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Glossary of Terms »
Glossary of Terms
Very toxic; suspected carcinogen. Swelling, pimples, and hives are common. Internal consumption can cause circulatory collapse, convulsions, cold sweats, coma, and death.
A process using air to "thrash" the fabric until soft to the hand.
An organophosphate insecticide. It is used on food and other crops, such as conventional cotton, citrus trees, as a seed treatment, on golf courses, and in commercial or institutional facilities. At one time acephate was used commonly in and around homes, but most of those uses are no longer allowed. People exposed to acephate have had nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, shaking, sweating, rapid heart rate, dizziness, and/or confusion. Symptoms usually begin within minutes or hours after exposure. Pets might be exposed to acephate by eating granules from the ground. Dogs that ate acephate had vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, and difficulty walking and breathing. Signs of toxicity in birds include clumsiness, depression, shortness of breath, feather puffing, drooped wings, shaking, and convulsions.
Cotton's second best selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin, yet it is still used in 25 countries and the US, where 16 states have reported it in their groundwater.
A South American hoofed animal with a long, soft fleece coat. The alpaca fleece fiber is similar to wool, but is lighter in weight, silkier and warmer.
Aniline is predominantly used as a chemical intermediate for the dye industryin particular for dying leather. The major effect from chronic inhalation exposure to aniline in humans is the formation of met hemoglobin, which can cause cyanosis (interference with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood). Aniline is severely irritating to mucous membranes and affects the eyes, skin, and upper respiratory tract in humans. Significant amounts of aniline can be absorbed through the skin. Sandy Fitzig offers this health warning: "Aniline dyes need to be handled carefully. They can be implicated in the formation of bladder cancer. This is from a reliable urologic medical source." So use this stuff in a well-ventilated area.
Water soluble dyes from plants with blue, red and purple pigment . The pigments occur in the aqueous sap of the flower, fruit, stem, leaves and root of the plants.
A class of chemical substances that may be derived from azo colorants, which are considered to be hazardous. Expert authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have classified some of these aromatic amines as known, or suspected human carcinogens. A carcinogen is a substance that is capable of causing cancer.
The name of the group of synthetic dyestuffs based on nitrogen that are often used in the coloring process of textile industry. Some of these dyes have the capacity to release certain aromatic amines which pose cancer risks. Azo dyes releasing these amines are not allowed to be used to dye textile and leather products that come into contact with the skin.
Treelike tropical and semitropical grasses with woody stems that are typically hollow. Although the process of turning bamboo into a viscose yarn requires significant chemical input, bamboo has many eco-friendly characteristics that make it a sustainable fiber. For example, bamboo has a rapid growth and harvest cycle, typically does not require fertilizers or pesticides and requires little irrigation with sufficient rainfall. Last but not least, bamboo takes in more greenhouse gases than an equivalent stand of timber trees and releases more oxygen into the atmosphere.
A term that originated in Germany, is a word used to describe a movement promoting the use of healthy building principles as a means to improve living and work spaces and the health of people who occupy them. It is also the science of holistic interactions between life and the living environment. Bau-biologie literally means, "building biology." Both terms are now used interchangeably and both have exactly the same definition: how buildings impact life and the living environment.
Carcinogenic. Harmful amounts may be absorbed through skin. It is irritating to mucous membranes and poisonous when ingested. Inhalation of fumes may be toxic. Benzene is cited by the EPA and OSHA as a threat to public health.
Exhibiting the capability of being broken down (or decomposed or metabolized) by microorganisms and reduced to organic or inorganic molecules which can be further utilized by living systems.
Anything produced in an industrial or biological process in addition to the principal product; a secondary and sometimes unexpected or unintended result.
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Carpet is a major source of toxic chemicals in the home, typically containing well over 100 chemicals in its fiber-bonding material, dyes, backing glues, fire retardant, latex binder, fungicide, and antistatic and stain-resistant treatments. These can 'outgas' for weekseven yearsafter installation. The following are some of the chemicals found in conventional carpet: Formaldehyde, Toluene, Methyl-benzene and Xylene, Styrene, Benzene and 4-phenylcyclohexene.
Items that have been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations.
