Some days I long for the simple choices that my grandparents probably had at the general store on the Canadian prairie. These days, something as straightforward as a buying groceries means I could be bringing home items that may harm our health or the environment. Certain chemicals pose risks to the very air we breathe. Other compounds lurk in products we might put on our skin and into our bodies. Fortunately, it is fairly simple to make the switch to more wholesome alternatives.
- Replace ultra soft bathroom tissue with recycled toilet tissue.
The revelation that ultra soft luxury comes at the expense of old-growth trees was very troubling to me. I now prefer to buy recycled toilet paper to lessen our environmental impact. Admittedly, some green brands perform better than others.
- Instead of anti-bacterial soap, use plain soap.
Regular liquid soap works just as well and doesn't dry out our skin as much. Also, I don't have to fret about washing my hands with triclosan, which is considered by the EPA to be a pesticide.
- Ditch fabric softener for natural softeners.
Adding borax to the wash cycle and vinegar in the rinse cycle is a fine alternative for us. Some people make their own dryer sheets as well.
- Leave artificial colors out; put natural tints in.
My son seems to have noticeable reactions to Red No. 40. Now we try to use natural coloring sources like beets. And encouragingly, an increasing number of ready-to-eat foods, like yogurt and goldfish crackers, are being colored with vegetable extracts instead of artificial dyes.
- Instead of high VOC paint and sealers, buy low-VOC equivalents
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are bad news for indoor air quality, according to the EPA.
- Avoid PVC products and opt for eco-friendly polymers instead
There are good reasons why new shower curtains give people headaches --VOCs. Fortunately, there are now several less toxic alternatives, like PEVA and nylon.
- Don't use chemical air fresheners; use natural fragrances.
Instead of buying expensive air fresheners that contain harmful phthalates (see this report from the NRDC), we create own aromas from edible ingredients.
Were any of these concerns new to you?
Join us at Heavenly Homemakers for the little Green Project!
You can also learn more about Eco-Friendly Alternatives to 10 Common but Dangerous Products in the Home at Associated Content.