Thursday, July 31, 2008

Congress Banned Three Phthalates in Children’s Toys

Good news parents! Congress has banned the use of three dangerous phthalates that are used in products for children under 12 years of age. Finally! The ban will take effect in 6 months so toys containing these chemicals may still be sold during the coming holiday season. Couple of years back, Europe banned six of the phthalates; in the U.S. the other three phthalates require extensive testing and is part of a major piece of legislation overhauling the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Arghhhhh! OK, let's focus on the positive: 3 down!

For getting tips on how to chose safe toys, go here!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Labeling of Organic Textiles

Are organic labels on textiles green washing or not? It turns out they're legit and fairly regulated in the US, here's the facts:
According to the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations, USDA regulates the term “organic” as it applies to agricultural products through 7 CFR Part 205. The regulation covers the raw natural fibers (such as cotton, wool, flax, etc.), as being agricultural products covered under the NOP crop/livestock production standards. Therefore, the off-farm treatment of raw organic fibers is not covered under the NOP crop/livestock production standards. Although the NOP has no specific fiber or textile processing and manufacturing standards, it may be possible for fibers grown and certified to NOP crop/livestock standards to be processed and manufactured into textile and other products which meet NOP standards.

Only textile products certified to the NOP production and processing standards are eligible to be labeled “100 percent organic” and “organic.

So what's in a name? There are three main categories:

100 percent Organic

  • 100 percent organic fiber content.
  • Only organic processing aids.
  • USDA Organic seal may be displayed on final product, in marketing materials, and in retail displays—in proximity to certified products only.
  • All operations producing, handling, processing and manufacturing the final product must be certified.


  • Minimum of 95 percent organic fiber content.
  • 5 percent non-organic substances, as listed in Section 205.605 of the NOP regulation.
  • No non-organic fibers.
  • USDA Organic seal may be displayed on final product, in marketing materials, and in retail displays—in proximity to certified products only.
  • All operations producing, handling, processing, and manufacturing the final product must be certified.

Made with Organic Ingredients

  • Must contain a minimum of 70 percent organic fibers. However, all fibers identified in these textile products as “organic” must be produced and certified to NOP standards.
  • May identify specific fibers as being organic if certified to the NOP crop/livestock standards.
  • May state the percentage of organic fibers contained in the final product.
  • May not use the USDA Organic seal.
  • May not imply or lead the consumer to believe that the final product is certified organic.

What Organic Means?

Organic fibers (cotton, hemp and linen) are grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides or fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation or genetic engineering, and are certified by an accredited independent organization. Strict laws and regulations are enforced by US Department of Agriculture and have been in place since 2002.
Organic wool
must be produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production and this include:livestock feed and forage used from the last third of gestation must be certified organic; use of synthetic hormones and genetic engineering is prohibited; use of synthetic pesticides is prohibited; and producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices.
Organic leather
means that the hides used are from animals that are organically fed and humanely raised, and the tanning process uses plant tannins, vegetable tannins or smoke to cure the leather. This means that there is zero toxicity from the run at the tanning facilities.

Some brands and designers that are using organic fiber, wool and leather are:

C&A (Europe) Disney Nordstrom Gaiam Hanna Andersson
Hess Natur (Germany) Nike Macys IKEA Indigenous Designs
Howie's (U.K.) American Apparel REI Gap, Inc. Linda Loudermilk
People Tree (U.K.) Patagonia H&M Eileen Fisher Bloomingdales
Monoprix (France) Marks & Spencer (Europe) Levi Strauss Diane von Furstenberg and many more....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Going Green:Product Review of the Week - Hardwood Floor Cleaners

I am using Bona (by BonaKemi) for almost 2 years and I am still very happy about the results. It keeps my floor looking like new; it does not leave any residue and it cleans the dirt from the floor very well. It works well on the ceramic floor also. The product is non-toxic and most importantly is Greenguard certified since 2006 (it was the first-ever hardwood floor finishing company to earn The Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certification for their products).

You can find a list with the dealers on their website but the best deal I found is on Amazon.

