There are around 100,000 synthetic chemicals available on the market today, in everything from shampoo to cleaning products, toys to baby bottles, furniture, carpet and even clothes.
But did you know that most of them have not been tested for human and environmental toxicity? Of those that have been, they contain many known and suspected carcinogens, allergens and endocrine disrupters—even in products you put on your skin.
In fact, one in three personal care products contains ingredients identified as possible human carcinogens, approximately one in five contains ingredients commonly contaminated with known carcinogens, and almost one in two products contains ingredients that could be damaging to your reproductive health or your baby’s development.
The good news is there are many simple things you can do to reduce your exposure to nasty chemicals. Here are 15 tips:
1. Keep some house plants in every room of your house.
The soil bacteria helps to reduce the volatile organic compounds (like formaldehyde) in the air.
2. Take your outdoor shoes off at the door.
That way you’ll avoid bringing in dust, lead and pesticides.
3. Stop using air fresheners and other synthetic fragrances.
You’ll reduce your exposure to phthalates.
4. Switch to pure beeswax candles.
Other candles contain petroleum-based, which paraffin releases nasty chemicals when burned, such as benzene, toluene, and ketones. Soy and Palm oil candles are hydrogenated and then typically colored and scented, again releasing nasty chemicals when burned.
5. Switch to non-toxic DIY cleaning products.
Use everyday ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, soap, and lemon peel.
6. Use essential oils like tea tree, lime and cinnamon for their disinfectant properties.
These are better for you than commercial anti-bacterial products, which typically contain nasties like triclosan and formaldehyde.
7. Use clove oil rather than bleach to get rid of mold.
When bleach is mixed with other chemicals, it can create a toxic gas. It’s also harmful to your skin and your eyes.
8. Start reading the labels on any processed food products you buy.
Avoid anything with artificial flavors, colors or flavor enhancers. Studies have found food additives affect around 60 to 70% of people, most of whom are unaware they are effected.
9. Get to know the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists.
If you can’t afford to buy all organic produce, focus on avoiding the items with most pesticides: apples, blueberries, capsicums, celery, cucumbers, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach and strawberries.
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