BATHROOM TOWELS AND SHOWER CURTAINS Most plastic shower curtains and liners are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and offgas VOCs. PVC-containing shower curtains can emit more than 100 chemicals according to studies by the Center for Health. Choose linen, organic cotton, hemp or chloride-free PEVA vinyl. Try to choose towels that have been made using materials like organic cotton that have been grown without chemicals. Also, beware of any “waterproof” products, as they may be treated with chemicals like perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).
WHERE TO BUY: THE EAST COAST ORGANIC MATRRESS STORE theeastcoastorganicmattressstore.com
SAFETY TIPS Remove mold! According to Jaclyn Rhoads of Residential Mold Services, if the mold growth is covering less than 10 square feet, you can treat it yourself by following EPA guidelines for cleaning.
BATH PRODUCTS According to Aly Cohen, MD, FACR, a certified rheumatologist and integrative medicine specialist at Integrative Rheumatology Associates, the average American woman applies up to 12 personal care items, and the average man up to six, to their skin each day. That could add up to roughly 126 unique ingredients. Choose soaps, body washes and shampoos free of synthetic fragrances, dyes and chemicals like like phthalates, which have been linked to hormone disruption and birth defects.
WHERE TO BUY: SPOTTED HILL FARM spottedhillfarm.com
VOLTA ORGANICS voltasoap.com
THE URBAN CABIN SOAP CO. urbancabinsoapco.com
HAND IN HAND SOAP handinhandsoap.com
ALWAYS MINERAL alwaysmineral.com
DON’T BRING IT IN DITCH THE DRYER SHEETS: According to Michelle Schoffro Cook, author of The Brain Wash, there are seven common chemicals found in the average dryer sheet, including chloroform, which is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list as neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
Mold is a moisture control issue. It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth. Use a bathroom exhaust fan that is vented outside. A fan that is not vented outside might move air, but it keeps moisture in the house. Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Rhoads recommends white vinegar. Wear gloves, goggles and a face mask when cleaning. Do not investigate hidden mold problems on your own. Disturbing sites of mold growth can lead to a release of spores. Call a professional. If renting, exercise tenant rights to have mold removed; see Tenant Union Representative Network (rturn.net)
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Life Finds a Way: A knotty, tangled love affair with a complicated forest in Germantown