If you’re reading this, chances are you know that plastic water bottles are a major contributor to our escalating global plastic-pollution crisis. What you might not know is that there’s no health-based reason to be buying it, either.
In a recent installment of the Scientific American podcast “House Call Doctor,” Dr. Sanaz Majd recalled wondering why hospital personnel recommended avoiding bottled water and using tap instead when preparing supplemental formula for her prematurely-born twins. Upon researching the question, she found they were right: Not only is most bottled water no better for human health than tap water, but in many cases it’s actually worse.
“Sure, bottled water may potentially taste better than tap,” says Majd — “but that doesn’t mean it’s safer. If you are looking for safety, your kitchen sink is a better bet.”
Subject to less-stringent oversight by government agencies than tap water, bottled is more likely to nurture bacteria and other contaminants as it sits on store shelves. Some retail water bottles still contain BPA, an endocrine-disrupting chemical, and manufacturers are not required to divulge the water’s source on labels. All in all, it’s a bum deal for those who believe they’re getting something special for their hard-earned dollars — or at least safer than what they can find at home.
Sure, bottled water may potentially taste better than tap, but that doesn’t mean it’s safer. If you are looking for safety, your kitchen sink is a better bet. Plus, have you tasted your tap? It may not be as bad as you may think. I challenge you to devise a blind taste-test to check it out objectively first-hand. – See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/know-your-nutrients/should-you-drink-tap-or-bottled-water#sthash.MpTzCExm.dpuf
To listen to the podcast, go to scientificamerican.com/article/should-you-drink-tap-or-bottled-water/.
Take a Hike to Keep Depression at Bay
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
Anyone who enjoys a good hike knows how uplifting it can be. Now scientists have discovered a reason why: Walking in nature actually reduces a specific type of self-obsessive negative thinking called “rumination,” which has been shown to lead to episodes of depression.
When scientists at Stanford took a group of 38 mentally-healthy city dwellers recently and asked them to take a 90-minute walk either through oak-dotted hills or along a congested urban street, the results were clear: Participants who walked in the undeveloped natural setting showed substantial decreases in ruminative activity and the negative emotions that come with it. The scientists’ conclusion? “Natural environments are more restorative, and thus confer greater psychological benefits.” Sounds right to us! (For the full story, go to theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/how-walking-in-nature-prevents-depression/397172/?utm_source=SFFB.)
Leaving civilization behind and interacting with wild landscapes is good for body and spirit — even if just for a little while. Take the time to find your own place “off the beaten path,” and your state of mind will thank you.
For more about walking and how it relates to mental health, click here
“Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal.”
In the lineup of Lifekind organic mattresses, the Duet can be something of an enigma. It’s made from three internal layers of natural rubber, which would normally lend itself to softness, but the top and bottom layers are made from the firmest natural rubber we use – plus it’s got a closed cover, which makes for a firmer mattress. Then again, the center layer is made of the softest natural rubber, and the firm top and bottom layers are sculpted into contoured ridges, which makes them softer.
So what does the Duet organic mattress actually feel like?
Overall, it’s quite firm – almost as firm as the Euro, which is the firmest mattress we make. The Duet is designed to offer uncompromising support, but also pressure-point relief via the sculpted ridges in the top and bottom layers. This can come in very handy for sleepers who need a combination of firmness (or back support and cushioning for pressure-point pain.
Think of it as a medium-firm mattress that’s cushiony enough even for side sleepers.
To talk about the Duet or any of our other mattresses with a product specialist, give us a call at 800-284-4983 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently, callers ask us how it’s possible that we don’t have to use chemical flame retardants on our mattresses. “Isn’t there a law that says you have to?” they ask.
Thank goodness, the answer to that question is no. The federal flammability standard — known as 16 CFR Parts 1632 & 1633
— requires only that mattresses and certain other types of bedding pass flammability tests, not how
they pass. The tests involve exposing a mattress to open flame using an apparatus that locks down around the mattress (see video of a mattress made by our factory, OMI, passing federal flammability testing at youtube.com/watch?v=9LpAYM1-gVs).
