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Non-Toxic and PVC-Free Air Beds (Updated)

41rt0nikjlThese days, when you need an extra bed, you’re more likely to pull out an air mattress than a sofa sleeper and for camping, the inflatable air mattress will be found on most packing lists.

The problem, however, is that these days they are almost universally made with PVC, which outgasses harmful fumes long after that telltale “new mattress smell” has dissipated and can contain lead.

A few years ago, those of us who objected to breathing in toxic fumes may have had little recourse other than to forgo the luxury of an air mattress and lump it—but we now have many more options:

KingCamp 2-Person PVC-Free Ultra Light Airbed with Pump: (Recently added!) Made of 100% polyester with TPU coating, this 2-Person PVC-Free airbed is only 6 lbs, damp-proof, comfortable, durable and very firm with 192 stabilizers between the top and bottom. The Boston valve air tap and battery operated pump provide rapid inflation and deflation. It is convenient to adjust the comfort level of this airbed. Includes compression straps, an oversized oxford carrying bag and repair kit. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

ALPS Mountaineering Velocity Air Bed: Made with durable PVC-free fabric, this air bed is incredibly lightweight which makes for easy transport. It utilizes a coil system for a more solid and comfortable sleeping area and comes with a state-of-the-art rechargeable pump inflates and deflates quickly and easily.

Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush Self-Inflating Sleep/Camp Pad: Maximum R-Value of 9.66 keeps you exceptionally warm with supportive insulation. Non-PVC materials eliminates toxic plastic odors and crinkle noises for a more peaceful night sleep and dual oversize air valves for quick self inflating and deflating without the need for a pump. Includes compression straps and oversized carry bag + FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

Lightspeed Outdoors Airbed: Made from eco-friendlier TPU, this PVC-free and phthalate-free two person air mattress comes with a battery operated pump + FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.

The Aerobed Pakmat: It’s PVC and phthalate-free and made of 100% eco-friendly materials. Uses a hand pump instead of batteries or electricity to inflate and only takes about 60 seconds plus it weighs only 5 lbs and stores right inside it’s pump case. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

The Aerobed Ecolite: Made from eco-friendlier TPU instead of PVC, the Ecolite is phthalate-free and comes with a rechargeable pump. Unlike the Pakmat, it comes in twin and queen sizes and is 40% lighter than PVC air mattresses. Personally, I’d still go for the Pakmat over the Ecolite because I’ve had several air mattress pumps die on me over the years.

Kelty Sleep Eazy: Made of 70D nylon with a TPU laminate, and includes a standard coil for support. The PVC-free Sleep Eazy is also a breeze to inflate thanks to the 6-volt rechargeable pump, which includes both a car and wall charger for versatile use. And to ensure compact storage, the airbed comes with a Kelty Binto storage bin.

Lake Timber Top Rubberized Fabric Air Mattress:  Back before PVC was so ubiquitous, air mattresses were made of rubberized fabric and were reputedly super durable, in addition to being far more eco-friendly than their PVC counterparts. This rubberized fabric air mattress is the equivalent of a twin or single air mattress at 30″ X 72″ and can also be used in the water. Comes with a repair kit and is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com

I also found companies in the UK and Australia that carry rubberized cotton air mattresses. I will link to them for our non-American readers and anyone who might be interested in placing an international order:

Amazon UK: They carry a couple different options in rubberized cotton air mattresses by a company called Highlander.

Discount Camping: This Australian store carries three different sizes of rubberized cotton air mattresses.

Happy PVC-free sleeping!

It’s a Wrap!

What: Lilywrap Reusable Gift Wrap

Features: Beautiful wraps mimic the tailored look of paper gift wrap with reusable stretchy fabric in a variety of stylish designs. It’s super easy to wrap a gift in just 30-seconds with simple set, cinch, tie method using drawstring ribbons — great on the go and reasonably priced! Perfect for TSA travel & shipping, too!

Green Factor: Reusable and durable with no need for scissors, tape or waste!

Find It Here:  Amazon

Green Nurseries on a Budget

If you follow celebrity news and gossip, there’s no doubt you’ve noticed the rash (ha!) of stories about green celebu-baby nurseries. The price tags on some of those eco-friendly digs, however, might lead you to believe that a safer, greener nursery is out of reach on anything but celebrity’s budget.

It’s absolutely true that a green nursery could easily cost a pretty penny but fortunately, with a little creativity, perseverance and time, you can give your bundle of joy some green digs to rival any celeb’s eco-nursery!