Chlorine (also known as sodium hypochlorite, hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, sodium dichloroixocyanurate, hydrogen chloride, and hydrochloric acid): a powerful irritant. Can be fatal upon inhalation. Causes the most household poisonings in the U.S., and ranks first in industrial injuries and deaths. There is growing evidence that chlorinated drinking water causes bladder cancer and rectal cancer. Many chlorinated water supplies probably contain some amount of THM (trihalomethanes), which are carcinogenic compounds. THMs can be removed from tap water with an adequate home filtration system with activated carbon. Chlorine and compounds are environmentally damaging, break down slowly in the ecosystem, are stored in the fatty tissue of wildlife, and are a prime cause of atmospheric ozone loss. Chlorine is listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act as a hazardous air pollutant. Found in a wide range of household cleaners, including laundry bleaches, dishwasher detergents, and tub and tile cleaners.
A type of manufacturing process that utilizes a cyclical material flow in order to minimize waste.
Possessing the ability to break down into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost (e.g. soil-conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner.
Control Union (CU) Certifications »
CU offers you a global one-stop-shop for a wide range of certification programs. Certificates are accepted by authorities in nearly every country. CU commits itself to conduct its activities impartially and in a professional manner. CU understands the importance of impartiality in carrying out its certification activities, managing of conflicts of interest and ensuring the objectivity of its management system certification activities.
A term used in life-cycle analysis to describe a material or product that is recycled into a new product at the end of its defined life.
A colorless liquid with a sweet smell. It is used mainly as a pesticide in farming many crops, including conventional cotton. It is widely used in the US and other countries, but is in the process of being phased out in the European Union. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans following a spill caused mucous membrane irritation, chest pain, and breathing difficulties. EPA has classified 1,3-dichloropropene as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.
Commonly sold under the brand names Karmex, Direx, and Diuron, is widely used for vegetation control along rights of way. Other significant uses include weed control in citrus orchards and alfalfa fields and in the production of conventional cotton. Exposure to diuron causes formation of methemoglobin, an abnormal form of the oxygen-carrying molecule in blood, hemoglobin. Many diuron herbicides are also irritating to eyes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies diuron as a "known/likely" carcinogen because it has caused bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and breast cancer in studies with laboratory animals.
You may be familiar with the word "dobby" in the context of towels, where it refers to a textural, flat-woven band that traverses the terry loops. In fact, dobby weaving is used to create small, repeating geometric patterns on all kinds of textiles. A harness on the dobby loom lifts individual warp threads, creating a space for the weft threads to pass through. After a few passes, with warp threads being raised and lowered, a design emerges. A single loom can create many different patterns across a bolt of fabric. Rippled Stripe, Rustic Dobby and Mediterranean are a few of the Coyuchi fabrics that are produced on a dobby loom.
Quality seal of the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation. Provided that the manufacturer or service provider fulfils the specific quality requirements guaranteeing a better quality of life for individuals with allergies.
Reducing the ecological impact of goods and services while at the same time producing and delivering desirable, competitively priced goods and service.
Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers (ETAD) »
Swiss-based organization formed in 1974 to represent the interests of these industries on matters relating to health and environment. ETAD is an international organization and its currently 45 member companies are based in 16 countries worldwide. The aim of ETAD is to minimize possible negative effects on health and the environment arising from manufacture and use of synthetic organic colorants and to ensure information on the best practicable protection is provided to the purchasers of these products.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation which extends from static electric and magnetic fields, through radiofrequency and infrared radiation, to X-rays. Electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which anxiety and speculation are spreading. All populations are now exposed to varying degrees of EMF, and the levels will continue to increase as technology advances. (Courtesy WHO)
The complex of physical, chemical and biotic factors (such as climate, soil and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.
Environmental Management System (EMS): »
An industry-developed and driven management structure that prioritizes compliance with environmental policy objectives and targets effective implementation of environmentally-focused procedures; a key feature of an EMS is the preparation of documented systems, procedures and instructions to ensure effective communication and continuity of such implementation. ISO 14001 specifies the actual requirements for an EMS standard and is the most widely recognized system of this type.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): »
The U.S. federal agency established in July of 1970 to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment air, water, and land upon which life depends; works closely with other federal agencies, state and local governments and Indian tribes to develop and enforce regulations under existing environmental laws; provides leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts; and is responsible for researching and setting national standards for a variety of environmental programs and delegates to states and tribes; responsible for issuing permits, and monitoring and enforcing compliance. www.epa.gov
Commonly applied to a ground cloth prior to dyeing, printing or finishing. This process is used to accelerate a chemical reaction (inert).
