5 Easy Changes to Dramatically Reduce Your Toxic Chemical Exposure

Each and every day, you come into contact with a large number of items—many of which contain chemicals that can accumulate in our bodies over time leading to health risks.

So let's start with a simple list of 10 everyday items that you can switch up to dramatically reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals!

#1: Plastic Food Containers and Bottles Tossing your plastic food containers and plastic bottles is one of the simplest ways to dramatically reduce your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA), bisphenol-S (BPS), and phthalates.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals mimic your body's own hormones, causing processes to occur that shouldn't and blocking others that should. Your endocrine system as a whole is supposed to be a tightly controlled system and is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes. Therefore, endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been linked to a wide number of adverse effects.

Heat, along with wear and tear through multiple washings can increase the amount of chemicals being leached from containers and bottles, so holding on to old containers is not a good idea. While I used to support switching to BPA-free containers, it’s now been revealed that even “BPA-free” plastics can leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.

Your best bet is to avoid plastic containers altogether, and replace them with glass bottles and containers. Also opt for glass baby bottles if you have young children. Make the switch to glass, and you won’t have to struggle figuring out which plastic might be safer than another, only to later find out it wasn’t such a great trade after all...

#3: Non-Stick Cookware

To further clean up your kitchen, toss non-stick pots and pans and replace them with ceramic or glass cookware. The non-stick coating is made with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been labeled a “likely” carcinogen by an independent scientific review panel that advises the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Although PFOA is a long complex name, it is essentially a complex chemical and relies on fluoride for its non-stick properties. The problem is that once you heat the pot or pan, the fluoride vaporizes into the air where it can kill small birds and harm you and your family. You can easily bypass this unnecessary health risk by switching to ceramic or glass cookware that do not emit toxic fluoride.

#4: Air Fresheners

Air fresheners - whether they plug into a wall or are sprayed into a room - emit a host of endocrine disrupting chemicals into the air and the bodies of all who breath them. Room deodorizers frequently contain 2, 5-dichlorophenol (2, 5-DCP), a metabolite of 1,4-dichlorobenzene, which has been linked to precocious puberty and other health problems, including cancer. Endocrine-disrupting phthalates are also commonly found in air fresheners and room deodorizers.

Therefore, if you’re having issues with unpleasant smells, if would be MUCH better for your health and the health of everyone who breathes the air of your home to address the root cause of the smells rather than masking them with chemical sprays. Opening your windows and doors from time to time can help, and will also improve the general air quality in your home or office. If you want a scent, opt for high-quality pure essential oils, which can actually support your health and wellbeing rather than harm it!

#5: Commercial Cleaning Products

You can avoid quite a few hazardous chemicals simply by tossing those commercial cleaning products in the dustbin. Every single one of them can be replaced with a short list of basic ingredients. Here's a simple starter list of what you need to make your own natural cleaning products: Baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, liquid castille soap, and organic essential oils like thyme, tea trea oil and lavendar that have antibacterial properties.

#6 Scented Laundry Detergent and Dryer Sheets

Like air fresheners and commercial cleaning products, scented laundry products contain a host of chemicals. Not only do these chemicals then get into the clothes that you put on your body, but when you dry them, the chemicals are vaporized and released into the air of your home. Studies have found that scented laundry products, especially dryer sheets, release hundreds of volatile organic compounds and carcinogenic chemicals into the home air.

Instead, opt for safer laundry products made from natural plant ingredients and essential oils like the ones found on Naturopathic Ways!

#7: Personal Care Products

Chemicals are very effectively absorbed via your skin, so cleaning out your bathroom and makeup cabinets can go a long way toward reducing your toxic load. This is particularly true for women, who tend to use more products on a daily basis. Makeup is also a hidden source of heavy metals. Environmental Defense tested 49 different makeup items, including foundations, concealers, powders, blushes, mascaras, eye liners, eye shadows, lipsticks and lip glosses, and their testing revealed heavy metals in virtually all products they tested including lead, cadmium, arsenic, thallium and beryllium.

If you use conventional makeup on a daily basis, you can absorb almost five pounds of chemicals into your body each year -- and that's without adding in body lotion, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and other personal care products! To address this health-defeating cycle, switch to organic brands of toiletries and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a great database called Skin Deep to help you find personal care products that are free of potentially dangerous chemicals.

And for makeup, I LOVE BeautyCounter. BeautyCounter's products are free of toxic chemicals - you don't have to worry about reading ingredient's labels. Since their first product launch in 2013, BeautyCounter has been creating the gold standard for safety in the personal-care industry. They omit 1,800+ questionable ingredients in their formulations that are currently used in the industry—they call this The Never List™. Instead, they use an ever-evolving toolbox of clean, more sustainable ingredients that have been screened by their safety and sustainability experts to create innovative formulas that deliver results—safely. BeautyCounter is the brand I recommend to may family and friends and use myself.