Category Archives: Healthy Living Tip

Renovation Day!

Healthy-n-Green Bedroom Makeover Part 2: Renovation Day!!

Watch how we transform this bedroom into a healthy-n-green area. Lots of help from local and national community sponsors along with empowering the kids to help in their bedroom renovation.

<iframe title=”YouTube video player” width=”480″ height=”390″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/w0hJvNwbcDU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Healthy-n-Green Bedroom Makeover: Part 2: Renovation Day!

Healthy-n-Green Bedroom Makeover:Before Video

Check out this video of the “before” walk-thru of the bedroom which will be receiving a Healthy-n-Green Makeover
You will see common problem areas which may trigger an asthmatic/allergic person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjuqTvQRyfo

A bedroom should be one which promotes wellness!

Follow me for more tips on creating healthy-n-green interiors:  Facebook Group:  Denise Robinette – HealthyLiving Interiors – Healthy-n-Green

Paint can Transform YOUR space!

What can a bucket of paint do for your space?

Click on the video below to see how one can of paint transformed this foyer!!  It was EASY, FUN, CHEAP and FAST AND HEALTHY!  What more can you ask for?? 

Paint can Transform YOUR Space (You Tube)

Have a Healthy Day!

Denise Robinette

Follow me on Facebook for tips on Healthy and Green Interior Design:  

Denise Robinette – HealthyLiving Interiors – Healthy-n-Green

One element we need to live – It could have saved 29 miners

One element we all share and could have saved 29 miners – we ALL need it to live

The one element which we all share, we all need to live and is the single most important thing that could have saved 29 mine workers lives – AIR. While we do not know the exact cause of the explosion, we do know that Gov. Joe Mancin stated “there needs to be a focus on better ventilation and on sensors to alert mine personnel when gas levels become dangerous”.

In the “old days”, canaries were used in the mines to signal to the workers of any dangerous levels of gases such as methane or carbon monoxide. Remember the phrase “canaries in the coal mines”? Back then, we did not have the ventilation equipment that is available today. I suspect we will find that this will be another example of a completely preventable tragedy – strict laws and regulations which were not practiced. The result is human life and a many, many families with heavy hearts.                
Our common link in this tragedy is that we all breathe air – and, we all share our air. We can survive one month without food, a week without water, but less than 5 minutes without air. Most of us don’t ever think about breathing – unless we have a job like a miner, or some type of lung disease. I learned about how important our air and its quality is when my son was diagnosed with asthma. Educating myself about sources of indoor air pollution and ways to make his life better led me on a journey of making our home – our interior – a safe-haven. As a licensed Interior Designer, I found that our interiors are environments which would either promote health and wellness or promote the development of disease and possibly life-long chronic illness. Through this research, I found our home actually became healthier for our entire family.                                                                                                
Most of what we are breathing we do not see. Our lungs act as a “filter” to unhealthy toxins and allergens. With every breath we take, we are inhaling these particulates into our lungs. Our lungs then transport whatever is in the air via our bloodstream to all of our body’s systems, including our heart, liver, brain and other organs. It is easy to see how important it is to have the air be healthy. As Winston Churchill said “We shape our buildings, then our buildings shape us.”

 
I learned that our indoor air is 3 to 5 times more polluted than the outside air – and we recirculate it in our air conditioning systems. I found that the average home produces forty pounds of dust per year for every 1,500 square feet of living space – and in each ounce of dust, there are 40,000 dust mites. I learned the average home contains 150 chemicals that are linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities. I had no idea that according to the EPA, indoor air quality is among the top 5 environmental risks to public health and repeated exposures to even “low-levels” of allergens can lead to allergic sensitization. The most surprising thing I learned was that everything we bring into our interior, every activity we perform and all the products we use affect our indoor air quality. To me this was empowering because it meant to a large extent, we could actually control the quality of our indoor air.                                                                                                                 
Some suggestions about how to improve your homes indoor air quality are below. The information is given out of respect and in memory of every miner who lost a life this past week.   It is also for all miners who risk their lives every day and who depend on the company they are working for to protect their air quality. Laws need to be practiced, not just preached …. Otherwise, we need to go back to the days of the canaries.