When the environment becomes enriched with nutrients. This can be a problem in marine habitats such as lakes as it can cause algal blooms. Fertilizers are often used in farming, sometimes these fertilizers run-off into nearby water causing an increase in nutrient levels.
Defined as a material that is inherently resistant to catching fire (self-extinguishing) and does not melt or drip when exposed directly to extreme heat, e.g. wool. Wool fiber has a higher ignition threshold than many other fibers and is flame retardant up to 600º C. It also produces less toxic fumes in a fire.
Flame-retardant is a term most widely used in reference to chemicals that are used to treat fabrics as a protection against flammability. These chemicals are known to cause a variety of health issues for those exposed to the product. They are extremely toxic and bio-accumulative, meaning that they build up in your body and the environment causing serious harm. Some of the chemicals used in flame-retardants are known around the world as cancerous, and are even banned in some counties for this very reason. PBDEs are the main toxic compound found in many household products that require flame-retardants. PBDEs in high concentration are known as dangerous, and to cause great harm to the environment, as they are highly resistance to degrading. However, some materials are naturally fire retardant and, as such, require no toxic chemicals, for example, pure latex foam.
Flannel is a medium-weight, plain-weave fabric typically made from cotton. It is brushed on both sides to raise the fibers, creating a supple, fuzzy surface and an extremely soft feel. If you look closely, the fuzzy hairs of the cotton resemble mist rising off a pond in the early morning. These fuzzy hairs are what make flannel so cozy.
Flax is one of the oldest plants cultivated for fiber. Its long thin fibers are used to produce linen threads that are stronger but less flexible than cotton.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): »
An international organization, the FSC brings groups together to find solutions which promote responsible management of the world's forests. The standards set forth by the FSC represent the world’s strongest system for guiding forest management towards sustainable outcomes. www.fscus.org
An herbicide that was first registered in 1974 on cotton and sugar cane and is now used only on cotton. Fluometuron is moderately toxic to humans by ingestion and slightly toxic by dermal absorption. The major routes of exposure to this herbicide are from inhalation and absorption through the skin. It may be fatal if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through skin, as it is irritating to the mucous membrane lining the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory system.
Irritating, allergy-producing, neurotoxin, and carcinogenic; can cause insomnia, coughing, headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, and skin rashes. Some of the most irritating and allergenic preservatives contain, release, or break down into formaldehyde.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) »
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers worldwide. The requirements are set to ensure the organic status of textiles, including harvesting of raw materials, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, and labeling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) »
The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) is the newly introduced standard for sustainable processing methods of latex products from organic raw materials. This mainly addresses the standards which need to be maintained with relevance to processing, manufacturing, packing, labeling, trading and distribution of latex products. In addition to the use of organic raw material, this standard also concentrates on aspects such as human health, safety and welfare, and environment in the manufacturing process of latex products.
GoodWeave International (GWI) »
Establishes the standard behind the GoodWeave certification label. The first Generic GoodWeave Standard, in force since 1994, and most recently updated August 2012, requires producers and exporters to ensure no child labor is used in the production of rugs and to allow unannounced random inspections by local inspectors. All licensed producers continue to uphold this standard while GoodWeave's expanded standard is implemented.
An adjective used to describe something that is perceived to be beneficial to the environment. Green should not necessarily be confused with healthyas in Green or Healthy homes, since not all products, which are termed Green, are necessarily healthy. Example: recycled polyester is considered green, because it helps the environment by utilizing material that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. However, its use in the home is not recommended by Pine Street Natural Interiors, because it is not a breathable product.
Buildings that use healthier, less polluting and more resource efficient practices.
