We teamed up with Beth Greer, in-home consultant, award-winning journalist and author of Super Natural Home, to identify some of the dirtiest places in your home. Greer says, “Everything that goes in us, on us, and surrounds us can have a hugh impact on our health and well-being, so it’s important to choose products that come from nature whenever possible. Eat real food, not processed; use personal care products made with essential oils instead of synthetic fragrance; clean your home with simple yet effective cleaning products like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide; choose glass over plastic, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping you and your children healthy and happy.”
1. Your Morning Cup of Joe
Coffee beans are one of the most highly sprayed crops in the world. If you add a hormone-filled splash of milk and artificial sweeteners, it’s not the best way to start your day. Try organic coffee, organic milk and skip the sweetener (or try a natural one) to get you going on the right foot.
2. The pile of shopping receipts
You’ve likely heard of bisphenol A (BPA) as an endocrine disruptor recently banned in baby bottles. You may not know you could be exposed to it through cash register receipts. The Environmental Working Group found BPA from major retailers, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and automatic teller machines (ATMs). Refuse receipts, ask for e-mail proof of purchase when available, and never give a child a receipt to play with.
We track countless bacteria, viruses, and pesticides into our homes with our shoes. They lodge into our carpets where our children are crawling or walking around. The fastest way to a cleaner, healthier home is a shoeless home. Designate “indoor-only shoes” or simply re-use those hotel slippers you know you took home from your last vacation.
4. Chewing Gum
Think you are taking the short cut to fresh breath with a stick of gum? Turns out most chewing gum contains monosodium glutamate – yes, that’s the MSG you’ve been avoiding in your Chinese food. MSG has many aliases including glutamic acid, gelatin, and hydrolyzed protein among others. The key is to read labels carefully and if you are eating processed food, make sure there are no food additives.
5. Indoor air
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says your indoor air may be 2 to 5 times as polluted and in some cases, more than 100 times more polluted than your outdoor air. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. (Dr. Bennett tackles this one in Wellness For Life, p. X)
6. The Shower
You know that new plastic shower curtain liner smell? The PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic shower curtains have high concentrations of phthalates. The Virginia-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice says VOCs always come from easy to clean wallpaper made from PVC, shorted to “vinyl.” There are many natural alternatives including paper-based wallpaper and bamboo shower curtains, but check the ingredients list to make sure they haven’t been mixed with vinyl.
7. Kitchen Counters
If you are using conventional cleaners to wipe down your countertops, you could be putting your family at risk for exposure to a host of toxic chemicals. The word fragrance can mean there are up to 100 different synthetic chemicals inside. “Fragrance” is a manufacturer’s catchphrase. The Natural Academy of Sciences (NAS) says 95 percent of the ingredients used to create fragrance comes from petroleum and other known toxic and sensitizers. Check out Behind the Label: Cleaners on p. X for more.
The US government does not require full testing of checmicals before they are added to toys. HealthyToys.org reported the presence of lead (yes, lead!) in 35 percent of toys tested. If you have a hand-me-down toy manufactured before February 2009, it may have phthalates, a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that make plastic soft. Read labels to make sure it says “no phthalates” and stick with wooden toys colored with natural dyes or a few boxes, pots, pants and wooden spoons always do the trick!
9. Living room couch
The contents in the cushions of your comfy, kid-friendly couch may be sprayed with polybrominated diphenlyethers( PBDEs) also known as flame-retardants. They are designed to slow a fire, but in fact, they are linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other health issues. It is recommended you mop and dust often with a microfiber cloth and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
10. Microwave popcorn
The Food and Drug Administration looked at microwaveable popcorn packaging and found a toxic chemical called PFOA (perflurooctanoic acid). It is used as a coating inside the bag to prevent food from sticking and the PFOA leaches into the popcorn during the microwaving process. Make your own popcorn on the stove. It’s a lot more fun that way anyway!
Article From The Dirty Issue