Toxins in Oven Cleaner

Cleaning your oven can be a fairly toxic experience. Oven cleaners are known to cause respiratory issues, sore throats, and carbon Toxins in Oven Cleanermonoxide fumes and contains cancer-causing ingredients. Let’s look at some of the common choices…

A self-cleaning oven is generally the easiest (no scrubbing or elbow grease needed) but it also has its toxic downfalls. The baked on foods release a carbon monoxide as they are heated to the high degrees during self-cleaning modes.  The inner coating of your oven is Teflon. Heating it to the 600 degrees often used for self-cleaning does cause it to give off toxic fumes. Be sure to vent properly when using the self-cleaning features. (Birds are especially sensitive to the toxins of Teflon so be sure to remove them from the area if you have a pet bird hanging out near your kitchen)

If you do not have or chose to use a self-cleaning oven you may opt for a spray on oven cleaner. These can contain corrosive alkalis, lye and ammonia. They can lead to breathing difficulties, sore throat or swelling, burning of the eyes, nose, ears or throat, vision issues, abdominal pain, vomiting, low blood pressure, skin burns, irritation, or damage to the esophagus. Seems like a steep price to pay to clean your oven.

As you can imagine most commercial oven cleaners failed the EWG standards for safety. Making your own with vinegar and baking soda enables the safer chemical reaction between the two to get the job done with minimal scrubbing in no toxic fumes.


How Damaging are GMO’s

We are fighting a battle right now to keep real food around. Organic, unprocessed non-GMO food.  It doesn’t matter what side of the political fence you stand on we are all human and we all require real food to function properly.  There is a fight on both sides over How Damaging are GMO'swhether or not GMO’s should be labeled. Personally, I won’t purchase anything with a GMO label and will only buy organic fruits, vegetables and meat. I want those labels. I want the ability to choose what I purchase.

Why is this a big deal? GMO’s have never shown safety studies. The few studies that have been done have included poor effects on gut bacteria. Gut bacteria are a huge part of our health and have a connection to keeping our brain healthy. GMO’s have also shown tumors, premature death, allergic reactions, kidney and liver damage. Several studies involved animals and the results were not positive.

Nutrition is another huge factor. Although most of us enjoy eating, we also require eating for nutrition and overall health. A 2012 nutritional analysis of GM versus non-GM corn (  showed huge discrepancies in nutritional value of GMO food vs not. Non-GM corn contains 437 times more calcium, 56 times more magnesium, and 7 times more manganese than GM corn. GM corn was also found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, a pesticide so toxic that it may be carcinogenic in the parts-per-trillion range, compared to zero in non-GM corn. Sadly this info has been enough to give up my favorite summertime corn on the cob several years ago.  Finding organic corn on the cob doesn’t seem to be an option anymore.

Pesticides come into play here as well. The use of GMO crops has caused an increase in the use of pesticides. Keep in mind you can “wash off” some of the pesticides. You cannot wash off GMO’s. The best way to avoid them is to eat whole, clean foods.

Another huge problem? We know we need bees for our food supply to flourish and continue to exist.  Unfortunately, gmo crops and pesticides are causing the die off of species of bees (as well as butterflies and birds) Our bee population (honey bees) is down 1/3 since 2006.

I know it isn’t easy-or cheap to find and feed the whole family fresh organic food. In many stores I can’t even find the option of organic fruit. Convenience is a factor, but not one I will compromise. We need to demand better for our kids. Always read your labels and know what’s in your products.

How Damaging are GMO's


Toxins in Dust

No matter how much you clean there are bound to be dust bunnies hidden away behind the door, cabinets or closets. Unfortunately those little dust bunnies contain phthalates, flame-retardants, fragrances and parabens.  100% of all samples tested in a 2016 analysis Toxins in Dustrevealed that 10 toxic chemicals (others included mixtures of 45)

Breathing in and touching these particles toxins can cause damage to the reproductive system, nervous system, hormone disruption, and insulin resistance. There is no way to eliminate every particle of dust in your home. What are some helpful, more doable solutions?

