A clean lifestyle isn’t just about the food you eat. You may be eating healthy foods that are full of antioxidants and free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, and you may be drinking lots of water. However, you could still be exposed to toxins in your environment. Your home might be full of dangerous chemicals that could enter your body through your lungs or your skin. Here’s what you can do to help make your home toxin-free.
Ditch your toxic cleaning products
Many household cleaning products, including surface cleaners, laundry detergents, furniture polishes and dishwashing liquids, can contain dangerous chemicals such as ammonia and bleach. Products that produce suds often contain the chemicals diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), which are skin, eye and respiratory irritants as well as possible carcinogens.
Cleansers can contain 2-butoxyethanol and 1,4-dioxane; solvents that irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat and can damage the kidneys and liver.
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Chemicals called alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), which are found in some cleansers, disinfectants and detergents, behave like the hormone estrogen. They can disrupt the endocrine system. One study suggests they may cause breast cancer.
To clean your home safely, buy organic cleaning products or make your own with natural items like vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and lemon juice.
Reduce your use of artificial fragrances
Everyone wants a beautiful smelling home. However, commercial air fresheners can contain toxins such as acetone, acetaldehyde, benzene, butane, propane and formaldehyde.
Fragrances that are added to cleaning products can also contain dangerous chemicals, such as p-dichlorobenzene, which is used in pesticides and might cause cancer.
You can create your own air freshener by mixing water and a pleasant smelling essential oil, such as lavender essential oil, in a spray bottle, or by leaving a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar in small bowls around the house. Placing some cinnamon in a pot of boiling water is a healthy way to get rid of a bad smell quickly.
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Re-evaluate your personal care routine
Your skincare products, shampoos and cosmetics can contain chemicals such as parabens, propylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate and triclosan.
Parabens are absorbed rapidly through the skin. They might behave as hormone disruptors and could be associated with breast cancer. They are known to cause irritation and to trigger skin allergies.
Propylene glycol can cause skin irritation and allergies. It’s the main ingredient in antifreeze, and in large doses it can cause kidney and liver failure. Sodium laureth sulfate, used to create suds, is also an irritant. It can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane during the manufacturing process.
Triclosan is added to skincare products to kill bacteria. It’s an endocrine disruptor and causes skin, eye and lung irritation.
Vitamin A, which can appear in ingredients lists as retinol or retinyl palmitate, is sometimes added to skincare products to reduce the signs of aging. Research shows that when it is applied to skin that is exposed to sunlight, it can speed up skin tumor development.
Deodorants contain aluminum compounds as well as chemicals called phthalates, both of which can cause problem with hormones. They can also contain triclosan, parabens and propylene glycol.
Toothpaste can contain the whitening ingredient titanium dioxide, which could be cancerous if inhaled.
You can avoid these toxins by buying organic personal care products or making your own. Olive oil and coconut oil are wonderful natural moisturizers. You can tone your skin – and fight acne bacteria – with lemon juice, witch hazel or tea tree oil. Baking soda can be used as an exfoliant or, when combined with cornstarch, as a natural deodorant. You can mix baking soda with water to create your own, natural toothpaste.
Taking care of your health, by eating healthy, clean foods, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep and exercise will help you look fresh and radiant without having to rely on commercial products.
Effects of Subchronic Aluminum Exposure on the Reproductive Function in Female Rats, Biological Trace Element Research
Endocrine disrupting chemicals in indoor and outdoor air, Atmospheric Environment
Recognition, Treatment, and Prevention of Propylene Glycol Toxicity, Seminars in Dialysis
Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, Environmental Working Group
The Trouble with Sunscreen Chemicals, Environmental Working Group
Urinary Concentrations of Benzophenone-type UV Filters in US Women and Their Association with Endometriosis, Environmental Science and Technology