Who is the ‘Head Guru’, Therese Forton-Barnes

I’m writing to introduce myself and ‘spill my guts’.  (That is a horrible saying by the way.)

I am a one-man band with three wonderful interns along with my sister that help me manage everything I am trying to do with Green Living Gurus.

I want you to know who I am and why I am doing what I am doing. I am 58 years old, I reside in Buffalo New York, married and I have two wonderful grown stepchildren and one dog, Murphy.

I wish I had my own children. I struggled for numerous years trying to get pregnant, rounds of IVF, flying around the country meeting with specialists, including having to abort twins around eight weeks pregnant. If they were alive, they would be 15 years old now. We even tried to adopt a baby and that failed. That is a whole other long story.

I decided that it was not meant to be as much as I wanted my own child and to be a mother. I asked constantly why did this happen to me? I will never know that answer. 

So, the last 15 years have been tough. I have fought through many many many challenges; a horrible bankruptcy and counting change some days to survive; being mugged and robbed and left with a broken nose and teeth; and some other life and mental challenges.  Although, the hardest challenge was watching my mother die. The woman that taught me all about health, avoiding chemicals, processed foods, and that a snack should be a piece of fruit or cut up vegetables with hummus.

I asked constantly why her life was taken when she was the healthiest person on all levels. I concluded it was the chemicals she swam in every day. Every day at 7 AM she would swim at a local swimming pool. She came home wreaking of chlorine and chemicals. She would hug me and all I could smell was the chlorine and chemicals all over her body. She would bathe herself in dried milk and apple cider vinegar to try to draw out the smell and chemicals. Ultimately, they affected her nervous system and she died in 2010.

I have made it my mission in life to help as many people as possible avoid chemicals that are causing cancer and other illnesses. I actually went to college to open up a health food store but came out as a party planner (another long story). I do know that I survived the past 15 years because of my conscious efforts to eat healthy, exercise and making sure I was always taking care of myself physically and mentally knowing I had an uphill battle and so many challenges to endure.

So, on that note, I wanted you to know who I am. Who is this person that sends out emails, writes a blog, puts out a podcast, posts on Instagram and Facebook, and is always talking about how to avoid toxicants. I am just a normal person wanting to help others avoid harmful and toxic chemicals especially ones that cause cancer.

Namaste,

Therese “Tee” Forton-Barnes

Head Guru

Cell 716-868-8868

www.thegreenlivinggurus.com

Green Living with Tee Podcast

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www.thereseforton.com


How to Buy Non-Toxic Carpeting

Here are some things to consider when buying a carpet for your home or office:

  1. There are chemicals and other potentially harmful materials in carpets and the pads beneath them. Among these chemicals can be toxic plastics, wool that’s full of fungicides, synthetic rubber that may contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates, toxic dyes, and flame, water, and stain repellants full of chemicals.
  2. Carpets accumulate dust mites, dirt, pesticides, along with other toxins 
  3. There are materials in the carpet installation process, that include glues and other adhesives containing formaldehyde and a range of VOCs that off-gas into the home environment.

The first rule in seeking a green and non-toxic carpet is to look for fibers that occur naturally. The fibers are likely to be more environmentally friendly than synthetics which often bind together with noxious glues. Natural rug materials include sisal, rayon, silk, cotton, cour, jute, wool, bamboo, seagrass, and cork. It is also very important to consider the main material in the rug and then the backing materials too. If either material is bound together with glues, make sure they are water-soluble glues using no VOC’s. More often than not carpet glues are the worst culprit of toxicity and can take years to outgas so they should be avoided at all cost.

A newer alternative has become recycled plastic rugs. Some of them have no outgassing issues. Permalon is an example. Love the Earth, love your home. Sustainable Decor for any Home Style!! They take plastic containers and then melt them to form plastic tubes that are weaved into the rugs . Because they’re made from plastic, these rugs are durable, mold & mildew resistant so you can feel at ease leaving them in any environment.

LIt is very important to look for a carpet that has no flame retardant treatment! And no insect repellant treatment too! The backing on wall to wall is often a source of toxicity. Look for natural latex backing, camel hair felt, or jute. 

One easier way is to tap into the green certification labels. These are certification programs that do the research and stand behind safe carpet choices.

  1. Cradle to Cradle
  2. CRI Green label plus 
  3. BRE Environmental Assessment & Good Environmental Choices 
  4. Interface Inc. Which makes modular  

Even if you pick a company with a good reputation for non-toxic materials, still ask the questions. Companies change and trade hands and standards are constantly evolving. At the end of the day digging into the materials, the backing, the glues, the treatments, and the pad is essential if you want a carpet that is clean and green! Earthweave is a brand that I find particularly dependable in its policies and materials. Also, Bloomsburg Carpet is rising in this field. The first rule in seeking a green and Non-toxic carpet is to look for fibers that occur naturally. They are much more likely to be environmentally friendly than synthetics which are often bound together with noxious glues. Some other companies with good ecological policies are: Mohalk, Shaw & Beaulieu


cotton menstrual tampons and delicate flower branch on wooden board

Why Buy Organic Tampons?

By Samantha Trafford, Community Manager for the Green Living Gurus

Organic Tampons: What’s in Them?

Natural and organic…isn’t that what we should be putting inside our bodies? The answer is YES! Organic tampons are 100% certified organic, made of pure cotton free from pesticides, toxin, dyes and fragrance. Also, a fun fact is the applicators have changed as well! The three most common types of applicators for organic tampons are BPA-free plastic, plant-based plastic, non applicator alternatives and 100% biodegradable and compostable cardboard. Remember The Green Living Gurus number one rule of thumb is to always read the labels. 

