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Print Posted By Safe Cosmetics Australia on 01/26/2017 in Home & Health

Living a less toxic life, how to make healthy decisions easy

Living a less toxic life, how to make healthy decisions easy

Living a less-toxic lifestyle is important to the vast majority of us. So where should you start and what difference can your product choice make to the evolution of creating a more sustainable future?

Small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference to reducing your exposure to nasty toxins. Which three chemicals commonly used in cleaning products do you consider to be the top offenders & why?

Kirsten: To be honest I don’t think I can narrow it down to three. If you read The Chemical Maze, by Bill Statham and Lindy Schneider, they list the chemicals commonly used in “household products” towards the end of the book. This includes cleaners as well as things like air fresheners and shoe care products. They list 16 chemicals that get their nastiest rating. Which ones are worst for an individual or family depends partly on their other exposure and conditions – for instance, someone who has asthma will need to be particularly careful about products containing ammonia or formaldehyde (which unfortunately is very common) among others, particularly in products which are sprayed. Someone trying to get pregnant will particularly want to avoid a different set of chemicals.
To make a start, I would rather recommend you choose one product which you use regularly – if there’s one that you’ve noticed affects you, maybe gives you a headache, or just the smell aggravates you, pick that one. Otherwise, just choose one of your most used products, like an all–purpose cleaner or laundry detergent. Now, find out how to substitute a safer choice, be it a safe brand you can buy or a DIY variety, which is generally what I talk about on my blog. Make that one substitute, get used to it, and then go from them.

What advice would you give to someone who has never used Natural cleaning products as many believe that they just don’t work as well as the common chemical varieties?

Kirsten: I would say give one of them a try, and while you do it, read a little bit of the truth about the chemicals you are avoiding from that one product. Seventy-five per cent of chemicals approved for use in Australia have never been tested for safety to humans. And many of the ones that have, and that are in our everyday products, like formaldehyde, are known carcinogens, neurotoxins and reproductive disruptors, to name just a few issues. Look, the truth is, sometimes those nasty chemicals do save us time, in the short term. But is it worth it? Meanwhile, I manage to keep my house clean, I’ve developed a fairly non-toxic stain removal spray my husband is happy with (he does the laundry in our house), and I see no difference between my DIY laundry powder and the eco-friendly variety we used to buy. The only thing I still buy “ready made” is dishwashing liquid.
Just try it and see.

Considering that babies are born carrying as many as 300 different chemicals present in their blood, what are the top three tips for women who are pregnant or for those who are starting a family?

Kirsten: In addition to the standard tips that your doctor will give you about avoiding mercury laden fish, avoiding cigarette smoke and so on:

Cut down your beauty routine. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and many toxic chemicals are absorbed into your body through your skin very effectively. Forty-five per cent of personal care products contain at least one ingredient that could be harmful to your baby or your reproductive system, and sixty per cent contain an ingredient that could disrupt your hormonal system (source: Chemical Free Parenting). Use products that are certified organic or listed on SCA’s Toxic Free List.

Switch to safer cleaning products, and don’t be fooled by Greenwashing. Do your homework by looking at sites like this one and like healthychild.org, or download the non-toxic cleaning printables from my site to get started making your own. Use gloves when using any commercial cleaning products. If you don’t already eat certified organic food, check out the “dirty dozen list” for the most pesticide laden produce, or the slightly different Australian version that Friend of the Earth released last year, and start to purchase organically grown versions of those items, or grown them yourself.

What three changes do you believe are crucial for humanity to make the changes needed to achieve a sustainable future?
Kirsten: We need to stop depending on economic growth, when we live in a finite system. We need to rethink our economic model to one of stability rather than growth. We need to take seriously the fact that we are pushing up against our limits, in terms of the resources the planet can offer us, and figure out how to live in a way that simply uses less, particularly, of course, those of us in the West, who are using far more than our “fair share”. This includes, of course, recognising and responding to the challenges of climate change. I think if we applied the precautionary principle as a general rule, which basically states that if there is a risk to the environment or human health, the burden of proof lies with those want to use it to prove it’s safe, not those concerned it might be harmful, it would go a long way towards creating a more sustainable future.

If you could get women to stop using any one product that is a known toxicant, which product would you suggest women toss in the rubbish bin today & why?

Kirsten: I would say whichever cosmetic product they use the most, which may be their lipstick or lip balm, which is often applied several times a day, or perhaps their body lotion, or hair spray. Basically, I would say choose one product you use heavily and ditch it. Get used to an alternative and then move on to ditching another product.

Meet Kirsten McCulloch an Australian freelance writer and mother of three, passionate about living a more sustainable, healthy life, for herself, her family and the planet. She writes about non-toxic cleaning and other aspects of a healthy home at SustainableSuburbia.net, where you can download her free non-toxic cleaning printables. Her book “Less Toxic Living” is available now


Visit Kirsten’s website and find out how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Find easy DIY recipes that will help reduce your exposure to nasty chemicals commonly found in Australian products and check out the many articles concerning your home, garden and beauty bag, you’ll love Kirsten’s ideas as well as her seriously good advice!

Published by www.safecosmeticsaustralia.com.au

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