REMOVING TOXINS, WHERE TO START?
When people are thinking about switching out toxic products from their homes, it’s hard to know what to do or where to start?
To start with, toxins are everywhere, so this is just intended to give an overview of the basics of what to consider and how to start checking out different products.
Decide WHY you want to remove the toxins from your home.
Maybe someone in your home is suffering from allergies,lack of energy, dizziness or breathing difficulties? Or has someone you know recently been diagnosed with cancer, are you concerned for your own health or has your child been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and it was recommended to you to limit exposure to artificial additives and chemicals?
Whatever the reason is that you are wanting to switch out your toxic products have it clear in your mind, this is the emotional part!
WHY? Because no matter what, change is hard especially when it comes to things that we have been using for years! I don’t know why we get emotionally attached to something as simple as shampoo, even after we know it is causing us harm! For me it was learning about all the dangerous chemicals in use and the lack of regulations which I have listed in Some facts about chemicals. I was stunned and knew I had to make changes.
You WILL notice differences. There are certain things that are specific to products that have chemicals, one would be a copious amount of bubbles. When you remove the sodium laurel sulphate which is commonly used because of its foaming abilities you don’t get as much lather, that can take some getting used to and it may feel like it is not working as well, don’t worry it is working just fine.
Toxic Free cleaning products will not smell as strongly and for some reason we associate the strong chemical smells with cleanliness. It’s a myth that you have to clean your home with industrial chemicals to get it clean, there are many less toxic products that will do the same job just as well. You may find that you were using several different products for a job where now you just need one and vice versa.
You may have a transition period when you switch out personal care products, deodorant is a good example. When switching to anti-perspirant, the emphasis is not so much on blocking the sweat as it is not having the odor. You may find it can take a couple of weeks to detox from your old product because your sweat glands have been blocked. If you keep in mind that there will be some differences once you start switching out, it may deter you from running back to the store for the old favorites.
Decide WHERE you want to start.
There are different ways you can do this and it can be quite overwhelming to think about switching out the whole household at once, firstly because it is a humongous task and secondly can prove very costly. When you think about it, the list is endless of toxic products you are exposed to on a daily basis, from the personal care products to laundry detergents, dish soap and cleaning supplies. Remembering toxins from products enter the blood stream through the lungs, the mouth and the surface of the skin.
Consider starting with any one of the following:
Personal Care products.
Systematically go through each supply zone until you have switched out everything.
Make a list of things you are getting low on that are currently on your shopping list and make a point to replace them with healthy products as you run out.
Personally I switched out gradually zone by zone starting with personal care products, then cosmetics, laundry, dishwashing and cleaning supplies.
It took me a little over 6 months before I was totally switched and as I replaced one section I threw out all the old supplies so I did not continue mixing them up. I could not make sense of using shampoo that was toxicfree and still using toxic toothpaste, I preferred to make a clean break of it.
However the choice is yours, what ever works for you, I would advise that as you buy a replacement product if you can, throw the toxic one out regardless if it is finished or not.
Decide WHICH products you want to switch out.
So how do you decide what to use instead? I know that there are more and more people who are resorting to making their own products. Both vinegar and baking soda do a wonderful job for cleaning and I regularly use distilled white vinegar in the rinse cycle of my laundry. For me, I personally don’t have the time or the energy to make all my own cleaning and laundry products but I totally admire those who do, more power to you!
To help you find manufactured products there are many different great websites that you can use to check different products for safety.
The one I really like is ewg.org. They have a very comprehensive, user friendly web site with consumer guides for personal care and cosmetics, cleaning supplies, water, food and sunscreen amongst other things.
To navigate the EWG website
Start by selecting a category, for instance Healthy Cleaning Products.
You can choose to search the name of a product or select one of the top rated products from a particular category.
If you choose to see the top rated products you can then select one of the product categories and a list will appear showing products rated A thru F, with A being the safest rating, F being the lowest rating.
You can then research each rating for the top products.
If you choose to enter the name of a particular product, maybe one you are currently using, you can type in the name in the search bar and you will get a safety rating for that product.
EWG rates the products overall safety based upon its concern for asthma/respiratory, skin allergies and irritations, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer and the environment. There will also be a list of chemicals of concern for each product and the associated side effects.
It is important to remember that labelling is not regulated, so even though you may have a product that states it is all natural and environmentally friendly, it may still rate poorly due to its chemical content. Organic does not mean chemical free and Natural means NOTHING!
Personal care products and cosmetics have their own similar guide. They are rated differently and are scored 0-10 with 0 being the safest, 10 the worst.
Remember, regulations for cosmetics and skin care are virtually non existent so be prepared to be surprised when you check your own products for safety. I was completely shocked that even some products that say they are physician approved have harmful chemicals in them.
Also for personal care products and cosmetics, there is an App called
‘Skin Deep’ that can be downloaded from the EWG website or the app store for easy access to product ratings while out shopping.
This really is a case of personal preference depending upon where you like to shop and the availability of certain brands in your area.
Fortunately the availability of good products is increasing and there are more products available on line that you can have shipped to your door, I really like this option as it saves time in the grocery store.
Just be certain that you check the ratings of the products before you purchase. I look for A’s or B’s for cleaning products and 0-2 for personal care products.
Switching out products really is a process but once you begin it actually becomes simpler and you will find that you can replace many of your old products with just one. I actually have tried several different brands of products and have had great results with them all. I love the simplicity of multi purpose products that work, knowing my home is clean without chemicals, having one product that cleans the whole house means I don’t have a cupboard under the sink full of cleaning products.
Products I like? The Industry leader for toxicfree products is Linda Chae who has been formulating toxicfree products for different companies and educating the public on the dangers of toxic chemicals in products for many years. Linda is also the founder of the Toxicfree Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about toxic ingredients in products, food and other materials. The web site packed with lots of useful information that is simple to understand. http://thetoxicfreefoundation.com
I have personally used many of the Chae products from skin care to cleaning products and I have loved them all. They carry the Toxicfree seal which means they have had the most stringent testing available and are guaranteed to be safe from harmful chemicals.
I have tried other brands like Earth Friendly, BioKleen and Seventh Generation, but did find that even within one brand, individually the products rate differently so I always check on the EWG website first.
I hope this basic guide has been some help to start, it is a process! I would encourage you to be persistent, you are not only making a difference for your family but for the future generations to come.
If you are ready to dig deeper into living a toxic free lifestyle and are looking to explore ways to total wellness by finding balance and harmony in all areas of your life, then check out the packages available under the services tab or contact Penny for a private complimentary consultation by leaving your information on the contact page.