18 Tips to Avoiding Toxic Chemicals

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Did you know that you are exposed to thousands of chemicals every day, regardless of where you work, or what you do for a living? These chemicals can enter your bloodstream and can be stored in your bones and tissues, affecting your health in untold future ways. Here are 18 tips for reducing your exposure to toxins in your daily life.

The products we use on our bodies and in our homes daily contain thousands of chemicals – many of which have not been tested for human safety on a long-term basis – especially in combination with each other.

While testing does often “generally recognize” certain substances as “safe” in low doses, what they do not take into account is that many of the substances are persistent – meaning that they accumulate in your body, so you may end up carrying around a lot more of these toxins than the amounts that are “GRAS” (generally recognized as safe). They can also accumulate in the environment, such as in our water supply – so you may be exposed to them from multiple sources.

No one knows the long-term health effects of many of these chemicals, especially when combined with the thousands of others that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Our current skyrocketing rates of many different diseases may be all the proof we need to realize that something needs to change.

Obviously, it’s impossible to avoid all chemicals and pollutants in today’s modern post-industrial world, but there are ways to minimize your exposure, and keep your body relatively safe from the potentially harmful effects of these chemicals.

Here are 18 simple tips that can help reduce your exposure, AND keep some of these chemicals out of the environment:

  • Eat a diet focused on REAL FOOD that is locally grown, fresh, and ideally organic whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals such as BPA and phthalates. Wash fresh produce well, especially if it’s not organically grown.
  • Choose grass-pastured, sustainably raised meats and dairy to reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides, and fertilizers. Avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
  • Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity, such as wild caught Alaskan salmon.
  • Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; be aware that even “BPA-free” plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA.
  • Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
  • Use glass baby bottles.
  • Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
  • Filter your tap water for both drinking AND bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants. To remove the endocrine-disrupting herbicide Atrazine, make sure your filter is certified to remove it. According to the EWG, perchlorate can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.
  • Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and others.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals.
  • When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses, or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk, and Kevlar.
  • Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
  • Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings, and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.
  • Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
  • Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep database30 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one.
  • Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
  • Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

Learn more at EatLocallyGrown.com

And for some safer and less toxic product alternatives, visit NewHolisticLiving.com.

 

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