Phthalates originate from vinyl and fragrance. Do your best to eliminate all items in your home that contain fragrance (Essential Oils are a safer choice). This includes personal care products such as shampoo, perfume and lotions. Cleaning products are big offenders. They are often filled with “fragrances” to help your house smell clean.  I clean the majority of my house with vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and Dr. Bronners castile soap. It’s surprisingly effective, cheap, and non-toxic to use these several ingredients.

Flame-retardants are still hidden in odd places.  When I was a kid they were on all our pajamas (This is no longer the case). Unfortunately, pet beds, crib mattresses, memory foam, and upholstery still contain flame-retardants.

PFOA and PFOS are lurking in your non-stick cookware, fleece jackets and even water resistant clothing (see previous blog post).

Parabens are likely still in your shampoos and beauty care products (read your labels and make a switch!).

We all own some level of these things regardless of how conscious we try to be. You don’t need to go crazy and throw everything away. As old things wear out, replace these items with safer choices.  In the meantime, and when you do, a vacuum with a HEPA filter is the way to go. Personally I am a huge fan of the Dyson line. We owned one for many years and it finally gave out. I recently replaced it with the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and I can’t begin to tell you what we are pulling out of my frequently vacuumed (not that old and no shoes in the house) carpets.  It’s mind blowing (and gross) but it’s an extraordinary vacuum cleaner.

toxins in dust


Aluminum Foil Safety | Toxic Tuesday

Aluminum is one of our modern day conveniences. We cook with it, store food in it, take it in antacids, vaccines, water, and use it in antiperspirants to clog pores and prevent sweating.  Aluminum foil is one avenue you could eliminate and cut down on your aluminum Aluminum Foil Safetyexposure with.


What is aluminum foil?

It is flattened sheets of pure aluminum (with some oils so it doesn’t stick to the roll) Here’s how it comes to be:


What happens when you cook with aluminum foil?

Much like plastic leaching BPA or phthalates, aluminum foil will leach aluminum into your foods.  Acidic or spicy foods will be the worst offenders. Acidic foods create a process that dissolves the aluminum right into the food. If you insist on using aluminum foil wait until your food is cooled and make sure it is not for long stretches.


While we do have aluminum in our everyday environment there is no proven safe amount in our bodies. Although the CDC and FDA have set some guidelines:  One of the aluminum risks is the build up in the brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease. High levels of aluminum exposure have been associated with neurological declines in balance, coordination and memory. ( Some studies have even suggested that aluminum may reduce the growth rate of human brain cells. Aluminum can also interfere with the digestion of calcium. Liver damage, kidney impairment, sleep disturbances, anemia, speech problems and Parkinson’s also make the list.


I have found having a collection of glass storage containers make it easier to store leftover in. This eliminates aluminum leaching, plastic leaching AND cuts down on your trash.  When I need to line a pan parchment paper has become a safer option. Aside that, it seems scrubbing the pan a few extra minutes is worth my long-term health.

Aluminum Foil Safety



Safety of Water from a Garden Hose

When you picture summer images in your head you often picture a child drinking water spraying from a garden hose in that “relaxed, freedoms of summer” images we think of.  Is this ever a good idea?  Garden Hose Safety

Personally we don’t drink the tap water due to the fluoride and drug residue contents they all have. However, are there extra risks if it is coming from the hose? There are.

Aside from the obvious bacteria concept of older hoses there are issues with brand new hoses and drinking water.  When tested all hoses contained phthalates.  Which are chemicals that are added to PVC’s to keep them flexible. Phthalates are known to lower IQ’s, cause birth defects, reproductive harm and hormone imbalances. Some hoses contain bromine and antimony, which can lead to kidney and liver damage.  BPA and lead are more unwelcome ingredients you may find in your garden hose.  Lead has been known to lower IQ’s. In addition to the plastic portion of the hose, there is the metal end. Metal ends of hoses do not have the same guidelines as faucets. Often outdoor faucets are brass and contain lead. When possible, nickel is a safer choice over brass.

