Thursday, February 2, 2012

Should You Choose It or Lose it?

Below is a kind of cheat sheet to save freakouts for the truly harmful products that are out there. Below you will find which things you should definitely get rid of, ones you should use sparingly, and ones that still have very little evidence saying they are dangerous.

Eliminate NOW

Antimicrobial Chemicals - Be on the watch out for Triclosan, a chemical used in hundreds of germ fighting products. It may damage the liver and disrupt thyroid hormones. People using anti-microbial products have been shown to get sick just as often as those who use ordinary soap.

Cigarettes - I'm not even going to bother elaborating on this.

Oil-Based Paints - "Fresh" paint smell signals volatile organic compounds, solvents that can trigger breathing issues, headaches and diziness. It's also known that some research shows reproductive problems and birth defects. Low or no-VOC paints from brands such as Benjamin Moore have less toxicity.

Room fresheners -  They're air pollution. Up to 20% of all people say they've had headaches, trouble breathing or other problems after inhaling room sprays. Here's an interesting solution... To get smells out of soft materials like sofas, spritz on straight vodka from an atomizer.

Regulate It

Canned Food - BPA is a synthetic estrogen that is in the linings of most food and beverage cans. It is linked to cancer and abnormal brain development, and can leech out and into your food. When possible, buy fresh or frozen. BPA is not in freezer bags.

Household cleaners - Using chlorine bleach, cleaning sprays and disinfectants more than once a week is linked to asthma. Never mix chlorine and ammonia, it produces toxic fumes and you might wake up on the kitchen floor after a 30 minute crash nap. Always dilute bleach to ten parts water.

Plasticware - Memorize the numbers 3, 6 and 7. These recycling numbers mean the plastic have BPA. Try 4, 5 and 12. No plastic is 'microwave safe'. Just because the container doesn't melt does not mean that chemicals aren't seeping into your food.

Scented 'Stuff' - This last one makes me very very upset. The word 'fragrance' on a label may stand for hundreds of chemicals. Phthalates and musks can be endocrine disruptors, linking to reproductive dysfunction. The laundry room is a good place to cut back. Get unscented detergents and dryer sheets. Using these products coat your clothes with chemicals that you take with you... and that seep into your skin.

Tolerate It

Aspartame - Despite internet rumours, a National Cancer Institute study of nearly 500,000 people discerned no link between consuming this sweetener and developing leukemia, lymphoma or brain cancers. Nor is it tied to MS or Lupus. But... most soda cans have BPA.

Fluoride Toothpaste - The debate over water fluroidation shouldn't have you questioning your toothpaste. The federal government has advised utilities on lowering the amount of fluoride in tap water, due to studies linking fluoridation with bone fractures and stiffness. However, environmentalists and dentists agree that using toothpaste with fluoride has no adverse affect and is indeed beneficial for people older than 2 years old.

Nonstick Pans - The EPA is working to phase out perfluorooctanoic (whew!) acid used in making Teflon coatings. Nonstick cookware does not expose you to PFOA, according to a study in Food Additives and Contaminates even when you subject it to extreme heat. Scratched parts are fine too, so flip fearlessly.

<3 = :-)

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