A third-party product certification program based on proven emissions standards that provides specifying and procurement professionals with a resource for low-emitting products. www.greenguard.org
Certain gases (including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone and several classes of halogenated carbons that contain fluorine, chlorine and bromine) that allow solar radiation to reach Earth's surface and become absorbed, yet trap thermal radiation leaving the earth's surface. Outgoing thermal radiation absorbed by these gases heats the atmosphere. The atmosphere then emits thermal radiation both outward into space and downward to Earth, further warming the surface.
Any metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic at low concentrations. Examples are mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, thallium and lead. Semi-metallic elements, such as antimony, arsenic, selenium and tellurium, are often included in this classification.
A tall, coarse plant that is cultivated in many parts of the world, hemp is the source of a strong and sustainable fiber. Little or no pesticides are used in the farming of hemp, and the hemp plant replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen.
Hydrogen peroxide is an environmentally safe bleaching agent, which is used as a replacement for chlorine bleach, for the treatment of natural and synthetic fibers (cotton, wool, silk, linen, rayon). The use of hydrogen peroxide allows not only a high degree of brightness, but also preserves the mechanical properties of the fibers.
Hygroscopicity is the capacity of a product to react to the moisture content of the air by absorbing or releasing water vapor. In a healthy home, ideally, materials and surfaces should be absorbent in order to optimize the level of moisture in the living environment, thus minimizing the negative health impacts of an imbalance of ions.
Chemical, physical or biological contaminants in indoor air.
Ions are formed when an electron is detached from a molecule. The molecule losing an electron becomes a positive ion and the molecule gaining an electron becomes a negative ion. In natural conditions both negative and positive ions are generated, however in the built environment a net imbalance of positive ions can be produced by the effect of car exhaust emissions, electrical devices, etc. Mechanical forms of heating and air-conditioning can also remove negative ions from the air. Studies have shown that negative ions are important to the proper functioning of the human organism. During breathing, the air is neutralized due to a decrease of negative ions; it is therefore important to ensure a constant supply of fresh air in order to increase the amount of negatively charged oxygen in the indoor environment.
Ingeo™ is a unique bio-based material made from plants instead of oil. It was introduced globally in 2003 on a commercially viable scale by NatureWorks, LLC, a company dedicated to more sustainable and environmental product and business development. The Ingeo biopolymer is made from plant based sugars as its source and is certified by Genescan to contain no genetic material of any kind.
International Standards Organization (ISO) »
A non-governmental organization located in Geneva, Switzerland, chartered to develop voluntary technical standards that aim to make the development, manufacture and supply of goods and services safer, cleaner and more efficient. www.iso.org
A group of ISO standards and guidelines that relate to quality management systems. Currently includes three quality standards: ISO 9001: 2000 establishes requirements; ISO 9000: 2000 and ISO 9004: 2000 establish guidelines. All of these are process standards, not product standards. Compliance results in ISO 9000 Certification. www.iso.org
A group of ISO standards and guidelines that address environmental issues. Includes standards for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) (ISO 14001), environmental and EMS auditing, environmental labeling, performance evaluation and life-cycle assessment. Compliance results in ISO 14000 Certification. www.iso.org
Jacquard is a fabric that is woven while controlling each of the warp (vertical) yarns, which can result in an endless variety of patterns. Jacquard is known as the weave of kings and queens because it is so labor intensive and results in exquisite patterns.
A long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which was once classified with the family Tiliaceae.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental
A point-based rating system developed by The U.S. Green Building Council Rating System for Sustainable Development (USGBC) to assess new and existing commercial buildings for a variety of earth-friendly features. www.usgbc.org
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. It has a stiffer, more textured feel than cotton and is known for providing coolness and freshness in warm weather. It also has a soft brown natural tone, which adds subtle color while matching just about anything.
A hormone found in the human body, it is essential to optimal health. It is produced by the pineal gland in the center of the brain, outside the blood-brain barrier. Not only does it regulate the sleep-wake cycle by causing drowsiness and lowering our body temperature, but it is also a powerful free-radical scavenger and wide-spectrum antioxidant. In order for the body to produce melatonin while we are asleep, it is important to create as dark a sleeping environment as possible, which can be attained with the aid of good window coverings.