 

Be aware: C.A.R.E. about your indoor air:
C. Choose healthy products:
Use NO-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints – Ask for Green Labeled Paint Use cleaning products that are unscented, contain no phosphates or petroleum, and are environmentally safe
Use only pure essential oils for aroma with no-phosphates
A. Air out and ventilate
Open the windows at least once a week to flush out toxins
Change the air conditioning filters monthly
Control the moisture to below 60% by fixing leaks and regular maintenance of air conditioner
Use exhaust fans when bathing and cooking
R. Reduce dust and allergens Remove carpeting and replace with hard flooring
Use air cleaning machine with HEPA filter
Encase bedding with dust mite protectors
Vacuum with HEPA filter and damp wipe surfaces
Do not burn candles or incense
E. Eliminate exposure to toxins                                                                                                                              Do not use chemical perfumes in air fresheners or beauty products
Use integrated pest management principles such as bait, traps and natural deterrents to prevent pest’ access to food, water and shelter
Remove your shoes at the door and place walk-off mats at each door entrance
Do not smoke or perform hobbies which require the use of toxic chemicals inside a closed space

www.healthylivinginteriors.com                www.healthy-n-green.com

Asthma drug warning – prevent asthma with a healthy interior

Drugs = health risk
Healthy Interiors = healthy life

Having healthy indoor air quality in your home or office is the number one preventitive for controlling your asthma. Having the FDA issues a warning on 4 Asthma Drugs should be enough cause for concern.

Anyone taking Advair, Symbicort, Foradil or Serevent should read the article linked below from Forbes Magazine. The FDA warns that only asthmatics who can not control their asthma should take these medications,and in very short time frames, as the medicines might make the asthma worse.

Having two children with asthma, I completely understand the need for medicine. When a child can’t breathe, nothing else matters. What I have learned is that there are many natural ways to control asthma. And, it starts with the quality of air you or your child is breathing.

It is really easy to understand that if we are trying to lose weight, we can’t be going through drive-thrus before heading out to the nearest ice cream store.  It is common sense.  The same goes for someone with lung disease, whether it is asthma, COPD or even pneumonia. The air should be as free from allergens and toxins as possible.

Be aware! C.A.R.E. about your indoor air will help put the principles of a healthy-n-green space. The are:
C.   Choose healthy products
      no VOC paints, unscented products or airfresheners
A.   Air out and ventilate
      open your windows and “flush” out the built-up
      toxins …. even for a few minutes. control the
      moisture to below 60% – use exhaust fans
R.   Reduce dust and allergens
      remove carpeting if possible – replace with hard
      flooring
      use air-cleaning machines with HEPA filters
      encase bedding with dust mite protectors
     do NOT burn candles or incense inside
E.  Eliminate exposure to toxins
     do NOT smoke or perform hobbies which require
     toxic chemicals inside
     remove shoes at the door, and place large walk-off
     mats at each entrance
     use integrated pest management principles like bait,
     traps and natural deterrents to avoid pests

These are simple steps that you can make over time – or all at once.  You and your family deserve to breathe healthy indoor air  -  it starts with taking control of your health.    When we rely on medications to do it for us, we have to suffer the consequences which we may not know for decades. 

read the entire article:                                                                                      http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2010/02/21/health-us-med-asthma-drugs_7373532.html?partner=alerts

Formaldehyde in Vicoria Secrets bras?

Formaldehyde in Victoria Secrets bras?

Now, I have heard it all – formaldehyde in their bras is being blamed for making some women sick. We do live in a toxic world – but our bras?

You may be asking “why” would they put formaldehyd in a bra? It is used in so many building products such as flooring, particleboard, and cabinetry – so what is its purpose in material? (especially in a bra)

It is widely used in the fabric industry, ever heard of permanent press? It also is an anti-wrinkle, anti-shrink and helps resist mildew.  But, formaldehyde is listed as a probable carcinogen. Repeated exposure can exacerbate asthma, wheezing, coughing – and create severe allergeric reactions. Irritation in the eyes, nose and throat as well as headaches and fatigue.

It was well publicized thata people who were in “Katrina” trailers were becoming sick from the high levels of formaldehyde exposure. Heat and humidity will increase the emissions of the resins – so the levels are unpredictible. The regulation in the US is very lax compared to other countries. The acceptable level for the US is 300 ppm, while Japan is only 75 ppm.

