- Plastic food containers: can be replaced with glass, porcelain or stainless-steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids. Research has proven that harmful chemicals in plastic can leach into your food (or liquid) during storage, especially when heated. There is also evidence that some acidic foods can cause leaching even without being heated.
Also, avoid the microwaveable polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from overuse at high temperatures. Glass meal prep containers do not have this issue due to its non-porous surface. Moreover, by removing the plastic containers from your kitchen cupboards, you create more space and less clutter (how many of these plastic boxes do you actually use?)
- Air fresheners: You might think they’re safe to use, but air fresheners release gasses, odours and fumes which are more dangerous than cigarette smoke and may cause asthma and hormonal imbalance. According to a study by the Public Health England’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, there’s a significant amount of formaldehyde in air fresheners. The use of air fresheners also linked to nose and throat cancers. Instead of using them in your home, use essential oils instead – add 10-15 drops in a cup of distilled water and spray the solution in your house.
- Cleaning products: we all use commercial cleaning products to clean surfaces in our homes, but they contain dangerous toxic substances that linked to serious diseases and conditions. Compounds such as BPA, triclosan and parabens found in popular cleaning products – all of them have been found to cause hormonal imbalance and other health problems. That means you could be spraying toxic ingredients all over your home in hopes of keeping it clean – and end up causing more potential harm to your family in the long run. Instead of these products, you should try cleaning with baking soda, vinegar and castile soap which will provide the same, if not better results. Alternatively, you can buy the eco-friendly products and make sure to recycle the bottles and packaging. Also, microfiber antibacterial cleaning, when moist, remove up to 99% of bacteria (including E. coli and listeria), without requiring cleaning solutions when following proper care and use instructions.
- Laundry detergents: The conventional laundry detergents are full of chemicals like sulphates, fragrances, phenols and more. Many brands contain things like petroleum distillates, which links to cancer and lung disease. Fragrances in these detergents made of a mix of harmful chemicals. Making your laundry soap is an easy and fast process as you only need three basic ingredients: washing soda (sodium carbonate), Borax and castile soap. Alternatively, if you can’t make your own you can replace the conventional detergents for good brands of eco-friendly laundry detergents. Also, the research found that dryer vents can emit 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when both scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets used, including seven VOCs classified as hazardous air pollutants. It is especially concerning when dryers don’t vent to the outside or are blocked, resulting in indoor air pollution. To naturally scent your laundry, add a few drops of essential oil on a damp cloth and throw it in the dryer with laundry. Use wool dryer balls to reduce drying time, wrinkles and static, and make sure your dryer vent is venting properly to the outside.
- Replace Synthetic with Natural Fragrances. Did you know that over 60% of what you put on your skin, the largest organ of your body, gets absorbed into your blood stream? And unlike your kidneys and liver that act as your body’s filter, the skin is all on its own. A 95% of the chemicals in most commercial fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and natural gas, known as petrochemicals. On average, 80% of fragrance formulations comprised of these chemicals and in some cases, 100% of a formula can be synthetic. Skin absorbs these human-made chemicals in a few ways: by direct application, by contact with fragranced items, and by exposure to air containing fragrances and that can accumulate in your body organs. They can trigger allergic reactions, migraines, asthma attacks, nausea, eczema, and a whole host of other sensitivities.
Natural fragrances are essential oils and isolates derived from botanical ingredients that we harvest from the earth such as flowers, fruits, sap, seeds or skin of the plant, as well as the bark, leaves, roots, resins or wood of certain trees and not from a lab (synthetic). These oils derived from natural raw materials by either steam or water distillation, a technique that has been around for centuries. They should not be created from absolutes – a process that uses either hexane or petroleum ether. This is because while the oils that come from this rich process are washed, they still contain trace amounts of petrochemicals and are not recognised by the Natural Products Association. Naturals, because they are limited, need to be harvested responsibly and should be imported from around the world, creating greater expense. Therefore, it is much more cost effective to try to replicate nature in a lab. Consumers are becoming more educated and suspicious of chemicals in our personal care products and are seeking safer alternatives. Naturals, in general, are much healthier and provide the scents for green living.