One giant misconception about making changes to lessen everyday toxin exposures is that those changes are going to cost you a pretty penny. But, what if I told you that you can make a few small, but significant changes that cost absolutely nothing (or close to it)? The main cost these recommendations have is that they will take a little practice until each becomes a habit. Implementing any one of these can make a huge impact. Start with one and add to it as you can. Happy FREE toxic load lessening ;) xo, R
1. Leave Your Shoes at the Door
You can reduce your exposure to a ton of toxic and just plain gross culprits, including pesticides/herbicides from yards and parks, coal tar from roads and fecal matter and bacteria from bathrooms simply by not wearing shoes inside your house. Anyone else dread cleaning? Removing your shoes at the door can help to lower your household dust, too!
2. Wash Your Clothes Before Wearing
*Reagen Story* I have washed my new clothes before wearing them since my days working at a retail clothing store during graduate school. While steaming a new box of sweaters, I started tasting "metal" in my mouth. I also could not wait to wash my hands after opening new items because of this weird film that would cover them. This is before I knew anything about any of this. I cringe to think of what was actually going onto and into my skin - ack!
I now know that clothes are typically treated with chemical-finishing agents. Even the dyes can be toxic and irritate your skin. Beyond this, clothes from retail stores have often been tried on by dozens of individuals and, as a result, tests show that the clothing often contains bacteria and icky germs (even lice). Yuck! You may want to try an extra rinse cycle for extra stinky clothes. For dry clean only clothes, let them "air out" as much as possible before wearing. It's important to note that some of these toxins will not completely go away even with washing - but toss those into the 20 side of your 80/20 rule mentality :D Hmmm...I think this calls for a post on favorite clothing brands.
3. Open Your Windows
Did you know that indoor air can be two to five times more toxic than the air outdoors? There are lots of reasons for this and improving indoor air quality deserves a whole post on its own, so stay tuned for that. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are a big culprit and they are typically found in furniture, paint and building materials. When weather permits, open your windows and let the fresh air circulate. Bonus points for unplugging and ditching air fresheners, which typically contain endocrine disrupting phthalates - a big no-no in my book.
4. Decline Receipts
Thermal receipts, typically found at ATMs, gas stations and many retail locations, often contain BPA (bisphenol-A). Declining receipts when you are able or request that they be emailed or texted to you are great ways to limit exposure to this endocrine disrupting toxin.
5. Wash Your Hands If you must take receipts, be sure to wash your hands after handling and definitely before eating. It's best to wash with soap and water. Not only is this the preferred method of removing germs by the CDC, but it's important to note that one study found using hand sanitizer actually increased absorption of BPA. When you wash your hands before eating, you can also reduce your exposure to even more toxins that you could be ingesting, including heavy metals, flame retardants and other nasties often found in household dust.