Are you cleaning your home with toxic chemicals? How can you tell, and what does “toxic” mean anyway? Here’s a rundown of what you should look for when it comes to healthy, safe, cleaning products.
We all want a clean home, right? After all, cleanliness keeps us all safe and health, right? Unfortunately, sometimes the products we use to clean our homes are actually not all that safe or healthy at all. In fact, many common household cleaning products are chock full of toxic chemicals – some of which have not even been tested for safety!
Even if you pick products with words like “nontoxic,” “green,” or “natural” on the label, this doesn’t guarantee that they don’t contain toxic chemicals or other harmful ingredients.
For example, according to Debra Lynn Dadd, consumer advocate and nontoxic living expert,
“There is no agreement on what toxic and nontoxic actually mean… The legal definition of toxic is that it kills more than 50 percent of the animals it’s tested on.”
Many toxins however, may build up in your body over time, causing long-term systemic health problems that would not even be considered when classifying an ingredient as “toxic.”
Another risk factor that isn’t considered when determining the safety of a chemical ingredient is how it will impact your health when combined with other chemicals. Since we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals in dozens of different products every day, it may, indeed be quite impossible for a manufacturer to test all of these different scenarios for safety.
This is why it’s important for you to take your health into your own hands, and make healthier choices that reduce your exposure to chemicals as much as you can. Of course it is impossible to avoid them all, but knowing what to look for when buying products to bring into your home can make a big difference to your health in the long-term.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when purchasing household cleaning products (or other products for home use), to keep you and your family safe and healthy at home.
Everyone’s tolerance level is different depending on genetics, nutritional status, and previous contacts with chemicals, so this type of exposure can manifest in different ways. Some toxic chemicals used in cleaning products have been linked to conditions such as birth defects, autoimmune disease, thyroid disorders, asthma, and even cancer… Some of the most common symptoms include hormone imbalance, skin irritations, allergies, and chronic inflammation.
1. Start small.
If the thought of overhauling your entire home and throwing out all your cleaning products makes your head spin, take a deep breath. “You don’t need to do it all at once,” Dadd says. “Try replacing one toxic cleaning product this week when you stop reading this article and just get used to that. Then next week, replace another one and so on. Take it one step at a time.” So how do you know what to chuck? Move on to step 2.
2. Read labels.
Treat household cleaners the same way you do packaged food: Pick them up and read the ingredients and fine print. Don’t fall victim to buzzwords or assume complicated terms are dangerous chemicals. If the ingredients aren’t listed, do your research…
If you really want to geek out, check out the Environmental Working Group’s guide to healthy cleaning and handy label decoder.
3. Stick to the simple stuff.
“It’s much easier to learn what’s not toxic than it is to learn all the chemicals you need to avoid,” Dadd says. She swears by five simple and safe ingredients: baking soda, white vinegar, Bon Ami cleanser, organic lemons, and essential oils.
DIY not your thing? We get it. “One of the best brands is Seventh Generation,” says Dadd, who’s been recommending it for years. Other labels such as J.R. Watkins, Green Works, The Honest Company, Murphy Oil Soap, Earth Friendly Products, and Method are free of the toxic chemicals commonly found in most cleaning products but some of these do still contain some synthetic fragrances or preservatives.
4. Rely on trustworthy resources.
Nowadays we have this crazy little thing called the internet, but with so much information out there, it can feel overwhelming. The good news is trustworthy organizations and advocates have done all the hard work for you, so it’s easier to make a change. “I recommend using the EWG website to help you determine which products are least toxic,” Lipman says.
You’ll also find a wealth of information on the websites of our experts Debra Lynn Dadd, Lara Adler, and Frank Lipman.
5. Change to affect change.
“The only way to really affect change in this space is to take action that’s going to impact the manufacturer’s bottom line,” Adler says.
If you boycott buying home cleaning products with toxic chemicals, brands will be forced to listen and change formulations if they want to be profitable. Likewise, if you support retailers and brands that are doing good, the industry will take note, and hopefully, follow suit.
Read the full article at Greatist.com…