Creating a room for your new baby is a very big part of getting ready for his or her arrival! But, picking the colors and prints for fabric and walls and finding the right furniture are only part of the picture. It is important to make sure that the materials and supplies you choose for the room support your child’s health and development as well! Babies and small children breathe in more air for their body weight than adults do – which means that their exposure to air pollution can actually be greater than for adults – at critical stages of development too.  In this blog post, we offer Green Depot solutions to reduce your child’s exposure to chemicals of concern in the nursery like Formaldehyde, PVC, Flame Retardants, and more.

Flooring
Flooring is one of the greatest sources of chemical off-gassing in a home – and since small children often spend a lot of time on the floor, their exposure to those chemicals can be greater. Choose flooring that is PVC-free, has no-added-urea-formaldehyde, a non-off-gassing finish or chemical treatments of other kinds.

- Wool Carpet is an excellent choice for a nursery. Naturally flame resistant and easy to clean, wool carpet does not need the stain treatments and flame retardants that can get added to synthetic carpeting. Wool feels great soft and cozy underfoot and is known for its durability too – so it should last well into (or past) your baby’s college years!

- Cork Flooring is a quiet and resilient flooring option. This beautiful flooring is available in planks that click together and “float” without the need for adhesives.

- Natural Fiber Area Rugs are a great way to add a pop of color or pattern to baby’s room! Put one down over your wood floor to quiet footfalls during naptime.


Paints & Finishes
People say that high contrast and colors are great for a baby’s nursery so go bold if you want to, but choose a zero-VOC paint! We have several paint lines that are high on performance and  low on toxins. Click here to see our full selection! The finishes that you choose for flooring and furniture are equally important. Look for wood finishes that are low-toxic and won’t off-gas into the room for months. OSMO’s Polyx Oil wood finish meets German regulations for safety on children’s toys; and Vermont Natural Coatings is made from whey – a by-product of Vermont’s cheese industry!

 

Clothes and Bedding
When choosing bedding and clothes for our child make sure that there are no chemical hazards lurking. Believe it or not, some baby bedding and even pajama’s can contain toxic flame retardants! These chemicals are added with good intentions, but scientists are beginning to tie them to serious health and developmental concerns. Fortunately, we have a full line of organic cotton clothing and bedding products that are free of chemical treatments.


Baby Care and Toys
When buying baby care items avoid plastics as much as possible as they can contain chemicals called pthalates, many of which are known endocrine disruptors. We have a full category of options here.

- Diapers: 60% natural materials, and chlorine free for when you need diapers on the run
- Baby Bottles: made from glass with silicone sleeves for grip
- Silicone nipples: latex, BPA, phthalate and PVC free

Latex, BPA, phrhalate and PVC free
Latex, BPA, phrhalate and PVC free


Laundry & Cleaning
It is a little ironic that many of the cleansers available on the market today can actually pollute our homes with toxic fragrances and dangerous anti-bacterials at the same time that they claim to be making homes cleaner. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s website to see how the cleaning products in your home rate for chemical safety. We’d like to highlight these healthy options for keeping your house cleaning as clean as possible:

- Charlies Laundry Soap: hypoallergenic, non-toxic, biodegradable and concentrated – use approx 1 oz per load!
- Green Depot All Purpose Cleaner: our house brand, biodegradable, non-toxic and refillable at our refill stations
- AFM SuperClean: super concentrated, tough enough for toilets and safe enough for dishes!


Green Depot Registry!
If you’re expecting, our online registry program makes it easy to share the products you’d like with your community! Click here to sign up!

 

Want to look deeper into chemical safety for kids?

+ The Center for Environmental Health has an excellent page on Children’s health at home here.
+ CHEJ is another informative resource for information about chemicals and child health.
+ The State of Minnesota also has some great information here.
+ Read what the American Lung Association says about Indoor Air Pollution here.
+ The Environmental Protection Agency has a very informative website about child health here.

http://www.greendepot.com/greendepot/product.asp?s_id=0&prod_name=Naty+Diapers&pf_id=NATYUD&dept_id=3500&mscssid=C99TK80948RA9P2XRTB9L61CLD500439
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Renovating a basement can be a great way to add living space to your home without the expense of building up or out! Here at Green Depot we have several products that lend themselves so well to this kind of project, you could almost say they were made for it! Because they are usually at least partially underground (below-grade) basements are often cold and even a little damp feeling, but they don’t have to stay that way.

