Pause for a moment and consider the number of ways you come into contact with chemicals each day.
The list might look something like this:
- Washing detergent
- Household cleaning products
- Furniture polish
- Air fresheners
- Stationery; marker pens, paints and glue
- Pesticides used on your fruit and vegetables
- Colours and additives in foods
- Sprays to protect your carpets or furniture
- Flame retardant clothing
- Treated wood furniture or flooring
- Perfume and body lotions
- Soap, shampoo and conditioner
- Antiperspirant deodorant
- Plastic containers that cover or store food and beverages
All this and you haven’t even stepped out the front door!
Why should chemical exposure concern you?
Chemical exposure can be toxic. We’re familiar with the toxicity of x-ray radiation or medical treatments and we’ve heard stories of toxic illness in people working in high exposure jobs, but this doesn’t make us immune.
The number of chemicals we’re exposed to in regular daily life is growing, and the effect this may have on our health is of concern to everyone.
It’s of particular concern for our children, who are chemically exposed even before birth, and who will grow up with more exposure than our own generation.
What impact does chemical exposure have on our health?
Day-to-day chemical exposure may show up as increased allergic reactions or lower tolerance of allergens. Visual disturbances, headaches and dizziness are common. The eyes, nose and respiratory tract are often affected, especially in susceptible people like the elderly and asthmatics. Some chemicals can disturb immune and endocrine function and even affect our ability to absorb nutrients from food.
The good news is everyone can do something to reduce daily chemical exposure with a little bit of thought and effort.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Avoid eating or storing food in plastic containers or drink bottles; go for glass instead – it’s better for the environment too!
Choose PVC free furnishes and finishes for the home, eg. bamboo, silk, hemp, linen, raw wood.
Buy fresh organic fruit and vegetables or grow your own.
If organic foods are too expensive, remember the ‘Clean 15’ lowest pesticide foods:
- Sweet corn
- Sweat peas
- Kiwi Fruit
- Sweet Potato
Use natural products for cleaning: Bi-carb soda, vinegar, lemon juice, orange oil, eucalyptus, tee tree oil, cloves and oil of cloves. Explore the internet for more ways to use them.
Read food labels! Purchase food with as few (or no) chemical additives as possible.
Choose pump sprays instead of aerosols
Look for unbleached paper products – including toilet paper
Use natural oils or candles instead of ‘air-fresheners’ in the home
Choose plant-based shampoos, soaps and conditioners and use skincare that is chemical free
The chemical-free option is often more environmentally friendly too. Do something for yourself, your health and the environment and explore more ways you can go chemical-free in your daily life.