Unlike non-organic mattresses that are sprayed with dangerous chemicals to achieve flame retardancy, we use only our Naturally Safer wool to make our mattresses pass with flying colors. Phew!
In a move that’s sure to please anyone concerned about chemical exposure, California Governor Jerry Brown announced yesterday a new state flammability standard: As of Jan. 1, upholstered furniture sold in the state will be able to meet flammability requirements without the use of with PBDEs or other chemicals.
“Today, California is curbing toxic chemicals found in everything from high chairs to sofas,” said Governor Brown. “These new standards will keep the furniture in our homes fire-safe and limit unnecessary exposure to toxic flame retardants.”
The new rule overturns a controversial 1975 law that Brown himself signed during his first stint as governor: Technical Bulletin 117, which required furniture manufacturers to inject flame-retardant chemicals into the synthetic foam used in virtually all upholstered furniture in the state. That translated into 2-3 pounds for a typical sofa, but over the years research has increasingly shown that such chemicals pose a major threat of cancer and other health problems, with children being most at risk. When state agencies such as the Bureau of Home Furnishings – on whose advisory board Lifekind president and co-founder Walt Bader sits as a member – recommended the change, officials listened.
Now instead of foam that’s been infused with flame-retardant chemicals, upholstered products from recliners to infant swings and strollers will be made fire-safe by focusing on using cover materials that resist common sources of ignition such as cigarettes, space heaters, and extension cords. That, combined with fiber fillings that resist smoldering, will be enough to meet the new standard for most products, though it’s always important to hold retailers accountable: “While many manufacturers may elect to remove the chemicals, others may elect to leave them in due to concerns about liability,” said Judy Levin of the Center for Environmental Health. “So consumers will definitely have to be diligent and ask specific questions.”
Manufacturers may begin making products to the new standards on Jan. 1, 2014, and will have one year to be fully in compliance.
Let’s hope that other U.S. states follow California’s lead and that the trend goes worldwide to prevent chemical exposure for future generations!
At Lifekind, many of the products we make contain natural rubber, which can be confusing for some who haven’t tried it before.
“Do you use the same kind of rubber that’s in tires?” callers sometimes ask. “Is my bed going to smell like a tire store? What is it made from, exactly?”
While car tires and natural-rubber mattresses have their main ingredient — natural-rubber sap — in common, the similarities pretty much end there. Car tires have a slew of toxic substances added, such as styrene-butadiene co-polymers, oils, halogen, “accelerators,” “antiozonants” and carbon black, a delightful material made from the partial burning of coal tar and other “heavy” petroleum products to make a black, ashy powder. (The International Agency for Research on Cancer has labeled carbon black a “possible human carcinogen,” and it’s a powerful respiratory irritant. Definitely not something you’d want in your bedroom!)
In contrast, 100%-natural rubber foam is a springy, resilient, off-white material that contains about 98% rubber-tree sap in its final form. The remaining 2% is made of non-harmful materials such zinc oxide, sulfur, sodium, and fatty acids – quite a difference. (And it smells nothing like a tire store.) It’s the top choice for organic mattress materials right now, and its popularity is only growing.
We’re always happy to send a sample to anybody who would like to check it out — just ask. We think you’ll like it.
On October 9, I celebrated my tenth anniversary at Lifekind
. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to try pretty much everything we sell, and year after year one product remains my favorite above all others: The Wool-Wrapped Shredded-Rubber Pillow
Why am I so enthusiastic about it?
* I love the feel. With tiny pieces of natural rubber inside a zippered chamber and a separate outside chamber filled with organic wool, the overall feel is one of substance and buoyancy. It has some of the softness and “poufiness” of a down pillow, but is firmer and heavier — it can be “shaped” like a down pillow by holding up one end and letting the filling fall to the other, and my neck appreciates that. The inside chamber holding the natural rubber can be zipped open and some of the rubber taken out (or more put in) to make it just the right height. I take it everywhere I go, from hotels to friends’ houses to tent-camping trips in Yosemite. I know that if I’m using any other pillow, my sleep won’t be as good. It’s a little bit of home that I can have with me on the road.