Some hoses are labeled to be “drink safe” but bacteria can still be growing in the sitting water of that hose.

The sun and temperature also play a role. Much like you shouldn’t drink from plastic water bottles that are heated in the car, your hose will also leach more BPA when heated. Store your hose in the shade or in a shed when possible.

Last, don’t forget about your garden! If you are using that same hose to water your organic garden you may be spraying your fruits and veggies with BPA, lead and phthalates. If you don’t have a rubber or polyurethane hose you may want to think about replacing it.


Garden Hose Safety


All Natural: What You Need To Know

All natural is a term that most companies are using, here is what you need to know

I can’t say enough how important it is to read labels. Not just the “all natural” (and often misleading) stamp on the outside, but the tiny ingredients printed in the packaging. What if those ingredients aren’t there? To me that is a red flag. There is no reason not to include ingredients on a label.


Several weeks ago I went to an event at a friends house. To be entirely honest,  I never read the part about it being a All naturalpresentation-I went to spend time with my friend. During the presentation of beauty products I was impressed at the discussion of keeping toxins off your body and avoiding ingredients.  I had heard this company name come up a lot recently and that they had cleaned up their line. I am happy with my skin care products and their ingredients, but a few things caught my attention and I was going to buy something to try a new product and be supportive of the person throwing this gathering.


When I started to look at the products I naturally went to read the labels. There were no ingredients listed. That seemed odd to me considering how this presentation stressed how safe and healthy these products were. I picked up a catalog and figured they would be listed there. Wrong again. For a company that is investing it’s entire marketing on its safe ingredients (and a list of ingredients they would never use) where are the ingredients? I chose not to buy anything without having that knowledge and later I spent some time looking into it.


Based on my knowledge I know you can’t have a water-based lotion without added junk. The water breeds bacteria so there is no way around it. This is why we opt to use oil based products.  I was able to find their ingredients on the website.  They certainly are much “cleaner” than many companies out there-but do not be fooled into thinking there are no synthetic ingredients or ingredients that don’t pop up as mild or moderate hazards in anything lotion based. If you are using a lotion based moisturizer for your face, body etc it will contain some level of synthetic ingredients. Always read your labels!


All of our ingredients are listed on our website and our products:


See what is in our face moisturizer: Face Moisturizer


Check out our Moisturizer: Moisturizer


Tick Removal and Lyme Disease Prevention

There is a lot of talk about ticks and the dangers of Lyme disease as we are amid what is being called “the worst year” in terms of the Tick Removalnumber of ticks out there. In the last few weeks I have stumbled upon several posts going viral that are actually pretty dangerous to follow if you do have a tick.


As the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Ideally you want to prevent ticks from being on your body.

  • Wear shoes and socks (I even tuck my kids pants into their socks for extra measure)
  • Keep your grass trimmed and when possible avoid long grass and wooded areas.
  • Always check yourself and your children after being outside.


Insect repellants are an issue here.

I see a lot of homemade recipes that are fabulous for mosquitoes but are going to be less than effective for ticks. Keep in mind-a tick is technically not an insect (It has 8 legs). According to most research DEET and Permethrin are the only effective ingredients. Unfortunately both are toxic to humans so you need to balance it with your needs and environment. (I may consider treating my clothes if I were hiking in the woods or camping. For my children playing outside everyday on their swing set I am choosing to rely more on prevention and checking them afterwards)

This year I have carefully researched essential oils for repelling ticks. None are recommended by the CDC (so keep that in mind). Various MLM companies list many and I generally take that with a grain of salt. Repeatedly, I found info and testimonials about rose geranium (NOTE: This is not a mix of geranium and rose in a bottle it is the actual rose geranium oil). I have chosen to use that as part of our prevention this year. (Warning: It STINKS! If I were a tick I would stay away from us!) So far no ticks-but you should know we don’t frequent the woods, however do live with woods in our back yard and along the kids school playground.


