NEWS2U Health & Wellness
Living Healthy in an Unhealthy World

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Organic top 40

Najiba Abdellaoui and Marco Visscher
This article appeared in Ode issue: 28

A small selection of the countless products and companies that won't leave chemicals behind in your body

The annual Organic Top 40 is Ode's international selection of sustainable products and honest companies. This year's overview is specially devoted to those that seek to limit our exposure to chemicals. This Organic Top 40 is far from complete-and that's good news. Fortunately, it's impossible to provide information on all the options that exist out there for avoiding superfluous chemicals. This overview, compiled in cooperation with The Green Guide (, is intended to inspire you by making you aware of the many products being manufactured around the world in the fight for a toxin-free body. It is meant to encourage you to look for and find more examples, both close to home and on the Internet. We have left food off this list, since otherwise it would be too long. But it's certain that choosing to eat organic foods is the best way of all to make sure chemicals stay outside your body.
The Editors

Living room
Det Grønne Møbel
A Danish initiative to create furniture with careful attention to sustainable materials and techniques. It has developed and tested practical ways of mixing good design with ecological production methods.

Levy Design and Manufacturing
Levy makes ultra-modern, eye-catching chairs, tables and shelves out of 30 percent post-consumer recycled cardboard (buffed to a velvety finish) and water-based glues.

Xeno Objects
Fast-growing bamboo is dyed with food colorings and bound with plant-based adhesives to fashion the beautiful Nung Chair and other hand-made pieces by Xeno Objects. The items are finished with a non-toxic clear coat.

EarthWeave develops and promotes eco-friendly floor covering products. Its commitment lies not in recycling petrochemical products, but rather in taking advantage of the ultimate manufacturer, Mother Nature and her renewable natural resources.

Interface's Flor carpeting includes fibers made from corn, while their Terra line contains 36% recycled and 8% renewable material. They will also recycle old carpet tiles once they are no longer needed. Carpets come in funky colors and patterns, which can be mixed and matched, and easily taken up for cleaning in the sink.

DVD player
Sony's DVP-NS955V DVD player isn't quite edible, but it's close. More than fifty percent of the machine's plastic parts are made of plant-based materials. Sony is taking steps to reduce and replace the use of toxic substances (also see box "Cleaning up its acts").

These natural cleaners hygienically take care of whatever's dirty. All their products contain no petrochemical based ingredients, leave no residue of unnecessary chemicals in the house or body, biodegrade easily and make a minimum impact on aquatic life. Ecover, based in Belgium, is one of the world's most widely known producers of green household products.

Earth Friendly
Earth Friendly's New High Performance Wave dish cleaner, which comes in both gel and powder with Lavender oil, is free of phosphates, chlorine and caustic agents. It works on dishes, silverware and glasses. Wave is neutral ph, completely plant-based and totally biodegradable.

Seventh Generation
This longtime merchandiser offers a broad assortment of fragrance-free products sold under the label Free & Clear. Seventh Generation's Free & Clear Chlorine Free Bleach, for example, gets whites and color fabrics their brightest without perfumes, fragrances, phosphates or, of course, chlorine. Moreover, the product is ultra concentrated, non-toxic, degradable, hypoallergenic and it won't fade colours.

Recent tests show that when non-stick pans are overheated, toxins are released. Lodge's line of Chef Skillet pans is healthy alternative to the common non-stick pan.

This Greek company sells environmentally-friendly furniture, textiles and beds. The orthosomatic Pyrros bed for instance-described in promotional materials as being heaven on earth!-is made out of pure wool, pure natural cotton, natural rubber, rubbered coco-fibre, rubbered horsehair, seagrass, a metalfree ergo-base and a solid wood frame.

Green sleep
Belgian manufacturers of environmentally friendly bedroom goods, such as mattresses with one-hundred-percent natural foam cores, duvets and blankets filled with wool or wild silk, and bed bases of European wood.

Hästens uses thick, soft cotton, pure wool, linen and horsehair in its products. Because the Swedish company makes its beds by hand with an abundant use of natural materials (no latex or plastic-foam filling), it meets the standards of the Swedish environmental hallmark Svanen.

Green Fibres
Green Fibres sells eco quality goods and garments that are ethically made and do not harm the environment. Features a large range of household fabrics and bedding products ranging from towels and curtains to mattresses and beds. The majority of these are made from organic raw materials and all are chemically untreated.

Lifekind's mission is to provide both information and products to help reduce the daily exposures to unnecessary and hazardous chemicals. Lifekind offers certified organic and natural alternatives to products made using unhealthy ingredients. The products include everything from mattresses and pillows to linens and yoga mats.

Sage Creek
Sage Creek provides customers with organic cotton bedding and related products. The cotton, colours, snaps and zippers are all tested to ensure the absence of contaminants such as nickel, lead, formaldehyde, amines, pesticides and heavy metals.

Home office
Fujitsu-Siemens' Esprimo range uses fewer toxic materials than the average computer to meet the European Union's 2006 Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) law. This means that these desktops contain no lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavelent chromium, PBBs and PBDEs.

The notebook computers in Panasonic's Toughbook T2 line have a lead-free solder, recyclable magnesium alloy case and reduced flame-retardants.

Scanners and printers
Hewlett-Packard offers the HP ScanJet 4070 Photosmart Scanner: no glue, no paint, and no embedded metal fasteners, and 100% post consumer recycled plastic. And there's the HP Deskjet 6540 Printer: no paint or plating; easy disassembly for recycling.

