popular

10 Things to Consider When Apartment Hunting

make this move your best and healthiest one yet

We know apartment hunting can be confusing. Here's a list of 10 things to consider that will make your next apartment a healthier place to live.


1. Lead Paint

You have probably heard about this one- lead is bad for you, and many research studies have shown it negatively affects brains and so many more things. But, what you really need to know is lead paint is only a big deal in older buildings because lead paint was banned in the US in 1978. The manager of the building should disclose if there is lead paint, and it can be dealt with easily by making sure it is properly painted over, so it doesn't chip off and get spread around your apartment, which is the only real way it can get into your body. Lead paint is always dangerous, but it is a bigger deal if you have small kids or pets who like to lick things - generally adults don't do that. Read more about reducing your exposure to lead here. The EPA also has some great resources.

2. Mold

You wouldn't eat moldy food (except for delicious cheese), so why live in a moldy apartment. But really, mold can cause allergy symptoms or respiratory problems, making it dangerous to live with. You can't always see mold just by looking, so pay attention for a funky smell, black dust, or signs of water damage throughout the apartment. These could be signs of mold hiding in the walls or ceiling. Laws vary about if a landlord must treat mold, but if you suspect mold, talk to them about it and try to make a deal to have it treated before you move in.

3. Carpet and vinyl flooring

This one should be more obvious as you walk through an apartment. If you aren't sure if the floor is vinyl or not or want to know how old the carpet is, ask the landlord, they should know. While this isn't as easily fixed as some of the others on the list, if you are deciding between apartments and one has old carpet or vinyl flooring and the other doesn't, opt for the carpet free and vinyl free place. Chemicals in vinyl called phthalates have been linked to a variety of health concerns including cancer, and old carpets trap dust and particles that will continue to pollute the air in your home. Even newer carpets have some health hazards in the carpet padding from recycled foam that contains toxics like flame retardants.

4. Ventilation

When we say ventilation, we are talking about how to get air flowing through the space. This could be about actually having a fan or vent in your kitchen and/or bathroom, but it could also be as simple as being able to open multiple windows and create a cross breeze that would clear stale air (or smoke if you are prone to burning toast like I am) from your apartment and getting clean air in quickly. Clean air helps remove dust, smoke, and smells from the apartment. It is also just good for you.

5. Asbestos

Similar to lead paint, asbestos is common in older buildings. Its use dramatically decreased in the late 1970s, due to findings showing it causes mesothelioma, a type of cancer. It is still common in many buildings (and assumed to be in all buildings built before 1981). The landlord must disclose if there is asbestos in the buildings, but the laws beyond that vary from state to state. Asbestos is most risky if it is disturbed (like during remodeling or construction) when it can splinter off and get into the air. There are ways to remove it or cover it safely (often called abatement, which should be done by a professional) to ensure that you are not at risk. Learn more from the EPA.

6. Noise

While this may seem only like an annoyance, noise, especially at night, has actually been linked to various negative health outcomes, especially cardiovascular disease. (1) This is because our bodies have been evolutionarily trained to respond to noise, so we would know if someone were going to steal our food in the middle of the night, or something like that. Even if you don't completely wake up from the noise, your body may still be on high alert. Before committing to an apartment, go check out the neighborhood at night, ask the neighbors, and try to get a feel for how loud the unit will be throughout the day and when you would be home. If you have options, the unit with less noise is the better choice for your health.

7. Light

Just like noise, light matters. In this case, we are talking about both natural light during the day, and as little artificial light as possible at night. During the day, you want as much natural light as possible. This is better both in terms of energy use and is crucial to getting adequate Vitamin D. At night, you want as little artificial light as possible because artificial light can mess up your circadian rhythm. Besides making you tired, messing up your circadian rhythm has been linked with developing breast cancer and obesity. (2) So, bottom line, look for a place with lots of natural daylight and one that doesn't get a lot of artificial light at night. If you do have lights outside that may affect how dark the apartment gets, consider adding blackout curtains.