Insulating your basement:

   
Tyroc Underlayment:  Created for basement applicatons, this subfloor
paneling evens out small variances, acts as a vapor barrier and allows the cement under your flooring
to breathe. This subfloor is impervious to mold, mildew and moisture. Install your flooring of choice over it.
Nest Radiant Barrier Insulation:   This reflective insulation blanket adds an R value of 12.5 with just 1/4 inch of material. A water proof vapor barrier, moisture will not affect the insulating qualities. Reflects warmth back into your basement. Ultratouch Cotton Insulation:  Made from cotton, this insulation is pest, mold and fire resitant. Available in a range of R values Ultratouch adds a cozy cotton blanket to your basement without any fiberglass, or formaldehyde.

  

Finish your basement with products that bring warmth and coziness – and protect your Indoor Air Quality:

   
Cork Flooring:  Made from a rapidly renewable resource, cork floors are warm, resilient and comfortable underfoot.  This natural flooring is durable, quiet, and comes in a wide range of styles and applications. Wool Carpet:  Few materials invite you to take your shoes off and feel cozy like wall to wall carpeting can. Wool carpets bring warmth, style and comfort without the need for chemical stain masters and flame retardants that  can offgas, plus wool is a fast growing, renewable fiber! YOLO Colorhouse Paints:  Basements tend to be short on natural light, so the warmth and vibrance provided by their designer colors makes YOLO a great choice for a refinished basement. In addition to a harmonious palette, all YOLO paints are intrinsically mold and mildew resistant whatever color or sheen you choose.

 

Complete the job with a couple of essential appliances to maintain the comfort of your new living space:

   
BioSmart Heaters:  Infrared heat is perfect in a basement because it creates a much cozier feeling than more common heaters.  The unique shorter wavelength is a penetrating, direct source of heat, much like the sun. BioSmart heaters heat the space evenly from floor to ceiling – warming up the objects rather than simply the air.   Austin Air FIlters: Keep your new basement living space feeling clean and comfortable with a high quality air filter that will help control dust, mold spores, chemicals, pet dander, odors and more!

If you are thinking of finishing your basement – whether for extra guest space or craft space,  an office or a game room, the healthy and environmentally friendly materials above will contribute to making your space comfortable and inviting.  Work with a contractor to be sure that your basement is suitable for renovation (no leaks), and that you have the proper building permits as required in your area. A contractor will also know the proper tools for framing in a concrete setting – which can be a little tricky.

Click here for a helpful post about basement renovations on Diynetwork.com!   


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East Coast or West Coast many of us across the country will have had to deal with the trauma of water damage in our homes before this year is over. Unfortunately, many of the problems caused by flooding or leaks do not disappear with the water – and one of the most pernicious of these is mold.  Mold can create unpleasant odors, cause nasty stains, and in the worst cases mold can release toxins into the air and cause major health problems. If you are wondering how to prevent or eliminate mold in your home in a healthy and environmentally sound way, here are some of our recommendations. 
 
+ Be sure to protect yourself while dealing with mold and always wear gloves and a mask. We recommend using natural latex gloves.
 
+ Make sure that all water has been removed and the space is completely dried out. Running a space heater and/or a dehumidifier in the affected area will speed drying.
 
+ Softer materials like carpeting or ceiling tiles that got wet will likely have to be disposed of because they are typically too difficult to clean thoroughly enough. Be sure to remember that the subfloor underneath your carpeting or other flooring may need to be  addressed as well.
 
+ Remaining surfaces can be scrubbed with Moldex to kill and prevent mold. Surfaces can also be treated with Oxyboost to kill mold or mildew. Mix 2 to 3 ounces of Oxyboost into a gallon of hot water and scrub the area down, then rinse and repeat if necesary. Both Moldex and Oxyboost are free of dyes, bleach, and ammonia.
 
+ Once mold has been removed, dry the surfaces completely before repainting, or covering with flooring, insulation or drywall.  
  - If you are replacing the carpet or flooring in a basement, consider Tyroc Underlayment - it allows air-flow underneath flooring and is itself impervious to mold
  – If you have to replace drywall, we recommend Mold Tough Drywall – it will help prevent mold from taking hold in the walls
 
+ After drying, walls should be primed with AFM Transitional Primer (AFM 80190) and painted with Moldex Paint or YOLO Colorhouse  paints. (YOLO paint is mold and mildew resistant because it contains an antimicrobial ingredient – the same stuff used in dandruff shampoos)
 
+ Once a home has dried out, been cleaned thoroughly and refinished or repainted, we recommend using an Austin Air Purifer in the space on an ongoing basis. Austin Air units contain filters that are fine enough to trap lingering mold spores and other contaminants. Austin Air Purifiers are trusted by FEMA and the Red Cross.