There are alternatives when designing for your healthy home. Ask for formaldehyde free cabinetry and building products. Make smart choices for your family’s health.  You need to beware of what you eat, drink, breathe AND wear! 

to read the entire Victoria Secret article:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/02/is-there-a-toxic-secret-in-victoria-s-secret-bras.aspx

Perseverance, dedication and commitment

The Winter Olympics have begun, and I watch in awe of each athlete’s dedication to his sport. The hours of focus and training just to get to the Olympics are an accomplishment in itself. Perseverance, dedication and commitment are words that come to mind in their unrelentless goal for excellence.

I write this blog, in celebration of the spirit of sportsmanship, dedication and attaining goals. It is not written about my usual topic of how to create a Healthy-n-Green interior. It is written out of respect to those who are presently competing in the Olympics as well as celebrating those from the past.

On the eve of the opening ceremony, I watched with sadness as the fatal accident in the Luge competition claimed the young life of Nodar Kumaritashvili. It was the second luge death in Olympics history, the first death occurring in 1964. Many sports are very dangerous, and the luge is no exception.
As with any tragedy, there will be a lot of questions to why this happened. And, it is important to ask the questions – and eventually there will be answers.

I felt the need to give my personal condolence to this young athlete, his family and his Georgian team.

Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day – Go Green All Year

Wear Green on St.Patrick’s Day -                                                                                “Go Green”  All Year!

March is the month of Green.  Green shamrocks, green clothes, green food and green drinks. We all love to “go green” and be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, some even dye their hair green in celebration!   If you don’t “wear green” you may pay the price with being pinched.  Why not “go green” all year long…..that is Healthy-n-Green!  The benefits to making our indoor environment healthy and green are endless.  It won’t happen overnight, but it can happen over time.  Understanding healthy-n-green principles will make our lives healthier, making sustainable choices while conserving energy and water.   This is good for our health, and good for our planet.   The Irish “go green”, so why not you?

HealthyLiving Fact:

A 1979 Surgeon General report stated “there is virtually no major chronic disease to which environmental factors do not contribute, directly or indirectly.”

Go Green:  Good for our health,  Good for our planet

So…. just what does it mean to be green, and how do we know if products truly are green?    To be green “from the ground up” you can start with the design and of your building.  During the construction phase you can select products which are best for your health and made from materials which will have the least impact to our global environment.  With green building becoming more mainstream, we have seen the manufacturing industry responding with reformulated typical products into new green products.  But, to simply claim that something is green without showing the benefits to human health and wellness, the environment and economics is not enough.

Independent third-party material certifications are now becoming available to help in material selections, construction products and building methods.   This is very important, as we don’t want the “fox watching the henhouse” with manufacturers using their own certifications.   The independent third-party certification companies are helping manufacturers comply with a standard in being environmentally friendly.  Just as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and the “UL” symbol from Under-writers Laboratories for lighting products have influenced consumers decisions in product purchasing;  so too, will consumers become educated in just what does make a product “truly green”.

Listed below are a few examples of certification companies.  What is more important is understanding green principles…and some are listed below as well.  Much of “going green” is going back to the basics and using a lot of common sense.  This will make it easier to sift through the green maze and understand if some products are being painted green.

Green Third-Party Certification Companies

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit that manages an international standard for well-managed forests and a process for tracking and certifying products derived from those forests.  It addresses numerous aspects of sustainable forestry:  restoration, native habitat, old-growth forests, ecological functions, indigenous people’s rights and sound management for timber production.  It is considered the gold standard.

Greenguard certifies that a product meets emission thresholds for formaldehyde and other volatile organic compound (VOC’s).  It is managed by the nonprofit Greenguard Environmental Institute (GEI) which was spun off from Air Quality Sciences (AQS), a testing laboratory for Greenguard certification.

Energy Star is a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) and was introduced in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program.   Manufacturers supply EPA and DOE with data supporting their use of the Energy Star logo and their claims are monitored.

Green Seal is a non-profit certifying a wide range of products such as paints, adhesives, lamps, chillers, windows, and cleaners.  Their standards are reviewed every three years and updated as they see a shift in the market.  Their certifications are based on data from accredited laboratories and audits of manufacturing facilities.

