Modern science has certainly done some wonders. We can cure and treat many illnesses and diseases. We have thoroughly advanced technology so that every home is “wired.” And we’ve figured out how to make synthetic versions of many natural things. All that science and lab work has also given us a lot of powerful chemicals. You would be surprised just how many toxic chemicals are lurking in your home. Here are some ways you can reduce their presence.
Check the Labels
The quickest way to rid your home of harmful chemicals is to check your labels. There are FDA regulations on labeling, so products with harmful ingredients will have labels that say things like “warning,” “danger,” “poison,” “irritant,” “corrosive,” “toxic,” or “flammable.” You should also look for labels that have “caution,” but look closer to see what the “caution” message is really about. When you find products with offending labels, get rid of them! Just make sure you dispose of them in a safe manner; the label might have instructions, or you can ask your local waste management office.
Check the Ingredients
You should look for something else on a product’s label: the list of ingredients. Many products have harmful chemicals, but there’s not a warning because they’re not considered dangerous enough to our health or the environment to tell us about. Some chemical ingredients to watch for are: phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, phenols, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), ethylene, propylene, benzene, and coal tar. If you find these ingredients, you should also dispose of them safely.
Check the Ingredients Again
While lots of products don’t contain extremely harmful chemicals, they still contain chemicals. For example, artificial colors and dyes. When you’re reading the ingredients of a product, see how many of them you can identify and pronounce. If there are a lot of long, difficult, chemical-sounding words, you should look for a more natural alternative. Look for products with fewer ingredients and those that are made primarily of plant-based ingredients, like essential oils, for instance.
Look for Common Offenders
Oftentimes the most chemically-infused products aren’t so obvious. Some products that are particularly dangerous and full of chemicals are air fresheners, fragrance sprays, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and anything that contains synthetic fragrance. The simplest thing you can do is to get rid of these products. When applicable, purchase products like detergents that are fragrance-free instead, and stay away from cleaning products that advertise their great smells.
While you’re reducing the chemicals in your home, you may find that you don’t have very many products left! Especially when it comes to cleaning products, it’s hard to buy any from the store that aren’t full of chemicals. The best way to make up for the reduction of chemicals is to replace products with natural alternatives instead. For example, baking soda and vinegar are very effective at cleaning just about anything in your home. Essential oils are also natural with many purposes. For example, some may be used to holistically disinfect surfaces or replace your perfume, cologne, body lotion, and shaving cream.
Jerome Tonge is a chemical safety professional and writer who loves to blog about everything from tips on how to limit your exposure to harmful chemicals to the benefits of safety data sheets.
Category: Holistic Living