Life

Why You Might Want to Steer Clear of Melamine Dishes

And what outdoor dishes you should get instead for your backyard bbqs, dinner parties, and picnics

Remember those bleak winter days that had you dreaming of summer? Well, no need to dream anymore because it's finally here! Without a cloud in sight, sandals in hand, and perfectly painted toes (check out our article here to learn about which nail polishes are safe to buy!), you're ready for the best summer cookout yet. You remembered the cooler, the fruit salad, and even dad's favorite burger spatula, but melamine, a toxic chemical that disrupts hormone regulation, might be the last thing you'd be expecting to show up at a summer picnic. You might even know what I'm talking about. You know, those brightly patterned, super cute, practically irresistible plates that don't look plastic, but aren't really ceramic either?


What Even Is Melamine?

Melamine is chemical compound originally found to be toxic only in large quantities and in those cases, results in negative effects on kidney function. However, new research is shedding light on just how much damage can be done to the human body from ingesting melamine. Exposure to melamine has negative impacts on brain development and reproductive functions because it changes how hormones work in the body (1).

Where is Melamine Found?

Melamine can be found in pretty much every type of dishware, cups, plates, bowls and utensils as the compound makes these things dishwasher safe, inexpensive to produce, and extremely durable (2). Remember how I mentioned before that these plates don't look like they're plastic? Now would probably be a good time to reiterate the dangers of plastic dishware and talk about how melamine dishware is deceivingly safe. Even though melamine dishware doesn't look plastic, melamine can leach into food after dishes are repeatedly microwaved or used to hold both hot and acidic foods. Don't go putting those hot-of-the-grill burgers onto your new summer plates!

Bottom line: stay away from dishes and containers made of plastic and melamine. As always, we've rounded up several companies that produce melamine and plastic free dishware to make the transition easier.

How Do I Prevent Melamine Ingestion?

Unfortunately, melamine is not a compound that has been phased out of industry use as it possesses many desirable physical properties (3). The good thing though is that you can avoid it. In many cases, dishware will explicitly state that melamine has been added, which makes it easy to avoid. Like we mentioned above, melamine leeches when used to hold hot or acidic foods, so only use dishware that may contain melamine for cold and non-acidic dishes (leave the gazpacho soup for a melamine-free bowl). One great idea is to simply use the metal pots and pans that you cook (as long as they aren't non-stick) with indoors for cookouts outdoors, as those are both heat and acid resistant and 100% melamine-free (an added bonus: less dishes to wash!). When it comes to reheating food, make sure to microwave foods in melamine-free dishware. Glass storage containers or ceramic dishware are a good alternative for both reheating and serving food in.

If you're looking to switch things up entirely, purchasing a new set of melamine-free dishware will be your safest bet. Here are our general recommendations!

  • Molded bamboo dishware. Unfortunately bamboo dishware is not microwave safe because of fragility of fibers, but is acid safe, so serve caprese salad to your heart's content in these dishes (4)!
  • Glass or ceramic dishware
  • Steel bowls. These can't be microwaved, but are great for serving food in after items have been reheated.

With some savvy shopping skills, you can make sure that your summer picnics all all fun and games. What are you waiting for?

Life

Why You Shouldn’t Sleep with Your Phone

At least put it in airplane mode or toss it across the room

We know that scrolling can be a totally mindless way to fall asleep. Look at some random photos on Insta, read an article somewhere, take a quiz to learn what your cheese choices say about your love life, and before you know it, you're drifting softly to sleep. But, that probably also means your phone is your snuggle buddy. You might think it's totally fine, or that random alarm clock app might promise to wake you at the best time in your sleep cycle if you leave your phone under your pillow, but we are thinking that may not be the best idea for a couple of reasons.

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Home

5 Tips To Help Reduce and Properly Recycle Electronic Waste

For when you get a new [insert electronic device]

Getting new gadgets is always exciting. Whether it's a cell phone, an electric toothbrush, or even a blender, it's fun to learn all about the new features. But, what happens to the old ones? If it still works, maybe you resell it, or it goes to a friend, or Goodwill. Other times, it ends up in a drawer with all the old cords you keep around just in case (like that one to plug your old digital camera into your laptop - oh wait, you laptop doesn't have ports anymore… but you never know!). For all of the items that don't end up in either of those categories, many of them end up being thrown out and becoming e-waste.

As technology keeps improving and advancing at a lightning fast pace and electronics become harder to repair, the larger the amount of e-waste will become. So, what does that mean for us and the planet?

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Home

9 Veggies You Can Grow Indoors

Gourmet dinners with fresh veggies and no more plastic herb packets are in your future

What's better than having an indoor plant baby? How about one that gives you food? Even if you don't have a backyard, you can grow some vegetables and herbs on a windowsill inside. We found 9 veggies and herbs that are easy to grow inside and are useful to have on hand.

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Home

Why Creating Your Own Compost Might Be Easier Than You Think

We've got step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks to get you the best looking soil around (seriously!)

You made it! Now that you're here, don't run yet! Gone are the days when composting meant throwing a heap of your leftovers in the dirt and banking on magic to make some soil (not that you still can't). BUT, we've got everything you need to know to jump on the composting train, reduce your carbon footprint and start saving money on fertilizer without all the headache and mess.

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Home

Why You Should Care About Soil Contamination If You're Starting a Garden in Your Backyard

Here's the dirt-y details you're going to want to know and what to do about it

Dreary winter blues might have you dreaming of blue skies, warm weather and some home grown vegetables. But before you go jetting off to your nearest Home Depot or nursery, you might want to take a second and get to know your soil. We're serious! No, not the hello, my name is ____, more like the hey, what's in my soil? Not all soils are created equally and trust us when we say that you'll definitely want to make sure the soil you're using for growing food to eat is top notch!

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Home

What All Those Certifications on Mattresses Actually Mean

Label Education: Decoding what GOTS, GOLS, Greenguard, Organic, and more mean

Choosing the right mattress is so important for sound sleep and health, yet with so many options the shopping can be confusing and stressful! Obviously you want to take comfort and pricing into consideration, but there are some chemical ingredients you might want to consider too. Standard synthetic foam mattresses can contain various harmful chemicals we don't want to be sleeping on. And these chemicals can evaporate into the air, or collect in house dust, which is yucky and no good for your family's health.

The great news is that there are a bunch of healthier alternatives, and these labels below can help you find them. We also have a roundup of 12 non-toxic mattress brands if you just want a quick guide to organic mattresses and natural mattresses you can buy.

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Roundups

12 Non-Toxic Mattresses

options for every budget that are free of any harsh chemicals and petroleum-based foam, including organic mattresses

Step 1: Start researching organic mattresses or natural mattresses. Step 2: Get confused! Step 3: Look at our roundup where we did all the research on safe, well reviewed, comfy mattresses for you. Step 4: Order a healthy, non-toxic, organic mattress Step 5: Sleep more peacefully. We found options for every budget, so what are you waiting for?

All of the mattress brands we found use natural materials like 100% natural latex, organic cotton, and wool, and do not use petroleum-based foams or no chemical flame retardants. For our budget picks ($), a base model queen retailed for less than $1000. For the quality picks ($), a queen ran between $1000 and $2000. And the splurge picks ($) retailed for above $2000. Some brands use inner coils and some are made of just latex layers. We hope this list of natural mattress brands is a good starting place for a better night's sleep.

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