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Harmful Chemicals in Your Home

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Harmful Chemicals in Your Home

There are thousands of harmful chemicals in our home we are exposed to on a daily basis. It’s quite frightening how many are completely toxic and it’s even more frightening that our government has been so lax in regulating them. There are chemicals still in use in the United States that have been outlawed in the European Union for more than 20 years! At any rate, do not let this stop you from becoming an educated, conscientious consumer. Below is a list of commonly used products and tips on how to lessen your exposure to harmful chemicals:

Phthalates:

  • Avoid personal-care products with heavy artificial fragrance, esp. Those with “Fragrance” or “Parfum” listed as an ingredient.
  • Take down that smelly PVC shower curtain and replace it with one made of recycled polyester or natural fibers.
  • Unplug your air fresheners. Baking soda is a natural alternative that can be used to absorb bad odors.
  • Healthytoys.org – you can check out the ingredients in toys.
  • Reduce your consumption of fatty foods, esp. Meat and dairy.
  • Let elected officials know that you want legislation that ensures children’s products are non-toxic.

PFCs (non-stick pans):

  • Get rid of old non-stick frying pans, esp. if it’s scratched.
  • Avoid too much fast food – hamburgers, pizza or microwavable popcorn packaging may be coated with PFCs. See article “Foods That Are Killing Us”
  • Read labels and avoild consumer products with PFCs.

PBDEs (flame retardants):

  • Use naturally fibered products, like hemp and organic cotton. They are chemical free and naturally fire resistant.
  • Buy newer PBDE-free furniture or replace old PBDE upholstery (with proper ventilation).
  • Dust and vacuum often to keep the dust and PBDEs away.
  • Buy electronics that are PBDE-free.
  • Find a local organization that will accept and reuse your old computers and other electronic equipment.

Mercury:

  • Avoid large predatory fish, such as tuna.
  • Return used or discarded mercury-containing products to the store where you bought them or to your local household hazardous waste depot. Do not throw them in the garbage and never dump mercury in the toilet or down the sink!

Triclosan:

  • Avoid products labeled “antibacterial” that contain triclosan, and be wary of brand names such as Microban.
  • Wash your hands the old-fashioned way, with a good 30-second lather of soap and water.
  • Check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to find out what’s in your cosmetic products (cosmeticsdatabase.com).
  • Clean with baking soda, borax, vinegar and other natural household cleaners instead of conventional cleaners.
  • Avoid products containing nanosilver and be wary of other nanoparticles, such as nanozin (which is found in many sunscreens).

Pesticides:

  • Go natural with chemical-free lawns.
  • Replace your lawn or much of it with native plants.
  • Support local efforts to ban cosmetic use of pesticides.
  • Push for pesticide-free parks and schoolyards!
  • Eat local and/or organic. Avoid pesticides and chemical additives in your food.
  • Wash produce well to help remove pesticide residues.
  • Clip the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list and put it in your wallet so you can avoild foods that contain more pesticides than others. (foodnews.org)
  • Shop at a local farmer’s market and ask the vendor about pesticide use.

BPA:

  • Try to avoid plastics. When puzzling over the small recycling numbers on the bottom of plastic containers, remember this mantra: 4,5 1 and 2; all the rest are bad for you. So AVOID 3,6 & 7!!
  • Find an alternative use for those plastic baby bottles and use glass ones instead.
  • Check the EWG guide to infant formula and baby bottles. (ewg.org)
  • Organize your child’s daycare to go BPA free. (toxicnation.ca)
  • Avoid putting plastic containers in the microwave.
  • Use cloth bags instead of plastic bags for shopping.
  • Contact your local representative to encourage your city to ban disposable plastic water bottles. Use a stainless steel or BPA free water bottle!

Any questions? Please email me or leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you! Keep safe and choose wisely!

Tara Fisher Tara Fisher is the Founder of Vida Green Consulting and is an environmental educator, health conscious cook and a busy mother of two. She is an avid organic gardener and is passionate about veganism, holistic living, children’s education and living an eco-friendly, non-toxic lifestyle. She makes a 100% natural all-purpose cleaner as well as natural, organic bath and beauty products.
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