Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is your babies nursery toxic ?

6 things you can do for a healthier nursery

1. Bed / cot - Avoid particle boards and wood products that are bound together with glues.
    Glues often contain formaldehyde - a carcinogen that offgasses / releases fumes.
    Solution - choose hardwoods, with low VOC or zero VOC paints and stains.

2. Mattress - Avoid polyurethane foam & flame retardant chemicals.
    Solution - choose natural fibers such as wool, organic cotton.

3. Sheets & blankets - avoid synthetic sheeting and blankets, avoid crush free products as these
    often contain formaldehyde.
    Solution - organic cotton sheeting and blankets, wool blankets

4. Wall art - avoid plastic artwork / decals as plastics release VOCs (fumes) into the air
     Solution - opt for timber, cane/rattan or fabric decor items

5. Toys - Avoid plastics as they release VOCs and  contaminate indoor air, also if mouthed by babies
    can leach phthalate chemicals that are hormone disruptors.
    Solution - Choose toys that are made from hardwoods with natural non toxic stains, fabric items

6. Plants assist with cleaning indoor air - Add a hanging plant in the room to help clean the air

Monday, November 7, 2011

Top 10 + 1 reasons

Why wool products are a great option 
for a healthy home.
image courtesy of greenworld365

  • Wool fibre takes only a small fraction of the energy used to produce synthetic fibre.
  • Wool is a natural fibre and low in toxins and odours (VOCs).
  • Wool is naturally fire resistant, no need for flame retardant additives.
  • Wool has high level of insulation capacity - great for carpets and rugs - sound proof insulation for noise reduction.
  • Wool has a natural water resistance - water beads on top of fibres, great attribute for carpets and soft furnishings.
  • Natural wool is a renewable resource and biodegradable.
  • Wool is a soft comfortable fibre.
  • Wool has a unique crimp structure which gives it natural bounce and durability - natural cushioning.
  • Wool acts as a filter, helping to clean the air within the space - wool is able to remove formaldehyde from indoor air.
  • Wool fibre breathes which allows the fibre to dry when wet - minimising potential for mold.
  • Wool is easily accessible in many colours and textures.

read more - CSIRO report

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Asthma - prevention starts 
in the home

I love it when a scientific conclusion is released to the public that further supports common sense. So often we get caught up in daily routines and sucked into marketing campaigns that lead us astray. Many believe that if a product is being advertised on television and sold in the store that its safe...well science suggests otherwise.

What some once thought may have been safe levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the home are now perhaps hazardous to children and responsible for respiratory illness. Remember that VOCs often don't have a scent, so the only way to avoid VOCs is try to avoid products containing chemicals. VOCs can lurk in some building materials, carpets, floor coverings, furniture, rugs, window coverings, light fittings, home cleaners, air fresheners, bug sprays .....and more. Although you may read this list and think its all too hard I just wanted to let you know that it really isn't. Once you start to read labels is amazing how easy it is to identify " better choices ". Most products these days have a "better choice" option.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baby its cold outside !

Its a cold Melbourne winter, foggy crisp mornings filled with rainy grey days and short blissful bursts of sunshine. With the chill outside we are closing up our houses and turning up the heat to escape the cold.

A winter tip for a healthy home is to bring the outdoors in with greenery.....plants will help you keep your indoor air healthy. While the house is all closed up for winter and materials and finishes in the house are heating up (heat encourages off gassing of volatile organic compounds - VOCs ) its a good time to add a few plants to assist in cleaning your indoor air especially when ventilation is minimised.

In our buy it, upgrade it, replace it society good old nature gets another gold star - indoor plants win this weeks gold award for functionality, affordability, beauty and good health ! But don't take my word for it -

" In 1973 during the Skylab III mission, NASA identified 107 volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that were emitting (offgassing) from synthetic materials inside spacecraft. As a result, NASA realised that indoor air pollution in any tightly sealed structure could present health related problems and should be addressed. In 1989 EPA reported to the U.S congress that they had detected more than 900 VOCs in the air of public buildings." citation from http://www.wolvertonenvironmental.com/air.htm    In further studies conducted by NASA it was found that plants were capable of removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that had been outgassed.

Wolverton Environmental Services has done some amazing work in establishing which plants assist to remove particular chemicals from indoor air. For further info visit http://www.wolvertonenvironmental.com/airFAQ.htm.

So snuggle up this winter with Janet Craig or English Ivy !
(botanical name Dracaena deremensis and Hendra helix)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I have always thought there is something very unnatural about drinking water that has been called medicated with fluoride. This video is an insight into where fluoride comes from and having watched this I now know why my intuition was screaming that its not a good idea...  Do you know what is really added to your drinking water ?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

May 2011 bring health & happiness to your home

Happy new year to all that pass through....

2011 is looking like an exciting year with lots of opportunities to learn new things and meet new people.
I am looking forward to continuing to design greener kitchens for my clients and helping families create functional inspiring, beautiful low emission spaces for their homes.

Kitchens are the food hub of the home, a choice center for the way we live and choices we make that directly affect our home, health and the environment. Many lifestyle choices that we make effect the health of our families. Many of these choices indirectly pass through our kitchens either consciously or unknowingly.  Some of the issues I hope to explore this year are kitchen gardens - self sufficiency, kitchen gardens and design thoughts,  food storage options and products, organic vs conventional, food lifestyles such as raw living, energy efficiency - appliance choices, food preparation planning outcomes, pest control choices, heating choices, ventilation decisions, product choices and hidden chemicals in brands we trust ... and so much more.

I will continue to ask What, How and Why -  taking some time to question why we do what we do and how we can do things better, healthier and cheaper. Insights into things that may help you make quicker healthier choices for your family - as you can see from previous posts even toilet paper isn't off limits.  Every product and service we buy for our families has a story some with scary plots and others inspiring. In our busy lives we don't have time to ask for the story behind every product or choice we need to make, so hopefully healthy home insight can shed some light on a few issues you may not have thought of ..

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A taboo subject - up close and personal

What do we get up close and personal with each day !

This clip shows recycled paper being used to make toilet paper.  
What is interesting about this clip is what is NOT said, but seems an obvious question !
What solutions and chemicals are used to break down the paper, remove the inks, bleach and starch the paper ?
I recently had a discussion with someone where the issue of toilet paper chemicals was raised along with health concerns and skin irritation such as itching, soreness and redness in places we don't discuss.  Since that discussion I have raised this issue with a few people and it has been interesting to note that a few people have mentioned their concerns and sensitivities ....   I had not given any thought to loo paper however given the direct and intimate contact we all have with this product and the chemicals used perhaps its something that should be added to the list of items to carefully consider.  

Recycled content toilet paper traps by Greenliving.com 
"Buying toilet paper made from recycled materials is great but even this can present some challenges.
Recycled paper needs to be deinked before it is pulped and processed. This deinking process may involve chlorine to bleach the paper. Chlorine based chemicals can react with paper fibers to create toxic compounds such as dioxin and organochlorines.

Dioxins cause cancer, learning disorders, decreased immune response, diabetes and all sorts of other nasty problems in the environment. By the way, the same chlorine issue is prevalent when using virgin-fiber based toilet tissue too.

When shopping for earth friendly toilet paper look for statements such as "unbleached", "processed chlorine-free" or "totally chlorine free."