1. Filter indoor air. After months of being cooped up indoors, you probably can’t wait to open up the windows and let a warm spring breeze “clean” the stuffy out of the house. Unfortunately, that means letting a barrage of allergens and environmental toxins blow through your home as well. Replacing your air filter frequently is one easy way to combat toxins and allergens in indoor air. Another is to add extra filtration with a portable air filter.
2. Use natural air fresheners. Instead of masking odors by using candles and air fresheners, which actually introduce more toxins into the air, try eliminating them using baking soda. To get that pretty smell you love, try naturally derived alternatives such as potpourri or essential oils.
3. Drink clean, use a filter. Chlorine is a common “cleaning” agent used in the treatment of tap water. Studies have shown that chlorinated drinking water can negatively impact the thyroid, immune system and even pregnancy, possibly increasing the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. Referred to as “the chlorine dilemma,” a better large-scale cleaning solution for water has yet to be found. As it stands, the best way to reduce your intake of toxins from your drinking water is to purchase a filter. The Environmental Working Group’s national drinking water database and filter buying guide can help you better understand the contaminants present in your tap water and choose the best water filter for you. At the clinic, we use Vollara to filter out the chlorine and fluoride. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about Vollara. Also, check out the 2 Pure H2O VitaTech Water System.
4. Give your cleaning supplies cabinet a makeover. While conventional products may disinfect, they also leave behind additional toxins that have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive and hormonal problems. EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning lists hidden toxins in cleaning supplies and provides information on how to read cleaning product labels. Try some non-toxic methods, such as using diluted vinegar for windows, and baking soda paste for scrubbing. EWG’s DIY Cleaning Guide is packed with DIY recipes for non-toxic cleaners and can be yours for a small donation to the cause. Also, check out green-living expert Sara Snow’s advice.
6. Truly clean your laundry. Laundry soaps, fabric softeners and dryer sheets, particularly those of the scented variety, are allergen and asthma inducing culprits. In fact, fragrances are among the world’s top five allergens. Additionally, many softening chemicals, referred to as “quats,” have antibacterial qualities, and overuse of such chemicals may cause the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. To reduce your family’s exposure, choose free and clear laundry soaps. Skip fabric softeners and dryer sheets all together and substitute with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar per load during the rinse cycle. For the time being we use Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent.
7. Bathe in nature. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners and other body products often contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other health problems. The EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is an easy way to learn more about your personal care items and help you make less toxic choices in the future. In our shower, you will find Everyday Shea Lavender body wash as well as my favorite soap by Nubian Heritage in Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver. It smells divine. Both products you may find at Whole Foods.
Quick Tips for Making Your Home Healthier and Greener:
– Decorate with air-cleaning plants. They will help cut down on seasonal allergies.
– Dilute cleaning supplies and use gloves when cleaning.
– Avoid “antibacterial” cleaners. Use soap and water instead.
– Remember, just because the word natural, or some other variation, appears on the container, it does not mean that the product is truly natural, much less toxin free.
Photo Credit. FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Poisoning and Toxicity. Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph. 2013.
Your Best Air Freshener Isn’t An Air Freshener. Rebecca Sutton, PhD, EWG Senior Scientist. Environmental Working Group.
EWG National Drinking Water Database. Environmental Working Group.
Do You Filter Your Tapwater? Should You? Environmental Working Group.
Forgotten Toxics in American Water. Renee Sharp, EWG Senior Scientist and J. Paul Pestano, EWG Research Analyst. Environmental Working Group.
Chlorinated Tap Water Called Risk for Pregnant Women. San Francisco Chronicle.
Healthy Home Tips: Tip 9 – Use Greener Cleaners and Avoid Pesticides. Environmental Working Group.
EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Environmental Working Group.
EWG Questions FDA Verdict on Plastic Chemical. Environmental Working Group.
Storing Food Safely In Plastic Containers. TheEcologist.org.
Adverse Health Effects of Plastics. Ecology Center.
Don’t Get Slimed: Skip the Fabric Softener. Rebecca Sutton, PhD, EWG Senior Scientist. Environmental Working Group.
EGW’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Environmental Working Group.