We are exposed to thousands of chemicals every day—most of these hiding in our home. Common household toxins like BPA, phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde are known hormone disruptors, causing delayed mental and physical development, reduced fertility, and even cancer. While exposure to small amounts is deemed safe by the FDA and EPA, long-term studies have been inconclusive as cumulative effects of these toxins are yet to be seen.
Find out how to eliminate some of these common household toxins and substitute them with plant-based alternatives:
Bedroom: A restful night’s sleep is essential to our health. Chemicals present in our bedding can potentially cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, fatigue, and even insomnia. Since we spend approximately one-third of our lives in our bedrooms, it’s important to create a sanctuary that is free of harmful chemicals so we can completely let go and relax.
- Sheets – choose 100% organic cotton sheets with the GOTTS or OEKO-TEX seal, certifications ensuring they are free from harmful chemicals. Non-organic cotton is grown with large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which ultimately make their way into your bed.
- Mattresses – look for mattresses made of organic cotton, latex, or wool which are made without chemical flame retardants containing toxic PBDEs or formaldehyde.
Bathroom: While we are careful about using skincare products without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and other toxins, we can still be exposed to numerous chemicals in our bathrooms.
- Shower – consider installing a shower head filter which purifies the water, removing skin irritants like heavy metals and chlorine. An added benefit is softer skin and hair.
- Vinyl Shower Curtains – polyvinyl chloride (PVC) emit toxic compounds into the air, especially when combined with the steam from your hot shower. Choose shower curtains made of cotton, polyester, or nylon instead.
- Bathroom Cleaners – ammonia, chlorine, and sodium hydroxide are just a few of the common chemicals found in glass and toilet bowl cleaners, and drain openers. Chronic exposure via fumes or through skin contact can lead to respiratory issues as well as hormone imbalances. Use all-natural cleansers like pure baking soda, or a vinegar solution by mixing white distilled vinegar with water (half-cup of vinegar to a gallon of water for most surfaces).
Closet: Like our bedsheets, most clothing is treated with chemicals that make them flame-resistant, fade-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, and cling-free. Additionally, laundry detergents and fabric softeners compound the problem with various known carcinogens like acetaldehyde, benzene, quaternium-15 (which releases formaldehyde).
- Clothing – while difficult to avoid all chemicals in fabrics, you can minimize exposure by choosing those with GOTTS or OEKO-TEX certifications. It’s also crucial to wash new clothing before wearing them with natural plant-based laundry detergents like 7th Generation. Skip the fabric softener which is loaded with endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Avoid dry cleaners which use the toxic chemical, perchloroethylene (perc). Instead look for green dry cleaners that utilize wet cleaning or carbon dioxide cleaning methods.
Kitchen: It’s just as important to consume organic foods as it is to prepare, cook, and store foods with non-toxic products.
- Cookware – nonstick pans containing Teflon coatings leach harmful perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) into our foods, as does plastic spatulas containing BPA. Purchase only stainless steal or cast iron pans, and use wooden cooking utensils when cooking at high temperatures.
- Plastic Containers – store foods in glass bowls instead of plastics made of BPA or common substitute bisphenol S (BPS), which may be just as harmful as BPA.
- Dishwashing Products – dish soaps and dishwasher detergents contain sulfates which can contain the carcinogen dioxane, as well as triclosan which causes antibiotic resistance, reproductive and developmental disorders. Choose non-toxic products from 7th Generation, Mrs. Meyers, or The Honest Company.
While it’s impossible to completely eliminate exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, we can aid our body’s detoxification process by consuming foods high in antioxidants. Choose foods that support liver function such as leafy greens, beets, lemons, dandelion, and green tea. Also consider investing in a home air purifier that filters toxic chemicals and gases from your home.