Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Avoiding Toxins to Lessen Your Family's Risk Exposure

We try to build a safe home - but a lot of times, exposure to toxins is not in our control. They are everywhere and they affect everyone.  Did you know that of the 80,000 chemicals used in America today, only 200 have been tested?  As consumers, we need to educate ourselves about what we buy, what we place in our households, what we unknowingly expose our families to.

Here is a summary of the top FIVE toxins that are ubiquitous:

  1. BPA is in a lot of baby products, electronic equipment, food storage containers, dental sealants.  93% of people tested have BPA in their system.  It affects male sexual function.
  2. Phthalates are found in shampoos, soaps, nail polish, perfume, food packaging.  Everyone is affected.  It causes ADHD and also disrupts male reproductive development.
  3. PFOA -- Perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C8) is found in non-stick cookware and stain- and water-repellent items (clothes, furniture, carpet). Everyone is affected.  It causes cancer and developmental problems.
  4. Formaldehyde is used in pressed wood, glues and durable fabrics.  It causes cancers of the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract. 
  5. PBDEs - Polybrominated diphenyl ethers is a flame retardant.  These are found in televisions, computers and wire insulation, and furniture foam.  PDBEs may damage the liver and kidneys and affect the brain and behavior.
 
What is so shocking is that it only takes ONE carcinogen to cause our cells to mutate, thus causing disease.  How do we avoid more risk? According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN, we can lessen our exposure to toxic chemicals by following a few easy steps:

1. TAKE SHOES OFF BEFORE ENTERING OUR HOME: leave potential chemicals out

2. In The Kitchen:
  • DRINK CLEAN WATER - use carbon filter or reverse osmosis
  • BUY MEAT and DAIRY without the use of antibiotics and hormones
  • BUY ORGANIC PRODUCE when we can or wash and peel
  • GET RID OF NON-STICK COOK WARE AND TUPPERWARE - use cast iron, stainless steel, glass, if your plastics have a #7 on the bottom, assume they contain BPA unless stated otherwise

3. GET RID OF DUST - indoor air is 3 x more polluted than outdoor air through off-gases of furniture, drapes, carpets, etc... so OPEN WINDOWS AND AIR OUT THE HOUSE

4. KEEP HOUSE PLANTS

What else we can do?  Besides avoiding products with toxins? Well, my long-lost cousin told me about Mothers Acting Up and I started the local chapter in my community and our first project was to take action in favor of the Safe Chemicals Act.

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