You've probably read about all of the harsh chemicals in everything from your favorite beauty products to the water bottle you use to work out. Sure, detoxifying your life might seem like an uphill battle, but with a little education, you'll see it's not nearly as heard as it seems! Here are three ways to make sure your family is living la vida verde.
Step 1: Detox your beauty and bath products.
Think beauty is only skin deep? Not exactly…the products that you use on your face and your body might have much deeper consequences. Consider this: The Environmental Working Group warns that several studies have shown that “as many as half the personal care products on the market have at least one chemical linked to either reproductive problems or cancer.” The government (FDA) regulates food and drugs but has no say when it comes to cosmetics. What does that mean for you? That icky chemicals like parabens and phthalates which have been linked to problems with reproductive development and cancer, and many other synthetic chemicals that are often allergens and irritants, show up in your everyday beauty routine. What can you do?
• Check the products that you regularly use against the Cosmetics Database. It will tell you the toxicity level of your favorite cosmetics on a scale of 1 to 10, offer up the best natural alternatives, and even tell you where you can buy them!
Step 2: Detox your air.
Indoor air is way more toxic than outdoor air due to the products that we use and the chemicals emitted by things like carpeting and paint.
• Keep air circulating and fresh by opening windows as often as possible.
• If you can, it’s a good idea to get a HEPA air filter to improve air quality.
• Test for radon—one of the most dangerous toxins that can be found inside your home. It causes nearly 20,000 deaths a year due to lung cancer and can seep in through cracks in foundations. Inexpensive testing kits are available at places like Home Depot or through www.nsc.org. If you find high levels in your home, contact your local radon office through the Environmental Protection Agency.
Step 3: Detox your home.
Lots of things that surround you every day from your cleaning products to your furniture are full of chemicals that have been linked to health dangers. Some basic steps to get you started:
• Chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (used to make mattresses fire resistant) have been linked in studies to developmental problems, memory impairment, thyroid disorders, decreased sperm count, and delayed puberty onset. Some states (Washington, Hawaii, California, and Maine) have even passed laws to forbid its use. Your best bet is to get an organic mattress or one made of natural rubber latex. If you’re not able to replace your mattress, you can buy an organic cotton cover.
• If you’re getting carpeting look for the Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label and Green Label Plus, which means the carpet emits lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC). If you already have carpet, consider getting a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
• When choosing cleaning products, look for words like “plant-based” or “biodegradable.” Another option is to go the old-fashioned route and make your own solutions. Did you know white vinegar is great for cleaning and baking soda does wonders for removing odors?
It might seem like a lot to take in, but remember that even a few small changes can make a big difference in the health of you and your family!