Toxins are all around us. For optimal health, it’s important to reduce our exposure to chemicals and toxins. Here are 10 tips to help you keep your home and work environment clean and green.
1. Conventional flooring
Conventional carpet is made from synthetic, petroleum-based fibers that can emit up to 120 hazardous chemicals linked to asthma, allergies, neurological problems and cancer. Many of the chemicals that are mainly found in the rubber padding and adhesive glues can take years to off-gas. Instead, use cotton or wool rugs or recycled carpet tiles, which do not require adhesive glues. Also consider stained concrete and renewable wood such as bamboo or cork.
2. VOC paints
Be sure to use no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints — many companies advertise that they are no-VOC, but that’s the base white paint only. Once color is added, it’s no longer no-VOC.
3. Upholstered Furniture
Upholstered furniture can be filled with polyurethane foams that are petroleum-based and full of chemicals and fire retardants. Look for piece made with natural latex foam, wool cushions and organic fabrics. Choose solid wood over pressed particle board, which emits formaldehyde.
4. Commercial bedding
Choose organic, untreated sheets, blankets, and pillows. Otherwise, most commercial materials use fire retardants, pesticides, bleach, and dyes. I like the ones at West Elm. Organic sheets are very popular and you can even get them at Target.
5. Vinyl shower curtains
The vinyl shower curtains release more than 100 VOCs that can hang around in the air for more than a month. They also contain phthalates, which are hormone and endocrine disrupters. Opt for organic cotton and linen shower curtains instead.
6. Curtains and window treatments
Most curtains contain fire retardants, pesticides, bleach, and dyes. Make sure to use organic, untreated cotton or linen, or opt for bamboo.
7. Conventional mattresses
Where you sleep and what you sleep on is one of the most important decisions you can make — I can’t stress this enough! We spend nearly half our lives asleep, and most of our detox and body repair occurs while we sleep. Conventional mattresses contain harsh chemical and fire retardants which can out-gas for years! Choose 100% natural latex mattresses and organic wool mattress toppers. I like the selection at Urban Mattress.
8. Cleaning solutions
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) listed household cleaners as one of the top ten pet poisons in 2009. Levels of brominated flame retardants in cats are up to 23 times higher than those found in human beings, and dogs have on average 2.4 times more perfluorinated chemicals in their bodies than people. These are chemicals that are already found in products you buy, such as fire-proof fabrics and stain-proof rugs — just imagine how susceptible your dog or cat is to the chemicals you readily spray and pour in your home. My DIY toxin-free home & body DVD and eBook have everything you need to keep your home smelling fresh, looking clean, and best of all, toxin-free!
9. Nasty air
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns, “Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health but may not know that indoor air pollution can also have significant effects. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2–5 times, and on occasion more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because it is estimated that most people spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors. In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by the EPA and its Science Advisory Board (SAB) have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.” I recommend AIRDoctor® HEPA air filters for your home.
10. Dry cleaning
Dry cleaners are some of the most chemical-laden establishments around. Look for a clean and green or eco-cleaners in your area. If you must use a traditional dry cleaner, remove your garments from the plastic bag and air them outside for several hours before hanging them in your closet.
For even more information on Detoxing your home and body, listen to my Podcast on Detox here.
Want a gentle whole body detox using real food? Check out The Myers Way Comprehensive Elimination Diet eCourse here.
Photo credit: MindBodyGreen
Heather White, Executive Director of the Environmental Working Group, and I sit down to talk about the toxic burden that we all unfortunately carry. Together, we discuss how our direct, personal connection with our environment relates to autoimmunity in Knowledge is Power: Understanding the Toxins We Are Exposed to And What to Do About It.