Finally, fourth in my series for new parents (or parents who are new to OllieOllieToxinFree), I offer some basic suggestions to help you detox your home and help everyone breathe easier!
1. Avoid scented products (anything listing "fragrance" as an ingredient). Also, beware of certain "unscented" products that use "masking fragrance" to cover up the original fragrance—these can be doubly toxic!
2. Avoid fabric softeners, scented dryer sheets and bleach. These products are VERY toxic. There are better options out there: Suck it up and buy the unbleached diapers and natural wipes (Mother Nature brand is great)—I can't find them around here, so I buy from drugstore.com or diapers.com. Bounce fragrance-free, dye-free fabric sheets are okay; Seventh Generation are better. Ecover, ECOS, Sun & Earth, dropps and Seventh Generation make good detergents. Method (Target) is also okay, if fragrance free.
3. Avoid ALL pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and fertilizers (except compost). Pesticides are neuro-toxins (affect the central nervous system), and they don't know the difference between the BUGS and YOU (or your PETS)! For fleas, roaches, ants, etc., use diatomacious earth, boric acid, and nematodes. You can get these from health food stores and pet supply stores.
4. Switch to non-toxic cleaning products. For most jobs, white vinegar and baking soda will clean as well as any product. I unclogged our bathroom sink with baking soda, vinegar and hot water and I promise you, it worked better than Drano! I do not recommend Method, Caldrea, Mrs. Meyer's or other super smelly brands. That "clean" smell is doing your lungs, brain and endocrine system no favors. Let it go!
5. Drink and bathe in filtered water. Taking a shower in chlorinated water causes the chlorine to go right into your blood stream. Buy a shower filter that easily attaches to your shower nozzle from water-supply stores (check your Yellow Pages).
6. Eat organic food when possible. Avoid processed foods, foods with colors and dyes, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, etc. Also, AVOID products containing "NutraSweet" (aspartame) -- it breaks down into formic acid ("ant-sting poison") and methanol (wood alcohol) in your body! In fact, read Food Rules by Michael Pollan and get Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism. Both will enlighten you in short order.
7. Wear natural-fiber clothing (100% cotton, linen, wool, or silk). Clothes marked "permanent press" or "wrinkle resistant" have been treated with formaldehyde that does NOT wash out! Same goes for the flame-retardant PJs. Skip them and choose kid-friendly cotton, such as Hanna Anderson's "Oko-Tex standard 100" organic line. We love them, especially when they're on sale!
8. Use only 100% cotton, wool, or pure silk bed linens and blankets. Avoid "no-iron" or "wrinkle-resistant". A good brand is Martex's "Simply Cotton", available at department stores. Wal-Mart also carries 100% cotton "T-shirt" sheets! And if you can find organic cotton linens, all the better because you are supporting healthier agriculture.
9. As much as possible, avoid plastics, particleboard, plywood, glues, inks (or look for low-VOC inks), standard paints (try Sherwin Williams' Harmony or Benjamin Moore's Aura or Natura; or even better, Anna
Sova or Real Milk Paint instead), foam rubber, vinyl, carpeting, synthetic rugs, varnishes (look for AFM Safecoat as an alternative), and solvents (try citrus solvents instead). Most plastics contain PVCs but are not labeled as such and these are really bad, especially for young, developing kids. Definitely avoid #3 and #7 plastics, which contain pthlalates (hormone disruptors). Try to find alternatives, for example, replace your PVC shower liner with one made of natural fabric. For more on plastics: http://archive.greenpeace.org/
10. Open your windows as often as possible! Even in the most polluted cities, the outdoor air has been found to be a lot less toxic than the indoor air! Amazing, isn't it?
11. Certain houseplants are beneficial to remove toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde, benzene etc. The best plants for removing these and other toxins are philodendrons, spider plants, aloe vera, English
ivy, golden pothos, and boston fern.
12. Recycle everything you can. Reuse anything you can. Reduce—buy only what you need. It's hard to do in our culture today, but this is what it all boils down to.
Have any suggestions to add? Comment it and I'll add it here!