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Should Americans Fear Their Furniture?

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James Redford and Kirby Walker, directors of “Toxic Hot Seat” at Napa Valley Film Festival in California

Airing tonight on HBO is a documentary that explores the chemical-laden flame retardants contained in much of today’s furniture.

Here is an excerpt from the article, Should Americans Fear Their Furniture? by New York Times author Jane Margolies:

The pet hairs and red wine stains on sofas across America, it turns out, should be the least of our concerns. The real issue is what is in the foam cushions we curl up on every day: up to two pounds of flame retardants.

In their HBO documentary “Toxic Hot Seat,” scheduled to be aired on Monday, the directors James Redford and Kirby Walker disclose that these chemicals, as used in home furnishings, do not stop fires. They do, however, whoosh out of seat cushions when we plop down, hitching a ride on airborne dust and ending up in our bodies. They have been linked to cancer and other health disorders.

The film explores how a 1975 California law requiring retardants (Technical Bulletin 117) became widely adopted. And it follows the firefighters, scientists, health advocates, state legislators and investigative journalists who brought attention to the chemicals, leading to a recent reform of the California mandate — which the directors, who spoke from their homes in the San Francisco area, applaud.”

For the full article click HERE.

This issue was previous explored in the OMI blog “Makers of Flame Retardants Manipulate Research Findings.”

We at OMI continue to use a safer system that allows us to use organic wool as our only flame retardant. As a result, our mattresses are able to pass federal flame tests without the use of toxic chemicals or silica barriers. To use any form of chemical flame retardant in our products would violate our ethical standards and integrity. We stand by our purity so you and your family can have a safer place to rest your heads at night.

To learn more about OMI and the certified products we offer, click HERE

Are You Sleeping on an Oil Field?

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Here is an excerpt from the article “Are You Sleeping on an Oil Field?” by Channaly Philipp, about the health risks of traditional foam mattresses and the benefits of organic:

If you sleep on a conventional mattress (like most people do), you’re spending a third of your life lying on toxic chemicals. If this little-known fact has you tossing and turning, read on.

Since the 1960s, mattresses have been made of polyurethane foam, a material derived from petroleum that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The popular memory foam mattresses are made from this material.

But VOCs are only part of the cocktail of chemicals in foam mattresses. Required to be flame-resistant, foam mattresses are imbued with flame-retardant chemicals that can cause cancer and nervous-system disorders.

Walt Bader, a sufferer of a condition called multiple chemical sensitivity and the author of “The Toxic Bedroom,” had several mattresses analyzed by a lab in Atlanta in 2005. One memory foam model was found to emit 61 chemicals.

The next year, he published the first definitive list of chemicals outgassing from memory foam mattresses.

Nine of these chemicals are recognized as carcinogens by just about every significant health organization in the world,” Bader said on his website. “And do you know what has happened? Nothing.”

The outgassing is not only nefarious to people who suffer from respiratory issues, but some of the chemicals are also known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

As more people become educated about what they’re sleeping on, they are turning to organic mattresses and bedding in greater numbers.

.Organic mattresses, made of natural materials such as wool, cotton, and rubber latex, present an alternative to conventional mattresses and are becoming increasingly popular.

Wool is a natural fire retardant, and is excellent for regulating temperature and air circulation—a boon for anyone suffering from night sweats. The natural materials are also resistant to dust mites, which are a trigger for asthma and allergies.”

For the full article, click HERE.

You snooze, you….break the law?

SnoringOuthouse Who would have thought that there are laws about sleeping? Where are these ridiculous laws, and why did lawmakers feel that they were necessary?

Check out these strange sleep laws:

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma has a law that prohibits people from sleeping while wearing boots. However, wearing shoes to bed is perfectly acceptable.
  • In Minneapolis, Minnesota it is illegal to sleep naked, even in your own bed, in a home that you own.
  • In different parts of Maryland, a woman may not go through her husband’s pockets while he is sleeping.
  • In Clawson, Michigan they have a law that makes it legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, or chickens.
  • In the state of Washington it is illegal to sleep in another person’s outhouse without having their permission first.
  • In Logan County, Colorado it is illegal to kiss a sleeping woman.
  • Although it is thought to be common knowledge that sleeping while driving is highly dangerous, Tennessee ensures that there is no confusion by having a law that makes driving a car while sleeping illegal.
  • Pilots in Tulsa, Oklahoma must sleep 10 hours before flying two planes in one day.
  • Pennsylvania law prohibits people from sleeping on top of a refrigerator outdoors.
  • In Delaware it is not only illegal to sleep on a public bench it is also illegal to pretend to be sleeping.
  • Sleep laws do not apply to just humans but to animals, too. In Santa Ana, California it is illegal to let a horse sleep in a bakery.

