With such a strong emphasis on our health during this time, not everyone is aware of the impact that the environment we live in and the products we use can also have on our health. By making the effort to avoid toxic chemical exposure in your home, you can reduce the risk of developing or worsening certain health conditions like allergies, asthma, headaches, and immune disorders. Many chemicals that may be present in the home act as endocrine disruptors and confuse your body by disrupting hormone production and signaling, which can lead to serious health issues including cancer, fertility problems, and changes in metabolism. Endocrine disrupting chemicals can be present in body care and cleaning products, as well as furniture. Some of these chemicals include:
- BPA (Bisophenol A) – a chemical used in plastics and coatings, including some plastic bottles, food can linings, and receipt paper.
- Phtalates – chemicals used to soften plastics and make fragrances last longer that can be found in plastic containers and water bottles, as well as personal care and cleaning products.
- Lead – a naturally occurring metal that can be extremely dangerous, especially to children. It can be found in old paint and furniture, and windowsills.
- PFCs (Perfluorinated Compounds) – chemicals with oil- and water-resistant properties used to make non-stick cookware, stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture, and carpets.
- Glycol Ethers – solvents found in some paint and cleaning products.
- VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – a large group of chemicals that can be found in products used to build and maintain homes. Once in your home they are released or “off-gas” into the air you breathe.
Here are 10 simple ways to detox your home and keep your family safe and healthy:
1. Stop microwaving plastic. Heat from the microwave causes chemicals found in plastic (BPA, Phtalates, etc.) to leach into food and beverages. Try using glass and ceramic containers instead.
2. Get rid of toxic non-stick pans. Choose safe cookware made from non-toxic chemicals, like cast iron and stainless steel.
3. Avoid toxic cleaning products. Choose green, eco-friendly cleaning brands.
4. Ditch dryer sheets. Many dryer sheets contain harmful chemicals, try switching to wool dryer balls to reduce static.
5. Use all-natural air fresheners. Scented plug ins and sprays often pollute the air with chemical fragrance components. Try naturally scented beeswax candles or an essential oil diffuser instead.
6. Avoid artificially scented products. Search for naturally sourced personal care products.
7. Leave shoes at the door. One study showed that 98% of lead dust found in homes was tracked in from outside.
8. Dust and vacuum frequently. Dust bunnies can be a magnet for chemicals. Use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter to remove harmful particles from the air.
9. Let the fresh air in. Allow fresh air to circulate through your home regularly by opening windows or doors on opposite sides of the house to create a cross breeze.
10. Filter the bad air out. Replace air filters according to manufacturer recommendations and have your air ducts and vents cleaned regularly.
Premier’s Sustainability Group offers a wide range of services to help you optimize your workplace environment. Contact us to see how we can help your organization boost company culture and prepare for a healthy and sustainable re-entry.