Getting Toxins Out of Your Life: Bathroom Cleaners

The bathroom is the worst place to clean in the house, besides the soap scum and toilet goo, you are also dealing with little or no ventilation and traditional cleaning products, such as bleach, that are toxic.  In fact, many common household cleaning products may smell nice and quickly get the grime off of the shower but continued exposure to these products can cause health problems such as asthma, skin irritation, cancer, and hormone disruption. 

I am a big fan of using vinegar and water to clean my house, it’s a cheap and toxic-free solution.  You can find more DIY cleaners here.  However, the bathroom poses a challenge to my vinegar mixture.  Here are some easy and cheap DIY cleaning recipes to tackle the bathroom and keep you and your family healthy.

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Getting Toxins Out of Your Life: Triclosan

Triclosan is an antimicrobial, endocrine disrupting chemical that pollutes people and the environment. It is found in most Americans, where it may be interfering with the hormone and reproductive systems and increasing sensitivity to allergens.  According to a recent article from the Environmental Working Group, “Triclosan and other antimicrobials, added to many soaps and other everyday products…likely harm people's health and the environment, while providing no benefit to consumers, said more than 200 scientists and medical professionals.  Scientists are concerned that widespread use of antimicrobials in consumer products could contribute to growing antibiotic resistance and make the vital medical uses of antimicrobials ineffective.

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Getting Toxins Out of Your Life: Finding the Right Sunscreen

A few months ago I wrote about toxins present in sunscreen and what to avoid.  I recently came across an excellent article from Reviews.com entitled "Best Sunscreen".  This article is very well researched and expands upon my original blog post about avoiding Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in sunscreen.  Through testing and ingredient examination Reviews.com found that the following are the "best sunscreens".

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Getting Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Life: Lead in Baby Food

A new study by the Environmental Defense Fund evaluated data collected by the Food and Drug Administration from 2003 to 2013 and found that 20 percent of baby food samples tested had detectable levels of lead.  This is very scary and every parent should be concerned.  According to the NPR article “Lead Detected in Baby Food Samples.  Pediatricians Say There’s No Safe Level”, the study included 2,164 baby food samples. They found 89 percent of grape juice samples, 86 percent of sweet potatoes samples and 47 percent of teething biscuits samples contained detectable levels of lead.

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Getting Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Life: Canned Food

So why avoid canned food?  Cans with BPA linings are a common source of exposure to BPA. Scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who studied BPA exposure in 2011 stated that BPA “migrates into can contents during processing and storage.”  BPA was first synthesized by chemists in the 1890s and in the 1930s chemists identified it as an artificial estrogen, a chemical that can affect the body like the natural human hormone--an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC).  EDCs alter the body’s natural hormones by mimicking thyroid and sex hormones and have been associated with a wide variety of health problems, including altered brain and nervous system development and changes in the reproductive system. Pregnant women and the developing fetus, children and teens may be most at risk from exposures to BPA from canned foods. In California, state scientists in 2015 unanimously agreed that BPA should be added to the state’s list of chemicals known to cause birth defects.

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Know What is in Your Sunscreen--Avoid Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

According to the Environmental Working Group, active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters.  Part of FACT’s mission is to educate consumers on toxic chemicals present in everyday products.  Most concerning are chemicals that are endocrine disrupters (EDCs) as discussed in more detail here.  Lab studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones or cause skin allergies, which raises important questions about unintended effects on human health from frequent sunscreen application. The most worrisome is oxybenzone, added to nearly 70 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens. 

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Toxic Chemicals are Stagnating Human Reproduction

An increasing proportion of sperm, 90 percent in a typical young man, are now misshapen, some even having two heads or two tails.  Those correctly shaped often do not swim well.  And over the last 75 years, sperm counts have dropped quickly.  In one study, sperm donor applicants in 2001 in Hunan Provence, China qualified for donation at a rate of 56 percent.  In 2015, the qualified rate plummeted to 18 percent.  Put simply, EDCs are threatening our ability to reproduce in the future.  A significant number of men will be unable to reproduce in the next generation if measures are not taken to reduce our exposure to EDCs.  This should be a public health emergency.  Aggressive regulation is needed to reduce and control the use of EDCs in our everyday products like cleaning solutions, soaps, perfumes and lotions, to name a few.   

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Nationwide Problem: Myths about Lead in Drinking Water

Part of the problem is the number itself, the EPA’s action level is 15ppb so that must mean something and one would presume it is somehow tied to health.  The number does mean something, it is found in the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule of 1991 and is the lowest level where corrosion control treatment (CCT) is effective.

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Nationwide Problem: Arlington, VA Elementary School Demonstrates Discrepancies in Lead Test Results

In this example, children who literally go to school across the river are exposed to more lead because their school’s remediation level is higher than schools mere miles away.  How is this fair to families and children?  Look closely at this graphic and you will see that water sources that tested above 1ppb on the first draw at Jamestown Elementary School is 69 out of 109—63%.  The number of water sources remediated after the testing is 19—only 17%. 

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Nationwide Problem: Playing Russian Roulette with Children’s Health

While all this testing and information gathering is happening; children continue to drink from water sources that may or may not be laced with lead.   Fulton County has spent $300,000 testing all of their water sources and found 161 schools with lead over 15ppb.  FACT believes that children and parents should know that there are lead free drinking water sources in every school in America.  Therefore, we propose that schools and day care centers use a fraction of the money spent on testing to install drinking water filters at some water fountains.  No more Russian roulette with children’s health, every family will know that their child has a safe drinking water source in school. 

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Understanding Lead Testing in Drinking Water

Most schools are not testing for lead at all. And even in those states and school districts that are testing, much of the available data is limited to test results showing concentrations in excess of 15 ppb (or a 20 ppb equivalent for schools, using a different sampling method). Yet we know that lead is toxic at very low levels.

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