When we are not conscious of label checking our products we can find ourselves exposed to hundreds of chemicals. Being knowledgeable about what is in the products we choose is important for our health. Our cleaning, bedding, cosmetics, makeup and personal products can be filled with toxic chemicals that are worthwhile for our health to avoid. Here are five household chemicals you should stay away from:
Synthetic fragrances ~ candles, household cleaners, deodorants, shampoos, personal care products. Many of these today still include synthetic fragrances. Did you know that ‘the word fragrance’ can include up to a 100 different synthetic chemicals?! And manufacturers are not required to share the list, which leaves the door wide open for harmful synthetic chemicals that can be linked to hormone disruptors, reproductive toxicity, allergens and cancer. In addition, unscented products do not mean they do not contain fragrances ~ many include ingredients that are used to mask smells and again they are not required to be identified on the labels. This is not only important for us ~ but even more so for our children.
Pesticides - eat organic. It has been shown that pesticides destroy the nervous system of bugs ~ what are they doing to us when we eat them? Beth Greer, Author of Super Natural Home, says that strawberries have over 55 pesticide residues ~ and did you know that you cannot wash the pesticides off? Why? Because the pesticides are injected into the root system, yowza! And that means that you are ingesting hormone disruptors that you don’t see, smell, or taste. You can find a list of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ - produce with high amounts of pesticide residues to avoid, on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) site . And just in case you need a little more nudging to buy organic…organic fruit and vegetables are higher in their antioxidant content and have been found to contain less cadmium, which is also known to be a carcinogen. So buying or growing your own organic produce is a win-win!
Artificial Sweeteners can age you! Aspartame is something that you should highly avoid. It is comprised of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. You will find it in all your diet sodas, Nutra Sweet, Equal, sugar free gum and many other products. Taking the time to research this drug is well worth the effort.
Antibacterial soap, soap wipes and hand sanitizers. They all contain triclosan, which is actually a pesticide. Studies have linked triclosan to a range of adverse health issues such as skin irritation, endocrine disruption, and to the growth of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. It also is a water contaminate and has a negative impact on fragile aquatic ecosystems. Minnesota has banned triclosan in consumer personal care cleaning products, which takes effect on January 1, 2017 (yeah Minnesota!) Many companies are phasing out their use but there are plenty out there that still carriy the chemical. So stay away from things labeled anti-bacterial.
Plastics - Avoiding plastics is another must in my book. I believe women should be acutely aware of the dangers because of the high levels of xenostrogens. Plastic is a large part of today’s kitchens and we get fooled again and again of the dangers when we think BPA free products are ‘OK’. Many people still are not aware that exposing your plastic containers to heat in the dishwasher, to hot foods or by placing them in the microwave will break down the plastic and leach dangerous chemicals. Over the last two years I have tried (TRIED!) to be a plastic free household ~ which of course is impossible. But once I started to really pay attention to how much plastic I was consuming I cut my plastic consumption by 2/3. Using glass containers for storage and buying food in glass containers is a great way to keep you and the environment cleaner.
Educating yourself on the ingredients in your personal and household products will benefit you and those you love. While one chemical may not necessarily cause you harm, as we expose ourselves again and again to chemicals from so many sources we can find ourselves feeling toxic and our energy levels and health affected. Making small changes can lead to a change in health, for some of us the change can be radical. So read your labels and watch for the hidden ingredients ~ it will not only help to keep you looking and feeling younger, it will keep the environment healthier and happier too!
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