Everywhere we look today, we are exposed to synthetic (and potentially toxic) chemicals. According to data provided by the Cancer Prevention Coalition, there are approximately 70,000 chemicals in commercial production today, 600 have been recognized as carcinogenic, and most are found in our common household products.
Today’s ordinary household products are full of harmful chemicals – some of which we know to cause cancers and other disorders, and some of which we still have no idea how they effect the human body. And they are everywhere – shampoo, soap, toothpaste, dish washing liquid, laundry detergent, air fresheners, cleaning products, and yes – even in our food and water.
The majority of approved chemicals for use have never undergone long-term testing on the effects they have on humans, instead we are testing these products on ourselves as we go. This is a problem that needs to be addressed on a broad scale, however, there are things we can do within our own homes to help incite immediate change.
What we know is that cancer remains the number one killer of our lifetimes. We know that the human body doesn’t understand, naturally, what to do with synthetic toxin exposures; many scientific studies show that cancers are directly caused by the chemical mixtures that we are exposed to in our environment each day.
We also know that many of the chemicals that end up in our food and water supplies are the same that are used to make things like pesticides, rocket fuel, industrial cleaners and plastics. These same chemical recipes are also used in commercially made personal care items and household cleaning products.
Some of these ingredients cause damage to a body after long-term exposures; some react when heated, some when aerosolized, some even permeate the skin and enter your body’s vital organs through basic contact (often found in shampoos and beauty products).
When looking at these facts, it’s easy to see that our body’s immune system and defense mechanisms have a hard time keeping their updates installed. This is a busy world we live in, full of remarkable discoveries and technologies; some of which are benign and richly beneficial, others that are a malignant mess waiting to happen.
So, what can I do TODAY to reduce my chemical exposures?
Get back to basics. Start in your home and continue to make changes one step at a time. There are safer, more natural and organic options for virtually every product available today. The one thing these all have in common is that the more basic they are, the healthier for the environment (and your body) they tend to be.
Shopping more health-consciously also means shopping as locally as possible. The area you live in certainly dictates the availability of reputable organic products. Often, however, these are more expensive than the synthetic versions available at the larger retail outlets.
So… if you want to be more environmentally sound, but can’t afford a complete shopping list of healthier products right away…be bold and be eco-friendliest by making your own non-toxic cleaning kit – click here for “how to” info.
What about my food and water?
Consider a water filtration system for your home. There are many options, depending on your needs and preferences, from whole-house units to at-the-faucet varieties. This will help reduce your exposure to chemicals that couldn’t be treated by municipal water treatment facilities.
It is nearly impossible to check off a complete grocery list in an average grocery store while avoiding artificial flavors, preservatives, dyes or other chemical compounds. The best solution to this problem is to grow your own vegetables or subscribe to a Community Supported Agriculture program. Participation in a CSA can be fun and healthy for the entire family, adding exercise and “together” time as well.
Most of us, however, still must depend on purchasing the majority of our essentials through a chain supplier. Shop at local farmers markets when they’re available, research which chemicals to avoid and check your labels before purchasing. The best we can do here is to learn which chemical compounds to avoid.
How do I avoid Genetically Modified foods?
This is especially difficult in the U.S. because such a great majority of our vegetables come from genetically modified crops. Currently there are no labeling requirements for the companies that supply these food items. Learning more about GM food products is another great step you can take in your own home to help your family stay healthier in our modern world. You can become involved in the effort to label GM products so that we all may be better informed of our options.
Ways to reduce chemical exposures in your home:
Install a water filtration system specifically designed to remove chemicals. Municipal water treatment facilities cannot remove most synthetic chemical compounds from your drinking water.
Make your own household cleaning supplies. This saves a great deal of money, as well as reduces your exposures to harmful toxins.
Shop smart. Educate yourself on chemical additives in your personal products, processed food, GM crops and commercially raised food animals.
Cook on stainless steel, cast iron or ceramics. Teflon is a carcinogen and releases harmful chemicals when heated.
Use your stove top or oven and reduce your microwave usage. Studies show that heating plastic in a microwave (or dishwasher) can cause dangerous, long-term side effects.
Use glass dishes for left-overs. Recycle and save the plastic “re-usables” for other storage needs like hardware, craft items, etc.
It may seem difficult – researching GM foods, downloading lists of foods and products to avoid, understanding chemical additives – but these steps really are nothing in comparison to the realities of today’s toxic world.
According the American Cancer Society, in 2012 there were 1,638,910 deaths from cancer in the United States – 48,130 of those lives lost were in the state of Georgia. Experts agree that most all cancers are absolutely avoidable – and a great first step is to reduce the chemicals we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. Knowledge is power – educate yourself and help spread awareness to those you love.
Be sure to watch the short video above: How do plastic chemicals get into our bodies?
Visit the links below for more information:
The Institute for Responsible Technology
Household Products Database
Shoppers Guide to Pesticides
Toxic Chemicals in Household Products
localharvest.org Farmer’s markets and CSA info
How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Cancer Prevention Coalition Carcinogens At Home
www.ornl.gov Genetically Modified Foods & Organisms
TLC Holistic Wellness
Food Matters; The Movie
This article was originally published by Tauna Pierce on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, February 16, 2011
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