“From effective dust containment to low-VOC, high performance waterborne finishes without harmful fumes, to non-toxic floor care products and systems, the Bona system offers the cleanest and healthiest hardwood floor finishing system available.”

I strongly recommend this product; it is a good one to add to your green collection.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Radon Found In Granite Countertops

Update : Radon Found In Granite Countertops

A friend of mine pointed me to this article in New York Times talking about radon emissions from granite countertops. I had no idea that the granite can emit radon and of course, the first thing I thought about the granite countertop in my kitchen. Is it safe or not? I just tested the house for radon last winter and it was fine, but I did not test the kitchen. I wonder how far should we go with the testing around the house; probably everything is emitting some levels of something that is risky for our health. However, I think the article is worth to read – if not, just to find out that there is something more to add up to the pile of chemicals and gases that impacts our health. Should I will have my granite countertop tested too?

13 Things I changed That Made Me Greener

A friend of mine, who is not too much into the green stuff, asked me recently what I did during the last year that helped me become greener. There were things that I did always like recycling, but I will try to compile the list as I do them now as well. To become green, it takes time; I am not the kind of person who would change over night and I do not have the budget anyway. But this is what I did and I continue doing it and I think it would be easy for everyone, and hopefully convince my friend to start little by little changing those old habits.
  1. Recycle – this is the easiest to do. I do recycle everything possible – plastic/paper bags, light bulbs, electronics, cardboards, cans, plastic/glass bottles, food packaging, junk mail, etc. Bring your bags when going to the supermarket or the farmers market.

  2. Ventilate well your home every day. Stop using air fresheners since the indoor air is more polluted that the outdoor air anyway. Stop using insecticides and pesticides for your plants. I do not use anything for caring for the plants, except water and cleaning the dead leaves and they look very nice and healthy.

  3. Use energy efficient light bulbs – I switched to compact fluorescent bulbs in the entire house; it took a while to get used to the new light though.

  4. Use recycled paper products – I use bathroom tissues, paper towels made from recycled paper. I am still working on napkins and facial towels – I need to find something that will not scratch my nose when I get through a flu or cold.

  5. Use cloth instead of paper for cleaning. I have always preferred to use cloth for cleaning the bathroom, the kitchen or even wiping the dust from the furniture. I usually, use old tea shirts. This can help to reduce the garbage in our landfill.

  6. Get rid of the plastic. I eliminated all bad plastic from my house; I changed the plastic food containers with glass containers and I do not buy water in plastic bottle anymore. This was also based on the news related to the chemicals found in plastic. For a more comprehensive review of good and bad plastic you can go here.

  7. Use green cleaning products. I changed the cleaning products one by one, and I tried several until I found the ones that are actually working. Not all of them are doing a good job; however, expect to work a little harder on scrubbing than used to. I am very proud I did this since I started to hate the chemicals from the bottom of my heart. I made a review of some of the products I use on the Product Review of the Week category.

  8. Do not use the printer unless necessary. I started to think well before I use the printer and I use it less and less.

  9. Install a water filter. I installed a basic water filter that is supposed to reduce some of the chemicals in the water. I buy still and sparkling water in glass bottles as well.

  10. Get natural/organic personal care products. The problem with the personal care products is that they are not regulated so buying natural or organic does not give us any assurance that their claim is true, unless it provides the certification. There are some products that are certified by USDA and have the USDA organic seal, but you can also use the SkinDeep database to help you get products with less chemicals.

  11. Do laundry the green way. I changed my washer and dryer and bought energy efficient ones; to be sincere I changed them because they were rather old and it was about time to change them. But it was a good deal in the end (got them in some sale and also received some money back from my utility company) and I could say that this was the major change that I was able to see it on my bills. Some additional advices would be: wash full loads (which probably everyone does) and hang dry if possible. I hang dry everything except the bedding lingerie, towels and other things that are large and I cannot take outside. I like the fresh smell of the outside dried yarns.

