Reduce Toxins in Your Home
We should reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals in our homes, since these chemicals may cause birth defects and increase our risk of chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, diabetes and cancer. In addition, many of these toxic chemicals are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors interfere with hormones and have many potentially negative effects. In fact, reducing our exposure to chemicals in our environment was one of the strongest recommendations to prevent cancer in the American Cancer Society’s report to the President on Cancer that was published in May 2010.
There are many sources of toxic chemicals in your home, from the paint and building materials used to make your home, to carpets, to furniture (contain flame retardant chemicals), to cleaning supplies, to chemicals used on your yard, to personal care products like shampoos, shower gels, makeup, antiperspirants, and skin care products. While I cannot address all of the toxic chemicals that may be found in each of these substances in this blog, I wanted to list several substances to avoid if found on labels of personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, skin care products, etc. that contain any of the following:
- Parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethylparaben)
- Diethanolamine (DEA), (also MEA and TEA)
- FD&C Synthetic colors, (such as red dye #4, etc.)
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
- Sodium laurel sulfate
- Coal tar
- Quaternium-7, 15, etc.
* Unfortunately, pthalates are often not listed on the ingredients, since the federal regulators consider them inert substances.
(This list was modified from the wonderful new book on home toxins, Wentz and Wentz, The Healthy Home, 2011)
In addition, you should avoid any product that contains perfume, as these contain pthalates. Instead, choose fragrance free products whenever possible. In order to avoid all of the above chemicals, you will need to go to stores that carry non-toxic products like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and the Santa Monica CO-OP, though you should not assume that all the products contained in these stores are non-toxic either, though generally they will have less. For example, a deodorant that brags about being paraben and aluminum free lists propylene glycol as the first ingredient, though arguably this is a somewhat less toxic substance.
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