These are just a few of some well-known certification companies, as many others being established in trying to gain the public’s trust and money in buying their products.  Until there is more harmony and consistency with certifications, the consumer is left to understand the basics of being green.

You don’t need the luck of the Irish to Go Green

Avoid products which contain PVC or more commonly known as “vinyl”.  Vinyl products such as window treatments, wallcoverings, furniture, carpet backing, flooring, shower curtains, and mattress covers often off-gas harmful chemicals in our spaces.   PVC poses hazards in its manufacture, product life and disposal.   Go green with materials which are natural AND sustainable such as bamboo, cork, organic fabrics, and other natural products.

Avoid products with flame retardants which are found in furniture foam and fabrics.  Go green with emission-free mattresses made with natural fiber bedding and natural latex cores wrapped in natural flame retardants such as wool.

Use products that are water efficient and replace old products.  A toilet is the largest user of water in a home accounting for up to 28% of water use.  If it was installed before 1994 is using at least twice as much water as a water efficient model and your shower is using as much as three times today’s standard.  Go green with low-flow plumbing fixtures.

Use products that are energy efficient, saving the average household up to $ 400.00 per year on utility bills.  The refrigerator is typically the biggest power consumer, so replace yours if it is over 10 years old. The most efficient one has the freezer above or below (not a side by side) and has the least amount of “bells and whistles”.   Go green by purchasing products with the Energy Star logo.

Do not use particleboard and pressed woods in cabinetry, or paints and finishes which release formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) sometimes years after installation.  Go green with products which state “formaldehyde-free”   and “no-VOC” paints and finishes.

Eliminate all fragrances in your products such as cleaning, air fresheners, candles, fabric softeners and personal care products.   These products contain a chemical called “phthalates” which has been proven to be unsafe.   Go green with natural maintenance and personal care products which can be found in health food stores.   100% beeswax candles or 100% essential oils are a better choice for aroma.

May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.                                              Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Love is in the air…..Or IS it???? Healthy Air = Healthy Hearts

dsc_0051

www.normangitzen.com

FEBRUARY………….Love is in the Air………….Or IS it???????

heart

mheartmheart

When one thinks of February, one thinks of matters of the heart….

LOVE IS IN THE AIR!

Are you aware that what is in YOUR air can affect your heart?

Most of us know that air pollution health affects are far reaching….  respiratory illness, allergies and headaches to name a few.  But how many of us know that air pollution actually increases the risk of heart attacks?

As we focus on Valentines Day and how important love is to our hearts,  I will show you the link between indoor air and keeping your heart healthy.   I will give you some simple and easy tips on making your indoor environment healthy-n-green……so you can keep spreading the love.

HealthyLiving Fact:

Heart Attacks Linked To Particulates in Air Pollution

Many studies have shown the link between air pollution and the increase of heart attacks and strokes.

2001 Journal of American Heart Association:  “As few as two hours after being inhaled, tiny, invisible pollutants can penetrate the lungs’ natural defenses and may trigger a heart attack.”

March 2005 Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “air pollution increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and makes respiratory problems worse, by thickening the blood and increasing inflammation, respectively.”

September 12, 2007   The New England Journal of Medicine   “Air pollution could be putting patients with heart disease at risk by affecting blood vessels and clotting”

Just  what  IS  in  your  Air??

The average home produces forty pounds of dust per year for every 1,500 square feet of living space. And in each ounce of dust, there are 40,000 dust mites!

We see outdoor particulates in smoke and smog, but we don’t always see the indoor particulates.  With every breath we take, we are inhaling these particulates into our lungs.   Our lungs then transport whatever is in the air via our bloodstream to all of our body’s systems, including our heart, liver, brain and other organs.

Many indoor activities will increase particulates such as burning candles and incense and renovating the interior.  Lifestyle choices such as having animals in our living spaces as well as having high moisture (relative humidity) create the perfect conditions for mold, dust mites, and cockroaches to increase in particulate count.  Wall to wall carpet holds chemicals and pesticides in the carpet dust which then is stirred up into the air for hours after being vacuumed.

