Thinking about skipping out on dusting while you clean your home? Did you know that even the smallest amount of dust can harbor harmful chemicals? According to a new study, researchers analyzed dust samples collected from homes in 14 different states. The results revealed 45 chemicals in dust that came from simple household products, such as vinyl flooring, furniture, cleaning products, perfumes, and even pizza boxes and popcorn bags.
The 45 chemicals were found in five classes of compounds: Phthalates, flame retardants, phenols, fragrances, and highly fluorinated chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health hazards such as hormone disruption, fertility problems, and cancer. Click Here
Children are more likely to be at a higher risk for exposure to these chemicals from dust, because children often crawl or play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths. “These categories of chemicals are certainly of concern,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, who was not involved in the study. However, the new research shows only that the chemicals are present in dust. Future studies are now needed to examine the extent to which these chemicals get in to the body and contribute to harmful effects on health, Spaeth said.
In addition, this new study explains that dust exposes people to multiple chemicals at once, as opposed to just a single chemical at a time. For this reason, more research is needed to better understand the exact health effects of dust exposure, the researchers said.
This makes it very difficult for consumers to avoid these chemicals, because many are found in common household items. Manufacturers are often not required to include the substances on the label. However, there are ways for people to reduce their exposure to chemicals in dust. These methods include washing hands frequently, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter, and opening windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the home, when possible.
Some companies have already banned some phthalates from children’s products, and the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a petition to ban phthalates from food packaging, according to researchers.
To find out more about this study, visit the website HERE
Dust is everywhere in your home, from under your bed to on your walls and, of course, on the floor. Did you know that not only is it a common allergy, but researchers have found that common household dust exposes people to harmful chemicals on a daily basis?
A team of researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University have found harmful chemicals in 90% of dust samples collected throughout the USA. As you read below, you’ll notice that flame retardants play a role in this study.
Ten harmful chemicals are found in ninety percent of the dust samples across multiple studies, including a known cancer-causing agent called TDCIPP. This flame retardant is frequently found in furniture, baby products and other household items.
Indoor dust consistently contains four classes of harmful chemicals in high amounts. Phthalates, substances that are used to make cosmetics, toys, vinyl flooring, and other products, were found in the highest concentration with a mean of 7,682 nanograms per gram of dust-an amount that was several orders of magnitude above the others. Phenols, chemicals used in cleaning products and other household items, were the number two highest chemical class followed by flame retardants and highly fluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware.
Chemicals from dust are likely to get into young children’s bodies. A flame retardant added to couches, baby products, electronics and other products, TCEP, had the highest estimated intake followed by four phthalates–DEP, DEHP, BBzP and DnBP. The intake numbers in this study probably underestimate the true exposure to such chemicals, which are also found in products on the drug store shelf and even in fast food the authors say.
Phthalates such as DEP, DEHP, DNBP, and DIBP, are not only found at the highest concentrations in dust but are associated with many serious health hazards. Phthalates are thought to interfere with hormones in the body and are linked to a wide range of health issues including declines in IQ and respiratory problems in children.
Highly fluorinated chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS are also high on the potential harm scale. These types of chemicals, which are found in cell phones, pizza boxes, and many non-stick, waterproof and stain-resistant products have been linked to numerous health problems of the immune, digestive, developmental and endocrine systems.
Small amounts can add up. Many of the chemicals in dust are linked to the same health hazards, such as cancer or developmental and reproductive toxicity, and may be acting together. Exposure to even small amounts of chemicals in combination can lead to an amplified health risk, especially for developing infants or young children, the authors say.
When it comes to buying a new mattress, there are options out there to make sure you get a mattress without flame retardants. When purchasing a 100% certified OMI mattress, you get NO synthetic materials and NO flame retardants – truly certified mattresses made with only certified organic materials in a manufacturing facility that is also free from chemicals. Employees do not smoke, wear perfumes, or wash their clothes with fabric softeners. Chemical sensitivities are becoming more common, so having an option to sleep without chemicals can be a life saver. Contact your local retailer for more information on our mattresses or click HERE.