So when you go to sleep tonight, make sure you are not wearing your boots while sleeping on top of your outdoor refrigerator (but only if you are in Tulsa or Pennsylvania).

Add A Little Softness To Your Life

As you are transitioning your bedding from summer to winter, think about adding a layer of comfort to the surface of your mattress with a natural rubber topper.

The Allura

Allura

This 2″-deep natural rubber topper offers surface softness without taking away the support of your mattress.  It’s made with a single core of USDA certified organic natural rubber latex sap, and covered with our signature OrganicPedic® knit quilting.

For more information about OMI pillow tops, click HERE.

 

A Salty Halloween Snack

Halloween is fast approaching and I am getting my house ready for trick-or-treaters. My simple Sea Salt Seeds are the perfect treat to enjoy while carving Jack-o-lanterns. Make them yourself using the seeds from carving pumpkins.

 Carved Pumpkins

Sea Salt Seeds

1. Cut the top off your pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Clean all the pumpkin goop off the seeds and rinse them well in warm water.

2. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and place seeds in boiling water for 10 minutes. This will help soften the seeds and make them easier to digest. Also, the steam inside the seeds will cook them more thoroughly.

3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. After boiling the seeds in water, place them in a colander, then gently pat dry with a paper towel (they don’t have to be completely dry, but shouldn’t contain too much excess water).

4. Place the seeds on a baking dish with olive oil and sea salt to taste. (Use 1 tbsp per cup of pumpkin seeds).

5. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Stir seeds on baking dish and cook for another 8 minutes.

6. Take out of the oven and enjoy!

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For some great variations, during step 4, replace the olive oil and salt with: 1. Cinnamon, sugar and butter

2. Fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

3. Ginger, clove, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg (for pumpkin-pie-spiced pumpkin seeds, mix with a little bit of butter)

4. Seasoning salt and olive oil

Foundations 101: Understanding Support and Function

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When buying a new bed, you might generally think about finding the right mattress, then dressing up your bed with new linens.  Often the foundation for a mattress is completely overlooked.  A foundation not only provides support, but can also help the mattress in other ways.

First, the foundation ensures proper air circulation, which helps lessen the chance of mold and mildew.  Second, it provides fabric-to-fabric contact so the mattress does not rub against a rough surface such as the wood or metal of a frame. Lastly, it allows you to adjust the height of the mattress from the floor.

Natural rubber mattresses are recommended to be placed on wood-slat foundations, while innerspring mattresses should be placed on box-spring foundations.

OMI offers both types of foundation:

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Our 8″ box-spring foundation is constructed with 2″-thick boards of cabinet-grade, untreated, kiln-dried fir. The heavy-duty steel springs (free of potential toxins from solvents and oils) are covered with a layer of durable organic cotton canvas, padded with organic cotton batting, then upholstered with the same organic quilting materials as our mattresses.

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Our wood-slat foundation is made of cabinet-grade, untreated, kiln-dried fir. A layer of durable organic canvas is placed over the 2″-thick boards, padded with certified organic cotton and pure wool batting, and upholstered with the same organic quilting as our mattresses. Slats are spaced approximately 2.5″ apart. The wood-slat foundation is made in several different heights: 2”, 3.5”, 8”, 10”, and 12.”

You don’t need a foundation if you have a platform bed. The slats on the platform bed should be between 2” and 3” apart and between 2” and 3” wide.  If your platform bed consists of a solid surface, the mattress will not ventilate properly and will be subject to mold or mildew. We recommend our Wool Underbed Pad to protect your mattress from rubbing on the slats and developing wear over time.

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For more information about OMI or to find a retailer near you, click HERE.

Soupy Decisions

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With the weather getting cooler and the food getting warmer, soup is the first thing I start to crave. Favorites like chicken soup and tomato soup are always great, but this fall I wanted to try something new. There are so many great ingredients that you can throw together to make a delicious-tasting (and healthy) soup! These great recipes are sure to broaden your soup horizon.

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From Top Left to Right:

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Asparagus Soup

Broccoli White Cheddar Soup

Mushroom Chestnut Soup

Creamy Broccoli Basil Soup

 

 

 

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