Author: Maia James

Are “Natural” Deodorants Safe and Nontoxic?

In my private consulting work, I often encounter frustrated clients who are in search of natural deodorant that really works.

You probably know that conventional deodorant and antiperspirants contain ingredients that may come with health risks; these include phthalates in the fragrance blend, parabens as preservatives, aluminum chlorohydrate to block your sweat glands, triclosan for antibacterial action, propylene glycol to soften the product, and talc to sop up wetness.

What to Avoid When Buying a Non-toxic Mattress

I often tell my private consulting clients that their mattress should be the first thing they replace if they want a non-toxic home. I feel so strongly about this because of the fact that a) we spend such a large portion of our lives in our beds, and b) most mattresses contain a range of chemical components, linked with everything from nervous system disorders to cancer.

Healthy Baby Formula Update

In 2013, I wrote a guest post for Dr. Lipman’s website that provided guidance on choosing the healthiest infant formula for your baby. We all know that breastmilk is better, but the fact remains that many conscientious mothers are looking for safe, natural, organic formula for their infants. With an ever-growing number of organic formula options, my private clients were increasingly confused about which was best choice, and I wanted to supply them with some clear guidelines for choosing the best formula possible.

Stop Sweeping!
(And 4 Other Easy Ways to Detox Indoor Air)

Even if you live in a city like I do, the air inside your home may be more polluted than the air outside of it. Some of the contamination of our indoor air quality comes from things like wall paints, glues in carpeting, and flame retardant chemicals leaking out of furniture.

Four Lesser Known Sources of Toxins and What to Do About Them

The dangers of environmental toxins continue to grab mainstream media attention, and many of us have done a pretty good job of reducing our exposure—ditching our air fresheners, choosing mineral sunscreens, and perhaps even trading in our memory foam mattresses.

For those of you who would like to take it a step further, and root out even more sources of chemical exposure, here are four places that you might be surprised to learn contain a heavy dose of toxins.

Why You (Usually) Shouldn’t Treat a Fever

I grew up in a home without Tylenol, Motrin, or even aspirin in the medicine cabinet. My mother, a holistic health coach, never gave her kids fever-reducing medications when we were sick, and instead relied upon treatments that ranged from spoon-feeding us daikon-radish tea to placing warm onions over our ears.

Mom maintained that fevers serve an important function in the body’s immune response–and thus they should not be suppressed. At the time, conventional medical wisdom held that there was no downside to administering Advil or Tylenol as soon as the thermometer’s reading went about 98.6 degrees, so our pediatrician probably thought my mother was a crazy sadist.

Phthalates in Food: 7 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure

You probably know that some plastic toys—like the now infamous rubber ducky—contain the hormone-disrupting, birth-defect-causing, probably-carcinogenic plasticizers known as phthalates. You may have even heard that this group of chemicals is also found in the fragrance of your favorite personal care products.

Why Your Hand Sanitizer Doesn’t Stop the Flu (And Might Make You Sick)

Despite my longtime annoyance with Purell-toting moms, once I had my own children I found myself–to my horror–becoming something of a germaphobe. When my sons are sick, we all suffer–they miss school, I can’t work, and no one sleeps. I’m judicious with the use of fever reducers and painkillers (here’s why), so some level of misery is inevitable. And in New York City, it’s hard to ignore how much exposure the kids have to germy surfaces, especially as babies (when mine can typically be found gumming the nearest subway pole). So, while you won’t see me with Purell in the sandbox, I have been known to surreptitiously spritz my kids’ hands with a natural sanitizer before they eat their snacks, hoping no onlookers are judging me.

4 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Toxic Flame Retardants

Are you worried about flame retardants in your home? Unfortunately, you should be. These chemicals are found in our furniture, electronics, household dust, and even our food—and they are implicated in everything from infertility to autism. By law, flame retardants (often in the form of a group of chemicals known as PBDEs) are added to a variety of items in that most of us use on a daily basis—from the foam in our sofa cushions to the cords for our laptops.

Organic Fashion:
Should We Worry About Toxins in Our Clothes?

If you eat a mostly organic diet and increasingly use organic skincare and cleaning products, it probably feels like a logical next step to buy organic clothing. But because of the higher prices and limited availability of organic garments, you may wonder if it’s worth it—what’s the real risk of clothing produced the conventional way? Let’s take a look at what “organic” means when it comes to fashion.