The New Year is full of healthy resolutions – eat well, exercise. What about your home? A healthy home makeover can transform your home from a toxic wasteland to a lean clean cancer-proofed machine. Cancer causing agents are found in many of our common household products from cleaners and cosmetics to cookware. Exchanging these toxic products for new healthier ones is easier than you may think.
1. Old Habit – Non-Stick Cookware
At high temperatures and wear over time non-stick coating can break down and release toxic chemicals into the air and food. When released into the air these chemicals have been shown be fatal to birds and cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Chemicals found in non-stick cookware have been shown to increase the risk of certain tumors in lab rats. However, there’s little data about its ability to increase cancer risk in people, so non-stick cookware is labeled “safe”!
New Habit – Safe Cookware
Stainless Steel is good option, even the professionals agree. In their 2001 review of sauté pans, Cooks Illustrated, an independent publication, chose a stainless steel pan over otherwise identical non-stick models. Cast Iron has stood the test of time for great cooking or choose new porcelain enameled cast iron for easier clean ups.
2. Old Habit – Chemical Cosmetics
Ever wonder what the ingredients listed on the back of your cosmetic bottles are? Those weird names you can’t pronounce are just as scary and toxic as they sound. Here are a few chemicals to avoid: parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butylparabens), phthalates, sodium laureth/sodium laurel sulfate, butyl/ethyl acetate, petrolatum, cocamide DEA/lauramide DEA, diazolidinyl urea, propylene glycol, toluene, synthetic colors and fragrances.
New Habit – Natural Cosmetics
According to Rosie Ward, MPH, CHES, director of health and wellness at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minn there are around 300 companies out there that have joined the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, pledging to eliminate chemicals from their products that can cause cancer, mutations or birth defects. These companies include The Body Shop, Burt’s Bees, Kiss My Face, Eminence, Aubrey Organics, and Avalon Natural Products. The environmental working group (www.ewg.org) is a useful resource for rating your current cosmetics for safety and to help you choose better alternatives.
3. Old Habit: Toxic Cleaners
Traditional house hold cleaners are filled with chlorine, petroleum based solvents, glycol ethers, phosphates, acids, caustics, ammonia, perfumes and dyes. The use of such products has been linked to asthma, cancer, skin irritation and countless other health concerns.
New Habit: Natural Cleaners
Choose natural options to clean your home such as Seventh Generation, BioKleen, Planet, Mrs. Myer’s Clean Day, Dr. Bronner’s and Bailey’s (a local company). You can also make natural cleaning agents at home with simple ingredients such as vinegar and essential oils. Norwex cloths are another option for natural cleaning. The cloths imbedded with silver (a natural antibacterial agent) to clean the home.