1. Don’t be afraid to buy some things used.
I know with my firstborn, the idea of putting my baby in or on anything that wasn’t brand new was completely unacceptable to me. What I didn’t know then that I know now is that new stuff off-gasses all kinds of chemicals into the air and hello? Your baby is breathing them in. Getting something used (from friends, consignment stores or even Craigslist) means it’s probably already off-gassed those chemicals and also, buying used means you’re helping to conserve resources. You can’t get much greener than that! Ideal items to buy used are cribs (check models for recalls and other safety issues), dressers, gliders/rockers and changing tables. As these are also big ticket items, you’ll be saving tons o’ green right out of the gate. Just make sure to clean everything really well with a NON-TOXIC cleaner!

2. Your baby’s bedding is one thing you should NOT skimp on.
Shop around online for good deals on organic cotton sheets, crib bumpers and swaddling blankets and most importantly, an organic crib mattress. There are several varieties — the key is to find one that contains no chemical flame retardants (wool is good natural choice of flame retardant) and contains no chemicals or non-organic materials. This is important because your baby will breathe in anything that is outgassing from the mattress. There has also been some speculation that the chemical cocktails used in conventional mattresses are a possible cause of SIDS because when babies lay on their bellies, they’re breathing them in with very little fresh air.

3. Use No-VOC Paints.
Painting is almost always part of setting up a new baby’s room and the new, green No-VOC paints are the paints you want to use. No-VOC means “no volatile organic compounds” which really just means none of the toxic stuff that contributes to indoor air pollution and that you don’t want your baby (or you!) inhaling. No-VOC paint is more expensive than regular latex interior paint but for a bedroom, one gallon may be enough and trust me, it’s money well spent. No-VOC paint is available at most stores such as Home Depot. Just make sure it’s NO-VOC or Zero-VOC instead of Low-VOC.

4. If you have hardwood or tile floors, leave them.
Do NOT carpet the room. Carpet is the source of much indoor pollution and outgassing. You can pick up organic or natural area rugs for far less than re-carpeting a whole room — or consider FLOR. FLOR is eco-friendly, recyclable carpet that comes in self-stick squares so you can mix, match and make your own patterns while staying green. If you already have carpet and it’s not completely gross, leave it and use a green carpet cleaning system to clean it really well rather than install new carpeting.

5. Be picky with clothing.
Since clothing touches your baby nearly 24 hours a days, organic cotton or bamboo is the best choice. Regular cotton is grown with insane amounts of pesticides and if you can avoid it, you don’t want that touching your baby’s sensitive skin. Scour eBay for deals on organic clothing. Try to approximate what season it will be when your baby is a certain size and get off-season stuff for far less. Also, there are oodles of stores on the web that sell incredibly cute organic clothing. Check their sale and clearance pages to score bargains. If you choose to cloth diaper, obviously organic cotton diapers are ideal. If you want to use disposable diapers that aren’t made with chlorine bleach and other chemicals, try G-Diapers. They’re totally biodegradable, flushable or compostable.

Best of luck to you and your green nursery!

Great Gifts: Electric Snow Thrower

greenworks-snow-throwerWhat: Greenworks Electric Snow Thrower

Features: Is it time to clear snow in your neck of the woods? The Greenworks 13 amp electric snow thrower clears a 20-inch path at a depth of 10 inches and has a cord lock that holds an extension cord securely in place. Adjustable 180 degree directional chute makes snow throwing manageable.

Green Factor: Zero carbon emissions and zero pollution because it doesn’t use gas. No smelly engine emissions, no trips to fill the gas can and no tune-ups!

Bonus: On sale for $171.30 with a fabulous 4 year warranty (twice the industry standard) plus FREE SHIPPING!

Find It Here:  Amazon

Is Plastic Killing Your Sex Drive?

imagesWarnings about the danger of phthalates in plastics are once again in the news by way of a study recently presented by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

This time researchers have found a link between soft plastics such as those found in raincoats, rubber duckies, shower curtains and air mattresses* (PVC) and a reduced sex drive in women.

The primary reason for this is due to phthalates, which are already known to be endocrine disruptors that reduce testosterone levels in men, women and children and are associated with overall reproductive toxicity. However, the findings that women’s libidos can also be affected was revealed in a study by University of Rochester School of Medicine.

The findings noted each of the 360 women who participated in the study showed traces of phthalates in their urine. Those with the highest levels of phthalates were found to be two and a half times as likely to have lower libidos compared to those with the least. “They are throughout our environment and every single person studied showed measurable levels of these chemicals. So even at the levels found in the environment every day we are seeing an association with interest in sex,” said lead author, Dr. Emily Barrett, about the study’s findings.

If testosterone levels, declining sperm quality and feminization of males, early puberty in girls and an increased risk of diabetes weren’t enough to make all of us rethink what kind of plastics we use and bring into our homes, this new information will hopefully sway people to start rejecting these dangerous products by avoiding PVC and plastics marked with recycling label #3.