A wool-like fiber that is produced from the fleece of Angora goats. Goats can be sheared once or twice a year for their mohair. Mohair, both durable and resilient, is one of the oldest textile fibers in use. It is often used in fiber blends because it is known for its high luster and sheen and takes dye exceptionally well.
Irritating to the eyes and skin; can cause cataracts, corneal damage and kidney damage. A suspected carcinogen and extremely toxic to small children and infants; has been known to cause blood damage to fetuses. Found in mothballs, air fresheners, deodorizers, carpet cleaners, and toilet-bowl cleaners.
When building a new home, or re-wiring a house or office, it is important to stipulate that all wiring must be performed in strict accordance with the National Electric Code. This stipulation will go a long way to ensure that wires, switches, outlets, junction boxes and appliances are sufficiently shielded. Even still, it is likely that subtle code violations may go unnoticed by the inspector, sometimes causing quite extreme biological disturbances, such as inability to sleep, lack of concentration, depression, anxiety and ringing in the ears, due to elevated electric and magnetic fields.
An energy source, such as oil or natural gas, or a natural resource, such as a metallic ore, that cannot be replenished or replaced after it has been used.
A European standard for the impact of textiles on human ecology and the environment. www.oeko-tex.com
Pertaining to, involving, or grown with fertilizers or pesticides of animal or vegetable origin, as distinguished from manufactured chemicals
Traditional cotton production uses more chemicals per unit than any other crop. Organic cotton reduces this chemical use because it is grown without pesticides or chemical additives to fertilizer, relying instead on methods with less ecological impact.
Hemp grown without pesticides or chemical additives to fertilizer, relying instead on methods with less ecological impact. Hemp replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen which also makes it an eco-friendly fiber.
A natural fiber made from the flax plant and grown without pesticides or herbicides. Organic linen is one of the most ecological of natural fibers as no irrigation is necessary, the flax plant purifies the soil, and is biodegradable and recyclable.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) »
The Organic Trade Association is the membership-based business association for the organic industry in North America. OTA's mission is to promote and protect organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public, and the economy. OTA represents businesses across the organic supply chain and addresses all things organic, including food, fiber/textiles, personal care products, and new sectors as they develop. Over sixty percent of OTA trade members are small businesses.
Organophosphate compounds (OPs) »
Organophosphate compounds were developed as chemical warfare agents. The World Health Organization estimates that there are about 3 million acute severe incidents of pesticide poisoning every year. Up to half of these may be due to OPs. Symptoms of exposure include initially headache, nausea, dizziness, anxiety and restlessness; which may lead to muscle twitching, weakness, tremor, vomiting, sweating, salivation, and blurred and/or dark vision. More serious signs are tightness in the chest, coughing, and pulmonary edema.
A bluish gas that is harmful to breathe. Nearly 90% of the Earth's ozone is in the stratosphere and is referred to as the ozone layer. Ozone absorbs a band of ultraviolet radiation called UVB that is particularly harmful to living organisms. The ozone layer prevents most UVB from reaching the ground.
PCB, or polychlorinated biphenyl is found in, among other things, a softener used for paints, varnishes, isolation liquids, lubricating and cooling agents, wall and ceiling cladding, lamp shades and wet method copier paper. It is known to cause mutagenic damage in embryos, builds up in the body and creates dysfunction of the liver, kidneys and the vascular system. It also causes allergies, problems with the immune system and the digestive tract. The incubation time for PCB can be as much as 15 – 20 years. According to a numerical value calculated by Johann Josef Loschmidt, called the Loschmidt factor, the air contains 2.7 x10, to the power of 18, carcinogenic and mutagenic molecules in 1 cubic cm of air, at a concentration of 0.1ppm. According to reputable scientists, just one molecule of PCB is capable of causing cancer illnesses and mutations. Although the use of PCBs is no longer allowed in the U.S., precaution should be taken when using recycled materials or imported products.
PCP, or Pentachlorophenol, is used as a wood preservative. It has a half life of 6-7 years and is a known carcinogenic. It causes depression of the central nervous system, light-headedness, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, tremors, loss of appetite, disorientation and liver damage. For obvious reasons, products treated with PCP should not be used in a healthy home.