We also offer a great Wool Underpad for platform beds. This way when you flip your mattress, it is free from dust that has gathered under it.
The days are getting shorter, leaves are beginning to fall and summer is officially over. Before settling in for the season, there are many ways we can look around our homes and ensure that everything is ready for the colder months ahead.
Here are some great eco-friendly tips for Fall:
Have your furnace inspected and cleaned.
Replace air filters
Clean your fireplace, to ensure maximum efficiency
Install a programmable thermostat
Ensure that all vents, baseboard heaters, and registers are free of obstructions so the air moves freely.
Open the blinds during the day to attract warmth. Close them at night to retain the warmth.
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. The fan should run clockwise so that is pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls to gently recirculate the warm air.
Check windows for air leaks and replace the caulking, if needed.
Ensure weather stripping around doors is in good condition and replace, as needed.
Don’t overfill your refrigerator as the cool air can circulate more easily with fewer obstacles.
Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer
Bring out your blankets, sweaters, and socks so you can snuggle up rather than raise your thermostat.
Add a blanket to your bedding to keep you warm during the cooler nights.
Clean your roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house.
Reduce your house temperature one degree at a time to help lower the energy used in heating your home.
Insulate your water heater and pipes. Turn the temperature on your water heater down to 120 degrees.
Shorten your shower times and install a low-flow showerhead to lessen water used and the energy to heat the water.
Now that your home is ready for the fall you can cuddle up, relax and enjoy the beauty of the season!
Spring is here! The sun is bright, the flowers are blooming, and I finally feel like I can venture outside again as the winter chill subsides. Then it happens…my eyes start to water, my nose starts to itch, and all of sudden, I sneeze. Spring is definitely here and with all the beautiful blooms and lush greenery, it ushers in allergy season. Allergies are like the awkward photobomber in the background of a perfect “besties, night-on-the-town” selfie. They are just so disappointing. My days should be full of long hikes in the woods, picnics at the park, and I should not be afraid to take a long, deep breath of fresh air each time I walk outside.
There are many ways to control your spring allergy symptoms. It usually entails going to the drugstore and perusing aisles and aisles of medications in search of the one pill or syrup that will soothe your symptoms without breaking the bank or transforming you into a character straight out of The Walking Dead. Fortunately, there are many natural ways to get relief from spring allergy symptoms, many of which have the added benefits of boosting your energy and your immune system.
Saline solution is an affordable and easily attainable natural option to combat nasal allergy symptoms. Most saline sprays are isotonic, which means the solution is the same saline concentration as in your body. It can help clear the nasal passages of mucus without harming the cilia (the little hairs in your nose that humidify air entering your lungs), trap bacteria to prevent them from entering cells, and aid your sense of smell. Using a saline spray or flushing your nasal passages with a neti pot on a regular basis can reduce inflammation and the risk of infection.
Steam is another great natural solution to spring allergy symptoms. A hot shower is probably the quickest way to clear your sinuses. You can also add a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water, cover the back of your neck and head with a towel, and breathe in the vapors. The steam helps moisturize dry nasal passages while the essential oils alleviate sinus congestion and respiratory symptoms.
Diet can play a big role in controlling and/or eliminating allergy symptoms, as well. There are many foods with properties that can help your body rid itself of histamines. The body reacts to an allergy stimulus by releasing histamines, which can cause inflammation of the nasal tissue, runny nose and eyes, and an itchy nose or mouth. Vitamin C is a natural and gentle antihistamine. It is found in leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and most fruit. Flavinoids, especially Quercetin, are a group of plant pigments that give many fruits, vegetables, and flowers their colors. They work to block the production of histamines and eliminate them in the body. Great sources of flavinoids are citrus fruits, onions, garlic, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, legumes, berries, and wine. Bromelain is found in pineapples and is another great anti-inflammatory. Spicy foods, especially those with cayenne pepper or chili powder, help to reduce nasal congestion and stuffiness. Lastly, omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, grass-fed meat, flax seed oil, hemp seeds, and canola oil have many anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce allergic reactions, too.