When we realize the sources and conditions that will increase our particulate count, we can then make wise choices to lower them.  Below are some easy tips to minimize your particulates:

Healthy-n-Green Tips:

C.A.R.E.  about  your  Air:

C  -  choose healthy products

A  – air out and ventilate

R – reduce your exposure

E – eliminate your particulates

___________________________________________________________

C  -  Choose products which will lower your indoor particulate count such as a central vacuum cleaner, or a upright vacuum with a HEPA filter.   Use an air cleaning machine with HEPA filters that are 80% – 95% effective in removing the airborne pollutants, including the smaller pollutants.  Choose non-aerosol and scent-free products for cleaning, laundry and toiletry products.

A  -  Air out and ventilate by opening your windows on a regular basis.  Make sure it is on a day that has low outdoor air pollution.  Change your air filters regularly with filters which trap smaller particulates.

R  -   Reduce your exposure by using walk off mats at the entrances into your space to catch the dust and chemicals from your shoes.  Encase your mattresses and pillows with dust mite covers to reduce dust mite exposure.  Purchase a hygrometer (at a local hardware store for less than $ 30.00)  to measure your relative humidity (moisture) which should be less than 55%.  Use exhaust fans while cooking or bathing to reduce relative humidity.  If there is consistent high relative humidity, find the “source” and fix it.

E – Eliminate the source of particulates by making your space easier to clean by replacing wall to wall carpet with hard surface flooring.   Eliminate indoor activities that will produce high particulate count such as smoking, incense burning and candle burning.

Healthy Air = Healthy Heart

Happy “Healthy-n-Green” New Year!!

Be the Change you want to see in the World  – Ghandi

As we start a New Year, we are all reminded to make our resolutions of what we want or NEED to change for the coming year.  What changes are you striving to make?  Change is good – Change gives our life the fuel and desire to grow, while helping us move forward with hope and promise.

Most of us will say we want a New Year that will make us healthier.  Often times this requires many changes in our current lifestyle, behavior and thought process.  Having a “healthy-n-green” indoor environment promotes wellness, saves money in energy and water usage, and lessens our impact on the global environment with sustainable choices.  With the green-maze of choices and the green-washing of information, I hope to educate you in understanding the core principles of living a sustainable lifestyle which is truly healthy-n-green.

HealthyLiving Fact:  The EPA states Indoor Air Quality as one of the top five environmental risks to public health, reporting in 1989 that indoor air pollution consistently causes GREATER health risks than HAZARDOUS WASTE SITES!  It is 2 to 5 time and sometimes 1000 times MORE polluted than the outside air!

YOUR Indoor Environment A Hazardous Waste Site?

If we consider that Everything we bring into our environment, every activity we perform, and all products we use affect indoor air quality, we will start to begin the process of making our spaces healthier.

The average person breathe in about 32,000 pints (18,185 liters) of air PER DAY.  Those 32,000 pints contain about 1,120,000,000 particles of dust.  Most of these particles are  3 microns or smaller.  That is alot of dust!

Consider the cleaning products, pesticides, paints, building products, personal care products, hobbies and interior furnishings as being “some” examples of what we bring into our environment.  Think of how many VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) may be released from just ONE product which then lingers in the air, being re-circulated throughout the ventilation system.  We live in a closed bubble of toxins, rarely considering how are actions impact our short and long term health.

Ventilation Is Key to Having Healthy Air

Healthy-n-Green Tips:

Change the quality of your indoor air by simply opening your windows at least once a week.  Ventilation is very important to flushing out toxins and particulate matter that build up indoors.   Our homes are built to be energy efficient with no outside air exchange.  By opening windows weekly for a few minutes, you reduce the levels of airborne toxins that would otherwise be continually  recycled in your air conditioning system.  Remember..the outside air is LESS polluted!

Change your air conditioning filters once a month.  You have heard it time and time again…..something so simple and inexpensive, yet often forgotten is to change your filters.  Mark your calendar and buy your filters in bulk, saving time and money.  NOT changing your air conditioner filter at regular intervals can decrease equipment operating efficiency by 20% or more!

Today’s best air conditioners use 30% – 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970’s.  Even if your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.  Hire a reputable professional to properly size and install your unit to save you  money and reduce environmental pollution.