Getting Toxins Out of Your Life: Fabric Softeners

So why the fuss over fabric softeners and dry sheets?  They contain chemicals that irritate the skin, trigger asthma and are toxic to our reproductive systems including:  distearyldimonium chloride, diethyl ester dimethyl ammonium chloride, variants of hydroxyethyl methyl ammonium methyl sulfate or the vague terms “biodegradable fabric softening agents” and “cationic surfactant.”  The fragrance softeners are even worse, containing  phthalates, which disperse the scent; synthetic musks such as galaxolide, which accumulate in the body; and much more.

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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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Talking About Lead in School Drinking Water with D.C. Councilmember Cheh’s Staff

Recently I had the good fortune to meet with knowledgeable staff from D.C. Councilmember (CM) Mary Cheh of Ward 3’s office and discussed D.C.’s efforts to eliminate lead in school and daycare drinking water.  A recent amendment to the Childhood Lead Exposure Prevention Act of 2017 expands mandatory water testing and remediation beyond public schools to recreation centers, charter schools and daycare centers in the District.  The amendment also changes the action level for lead in drinking water from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommended level of 1 part per billion (ppb) to 5 ppb---the FDA’s action level for bottled water.

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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: 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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Getting Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Life---Children's Toys

Toddlers and infants are natural explorers and love to place objects in their mouths, especially when teething.  Manufacturers put chemicals in almost all products, sadly children’s toys are no exception.  You can research this issue until blue in the face and still uncover toys and chemicals to avoid.  After extensively looking into this issue my family has adopted some general rules around types of toys that we give to our son.  But before getting into the practical let’s discuss what chemicals/products we are trying to avoid.

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Getting Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Life---Laundry Detergent

Our new series entitled Getting Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Life--we will be highlighting different products that everyone uses which contain toxic chemicals.  The idea is to provide readers information on the toxic chemicals and product alternatives that perform just as well but without the toxic substances.  This post looks at laundry detergents, they are NOT all equal and many contain excess chemicals that do not make your clothes any cleaner but will irritate your skin and contain endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). 

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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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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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Beware: Toxic Chemicals in Nail Polish

It is no surprise that nail polish contains toxic chemicals.  The law that regulates cosmetics is almost 80 years old, does not require companies to evaluate the health effects of chemicals prior to use in cosmetics, and does not even require companies to share safety information with the Food and Drug Administration.

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