Sustainable Living In Saratoga Springs

Furnishings and Toxicity

Even if you are already convinced that choosing low-toxicity furnishings made without harmful chemicals (that do not off-gas in your home) is the way to go, finding it can still be quite a challenge.

Here is what you may want to look for and consider doing to limit your exposure to toxic volatile organic compounds.


- The right wood.  Look for the FSC label (Forest Stewardship Council), which ensures that the harvested wood comes from sustainably managed forests.

- What you already have.  Why not refinish your current furniture with a non-toxic paint, oil, or stain? You can replace the hardware too for a fresh new look.

- Non-toxic  finishes. You can now find primers and paints, sealers, stains, oils, waxes, polish, grout, thinners, resin and plaster that have no or low VOC's. To name a few reputable brands: AFM Safecoat, Mythic Paint, Vermont Natural Coating, Bio Shield, and natural penetrating oils.

- Find re-cycled and re-used pieces, antique and vintage. They have been fully off-gassed, and that will help save raw materials while saving landfill space. Be cautious of refinishing pieces with lead paint.

- Healthy foam. When it comes to mattresses, natural latex seems to be the best choice. Look for a latex that has no fire retardants and has not be treated with pesticides or glued with toxic adhesives. For replacing foam in upholstered furniture, latex is available but can be costly. Select a certified organic upholstery fabric. Here is an interesting article on the Sustainable Furnishings Council website:


Know that your eco-friendly discoveries are very welcome. Thanks for sharing them!

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Karen Totino, owner of Green Conscience in Saratoga Springs, has a history of caring about environmental issues starting with her own family and neighborhood. Beginning with her already successful organic lawn care business, Karen became actively involved in community efforts supporting work on cleanups and conservation through Friends of Kayaderosseras, a not- for -profit organization focused on conserving the creek. As an energetic entrepreneur, Karen wants to effect change in a greater way through offering green alternatives to consumers who seek better choices for their families and for the environment.