  12. Buy organic food products. This can be expensive. What I do is to buy more meat when in sale and keep it in the freezer for the next meal; it is better this way than eating conventional meat. Eat more poultry even it is conventional - the poultry is not fed with hormones. The pork is not fed with hormones either. Buy your fruits and vegetables local. I do subscribe to a local farm and I get fresh vegetables every week; I got in love with it but I still need to supplement it with fruits and some additional vegetables. If you cannot buy only organic, try to buy organic only those vegetables and fruits that have the most pesticides on them and go conventional for those with less pesticides. You can go here for a complete list.

  13. Green my kids – well this is a whole different category, I will talk another time about it.

Probably this is not much by some standards, but I feel I changed a lot not only through the things done in my house but in my mind as well. And above all, I feel that my family is leaving a healthier life, with fewer chemicals. I am not doing drastic changes (for example, changing all my furniture with eco-friendly/organic one); I will do the change when the time is up for them. Also, prices on green things are coming down, so doing what's now affordable and needed will take you a long way. (Of course, if you're filthy rich do change everything :) but keep in mind there is so much greenwashing out there that you have to be careful. When I decide to change and buy something I learned to carefully look up for regulations and certifications to avoid scams and fakes. I hope this list will help!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Children's Place - the Devil Is In the Details

After the recent recall of the Children’s Place pajamas due to excessive lead in paint, I wrote to Children’s Place and asked them what kind of paint are they using since there was excessive lead in their pajamas. I assumed that they are using lead-based paint since the recall was because of the excessive lead. Since there's a lot of creative writing in the recall document, there has to be creative reading: expect the worse cover-up and ask direct questions. They replied stating that the case “was an isolated incident”. I was not so happy with their answer (the lack of a direct answer, that is) so I sent them another e-mail asking what kind of paints are they using and I added questions about flame retardants used in pajamas and other of their clothes, whether they are using chemicals for stain-proofed and water-proofed clothes. Another person answered my e-mail and she repeated the previous non-answer: that was “an isolated incident”, yada yada, best regards kind of stuff. I wrote the 3rd email starting with the fact that they did not answer to none of my questions and then I repeated the questions. A 3rd person wrote me back the following:

"Thank you for contacting Customer Service with your questions. All prints and screen prints are tested for lead and meet all lead requirements.

The print stuff varies depending on the types of printing, but all paint meet lead requirements. Stain proof is in RTW and perhaps Derong Tu. The yarns are treated and the chemicals meet all government requirements. We sincerely hope we have answered your question.

If we can be of further assistance please contact us at 1-877 PLACE USA or visit us at"

Again, they dodge the answers. I would like to know what kind of chemicals are they using in treating their products but given the avoided and then the ambiguous answers I have no doubt that they are using harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, bromine, caustic soda, and many other chemicals used for finishing. I know, if it’s not organic it’s not kosher! But having lead in children’s clothes while it is banned in children’ furniture should make anyone angry. So, if you bought cotton pajamas (from Children’s Place) thinking that they are free of flame retardants….well you may put on your children’s skin other chemicals – who knows what! Apparently they can't control their supply chain, they buy sight-unseen stuff from 3rd party manufacturers and test to the minimal regulation requirements. That's what transpires from the e-mails.

I started to write to some more other companies that are manufacturing children clothes and I still wait for answers. Until then, I will not shop at Children’s Place again. I wonder if there is any independent lab that does testing like those for toys and cars; anyone heard about one?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Going Green: Product Review of the Week - CFL Bulbs

Our local stores have CFL bulbs with discounted prices and when we found the GE bulbs for less than $1 each we decided to go for it and change the bulbs in the whole house. We got a combination of 15W and 23W (same light intensity as the 60W and 100W incandescent bulbs respectively). At the $1 price the bulbs pay for themselves quite soon (considering the kids that leave the light on everywhere they go), so we decided that spending $40 on bulbs was worth it.

So we had 40 bulbs and 4 were 'dead on arrival' or immediately thereafter; so the other bulbs will probably last the 10,000 hours claimed. Let's say it's new technology and still unstable and few bulbs will fail because of that -- but still, GE can test the bulbs better and avoid the DOA ones. We sent the bar codes and a copy of the receipt to GE and in a few weeks they sent a coupon for each bar code sent and a letter that made no excuses of the poor quality but assured us that our 10% failure is an oddity.

