Thinking about the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis can be overwhelming.
It only gets worse when you think about protecting your child from these toxins. You can’t completely eliminate what you are exposed to to but you can REDUCE the toxins in your home and body. It is about taking baby steps to make your own environment a safer place.
Here are 5 simple steps to help.
1. Think twice about home fragrances. If you are anything like me you love for your home to smell great. I had a scented plug-in in nearly every outlet, including right next to the baby’s room. But along with the scent, they can release harmful substances and known carcinogens. Candles with lead wicks can also burn off toxins, and oil burners aren’t any better. Instead, opt for soy based candles (Mrs. Meyers Clean day has some great ones) or simmer cinnamon or rose petals on the stove!
2. Stop cleaning with harsh chemicals. Clean houses are a important, especially when you have a little one roaming around, but what you think its helping sanitize can really be harmful. It has always stumped me when the bottles of cleaners say “keep out of reach of children” yet you are spraying it on every surface in your home! I recently swapped my beloved Swiffer (with expensive refill solution & disposable pads) for a Shark steam mop, and I love it! The pads are washable & all you need is water to clean! Also it is simple to make your own cleaner using baking soda and vinegar! the baking soda will help scrub surfaces. Yesterday I cut up a lemon and used it to scrub my sink. Then I used water & lemon juice to wipe down my counter tops. The acid helped eat away at some stuck on messes. You can also buy plant-based cleaners (Mrs. Meyers Clean Day has some awesome cleaners, I love her stuff, can you tell?)
3. Store and heat food in glass containers. Plastic containers can leach chemicals when heated to high temps, such as while microwaving and dish washing. Glass containers are safer and more durable too. Make sure the lids do not contain BPA. One of my favorite money saving tips is to save the jars that spaghetti sauce comes in and use those for future food storage needs!
4. Buy organic when you can. Eating organic can be expensive. But to reduce the amount of harmful pesticides ingested, buy organic fruit when you will be eating the skin of it (e.g. apples,grapes) or when the skin is thin (peaches,plums) and skip buying organic on fruits and veggies with thick skins (pineapples, cantaloupe, bananas) Also when it comes to vegetables, buy the fresh or frozen kind. You can often find organic frozen veggies, canned vegetables can have toxins sprayed on the lining, or aluminum lids.
5. Watch what you put on your skin. I recently read that 98% of skin care products have at least one ingredient that has never been tested for safety. It is so easy for companies to label products “hypoallergenic” or “not tested on animals” but you have to consider that these companies are hiring their own testing labs to conduct research. It is easy to spin things, especially when no one is checking up on it. When possible buy paraben, phthalate free skin care products. These are used as preservatives and to increase elasticity or products. They have also been found to be hormone disruptors which can lead to cancer. And we slather this stuff on our skin daily!!! Baby products are also notorious for containing hazardous ingredients. Newborn skin is 5 times thinner than our skin so ingredients are more easily absorbed for them. check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep hazard ratings on products before you buy.
This is a by no means a comprehensive list of how you can reduce exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals. But it was a starting point for me. If you can do a few things to help, it does make a difference. The book Smart Mama’s Green Guide by Jennifer Taggart has been helpful & a real eye opener for me! Check it out.