By now, we’re all aware that exposure to too many chemicals can harm our health. Some everyday chemicals have been linked to organ damage, weakened immune systems, birth defects, and even cancer.
So how can we eliminate these risks from our lives? Start in the bathroom.
Plenty of cleaning and hygiene products you probably use all the time are virtually nothing but chemicals. Here are three of them.
1. Air fresheners
What’s inside: A smorgasbord of hazards, including phthalates, which can disrupt hormones and cause abnormalities in babies and young children. We like a nice-smelling bathroom, but is it really worth putting our kids’ health at risk?
And some scented candles are no better, as they can also lead to breathing problems and cancers of the nose and throat.
Use this instead: If your bathroom reeks, reach for the essential oils, which are usually nontoxic. Use an essential oil diffuser (which you can buy at major retailers, like Amazon and Target) to fill your home with their scents. And if you insist on burning candles, make sure they’re made with soy, not paraffin.
2. Body wash
What’s inside: Sulfates and artificially manufactured fragrances, which are more likely to make skin dry and flaky than clean it.
Flip over your bottle of body wash and read the ingredient list. It’s probably loaded with words you can’t pronounce. Yes, they’re some of those dreaded chemicals. But even more dangerous is a word you’re likely to recognize — parabens, which are known to create an abnormally high amount of estrogen in a person’s bloodstream.
Use this instead: Castile soap or any other natural cleanser with just a few ingredients. Basically, you want to avoid that laundry list of unpronounceable chemicals.
What’s inside: Aluminum, which may be the most dangerous substance we’ve mentioned so far.
According to WebMD, aluminum-based antiperspirant temporarily plugs sweat glands, preventing wearers from sweating. But aluminum may be responsible for some pretty serious health problems, such as breast cancer and kidney issues.
Use this instead: A natural, aluminum-free deodorant, which can be purchased online or at stores like Whole Foods, although other grocery and supermarket chains now also carry some of the big names (Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine, etc.).