Tea, specifically green tea, rooibos, and those containing yerba mate are good choices for allergy sufferers. A recent study in Japan showed in lab tests that EGCG, a in green tea, helped prevent allergic reactions. Rooibos tea is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea that contains two flavinoids, rutin and quercetin, that block histamine production. Yerba mate is a South American herbal bush or tree that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids, which suppress autoimmune reactions in the body, decrease inflammation, and open respiratory passages. Make sure to avoid chamomile tea if you suffer from hay fever, as its properties can increase the severity of your symptoms.
Now you have a good list of natural ways to fight spring allergies! Don’t be afraid to enjoy the blooming trees and flowers and breathe in all the beautifully-scented air you would like. Happy Spring!
With Earth Day fast approaching, now is the time to start incorporating some eco-friendly ideas into your everyday life. In my search for fun ideas I came across several great ways to not only celebrate Earth Day, but keep the eco-friendly ideas going throughout the year.
Plant a tree
Clean up a park, lake, trail, river, beach, or other natural site
Go for a walk
Plant a garden
Start a compost pile
Make an indoor herb garden
Implement a recycling system, or ensure that your current system is the best it can be
Pay bills online
Stop paper bills and bank statements
Limit your water usage
Reduce energy consumption
Lower your water-heater temperature to save energy
Visit a farmers’ market
When shopping, bring your own reusable bags
Ditch the plastic water bottles and use a reusable bottle instead
Bring your own coffee mug when visiting a coffee shop
Check your home for water leaks
Plan a vegetarian meal once a week
Skip the baths and take a shower
Take a shorter shower
Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter to save energy
Eliminate excess junk mail by removing yourself from unnecessary lists
Use rechargeable batteries
Unplug appliances when not in use
Wash laundry in cold or warm water
Have a picnic
However you decide to spend Earth Day, be sure to try to lessen your impact on the planet by changing one thing you do. Be sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature!
Spring is a time of renewal, when seeds bring new life, animals come out of hibernation, and the Earth reawakens after winter. Many people use this time of year to refresh or renew some things in their lives. You can do this by gardening, cleaning, or getting rid of old items and replacing them with new ones. While replacing old items, why not replenish your bedding accessories with new organic and natural options?
Organic and Natural Bedding Accessories
Bedding is one thing that can definitely use replacing periodically. Once the winter is over, you might want to replace your bedding with some lighter-weight items that can help keep you cool during the warmer nights. Here are some accessory items from OMI that will make great additions to your new spring bedding!
Our Thermal Blanket is perfect for lightweight warmth, and is a great substitute for a comforter during the warmer seasons. The pebbly textured fabric is 100% organic cotton in a crepe weave. Offered from crib to king size.
Pearl Organic Sheet Collection
Since sheets are the closest to you during sleep, it’s nice to change them out for fresh new ones periodically. This sheet collection features 300-thread-count GOTS-certified organic sateen cotton in a creamy ivory. Each set contains a flat sheet and a fitted sheet. Twin and twin XL sets include one standard pillowcase; full and queen sets include two standard/queen sized pillowcases, and E. king and Cal. king sets include two king pillowcases.
Eco-Wool™ Moisture Pad
Wool is a great natural temperature regulator, keeping the body warm in the winter and cool in the summer. As well as helping regulate temperature, it is also naturally moisture resistant (not waterproof). Use this pad to help protect your mattress from soiling due to heavy night sweats, incontinence, or other moisture-related concerns. This seamless, woven wool protector has elastic corner straps and is available in sizes crib through king (crib and puddle-pad sizes have no corner straps). This pad should be rinsed only (no detergents).
Organic Cotton Flannel Mattress Pad
The Organic Cotton Flannel Mattress Pad pairs very well with the Eco-Wool™ Moisture Pad. Together, these pads protect the surface of the mattress and keep it looking great for years. Two layers of certified organic cotton flannel have been quilted together with a tape-edge finish, and have wide elastic corner straps (crib pads are fitted). This pad is seamless and machine washable.
