We live in a very toxic world today from the air we breathe, the food we eat to the products we use everyday in our homes. According to the Environmental Working Group, environmental toxins have been linked to increases in asthma, allergies, eczema, cancer, birth defects, auto-immune diseases as well as learning and behavioral disorders. One of the most pressing health concerns of the Environmental Protection Agency is indoor air pollution.
One of the easiest things we can do to decrease the amount of toxins in our environment and improve our health is to switch to environmentally safe products. Common everyday products like moisturizers, shampoos, sunscreens and shaving cream as well as household cleaning and laundry products usually contain toxic ingredients that are known carcinogens, endocrine disrupters and a host of other chemicals that have never even been tested for their safety. As consumers, we can make an impact by shifting our spending towards more environmentally responsible companies. If we educate ourselves, we can make better choices that are healthier and safer for us and the world we live in.
Here are 6 easy steps you can do to create a healthier home:
Step 1: Educate yourself
If you’ve read about the research on environmental toxins and health then congratulations because you’ve already taken this first step! You are in charge of the health of your home and family and you CAN make a difference. Be aware that many of the chemical ingredients in consumer products contain known carcinogens and endocrine disrupters and many other chemicals that have NOT been tested for safety. Current government regulations do NOT adequately protect the consumer and health experts warn that asthma, allergies, eczema, cancer as well as learning and behavioral disorders are on the rise due to environmental toxins.
Step 2: Create a Pesticide-Free Home
Pesticides are any ingredients designed to kill other living organisms. Disinfectants including chlorine bleach and Lysol are included in this category. Eliminate the use of pesticides in your home and garden and look for safer alternatives. Avoid using chlorine bleach and Lysol. Instead choose disinfectants that use natural ingredients that have been proven by the EPA to kill germs. Choosing ORGANIC FOOD whenever possible is highly recommended because some pesticides can’t be washed off the food. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of the fruits and vegetables that have been found to have the highest amounts of pesticide.
Step 3: Avoid the use of Aerosol Propellants
Aerosols contain dangerous chemical propellants that contribute to indoor and outdoor smog and health problems including lung irritations, asthma symptoms and even central nervous system damage. These products include hair spray, aerosol deodorants, air fresheners like Glade and strong disinfectants.
Step 4: Get Rid of Stored Toxic Products
Go around your house with a box labeled TOXIC and fill it with products you don’t use, don’t need and definitely don’t want including pesticides, harsh cleaners, solvents, paints, any aerosol can and even your air fresheners. Remember, even while stored, products emit Volatile Organic Compounds which create harmful indoor air pollution. Household cleaning products are considered HAZARDOUS WASTE and must be disposed of safely at the Hazardous Waste Facility in your area.
Step 5: Air It Out
The problem with energy efficient homes is that they keep air pollution inside. The EPA estimates indoor air is up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Just 15 minutes of open air exchange can change the air in your entire home. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) out-gas from dry-cleaned clothes, cleaning products, new carpet and new furniture causing respiratory and other illnesses. The dishwasher is one of the biggest AIR polluters in your home; it strips chemicals in the water and detergent and puts them into gas. If you’re using chemical dish detergents containing chlorine, do not open while it’s running; ventilate while it’s running; and wait one hour to open after complete. Reduce pollution with filtered water and try an environmentally safe detergent that’s phosphate and chlorine free.
Step 6: Use Safer Products
Look at the products you use every day and switch to non-toxic alternatives. Get rid of household cleaners that have labels of DANGER or WARNING. As a consumer, you do have a choice on what types of products you bring into your home. Choose non-toxic household and personal care products that use naturally derived ingredients that are healthier and safer for you, your family and the environment.