An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—By The Allergista: What are Your Countertops Hiding?

Hi! I’m The Allergista!

The Allergist, aka, Jennifer from the blog, The Allergista

The Allergist, aka, Jennifer

In 2010, all of a sudden I was dealing with horrible oozing rashes on my legs and arms. It seemed to keep spreading… and spreading. Medications helped for a day or two and then I’d slide even further downhill. I ended up being diagnosed with a list of allergies (I have 24) and eczema. As opposed to taking harsh oral steroids (Prednisone) for the rest of my life, which the doctors recommended, I decided to avoid my allergens instead. It’s been QUITE the journey. Michellina has so kindly allowed me to talk to you guys because she is AWESOME like that. With her medical condition diagnosed as Inhalant Allergies… she knows what it’s like having to avoid an annoying amount of things. It’s nice to have other people who “get it” because most people don’t understand how much I had to change my lifestyle in order to deal with these issues!

So let’s get on with it, shall we? What I want to share with you today has to do with laminate countertops. Aside from being a poor imposter for wood, I never thought anything bad about them until I discovered what was in them. It all goes back to my eczema… I kept getting a really intense little rash on the underside of my right wrist. This made me think about what my wrist was touching all day and I realized that EXACT SPOT was touching the counter my work computer sat on. Thinking it may be due to cleaning products used on the counter, I started cleaning it with just water… but it didn’t make a difference. My next solution was to tape pieces of laserjet paper to the counter, preventing my wrist from actually touching it. This did the trick! And it proved to me that the actual countertops were what was bothering me…. but why?

I started doing some digging online. I wanted to know what laminate countertops were made of and how they were made… hoping this information would shed some light on what was really going on. As I dug deeper and deeper, it all made sense: cheap laminate countertops are often made with polyester resin. My skin HATES polyester! Any time polyester sits on my skin for more than 5 minutes, my eczema flares up into a mess of itchy red bumps. Not only did I learn that polyester is used in laminate counter tops, but polyester resin is created by propylene glycol reacting with a dibasic or polybasic acid. PG is another one of my allergens… veeeeery interesting! I explained my findings to my dermatologist and she wrote a doctor’s note saying that in order for me to be in a healthy environment, I need to be protected from laminate countertops.

These days, my desk at work is covered in glass which I LOVE. Not having to worry about if I’m touching my desk or having to DIY my way around it is pretty awesome.

Polyester resin doesn’t stop at counter tops, though. Here are some other places you’ll find it:

  • bathtubs
  • boats
  • in construction as an adhesive
  • fiberglass
  • luggage: as adhesive holding on the metal hardware
  • coats
  • outdoor furniture
  • packaging: bonding the plastic and cardboard together in blister packaging
  • underground utility boxes
  • sheet moulding compound
  • automotive panels
  • carbon fiber
  • kevlar

I really wish that there were strict laws around labelling the content of EVERYTHING… not just food. And actually, the laws around ingredient labels on food aren’t that great. I talk more about that here. In the last handful of years, this is just one of the sneaky ways my allergens were messing with me and my eczema. I’ve learned a LOT. In an effort to help you guys out, I sat down and thought of all the different ways my health has been secretly disrupted. I came up with nine! I organized them all into a nice little 2-page PDF which you can download by clicking the glittery button below:

Cheers to taking control and leading a healthier life!





Click Button to visit The Allergista: 9 things that could secretly be disrupting your health

Click Button to visit The Allergista and download: 9 things that could secretly be disrupting your health


MSDS for Propylene Glycol (Polyester):


Shell ~ propylene product derivatives:

Polyester Resin:

Us Composities ~ Polyesters:

Moulded Fibreglass and Polyester Resins:

eHow Facts on Polyester Resin:

PubMed: Systemic contact dermatitis from propylene glycol

PubMed: Contact allergy from propylene glycol

The Kitchen Series

An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—Oak. Glass or uPVC or Composite Panels?

 An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—By The Allergista: What are Your Countertops Hiding?

An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—Ecological Panels, and Building Biology Service, EcoLibria

An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—uPVC Board

An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen—Benchtops

An Allergy-Free, Eco-Friendly Kitchen ~ A Recap on the Low Irritant Kitchen

Hi, I'm Jennifer, and I sometimes guestblog over here at the Labyrinth!
Back in 2010, I was diagnosed with a long list of allergies, eczema, lactose intolerance and vitamin D deficiency. It was a complete lifestyle change... and in the beginning, it was hard. Endless hours were spent doing research and the more I learned, the more my skin and health improved. I want to share that valuable information with all of you who are dealing with the same struggles! If you'd like to read more, visit my blog, The Allergista!

The Thing about Vaginas

Apparently, embracing the practice of dancing to the cycle of the moon with blue circles painted on our pink bits is going to become de rigueur, even cool. One day. Or at least, something like that will help celebrate the event of women getting their periods. Okay, maybe not the paint, or even the moon cycle, for that matter, but the celebration of menstruation for the wonderful thing that it is. Oh, and the ‘idea’ that we have vaginas, menstruation blood, and discharge. A celebration I tell you! All right, not even a friggen celebration then—just a general acceptance of it will suffice.

And advertising about them? Well, this one I saw on television last night… suggests general acceptance. Except for the HooHar caused by the use of the real word for our ‘MooHoo’: Did Carefree expect this reaction when they—in the event of getting us chicks to buy feminine hygiene products more than just once a month—released this television add with a naked woman sprouting on about her ‘vagina’ and the discharge that flows from said vagina:

“Even that bit of discharge… is our body working to keep the vagina healthy.”

She said, while standing naked, kind off hiding behind a bloom of fake white flowers. Weird! But weirder than hiding behind flowers:

According to Jezabel’s, ‘Public Scandalized by Ad Claiming Woman Have Vaginas and Experience Discharge’:

“A spokesperson from the Advertising Standards Bureau told ninemsn that the ad started receiving complaints as soon as it launched last night. What’s more depressing — that some people have nothing better to do than call in complaints about ads that barely have any views on YouTube yet, or that the word “vagina” is still considered controversial and “discharge” is still considered abnormal even within the context of trying to sell women products for their vaginas?”

Err… didn’t those ring-up-TV-stations-and-complain-type of people not see the Lynx ‘Dirty balls’ add? (Look, if the guys had been washing their own balls in fragrance chemicals (instead of Sophie Monk doing if for them)—maybe it wouldn’t be so… offensive. Apart from the chemical sensitivity, allergy and asthma inducing synthetic chemicals on those things… I mean, you wouldn’t want to get too close—talk about offensive… ) So, unlike the DB add, is this add, using the actual names for female human anatomy and, in an actual factual sense, really offensive? Rhetorically speaking of course!

But back to this badvertising… We all know/or have heard of the guy who gets squeamish at the mention of periods, monthlies, tampons, vaginas. Or was it just my high school that had guys like him? Does anyone remember the way he couldn’t use the real terminology, only his—wait for it—‘down there’ talk; but he was fine, almost proud, in his knowledge, and ability to throw around words like c*nt, pussy, and phrases like ‘he/she’s on her rags’ (usually as a euphemism for ‘I can’t get my way with you’, so I’ll align you with the status of a woman who is menstruating (even if you’re male—especially if you’re male)). Sexist. Much, I’ll say…

Well, by the sounds of it, this type of school yard mentality has grown up, and has been ringing the Advertising Standards Bureau, complaining about Carefree using the word vagina—probably while emitting Lynx fumes from ‘down there’!

If you have not seen the *shockingly offensive* add that caused the HooHar about the HooHoos, then check out the YouTube clip below.

You know… *Down there*…



Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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