Managing a household, especially one with kids, can be a lot of work. But add to that the need to minimize toxin exposure to you and your loved ones, and you’ve got a bundle. As difficult as it may be to take care of all the duties involved, be it preparing meals or cleaning up after the kids, doing what we can to bypass harmful chemicals and poisonous substances without having to think too much about them and their health effects each day can take a load off and make it easier to sleep at night. Here are four of the most common sources of toxins you can easily eliminate at your choosing in favor of more benign and even healthful replacements.
- Showers: Showers? Yes, showers. Showers are actually one of the largest contributors of harmful chemical intake of anything in the average household. The reason isn’t the shower itself—it’s the tap water, and lack of a proper filter. Tap water is filled with a cocktail of intended chemical additives like chlorine (which scars arteries, among other things) and fluoride (which causes neurological problems), and it even contains unintended additives like pharmaceutical drug and vaccine residues. A warm to hot shower opens up your pores, allowing tap water and the chemically-filled steam vapors to penetrate into your skin, much like nicotine in nicotine patches do, while you additionally breathe in the chemically-laced vapors. Unfiltered showers are so offensive to the body’s health, that in fact, the amount of tap water chemicals you absorb in a single shower has been shown to be equivalent to drinking five cups of tap water straight. You get a decent shower filter for anywhere from $60 to $110, and filter out a large portion of the contaminants.
- Household Cleaners: Conventional household cleaning products like glass cleaners, stove cleaners and all-purpose cleaners are laced with toxic chemicals so poisonous that the majority of them carry warning labels to contact a poison control center immediately in case of accidental oral ingestion. The funny (or unfortunate) part is that you absorb these toxic chemicals through your skin and lungs. Of course the effect isn’t as egregious as drinking them straight, but the effects are significant over time, so much so that much of the rise in asthma and allergies in the past two decades has been attributed to common household cleaning products. You can easily replace these with cleaning products that have non-toxic, natural, and even organic ingredients, that work just as well and often better than the traditional ones, without worrying about the long-term dangers to your family’s health.
- Microwaves: Microwaves are dangerous. On the surface, it looks like a simple way to heat food, but the heating mechanism is entirely different from a simple stove or oven. You can see it in the results—you could never bake a cake or roast a turkey in a microwave, because the heating process is unnatural—it doesn’t mimic cooking something over a heat source like a fire. The first hazard is the radiation, to put aside the actual cooking. Microwaves emit large amounts of radiation. Standing just one foot away from a microwave in operation can expose you to up to 400 milliGauss of radiation. As a comparison, exposure to just 4 milliGauss has been linked to leukemia. That’s why you might feel a little lightheaded whenever you stare up close at a microwave heating food for more than a brief moment. The next danger is the effect on the food. Not only do microwaves destroy much of the vitamins in food, it also wreaks havoc on the food on cellular structural levels, for example by altering amino acids in such a way as to become poisonous to vital organs. Perhaps even worse, microwaves foster the creation of entirely new compounds that never existed before in nature called radiolytic compounds. We don’t yet conclusively know what they do to our bodies. The overall harmful effects are so medically accepted now that hospitals are strictly prohibited from heating blood for transfusions in microwaves, as doing so actually killed a woman in the early 1990s. To the naked eye, whatever is microwaved might look the same as if it were heated in an oven, but in fact the difference is like night and day
- Laundry Detergent: Much like household cleaners, conventional laundry detergents are full of toxic chemicals the members of your household end up breathing in throughout each day, and absorb through the skin as their pores open when they sweat. Detergent chemicals have been linked to allergies, asthma, difficulty sleeping, rashes, skin disorders, and conditions as severe as cancer. You can find alternative, natural and organic options at most health-conscious grocery stores.