Prevention aside, what happens if you do get a tick? A few weeks back I saw a video going viral with a drop of peppermint oil being applied to the tick and it backing out of the person’s arm. It was being shared and people were discussing how they would all be carrying peppermint oil. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! While peppermint oil is wonderful (I spray my mailbox to keep the spiders out J), you do not want a tick to back out.  Smothering ticks in Vaseline, oil, or a dose of peppermint oil, nail polish or even burning them can cause them to regurgitate up their bacteria right into your skin.

A second item I have seen making the viral scene on Facebook is twister devices. Remember, twisting the tick can cause its head to break off. You want to pull straight out.

To remove a tick safely you want to grasp the tick close to your skin with tweezers. Slowly and firmly pull the tick away from the skin without twisting. You should then wash and disinfect your skin as well as your tweezers.

Lyme disease is serious. I am all for keeping the toxins away but use your research and environment to carefully weigh your options in different situations.

Tick Removal


Dental Floss

Finishing up with our oral health series is a closer look at dental floss. We know flossing has benefits. Flossing has been shown to Dental Flossextend your life by improving gum health, warding off gum disease, heart disease and dementia. Are there drawbacks to what type of floss you are choosing? Unfortunately, yes, but there is always a natural solution.

Some dental floss is made of nylon, which is synthetic and made from petroleum products. Nylon can take up to 50 years to break down. While floss may be “small” consider that American alone are buying 3 million miles of floss each year. Floss picks use less floss, but more plastic handles.

Another often found choice-synthetic wax. The synthetic wax is then coated with petroleum.

Many companies have coated their floss with Teflon  (perfluorotanoic acid -PFOA or PFC’s ) to make them slide easier. Unfortunately PFOA has been connected to thyroid disease, cancer, birth defects and weaker immune systems. Check your labels for ingredients that may contain the word “fluoro” pr “perfluoro”  I know you may be thinking “How much of this chemical can I possibly ingest? Is it a big deal?” Keep in mind that these chemicals have proven not to leave our bodies and build up over time. You want to cut down anywhere you can. Purchasing natural floss easily does this. You can find floss with a natural wax coating. Some options include Toms of Maine, Dessert Essence and Radius (although you should be aware that Radius is a silk floss and is not vegan friendly)

In addition, electric toothbrushes have proven to be more effective at removing plaque and water piks are becoming more and more effective as well.

Dental Floss


Fluoride Treatments: Are They Toxic?

When I was a kid they did “fluoride treatments” at school on Wednesdays and everyone swished and spit into a cup. Not sure why, but Fluoride ToxicI am thankful my mother never signed us up for this insanity. We started avoiding fluoride in toothpastes about 4 years ago when I learned that it is a neurotoxin. (  (For the record I am 43 and have never had a cavity) Fluoride has been linked to bone fractures, thyroid disorders, and impaired brain development and function.  Ironically, fluoride is also linked to fluorosis. (  Fluorosis is white streaks/brown stains and broken enamel on teeth.

In putting together my toothpaste blog I already knew fluoride was a toxin. I knew most towns still add it to their drinking water. I was shocked when this came up on our town’s Facebook  mom page last month. A concerned parent asked why we still have it in our water. This was followed by many comments supporting how great it is and how everyone should be entitled to fluoride water.

Let’s explore things we know…

  1. Most developed countries do NOT add fluoride to their water. (Keeping in mind many of these countries also have stricter rules than the United States about toxins that are allowed to be in your food or beauty products.  Perhaps we are late to the party?)
  2. It can be noted that since fluoride has been added to the water tooth decay has declined-it is often left out that it declined in the countries who do not use fluoride in their water as well. (
  3. We all know the FDA tells us it’s poisonous to consume more than a pea size amount of toothpaste for children if it contains fluoride. (FYI by those measurements your tube should last your whole family about a year!)
  4. We all aim to drink 8oz of fluorinated water a day. I won’t pretend to know the ratio per glass because I have NO idea but from what I could find it seems one 8oz glass contains the same amount of recommended consumable toothpaste during brushing. Interesting fact-China does NOT put fluoride in their water because it’s too toxic and causes damages in studies.

