It seems like a daunting task to keep your family from exposure to toxic chemicals found in food, air, water, and in their natural environments. In today’s world, it’s possible to have nearly 700 harmful contaminants in our bodies at any given time, and they often come from places we think should be safe. When we’re overloaded with chemicals, we end up with body burden, which is associated with everything from asthma to autism.
Fortunately, you can make some changes in your family’s lifestyle that can reduce toxic body burden to lead a healthier, cleaner life:
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Focus on Organic
One of the first things you probably think of to avoid toxins is eating organic foods. If that’s the case, then you’re right. Replacing non-organic vegetables, fruits, and meats with organic versions is one of the most important things you can do for your family to reduce its exposure to harmful contaminants.
Many produce items come to consumers with pesticide residue, while meats and dairy products come with antibiotics and growth hormones fed to animals. Some are worse than others, but, for reducing potential toxic exposure, it’s best to stick with organic foods as much as your budget can handle. And, buy more of the foods that typically have less risk of pesticide residue than others.
You want to keep your house clean and germ-free, but many of today’s cleaners contain so many harmful chemicals that may do more harm to our families than good. What many people don’t realize is that natural cleaning products can be just as useful as those made with harsh chemicals, without the risk of toxic exposure to your family.
Many manufacturers fill cleaners with endocrine disruptors, which can alter the hormones and processes in your body. Look for cleaners with natural ingredients, like lemon, vinegar, and baking soda, that are effective but much safer for your family.
Sure, air fresheners make your home smell amazing, but the National Resources Defense Council found that 86 percent of them have phthalates as an ingredient. Phthalates are also used in plastics to provide flexibility, but they become even more harmful in air fresheners, which release them into the air for your family to breathe or absorb through the skin.
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Help circulate air in the home with the strategic placing of fans and opening windows for fresh air as much as possible. If you still want to freshen up once in a while, look for air fresheners without phthalates.
Use Eco-Friendly Care Products
Cosmetics and skin care products are some of the biggest culprits of toxic chemicals. Since they’re used directly on the skin and quickly absorbed, they can be incredibly harmful. Some lip balms, sunscreens, and nail polishes use benzophenone, an endocrine disruptor that may cause cancer. DEA and other similar compounds linked to cancer often appear in lotions, shampoos, and foundations.
Always read the labels on your care products and avoid ones with lengthy ingredient lists. Usually, products with a short list of ingredients you recognize are the safest ones to use.
Switch to Glass
Plastic containers and cans are primary culprits of harboring toxic chemicals that can get into their contents. Yes, even your bottled water could potentially expose your family to harmful contaminants.
BPA is one of the most worrisome toxins, and studies have found that most people in the United States have at least some trace of it in their bodies. The chemical exists in plastic and can lining – one study found 67% of the cans tested had the chemical – and it may leach into food and water. Whenever possible, drink water from a glass bottle and buy and store your food in glass jars, rather than cans or plastic containers.
Make Your Home as Green as Possible
Most items for your home – including appliances, furniture, and bedding – contain flame-retardant chemicals that help ensure your family’s safety from fire. Unfortunately, the chemicals themselves can increase your family’s toxic body burden.
It’s best to buy products without flame retardants, as the chemicals can seep into the air in your home and leave particles in the dust. Choose flame retardant-free furniture, electronics, and décor. And, keep your house dusted and vacuumed on a daily basis, which can decrease your exposure to small chemical particles.