5 Steps Toward a Nontoxic Home
We are exposed to toxins on a daily basis, but just how much depends on the foods we eat, the furniture we sit on, the lotions we decide to put on our bodies and the products that surround us.
The degree to which we potentially put our children’s health at risk depends on the different products we decide to bring into the house. Their exposure to toxins begins before they are even born. Whatever we inhale or ingest can have a lasting effect on our children.
It can be a little overwhelming, and challenging at times. When I found out I was pregnant in 2010, I just knew we had to rethink some products and revamp our home. We, however, did not just wake up one day and build a new nontoxic wooden bubble as our home. It was a learning process and we weighted what needed to be changed first and what could wait.
We decided that whatever products were going to be touching our new bundle of joy had to be nontoxic. You would think that would be easy. Wrong. Reading labels and understanding what each ingredients is and why it is in a particular product is exhausting.
You can’t even begin to imagine how many times I returned a product after looking it up on the Skin Deep Data Base or read somewhere that a particular ingredient was unsafe. At that point, I just decided to make it as simple as possible and not get pulled into all the hype “you need a different products for everything.” I also realized that so many products can actually be made at home and that way, you know exactly what is in your product.
And on top of all that, I wanted to be as environmentally friendly as possible meaning purchasing products make in Canada or the USA. If not, than at least fair-trade. That is a whole other hurdle that I have had trouble getting over.
If you are parent to be or looking to rid some toxins from your house, here are my top 5 must haves to less our environmental and toxic impact:
- Dr.Bronner soap. It really is the magic soap. It can be used for pretty much anything from washing your hair to laundry to baby wipe solutions. It can be bought as a bar or already in the liquid form. The bar option has less packaging (no plastic) associated with the product than its liquid counterpart. If you purchase the bar- simply grate it, heat it up so it melts and add water. Voila. It is also much cheaper than the liquid form and best of all it is an American product. Seems like the perfect product to me, don’t you think?
- Hemp cloths. I think it is important to have natural fibers touching your little one’s most sensitive place. Therefore, we decided to make our own wipes and wipe solution (basically Dr. Bronners soap). I did not feel comfortable buying one time wipes that would end up in landfill or in our waters. Most wipe solutions had a long list of ingredients, and others had simple ingredients. I figured making my own was cheaper, environmentally friendly and less toxic. Easy choice for us.
- Organic sheets and mattress. We spend a large amount of time sleeping. Children tend to spend even more time sleeping. I did my research and found that conventional mattress usually contain petrochemicals, flame retardants, dyes, PVC, Phthalates and the list continues. I wanted to make sure we were all having a sound and healthy sleep. We have a nice set of organic sheets and once we are moved back home little E will be the proud owner of an organic mattress.
- Non-toxic paints. When we are expecting a little bundle of joy we want to decorate and create the cutest room possible. Have you ever thought of what is in the paints we use to plaster on our walls? The best option is VOC-free paints, which use water instead of petroleum based solvents and contain no heavy metals or formaldehyde. These paints are readily available at most home improvement stores.
- Plants. Why you might ask? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, our indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than the outdoor air we breath. Yikes. House-plants help to rid the air of pollutants and toxins, counteracting outgassing and contributing to balanced internal humidity. Wondering which plants will aid in cleaning up your air?
There are various simple and effective ways to reduce our exposure to different toxins inside our homes. These are just a few suggestions to help you on the road to a cleaner and healthier you and family. Take baby steps- try one thing at a time and gradually work your way to living a little more toxic-free and reap the rewards!
What are your favorite nontoxic baby products?
Healthy Child, Healthy World is a great resource for helping parents learn about the toxins around us and how to keep our children safe.