*Read our article about PVC-free air mattresses

 

Rockin’ Green

rockingreenWhat: Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent

Features: Rockin’ Green is a line of eco-friendly laundry detergents and cleaning products, particularly for those with sensitive skin. The laundry detergents are free of harsh chemicals and extra gentle on the skin, but they’re still super effective and get the job done well. However, there are other factors besides detergents that affect how well your laundry gets clean. Water type is a huge consideration and Rockin’ Green has a formula for your water type.

Green Factor:   Biodegradable and made from recycled materials, recyclable packaging, phosphate-free, SLS and parabens-free, free of optical brighteners, gluten and vegan friendly, not tested on animals

Bonus:   Rockin’ Green also has detergents for hard water, soft water and dishwashers, as well as formulas for babies, cloth diapers, bedding, athletic wear and more.

Find It Here:  Rockin’ Green

Charlie Banana 2-in-1 Training Pants

41ks1i822il-_aa160_What: The Charlie Banana 2-in-1 training pants are twice as nice because they also double as a reusable swim diaper! The outer layer is waterproof while the inside is a soft organic cotton lining. Available in 4 sizes to fit children 11-55 pounds in a variety of prints and colors.

Features: They can be used as daytime training pants OR a swim diaper. Easy to get on and off and economical compared to buying packs and packs and packs of disposable training pants!

Green Factor: Organic cotton and non-disposable

Bonus: If you buy them from Diapers.com on Amazon, you can get them for about $6 less than other online retailers

Find It Here: Amazon.com

Don’t Toss Those Butter Wrappers!

butter-wrapper-239x300I know it sounds silly to worry about butter wrappers but they can’t be recycled because of the oil so what, if anything, can you do with them? Well, there are actually quite a few things you can do with them and if you find yourself with more than you need at the moment, you can always freeze them by folding them in half with the dry side on the outside.

Grease Pans: So easy, and just the right amount of grease!

Corn on the Cob: Buttering corn on the cob without getting the whole butter stick all corny and your corn all greasy.

Perfectly Cut Cakes: Grease your knife with a butter wrapper before slicing up a cake for perfect, professional-looking slices.

Stop Using Non-Stick Spray: Who needs a chemical-laden spray when you’ve got a butter wrapper? You won’t be drowning your dinner or baked goods in butter, but you’ll get just the right amount of grease.

Lightly-Buttered Toast: Grease your toast with a wrapper for a light coating of butter.

Wrap Homemade Candies: Making caramel for the holidays? Wrap cut pieces with butter wrappers instead of parchment or wax paper.

Separating Hamburger Patties: Patty up your meat and between each one place a butter wrapper. They won’t stick to each other or themselves and can help keep things stacked together and taking up less space in your fridge or freezer.

Make Rice Krispie Treats Easier: Pressing Rice Krispie Treats into the pan can be super messy and sticky. Use a butter wrapper to push your treats into place and keep your hands clean!

Source: care2.com and thekitchn.com

What Will Your City Look Like?

As Antarctic glaciers continue to melt at an alarming rate, we must consider how our national coastlines will be changing as ocean levels rise. NASA and the University of California Irvine recently published a report about this and the organization Climate Central used the data to have an artist create very photorealistic renderings of what our national coastal landmarks will look like in the future.

jefferson-memorial-underwater

The Jefferson Memorial

Additionally, Climate Central has created interactive maps that allow you to explore sea level and coastal flood risks across the U.S. for eight states. Please take a moment to look at the startling renderings and the interactive maps to get a glimpse of our future in a much warmer world.

Make a No-Sew Fringed Scarf

fringe-scarfWhile a scarf is often a winter necessity for those of you above the Mason-Dixon, I’m more into scarves as a fashion accessory since it doesn’t get all that cold here in Florida. This simple tutorial is for a super stylish scarf that, weather notwithstanding, you can wear all year long.

Not only is this no-sew fringed scarf  really easy to make and very fashionable (fringe is EVERYWHERE right now), it’s also a great way to upcycle some of those unwanted t-shirts we all have clogging up our drawers!

And? They make great (read: inexpensive) holiday gifts!

You’ll Need:

•  One old T-Shirt – Bigger, wider shirts will make allow you to make a longer scarf. Smaller, more narrow shirts will make your scarf shorter.

•  Cloth Scissors – These will make cutting your fringe a lot easier.

Step 1:  Find a t-shirt that you won’t mind cutting up. If you don’t have one at home, you can pick up tons of them at the thrift store for almost nothing.

Step 2:  Cut horizontally across the shirt  just below the armholes, to create a rectangular tube. Then do the same just above the hem.

Step 3:  Start making vertical cuts all the way around the tube that extend from the raw edge upward. The longer the cut, the longer the fringe will be. This is optional but if you want more fringe, you can cut strips on the opposite side as well.

Step 4:  Tug down on each strand to elongate it and curl the edges. You can also knot the ends of each strand for some extra detail.

scarf-pictures

You can find more t-shirt scarf ideas on here on Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Bestfan.com

 

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