* It smells great. The smell of natural rubber represents health, comfort, purity, and happiness for me. It makes me feel calmer and makes it easier to fall asleep, and if I wake up during the night it’s easier to go back to sleep. It’s natural aromatherapy!
* It lasts forever. Well, not quite, but a long time. I’ve had mine for about six years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. When it does, I’ll buy another one immediately — case closed! No other pillow will ever be able to take its place.
Have a favorite product you just can’t do without? Write and tell us.
Recently a customer called to ask how long the sheets in our Organic Cotton Sateen Bedding Collection should be expected to last. It got us thinking about the lifespan of different products we sell, as well as how they show their age as the years go by.
The organic cotton and wool we use isn’t mixed with polyester or other petrochemicals to artificially strengthen the fibers, nor are our towel collections treated with a coating of beef tallow and/or chemicals to make them feel softer and more appealing on store shelves. This results in a purer product, as well as one that will actually become softer than artifically-treated products over time. It also means that their lifespans aren’t artificially prolonged based on chemical content, however. For that reason, the possibility exists that they may experience a shorter life than artificially enhanced items – although I have to say that I’ve never experienced it personally in the 10 years I’ve been using Lifekind. Our customers appreciate this for the most part, knowing it’s part of the sacrifice we sometimes make in order to use natural products and to live lives as free of exposure to hazardous chemicals as possible.
Based on that knowledge, here’s a basic estimate of the expected average life of a few of our more popular products when cared for as recommended:
Flannel Pad: Five years
Moisture-Protector Pad: Five years
Sheets and duvet covers: Five years
Wool or cotton: Five years
Natural rubber: Ten years
Buckwheat: Five years
Comforters: Five years
Wool: Five years
Natural rubber: Ten years
Towels and bath mats: Five years
Keep in mind that these are not warranty time lines, but simply basic averages that can be directly affected by the amount of usage and quality of care. Items that are washable can also be affected by water quality and temperature, detergents, and the use of fabric softeners. Pillows and fitted sheets tend to wear out most quickly, since they bear most of a sleeper’s concentrated weight. Sheets and pillowcases may develop thin spots that are more susceptible to tearing, and cotton and wool pillows will compact substantially as they’re used — wool pillows by about one-third, and cotton pillows by about one-half. It doesn’t indicate that the product is defective, but rather that it’s been working hard and slowing down a bit as time goes by, like people do.
If you ever have a question about how a Lifekind product is holding up over time, feel free to give us a call here on the sales team at 800-284-4983 or click on the “Chat with a live product specialist now!” link on our home page. We’re here to help.
Mattress sizes can be confusing. What’s the difference, say, between an Eastern king and a California king mattress? How about a twin vs. a twin extra-long? And is a “full” the same as a “double”?
Here on the Lifekind sales team, it’s one of the questions we’re asked most. In North American countries, mattress sizing has been standardized as follows:
Twin (sometimes called a “single”): 38 x 75
Twin extra long: 38 x 80
Full (sometimes called a “double”): 54 x 75
Queen: 60 x 80
Eastern (standard) King, or “EK”: 76 x 80
California King, or “CK”: 72 x 84
Two twin extra-long mattresses placed side by side are the same size as an EK, so they’re sometimes used when two sleepers want differing firmnesses. Twin extra-long mattresses are also a popular choice for dorm rooms.
The full size — popularized as a “double” years ago — was previously the most popular size for couples. Now that couples are choosing mostly larger queen or king sizes, however, fulls are typically used for children or individual sleepers or for guest rooms.
The most common mattress-size question of all, however, is “Should I get a regular king or a California king?” The appeal of the California King size is an extra four inches of length, but four inches of side-by-side width must be sacrificed to achieve it, so for that reason the standard Eastern King is still the more popular choice by far. (And also because sheets for a California King can be hard to find. We do carry them here at Lifekind, however! :).
Whatever size you need, give us a call. We’ll help you find the right mattress for you.