3 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins (AND Be An Earthkeeper for Your Environment)
Every day, we are exposed to thousands of chemical toxins in our water, food, homes, and workplaces. They’re all around us in our personal care products, cleaning supplies, cookware, electronics, clothing, and furniture. Although our bodies are equipped to safely handle and detox certain amounts, too much exposure (or exposure in even small amounts to the more serious toxins) places a burden on our bodies that may result in health challenges and disease. Chemical toxicity has been linked to a slew of health issues, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, reproductive problems, breathing issues, developmental disorders, ADHD, and more.
Like us, the Earth itself also has to handle these toxins and faces the same burden of detox and overwhelm. By making changes to reduce our personal exposure to toxins, we are also helping the Earth stay healthy as well.
So how can we reduce our daily exposure? In this series, I’ve already talked about eating more organic, non-GMO, non-processed foods. If you’re doing this, then you’ve already started reducing the amount of toxins you ingest.
In addition, here are 3 more simple ways to reduce your exposure to toxins and be an Earth Keeper:
- Switch out your toxic personal care products for more natural ones.
Whatever we put on our skin gets absorbed directly into our bodies, so it’s really important we know what’s in our daily personal care products. Just because they’re sold in a drug store doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe.
Select products that are free of parabens, phthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate, which have been linked to endocrine disruptions and/or cancer. For a more comprehensive list of ingredients to avoid in your shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, lipstick and more, check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Red List.
To see how your favorite personal care products stack up against these toxins, look them up on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, a comprehensive list which includes over 80,000 products. See if there’s another product with a healthier rating you could try.
Another route to go is to make your own personal care products using everyday items from your kitchen. For example, I use coconut oil to remove my make-up and avocado oil to moisturize my body. Both do an amazing job for a fraction of the cost of the fancy skincare products I used to buy.
- Clean your house with greener products.
Keeping your house sparkling clean may seem healthy, but if you’re using the wrong cleaners, it may actually be adding to your toxin exposure. You definitely want to avoid bleach and ammonia in your cleaning products. Also, added fragrances intended to keep your home and laundry smelling good may contribute to breathing problems. I’ve already shared my story about getting over asthma. My asthma improved a great deal when I stopped using artificially scented products. I remember walking into a friend’s home while she was washing her clothes with a strongly scented detergent, and almost instantly, I had trouble breathing again.
To see how green your favorite cleaning products are, EWG is again a great resource to use. Check out their Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Switch to greener options on the list, or better yet, make your own. You can clean your entire house just as well with simple ingredients such as castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, olive oil, and essential oils.
- Watch out for harmful chemicals in your clothing and household decor.
What about the clothes you’re wearing or the couch you’re sitting on? What types of fabrics are they made out of? Many synthetic or chemically-treated natural fabrics can introduce toxins that impact your health, the health of the workers producing them, and the health of the planet. Problematic fabrics include those treated to be stain resistant, wrinkle-free, or flame retardant. These types of fabric often contain formaldehyde or perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). Choose untreated, natural fabrics if you can.
How do you clean your clothes or the comforter on your bed? Do you dry clean them? Dry cleaning is often done with the chemical tetrachloroethylene (or “perc”) which is linked to a long laundry list of health concerns. Short term effects include dizziness and headaches, and long term effects may include greater risk of cancer. It’s best to try to select clothes and household fabrics that don’t need to be dry cleaned. And if you do dry clean items, allow them to air out in an open area, and use a reusable garment bag instead of the plastic disposables ones.
The point of all of this is not to make you fearful of the world around you. After all, fear is an emotional toxin as well! These tips are meant to help you be more mindful and proactive in making healthy lifestyle changes for yourself and the world as a whole. Here’s to rockin’ without toxins and being an Earth Keeper!