Tips to Keep Your Home Environment Green and Your Children Safe

Children are particularly susceptible to environmental hazards in our daily living. Potentially toxic chemicals show up in our food, as contaminants in air and water, in common household and personal care products, in packaging, and in furniture.  The U.S. is in the midst of an asthma epidemic.  According to Sloan Barnett, author of Green Goes with Everything,  the  number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million in the last decade.   About one in 10 American children currently suffer from asthma – a nearly threefold increase from 3.6 percent in 1980. A suspected cause of these stunning changes?  At least six well-designed epidemiological studies have pointed to one answer: A strong link between the use of certain cleaning products and asthma.  It has been estimated that the average home may contain 1,500 compounds that may be weakening our vitality and increasing our health costs. Although children should be the first to be protected from environmental hazards, the truth is they are at the greatest risk for chemical exposures.  In order to protect our children’s health as well as our own, we can build a healthier, safer home environment and take simple, everyday steps to minimize chemical exposures from common household and personal care product ingredients. We can become informed consumers and look for safe and effective alternatives to traditional products without sacrificing our children’s long-term health:
Select home furnishings made from natural fibers.

Select carpets, pads, bedding, and furniture made from wool, cotton, hemp, and wood.

Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting and choose a powerful vacuum cleaner to help minimize indoor pollution. Use area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting.

Avoid phthalates. These synthetic, plastic softeners are found in polyvinyl flooring, wall coverings, shower curtains, toys, and even in baby care products and personal care products. Phthalates are of increasing public importance and concern because of potential toxic effects to the developing endocrine and reproductive systems. Infants, toddlers, and young children are uniquely vulnerable to phthalate exposures because of their hand-to-mouth behavior, extensive playing on floors, and undeveloped nervous and reproductive systems. These factors also may help explain why phthalate metabolite concentrations tend to be higher in young children compared to other age groups.

Avoid BPA found in reusable clear polycarbonate plastic water bottles, baby bottles, and food containers (labeled#7) that may leach BPA into food and drink.

A major study published in 2008 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) linked higher urinary BPA levels with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver enzyme abnormalities.

Replace chemical-filled household cleaners with natural, safe, multipurpose cleaners that work on a variety of surfaces. The most economical and environmentally friendly are those that are highly concentrated and mixed by the consumer. There is no need to buy water since we have water at our tap. Also, there is less packaging to be recycled or go into the landfill.

Choose cleaning products from a company committed to product safety, efficacy, and sustainability; one that offers nontoxic, natural cleaning product choices that are safe, powerful, green, and smart.

Look for nontoxic cleaning choices and hypoallergenic products free of harmful fumes, volatile organic compounds, phenol, lye, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, petroleum distillates, ammonia, sodium hydroxide, butyl cellosolve, or formaldehyde. A great nontoxic cleaner has the same pH as the skin and contains naturally derived agents such as corn and coconut-based surfactants.

Let’s be the generation that made the difference.

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