A lot of everyday products now whether food products, cleaning products and many other things may contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to your health. And if you are not very careful, you will never know that you are already exposing yourself to these toxic chemicals through the food you eat, things you do, or products you use in your daily routine. Thankfully, you can still keep yourself and your family away from toxic chemicals by observing some of the following simple tips:
Food Preparation, Cooking and Storage
- As much as possible, choose organic meat, fruits and vegetable products to avoid residue of toxic chemicals from pesticides or antibiotic hormones injected into meat.
- Filter your drinking water. Remove common contaminants like arsenic and lead from your drinking water by filtering it with either a faucet unit or a water pitcher.
- Avoid buying microwave popcorn bags as they are commonly lined with perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA which is highly carcinogenic.
- As much as possible, avoid consuming canned food products. A safer alternative are those in jars. Most canned foods these days are lined with resin that contains BPA or bisphenol-A which is an endocrine disruptor and known to cause serious health problems.
- If you have to use plastic for storing your food, choose plastic containers labeled as BPA-free. If you are not sure whether your plastic container is BPA-free or not, use a glass container as a better alternative.
- Don’t microwave plastic even if it says that it is microwave-safe. Allow food to reach room temperature first before storing them in plastic containers. Exposure of plastic to heat can cause it to leach out toxic chemicals into your food.
- For cooking, avoid using Teflon or non-stick cookware; instead choose stainless steel, enameled or cast iron cookware. Most non-stick cookware products have PFOA which can leak into your food. This chemical is linked to cancer and other serious health problems.
- Avoid synthetic fragrances when choosing housekeeping products such as laundry detergents and cleaners and avoid using air fresheners as much as possible. Synthetic fragrances contain many harmful toxic chemicals, particularly synthetic musk which increases the risk of breast cancer and phthalates which can cause reproductive health problems. Choose instead products labeled as “fragrance-free” (Note: “unscented” does not necessarily mean “fragrance-free”).
- Take off your outdoor shoes when inside your home. As you use your shoes to walk anywhere, it could have collected chemicals from the street which could spread into your home.
- Use natural or organic cleaning products as much as possible. Most commercial cleaning products contain a long list of chemicals some of which we can identify and they could be toxic to our health. Try also to prepare your cleaning product as much as possible. You can use vinegar or baking soda as an alternative which also makes an excellent house cleaner.
- Avoid using stain protectors on upholstery and carpets as they also contain toxic PFOA which can leach out into your home.
- Get rid of your old upholstery that is starting to disintegrate. Most upholstery materials use harmful flame-retardant chemicals that are very toxic and once the upholstery stuffing starts to be exposed and falls out, these harmful chemicals can leach out into the home.
- When buying new furniture, consider investing in those that are stuffed with natural flame retardant such as cotton or wool because they may contain lesser chemicals.
Be sure to follow part 2 of this article that will discuss some other helpful tips to keep your family away from toxic chemicals.