The average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors, despite the fact that indoor air quality typically has a negative impact on their health. According to the EPA, indoor air pollutant levels can be up to five times higher than outdoor levels! So, let’s address the sources for a few of the pollutants and consider alternatives.
All-purpose cleaners frequently contain toxic chemicals, such as ammonia that can cause liver and kidney damage or bleach that can burn your skin and eyes and irritate your lungs. Also, anti-bacterial products may be interfering with your immune system. Healthier options for cleaning include water, vinegar, or essential oils (such as lemon or lavender). Coconut oil is also great for cleaning and conditioning wood items, such as cutting boards and furniture.
Petrochemically-based air fresheners are incredibly toxic and have been associated with respiratory problems, reproductive problems, birth defects, and even breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Healthier options include simply opening your windows or making sure to get high-quality air filters and to change them regularly. If you want to create a fragrant atmosphere, consider using an essential oil diffuser. Many essential oils have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral activity, but are also relatively safe and also have beneficial effects on your mood and stress levels.
It is extremely common to have non-stick pans and aluminum foil in our kitchens, but these are also not the best choices. Nonstick pans have been associated with kidney and testicular cancer, obesity, thyroid issues, and preeclampsia, while aluminum has been associated with autoimmune conditions, damage to the blood-brain barrier, and reproductive issues. It is better to cook with cast iron or stainless steel and to favor the use of glass, ceramic, porcelain, or wooden dishes and utensils.
In the U.S., only 2% of plastic bags are recycled, while the other 98% end up in landfills or the ocean. Moreover, most plastic bottles are made with BPA, which is damaging to the endocrine system. It is worth the effort to develop the habit of using cloth or fabric for your shopping bags and to drink out of genuine glass or stainless steel.
These are just a few ideas for you to start with. If you would like to know more about the toxins in your home environment and what to use instead, feel free to send me your questions! In the meantime, take a little time to look around your home and give yourself some love by ensuring you are in a healthy, safe environment!