Benefits on Making the Switch to Organic?

There are many harmful ingredients and chemicals in tampons that get absorbed and go directly into the bloodstream. Conventional tampons can also cause inflammation and irritation. The FDA does not regulate the ingredients in conventional tampons which can lead to issues like endocrine disruptors, developmental issues, cancer and increases risk for diseases. 

Benefits of Organic Tampons:

  • Similar in size
  • Cleaner option
  • Vegan
  • Fragrance free
  • Don’t contribute to your hormones being disrupted
  • Eco friendly 
  • Sustainable 

Conventional Tampon Ingredients: Linked to Health Issues:

Dioxin: Cancer, damage to immune system, reduced fertility, linked to hormone disruptors and increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease 

Formaldehyde: Carcinogen and irritation

Rayon: Increases risk of TSS, cancer, damage to immune system and reduced fertility

Fragrance: Bacterial vaginosis, cancer, yeast infections and allergic reactions

Phthalates: Endocrine disruptors, birth defects, cancer, infertility and autoimmune disorders

Chlorine: Endocrine disruptors 

Non-organic cotton: Increase risk of cancer, hormone disruptor and heightens toxicity 

Organic Tampons Suggestions:

Let me start off by saying all the suggestions below are truly amazing! They are healthy and clean alternatives that get the job done! These tampons list all the ingredients used and are certified organic. Plus they are environmentally friendly – that’s a bonus! Make sure to check out The Green Living Gurus Amazon store for the products below! See link

  • Honest Organic Cotton Tampons: Jessica Alba’s company, filled with tampons and many other organic products. Unscented, GOTS certified organic cotton and enhanced leak protection. Also an added benefit is they are hypoallergenic, breathable and made with a plant-derived compact applicator. This brand is a staple in my cycle – especially for heavier days.
  • CORA Organic: Filled with variety – light, regular and super! Perfect for the menstrual cycle. Cora offers tampons with or without applicators. The applicators are made with BPA-free plastic. The tampons are made out of GOTS certified organic cotton and the string is water-resistant wax coating. Fun fact, CORA organic provides pads to females in developing nations, provides education and gives them a stepping stone to build on. 
  • My Box Shop: Mother nature approved…and created by moms! My Box Shop’s slogan is “Non-toxins, period,” which dives deep into freeing your life from all things toxics. Love this brand! The tampon selection ranges from regular, super and super plus. You can also purchase the tampons with or without applicators (BPA-free plastic). No fragrance, dyes or chlorine bleach and are 100% cotton organic. 
  • Organyc: Comfort! Comfort! This brand was the first organic tampon line that I ever tried! I absolutely loved them. They are super comfortable and very absorbent. No chemicals, no dyes and 100% certified organic cotton. Organyc is also clinically proven to protect sensitive skin. Organyc tampons are also biodegradable – even the packaging!

The companies listed above offer a variety of safe and pure feminine care products. Not just tampons, but much more. They also offer monthly subscriptions! Check the labels, their ingredients are all listed out for you unlike many non-organic ones. Something tells me, they do not want us to know what is in the other ones.


Pregnancy and Avoiding Chemicals

More and more research is linking chemicals to birth defects, cancer, thyroid disorders, acne, asthma, diabetes, obesity, allergies, infertility, and even ADHD. If I had my way, every OB office and midwife in the U.S. would distribute information to their patients on how chemicals can affect a woman and her fetus. Women should be made aware of sources of exposure to chemicals in order to reduce the risks to the developing fetus.

I have learned a lot from my sisters when it comes to pregnancy and avoiding chemicals. I was never able to have children and had various miscarriages but still knew what I had to do while I was trying to get pregnant. In all the Doctor appointments that I went to, never once was I told to avoid chemicals and other toxins that can affect a developing fetus.

During pregnancy, especially in the early months, the baby is developing its brain. A chemical that is marginally dangerous to the mom may be critically dangerous for a developing fetus. 

The Gurus Top Ten Tips to Avoid Chemicals During Pregnancy:

  1. Pesticides (Eat organic and avoid lawns that have been sprayed)
  2. Do not paint: Avoid any paint & especially any lead based paints. This includes sanding or scraping any old paints where lead will most certainly be released into the air 
  3. Mosquito repellents can be toxic. Make you own(see our DIY section)
  4. Avoid Mercury (this is why eating fish should be limited to once or twice a week). Most fish carries some level of mercury in it 
  5. Stay away from Pressure treated woods . These woods are treated with arsenic  which out gasses long after it is installed.
  6. Do not use nail polish – the fumes are similar to paint thinner which can be dangerous to the fetus 
  7. Avoid harsh cleaning solutions such as oven cleaners, bleach & most conventional cleaning products. Use our recommended ones in the store or make your own – see our DIY section.
  8. Alcohol & cigarettes – do not be even around smoke
  9. Avoid non stick cookware
  10. Body lotion, hair products, deodorant and perfume – Read the ingredients and know your labels. There are so many chemicals used in these products and potential endocrine disruptors, carcinogens and other harmful side effects

Whatever a pregnant woman ingests or puts on her skin, the baby can also be affected. What occurs during fetal development can last a lifetime. Most Doctors will tell you what is positive for the baby, such as vitamins, rest and a healthy diet, but very few will tell woman what chemicals to avoid.

Someday, I hope to have a “brochure” in all OB offices!!