I just finished watching the documentary, Stink. I recommend checking it out. Removing toxins from my home was already a priority but it has become a bigger priority of mine for the new year after watching that. Getting toxins out of our homes is so important for our health, but it can be an overwhelming task. Where do we start? We are surrounded by so many chemicals. Here's the easy steps I've been following to start cleaning up the toxins in my home.
1. Start to get rid of plastics in the home.
Have you noticed BPA Free on items at the store? Many plastics contain BPA, which is a known endocrine disruptor. BPA causes abnormal development of the brain and sex organs, feminizes male organs, causes early puberty, and leads to infertility. BPA has been banned in several countries for use in baby bottles!
You can begin replacing your plastic containers with glass ones. One of the first things I did to remove toxins in the home was to remove my plastic containers and replace them all with glass containers. I've been careful to not bring much plastic into my home and not buy plastic items for my home if there's a better non-plastic option.
2. Replace the cleaners in your home.
Have you ever read the label on the back of the cleaning products under your kitchen sink? Here’s some things they say - “Avoid contact with eyes, skin, or clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Avoid contact with foods” We're cleaning our homes with these products? Our kids are crawling on these floors and putting toys in their mouths that we are cleaning with these products! Do you always wash your hands after using cleaning products? I know I didn't! Does the fine mist float around? Are you or your kids absorbing these products and breathing it in? How safe can it be to use these chemicals to clean our home?!
Once I learned this, all of my cleaners went straight to the trash. We now use Norwex cloths and simple cleaners made with basic ingredients and essentials oils. You can find lots of recipes for these on Pinterest.
3. Change the way you do laundry.
Not only are we cleaning our houses with these chemicals, we’re washing our clothes in chemicals. Our skin is absorbing the chemicals from laundry products every time we get dressed. Detergent, softener, and dryer sheets all emit at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous (without any labels indicating this). Most of these products also produce carcinogenic air pollutants.
You could make your own laundry products, but I'm not really into DIYing this. I use laundry detergent from Pure Haven and I just ordered some from Norwex to try out next. These companies are all about removing toxins from the home. I don't use fabric softener. I removed dryer sheets from my home and I have wool dryer balls that I scent with essential oils instead.
4. Replace your makeup and beauty products.
This was shocking to me. Did you know that cosmetics and personal care products require no safety testing? You would think that if something wasn't safe that it wouldn't be on shelves in stores. That's not the case. Beauty products use known carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals like petroleum and formaldehyde.
The European Union has banned hundreds of cosmetic chemicals, while the US has only banned 11 of those. How crazy is that! I'm not waiting for the US to decide to ban these. I'm making changes now.
Now this one is a work in progress for me, because I'm using up what I have first and it can be expensive to replace all of your personal care and cosmetic products all at once. You don't realize how much you use on your body in a day til you start replacing items.
We've been switching to Pure Haven personal care products and I've found Beautycounter to have the best makeup products. Also my husband is loving Dr. Squatch soap. I haven't switched my hair products yet so that's a goal for the new year.
5. Get rid of the non-stick cookware.
Most of us have the easy to clean non-stick cookware in our kitchens. I never gave this much thought because once again I had the thought, "If it wasn't safe, they couldn't sell it." Not the case, again.
Teflon and similar nonstick coatings are chemicals belonging to the PFC family. PFCs have been found in nearly all Americans tested by federal public health officials. Chemicals from this family are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defense against disease.
There are a few different options for replacing non-stick cookware. You can replace them with cast iron, ceramic, stainless steel, stoneware and glass. This is on our list for the new year. We plan on doing some more research on the best option and replacing our cookware soon.
It's overwhelming to start looking around your house and realize just how much plastic and how many chemicals there are in every part of your house. The change won't happen over night, but you can gradually start replacing items as needed and replace them with safer options for your family.