Turn your bedroom into a safe, healthy haven

August 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Learn how to turn the most important room in your house into a safe haven. Beth Greer, author of "Super Natural Home," shows us how.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A SAFE, HEALTHY HAVEN

If you had to choose just one room in your home to eliminate toxic chemicals, it's the bedroom. We spend a third of our lives in that room so transforming it into a healthy and comfortable retreat can have a major impact on improving your health and well-being. Most of us don't give our bedrooms a second thought except to make sure we have a comfortable bed or one that fits with our décor. Installing new synthetic carpeting, or painting with conventional paint, for example, can create a potentially toxic environment. The good news is that there are lots of companies now making safe and affordable home products.

Tips:

1. Sleep on a mattress made from untreated, nontoxic natural materials, like natural latex, cotton and wool. Mattresses made with synthetic ingredients off-gas, or release dangerous chemicals like flame retardants, into the air, which you inhale while you are sleeping. If you can't afford a new, natural mattress, buy a wool and organic cotton mattress topper and pillows filled with either natural latex, cotton, or wool.

2. Textiles are some of the most polluting products in your bedroom. 90 percent of textiles contain phthalates - chemicals that disrupt your hormones. Choose organic cotton sheets instead of cotton/polyester blends (these are not recyclable). Choose fabrics like linen, wool and bamboo for upholstery.

3. If you chose synthetic wall-to-wall carpeting, know that it releases fumes or airborne vapors called VOCs. These come from the adhesives, backing, flame retardants and stain resistant chemicals, and can cause health problems. Choose a carpet made of natural fibers like wool?it's naturally flame retardant, nontoxic, and non-allergic, and it deters bacterial growth. Also, consider using bamboo or cork flooring.

4. Walls cover a lot of surface space. Choose paper-based wallpaper instead of vinyl with traditional wallpaper paste instead of self-stick which contain high levels of VOCs. Use low or no-VOC paints.

5. Stay away from synthetic fragrances and air fresheners. These contain phthalate and other chemicals that can harm our health. For scented candles, try soy or beeswax made with essential oils. Place green plants in the bedroom to add oxygen and help clean the air.

About Beth Greer:
Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom?, is an award-winning journalist, holistic health advocate and author of Super Natural Home: Improve Your Health, Home and Planet?One Room at a Time (Rodale, 2009). She is also host of The Super Natural Mom Show on the Progressive Radio Network and founder of SuperNaturalMom.com, a website dedicated to providing healthy, natural strategies and advice. As former President and co-owner of The Learning Annex, the largest private alternative adult education company in the U.S., Beth has helped thousands see new possibilities and feel empowered to make changes in their lives.

She's written for the San Francisco Chronicle's Home Section and US magazine and blogs on her website www.supernaturalmom.com.

Beth lives in Marin County, California and in 2007 was named a recipient of the "100 Magnificent Marin Women Award" by Search for the Cause, a non-profit organization that investigates how exposure to chemicals in our daily lives increases the risk of cancer.

Beth is a testament to how making small lifestyle shifts can make a huge difference in one's health. By using alternative methods of healing, eating a diet free of pesticides and avoiding hazardous chemicals in her personal care and household products, Beth eliminated a tumor without drugs or surgery.


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