8. Pests

For many reasons, you should try to avoid apartments with signs of mice, cockroaches, or other pests. Besides causing you to jump up on a chair and call for help, many of these pests have been shown to cause different diseases. Dust mites and cockroaches are known to be bad for asthma. (3) If you notice this before you sign a lease or officially move in, you can ask the landlord to have this addressed before you arrive.

9. Neighborhood layout (aka the built environment)

What is in the neighborhood is just as important to your health as the apartment itself. Can you walk to places like a grocery store, go for a run, or hang out in a nearby park? Are there safe bike paths? How will you get to work? Think about these things because they all affect how you will live in your new home. If it is difficult to get to stores with fresh fruits and veggies, chances are you won't be eating as well. If you don't have safe sidewalks, you probably won't walk as often. Think about all of these things and determine which are most important to you when finding your new home.

10. Outdoor space

Similar to the neighborhood you live in, access to outdoor space shapes how you will go about your life. If you're looking for an apartment, you might not have your own backyard, but is there shared outdoor space you can spend time in? If not, is there a nearby park or coffee shop with a patio where you can get some fresh air and spend some time outside. These things promote healthier lifestyles and help clear your head too.

Tired of changing and throwing away tampons or pads every month? Want a zero-waste alternative for your period? Heard of menstrual cups and period underwear, but not sure which one to pick? Well, look no further! We rounded up the 10 best-reviewed non-toxic menstrual cups and organic period underwear options for you to try out. All of the menstrual cups are made of a flexible medical-grade silicone that collect fluid instead of absorbing it. The period underwear options we found are made with organic cotton, and can be washed.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL
Family

Environmental Factors May Have a Bigger Impact on Fertility than You Think

Breaking Down the Science and Ways to Limit Harmful Exposures

Trying to get pregnant should be an exciting time of planning for the next stage of your life, not one full of doctors visits, constant testing, and worrying about body temperatures. But, if you and your partner are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. According to the CDC about 12% of women have impaired fecundity, which is another way of saying that they are having difficulty getting or staying pregnant (1) [there are no statistics on infertility in men, but there is science showing that overall sperm count is decreasing(14)]. And, the science is clear, environmental factors definitely impact reproductive health - for both men and women. Some of the biggest impacts come from air pollution, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (2), which are in all sorts of products and affect the way hormones interact with your body.

Keep Reading Show Less
Roundups

9 Stainless Steel & Glass Tumblers

For iced coffee, iced tea, and smoothies on the go

Getting iced coffee in a plastic cup with a plastic straw is a lot harder to do after watching that video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle's nose. Plus there is also that pesky condensation that creates a pool of water at the bottle of your cupholder or on your desk. So we found the 9 best reviewed stainless steel and glass tumblers, so that you can have your iced beverages in style this summer. Many of the brands have different sizes ranging from 20oz to 30oz and variety of colors. We prefer stainless steel or glass because many of the acrylic or plastic tumblers may have chemicals similar to BPA. We also link to some stainless steel straws because not all of these tumblers come with straws. And if you're like us, drinking iced coffee through a straw is just synonymous with summer.

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

Easy Ways To Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh Without the Synthetic Scents

Cause Traditional Car Air Fresheners Are No Good For Your Health

Those little tree-shaped air fresheners dangling from a rear-view mirror or air vent clip-ons may feel festive, but most car air fresheners can be bad for your health. They seem so innocent, so how is that possible you might ask?

One of the biggest issues with these products is the mystery behind what goes into them. Believe it or not, It's actually hard to be 100% certain about what chemicals are in air fresheners. There's a ton of secrecy into what actually goes into a fragrance product because companies can claim their ingredients are trade secrets. We definitely can't say a product is safe if we don't even know what is used to make it.

However, we do know that most air fresheners are made up of a ton of synthetic fragrances. There are literally thousands of chemicals manufacturers can choose from when making a product with synthetic fragrance. And a lot of these chemicals are known to have negative impacts on our health. (1)

On top of that, fragrance in air fresheners usually contain both phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (2). Although these chemicals can make scents powerful, they can also be allergens that cause coughing, headaches, and runny noses (2). Phthalates are also hormone disruptors and VOCs can be carcinogens. We definitely don't want to be constantly breathing in those chemicals, no matter how good they might smell!

