Are you reading your labels?
Not just on your food label but how about your non-food product labels ?
(I can almost hear you thinking… seriously??!…Trust me, I was with you several years ago. I promise it will be worth your while or at least health! (grin).
Think about this…
Does the smell of your kitchen cleaner, perfume, or scented air freshener ever give you a headache? Do you worry when your kids or grandkids handle toxic cleaning products and paints? Do you hear about plastic water bottles being “hazardous to your health?
In my blog earlier this month I reviewed the Dirty Dozen (check it out and get your own pocket guide), which breaks down fruits and veggies highest and lowest in pesticides.
Well, this year, EWG added a new list tackling the toxins that lurk outside the grocery isles. Those that can increase our risk of cancer and chronic illness. Folks we can’t ignore this. Now, more than ever, we need to become knowledgeably (not fearful!) of what we are putting in our bodies and exposed to…and take gradual changes to better our health.
Taking a few Simple Steps NOW to Limit exposure (for yourself and family)
will be valuable for your FUTURE wellness!
This lists 12 carcinogens that lie in everyday products like packaging, cosmetics and furniture.
“Given that we live in a sea of chemicals, it makes sense to begin reducing exposures to ones we know are bad actors,” the report reads.
Here’s a list of EWG’s top offenders and …
WHY they may affect health, WHERE to find them, and HOW to avoid them!
- Bisphenol A (BPA)
You’ve probably heard talk of the dangers of BPA before — it’s a chemical used in the plastic lining of food and beverage containers and it’s been linked to cancers. Though a few major companies are phasing BPA out of their packaging, it’s still in plastics marked “PC” and “recycling #7.” Avoid these, and opt for fresh foods (or those in cardboard containers) over canned ones whenever possible and avoid plastic water bottle and get your own reusable stainless steel water bottle.
Atrazine is of the most widely used herbicides in the US and a study by the NRDC found that it has made its way into more than 80% of our drinking water. Filter your tap water to avoid this endocrine disruptor and potential carcinogen.
- Organophosphate Pesticides
Major food corporations like Monsanto use organophosphates to destroy the nervous system of pests, but they are certainly not good for humans either! Buy organic when you can (in particular the Dirty Dozen) to avoid produce that could be contaminated with residue from the pesticide.
- Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)
DBP is linked to cancer and infertility and it’s been banned in most personal care products like nail polishes and perfumes. You can still find it in some flexible plastics like shower curtains, raincoats, food wraps, and bowls. So it’s a good idea to look for natural alternatives to soft plastics, and limit storing food in plastics.
Lead can harm almost every organ system in the body. So be careful when removing that stubborn old paint from walls, as it could hold traces of the dangerous chemical. And continue to filter your water!
Mercury exposure during pregnancy is especially dangerous to the developing fetus, which may lead to impaired development of brain and nervous system. Along with its organic form, methylmercury, it may be toxic to the brain, kidneys, liver, and nervous system with high exposure. So, it’s important for everyone to keep levels in check. Monitor your intake of certain fish like canned albacore tuna, fresh tuna, swordfish, and some types of sushi. Check out EWG’s Seafood Calculator to determine which fish is safest for you!
PFCs are used in grease and stain-repellent coatings. The EWG recommends; finding products that have not been treated with repellents such as carpets and furniture. Skip home-applied repellent treatments; limit fast food and greasy carryout foods that often come in PFC-treated wrappers; chose clothing that doesn’t carry Gore-Tex or Teflon tags, avoid non-stick pans, and try to select personal care products without “PTFE” or “fluoro” ingredients.
Phthalates are common industrial chemicals often used in PVC plastics to make vinyl toys soft, as well as often added to perfumes to help them cling to the skin longer (but they’re really not something you want on your body). They’ve been shown to affect hormone levels and disrupt brain function. Avoid products that have the word “fragrance” on the ingredient list — this is usually code for phthalates, which don’t have to be explicitly labeled.
- Diethlyhexyl Phthalate (DEHP)
DEHPs are the most commonly used class of phthalates that may be associated with alterations in thyroid hormone levels. The same rules of avoidance apply for them as we have discussed. Such as choosing personal care, cleaning products, and air fresheners without “fragrance” on the ingredient list. Remember, avoid microwaving food in plastics and give your children wooden or phthalate-free toys!
This type of fire retardant was used to treat upholstered furniture, mattresses and pillows until it was pulled from the market for high toxicity levels in 2005. Avoid foam products manufactured before 2005 and look for those made after 2014. Read labels (just like food!), and visit manufactures’ websites and ask what chemicals are used. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove particles from your home.
Triclosan has been linked to cancer and heart disease, but it’s still an ingredient in many antibacterial products including liquid hand and dishwashing soaps. Soap alternatives like essential oils and DIY cleansers offer a safer approach to cleaning.
Nonylphenols are everywhere — from laundry and dish detergents to paints and personal care products. Avoid cleaners that list nonylphenol as an ingredient and follow the EWG guide to healthy cleaners to learn how to nix them from your everyday routine.
Remember, awareness is the 1st step!
Just by making 1-2 changes you can begin to reduce your risk of exposure to these toxins.
I know for me , I took gradual steps (literally over the past 3 years) to eventually eliminate most of these toxins (but still not all). My last step was to ditch my cleaning products and make my own from essential oils and all natural cleaners.
(Want a DIY all-purpose cleaning spray great for kitchen, bath, and more that kills germs – e-mail me and I will share my recipe!)
Until Next Time….
Keep Reading your Labels as TOGETHER we seek to “Nourish Well”!
Leave a comment; share your story; or share helpful tips for other!