Monday, June 1, 2009


I have been trying to phase out as many strange chemicals as possible from everyday life. This includes the ubiquitous Teflon and Scotchguard products (otherwise known as PFOA -- Perfluorooctanoic Acid) .. given some of the evidence slowly accumulating regarding the dangers they present to human health and the environment. The notoriously conservative Environmental Protection Agency in the States reported on the dangers of low level exposure to PFOAs back in 2003, which would indicate that a very real and likely under-reported risk exists. Just try searching online for info on this, you mostly get 'articles' put forward by the companies themselves. The chemicals in these products have been linked to cancer, immune system disruption, and more recently to infertility in women.
It's a challenging feat to remove this chemical from one's everyday environment, because it really is everywhere. It is found in food packaging such as microwave popcorn bags, carpet cleaner, spray cleaner, nonstick cookware, products like Febreeze, and is sprayed on most new soft furniture.

Some of the solutions I have found:

I make my own spray cleaner (dead easy and can be scented with essential oil, much better than
'Tahitian Vanilla' or some such horror..)

I ditched the old non-stick pan for an All Clad pan that was a little pricey but is a dream to use. We use it at least twice a day. (Here's a NYTimes article about one cook's search for a non-Teflon pan..)

I have a dog, so I steam clean the carpet pretty often. I recently tried replacing the cleaning solution with vinegar, and it worked beautifully. I've heard adding a bit of borax helps as well.

I'm not sure about the current couch, because I got it off of craigslist, but if I must buy new I try to support Ikea, as they have a good track record when it comes to chemical regulation. They don't use super toxic glues in particle board, unlike most manufacturers. And they also eschew spray treatments for soft furniture.


Anonymous said...

Do you have your own steam cleaner or do you rent? I have been wanting to do our carpets for a long time.

We switched to cast iron for our pans and I love it!