There’s no doubt we live in a chemical world and we offering you 5 ways to help reduce your chemical load.
A 2013 study by Canadian action group Environmental Defense found up to 121 chemicals in the cord blood of newborn babies, including now-banned PCB s, perfluorinated chemicals used in nonstick coating and organochlorine pesticides. These three chemicals alone are linked to cancer, are toxic to the brain and nervous system and have the potential to disrupt hormonal balance, adding a huge chemical load to our systems.
The last group of chemicals is particularly worrying. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs as they’re known, are under close watch by the World Health Organization, which has stated that our current understanding of disease risk due to EDCs may be significantly underestimated.
“Close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormone receptors, hormone synthesis or hormone conversion. However, only a small fraction of these chemicals have been investigated … The vast majority of chemicals in current commercial use have not been tested at all.” says a WHO report on EDCs.
While it’s impossible to avoid synthetic chemicals altogether — it’s believed each of us contains an average of 27 harmful chemicals in our blood or tissues — you can drastically reduce your exposure to some of the worst offenders through diet and lifestyle changes, and by developing some chemical-combating habits.
1). Leave your Shoes at the Door
Throughout the course of a day, you may have walked on roads splattered with engine oil, grass verges sprayed with pesticides, lead-contaminated dirt and countless other harmful chemicals in our environment. All this collects on your footwear and enters your homes as dust. You can reduce the dust levels in your home by as much as50 per cent simply by removing your shoes before entering.
2). Always Wash New Clothing
You know that eye-watering smell that wafts out of a three-pack of socks or a cheap department store? It’s most likely formaldehyde, a preservative used by fabric and clothing producers to prevent mildew during shipping and to give the product a smooth finish. Formaldehyde can trigger an allergic reaction, making eyes water, blocking the sinuses and irritating the skin.
The chemical, most famously used for preserving dead things, has also been classified as a human carcinogen by the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer.
In addition to formaldehyde, the fabric may contain residual pesticides, dyes and bleaches that can be an issue for those with sensitivities. Choose natural fibres, organic where possible and quality garments. Always wash new clothes and bedding and dry them in full sun before you wear them.
3). Choose Organic produce
Even though there is testing and restrictions on the level of residual pesticides, hormones and antibiotics allowable in our fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat and dairy, these restrictions and testing don’t take into account the effects on our hormones or immune systems.
The implications of consuming a cocktail of residual pesticides and the long-term effects are also overlooked by current testing methods.
With agricultural chemicals linked to learning and behavioral problems, autism, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, thyroid issues and hormone disruption, avoiding them should be your top priority, especially if you’re raising a family.
Certified organic produce is widely available through home-delivery box schemes, greengrocers, farmers’ markets and, these days, the major supermarkets. To make it more affordable and be aware, focus on the top 15 foods with the highest levels of pesticides as identified by Friends of the Earth:
- tea (Imported]
- If you are eating conventionally farmed meat, trim it, as many toxins are stored in the fat.
If organics are out of reach, you could create relationships at your farmers’ market so you can trust them and know they are selling you chemical-free meat, chicken and plants for a chemical free lifestyle.
4). Avoid Numbers
Food additives are used to preserve food, stop ingredients from separating or to enhance colour and flavour. While most are considered safe, some additives can trigger asthma, skin and nervous disorders or digestive problems.
“I used to rattle off a list of additives and E-numbers that we know cause hyperactivity in children, may cause liver or kidney damage, or cause a problem with your hormones. But now we’re seeing that two or three food additives deemed safe on their own are causing problems when combined. These days, I just say don’t eat anything with numbers in it,” says Cyndi O’Meara, author and founding creator of Changing Habits
To do this means scrutinizing the ingredients of all processed foods. “If the food has been fortified with vitamins and minerals, they will be from a chemical laboratory and not from a natural source,” she adds.
Consider eating fewer processed foods and more chemical free wholefoods that require no intervention. Cooking from scratch will significantly reduce your exposure to food additives and lighten your chemical load.
If you must buy packaged foods, foods containing vegetable oils, sugar, refined salt, soy, wheat and corn are the most industrialized food ingredients, so are to be avoided.
Also stay away from foods whose packaging contains bisphenol A (BPA), such as many plastics and tinned foods. This chemical has been shown to increase testosterone levels in women and can affect fertility, mood and skin health
5). Smell Chemical Free Fresh Air
Air-fresheners, perfumes and personal-care products such as shampoo, body lotion and deodorants often contain chemicals that help the smell to linger. This group of chemicals is known as phthalates; they are also used to soften plastic.
Phthalates are endocrine disruptor’s that mimic estrogen and have been linked to early puberty, undescended testes in baby boys, cancer, birth defects and other developmental issues. However, manufacturers are not required to list all the ingredients used to make their fragrances. They are protected as “trade secrets”.
To protect yourself from this nasty bunch of chemicals, avoid any personal care or cleaning products that list “fragrance” or “parfum” in the ingredients.
Give up air-fresheners for good — a healthy home smells like fresh air, not alpine forests (unless you live in one).
Paradichlorobenzene is the active ingredient used in many air fresheners, which is an eye, skin and throat irritant and causes kidney and liver tumors in mice.
Plants like the peace lily or the weeping fig in your home and office. These help to detoxify the air.
5 Ways to Reduce Your Chemical Load
I hope you have enjoyed my 5 tips and ideas and suggestions to going chemical-free. Yes, it is hard when chemicals are so prevalent and found in so many areas. With a little care to detail, reading labels, being aware of the produce you buy and where it comes from, making sure you use chemical-free skin care and even using some of grandma’s recipes for chemical-free cleaning recipes for your house, you will be streets ahead in creating a healthy chemical free home as much as possible for your family especially if you have children. This is the first article on 5 Ways to Reduce Your Chemical Load, stay tuned for more coming ♥
May your day be magnificent!