Mobile phones
Sony Ericsson
Sony Ericsson's new phones-the W800 and the K750- include circuit boards, chargers, housing and plastics that are all free of brominated flame retardants, use lead-free components, and feature plastic with no lead and chromium, as well as nickel-free surfaces and corrosion protection free of hexavalent chromium. Moreover, all new phones including charger and other accessories as well several of the phones launched previously are free of brominated flame retardants in the printed circuit boards and product housing.

MP3 players
Whether you chose the shuffle, the mini, or the standard, recyclable Apple iPods come with rechargeable batteries.

Creative Zen Micro 6GB MP3 player, holds up to 3,000 songs and comes with a removable and rechargeable battery.

Ethic wear
This Brussels based company thinks globally and acts locally with an ethically conscious boutique and a fashion collection, designed by Marie Cabanac, that's made of organic and recycled fabrics. For more information:

Glo4life is an eco-urban fashion brand that produces and decorates 100 percent organic cotton t-shirts.

Hemp Age
Hemp Age produces and wholesales ecological and socially responsible clothes. Most of its hemp products are manufactured in accordance with Fair Trade principles, and is produced from predominantly wild grown and untreated 100 % hemp that is hand spun and hand-woven. The products are offered in both natural colour and with eco-friendly vegetable dyes. The growing of the hemp utilized by HempAge in both Thailand and Romania is accomplished without any use of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Bleaching, if done at all, is only with peroxide. The treatment for softening the fabrics is mechanical and no harmful chemicals are used.

Maggie's products are made from certified organic cotton, wool, and linen and pesticide-free hemp.

Patagonia investigates the raw materials it uses, invests in innovative technologies, and rigorously polices waste, in order to produce high-quality organic clothes. Materials used are organic cotton and recycled fleece and shell fabrics. Moreover, all garments are free of finishes such as formaldehyde.

Rawganique retails apparel made from certified organic hemp, which is grown on cooperative farms in Romania. It also offers unisex clogs and boots, men's sneakers and street shoes; sandals with recycled rubber-tire soles for children. Backpacks, shoulder bags, a cute macrame purse, crocheted totes; and elegant strappy long dresses. Rawganique also sells organic cotton babies', children's and women's sleepwear and underthings.

Birkenstock's foot beds are made out of recycled cork from the bottling industry that is blended with natural latex. Moreover, worn soles can be sent back for a tune-up.

Nike Considered
Nike Considered shoes are made out of PVC-free leather, cotton and hemp. The shoes contain no chemical adhesives and are vegetable tanned.

Kids' bedrooms
Garden Kids
Garden Kids' clothes for children are made of organic cotton and coloured with fibre reactive dyes. In this process, over 95% of the dye adheres to the fabric leaving very little residue. These dyes are phosphate-free and very stable.

Pretty cool children's clothing, made of organic cotton and with a commitment to fair trade.

Ecobabyrovides carefully selected, environmentally and health friendly items that running the gamut from baby wear and bedding to wooden toys. The toys are researched to make sure they are PVC-Free and made in factories that provide a safe working environment for their employees.

Poppy Wood
Poppy Wood provides toys made out of high quality hard wood and non-toxic and earth friendly finish to inspire the imagination of the youngest.

Eco Choices
Eco Choices' baby mattresses are free of synthetic chemicals and made from pure grow wool (a natural fire retardant), organic cotton. They are designed to fit any standard crib.

Aubrey organics
All Aubrey Organics products are made with herbs, essential oils and natural vitamins. No synthetic chemicals are used in any of the formulas. Liquid coconut oil is used in the soaps and shampoos along with a natural preservative of citrus seed and vitamins A, C and E. Coconut fatty acids and essential fatty acids are used in the creams and lotions. Aubrey Organics offers more than 140 hair, skin and body care products that are 100 percent natural and never tested on animals.

Dr. Hauschka
Dr. Hauschka Skin Care provides holistic solutions to skin care with a range of organic and biodynamic products that will therapeutically restore the health of the skin. The products contain natural fragrances from pure essential oils to rejuvenate the senses. All of the ingredients are carefully selected to support and activate the skin's ability to take care of itself.

Lavera cosmetic products contain certified organic ingredients and many are vegan. Lavera products do not contain petrochemicals, parabens, artificial flavours, colours, aromas, and no sodium laureth sulphate.

Recycline offers a line of recycled products, including the Preserve brand of razors, which are recycled-some of it from old Stonyfield Farm yogurt containers. You can also find the Preserve toothbrush, which is made from environmentally friendly high quality post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled plastics like polypropylene.

Weleda cosmetics are carefully produced from choice natural materials. They are particularly gentle to the skin, containing no synthetic preserving agents nor colouring, or flavouring. Weleda's shaving cream, for example contains goat's milk and almond extract, combined with pansy extract care for sensitive skin. Ideal for the face and body.

Under the Canopy
Under the Canopy's product line includes a wide array of pure and soft organic fibres (including organic cotton stretch denim, hemp-silk, organic linen and organic cotton blended with angora). In 2004 Under the Canopy introduced organic cashmere and yak, as well as new organic fibres made from soy and bamboo. In the future the company hopes to introduce dyes made from sustainable and healing plant sources such as green tea, marigold, alfalfa, sage, lavender and barley. From more information and products (including the ultra-lush organic cotton bath towel) see

More information:
The Green Guide
America's well-established alternative consumer's organization focusing on sustainable and healthy products.