Replace vinyl shower curtains with those made of natural fibers. Vinyl shower curtains contain phthalates which have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems as well as cancer. The phthalates readily evaporate into the air and hot steamy conditions promote the release of these plasticizers.
Reduce use of plastic, which can leach hormone-like chemicals; this includes plastics marked BPA-free. Stop buying bottled water — they’re bad for the environment, expensive, and bad for your health. Swap out plastic for glassware. Start by replacing the items you use regularly like drinking glasses and food storage. Also, don’t put hot or acidic food in plastic and NEVER microwave them.
Reduce intake of canned foods because, like plastic, they contain potentially toxic chemicals. Buy food like beans in bulk from a health food store. If you need to buy canned goods, try to avoid the really acidic food like tomatoes.
Break up with fragrance. They’re protected under trade secret law so you don’t know what kind of toxic combination you’re getting. Start by getting rid of things you can probably live without: scented body washes, air fresheners (which contain formaldehyde), dryer sheets, aftershaves, perfumes. For scenting properties, you can use essential oils.
Stop using antibacterial products. They contain harsh chemicals like triclosan, which has been linked to liver toxicity and ends up in water sources. Washing hands with plain soap is just as effective and cheaper. Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-in-One Products are great for multiple uses.
Don’t buy toothpaste with artificial sweeteners, colorings, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, and fluoride. No need to have toothpaste ever look, smell, or taste like bubble gum.
Don’t buy vitamins with synthetic and industrialized chemicals, colorings, additives, synthesized fillers, and binders. Focus on getting vitamins and minerals from your food. Also, vitamins and minerals made from whole foods are the better option.
Don’t use products with nonstick treatments, such as Teflon. Choose cast iron or stainless steel. If you can’t afford to replace this, at least discard those that show signs of deterioration.
Open your windows daily, especially while you cook and after you shower. Indoor air quality can be worse than outdoors, so let your home “breathe.” Open your curtains and let in the sunlight, a natural antibacterial agent. Bringing in some air purifying plants are helpful. There are many options that are low maintenance, tolerant of irregular watering and less lighting, and have the potential to absorb airborne chemicals.
Leave your shoes at the door so that you’re not spreading outdoor pollutants and additional toxic dust throughout the house. This is the easiest thing you can do at no cost.
Here’s some helpful resources for information about chemicals, including much more details on ways to reduce toxic exposure: