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Are Brita and Pur Water Pitchers BPA-free?

My family has used a Brita pitcher for years to filter our water and make it safer to drink and I have always insisted our kids use it, rather than drink directly from the tap. Recently, though, I began to wonder if the pitcher itself might contain a dangerous chemical — bisphenol A (BPA) — […]

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Low VOC Paint is Best

Recently, I’ve had experience in my home with low-VOC paint as well as conventional paint. The first left the place virtually odor-free; the second filled it with noxious fumes from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Possible health effects from VOC exposure include headache, dizziness and respiratory problems in the short-run — and liver, kidney and neurological […]

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12 Most Important Foods to Buy Organic (2009)

Try the 12 Most Important Foods to Buy Organic for 2013 instead. More up-to-date! If you can’t afford to get all your food organic (how many people can?), you will be interested in the latest edition of the “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides” from the Environmental Working Group, which lists the fruits and vegetables with the […]

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BPA-free Water Bottles

Are the new breed of clear, hard “BPA-free” water bottles made with Tritan — from Nalgene, Kor, Camelbak, Thermos and others — safer than the polycarbonate bottles they replaced? Not necessarily. To assess their safety, we would need to know what chemicals are in the bottles, not just that BPA is not. After all, other […]

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Safer Ways to De-ice

My local landscape has been covered with road salt the last couple of weeks, due to periodic snowfalls and temperatures consistently below freezing. I can’t say I am sorry to have steps and sidewalks clear of ice (with my bad back, a fall could be disabling), but I wish the landlords and homeowners that dispense […]

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A Different Approach to Holiday Giving

In our family we celebrate Hanukkah with very little gift-giving except to the kids. We’ve even cut way back on their gifts in recent years — to things they’ll love but can also really use. Gift-giving at Hanukkah parties is more difficult to control. At our annual celebration with my brother’s family, we have tried […]

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Seasonal Doesn’t Mean Local

My refrigerator is filled with seasonal food — by which I mean food that is ready for harvest now in the northeast where I live (or is harvested earlier and stored) — yet only a fraction of it actually comes from local sources. Beets are in season in the northeast, but I had to make […]

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Organic Thanksgiving: what you get for your money

I just came across a less-than-shocking exposé on the “true” cost of an organic Thanksgiving dinner in Smart Money, revealing that you could pay 75% more for your organic feast. The slant of the piece (in a column called “Rip-offs”) is that conventional and organic food are essentially the same — just different lifestyle choices. […]

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Reusable Bags Gaining Ground?

This weekend, I found myself at a supermarket in foreign territory (New Jersey) with an unwonted form of transportation (a car). My husband and I were stocking up on our way back to Manhattan after a visit with my mother. “Paper or plastic?” the young woman at the check-out asked, which triggered a conversation among […]

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