Cleaning Our Lives Of Chemicals: Some easy steps for families

LemonJuiceChemicals are everywhere. The more we learn, the scarier it is, and the more we try to keep our families away from the majority of chemicals that can harm us. Remember we cannot do all of these things, but we can each do a few to reduce the exposure of our families to harmful chemicals. Here are some areas to consider as you try to reduce the chemical exposure in your home.

Get rid of the cans

This is a shocker to many people! Most food and beverage cans are lined with Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical linked to breast cancer and other health concerns. The number one thing you can do is avoid canned foods. This means getting rid of canned soup, beans and especially any tomato products [because of acidity]. This can be a tough one for families. I’ve started to make my own beans in a crockpot to avoid BPA. It’s not that tough to do, but you do have to plan ahead and have some freezer space.

Put the ‘clean’ back in cleaning supplies

Choose green cleaning products to drastically reduce indoor air pollution. Because cleaning product formulas are government protected trade secrets, consumers can’t read ingredient lists in an effort to avoid harmful chemicals. Try to buy products where companies have voluntarily provided their product list.

Some DIY cleaning supplies out there are very effective, safe and made out of non-toxic household staples like baking soda, plant-based dish soap, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. A great article here: 5 Common Household Items You Can Use for Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Reduce plastic

Many chemicals of concern are found in plastic, so try to reduce the amount of it in your home. Including in our kids’ toy bin. Vinyl, aka PVC, is especially important to avoid. You can identify it by the #3 in a product’s recycling arrows and by its strong smell (like a shower curtain). That smell is actually hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates off-gassing into your air. Yuck! I always think of LEGO’s. My son plays with them daily. You just cannot get rid of it all!

Be naturally beautiful

Personal care products like makeup, lotions, baby shampoo, and sunscreens may contain chemicals that have been linked to everything from reproductive complications to cancer. Choose natural, clean versions from companies that don’t use things like parabens (preservatives) and a whole host of other ingredients. Amazing what they can hide.

Learn about the safety of the ingredients in your beauty products, sunscreens, etc. at Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. This is such a great resource.

Just say no to pesticides

Say goodbye to your exterminator and rely on natural pest solutions combined with preventative measures instead. Pesticides have been linked to a range of health problems, including asthma, hyperactivity and behavior problems, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, and compromised brain development. Removing your shoes at the door will decrease the amount of pesticides you track into your home.

Eat organic

Pesticides are linked to cancers and health problems, so buy organic when possible. There are different levels of pesticides and residues on veggies and fruits due to the growing process, so if you have to choose, be picky about what you buy.

Here is the Dirty Dozen list of fruits and veggies to avoid buying unless they are organic.

Other Resources
  • Healthy Child Healthy World has a lot to teach us all about non-toxic solutions for families. Try hosting a Healthy Child party. Sign up here and they’ll send you a kit with all of the materials. See their complete article on 8 ways to remove toxins from your house here.
  • I’ve also enjoyed following Mind, Body, Green. They offer some great daily articles on clean living.
  • Pharmaca right here in Boulder seems to always have good information about products and health professionals to answer questions without making you feel really silly.
What have you tried to reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals? Please comment here to share!