I decided to finally write a post that I have been wanting to write about the toxic things in our homes. Two women who I met at different occasions and started talking to influenced this post and me! I have learned a lot from them. One is a scientist and one is a breast cancer survivor. I asked them what the most toxic things are in our homes were and what the number one thing was they would change! I shared it all in this blog post.
I want to first say that I am in no-way perfect in any of these. But I am trying and making myself informed. I am not judging anyone who has any of these items, because I totally had ALL of them! Let’s learn together. And maybe choose one thing that you are going to change for something less-toxic. Also these are my personal findings and this is what I have done. Many will have their own opinions. Do your own research. This is just what I do. And not saying these things will prevent cancer or cure cancer. These are just my findings that I personally think “can’t hurt to change”.
Also knowing these items make a great topic of conversation! “Hey Aunt Susie, what do you think is the most toxic thing in your home?” It’s a new game play with everyone:)
1. Plastic food containers, plastic water bottles, plastic wrap
This was a top thing that my friend said she changed, plastic containers! Many plastic containers are made from chemicals such as phthalates, which can interfere with the body’s endocrine system to produce adverse developmental, reproductive and neurological effects in humans and since the plastic breaks down over time it can cause the release of these dangerous chemicals into your food. Good reason for me to switch to glass. Which I did over the summer after a friend told me that information on plastic containers. I have been using THESE Beeswax Food Wraps on my glass containers and bowls. I changed in the summer to all glass (THESE glass containers. I use THESE for snacks for kids. And THESE bags replaced all our plastic bags). And I like to use THESE reusable cups and sippy cups rather than plastic (use code nestingwithgrace for 10% off).
2. Nonstick pans
Another friend who had breast cancer (in remission thankfully) told me the first thing she changed was all the pans she cooks with! Non-stick pans are the most popular cookware and also the most controversial. According to the Environmental Working Group, nonstick coatings can “reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 3-5 minutes, releasing 15 toxic gases and chemicals, including two carcinogens.” There are non-stick pans that ARE non-toxic you just have to do your research. I found that a Cast Iron pan to be the most “green or non-toxic” we have THIS Cast Iron Pan, just read into how to properly take care of them! I am looking at getting THIS set of green pans, still doing my research.
3. Air fresheners
Like cleaning products, air fresheners help keep our homes nice, but a study by the University of California at Berkeley found that when used excessively or in unventilated area they release toxic levels of pollutants. If you use them make sure the room is well ventilated. We actually make our own! You can get the recipe HERE- DIY Room Spray.
4. Perfumes and Candles
A quick google search and I found this- Environmental Protection Agency found that potentially hazardous chemicals can commonly be found in fragrances. Causing some major side affects. Look for natural alternatives. And most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned. In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. YIKES!! So look for candles made from vegetable (soy) wax. And a lead-free wick. And no fragrance. I am big into oils now and don’t use candles, except for battery operated. I am a big diffuser lover!! You can read more about that HERE.
5. Fabric softeners
Softeners work by coating your clothes with a thin layer of potentially toxic chemicals, such as quantenary ammonium salts. These can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems and headaches. This information is so new to me! I have been using THESE Wool Dryer Balls for about a month and have been completely happy with the results. They come with essential oils to make your clothes smell nice! A reader told me that you can use white vinegar in the Laundry room as a natural fabric softener. … A half-cup of white vinegar when added to the final rinse, on the other hand, will soften fabrics and leave no residue at all.
6. Cleaning products
This one seems obvious. I only use vinegar and water at our home or make sure that is is non-toxic before I buy it. I also use Thieves concentrate. I LOVE that new addition to my home. Anti- bacterial too! You can see more of the cleaning products I use HERE.
7. Flame Retardants
I met a woman at a play place and we started talking. She told me what she did and what she was interested in. She had recently written an article about toxic things in our home. I asked her what the the number one thing was and she said flame retardants in your mattress or mattress pad (remember when they made flame-retardant pajamas, my grandma insisted Ella wear them!) Flame retardants use polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEsfor short. Two forms of PBDEs were phased out of use in manufacturing in the United States in 2004 because of related health threats, but the products containing them linger on. Studies have linked PBDEs to learning and memory problems and other health issues. Good idea to check your mattress label! And check before you purchase a mattress cover. I found a non-toxic mattress protector when Finn switched to his big-boy bed.
8. Shower Curtain
Phthalates are sometimes used to soften the plastic that goes in shower curtains. Phthalates has been associated with causing harmful effects in children. Opt for a shower curtain that is phthalate-free. I use THIS cloth fabric liner that is non-toxic and I wash it every two weeks.
9. Bug sprays
Bug killers should be avoided inside (and ideally outside) of your house, as researchers have linked the insecticides to neurological damage in children. Scary!! For outdoors I try to just use citronella in a diffuser, non-toxic and free of D.E.E.T or petroleum. I also make my own bug-off spray!
BUG OFF SPRAY
2 ml spray bottle
1 oz of witch hazel
3-5 drops each of citronella, lemongrass, peppermint and lavender (find the oils I use HERE)
Fill the rest up with distilled water
One of the ingredients found in a lot of deodorants is aluminum. Food and Drug Administration does require a warning label on all antiperspirants. Questions have been raised about aluminum in deodorants if they contribute to breast cancer (studies are in-conclusive). But that is enough of a reason for me to look for all natural deodorant. THIS deodorant it works well for my Crossfit workouts and it smells good! Kevin uses it too!!
11. Sunscreens with Oxybenzone
I would avoid these ingredients after searching online- oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxateI. Similar toxins in fragrances. I have used THIS sunscreen for my kids for awhile.
12. Wi-Fi Routers
Wireless routers give off electromagnetic radiation in the low frequency. You probably can’t get away from the effects of Wi-Fi (I know I can’t!) You could disconnect your wi-fi router it at night. Which is a little out of the way for me. I was talking to a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer (thankfully went into remission). She said that she like to use a Himalayan Salt Lamp when she has her Wi-Fi on to “clean the air”. It might be a stretch, but I found this – “Combined with a light source inside the lamps, the chunks of salt produce negative ions, which yield positive effects on indoor air. Placing a Himalayan salt lamp in every room of the home can reap several health and environmental benefits. Among other things, they can: Balance Electromagnetic Radiation.” Who knows if they work, but I like the way the way they look. So I ordered one for the girls room. If anything it is a nice soft lamp for them at night. My friend did a lot of research and said that THIS Himalayan Salt Lamp. Again DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. This is just what I do. You can also find a router blanket, type cover.