The fluorescent light has come a long way: the light is warm and soft; the CFL base is not as large as to make the light impractical (but your mileage might vary). Surely they consume less -- I can't tell by how much because we installed them in late fall when our electric bill goes up anyway and we don't have enough data. One annoying thing is that there's a short lag between flicking the switch and the light coming on. We don't notice that as much after few months anymore, though.

We did try some no-name or new brands and the production and testing quality on those was even worse. Naming the brands won't help much, every week the local stores come up with a new brand. We did send claims on warranty to two different manufacturers. It's more than 3 months and (sob) the did not call back. Oh well.

Most CFLs won't work with dimmers, check the label. In my experience, the ones that are dimmable (like this for example) still make a buzzing sounds when not at maximum power -- quite annoying. And, to add insult to injury, they cost an arm and a leg. I stay away from them for now.

So if you want to try CFL bulbs, here's a few things that will make it cheaper and better:
  • dimmable light require expensive CFLs, wait until the technology gets better and cheaper on those.
  • check your utility website, they'll likely sponsor cost or have coupons for bulbs.
  • check the manufacturers web site or your Sunday newspaper for coupons.
  • buy recognized brands with repute and good warranty and keep receipts & bar codes for the bulbs that fail. Some will surely fail and only keeping producers honest will increase the quality, so claim the warranty on the busted ones. (I wonder if I'll find those bar codes 3 years from now if one bulb fails before the 5 years warranty :))
  • take your existing bulbs to recycle (and keep a few as spares if you wish)
  • take dead CFL bulbs to recycle as well, the chemicals in them are nastier than in the incandescent bulbs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Phthalates-Now in the Glass Jars

After stop buying canned food because of the Bisphenol A found in can liners, I switched completely on food packed in glass jars – thinking that the glass should be the safest of all but ignoring the fact that the lids may contain chemicals. Now, the new study made by CHOICE - that tested 25 food products in glass jars has found that many are contaminated with plastic softening materials exceeding safety limits set by the European Union. The foods that are vulnerable to contamination have high oil content to soak up chemicals and are liquid enough to slop against the inside of the lid.

They tested 25 food products in glass jars with a total fat content more than 4% (bought from Sydney supermarkets and organic food specialists) that were:
Runny enough for some of the food to slop against the inside of the lid during transport and distribution.
Fatty enough to dissolve plasticiser from the gasket."

They found significant levels of Epoxidised soybean oil (ESBO) and the three phthalates, Di-ethyl-hexyl phthalate (DEHP), Di-iso-octyl phthalate (DIOP), and Di-isononyl phthalate (DINP). This is a summary of the results:
  • Nine of the 25 foods contained ESBO at levels well above the EU limit of 60 ppm — one of them, a pesto sauce with 26% fat, contained 840 ppm.
  • Twelve of the foods contained phthalates at levels above their respective EU limits. One, a tandoori dip imported from India, contained 350 ppm of DEHP — that’s about 230 times the EU limit.
  • Five products contained excessive levels of all four plasticisers. Interestingly, three of them were imported from Italy, a member country of the EU.
  • Three of the foods tested were labeled ‘organic’. While one of them (imported from New Zealand) contained only a trace of ESBO, the other two (from Italy and Turkey) contained excessive levels of all four plasticisers. Biological Farmers of Australia told us PVC isn’t permitted in packaging for organic foods produced in Australia.
Choice did not release the list of products they tested, but they have suggested to avoid food in jars that contains more than 4% fat (or 4 grams of fat per 100 grams of food). It is frustrating, we have to avoid so many things already; soon we will most likely have to avoid everything in order to be fine. The only thing left to do is probably to wait for government and the industry to release standards for chemical safety. I hope it will happen in my lifetime though!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Green Scam

Many of us are probably felling guilty that we do not do enough for leaving a green life good for us and our environment. We read through websites about so many tips and ideas of becoming green – that sometimes I feel that I can never do it given my budget and the style of life. And I would probably never be able to do it. But, I try, and little by little I started to do lots of things. However, I am always amazed how easy is for some people that I wonder if they are really doing what are they claiming or it is just a way of making money. Of course, making money by brainwashing people is not an invention; it has been there forever. But, I became sensitive at the “green” claims of those whose purpose is to get rich without thinking seriously about it. For example, let’s look at some of them.