 Recommended reading from the EPA:
 
Flood Cleanup: Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problems
 
Mold Cleanup Guidelines
 
If mold covers more than 10 square feet, the EPA recommends that these guidelines are followed:
Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings

To see more Green Depot products related to storm cleanup please click here.

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Wherever you are in the continental 48, evidence of spring is starting to pop up! As the weather warms up and the days get longer many of us feel inspired to do some kind of home improvement. In this post we’ll take a look at several kinds of projects that are perfect for this time of year – from large to small!

BIG PROJECT: DECKING 

Trex Decking: Start spring off with a Trex Deck! Beautiful, durable, and sustainable, a Trex deck will give you years of enjoyment with minimal maintenance! Easy to install, with lots of options for railings, colors, patterns and even lighting! Using a unique combination of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood, Trex products provide the best qualities of both materials. 

 

 

 

MEDIUM PROJECT: GARDENING
Start on your yard now so it is in great shape for summer! There are lots of green choices you can make for your yard and garden beds. Here are some of our picks:

Heirloom Seeds: Three wonderful Heirloom Seed Collections: Herbs, Flowers, and Vegetables from the oldest seed house in America.  Rain Barrel: Collect and store rain-water in this collapsible barrel for use around your garden when rain is scarce. Easily folds away for storage Compost Tumbler: The Tumbleweed
Compost Maker rotates on a solid steel axis to turn kitchen and garden scraps into compost.

 

SMALL PROJECT: SPRING CLEANING (On Sale through April 20)
It feels so good on a bright spring day to open the windows, let in some fresh air, and start clearing out the cobwebs that may have collected un-noticed over the winter. If you are planning to do just that in the next few weeks, be sure that your cleaning products are themselves as clean as they can be! We’ve got a full range of spring cleaning supplies from non-toxic cleansers to scrubbers and cleaning cloths from sustainable materials.

   
Green Depot Tub and Tile Cleaner: Formulated with low pH organic salt, this highly-concentrated, non-corrosive tub & tile cleaner emits no irritating fumes. Full Circle Cleaning Mitt:
Tough, natural loofah on one side, soft absorbent bamboo fiber on the other. Shaped to reach into tight corners.
Sebo X4 Automatic Upright Vacuum: Protect your carpets and your health with the high-tech, beautifully engineered SEBO X4 vacuum.
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This Holiday Season as you look for gifts or supplies for the children in your life, you’ll probably consider the child’s age and interests, and the quality and durability of the product. It is much less common to consider the safety of the toy – most people assume that there are government regulations in place to protect us. Unfortunately, the reality is that, as a country, we still lack consensus on how to approach regulation of chemicals in consumer products – even those intended for children.

There is currently legislation at both the federal level and in many states seeking to clarify strategies to protect our children from toxic chemical exposure. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, introduced to the House by Sen. Frank Lautenberg is one. Another is the Child-Safe Product Act, currently under consideration in New York State. It is notable that parents, health care professionals and educators are not the only ones showing support for this kind of legislation – many businesses are too. Today, Green Depot Founder Sarah Beatty testified at a New York State Assembly hearing on the Child-Safe Product Act. In her testimony she explained why businesses should welcome regulation of this kind:

The Child-Safe Products Act protects workers in manufacturing facilities, nearby communities, and all consumers from toxic chemical exposure. It reduces the potential for product makers’ legal liability for illness linked to toxic chemicals, and it increases investor confidence that they will be free from:
• Worker’s compensation claims from occupational illness linked to on the job toxic chemical exposure; and
• A tarnished public image, resulting in decreased sales, suffered by so many brands in the past few years due to contamination.

According to the American Sustainable Business Council the economic benefits of chemical regulation include: cutting the costs of hazardous waste storage and disposal; improving worker protection; decreasing health care costs, and future liabilities; and supporting market trends that transform supply chains that result in better businesses.

There are many arguments in favor of this kind of legislation – and support and awareness are growing across the country. This time next year, as we are shopping for meaningful gifts that will delight our favorite youngsters, let’s hope that we won’t still be having to wonder and worry about the possibility of lurking toxins!

Click here for more information on The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

Click here for more about the Child-Safe Products Act under consideration in New York State.

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