Natural occurring fluoride IS found in some waters. Natural occurring fluoride has what is called calcium fluoride –they bond together and are not absorbed much by your body. Hydrofluorosilcic acid (artificial fluoride which is added to the water) is absorbed by your body and is 1000x more toxic. Sodium fluoride (pharmaceutical grade) is what is used in most studies-BUT is NOT what is added to your water. Is that Sodium Fluoride safer? According to private testing sodium fluoride powder contained traces of aluminum, arsenic, strontium, lead, uranium and tungsten. We acknowledge how dangerous those items are for our bodies. Even if you believe consuming fluoride is safe-is that a compromise you are willing to make? Personally I will skip the arsenic and aluminum thanks!

I am not sure why there is not more concern about this. If you want to believe in fluoride-keep it where it “belongs” on your teeth.  (We opt for fluoride free-and no cavities thus far!) As for water we opt for Poland springs or Fiji drinking water.  While they do contain fluoride-it is NATURAL occurring.

Fluoride Toxic


The Twig Brush: Does it work?

The last few weeks we have focused on oral health care. If you missed it be sure to check out earlier blog posts on triclosan, toothpasteTwig Brush and toothbrushes. Tagging onto last weeks post about toothbrushes I want to make you aware of a pretty cool item out there. The Twig Brush!

A few months back Twig Brush contacted me over Instagram with an offer to give it a try (no strings attached and they did not ask for a review.)  What is Twig Brush? Taken from their site:   “In short it is a natural teeth cleaning twig made from the Salvadora Persica tree (also known as the Peelu tree or toothbrush tree) today it is used by many in the Eastern world as a traditional and natural alternative to the modern toothbrush, and has a long, well documented reputation for it’s medicinal benefits.”


To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it all appeared non-toxic so I checked it out.  When my twig brush arrived I read the directions and followed step one: “trim end, gently nibble until it forms bristles.” I am chewing a “twig” wondering “When did I get this crazy?!” Then I brushed my teeth with it (no toothpaste, just using the twig brush) and my teeth felt amazing! That clean, smooth feeling right after the dentist -that’s how it felt.

What are the benefits? (Taken from the Twig Brush site):

Natural antiseptics (Eliminates Bad Breath)

Twigbrush contains numerous antiseptics that kill harmful microorganisms, which cause bad breath, mouth ulcers, gum disease as well as bleeding of the gum.

Silica (Removes Stains & Whitens Teeth)

Silica acts as an abrasive material, which removes stains and other deposits from the surface of the tooth… or in short, whitens your teeth.

Sodium bicarbonate (Whitens Teeth)

Sodium bicarbonate has an abrasive effect when rubbed against the teeth. Heck, even the ‘American Dental Associate’ recommends sodium bicarbonate as a preferred ingredient in toothpastes. This is the best whitening toothpaste alternative out there.
Resin (Protects Teeth)

Natural resin forms a layer over the enamel when the miswak is used. This then acts as a shield and protects your teeth from microbial action.

Essential oils (Fresher Breath)

The miswak contains natural scented oils that serve as two functions. The first is fresher breath, as the natural scent perfumes your mouth and the second is that it helps stimulate the flow of saliva.


I have used the twig brush for the past few months (admittedly not daily but several times a week) For me it does not replace my regular toothbrush and toothpaste but it is a fabulous addition to add to your oral health routine. A tip: Keep scissors in the bathroom. You need to trim it down every few days and without them handy it resulted in my inconsistency.

Definitely check them out!

Twig Brush