The Greenopia- Their pledge is “We are with you in aiming to create a more sustainable, sensible and sane world. Our team will bring you the latest eco info and our listings will guide you to local resources, businesses and services so you can do what you do every day—greener.” Hmmm….but they offer to buy their guide printed on paper. Is this really green? I did not see the guide, but I would not be surprised if it is printed on high quality white and shiny paper. Another one, even more hilarious is “Thepurplebook Green: An Eco-friendly Online Shopping Guide ”. So this is a paper book that would help you to do your shopping online! At least, it seems to be printed on recycled paper, but still is an oxymoron…. Another book named “The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time (Paperback) ” offer[s] tips on becoming green. One of them is “Don’t ask for ATM receipts”. What about selling the electronic version of the book and suggesting not to printing the book?

These are very, very few examples amongst the wave of freshly painted green bag of tricks, scams and schemes. I may exaggerate but I do not see the point of printing so many “green” books when people are trying hard to do something for the planet. And when you read these kinds of books you start feeling guilty that maybe you do not do enough? Well…there is so much free information online, I do not see the need of buying a paper book, yet killing another tree.

Please don't print this, send a link!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chlorine - Another Harmful Chemical

Chlorinated chemicals can cause serious health problems and cancer (especially liver cancer). The most common chlorinated chemicals are chloroform, para-dichlorobenzene, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, methylene chloride, and methyl chloroform. These chemicals come from cleaning products (e.g. laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, all-purpose cleaning products, etc), dry-cleaned materials (including carpets, drapes, upholstered furniture), treated municipal water (to disinfect the water supply), and swimming pools.

There is growing evidence that children who use chlorinated open-air swimming pools have an increased risk of developing asthma. Recent studies revealed that the typical “chlorine” smell in the air and its irritant properties are attributed to chloramines (monochloramine, dichloramine, and trichloramine) that are generated from the reaction of the hypochlorite with ammonia and amino-compounds from sweat and urine of swimmers. A study made in Belgium with schoolchildren, revealed that swimming in chlorinated pools represents a hazard of pulmonary damage, and could be responsible for the increase in asthma in Western societies. Their study found that regular attendance at indoor chlorinated pools by children was strongly associated with an increased likelihood of developing asthma or of an airway inflammation. Whether these outcomes are measured separately or in combination, Cumulated Pool Attendance ranks as one of the strongest and most consistent predictors immediately after atopy and family history of allergic diseases. This is scary news, especially for those parents whose children are at a higher risk of developing asthma.

What to do then? Here are some things we can do in the meantime:

- Avoid using chlorinated products; if it is really necessary to use some of them make sure you use them in a well ventilated area and wear a mask.
- Go for green cleaning products; they do not contain chlorine since is bad for the environment. However, read the list of ingredients.
Avoid using air fresheners; some of them contain para-dichlorobenzene. However, they have other bad chemicals inside.
Avoid dry-cleaning by purchasing clothes that do not require dry-cleaning.
- Chose cleaning products that have the “Green Seal” to clean your carpet, drapes, upholstered furniture.
- Call your municipal water department to find out if your water is chlorinated or treated with chlorinated chemicals. If it is (and usually it is!) try to reduce the hot water consumption by installing water flow restrictors in shower heads and reduce the temperature of the shower water. This will help you to reduce the exposure to chloroform. If possible, install a water filter.
- Ventilate well your house.
- Avoid opening the dishwasher while in use and keep the windows open.
- If possible, install high flow rate exhaust fans.
-Use indoor air filters and cleaners.

- Limit swimming in indoor chlorinated swimming pools.
- Shower before going to the swimming pool.
- If possible, select less used pools or swim at times when there are fewer people in the pool.
- If you have your own pool, do not use chlorine.
- If possible go to the beach.
- Read this article in the Green Guide for more tips.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The First Environmental Search Engine

The is the first search engine dedicated to support the environmental awareness and preservation. The search engine generates ad revenue and donates 100% of its profits to environmental causes. So, why not using it?

