Home should feel like a safe, healthy place where your kids can roam free and you don’t have to worry about them coming into contact with germs, foods covered in pesticides and other chemicals, and other irritants that can make them sick. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case — both recent and older studies continue to show the ways in which our homes aren’t the safety zone we thought they were.
In America, most of us are actually surrounded by a rising amount of unregulated chemicals. Whether found in our cleaning products, cookware, tap water, cosmetics, laundry soap, or mattresses, the amount of known harmful chemicals we come into contact with on a regular basis is surprising.
These stats are just a small sampling of the evidence showing that the majority of us live in toxic homes. The scary part is that even though we’re starting to identify many of these chemicals, we don’t have a lot of data showing their long-term health impacts, which means that many of these are still on the market today.
According to researcher Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, chemical use has risen significantly over the past 50 years, alongside an increase in ADHD, autism, childhood cancers, diabetes, and obesity. “It’s not just genetic drift,” she adds. Woodruff has studied the impact on infants exposed to chemicals through their mothers in the womb, and is now studying chemical impacts on young children.
Below are a few of our favorite tips for moving toward a chemical-free home.
Knowledge is power. When it comes to removing toxins from your household, the first thing you’ll want to do is identify where these chemicals are present — then remove them.
Kate from the Real Food RN blog offers up to a challenge to her readers: start looking at the label of everything you come into contact with on a daily basis. And if there’s an ingredient you aren’t familiar with (a likely possibility), go ahead and plug it into the Environmental Working Network’s database to learn about what it is and how it can affect your health.
Since pesticides and other synthetic cleaning agents are a huge culprit of many household chemicals, the first thing you can do to remove chemicals from your home is to gradually replace all chemical products with organic ones.
For example, instead of bottled disinfectant, try using a mixture of white vinegar and water. (This has the added benefit of allowing you to recycle a container). Instead of processed food that can be full of chemicals and pesticides, choose organic whole foods. And as you use up your cosmetics, start looking for organic alternatives with safe ingredients.
After all, these products go right on your body, and can often be full of hormone-disrupting chemicals or chemicals that release formaldehyde, which can cause headaches, depression, chronic fatigue, chest pain, joint pain, cancer, dizziness and insomnia, according to Kate from Real Food Rn.
Plastic is a dangerous material — not only because of its chemicals, but because it never breaks down, making it extremely harmful to the environment. Compound this with the fact that it often gets recycled poorly, and you’ll understand why our oceans are full of plastics (and our flora and fauna on earth greatly impacted).
But when it comes to plastics in the home, there are some important reasons why you’ll want to phase them out -- reasons with names like "phthalates," "BPAs," and "PVCs." These main ingredients in plastic leach out dozens of toxins that have been linked to a whole range of health impacts, including cancer, reduced fertility, developmental disorders, heart disease, and increased allergic reactions.
It’s easy to keep the doors shut 24/7 during the wintertime or cooler months. But from off-gassing to chemical-filled dust, the air in your home is not necessarily safe. When it comes to releasing some of the toxins in your household, opening the doors and windows can make a huge difference in helping you breathe easier.
If you’re really concerned about the toxins floating in the air in your home, get more plants! It’s a natural way to fill your home with more oxygen. Some plants even have purifying qualities.
Mattresses can be some of the biggest sources of toxins in the home. Traditional mattresses are made up of flame-retardant chemicals, VOCs, plastics, foaming agents, and more. What does this mean for you? Respiratory problems, potential cancers, hormone disruption...the list goes on.
At Soaring Heart, our mattresses are made of 100% certified organic materials and still meet the CPSC-mandated fire-resistant tests. Our outer organic wool layer is breathable, supportive, and fire-resistant, while the inner organic latex core offers some of the healthiest and most resilient mattress support on the market.
Explore our 100% certified organic mattress collections now to discover the difference!