We all want to live a toxin-free lifestyle, but, unknowingly, our daily life could be inundated with an array of toxic chemicals. Objects in our home, especially, are one of the biggest sources for the bulk of our toxic exposure. However, there are alternatives to detoxify your home. Here are the 10 commonest household things that pose a risk to our health and their non-toxic, natural options.
1. Food Storage Containers
Plastic storage containers are an economical way of storing food. However, they contain chemicals that negatively affect our health. Two of the most toxic chemical compounds found in plastics are bisphenol A [BPA] and phthalates, both of which act as endocrine disruptors. This means they obstruct proper hormone function. As a result, your body’s reproductive, developmental and neurological function can be adversely affected.
Always choose glass jars, bottles and other items whenever possible. Moreover, you can also use stainless steel containers for food storage
Flame retardants like PBDEs are so pervasive in today’s furniture that they are difficult to avoid. These chemicals are well-known endocrine disruptors that have shown to raise a person’s risk for infertility, cancer, and thyroid suppression. Many flame retardants may actually be implicated in weight gain. PBDEs are breathed in and can accumulate in the blood, making them highly pervasive.
Always purchase furniture that is clearly labelled “PBDE-free” label. Slowly replace old furniture with healthier, perhaps natural varieties, like bamboo or wood. Many retailers are beginning to offer eco-friendly furniture alternatives; you can keep an eye out for these when doing furniture shopping. Also, opt for natural upholstery fabrics, like cotton or wool.
Many people don’t realise the toxic toll that shampoo takes on the body. Most conventional shampoos contain harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates and polyethylene glycol. Parabens and sulfates are highly toxic and have been linked to certain types of cancer, as well as neurological and development disorders. Moreover, polyethylene glycol can cause skin irritations, liver abnormalities and kidney damage.
Fortunately today, there are a number of natural and organic shampoo alternatives that don’t contain any chemical additives whatsoever.
It may surprise you to know that your favourite pair of jeans could be decreasing your health and vitality. Clothes made with non-organic materials, like polyester, are a major source of hidden toxins in your home and everyday life. Azo dyes are often used to colour jeans, and these toxic chemicals have been banned in certain parts of the world.
Opt to buy clothes that are made from 100 per cent organic or natural fibres like cotton, wool, or hemp. It may be challenging to find jeans that are completely organic, but look for those that are made with 100 per cent cotton and contain no artificial dyes. Contact your favourite retailers and ask them what they use to manufacture their products.
5. Holiday Decorations
Holiday season generally involves decorating our homes with various, colourful things. However, many decorative items sold in shops and markets can actually create a toxic environment in your home. Most of these items are made from harmful chemicals, like lead and phthalates, which permeate the air and enter your body through the nose and mouth.
Homemade holiday decorations are simple to make, provide memories for years to come, and usually don’t contain any harmful chemicals. The Internet is filled with recipes for holiday decorations, often consisting of natural foods like cinnamon and applesauce. Plus, they give you an opportunity to recycle waste products! Alternatively, you can ask retailers for decorations that are free of lead, phthalates and BPA.
6. Garden Pesticides and Fertilisers
One of the most toxic areas in your home can be your garden soil. Chemical fertilisers and pesticides have been known to cause a whole host of illnesses, including neurological disorders and cancer. Additionally, once they infiltrate the soil, they take a long time to degrade. Daily exposure to this toxicity is a definite health hazard.
Learn about incorporating sustainable, organic practices in your garden, even if it is just a windowsill garden. Slowly replace chemical additives you use on a daily basis for natural ones to reduce your toxic load.
That new carpet smell is actually a host of chemicals that are being released into your home. Many carpet manufacturers use perfluorinated compounds or PFCs that are highly toxic and have been known to cause many illnesses, including thyroid problems, infertility and high cholesterol. Triclosan, which is often used in carpet backings, has been linked to health problems, like asthma, hormone imbalance and eczema.
Find retailers who specialize in carpets made with organic fibres that are not treated with any type of chemicals. You can find carpets made from wool, coconut husks [coir], jute, and sisal.
Wireless Internet is a controversial health issue because modern business has yet to fully embrace its health concerns. Some research has shown that WiFi could affect certain sensitive individuals by interfering with mood and cognition.
The best defence against WiFi is protection and limited exposure. Some manufacturers produce WiFi-blocking curtains and clothing that can reduce radiation exposure. If possible, use a wired Internet system in your home, or, at the very least, place the router far away from your sleeping and living quarters.
9. Laundry Detergent
Most laundry detergents contain surfactants, compounds that strip away oils, irritate the skin, and contribute to respiratory conditions. Some detergents also contain chemicals that can increase oestrogen levels in the body and lead to things like infertility, depression, and increased breast cancer risk.
Always purchase natural or organic laundry detergents whenever possible. You can find biodegradable laundry soap and powder at most organic stores or markets. Also, instead of adding fabric softener, try adding a drop or two of your favourite essential oil to your clothes.
Most people keep cans or tins of paint in the storeroom or garage. However, long periods of exposure to conventional paint can lead to health problems. Paints give off fumes called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Some research links VOCs to liver damage and neurological disorders. Using these paints in your home will also provide a route of exposure.
Choose paint varieties that are VOC-free. Consult the paint company’s website to see if they have VOC-free paint.
Unfortunately, our world is full of toxins that we just can’t always control. Even the mental and emotional toxins we experience in our lives are not completely avoidable. However, you can start with what you know and work your way up. Begin with making your home toxin-free, and then you can move onto detoxifying your body, mind and spirit