You may have been following the current news story in Flint, Michigan regarding the high levels of lead found in their drinking water.
That such a thing could happen in this country is appalling.
That it could occur at all and then continue for so many weeks without being taken care of is beyond belief.
Everyone involved from the Governor of Michigan on down has much to answer for, and I suspect, many legal battles will follow.
We can only hope that the health damages caused from this will be minimal; particularly for children who are most affected from ingesting lead.
Our home is supposed to be our safe place; that one corner of our world where we feel most in control.
Most of us do not have to worry about unsafe water, but there are many common VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) found in household and cosmetic products that we don’t think much about, yet can be potentially harmful.

Image: Feldman Architecture

FRESHOME.COM just published an article listing the 10 most common VOC’s and how to replace or remove them.
Here they are:

VOC acetone

Found in: nail polish remover, furniture polish and wallpaper

Alternatives: Acetone-free nail polish remover is actually healthier for your nails as well as the air you breathe. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your health for freshly painted nails, so by using a product that has a different solvent (such as alcohol) you’re heading in a VOC-free direction. The same goes for furniture polish; several water-based substitutes get the job done.

VOC benzene 2


Found in: paint, glue, carpeting and emissions from gasoline combustion

Alternatives: Benzene-free paint and glue are widely available.

VOC butanal


Found in: emissions from barbecues, burning candles, stoves and cigarettes

Alternatives: Don’t smoke — and try to avoid smokers or inhaling secondhand smoke. Also, most stoves containing butanal include camping or outdoor stoves, which are always better used outside. Beeswax, soy-based and cotton-wicked candles are safest to burn and still provide a nice ambiance.

VOC carbon disulfide

Found in: chlorinated tap water

Alternatives: If your family drinks tap water, the best way to avoid this VOC is to have a charcoal or carbon-filtration system such as a Brita.

VOC dichlorobenzene

DichlorobenzeneFound in: mothballs and deodorizers

Alternative: Skip the mothballs when storing your out-of-season clothing, and use cedar chips, air-tight containers or garment bags instead. The scent of lavender also helps keep moths away.

VOC ethanol


Found in: glass cleaners, dishwasher detergents and laundry detergents

Alternative: When using a cleaning product indoors that contains ethanol, be sure to open windows or create an effective air-filtration system that will absorb the chemicals.

VOC formaldehyde


Found in: floor lacquers and certain molded plastics

Alternative: A number of water-based polyurethane finishes are strong and low-toxic, as are natural plant-chemistry-based floor finishes. To be truly safe, it’s best to exclude as much plastic as possible from your daily life, but using BPA-free plastics is the safest bet.

VOC terpene


Found in: fragrant products such as soap or laundry detergents

Alternative: Many natural or citrus-based products are available that can be substituted for scented soap or detergent that emits terpenes.

VOC toluene

Found in: paint

Alternative: Before you add a fresh coat of paint in your home, check to see whether it contains toluene. If it does, open a window to allow air to circulate through the room. Paint any furniture or DIY projects outside or in the garage (with the door open) to prevent emitting harmful VOCs.

VOC benzene

Found in: traffic emissions and idling cars

Alternative: Xylene is unavoidable when you’re out on the road, so keep your windows rolled up when you’re driving in heavy traffic, and never leave your car running in the garage. If you come into contact with a product that contains xylene, it’s best to wear protective mouth and eye gear or gloves.

I don’t think we should live in fear, but I do believe that being aware and taking care of what could potentially be harmful is a good idea.
Then you can rest easy knowing that the home you’ve so mindfully and beautifully created really is your “sweetest spot” in all of the world.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around


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