Put your mind at rest
Pillows made with synthetic fillings and fabric covers are usually treated with chemical finishing agents, which can emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), says Reneé Loux, host of the Fine Living TV show "It’s Easy Being Green," and a Traditional Home Green Advisory Panel member. Down-filled pillows raise questions about the humane treatment of the birds from whom the feathers are taken. Down pillows also can become breeding grounds for dust mites, mold, and mildew.
Instead, Reneé suggests trying pillows filled with kapok, a natural fiber from the seed pods of a rain-forest fruit tree. Wool, natural latex foam, shredded natural latex foam, and buckwheat hulls are other possibilities. Reneé outlines the options in Easy Green Living (Rodale, 2008; $25).
Photograph: Peter Krumhardt