Cows Are Not Green, Neither Are Pigs

While some are trying to find ways to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from energy production plants and cars, others are studying farming emissions, or more bluntly put: cow farts to help reduce the methane – another greenhouse gas. The greenhouse gas emissions are not coming only from passenger cars and factories but also from other sources. When I read an article in The Telegraph, I thought, at first that it was a joke and seemed to be funny. But it is real! Scientists are collecting cow farts in plastic tanks attached in the back of the cows to help combat the global warming. What a job! In Argentina, it was found that the methane from cows is responsible for about 30% of the country's total greenhouse emissions. Another group of scientists are studying the gas emissions in the swine industry. However, the Australian scientists seem to be on their way to resolve the problem by using the eco-friendly kangaroo farts to combat the global warming.

Well…it is kind of funny to find out that cows and swine are ruining our atmosphere. And a picture tells a thousand words. But seriously, it's interesting to see that creative solutions that look at the problem in a holistic way may find creative ways at solving the greenhouse gas problem by looking right under our nose (ahem!!) for solutions.

There was another NPR program recently that talked about pig farms and new breeds that produce less methane (but I can't find the link -- anyone has more details?)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Danger of Formaldehyde

I started to become more conscious about this chemical when I searched for a new bed for my kids. The presence of formaldehyde in the environment seems to be unavoidable and it concerns me. I discovered that it can be found even in children’s clothes, in bedding sheets, and so on. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen; Europe banned the use of it last year while U.S. doesn’t even bother to consider it although it is classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Besides the fact that it occurs naturally, formaldehyde is found in many products that are part of our daily lives and therefore, a total avoidance is almost impossible. I will try to come up with a list of products containing formaldehyde and some recommendations on how to reduce exposure.

Where is found
  • glue or adhesives in pressed-wood furniture in household furnishing
  • in foam used in furniture and in construction (urea-formaldehyde foam and fiberglass insulation). To note: Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation installed 5 to 10 years ago is unlikely to still release formaldehyde the building industry (to water – and grease-proof concrete and plaster)
  • film processing
  • textile treatment – especially in carpeting and as a permanent press fabric finishes (e.g., draperies) but it can be found in clothes too
  • leather tanning
  • cosmetics and medications - as a preservative (especially in nail polish), mouthwash, spermatocide cream, skin disinfectants, and cough drops
  • air fresheners
  • disinfectant (especially in mattresses) and fumigants
  • vinyl products
  • burning materials: cigarettes, kerosene, wood, and natural gas
  • paints - as a preservative
  • coated paper products
How to reduce exposure to formaldehyde
  • Ventilate well your house. The levels of formaldehyde are higher inside the house than outside. This is the easiest to do.
  • Avoid cosmetics that contain formaldehyde – for nail polishes, there are already many alternatives; avoid the air fresheners completely – besides formaldehyde they contain other substances that are dangerous for your health.
  • Wash the durable-press fabrics before use. Actually, it is always wise to wash any fabric before use.
  • Avoid vinyl products – they usually contain many more chemicals.
  • Avoid staying next to the open fire (on the grill or in the fireplace) and avoid smoking (including second-hand smoking).
  • Chose paints that have low or 0-VOCs levels.
  • When purchasing new furniture make sure it is not glued with formaldehyde-based glue and is not coated with paints containing the formaldehyde. If you are looking for a totally green option, make sure is Greenguard certified or it has the Green Seal on it.
  • Avoid the use of insulation containing formaldehyde, especially urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. If you have formaldehyde-containing products that are not laminated or coated – you can use some low/no VOC, formaldehyde-free paint or varnish to coat the furniture. However, make sure you ventilate well the area during and after coating.
  • Try to remove from your home those products that release formaldehyde in the indoor air

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Going Green - Product review of the Week - Baby Cribs

