We all like to think that our home is a safe space. But what if I told you your home could actually be making you and your family sick? Yup. Unfortunately consumer products today are allowed to be sold first without being tested for their effects on human health. Crazy, I know. Remove these 6 culprits and follow the tips to removing health crushing chemicals from your home.
1. Your Cleaning Products: It’s hard to believe that the very things we are using to clean our homes are also making us sick. Most conventional brands of cleaners use toxins that either are known carcinogens (cause cancer) or have never been tested for their effects on human health. Thanks to marketing we were raised to believe “clean” should have a smell. But did you know those fragrances are made from petroleum based chemicals which are harmful to our health!
Solution: Switch to non-toxic, organic, biodegradable cleaners.
2. Your air fresheners: Air fresheners can contain up to 2,000 different synthetic chemicals. Many of which, like conventional cleaners, have chemicals in them that have not been tested. We’ve been conditioned to believe everything should have a “clean smell” but what is available today in the form of air fresheners are actually harming our health. Air fresheners can cause red eyes, runny noses, headaches, and sore throats.
Solution: You can make your own essential oil sprays, buy them at a health food store, or order on line. To get smells out of carpets cover them in baking soda when you leave for work and vacuum them when you get home. If you do this of about a week, you can get rid of almost any smell. Another option, open the windows often, everyday even in the winter to help circulate air.
3. Your pajamas, bed and bedding: Most beds and bedding have baked on flame retardants which in the case of a fire are meant to help slow the burn. New research is slowing that flame retardants do more harm than good, contributing to cancer, learning disabilities, and skin issues. Check out the documentary Toxic Love Seat for a real eye opener on the dangers of flame retardants. If you can’t afford organic, then let new products off-gas outside or with the windows open until the smell dissipates.
Solution: Purchase organic sheets. If your purchasing a new mattress find companies who use natural wool to help slow flames. Look for pajamas that say flame retardant free. Most pajamas that contain flame retardants say so, so check the label!
4. Your couch and carpet: Couches and carpets also contain flame retardants and a slew of other chemicals to keep spills from taking hold. Plus many fabrics now are laced with plastics which can leach phthalates (a plastic softener, a now known endocrine disruptor) and glues which contain formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen.
Solution: When it’s time to purchase new look for organic couches and real wood flooring, organic carpets and rugs. A quick google search will now pop up many choices! If you are not looking to buy new anytime soon, you can purchase organic slip covers and remove old rugs. Again, if organic is out of the budget try to have new carpeting and couches off-gas outside or with the windows open.
5. Wearing your shoes in the house: We’ve all heard the saying “You don’t know someone until you walk a mile in their shoes” and in this case you don’t want to wear those shoes in the house because you don’t know where they have been! Think of all the places you go all day, parking lots, public stores and bathrooms. All these places leave traces of oil, grime, and chemicals on the bottom of your shoes. When you wear them in the house you are bringing all those contaminants in with you which rub onto floors and carpets. If you have children or pets then you know they are touching these contaminates with their hands, feet, or paws, and then climbing on the furniture spreading the grime around. Children and animals tend to put their hands, feet, and paws in their mouths which means that they are also consuming the grime.
Solution: Remove shoes upon entering your home and ask guests to do the same. In colder months you can have extra slippers available for guests.
6. Not cleaning often enough: Plastics, furniture, glue from particle board and our ever loved Ikea products off-gas formaldehyde, phthalates, and flame retardants which attach to dust particles floating around the air and end up all over the house as dust. We then end up breathing these carcinogens in, touch them with our skin, and ingesting them.
Solution: Dust and vacuum often (at least once a week). Open windows daily to let fresh air in, whether it is summer or winter it is important to get fresh air flowing. Add more house plants. Plants help filter the air.