Accumulation of toxic chemicals inhaled, ingested and absorbed through skin every day is called “body burden.”
Follow these simple ABCs to unburden yourself, your family and your home.
A is for air fresheners
- Some manufactured deodorizers mask odour problems, worsen air quality and can be painful, debilitating and isolating for people with environmental sensitivities. Open a window or turn on a fan!
B is for BPA
- Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor found in plastic baby bottles, food storage containers and water bottles, receipts and more. Choose glass or stainless steel.
C is for couch, carpets and curtains
- These items — and your TV, furniture and electronics — shed toxics every day. Solution: dust!
D is for Dirty Dozen
- Check shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and bubble bath labels for these 12 ingredients to avoid.
E is for earth
- That’s diatomaceous earth (made from crushed fossilized algae)! It’s an eco-friendlier way to control ants.
F is for formaldehyde
- Formaldehyde is used in clothing and textiles to prevent wrinkles and mildew during shipping. It also increases colour fastness and stain resistance. Wash new clothes BEFORE wearing and avoid “no-iron” shirts.
H is for hair dye
- Some contain ammonia, petrochemicals, sulfates, phthalates and P-phenylenediamine, which can cause cancer and may be contaminated with brain-toxic heavy metals. Choose safer products or don’t dye at all.
I is for indoor air quality
- Houseplants can improve indoor air quality! Spider plants and peace lilies are easy to care for.
J is for jojoba oil
- Make lip balm with jojoba oil to avoid petrolatum, a petrochemical sometimes contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
K is for killing germs
- Disinfect with hydrogen peroxide. Unlike chlorine bleach, it breaks down into oxygen and water and is kind to the environment.
L is for liquid dish soap
- Add a handful of soap nuts (they’re actually a fruit!) to a jar of water. Shake and use the sudsy solution to clean dishes and more.
M is for mosquitoes
- Avoid DEET — a registered pesticide. Instead, make yourself and your home unattractive to mosquitoes.
O is for off-gassing
- Choose an eco-friendlier mattress. Avoid VOCs, fire retardants and stain-resistant finishes.
P is for “parfum”
- Even “unscented” products may contain ingredients to mask odours from other chemicals. Read labels carefully. Avoid “fragrance” or “parfum,” which can trigger allergies and asthma.
Q is for quats
- Found in bathroom cleaners and fabric softeners, quaternary ammonium compounds can induce an allergic response, don’t readily degrade in the environment and are toxic to fish. Choose products that disclose a full list of plant-based ingredients.
R is for responsible
- Some household products are hazardous waste. Look for the symbols indicating corrosive, explosive, flammable or poison and properly dispose of all HHW — aerosol cans, batteries, old paint, etc. to keep them out of the landfill.
S is for sunscreen
- Ingredients found in chemical sunscreens — parabens, oxybenzone, benzophenone and camphor derivatives — are killing coral reefs around the world and posing risks to human health. Choose safer options.
T is for triclosan
V is for vinegar
- Use white vinegar to deodorize, cut grease and disinfect against household bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and other “gram-negative” bacteria!
W is for wet cleaning
- This professional cleaning uses environmentally-friendly, 100 per cent biodegradable soaps and conditioners to remove tough stains and treat “dry clean only” items without harmful solvents.
X is for xeriscaping
- Use up to 50 per cent less water by landscaping with native plants better adapted to your area. You won’t need pesticides!
Y is for yuck!
- Find safer ways to kill bed bugs without using toxic pesticides.
Z is for zzzs
- Rest easy with pillows made from natural rubber (renewable and biodegradable), kapok (flower seeds) or organic cotton and organic wool.
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