Spring is the perfect time to shift into cleaning mode, giving us the opportunity to rid our homes of toxic products and processes that are taxing our health and our planet. Here are some of the toxins lurking in your home, and ideas for alternatives.
- Phosphates. Petroleum in your dish soap? Seems impossible, but most conventional options contain phosphates, derived from petroleum. These chemicals pollute our water streams after use. Choose biodegradable, phosphate-free options, or better yet, tried and true methods like white vinegar, salt and lemon juice.
- Toulene. This chemical is added to many solvents like stain removers, and even nail polishes. The EPA has classified it as carcinogen. Read your labels and avoid it.
- BPAs These endocrine disrupting chemicals are prevalent in most plastics, like water bottles and food storage containers. Even most aluminum food cans are lined with it. Microwaving food in plastic accelerates the release of BPAs and should be avoided. Spring is the perfect time to convert to glass jars, stainless steel containers or ceramic storage options. Repurposing existing containers saves money and has environmental benefits.
- Chlorine Bleach. That “fresh smell” after cleaning with bleach is actually hazardous to our lungs, especially for those like babies or others with compromised immune systems. And chlorine bleach causes havoc with sensitive eco-systems after we flush it down the drain. Choose chlorine-free options.
- Triclosan Another endocrine disrupter prevalent in everything from toothpaste to deodorant and anti-bacterial soaps. Research scientists at the Natural Defense Resources Council have determined that after brushing your teeth with toothpaste containing Triclosan, blood levels of the chemical significantly increase due to the highly absorbent nature of our sensitive oral tissues. Read the labels on your personal care products and avoid those containing this chemical.
- Diethyl phthalate. This chemical is commonly found in cleaning products. Consider buying greener cleaning products, like those from Seventh Generation and Green Works to avoid this chemical, or making your own.
Here’s to your fresh and natural Spring home!