Have you ever thought about how many products you use in your daily life? From shampoo until cookware and candles, it is almost impossible to stay away from all the toxic chemicals we get exposed to every single day. As a health coach, I not only talk about food and exercise but also stress, sleep patterns, cooking style and chemical exposure.
There are many studies that reflect the harm chemicals do to our bodies including infertility, birth defects, allergies and even certain types of cancer. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in 2014 with a list of 298 environmental chemicals they now monitor since they have been found in humans and consumer products.
There are many ways to reduce the exposure to harmful chemicals and it is essential that we learn more about them and try to avoid these toxins. Eventually, everything you eat, drink, smell and put on your skin gets absorbed in your blood stream and becomes You. I hope this list will help you understand where chemicals can hide and you will make a change that supports our bodies, immune system and also the environment.
Plastic water bottles
Plastic water bottles are not environmentally friendly or sustainable. Even when recycled, they do damage earth and create a lot of waste. Plastic bottles are also bad for us humans. Even if you choose a Bisphenol (BPA) free bottle it still contains chemicals that can be leaked into the water you are going to drink. Especially, if the water bottle has been left inside a car or your purse where it has been exposed to heat, the chemicals most likely will end up in your drinking water.
On the other hand, more than 75% of all bottled water come from…. the tap! So you might think you are buying a delicious and pure spring water but it might be just the same water as in your kitchen.
Plastic food containers
Plastic food containers are sure easy to use around the house and transport food with you but they definitely shouldn’t be used daily. These containers release toxic chemicals into the food, especially during temperature change when heating up or freezing. Always choose glass or paper for storing or serving your food and don’t let the plastic run in the dishwasher.
Candles and air refreshers
You might be surprised about this one but most candles, air refreshers and diffusers can contain up to 20 different kind of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can cause allergies, eye and respiratory inflammation, even asthma and memory impairment. Candles might be nice to have around the house to give it a nice scent but when paraffin wax (most candles are made of this) is burned, it releases toxins that are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. On top of that, lots of candles have wicks that contain heavy metals like lead and when burned for hours, they can be highly toxic for humans.
So, essentially, anything that has a smell or scent to it (think vanilla, pine tree, lemon..) has lots of chemicals and should be avoided in your household at all times.
If you love candles, I would recommend soy-based candles or beeswax candles which are great for purifying indoor air. For scent around the house, I recommend using pure essential oils with a diffuser or a dry sachet of lavender. (source)
Bath and body products
A lot of women might think that buying “all natural” make up and personal care products are safe to use, especially if you paid a hefty price on them. Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate the chemical ingredients that are put in these products and they can really add anything they want. Writing “natural” on the package essentially means nothing because it is not regulated and anybody can write that on the label without meeting certain criteria or standards.
Always, check for ingredients in your products and if you don’t recognize them, don’t buy it. Everything from shampoo, soap, deodorant, nail polish, lotion, face cream, toothpaste (I love this one), perfume gets absorbed into our skin and affects our immune system, allergies and overall health so always check the ingredient list and choose mineral based products.
Non-stick pans and utensils
Those non-stick pans might be easy to use since the food doesn’t stick on them but they have shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Do you really want to cook your food in something that can harm you and your family? Especially, if you see some scratches on your pan, you need to throw it out immediately. Those scratches mean that the lining has been cut and the chemicals are leaking in your food every time you cook. The chemical used to create that non-stick surface (PFOA) has proven to cause kidney damage, lowered immune system, brain damage and even cancer. It’s time you throw out all those black non-stick pans and rubber spatulas and get yourself some new pans like stainless steel, cast iron or ceramic and wooden or metal utensils.
Cleaning products like laundry detergent, fabric softener, bathroom cleaners with bleach are all filled with dangerous chemicals. When using them it is almost impossible to avoid contact with these chemicals as they get absorbed in our clothes, our skin and the surfaces we clean. Chemicals in these products are known to negatively affect the endocrine system which cause hormonal disruption that can lead to infertility.
Canned foods can be easy to use but the materials used to keep the food fresh is harmful to humans. The plastic coating used to seal the can contains BPA and is a concern because of possible health effects on the brain, behavior, infants, fetus and even blood pressure.
Here is what to do:
- Look at the ingredients when buying food and always choose organic and whole foods (here is what to buy in August)
- Cook more at home and choose BPA-free cans or glass jars if you must
- Avoid plastic water bottles and install a water filter
- Buy mineral-based and organic make-up and beauty products
- Clean your home with natural cleaning supplies (this is where I get mine from)
- Cook with stainless steel, cast iron or ceramic cookware and use wooden or metal utensils
Do you currently have any of these at home? Do you know anyone who would benefit from this article? Share it with them and let them know you care!
Be smart and live healthy!