Summer Safety Tips: Beware of Toxic Chemicals


With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start stocking up on sunscreens, bug repellents, beach supplies and all other necessities to endure the rising temperatures and longer, sunshine-filled days.  Unfortunately, so many of the products available on store shelves today contain chemicals that can be toxic to our bodies and lead to unwanted health concerns, making it more difficult to find natural and safer alternatives we can trust.  So before we fill our shopping carts with summer essentials, it’s important to arm ourselves with knowledge about which toxic chemicals to avoid and which products are best for a safe, enjoyable summer.

Following is a list of common summer necessities and the potential chemicals to look out for in each:

1)      Sunscreen: According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 80 percent of chemical sunscreens contain the chemical oxybenzone, which can penetrate the skin, cause allergic skin reactions, and potentially disrupt hormones. In addition to oxybenzone, many sunscreens on the market today contain parabens (chemical preservatives), harsh solvents, alcohols, petroleum products and fragrance chemicals that have been linked to cancer.  For a safer alternative, look for mineral sunscreens that contain the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both of which provide strong sun protection with few health concerns.

2)      Insect repellent: Two of the most popular bug repellent chemicals, DEET and permethrin, are linked to serious health concerns.  Permethrin has been listed as a likely human carcinogen while DEET may cause rashes, headaches, and seizures.  Instead of spraying on chemicals like these, use repellents made with natural botanicals like the plant catnip, rosemary, citronella, cinnamon, peppermint oil, and lemongrass oil which are just as effective.

3)      Water Bottles:  Of course it’s important to stay hydrated in the summer, but what you sip out of is just as important.  Both disposable and reusable plastic bottles can contain toxic chemicals including BPA, phthalates, and other chemicals linked to hormone disruption and health issues.  Safer options to plastic include glass water bottles and stainless steel water bottles, which do not leach toxins into beverages.  Glass and stainless steel are both non toxic and also better for the environment since they can be recycled and used again.

4)      Lunch Packing Materials:  It can seem easy and convenient to buy disposable lunches or prepackaged items from the store, but many of these options contain toxic chemicals that can leach into your food and drink.  Instead, glass, stainless steel, bamboo, and organic cotton are safer alternatives for reusable lunch items including lunch bags, food containers, snack and sandwich bags, napkins, utensils, and water bottles.  These non toxic and earth friendly items can be reused safely time and time again for the entire summer and year.

For more information on toxic chemicals and helpful guides for healthier and safer living, you can visit the LEARN section at

Dana Govern
Dana Govern and her team at Wild Mint are committed to providing toxin-free and eco-friendly solutions to help people build a healthy lifestyle. You’ll find resources to learn about toxins, helpful guides for healthier, greener living, and healthy recipes at