We All Start Out Chemical Free, Don’t We?
After our son was born, I found myself thinking how “clean” his little body was, well, aside from all the diapers we were changing. How could I keep him alive without “polluting” him? I hit up Google and asked “how to reduce household chemical exposure in babies”. Big mistake! Unless you’re living under a rock, you know asking Google anything will send you down a rabbit hole you may never come out of. My Google search informed me that over 200 chemicals can be found in the cord blood of a newborn!?! Come again?? Not only did Google not answer my question but the search results gave me heart palpitations. How in the world can my baby be contaminated before he was even born!?! I became extremely overwhelmed but unfortunately, once you learn something, you can’t “un-learn” it. Right? Time to get to work!
Where Do I Start?
I already had the recycling thing pretty well tackled but all the other stuff, that was going to take some time. Chemicals are in our food, in our cleaning supplies, in our personal care products, even in the air for goodness sake. Short of packing up and moving to live in a bubble somewhere, I knew there had to be solutions to help us reduce household chemical exposure. So my research began!
*Disclosure: I am a Norwex consultant, I will receive a commission on any purchases made through this website.
I decided to start with the cleaning supplies, not that I cleaned very often but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. I don’t recall reading labels much because honestly, I couldn’t pronounce most ingredients on the label so they must be pretty bad. I stuck to the “natural” section at the grocery store and made do with what I could find there. Remember, I don’t clean much. When the huge time sucker, I mean Pinterest, came along, I got the itch to start making my own cleaning products. I love Pinterest and don’t know what I’d do without it but man, tell me I’m not the only one that could get lost in there for weeks? Homemade cleaners did not prove to be a good solution for me. I know you’re thinking, how hard can it be, they give you the directions and you mix the stuff up. It didn’t work for me, I’m leaving it there. Thankfully I found Norwex* and can clean my house without using harsh chemicals. This was really going to help reduce household chemical exposure. Once I investigated Norwex, I knew it was totally my thing! I joined as a consultant, without ever having held or used a product. Big leap of faith but hey, these products are AHHMAZING! How can you go wrong with some microfiber and water? Everyone needs Norwex in their lives!
Personal Care Products
Next, I chose to tackle personal care items, you have to give the baby a bath sometime. The good old standby body wash and baby shampoo was not getting good reviews by the Environmental Working Group so to the recycling bin the bottles went. I wanted safe products for my son but money doesn’t grow on trees so I purchased whatever was on sale, that was safe. My research told me to avoid anything with phthalates, sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and parabens to name a few things. These ingredients are known endocrine and hormone disruptors and may cause cancer. As a survivor of multiple cancers, that’s reason enough for me. These days, there are so many alternatives. You may have to pay a little more now but your family’s health is most definitely worth it.
How can I control what’s in the air we breathe? Talk about impossible! Even I’m not that good but with the rise in diseases caused by or exacerbated by environmental pollutants, I decided to take steps to improve the one area I could control, my home. I found Norwex* for cleaning but what about getting rid of musty odors or just giving the house a good smell? I was never one to simmer cinnamon sticks on the stove or anything like that so I started reading about Essential Oils (EO’s). EO’s are defined as natural oils typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or another source from which it is extracted. Got all that!?! They have been used throughout history, mainly for medicinal purposes but have become increasingly popular in recent years. At our house, they are mainly used in a diffuser so we can all enjoy the scents and benefits. I also use them for pesky pimples, tummy aches, headaches, bug bites, etc. I’m not a guru on EO’s but I probably know enough to be dangerous!
I certainly didn’t do all this overnight, it was a process and still continues to be. Every day we learn about more assaults on our own personal health as well as the health of our planet. The more thoughtful we can be about the choices we make, the bigger impact we can have.