There is a problem in America today with an overuse of chemicals. Just last month, I read one article about 100 major shampoos that contain known cancer-causing chemicals in them, and another about bees dying off due to fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides – a deadly trifecta. Then, last week, I was able to attend an online briefing with Seventh Generation and Healthy Child Healthy World, and learned that cancer is now the leading cause of death in children after injury!
While we have over 80,000 registered chemicals in use in everyday items in our homes, only 11 have been banned by the FDA. By contrast, the European Union has banned over 1,300! Not convinced yet? Watch this A Wake-Up Story video for some startling statistics.
Two Ways to Approach Health
So why are these chemicals, and thousands of others, being used in products we wash, wear, and eat every single day without having been proven safe first? Because companies in America have taken an “innocent until proven guilty” approach to chemical use in products we consume.
I tend to prefer the alternative approach – assume it isn’t safe until it’s been proven safe. It’s not about living in fear but about living realistically! We have enough history in the past few decades of chemicals, medications, and products being touted, only to have them removed later when positive links to injurious outcomes could be shown. I’d prefer not to make my kids the guinea pigs for new chemical combinations if I can help it!
5 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Health in 5 Minutes or Less Each!
I learned five quick steps you can implement in 5 minutes to begin the journey towards a safer, healthier home! Here they are:
1. Kick The Shoes Off
Removing your shoes at the front door can help prevent not only dirt from being tracked in, but outside chemicals and toxic pollutants like lead, pesticides, etc. Super simple to start doing and it can decrease the amount of dirt that enters our homes by as much as 85%!
2. Buy Safer Body Care
This is a tough one for me. I know that I could make my own body care products – we have contributors on Untrained Housewife who show how to make your own lip gloss, or natural hair treatments, etc. But I don’t always have time to do that kind of thing so I often DO buy things from the store ready made. (Note – this is the same reason why I never did cloth diapers. I do NOT have time to add that much laundry to my routine.) What I can do, though, is to make wise and intentional selections about what my money is supporting. Companies who choose to avoid chemicals that haven’t yet been proven safe are the companies I want to align myself with.
3. Open a Window
Indoor air is often more polluted than the air outdoors – usually because of chemicals in our homes and home products. Open the window and let some fresh air in! What could be simpler?
4. Eat Whole Foods
You can greatly reduce the amount of chemicals (artificial sweeteners and colorings are just that – synthetic chemicals), dyes, and nutrient-poor foods consumed by switching from processed to whole or homemade foods. This can be as simple as choosing a fruit or vegetable for a snack instead of a colored chewy-gooey! You know I LOVED this suggestion – We’ve done a full series on Eating Garden Fresh Foods on Untrained Housewife in the past because of my love of whole foods.
5. “Ban the Can”
BPA is still found in many canned goods from soda to spaghetti sauce and other everyday items. Even home canners need to check the linings on their lids and make sure they are buying lids that specifically say BPA-free! Just check the label and replace what is in your cart for BPA free items or buy frozen vs canned when you are able. Easy peasy!
I know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the stats. It’s easy to think, “This problem is too big – what can I possibly do?” Well first of all – yes the problem is big. But we can each take simple steps towards creating healthier home environments for our kids. Just doing those five steps above will make a huge difference!
Ask for Support and Smart Changes to CSIA
There is a bi-partisan bill this year – the Chemical Safety Improvement Act – that has a lot of potential for helping with this problem. But there are some things we would want to see added or amended in the bill as it stands. I love this summary by Seventh Generation – especially the need for public access to the chemical safety information (how else can we make informed decisions unless we have all the info?) and the ability for states to enact safer rules if necessary.
Check out the summary at Seventh Generation and then take a second to contact your Senator. Just click the yellow button “Tell Your Senator” to go straight to a simple form that will make it so easy for you. So there’s another thing you can do that is super simple.
Join the #HealthyBabyHome Twitter Party (prizes included)
Seventh Generation is sponsoring a #HealthyBabyHome Twitter party, Thursday November 14th at 1pm. 5 Winners will receive a month’s supply of diapers and wipes for answering the trivia questions. You can prepare for the party by following the party’s hosts @TheMotherhood, @TheMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, and @SeventhGen.
I participated in this program on behalf of Seventh Generation and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.