As we learned in Part I, we are exposed to chemicals when we breathe, put products on our skin, and ingest them with our food. Keeping our homes clean and families protected from potentially harmful chemicals is a priority. Here are some additional tips.
Dust can harbor toxins including lead, pesticides and flame-retardants. It is all over your house.
What to do: Using a damp cloth with plain water or a microfiber cloth you can purchase at the car wash work nicely without any cleaning products at all. The biggest source of chemicals brought into your home is actually the soles of your shoes. Removing them when you come in is a lot easier than cleaning up what they leave behind that you can’t see. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter will help clear the air.
In the Kitchen: BPA and PFOA’s
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a component of plastic you may be exposed to in food storage containers, and in cans and containers you purchase your food in. It is a synthetic or xenoestrogen which can act as an endocrine disruptor especially if you heat food in a BPA container. BPA also appears in paper receipts.
What to do: Use glass containers—best is glass with glass lids, next best is glass with rubber or BPA-free plastic tops.
For receipts: always take care to wash your hands after handling them, especially before prepping food or eating. You may want to decline them all together.
Perflurooctanoid Acid or PFOA is a chemical released from non-stick cookware, and it’s also in carpet and upholstery cleaners, microwave popcorn bags, linings from food packages, and dust in your house. It is also an endocrine disruptor that can mess with your thyroid, and disrupt your hormones and metabolism and reproductive health. PFOA is only an issue when the pan is heated and the chemical is released into the air.
What to do: Take care not to use any non-stick pans that have been scratched.
Some alternatives to non-stick are Lodge cast-iron, Le Creuset or other enameled cast-iron or stainless steel from All Clad, Cuisinart or T-fal for some.
Your cast-iron pan will act like a non-stick if you heat it on a low-medium flame for three to four minutes before adding a small amount of oil and using a stainless-steel spatula. It takes a little practice, but is well worth the effort.