We’re surrounded by toxins – from the air that we breathe to chemicals that are absorbed through our skin and of course, the food that we eat. But it’s not all doom and gloom, you can carve a healthier path for you and your family by making a fresh new start with the products that you use in each and every space of your home.
Why detox your home?
Our skin is our largest organ, and everything that it comes into contact with is absorbed to one degree or another, while airborne toxins can be inhaled into our lungs and absorbed into the bloodstream. That’s a lot of potential for toxicity, considering that the global market for home and body care products features over 80,000 chemicals that are not well regulated. And so it makes perfect sense that by reducing your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, you are essentially limiting risk of contamination and illness.
Did you know?
Up to 72% of toxic chemical exposure happens at home. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.
Chemicals Certain home and body care substances have been clinically proven to cause allergies, cancer, psychological disorders and birth defects. Toxins to avoid include phthalates, parabens, sulphates, triclosan, ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and materials such as Teflon and aluminium.
Accidental poisoning The most common causes of childhood poisoning incidents are everyday household cleaners – removing them from your home is a powerful step to creating a safer, toxic-free environment.
Fragrances A beautifully fragranced home can be intoxicating, in more ways than one. Fact: more than 95% of chemicals in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals, including benzene derivatives, aldehydes and phthalates. You will find these petrochemicals in everything from general cleaning products to skincare, cosmetics and food plastics. An alarming number of fragranced products contain phthalates which have been proven to disrupt hormone activity and have been linked to diabetes, liver and breast cancer.
My alternatives to toxic choices
Matresses. Conventional mattress manufacturers use large amounts of flame retardant chemicals in the production of their products.
Go for all-natural mattresses that use naturally flame-retardant coverings to comply with safety regulations. All my mattresses and pillows are from Coco-mat.
Scents. Air fresheners, plug-in scents and scented candles can be a hidden source of chemicals in products since companies aren’t required to specify the ingredients that make up each fragrance.
I burn essential oils in my home, they’re a powerful and effective source of fragrance.
Cookware. Avoid Teflon which emits dangerous fumes if overheated, is a known hormone disruptor and can be ingested if it chips. Also steer clear of aluminium has been linked to cancer and Alzheimers.
Toxic free alternatives include ceramic, stainless steel and cast iron cookware, and glass or ceramic baking dishes.
Plastic. I have no plastic in my home, and I recycle.
I use bamboo, stainless steel and glass containers for food and snacks. Faithful to Nature and Sans Community have a great selection of alternatives
Bonnie Bio have a range of bio-degradable plastic alternatives including cling wrap and multi-purpose bags for doggie doo and nappies.
Cosmetics and sun screens. Clinical studies have shown that harmful ingredients from personal care products are commonplace in the bodies of men, women and children – such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, sulfates and sunscreen chemicals, while certain underarm deodorants contain aluminium.
I have switched to clean beauty products such as The Skin Co., Kora Organics, Tata Harper, Herbivore and Soil Organic Aromatherapy. And you’ll find Coola, Supergoop, Badger or Sunumbra sunscreens in my beach bag – read my sunscreen post to find out more.
Paints. Paints can contain solvents that compromise indoor air quality. These VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) are carbon-containing substances that easily become vapours of gases.
Go for zero-VOC or low-VOC paints, or natural paints such as milk paint or chalk paint.
Air care. Open your windows to let in the fresh air, and air dry your washing as much as possible. There are certain house plants such as spider plant and aloe vera that can can detoxify your home from the airborne toxins, dust and germs.
Remember, every change starts with one small step – here’s to making you and your family’s space a more toxic free one this year!
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