A herbicide used in the production of conventional cotton. It is considered highly toxic to fish based on acute toxicity studies evaluated by U.S. EPA. A review of 71 pendimethalin poisoning cases reported in Taiwan identified 2 incidences resulting from skin and eye contact and the rest from swallowing intentionally or accidentally. Among them, 20 cases had no symptoms or signs, 38 had mild effects such as nausea, vomiting and sore throat, and 7 had effects such as severe retching, vomiting of blood, and seizures.
Products produced during the petroleum process in addition to the petroleum itself.
Supports the growth of plants, including algae. When too much phosphate is present, excessive amounts of algae can develop. This may lead to undesirable water quality impacts including reductions in aquatic life, poor taste and odors in drinking water.
Phthalates are a family of industrial chemicals that are used as plastic softeners or solvents in many different consumer items, including skin care products. They can be absorbed through the skin, ingested when they contaminate food or when children bite or suck on toys, or they can be inhaled as fumes. Organic ingredients can provide similar or even better levels of quality without incorporating possibly harmful phthalates. Hundreds of animal studies have demonstrated that phthalates can damage the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the reproductive system, especially the developing testes. Scientists in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada and the National Institutes of Health's Toxicology Program agree that animal studies predict that phthalates can be dangerous to humans. In January of 2003, the European Parliament banned the use of Category 1 and 2 reproductive toxicants in cosmetics, including the phthalates DEHP and DBP.
A substance that imparts black or white or a color to other materials.
Any of various organic compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films or drawn into filaments used as textile fibers.
Plastisol inks, commonly used for textile printing and especially for t-shirts, are a PVC-based ink, which contain phthalates. Phthalates a major cause for concern, especially to the health of fetuses and newborns. Not only are plastisol inks hazardous to personal health, but also to environmental health, since garments coated with plastisol inks do not decompose and they are difficult to recycle.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) »
A thermoplastic material that is clear, tough and has good gas and moisture barrier properties. Used in soft drink bottles and other blow molded containers, although sheet applications are increasing. Cleaned, recycled PET flakes and pellets are used in some spinning fiber for carpet yarns, fiberfill and geo-textiles. Other applications include strapping, molding compounds and both food and non-food containers.
A biodegradable thermoplastic derived from the lactic acid in corn; resembles clear polystyrene. PLA can be used in a number of industrial products including textiles.
Synthetic thermoplastic polymer made from vinyl chloride. In addition to its stable physical properties, PVC has excellent transparency, chemical resistance, long-term stability, good weatherability, flow characteristics and stable electrical properties. However, its stability makes it nearly environmentally indestructible. PVC also releases hydrochloric acid and other toxic compounds when produced, used or burned.
An adjective used to describe all or part of a consumer product that has reached the end of its useful life in that form.
A material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been discarded for disposal or recovery, having completed its life as a consumer item.
The recycling of materials generated from residential and consumer waste for use in new or similar purposes, such as converting wastepaper from offices into corrugated boxes or soda bottles into polyester fiber.
Recovered industrial and manufacturing materials that are diverted from municipal solid waste for the purpose of collection, recycling and disposition. Post-industrial materials are part of the broader category of recovered materials and include print overruns, over issue publications and obsolete inventories.
Cotton fabric which has been made from recovered cotton that would otherwise be cast off during the spinning, weaving or cutting process.
Yarns made from post-consumer and post-industrial polyester waste. Although recycled polyester lessens our dependence on oil, reduces waste and produces less pollution, as healthy home specialists, we do not recommend its use, since, as a synthetic fiber it is not hygroscopic and, as such, can promote positive ions in the home.
A product made in whole or part from material recovered from the waste stream.
Silk yarn/fabric waste from industrial weaving mills.
The series of activities, including collection, separation and processing, by which products or other materials are recovered from the solid waste stream. The products are then used in the form of raw materials in the manufacture of new products, other than fuel for producing heat or power by combustion.
Capable of being replaced by natural ecological cycles or sound management practices.
Energy derived from sources that do not become depleted such as the sun, wind, oceans, rivers, eligible biomass and heat from the earth's interior.
Capable of being used again after salvaging or special treatment or processing.
