Eco friendly products are better for the planet and better for you. There's more to a healthy lifestyle than just healthy eating and healthy exercise. You also need to consider what you put on your body , and what you come into contact with in your environment. No discussion of a healthy lifestyle is complete without understanding the implications of the chemicals you encounter in your daily life.
One enormous problem we have in this country is that the FDA doesn't require many consumer product manufacturers to test their own products for safety. And many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of household products have now been shown to pose health risks. Thankfully, eco friendly products for the home are becoming easier and easier to find.
The chemicals that are the most concerning are called hormone disrupters. They're also called endocrine disrupters, hormone mimics, estrogen mimics, or xenohormones. These chemicals are found in just about everything you come into contact with. They get into your body through what you eat, drink, breathe and touch. Once in your system, they resemble hormones, and so your body treats them like hormones. But, because they are not really hormones, they end up interfering with your body's normal hormonal processes.
These hormone disrupters are suspected of causing genetic damage, especially in children and unborn babies. They may also interfere with sexual development, and cause hormone-related cancers, such as uterine, breast and prostate cancer. The new, natural eco friendly products (also called green products) do not contain these terribly unhealthy ingredients.
One very common group of hormone disrupters is phthalates. These are chemicals used in a whole variety of household products, most commonly to make PVC plastics soft or to give products a fragrance. These chemicals are so prevalent in our society that it is pretty much impossible to avoid exposure to them in one form or another.
They give your laundry detergent that spring-fresh aroma and your bathroom cleaner that pine scent. They are in your car's dashboard (think of that new car smell) and your office chair. You'll even find phthalates in medical products, from IV bags and IV tubing, to the enteric coating used on pills.
Phthalates are also used in household products like caulks, paints, glues, children's plastic toys, shower curtains, and even jelly rubber sex toys. The word "fragrance" on an ingredient list of your dishwashing detergent or dryer sheet usually implies that product contains a chemical soup containing phthalates.
Sadly, just about every household product we buy these days is fragranced. While it would seem that these nice smells would be a good thing, in most cases that just isn't true. Look for eco friendly products that are fragranced with essential oils (it will say so on the label).
Manufacturers claim that the amounts of these chemicals in their products are very small, and don't pose problems in such small amounts. That might be true if you were only exposed to that one product in a day. Just think about the cumulative effect of all the different products you come into contact with daily - it really adds up!
So what can you do to reduce your exposure to these harmful chemicals? First of all, come to grips with the fact that you can only reduce, not totally eliminate, your exposure. Unless you get rid of everything you own and move to a deserted island, you will not be able to get them all out of your life.
Avoid products that list "fragrance" on the label. Unfortunately, a product labeled "unscented" may still contain fragrance chemicals. Manufacturers sometimes add certain chemicals to cover the scent of other chemicals, resulting in a product that does not have a noticeable scent but still contains phthalates or other toxic chemicals.
If you do buy a fragranced product, make sure it is fragranced with essential oils. It will say so on the list of ingredients. More and more manufacturers of eco friendly products are beginning to offer these wonderfully and naturally scented options. Plant based ingredients are being used more and more, instead of harmful synthetic ingredients.
To have a healthy home, become a label reader. Also, check out the National Library of Medicine's Household Products Database at www.householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov. Their site gives information on the ingredients in and rates the health hazard of a whole range of household and commercial products.
Is your kitchen full of plastic food storage containers? Do you heat up leftowvers in plastic containers and drink out of plastic bottles? Please visit my page on plastic containers, where I explain the hazards of plastics and how to reduce your exposure!
Despite all I'm telling you about these potential dangers around us, don't allow yourself to be overwhelmed with all the bad news. There's only so much you can control. Do the things you can to protect your health and the health of those you care about, but accept that there are some things you just can't change. By using eco friendly products, eating the right foods, exercising and taking care of yourself in other ways, you will make your body stronger and more resistant to those things you can't control. Just do the best you can to take care of your body and your body will take care of you.
Make sure to check back often - I will be researching and recommending specific eco friendly products in the future. Plus, I'll be adding any new information I come across that I feel will help you have a healthy home. Keep living the healthy lifestyle you deserve!
Other Links of Interest!
At Simple Green Living you can find ways to improve your health by growing, preparing and eating organic vegetables, get recipes to make your own natural non toxic cleaning products and make your home a safe environmentally friendly place to live and thrive.
German wooden toys - Check them out for your kids, they are not only eco friendly but also very popular.
Easy Green Living - This site aims to help inform people about what we can do to live a greener lifestyle to help combat global warming and save our planet for future generations!