The amount of space inside your car is also a reason we don't like traditional car air fresheners. A smaller space = more concentrated exposure, and since you probably have your windows closed 90% of the time, a car is one of the worst places to keep a strongly-scented product.

Luckily, there are easy, nontoxic ways to make your car smell fresh! You can keep a container filled with baking soda or a baking soda freezer pack hidden somewhere. Baking soda is a completely natural way to eliminate odors and a box is only a couple of dollars! Using scents from natural sources are also a great way to add a little freshness to your car. You can put a few drops of an essential oil onto a clothespin or another wooden item and leave it somewhere in your car (3). When the smell goes away, just replenish with a few more drops of oil! If you prefer something a little more contained, we also love putting satchels of lavender or rose petals around our car.

But perhaps the easiest way to get rid of a bad smell is to simply roll your windows down! Maybe rolling down the windows will help make your commute a little more relaxing too.

References:

  1. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2007/070919
  2. https://kellybroganmd.com/is-your-uber-air-freshener-making-you-sick/
  3. https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/how-to-make-3-naturally-scented-air-fresheners-for-cars/
Roundups

12 Best Non-Toxic Diaper Creams

Our top recommendations for your baby's bottom that parents love

Updated for 2019!

We get it- you're busy but you also want the best for your baby. But who has the time to sit down and do hours of research on the best diaper creams for your baby's bottom? That's why we're here! We have nothing butt (get it?) amazing products for our non-toxic diaper cream roundup. These 12 products are free from irritants like fragrances and use soothing ingredients to keep diaper rash at bay. Some options have non-nano zinc oxide to protect the skin, and some work more as an ointment to prevent redness. Looking for an organic diaper balm? We've got those too. As always, we thoroughly researched consumer reviews to ensure you're getting a stellar product that actually works and that parents love.

Keep Reading Show Less
Home

10 Places to Buy PVC-free Wall Decals

Why it's worth considering before your next redecorating project

Wall decals are the perfect decorating solution for nurseries, kids rooms, renters, dorm dwellers, or basically anyone who is a commitment-phobe. There are endless designs that can add just the pop you need, and they are easy to remove for when you want to change it up. But most wall decals are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), otherwise known as vinyl. These vinyl stickers have added phthalates which make the plastic stickers super thin and flexible, yet durable enough so they don't rip easily. Phthalates have endocrine disrupting properties that can wreak havoc on your hormones and have been linked to a variety of health issues like cancers, infertility, preterm birth, impaired brain development, and asthma and allergies. Basically, not good stuff. Plus, the manufacturing process of PVC is really bad for the environment and communities where it's manufactured (1) and there's no way to recycle it. Eek. Not good all around.

So next time you're shopping for a wall decal, check the 'details' section on the product page. A decal that says vinyl or doesn't specify anything is probably one you want to avoid. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites that make PVC-free options that still get high marks from designers. We pulled together our top 10 favorites sites down below.

  1. Chocovenyl
  2. Eco Wall Decals
  3. Koko Kids
  4. Love Mae
  5. Oopsy Daisy
  6. Petit Collage
  7. Pop and Lolli
  8. Sunny Decals
  9. Tiny Me
  10. Wall Dressed Up


References:

  1. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/vinyl-chloride.pdf
Family

5 Tips for Healthy Kid-Friendly Meals (cause the struggle is real!)

Dreading dinner time every night? We're here to help.

Let's face it, getting a child to eat, no less a picky eater, might actually be the most daunting task in the world. Whether you've been on the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches only train for the past week or past month and just want your child to add something green or leafy to their palate, we've got you covered. We've put together some overall suggestions to incorporate into meal-prep that are not only more kid-friendly, but will also help you avoid processed foods that might be less healthy or have added toxic chemicals.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL