By Katelan Head, Dietetic Intern & Monika Jacobson, RDN
How to get chemical toxins out of your home and life
We’ve all heard lots of tips and tricks on how to eliminate toxins from our body and detox our systems, but new research has emerged that shows how dangerous household products can be. The science will continue to evolve but it’s scary to think that these items you’ve been purchasing could be harmful to you and your family’s health. The United States does not ban nearly as many toxic chemicals as other countries but thankfully some great companies in this country are lobbying for stricter laws on manufacturing. Swapping your everyday household and beauty products for non-toxic versions is a great way to make your home a healthier and safer space.
It might seem overwhelming to completely change out your go-to cleaning and beauty products, but it doesn’t need to be! Start with one product or room in your house to begin reducing overall toxins. Here are 6 ideas for swapping cleaning supplies for non-toxic products and 6 ideas for swapping health and beauty products.
- Swap your soap! Most hand soap contains harsh chemicals and hidden fragrances that can be harmful to the body and may be a hormone disruptor. Soaps claiming to be antibacterial are harmful to the environment due to their ingredients and could be allowing bacteria to be more resistant overtime. Look for soaps made from essential oils or natural food grade ingredients like this one and try and avoid any that say they are antibacterial.
- Lose the laundry detergent. Some laundry detergents contain formaldehyde which can cause allergic reactions. Try this one which uses natural ingredients and is made for those with sensitive skin.
- Mix up your multi-purpose cleaner. Common ingredients found in standard multi-purpose cleaners contain surfactants and other harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to your health. This is a good option to try. You can also use microfiber cloths to clean many household surfaces without the use of any chemicals.
- Ditch the dish soap. You don’t want to scrub dishes with soaps that are hard on your skin! Try this one which contains no sulfates or harsh chemicals.
- Cut out the cutting boards. Cutting food on plastic can create knicks where bacteria can hide in. Some are also have BPA which may cause harm to your digestive tract or reproductive systems. Stick to using a board made with bamboo or glass like this one.
- Pass on plastic. You’re probably aware that plastic containers can release chemicals into your food. There is also research showing that even BPA free plastic containers may leak chemicals especially when heated. Stick to glass containers to store your leftovers like these.
- Bon voyage scented body lotion. It can feel so nice to layer a scented lotion on your skin after a shower. However, most scented body lotion contain ingredients that may disrupt your endocrine system. Coconut oil can be a great alternative to body lotion that hydrates skin but if you’d rather go for something less fragrant, try this body lotion made with essential oils.
- Can conventional deodorant. There has been so much concern around the sweat blocking aluminum from deodorant causing an array of issues. Your best bet is to choose one with limited ingredients that are natural and one this is aluminum free like this one.
- Switch up your shampoo. Cleaning supplies and laundry detergent are not the only products that contain formaldehyde. Some shampoos contain chemicals that are added in order to keep bacteria from growing along with carcinogenic formaldehyde. Stick to a chemical free shampoo like this one.
- Bye-Bye body wash. Some body washes contain parabens which can be absorbed through the skin and have been associated with an increased risk in breast cancer. When looking for a non-toxic product, try to look for fragrance free version like this one.
- See you later sunscreen. Most sunscreens contain lots of chemical filters in order to block UV rays. Oxybenzone specifically can cause disruption to hormone production. For a safer option, look for sunscreen that uses zinc oxide or titanium dioxide like this one.
- Correct your concealer. Some toxic chemicals like asbestos have been seen in some drugstore concealers. These chemicals are usually inadvertently added during the manufacturing process but can extremely harmful. Look for one that is paraben-free like this one here.
If you’re interested in learning whether or not your household and beauty products are toxic, you can visit the Environmental Working Group website to get a full list and grade or products. This is a great place to check the ingredients in products and learn more about what specifically to look for during this process. Visit EWG’s website or download the app for easy access when you are on the go. All products recommended above are considered safe by the EWG. Nothing is sponsored (FYI).
The key takeaway here is to start small. It can feel overwhelming to begin the process of replacing your go-to’s with non-toxic items. Pick one area to start or pick up one new item to begin and go from there. If you need support about where to begin or have more questions, feel free to reach out to Monika so that she can help guide you through this process.