Sheep dips are used by sheep farmers to protect sheep against external parasites. The majority of formulations contain organophosphate (see above) active ingredients, which it is now known can lead to both short-term and long-term effects on users. Although most dips have been in use for twenty to thirty years, insufficient attention has been paid to the adverse effects they have caused to users' health or to the development of alternative methods of control of disease in sheep. Organic or Eco-wool, does not contain wool from sheep that have been treated with sheep dip.
Sodium laureth sulfate (also sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laurel sulfate, and sodium dodecyl sulfate): Skin irritant. Reported as toxic in many studies. Has tendency to react with other ingredients to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. The FDA has stated that levels of dioxin formation in products containing sodium laureth sulfate are unacceptable. Studies have shown eye and systemic tissue (heart, liver, brain) penetration. Main ingredient in many shampoos, baby shampoos, and toothpastes.
Non-liquid, non-soluble materials from sources ranging from municipal garbage to industrial wastes that may contain complex and hazardous substances. Solid wastes also include sewage sludge, agricultural refuse, demolition wastes and mining residues. Technically, solid waste also refers to liquids and gases in containers.
Health effects from exposure to styrene may involve the central nervous system and include complaints of headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, malaise, difficulty in concentrating, and a feeling of intoxication. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies styrene as a potential human carcinogen. It is also known as vinyl benzene, ethenylbenzene, cinnamene, or phenyl ethylene.
Of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.
A product that has no negative impact on natural ecosystems or resources, due to such factors as the method of harvesting or the use of the resource in such a way that it is not depleted or permanently damaged.
Manufacturing processes that have no negative impact on natural ecosystems or resources.
Sustainability is based on a simple principle: everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment. (Courtesy EPA)
Fabric backing not made from natural (animal, plant) materials.
A branded lyocell fiber that comes from the pulp of the eucalyptus tree. It has a natural inhibition to mold and dust mites.
Carpets and underlays (carpet pad) resist the transfer of heat to a lesser or greater degree. This "thermal resistance value" can be measured as a "tog" value.
Highly toxic petrochemical solvents; eye and skin irritant; carcinogenic; neuro-toxic and reproductive effects. Found in spot removers, car cleaners, and paints and finishes.
A pesticide used in cotton production. In 1999, a work crew re-entered a cotton field about five hours after it was treated with tribufos and sodium chlorate (re-entry should have been prohibited for 24 hours). Seven workers subsequently sought medical treatment and five have had ongoing health problems. Considered by the EPA as a likely human carcinogen.
A pre-emergent herbicide belonging to the dinitroaniline chemical family. Trifluralin is registered for use on a very wide range of food crops, and is used very extensively on soybean and cotton crops. Ingestion of trifluralin may cause nausea and severe discomfort. Inhalation may irritate the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat. Exposing the eyes may cause redness and pain. The EPA has classified trifluralin as a possible carcinogen, and the Illinois EPA has listed trifluralin as a probable endocrine disruptor.
A coalition of representatives from the building industry that promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and are healthful places to live and work.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) »
When people talk about off-gassing, they’re referring to VOCs – carbon-based molecules that vaporize and enter the environment where they combine with other airborne compounds. You bring them into your home through cleaners, synthetic foams, adhesives used in furniture, wood veneers, varnishes and sealants (to name a few). In sufficient quantities VOC emissions can cause eye, nose, and throat irritations, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, memory impairment; some are known animal carcinogens; some are suspected or known human carcinogens.
Any change in the design, manufacturing, purchase or use of materials or products (including packaging) to reduce their amount or toxicity before they are discarded. Waste prevention also refers to the reuse of products or materials.
Preventing or decreasing the amount of waste being generated through waste prevention, recycling or purchasing recycled and environmentally preferable products.
The fine, soft, curly hair that forms the fleece of sheep and certain other animals, wool is characterized by minute, overlapping surface scales that give it its felting property. Wool is a renewable resource.
World Fair Trade Organization »
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of organizations representing the Fair Trade supply chain. WFTO is the home of fair traders: producers, marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers that demonstrate 100% commitment to Fair Trade and apply the 10 WFTO Principles of Fair Trade to their supply chain. The works and achievements of its members make WFTO a global authority on Fair Trade and a guardian of Fair Trade values and principles.
World Health Organization (WHO) »
World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.