Most of us today are constantly inundated with information, whether it is from our demanding jobs, everyday responsibilities, or our social feeds. With so much going on, It can be easy to overlook the small aspects of our life which are greatly impacting our health, such as the hidden toxins we encounter each day.
In light of Poison Prevention Week (March 15-21), take a few moments to think about some of the toxins impacting your daily routine.
BPA, or Bisphenol A, seems to be everywhere. If you haven’t heard of it, BPA is a chemical and found in household items such as food storage containers, water bottles and the lining of canned goods.
The effects of BPA are still widely debated, this chemical has been discussed in relation to infertility health because of its estrogen mirroring properties. Several clinical studies have linked BPA to contributing to reproductive difficulties.
If the peace of mind that comes with living chemical free is not enough reason to ditch plastic, recent research conducted by the Endocrine Society may remove your doubt. The organization suggests BPA contributes to increased chronic diseases related to obesity, diabetes, reproduction, thyroid activity, and cancers.
Solution: Avoid plastic chemicals by opting for glass containers and water bottles and eating fewer canned foods, or looking for ones labeled “BPA free”.
2. Household cleaners
The fresh smell of a clean house may make you feel as though you’re safe from contamination, but the chemicals in cleaning products may do more harm than good. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 50 percent of cleaning products in the U.S. alone contain ingredients harmful to the lungs and release fumes that trigger allergies, asthma, headaches and skin irritation. Beyond that, cleaning chemicals also pose a serious risk to children and pets if accidentally ingested - not to mention all of the chemicals that end up in our water supply.
Solution: Be on the lookout for specific chemicals. Perchloroethylene (PCE), commonly found in spot removers, has been attributed to increased risk of breast cancer. Phenol, a chemical found in detergents and even mouthwash, has been linked to respiratory and circulatory system damage. Butyl cellosolve, an all-purpose cleaning chemical, may trigger liver, kidney, nervous system and bone marrow damage.
The EWG states that only seven percent of cleaning products fully disclose their contents. Exercise due diligence by paying attention to labels and finding natural alternatives. If your cleaning product labels include a long list of chemicals you can’t pronounce, it's better to be safe and ditch them. (the Wellspring Bookstore has several sustainable products available, visit the online store)
Here's a super simple two ingredient all-purpose home cleaner, created by one of our naturopathy students (Instagram @plantbasedliving_)
Keep your orange peels (organic is best), add white vinegar and let this sit in a glass jar for about two weeks...say goodbye to chemical cleaning product smells, this will make your place smell amazing!
3. Toxins in the home
Believe it or not, the most worrisome toxins to come into contact with are in the home. Some of them, like asbestos and radon, are easy to overlook because they are invisible to the naked eye.
If you live in an older home, consider having it professionally inspected for asbestos. When asbestos-containing building materials in your home begin to deteriorate you run the risk of inhaling asbestos particles, which are known to cause mesothelioma cancer.
Radon is another home toxin that has been linked with cancer-causing properties, it seeps into the lower levels of the home from surrounding soil. Monitor the radon levels in your home by purchasing a testing kit online.
More obvious, but equally important, home toxins to be wary of include insect repellents, rat bait pellets, and pesticides. The chemicals present in these items are especially harmful if ingested by pets or little ones.
Solution: Aside from testing your home for toxic materials and gases, use salt lamps and additional plants to detoxify your living space. Salt lamps and extra greenery will help purify the air while aiding the flow of oxygen throughout your home - just be sure to bring in plants that are non-toxic to pets and children!
New natural and non-toxic insect repellents are entering the market every day, so take a couple minutes to research the best natural repellent for you and your family.
4. Hygiene products
There’s a reason why sulfate and paraben-free shampoos are taking over store shelves. Sulfate is the chemical agent in soaps, toothpaste, and shampoos that give them their foamy and sudsy texture while parabens are preservatives used in those same products.
Besides leaving behind a dry, itchy scalp, sulfates have been known to leave residue in the body.
Solution: Paying close attention to a product’s ingredient label will always be your best defense. Opt for sulfate and paraben-free shampoos with minimal ingredients. Same for hand soaps - read the label and avoid soaps that foam when pumped. Consider finding a natural DIY soap recipe to make at home!
Life gets busy, but the health benefits (and peace of mind) that come from ridding yourself of the toxins in your life is valuable beyond measure. All it takes is one small step at a time.
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