorant is STILL the most asked question. I totally understand why too. “Natural” deodorant has become much more available and there are so many more brands because people are starting to pay attention to ingredients (thank you for voting with your dollar people). Unfortunately, many of these “natural” deodorants still contain some not so great ingredients - yep greenwashing. Even with deodorants that DO contain 100% safe ingredients, many of my friends and clients have struggled with what I like to call “pit rash”. It’s as annoying, unflattering, and also very common.

But before we discuss “pit rash”, let’s chat about why you should pay attention to the ingredients in your deodorant or antiperspirant.

  1. Aluminum-based compounds: This is the main ingredient in antiperspirant that plugs sweat ducts so you don’t perspire. Research suggests that these aluminum compounds have an estrogen like effect. Some scientists say that this estrogen effect contributes to breast cancer.

  2. Parabens: This is one of the more common ingredients that people know to look out for. You’ll often see “no parabens” listed on a label (but you should still check out the full ingredients list). So what are parabens? Parabens are a preservative that mimic estrogen in our cells. Scientists have found parabens in breast tumors.

  3. Propylene Glycol: A controversial ingredient associated with skin and allergic reactions.

I will admit that I was a long time Dove anti-perspirant user. If only I could go back and amend my ways…

Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom. Let’s chat armpits.

The dreaded “pit rash” is what often steers people back to traditional deodorant or antiperspirant even though they know they shouldn’t be using it.

So what exactly is “pit rash”? And what causes it?

SWEAT:

Our underarms are a very sensitive part of our bodies. If you’ve used antiperspirant for years, your body may be reacting to the fact that your armpits now have sweat on them. Weird but true. The good news is that once you switch to natural deodorants you will likely sweat LESS! But in the meantime, exfoliation can really help. 

BAKING SODA:

While baking soda can help absorb sweat and block odors, too much is not a good thing. Baking soda has an alkaline pH and can cause irritation. Your underarms might be extra sensitive to baking soda if the soap you are using is too harsh.

FRAGRANCE, PARFUM, or NATURAL FRAGRANCE:

Your “natural” deodorant may not be as health as you think. As I shared above, the term fragrance is proprietary and can hide over 3,000 chemicals within the term.

So you have the “pit rash”, what do you do?

If it’s bad you may want to see your health care provider. It may have gotten infected and need medical attention.

Be gentle with your pits - use a sensitive soap and moisturize well (be sure to check the ingredient label of your moisturizer!)

Try an armpit detox - it may sound weird, but a mask made of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar can be quite helpful for transitioning from traditional deodorants and antiperspirants and help if you have “pit rash”. 

  • Mix equal parts bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar in a non-metal bowl and apply a thin layer to each armpit. Leave on anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Wash off. 

  • You can repeat this as often as needed until the rash is gone and you’ve successfully transitioned to safe deodorant.

Wow! That’s a lot about armpits.

If you’re looking for safe deodorants, here are some suggestions:

Agent Nateur (my personal favorite)

Vermont Soap Company

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It's time to break up with disinfecting wipes.

Sure, it’s super easy to pop open a can, grab a wipe, and swipe down the counter top. But besides the waste factor, antibacterial/bleach wipes, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Bleach wipe labels often say they can be used anywhere to clean, disinfect, and kill 99.9% of germs, including viruses that kill the common cold and flu. But, if you take a minute to actually read the fine print, a few things stand out.

  1. “It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”

  2. “Use enough wipes for the surface to remain visibly wet for 4 minutes.”

  3. “For surfaces that may come in contact with food, a potable water rinse is required.”

Four minutes! And a water rinse?!? That’s not quick and easy!

The truth is we don’t always need to disinfect. Sometimes simply cleaning is enough. Sure, disinfecting is important when cooking raw chicken or if a family member is sick with the flu. But most of the time simply removing the germs through cleaning with soap and water is enough. Over-use of disinfectants leads to “super bugs” and antibiotic resistant bacteria - not good!

While most schools include bleach wipes on back to school supply lists, children shouldn’t be using them. Most labels include the warnings “store in area inaccessible to small children” or “keep out of reach of children”. Some states have even banned them from schools.

Here in Washington State, the Department of Health’s Guidance for Healthy Classrooms recommends fragrance free baby wipes instead. They also say that only teachers should be using district approved cleaners.

Even though I’ve been on this toxin free mission for a few years, I admit that I’ve been buying wipes for my kids’ school! I’m definitely a rule follower and I certainly don’t want teachers to have to fill in the gaps if the supply list comes up short. But next year I’ll be providing information and safer options instead of just buying the bleach wipes. I’ve already shared this information with my daughter’s principal and her teacher and I encourage you to do the same.

Besides the reasons listed above, a quick ingredient analysis shows us why we should avoid antibacterial wipes. Although manufacturers are not required to list all of the ingredients in their wipes, these are commonly found in many brands:

So now you know. And in the words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. And then when you know better, you do better.”

Photo by  Daiga Ellaby  on  Unsplash

Should I really care about what kind of shower curtain I use?

Have you ever opened up a package of plastic shower curtain and thought. Oh man, this thing smells like chemicals?

Me too.

Well guess what that smell is?!? Toxic gases being released from opening up the package. Yuck!

Ever heard of the term PVC and wondered why it’s bad. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and is sometimes just listed as “vinyl” on a package. In 2008, some Canadian environmental researchers from the Center for Health, Environment and Justice published a report explaining just how bad those shower curtains are.

The researchers tested PVC plastic shower curtains from Bed Bath & Beyond, Kmart, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart and found the curtains released 108 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some of the chemicals were still found in the air 28 days after taking the curtain out of the package and hanging it up. So much for airing out the chemicals…

So this report was written ten years ago, things have changed right? Well I did a quick search for vinyl shower curtains and found that Walmart still carries a 100% vinyl shower curtain. While the packaging doesn’t show what makes up the vinyl, it does include a warning required by California’s Proposition 65.

Some additional highlights from the report:

• Forty different VOCs were detected after 7 days; 16 VOCs after 14 days; 11 after 21 days; and 4 after
28 days.

• The level of Total VOCs measured was over 16 times greater than recommended in the U.S. Green Building Council and Washington State Indoor Air Quality Program guidelines for indoor air quality.

• Seven of the chemicals released by the shower curtain are classified as hazardous air pollutants by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.

• VOCs can cause serious health effects including eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney, and the central nervous system. Some VOCs can cause cancer in animals and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

So what’s a replacement for that plastic shower curtain? I recently bought this one for our family. I like that the fabric liner snaps off for easy washing.

Do you have a plastic shower curtain? Ready to make the switch?

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This is my "why"

Raising my daughters in an environment with minimal toxins - that’s the crux of my “why”. I know deciphering the confusing marketplace of household cleaning supplies isn’t always easy. I’m here to help you.

My journey to a toxin-free home started with wanting to make the best choices for my family but also feeling overwhelmed and confused, and lacking the time to make detoxing our home a priority. I know packaging contains misleading messages, so I’ve immersed myself in product knowledge and safe ingredients, all so you don’t have to.

Today, there are toxins in the environment all around us. We do however have some control over what we choose to bring into our homes. Give me about one hour and I’ll identify and remove the nasty products from your home leaving you with safer options and the knowledge you need to make toxin-free choices each time you shop.