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Natural, non-toxic, chemical free...all terms you probably have heard. Living a chemical free or toxic free lifestyle is certainly trending! While it may seem like a luxury trend or a fad, more research is being conducted to find out the toxicity levels of our hygiene and household products. While most of the research is still to be determined, there have been studies showing adverse side effects of our everyday products on our endocrine systems (the system in our body that produces hormones to regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood). Other research results have been linked in animal studies showing extreme outcomes such as birth defects, decreased sperm count, and altered pregnancy outcomes. At the moment, these results are not definitive enough to force the hand of the Food & Drug Administration or any other legislation to pass tougher regulations on companies who produce our everyday products. So, in the meantime, you may be one of many who choose to start weaning yourself from harmful chemicals in your daily routine.
While this change is exciting and notable for you and your whole family, it can be overwhelming. So, where do you start? We have put together a list that allows you to work slowly towards a sustainable change in your life and your home. Factoring in time, money and the fact that most of us do live with other human beings, we suggest you work slowly towards a 100% chemical free lifestyle. Try and purchase new products only as you empty the old ones and would seek to replace them normally. This will allow you to slowly work in new products and try different chemical free brands. Remember, this is a process and any direction to having fewer chemicals in our lives is a step towards a healthier lifestyle.
1. Clean Up Your Cosmetics & Skincare
If you are intrigued by the toxic free or chemical free lifestyle, you have probably begun the process of researching the chemicals in your makeup, beauty, and skincare products. Horrified….? We are too! There are so many different chemicals that are harmful in our beauty routine and this list certainly is not extensive to naming them all. For a true audit of your beauty products, visit EWG Skin Deep Database to learn more.
We are only naming a few of the top toxic chemicals that are frequently appearing in our daily cosmetics and beauty products, but there are many more to be aware of. Parabens, phthalates, and triclosan should always be avoided. Recently the FDA finally got on board and finally banned triclosan from being used. If you see something with triclosan, steer clear. Parabens and phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals. Parabens are pretty easy to find–propylparaben and methylparaben. Phthalates, however, are sneaky. They are usually disguised as “fragrance (parfum)”.
To be a smart consumer you should always look at the ingredient list before purchasing. Pretty much anything you put on your body–moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup, lotions, anti-aging serums, shaving cream, baby lotion, diaper cream, etc.
This can be overwhelming, so just begin to replacing these products as needed, and find better natural alternatives. Mother Nature’s Best Market has some great options and always lists the ingredients and values of every product that is sold on the website.
2. Look For Deodorants, Fragrance Products, Hair Care, & Soaps That Are Chemical Free
In case you have not been informed, deodorants and anti-perspirants are some of the most harmful hygiene products we use! Deodorants are used to mask body odor, typically with a fragrance (not natural) and anti-perspirants are used to prevent sweating by clogging our pores. Both products use aluminum in these cases. Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, bone disorders, and kidney problems in studies performed over the last decade.
However, aluminum is not the only problem. Our soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions contain alcohol, dyes, and artificial fragrances. Be mindful of these chemicals when purchasing your hygiene products.
You may have tried a natural deodorant or soap and were not pleased with the results. I mean, who wants to stink….? Our suggestion is to try again! Companies committed to producing natural, chemical free deodorants and soaps have recently come a long way. Look for a deodorant that contains baking soda and/or arrow root. Both ingredients help to neutralize odor, while drawing out toxins and absorbing moisture. Hey, that’s a win, win!
3. Rid Your Home of Artificial Fragrance
This is an absolute must! These items continually blow toxic fumes into your home. Bathroom air refreshers, room sprays, plug-ins, scented candles, perfume, body mist, basically anything with a smell is probably full of toxic chemicals. We all want nice smelling homes but who wants to be constantly breathing in harmful toxic chemicals? We know that you probably don’t! So, what are some good replacements?
Essential oils and free candles that are made with real beeswax and other natural ingredients is the best replacement. If you go the essential oil route, a diffuser is a great tool for this. If money is tight, we recommend lavender, pine, lemon, cedarwood, cinnamon leaf, and sweet orange for air refreshing purposes.
Check out the line of chemical-free candles, as well as room and linen sprays on Mother Nature’s Best Market and treat yourself and your family to a truly fresh home free of harmful chemicals.
4. Reduce Garbage
Recycling should be your last resort, because the energy it takes to recycle is not exactly eco-friendly. Look for ways to prevent garbage from even accumulating. Drink from reusable stainless steel or glass water bottles and coffee mugs. Invest in a few reusable grocery totes. Bring reusable produce bags to the store with you. Embrace cloth wipes and diapers. Maybe even get a compost bin going! Buying in bulk is a huge help if you have the storage. Take advantage of the bulk bins at your grocery store or join an organic food co-op!
5. Phase Out Plastic
Oh plastic, where to start! Unfortunately, our government has failed us in that they have let the plastic industry pollute this country with so many toxic and dangerous products that it is impossible to get away from it. This goes for Styrofoam as well. Plastic can contain endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals, which include polyvinyl chloride, phthalates, and BPA. Use glass jars for storage, glass or stainless-steel cups for drinking, ceramic or bamboo plates, wooden cooking utensils, wooden or natural rubber baby toys, reusable storage bags, and reusable grocery totes. Plastic is not only disruptive to the endocrine system but has contributed to the waste epidemic we are currently experiencing. Limiting the use of plastic will not only benefit ourselves and our families but will benefit the livelihood of the generations to come.
These are just a few tips to get you started on your path to seeking a chemical free lifestyle. We are happy you are taking the first step to a healthier lifestyle and are thrilled to be a resource for you and your family!