Get Green with Style Blog

Interview with Brenda Thompson of O Ecotextiles Part 4

Brenda Thompson interviewed by Hilary Sopata, LEED AP

We have so much to learn from you, Brenda!  Please tell us more about your personal eco lifestyle journey.

My quest towards a greener life style started in 1998 when our son was diagnosed with a latex allergy. After much research, I discovered latex was used in many everyday products including diapers, band-aids, fabric, carpeting, etc. that my son was exposed to. In the specific case of the carpeting, I discovered that latex was a component in the backing, padding and the glue to hold it down. I also discovered there was recycled plastic in the carpeting that was off gassing in our home. Every time our son was exposed to this particular carpet, he coughed. On contact with latex, he would also break out in hives and his tongue would swell. As soon as we removed the carpet, he was fine.  Many people are being misled about the benefits of recycled materials. I think William McDonough’s statement about recycling is accurate, “less bad doesn’t mean it’s good.”

Natural materials that are manufactured in a truly “green” way have many more benefits than synthetic or man-made materials. One, natural materials are more beautiful and compliment both contemporary and traditional design schemes. Two, natural materials have a classic look and easier to live with for a long time, thus saving a lot of money and keeping materials out of the land fills. Three, natural materials are non-toxic and won’t off gas and four, most beneficial, natural materials support the development of healthy soil (through organic agriculture) which is being found to have far reaching effects in our war on climate change by sequestering carbon and acting as a carbon sink; healthy soils help us conserve precious water; and the elimination of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides not only improves human health but also reduces our dependence on oil and the toxic by products of the production of these products. The benefits are enormous!

This experience with my son’s reaction to latex, led me to question other chemicals that we were exposed to on a daily basis (paint, fabric, furniture, etc.) and how these materials impacted our health.

Source: Interview with Brenda Thompson of O Ecotextiles, Inc. Mobile: 616-334-3625, Email:

Have you had a life experience that has led you to become more eco-conscious?  Please share it with us.


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