Well, there are tens of models or even more, so choosing a crib for my baby was more a matter of price than a matter of model or design. I wanted something that was considered safe and within a good price range. For the first baby I got a crib made by Delta and it was around $150, at Target. Now I am not very proud of my choice, but at that time was the best I could afford. For the second baby I looked into a more greener alternative and I felt fleeced by "green" offering -- and I had a nagging feeling that it's just marketing. Besides, they do look cute and modern and all that, but it's an 'investment' that you make for only 2 years, so is it really worth it?
So, I was thinking what could be wrong with the ones from Ikea ? They are made from real wood, look nice and Ikea is already well known for its safe and eco-friendly products. So I ended up with one of their cribs and I like it a lot; It is made from real wood (pine), unfinished (it does not have applied any lacquer), it is adjustable (it has two positions), and yes, it is cute just because it is so simple.

How "healthy" is your car?

Did you ever wonder where is that new car smell coming from? I know, I know it's something everyone likes, but... According to, it is coming from the amalgam of the numerous chemicals added to built the car. includes test results from over 200 of the most popular vehicles in the U.S. market from the 2006 and 2007 model years. In each vehicle, 15 different components were sampled using a portable, hand-held X-Ray Fluoresence (XRF) spectrometry device. The components sampled include: steering wheel, shift knob, armrest/center console, dashboard, headliner, carpet, seat front, seat back, seat base, hard door-trim, soft door-trim, body sealer, wiring, window seal and wheel weights. Based on these findings, each vehicle was given an overall rating, as well as chemical ratings for bromine, chlorine, lead and a group of substances referred to as "other chemicals”.

I will make a list with the cars that represents the low concern and most concern in terms of chemicals, but for a more complete list (and check whether the Prius is green all around), go here.

Low Concern High Concern
Small Car Chevy Cobalt (2007)
Pontiac G5 (2007)
Toyota Yaris (2007)
Mazda Mazda 3 (2007)
VW Jetta (2006)
Suzuki Reno (2006)
Suzuki Forenza (2006)
Hyundai Accent (2007)
Kia Rio (2006)
Chevy Aveo (2007)
Nissan Versa (2007)
Family Sedan From those tested - None identified Dodge Stratus (2006)
Kia Optima (2006)
Hyundai Elantra (2006)
Kia Spectra 5 (2006)
Upscale Sedan Volvo S40 (2007)
Cadillac CTS (2007)
Lexus IS 350 (2007)
Acura TSX (2006)
From those tested - None identified
Luxury Sedan Lexus ES 350 (2007)
Acura RL (2006)
From those tested - None identified
Large Sedan From those tested - None identified Chevy Impala (2007)
Coupe From those tested - None identified Chevy Monte Carlo (2006)
Convertible Chevy Corvette (2007)
Mercedes SLK280 (2007)
VW Beatle (2006)
Sport/Sporty Car BMW Z4 3.0 (2006) Hyundai Tiburon (2006)
Station Wagon Volvo V50 (2007)
Suzuki Aerio (2006)
Toyota Matrix (2006)
Suzuki SX4 (2007)
Pontiac Vibe (2007)
Mazda Mazda 5 (2007)
Suzuki Forenza Wagon (2006)
Scion xB 5dr (2006)
Pickup Truck Nissan Frontier (2006)
GMC Canyon (2007)
Chevy Colorado 2WD (2006)
Honda Ridgeline (2007)
Nissan Titan (2006)
Toyota Tacoma (2006)
Chevy Silverado (2007)
SUV Chrysler PT Cruiser (2006)
Acura RDX Tech (2007)
BMW X3 (2006)
Honda CRV (2006)
Chevy HHR (2007)
Pontiac Torrent (2007)
Suzuki Grand Vitara (2007)
Ford Explorer (2006)
Nissan XTerra (2006)
Subaru Tribeca (2006)
Toyota FJ Cruiser (2007)
Toyota Highlander (2006)
Toyota Rav 4 (2006)
Hyundai Tucson V6 (2006)
Chrysler Pacifica FWD (2006)
Kia Sorento (2006)
Subaru Forester (2007)
Minivan Honda Odyssey (2006) Kia Sedona (2006)
GMC Savanna (2007)
Chrysler Town & Country (2006)
Heavy Duty Truck From those tested - None identified Chevy Express (2007)