Sometimes, when you’re out and about, avoiding chemicals is tough. So then, why wouldn’t you try on your own time to limit chemical exposure? Here are 7 different commonly used products that contain toxic chemicals, and what kind of alternatives there are out there.
Make-up is always a hot-button issue for animal testing, but its transgressions are not limited to just animal rights. Read here on the different issues, and how to find different kinds of friendly make-up. Make-up is a huge health issue, because much of it is absorbed into our skin, consumed from our lips and fingers, or inhaled. Some chemicals that end up in the body include industrial plasticizers called phthalates, and preservatives called parabens. In short, the U.S. cosmetic industry is not required by the government to run health studies and testing on cosmetic products, so you might be exposing yourself, and others, to be a bunch of chemicals you didn’t sign up for.
Sunscreen might not be of immediate concern to many of us as fall is here. Still, knowing how to protect yourself from UV rays is important. Most sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters, and the potential issues surrounding these include skin irritation and allergy, hormone disruption, and skin damage. Most serious among these chemicals is oxybenzone, present in some 56% of sunscreens. Read up before buying your sun protection, and consider only buying lower SPF lotions. Thankfully, there are lots of natural options available to conscious consumers. The Environmental Working Group has a guide to making good skin choices. Of course, just taking a bit of time in the shade or wearing a hat can go a long way to protecting yourself from the sun’s rays as well.
Perfume might be a more obvious one, considering how many people get headaches from breathing it in. Still, enough people continue to use it for it to be an issue. Due to its mode of application, perfume can aggravate those around you as well as yourself. Many fragrances contain toxic chemicals that can cause respiratory issues and hyper-pigmentation, and they are not always FDA approved, nor are they being tested before being added to the product. In terms of getting some natural fragrances (many exist), you’ve just got to read the ingredients list to decide whether something is for you or not. If there isn’t a list, consider skipping it. Also consider essential oils. They are great alternatives to perfumes.
4. Cleaning products
Many cleaning products, such as ammonia, bleach, and drain cleaners are chemicals, and, of course, when using them, great care should be taken. There are many other cleaning products around the house though that contain chemicals, and you might not even realize it. Products that contain chemicals include laundry detergent and dishwashing soap. At the minimum, if you react to them, they will irritate your skin, nose, and eyes. Landry detergents also have dyes and fragrances that can be more dangerous, and dish soap can contain bleach and other fragrances (source). If you’re interested in making your home toxic-free, read this chart on the different chemicals found around the house, Read here about the different chemicals you can ban from your bathroom, to make your cleaning space an overall more cleansing experience.
5. Plastic Water Bottles
Plastic water bottles contain bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used to make them clear and hard. BPA is present in many products, and not all of it gets locked into chemical bonds during manufacturing. This means that plastic in micro-waves, plastic bottles, and even test-tubes can leak the substance. The harms of BPA may include cancer, early puberty, obesity, and Attention Deficit Disorder. Other concerns surrounding plastic bottles include carcinogens, microbial contaminants, and polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which has also been linked to reproductive and developmental issues.
Not only are plastic water bottles dangerous to one’s health, but they are also detrimental to the environment. With this information available to us, why wouldn’t you pick up a re-usable bottle? Choose a stainless steel or glass water bottle (preferably not a re-usable plastic one), and carry it with you at all times. This keeps hydration easy, and your body and the earth will thank you. Not to mention all the money you’ll save by not buying bottled water.
You might be on the look out to minimize cleaning and maintenance around your kitchen, but staying away from non-stick is a good strategy to avoid more chemicals in your day-to-day life. When non-stick pans are heated to high temperatures, the chemicals are released from the product, and can produce flu-like symptoms in those who inhale them. In fact, Teflon will release 15 types of toxic particles and gases when overheated, something that is super easy to do when cooking quickly. So, be careful overheating those non-stick pans. Thankfully, there are many good alternatives to Teflon Non-Stick, such as stainless steel and cast-iron. You’ve just got to figure out what works best for you!
7. Air Fresheners
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, air fresheners release pollutants more or less continually into the air. They are also made-up mostly of different chemicals, which are being spread into the air you’re breathing. If airing out your space isn’t creating nice enough aromas for your taste, consider these ways of making your home smell fresh without the toxic air fresheners. If you’re looking for a temporary aroma, capitalize on the opportunity to bake something and let the oven waft its lovely smells around the home. In light of fall, consider apples and cinnamon!
Image Source: U.S. Army