Organic and Natural Pillows
Getting a new pillow can make all the difference in the world for your sleep, and since pillows are in close contact with your face, it feels great to replace them with fresh new ones. OMI makes a variety of pillows using an array of organic and natural materials. It should be easy to find one that is perfect for you!
100% Certified Organic Cotton Pillow
For those seeking a firmer, flatter pillow, our cotton pillows are filled with pure, sanitized 100% certified organic cotton. As with our wool pillow, they are available in three weights: light, medium, and full. (Please note: cotton pillows compress about one-half over time.)
100% Natural Rubber Latex Pillows
Our Molded and Contour pillows are sold with double covers. The inner cover is certified organic cotton mesh fabric, designed to ensure that the pillow keeps its shape and integrity for many years. The second (removable, hand-washable) envelope case is made from our certified organic cotton mattress cover fabric. The Molded pillow is recommended for back and side sleepers; the Contour is ideal for back or stomach sleepers.
In general, wool offers a soft and springy fill, and tends to sleep cooler and compact less than cotton fill. Like our other wool products, our Eco-Wool™ pillow resists dust mites. Available in three weights: light, medium, and full. (Please note: wool pillows compress approximately one-third over time.)
Wool-Wrapped 100% Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow
This dual-chambered pillow is a best seller! It is made with a center chamber of 100%-natural shredded rubber latex surrounded by an outer chamber filled with Eco-Wool™. This pillow is made with a zipper, so sleepers can remove material and customize each pillow to their personal preference.
The Crush 100% Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow
Adjustable and supremely comfortable, our Crush pillow is made without wool for ultimate resiliency. Covered with signature OrganicPedic® knit fabric and filled with 100%-natural shredded rubber latex, the Crush has a soft yet supportive feel, and can be adjusted to any height to meet the needs of individual sleepers.
Wool Wrapped Organic Buckwheat- Hull Pillow
In this dual-chambered pillow, the outside chamber, filled with Eco-Wool™, cushions both the feel and the sound associated with buckwheat pillows. The inner chamber is filled with organic buckwheat hulls. This pillow is made with a zipper, so sleepers can remove material and customize each pillow to their personal preference.
So this spring, while you’re taking out the old and bringing in the new, remember these wonderful organic and natural bedding accessories!
The hot summer weather is here and it is creating a drought, making water conservation a must. This year California businesses and residents were asked to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent to help save water. There are hundreds of things that you can do to help conserve water. Here are a few ideas that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life.
Minimize the number of dishes used throughout the day by designating a drinking glass for yourself. This eliminates the need to wash multiple cups.
When serving dinner, serve right out of the pots and pans, as this will eliminate additional dishes.
Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of using running water from the tap.
Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold water.
Dishwashers can use less water than hand washing, especially new energy-efficient models.
Collect water used for cleaning fruits and vegetables, drained from pasta, etc. to water your plants.
When doing laundry, wash in cold water, as it saves water and energy while helping clothes keep their color.
Also, when doing laundry be sure to match the water level with the size of the load.
Shorten your shower by a minute or two and save up to 150 gallons per month. If your whole family did this, imagine how much water your house could save!
Aim for 5-minute showers and you can save up to 1,000 gallons of water per year.
Skip the baths, as a full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
Turn off the water as you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
Be sure to check all faucets for leaks, as one drip every second can add up to 5 gallons per day! Also check all pipes, hoses, toilets, and faucets inside and out for leaks.
Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. This can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
In your yard, be sure to plant species that are native to your area, as they require less maintenance to flourish.
Start a compost pile or bin. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs to be watered.
Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks, and driveways, and save water every time!
When washing your car, use commercial car washes that recycle water. When washing your car at home, be sure to turn the water on only when rinsing.
Try to incorporate as many of these as you can, and see what a difference a few little changes can make to reduce the amount of water you use.