Environmental Toxins in the Home
Updated: Feb 12
As plastics have become more commonplace in our lives, it is helpful to have the tools to minimize the adverse effects that can result from our use of these products. While it is virtually impossible to remove all the environmental toxins we encounter each day, steps can be taken to reduce exposure. Since World War II, production of plastics has dramatically increased. Without a doubt, these plastics have simplified our lives. Unfortunately, plastics can leach chemicals when they are washed, heated or stressed, which in turn can affect the body’s Endocrine system. Endocrine disrupting chemicals mimic, block or interfere with hormones that control many bodily functions. These chemicals are used to make plastics more pliable, durable, heat resistant, anti-microbial and colorful. Endocrine disrupting chemicals can be found in items we encounter daily such as food packaging, cosmetics, flooring and many more products. The ubiquitous nature of these items shines a light on the need for public policy to educate consumers, as we see increased growth in the petrochemical industry. Limiting exposure to environmental toxins does not have to be costly or complicated. For the consumer, being informed can make everyday decisions and purchases less daunting.
Ways to assess and address environmental toxins in your house:
· Rug pads and synthetic rugs can give off gas toxins.
· Down/feather furniture manufactured prior to 2014 were routinely treated with toxic flame retardants. Newer down/feather furniture is treated with a newer, greener technology.
· Older paints. Newer paints on the market are water based and do not release volatile organic compounds.
· Seek out or make natural air fresheners, detergents and household cleaners.
· When it is time to replace mattresses, explore readily available organic options.
· Ensure that your house has adequate ventilation to counter any off gassing.
In the Kitchen
· Ensure gas ranges are properly vented and use hood fan when gas is in use.
· Filter drinking water and bathing water when possible.
· Store food items in glass, porcelain or steel containers.
· Buy in bulk and organic, when possible.
· Try to avoid cooking with Teflon pans (when overheated toxic fumes are released) opt instead for ceramic, glass or cast-iron cookware.
In the Yard
· Replace toxic pesticides with more natural pest abatement options.
· Opt for greener plant fertilizers.
· Use electric mowers and blowers, or the good old fashioned manual versions.
As we find ourselves spending more time in our houses, small steps can be taken to eliminate unnecessary toxins from our environments. Please see the links below for additional advice on eliminating environmental toxins at home.