We’re not just what we eat, we’re what we absorb, and we absorb a great deal through our skin and our lungs.
Many household, office cleaning products and body care products come in direct contact with the skin and these chemicals a readily absorbed into the blood stream. Likewise chemicals we inhale are quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Unlike food, substances absorbed via the skin and lungs don’t get shunted straight to the liver first, they get to do the run through your entire circulation before getting to the liver where they’re made less toxic and ready for elimination. As a result it’s of utmost importance that the chemicals you use on you and in your environment are ones that are not harmful.
Simple Tips Clean Up Your Environment
- Use natural, biodegradable and perfume free or naturally fragranced (with pure essential oils)detergents and cleaning agents. Eco Store, Abode and Sonnet are just a few brands that are safe and available at many supermarkets, health food stores and online (see a couple links below). They work out cost effective as you use much less of them.
- Most household cleaning can be done with a damp microfiber cloth and or a sponge with some bicarb soda.
- Do not use synthetic fragrance sprays in the home, car or office. Use 100% essential oils to fragrance rooms and apply diluted to skin for use as perfume.
- Avoid chlorine: use water filters. Consider installing a shower filter, as a lot of chlorine is inhaled when showering and bathing.
- Wear natural fibre (and even organic fibre) clothes where possible e.g. cotton, wool, bamboo, hemp. Avoid flame retardant materials (antimony, PBDE’s).
- Most personal care product contains many chemicals and can be avoided and replaced with safer alternatives. Look out for safer alternatives to shampoos, conditioners, perfumes, deodorants, makeup, hand washes, moisturisers and so on. Fragrant chemicals such as phthalates (generally just labelled as “parfum” or “frangrance” on ingredients lists) are particularly hazardous. They are hormone disrupting chemicals which have been correlated with multiple types of cancer, including increasing rtes of male breast cancer, and reproductive disorders such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and infertility. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is another thing to watch for, this is carcinogenic. Use natural shampoos, soaps etc. Good resource – Skin Deep
- Use fluoride-free toothpaste, (tin, titanium). Weleda, Divine by Therese Kerr and Red Seal produce good toothpastes. This needs to be SLS free too.
- Ventilate your house and office. Many synthetic products in the home and office emit gasses, creating a toxic environment. Open windows or utilize an air purifier. In damp climates utilise a dehumidifier to prevent mould and mildew growth.
- Minimise plastic furniture (e.g.polyvinyl chloride) and furniture treated with flame retardants. Often buying good quality second hand furniture is a lot safer as much off-gassing has already occurred. Otherwise look out for furniture companies that have health and environmental safety values.
- Use aluminium-free baking powder and deodorant. Avoid cooking in aluminium foil or drinking from aluminium cans or foil–lined cardboard juice container
- Cooking should be done in stainless steel, glass or enamel pots. Avoid Teflon.
- Use stainless steel or glass water bottles not plastic
- Avoid / minimise dry cleaning clothes.
- Store food in glass containers, such as pyrex, rather than plastic.
- Minimise wrapping food in plastic wrap/plastic bags, use greaseproof paper where possible. Avoid heating food in plastic such as take away containers. Leaches bisphenol-A into foods. Microwaves are best avoided or minimised.
- Dust your house and office with a damp microfibre cloth.
- Environmental working group - fantastic source of user friendly information on all forms of toxicity – food, environmental etc
- “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” book by Rick Smith, Bruce Lourie and Sarah Dopp.
- Sean Penn’s The Human Experiment (documentary)
- Building Biology – resources for all manner of safe household products
- Divine by Therese Kerr
- Naturally Home
- Waters Co Australia – for portable, kitchen, bathroom and household filtering options. Use discount code HelenP2016 for a 15% discount.