Not everyone will have the incentive to make all these changes - however, every change you make WILL make a difference! This way of living is not only much better and safer for YOU - it's also much better for the environment! So many of us work hard to make healthy changes in our lives, diets, and our activity levels. We read nutrition labels, we sit on balance balls, or even switch to a standing desk, but how many of us read the labels of our personal care items, and cleaning products? Switching to non-toxic living can be a very pleasant experience if we think of it as a return to the purity and safety of the way our ancestors lived. Many of the suggestions here were actually used by our ancestors before all the toxic chemicals were marketed to make life "easier". We pay dearly for that "ease" with the loss of safe, clean air to breathe and, in many cases, the loss of our health. Some of the products may take a little more "elbow grease" - others actually work BETTER than their toxic alternatives - either way, you can take major steps to cleaning up your environment and protecting yourself and your family from toxic chemicals by following these suggestions.
1. Avoid ALL scented products ("fragrance" as an ingredient) - including all perfumes, colognes, after-shaves, personal-care products, air fresheners, pot-pourri, etc. Be careful about certain "unscented" products that use "masking fragrance" to cover up the original fragrance - these are doubly toxic!
2. Avoid ALL fabric softeners, dryer sheets, Clorox, scented detergents, etc. These products are VERY toxic and very harmful to the environment as well.
3. Avoid ALL pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Pesticides are neuro-toxins (affect the central nervous system), and they don't know the difference between the BUGS and YOU! For fleas, roaches, ants, etc., use diatomacious earth, boric acid, and nematodes. You can get these from health food stores and pet supply stores - or from some of the "Resources" listed on the MCS Resources page.
4. Use only non-toxic cleaning products and personal-care products (see below).
5. Drink and bathe in filtered water. Taking a shower in chlorinated water causes the chlorine to go right into your blood stream. You can purchase shower filters that easily attach to your shower nozzle from water-supply stores (check your Yellow Pages) or from many of the mail-order companies listed on the MCS Resources page. Also avoid swimming in chlorinated pools.
6. Eat organic food (food grown without pesticides or fertilizers) as often as possible. Avoid processed foods, foods with colors and dyes, preservatives, etc. NEVER consume products containing "NutraSweet" (aspartame). It breaks down into formic acid ("ant-sting poison") and methanol (wood alcohol) in your body! (See "Links to Related Sites" for more information about aspartame.)
7. Wear only natural-fiber clothing (100% cotton, linen, wool, or silk). Make sure the clothes are NOT "permanent press" or "wrinkle resistant" - these clothes have been treated with formaldehyde that does NOT wash out!
8. Use only 100% cotton, wool, or pure silk bed linens and blankets. Avoid "no-iron" or "wrinkle-resistant". A good brand is "Simply Cotton", marketed by "Martex" and available at department stores like Dillards. Wal-mart also now carries 100% cotton "T-shirt" sheets!
9. As much as possible, avoid plastics (store food in glass jars), particle-board, plywood, glues, inks, paints (use Glidden 2000 - least toxic), foam rubber, vinyl, carpet, synthetic rugs, varnishes, solvents, etc.
10. Open your windows as often as possible! Even in the most polluted cities, the outdoor air has been found to be less toxic than the indoor air! Amazing, isn't it?!
11. Certain houseplants are beneficial to remove toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde, benzene etc. The best plants for removing these and other toxins are philodendrons, spider plants, aloe vera, English ivy, golden pothos, and boston fern. To learn more about this, there is a really good book available called: "How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office"by B. C. Wolverton. (NOTE: Many thanks to Karen Snyder for this information!)
1. GENERAL CLEANING:
2. FOR LAUNDRY:
NOTE: Use nothing on your skin that you'd be afraid to eat! Products are absorbed through the skin into the blood stream just as if you'd eaten them!
4. TOOTHPASTE: (Avoid fluoride - it's toxic and doesn't help cavities anyway!)
5. FACE CREAMS AND BODY LOTIONS:
(Avoid "Quaternium-15", which releases formaldehyde!)
8. FEMININE HYGIENE:
9. SHAVING CREAM:
SUPPLEMENTS: As often as possible, try to choose dietary supplements that are composed of mostly natural ingredients, and don't rely on chemical additives or coatings. From natural iron supplements to Vitamin E capsules; take the time to read the label; the more words you can pronounce, the better.
MISCELLANEOUS TIP: Plant mint around the house to keep mosquitos away. Rub some mint leaves on you to keep them from biting you.
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For more information, MCS book listing, and mail-order companies, for non-toxic products, please see the "MCS Resources"page. The following are books specifically related to non-toxic living and alternative products to use:
Clean and Green: The Complete Guide to Non-Toxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping
The Green Kitchen Handbook: Practical Advice, References, and Sources for Transforming the Center of Your Home into a Healthy, Livable Place
Others for a Livable Planet, Meryl Streep -
Home Safe Home: Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Everyday Toxics and Harmful Household Products in the Home
The Safe Shopper's Bible: A Consumer's Guide to Nontoxic Household Products, Cosmetics, and Food (MacMillan Reference Books.)