This is a guest post by Amanda Queen.
Feeling concerned about the chemicals your child might be exposed to in your home? Maybe you want to do something about it, but you’re not sure where to start. Most likely, you’re a busy mama…so I’ve got you covered! Here is the short and sweet version of how to get as much of the bad stuff out of your home as you can.
What are endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can affect the body’s hormonal processes, triggering a cascade of undesirable effects. BPA is one of the most well known endocrine disruptors, but there are many of them. Unfortunately, many plastics labeled “BPA-free” may have other endocrine disrupting chemicals that are just as bad, and sometimes worse. Why does it matter? Endocrine disruptors are linked to reproductive cancers, infertility, heart disease, early puberty, diabetes, thyroid problems, and even lowered IQ. Children are particularly susceptible because of their small size.
How to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors:
As much as possible, choose toys and baby/child products that are made from wood, natural textiles, rubber, or food grade silicone. Avoiding plastic can be hard! So minimize it, and do what you can. If you do nothing else, try to get the plastic toys out of the bath. The warm bath water leaches out toxic chemicals out of plastic that can be absorbed through your child’s skin.
Yes…really! Silicone and rubber are safe options, and there are some environmentally friendly “foam” toys that aren’t so bad either. Read websites and packaging carefully. Unfortunately searching for “rubber” or “silicone” bath toys is not enough, as many plastic toys will show up in the search results.
These are some of my favorite toys:
Check out this post for more non-toxic bath toys suggestions.
Dishes, cups and silverware:
Avoid serving your children (and yourself!) from plastic as much as possible. For children, I really favor stainless steel dishes, including plates, bowls, cups and silverware. They are super durable and totally non-toxic. You DO need to make sure that your stainless dishes aren’t coated with anything. If your kids like straws, replace the plastic ones with paper straws, or for a more eco-friendly version get a couple stainless steel ones you can wash.
These are some of my favorite ones:
Check out this post for more non-toxic suggestions.
Alright I’m going to come right out and say it…recycle all the plastic leftover containers you have. Just do it. Invest in glass, stainless steel, and silicone alternatives. What you’re storing your food in really does matter.
If you’re looking for a “lifetime lunchbox” Planetbox offers a one and done solution for kids. Yes – they are more expensive but they hold up so well. Stop buying a new plastic box every year! Planetbox offers some nice sales a couple times a year too.
Just like with your dinnerware and food storage, water bottles need to be swapped out. I would really encourage you to avoid “BPA-free” sippy cups in favor of stainless steel or glass.
These are some of my favorite ones:
- Klean Kanteen – these are cool because you can swap out just the top, from sippy to sport to a regular cap as your child grows.
- Life Factory – makes super cute baby bottles or water bottles.
- Pura Kiki – makes durable stainless steels sippy and straw bottles.
Unfortunately, a lot of furniture is made with chemicals that you would probably prefer to avoid. The biggest offenders are anything with padding or foam, particleboard, and plastic. When possible, choose furniture that is made of solid wood, metal, or glass. Solid wood furniture also doesn’t have to be super pricey, Ikea even offers several pieces!
Mattresses are another tough one, as they can be expensive and aren’t usually replaced often. So – next time you need a new mattress, do some research and get one with less toxic parts. If you’re looking for a baby, I love Naturepedic’s Organic Mattress, with no flame retardants or weird chemicals. The food grade polyethylene covering is waterproof and safe.
While organic cotton or hemp is probably the best for baby as well as the environment, flame retardants are what you really need to avoid. These are found particularly in pajamas. Here’s a tip: Look for the warning “must be snug fitting” and/or “not flame resistant”. Yay! Crunchy code for non-toxic.
OK be honest – how many of you use bleach and/or “anti-bacterial” cleaners, because you’re trying to do your best at home? Unfortunately, these types of cleaners are skin and respiratory irritants, and can affect your child even if you never use them directly around your child!
Additionally, anti-bacterial products can actually breed resistant bacteria or “super-bugs” in your home. What to do?! Use a natural, plant based solution instead. There are many botanicals that have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, and can clean your home without causing bacterial resistance OR skin/respiratory irritation. At home we use the Thieves cleaner from Young Living. An alternative is Seventh Generation’s products that contain thymol, a derivative from thyme.
EVERY step you take to making your home safer for your child is worthwhile. It may not be an overnight process, and you can’t control everything. Do what you can. It matters!
Want to learn more about detoxing your personal care products? Click here!
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