Cleaning and Laundry Products
These frequently used products in our homes can have a significant impact on our health. Though not required to be listed on labels, product formulations can contain toxic or hazardous chemicals recognized under federal laws. Scented products, including laundry detergents and dryer sheets, are particularly problematic because they contaminate clothing and bedding and often contain chemicals that release a chemically-derived scent that is harmful to asthmatics and linger in household air. Many liquid laundry detergents release the hazardous chemical 1,4-dioxane into the environment as the wastewater goes down the drain. Fortunately, there is a growing choice of safe cleaning and laundry products as more consumers become aware and demand safer alternatives.
The use of lawn pesticides and synthetic fertilizers should never be used for maintaining our lawns and landscapes, especially in spaces where children play. With the growing recognition of their harm to humans, toxic pesticides are now being banned or phased out across the country. Systems approaches that focus on healthy soil biology and organic cultural practices produce healthier lawns and outdoor landscapes for families, pets and wildlife.
Indoor Pest Control
Pest control inside our homes needs to be carefully addressed to ensure there is no direct contact with poisons and that indoor air is not contaminated. Children are especially susceptible to harm from pesticides, because their bodies and immune systems are still developing and they are more likely to be exposed to pesticides by crawling on the floor and engaging in typical hand to mouth behavior. Pets are also at heightened risk from indoor pesticide use. The best way to control indoor pests is to make your home unappealing to them by keeping food preparation areas clean and dry and frequently cleaning under stoves and other appliances in your kitchen. Enclosed baits and non-toxic controls are safe, effective and widely available.
Traditional maintenance of pools utilizing chlorine, algaecides and other chemicals puts swimmers at risk. Many newer technologies can achieve the same safe water quality without compromising health.
Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR) and Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)
With the proliferation of wireless devices and the wireless infrastructure to support them, it is more important than ever to be aware of the large and growing body of science that links exposure to RFR with many health problems and the simple steps you can take to reduce your exposure. Electromagnetic fields (EMF) from household appliances and wiring can also be addressed using simple remediation techniques and creating safe distances from the radiation source.
Much care should be taken when introducing paints, stains, floor products and carpeting into our homes. Many of these products contain petroleum-based volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and can contaminate indoor air spaces for long periods of time. There are many resources for “green” building and decorating products, so look for contractors that are well educated on this issue or purchase the products yourself.
At one time, not so long ago, our children were reading “real” books, playing with wooden toys and stuffed dolls and animals sewn with natural, non-toxic fabrics. But that is not our world today, and plastic has become the material of choice for toys. However, plastic toys, like any other plastic products, are made with some worrisome chemicals that can be transferred onto hands or accidentally ingested by very young children. The fabrics on stuffed toys is often treated with stain and water resistant chemicals (PFAS) that are of great concern and need to be regulated. Wireless toys are also popular, but carry a risk of unhealthy radiation exposure if used without maintaining a safe distance.
Water is essential to life, so providing clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing should be a priority. If you rent a home or apartment, bottled water in glass that has gone through a recognized water purification process is your best choice for drinking and cooking. If you own a home, have your water tested or find out from your local water supplier if there are any chemicals of concern in the public water supply. Whole house filters and under sink units for removing contaminants are effective and can be less costly than bottled water over time.