From what you eat to what you put on your skin, products filled with unpronounceable and unsafe chemicals are everywhere. In the last few years, many bloggers have spoken out against questionable chemicals in products used in everyday life, and many experts agree.
Project TENDR, ran by a collaborative effort of scientists and other specialists, recently formed a consensus statement in 2016 saying everyday products contain chemicals that may potentially result in neurodevelopmental disorders, which include attention-deficit disorders and autism. Many of the oldest research organizations and medical groups also share this concern: The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics expressed concerns that environmentally toxic chemicals threaten human reproduction.
These chemicals lurk in the most inconspicuous of everyday products. Organophosphates, phthalates and flame retardants are found in plastics, cookware, carpet, furniture, electronics and shampoo. These chemicals may pose carcinogenic risks or have adverse effects on hormones that regulate the body. To decrease the amount of chemicals in your daily routine, try these eight alternatives for simple living.
1. Switch to Glass and Cast Iron
Chemicals abound in plastic ware. Switching to glass, or cast iron prevents the absorption of these chemicals into your system, as these have no added synthetic chemicals or protective coatings like non-stick cookware.
Cast iron is also easily cleaned, with a bit of oil and an abrasive scrub. Some people effectively use a sliced potato and salt for tougher stains. With proper care, glass and cast iron ware will last for generations.
2. Own Your Natural Beauty
Rather than owning endless beauty and skin care products, own your natural beauty. Go bare face and boldly beautiful, especially in the sweltering summer. For must-have products, consider making your own shampoo or lip balm. Dry shampoo, for example, is easy as mixing cornstarch with cocoa powder for brunettes, and using a brush to comb it through your hair.
3. Make Simple, Natural Cleaners
Many natural cleaners are found in your pantry and are cheaper than commercial chemical cleaners. If you have children or pets, eliminate cleaners that pose a health risk if swallowed or inhaled.
Make your own homemade cleaners, with lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda. Lemon juice is anti-bacterial and cuts bacteria found on many surfaces. Baking soda naturally deodorizes and is used to scrub down counters, floors and the oven. Vinegar, diluted with hot water, makes a streak free glass and stainless steel cleaner.
4. Shop Smart and Buy Organic When You Can
Shop smart to reduce chemicals in your home by avoiding plastic packaging wherever possible, and buying fresh produce and products in more natural containers, such as glass. Buying in bulk will also reduce the amount of plastic you use and help you save money.
When you can, shop organic at the grocery store and at local farmers’ markets. Purchasing in-season produce helps to cut the cost, and extra produce may be preserved to increase cost savings.
5. Can and Pickle Your Food
A starter kit for canning is around $30 to $40, and it saves you more money and reduces food waste over time. Older relatives may still can their food for winter and wouldn’t mind passing the knowledge on to younger generations, but there are helpful neighbors and canning recipes to get you started.
By canning your own food, you control the process and the recipe. Canning pressure seals many types of vegetables and fruits, and pickling your food is done easily without special supplies, using vinegar.
6. Start a Window Herb Garden
An easy way to grow your own food is to start an herb garden in a window with good sunlight, which is about six hours. You only need a few containers, fertilizer, well-drained soil and seeds or cuttings. Pick off your own parsley, basil or thyme right in your kitchen as you cook.
7. Filter your Tap Water
Aside from constantly buying water in plastic bottles and recycling the bottles, what can you do to ensure you’re not consuming toxins in water? Bisphenol A (BPA) is a questionable chemical found in some water plastic water bottles, and you want to avoid that. Filtering your tap water may be a wiser and more affordable option, since the EPA regulations require annual public reports identifying contaminants in local water.
8. Invest in High Quality Products and Thrift Shop
Don’t frivolously spend your hard-earned dollars on new items because you keep buying throwaway plastics. When you invest in clothing and other products, purchase natural, well-made items that will last for years. Where possible, repair or upcycle existing items, and try to find items in thrift stores first. This reduces excess waste and impact of harmful chemicals on the environment.
Harmful chemicals hide in products used on a daily basis, but your routine doesn’t have to include them. Reduce your use of chemicals in commercial products by making your own homemade concoctions, growing and preserving your own herbs and food and filtering your water. It’s helpful to invest in high quality products and natural materials when you do make purchases.
Your health and the environment will benefit from decreasing the amount of chemicals you use, making life simpler to enjoy.
About the author: Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.