Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Tips: 3 Hidden Household Toxins

I have never really given too much thought to my lifestyle. I am one of those people that lives a bit off mainstream philosophies, I casually say off the beaten path, just a tad. To me, I believe in living a life that has a minimal impact on the environment and I am thrilled "Being Green" is hip these days. Just thrilled. Toxins present themselves in many forms a thousand times over through out our day. I like to give myself a fighting chance against some toxins that haven't yet been pulled from the market, making them more of hidden risks, many you may not even think of. Sadly, sometimes I feel that our government protects large corporations before it protects our health. 

Born from my lifestyle, comes Tuesday Tips. I've decided to share some of the things with you, that I don't give a second thought to, but maybe it may have never occurred to someone else, that it could be potentially toxic. I am even offering up alternatives, for the most part, they aren't even more expensive. This is not a paid endorsement for these products. This is just how I live my life. You may think I am neurotic and once again, I will quip with, this is just how I live my life. As you will quickly read, I am not presenting hard evidence, we all make our own decisions and the information is out there for you to decide.

These are simply some things to give a second thought to. 

Hidden Toxin: PVC Clear Shower Curtain Liners:
For years, the smell of my shower curtain liner would just annoy me. My liner of choice was a PVC or polyvinyl chloride, clear plastic. Same thing many of our children's blow up toys are made from, such as blow up pools. The aroma is definitely unforgettable, the bottom line is because it's toxic. A strong chemical smell is never a good thing. One of the biggest toxins found in PVC is phthalates, which has already been removed from many children's toys because of it's toxicity to the body. For much more information, google pvc shower curtains or click on this article.

Alternative: Fabric Shower Curtain Liner:

Right next to the vinyl shower curtain liners, are a much healthier alternative. Fabric shower curtain liners are 100% polyester. For now, it's a step in the right direction. No toxic fumes, machine washable. Maybe $2-$3 dollars more. Target for $9.99.

Toxins in House Paint- Volatile Organic Compounds:
Partner your PVC shower curtain liner with some paint right off the shelf at a local big box retailer or paint store and you will seriously up the toxicity level of the air in your house. Remember the, if it smells toxic it probably is line? There are minimally more expensive alternatives to paint containing toxic fumes. Basically VOC's start to add up in our homes, they come from many sources, and the level of VOC's is much greater inside than out. Opening windows sure does help, but purchasing low or no VOC paint is a better choice. Once again, we are brought back to toxins that are at the fume level in our homes, we can't see them, but the chemicals become a part of our system. Report from the EPA on VOC's.

Alternative- Sherwin Williams, GreenSure Initiatives Line:
Most mainstream paint companies have started to come out with low VOC paints. Some even take it a step further and have created NO VOC paint lines. I purchased the Harmony Line when we painted Sj's nursery, five years ago, which was one of the few low VOC lines on the market, and now I believe it's even NO VOC. I commend Sherwin Williams for using sustainable materials such as soy and sunflower oil in their paints, recognizing environmental impact in our homes as well as in manufacturing. Sherwin Williams GreenSure Initiatives.

Teflon Non-Stick Cooking Pans:
Now I will be the first to admit, that the jury is still out on Teflon. There is plenty of evidence to show the chemical materials used in production of Teflon, called PFOA and PTFE have been linked to birth defects and cancer in laboratory animals. But is it toxic to humans? Toxic chemicals are emitted from the pans when they are overheated, which is fairly unlikely in a typical household.

This is one of the biggest battles my husband and I face in our home right now. Quite honestly I don't want to own any, but cooking eggs and pancakes in a stainless steel pan or even a Le Creuset is just a clean up nightmare. Although I have told my husband I'd rather scrub a pan that doesn't have the potential to kill me over easy clean up. I have thrown away our one and only non stick frying pan and hopefully another one will never return in it's place. The blogs and articles on Teflon are endless. Find a source you trust and make your informed choice.

The GreenPan- Teflon Alternative:
If you are fortunate enough to have a cast iron skillet handed down from your grandmother, count your blessings. For the rest of us, a non-stick skillet really does have a place in the well stocked kitchen. While doing my research for alternative egg pans, I found a new Non-Stick Technology, called GreenPan™.

GreenPan™ stands for:
Temperature resistance up to 450°C (850°F)
No toxic fumes are released if overheated
High Quality Non-stick
Durable and highly scratch resistant
0% PTFE & 0% PFOA
Environmentally friendly production, significant reduction in CO2 emissions in production.

Where to find it, online or Martha Stewart GreenPan collection from Macys. I purchased a 11" skillet last week, with a coupon for $24.99, about the same price as a decent Teflon pan. It's been working fabulously.

Hopefully, the Tuesday Tips will be something to look forward to. I welcome any inquiries you may have on related topics! I am always learning something new.


  1. Interesting tidbits - and definitely things I'll be thinking about when we move and start to set up our new apt!

  2. What a great post i look forward to finding out more.

  3. When I was pregnant with baby girl the smell of shower curtains drove me absolutely insane and now I know why!

  4. Very informative. I'll have to get those shower curtains from Target.

  5. This is a great idea! I'm going to check the GreenPan!

  6. Awesome, awesome tips...I never even thought about my shower curtain. Thanks!

  7. I like your Tuesday Tips idea, great tips today. I feel the need to go buy a new shower curtain liner. Haha.


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