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The chemically sensitive person will want to avoid gas and propane appliances. Especially gas stoves, which will be the largest emitter of fumes.
A propane-powered refrigerator should be OK if you do not have enough amps to power an electric one. Propane-powered fridge vents fully to the outside and could be acceptable in a trailer with a small electrical load.
I left mine running in a garage for a month before using it. Some people find stainless fridges offgas less than the plastic ones, others disagree.
Even top of the line glass door fridges don’t necessarily offgas less than regular ones. You will want to sniff as many brands as you can.
Buying the floor model is beneficial for some people. Washing out all residues from new fridges can help. Recently (2019) I have heard reports of GE being a more tolerable brand but I would go and sniff them yourself unless you are only mildly sensitive.
Another very sensitive blogger, Janis reports that Sunfrost Refrigerators use fiberglass instead of plastic. But, they will bake it at high heat before they ship it to offgas it in advance. Their fridge uses less electricity than normal a fridge (fewer EMFs). They are pricey at $3000-$4000.
Some like the whirlpool brand two-door stainless models.
It’s a good idea to have a range over your stove that vents to the outside to reduce humidity and prevent mold in the home.
Gas appliances can release carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxides, and aldehydes into the air. While some highly EMF-sensitive folks prefer gas appliances like gas stoves, most chemically sensitive folks prefer electric.
Less Toxic Dishwashers
Dishwashers with a stainless steel interior like those made by Bosch, Miele, and Whirlpool use bitumen or asphalt as an insulation and sound dampening layer.
Many Sensitive folks can pick up offgassing odors from these.
Some bitumen layers are between blanket reflective sound barriers, others are baked or sprayed on.
They used to use fiberglass or mineral wool.
The other option is a plastic (polypropylene) interior. Not everybody sensitive has done better with the plastic option, and some do prefer the stainless steel dishwashers.
Polypropylene does not usually contain BPA, BPS, or phthalates. I consider this a safe plastic. It should not have asphalt or bitumen sound insulation like the stainless steel interiors. They do often have fiberglass around the plastic.
It could pick up secondary orders more easily than stainless – so if you’re in a rental or if you’re buying secondhand this may not be ideal.
Some brands that folks have liked include Electrolux, Frigidaire, and GE Integrated models. I have the Frigidaire FFBD2406NB which is plastic on the interior with no bitumen on the exterior, only fiberglass.
Another very sensitive person recently found this model to be good: Samsung Storm Wash 24 stainless steel, model number: DW80R5061US.
Look for nylon-coated wire racks (not PVC). Most racks are now made with nylon.
Leak-Prevention on Dishwashers
Miele and Bosch have internal leak detectors. You should also install a metal pan with a drain under the dishwasher.
Some stainless sinks have a sound absorption layer under the sink which you can see very clearly when looking at the underside. It could be a foam and/or bitumen layer.
Porcelain and enameled cast iron sinks have glazing that can contain lead. Sinks made prior to the 1980’s are a higher risk, but current day sinks can still contain heavy metals.
As the glazing wears down these toxins can leach. The lead testing post has more detail.
Non-Toxic Trash Compactors
Many trash compactors come with a built-in deodorizing system that may contain VOCs in the form of formaldehyde, phenols or paradichlorobenzene.
Less Toxic Ovens
All new ovens that I have seen have a fairly prominent offgassing odor. I’m not aware of which brands may be preferred. If you’re in a rental I would certainly clean out any harsh cleaning products that may have been used before you turn on the oven.
If it’s brand new I would suggest running this in a garage or outside of your space to offgas it for as long as needed. Before moving into my tiny house my new oven was offgassed for a month. It needs to run to offgas.
How many hours you need to run it would very much depend on your level of sensitivity. Be sure to take safety precautions and not run it for too many consecutive hours.
Self-cleaning ovens produce carcinogenic polynuclear aromatics.
Less Toxic Washing Machines
Although not necessarily in the kitchen, with washing machines it’s best to go with a top loader.
Though a front loader can be carefully maintained and cleaned in many cases for mold prevention.
For a top loader it is best to use a model with a metal drum. Look for gear drive, not belt drive.
Some of the Samsung models have been recommended by chemically sensitive folks. Many very sensitive folks like the Speed Queen.
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