Everyday Toxin Exposure: Where You’re Being Exposed Daily and How to Minimize Contact
We're exposed to toxins on a daily basis - the air we breathe, flame retardants in our furniture, pesticides in our foods, and phthalates at every turn. While we can't fully control our toxin exposure, knowing what to watch out for and what small tweaks we do have control over making is empowering and helpful.
Concerning Chemicals to Watch Out For
One of the most common of these chemicals is BPA, which is found in plastic, like your water bottle, food packaging, or toys. It can even be found in canned goods and receipts. Another popular one we have in abundance is flame retardants. These are put into carpets, electronics, and furniture to keep fires from spreading. While the intentions are good, fire retardants can cause a myriad of health hiccups, as well.
There are pesticides in our food, soil, and water, plus PFAS to help with water and stain resistance. PFAS are in things like Teflon and your takeout wrappers. Phthalates make plastics more durable and come in your personal care products.
And that's just the short version. But the good news is you can minimize your contact and stay healthy despite this abundance of chemicals around you.
How to Minimize Contact with Toxins
If you want to keep healthy inside and out and avoid health dilemmas down the road, here are tips for keeping your contact with chemicals at a minimum.
Foods and products that are organic don't have pesticides. Start by buying organic as much as possible and increase from there. Take a look at the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 list produced by the Environmental Working Group each year and taking note of what the "dirtiest" produce items are so you can start by getting those items organic first and foremost. Even better, if you have land, a sunny deck or access to a community veggie patch grow your food at home!
Reduce plastic consumption
Plastics, especially when they come into contact with your food, can release chemicals into your food that go straight into your body. Never microwave in plastic, even if the container indicates that it is “microwave safe”.
Switch to glass, even if you do it over time. This doesn't have to be "all or nothing" -- just starting somewhere is making big strides to a healthier lifestyle.
Make sure your home is well-ventilated
That layer of dust on the entertainment center isn't just a sign that you've been neglecting your chores. That dust can contain tons of chemicals from the products in your home. Clean the dust and use an air filter that helps sequester it. Use natural cleaners to help you get the job done. You can make these yourself, buy them at just about any store now.
Read the labels
For both the things you eat and the personal care products you use, take time to review the labels. Many personal care products contain things like formaldehyde and lead, which you're slathering on your skin. Choose wisely when you're shopping to rid yourself of more chemical cocktails.
It's not easy to make the change since toxic substances are all around us. But by taking steps each day to minimize the contact you make, the healthier you will be!