Written by Dr. Emily Burton, Kelowna Chiropractor
It’s hard to keep up with the latest fads on social media, sorting through the ads and promotions. Distinguishing between what is just that – a fad – and what is a valid option that you should consider investing in for you and your family is proving tougher than ever.
I’m a chiropractor based in the Okanagan, and I’m so glad to tell you about a topic that I am very passionate about. It’s a topic that has been gracing the pages of Instagram and Facebook & I think you should totally pay some attention to. This topic my friends, is the importance of reducing chemicals in your household.
CHEMICALS IN YOUR HOME
Many chemicals that are found in common household products are considered carcinogens, neurotoxins, mutagens, teratogens or endocrine disruptors. A bunch of science-y words that basically mean they’re disruptive to your health. Some issues reported are things like respiratory issues, skin conditions, infertility and even birth defects. According to a 2010 study by the New York State Department of Health, children born to women who held cleaning jobs while pregnant had an elevated risk of birth defects.
Pretty scary, right?
The good news is that there are TONS of clean options out there that contain safe, naturally derived, non-toxic ingredients that are much less likely to cause a health concern. Making this swap can be a bit costlier, so my advice is to slowly start making the switch. Once you run out of a cleaner that you are currently using, search for a clean alternative! It’s as simple and painless as that. Another option is to swap out the thing you use or come into contact with the most, such as a countertop cleaner, first.
Another thing worth mentioning; watch out for “green labeling.” This is a recent trend that larger companies are doing to keep their products relevant to demand. The labels are likely green and show pictures of leaves or nature, and state that they’re safe and clean. Some green labeling marketing terms to look for include:
- botanically based
- safe for sensitive skin
While terms like these seems right up our clean-minded alleys, in reality, they are not regulated terms! Nobody is approving if a product on the shelf actually is what it’s marketing terms claim it is. The industry experts know that we want safe products, and are using misleading terms and pretty green labels to trick us into thinking their products doesn’t have the toxic and dangerous chemicals in them – when 99% of the time they do.
To combat green labeling, I encourage you to do one of three things.
First option: read the labels.
The first red flag to look for is if a product states that it has “fragrance” in it. This word alone lets the company hide an additional 20-200 ingredients that we don’t even know about, and are likely dangerous to your health. Other big no-no’s to look out for include aluminum hydroxide, benzophenones, bisphenol A, diethyl phthalate, formaldehyde, hydoquinone, mercury and mercury compounds, methylparaben, mineral oil, nanoparticles, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and any synthetic colors, dyes or fragrance. The full hazardous list is a bit larger than that, but those are some recognizable ones to check for.
I realize you busy ladies may not have all the time in the world to stand at a store reading labels, so a good tool I use is the “Think Dirty” app. On this app you can quickly scan a barcode, and if the product is in the database it will let you know if it is clean and safe to use.
Second option: DIY.
I can’t say that I’m a DIY master by any stretch of the term, but there are a TON of simple ‘recipes’ for make it yourself cleaning products. A pregnancy and childbirth book I love, “The Mama Natural” by Genevieve Howland shares a few recipes in chapter 2. Here’s an example of one:
“ALL PURPOSE CLEANER. Into a half gallon (64 ounces) of water, mix ½ cup organic apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda. Excellent for bathroom fixtures, tile floors, windows, and mirrors, but don’t use on marble or wood.”
TBH – you can probably just google “DIY natural household cleaners” and have a plethora of options to choose from, no label reading or forking out cash required. I know many essential oil business ladies that sell their own DIY clean concoctions as well – although I can’t say that I’ve tried any yet.
Third option: (& the option I mostly use) Shop at a store that only stocks pre-approved natural and clean products!
Okanagan friends, you are #blessed with all of the amazing natural grocery stores you have here. Some stores that I frequent include Nature’s Fare, Choice’s Markets and Quality Greens…and these are strictly because they’re most convenient to where I live. There are many other great options out there.
My absolute favorite place to shop for clean products however, is Natural Rezources. This family-owned shop is owned by the sweetest couple who always go above and beyond to help me find what I need when I shop there. The best part – their prices are SO reasonable (and I find are usually even lower than Amazon prices!).
So there you have it, my very professional but honest opinion about reducing your daily exposure to toxic chemicals that you may have in your home. It may be a bit costlier than the typical grocery store brands, and it might take some effort from you. But with all of the daily stressors we face, I want to come home and know that my cleaning products aren’t contributing. The more you know, the better you can choose!