10 Things Parents Can Do Right Now To Minimize Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

BY ON July 29, 2015

Cartoon showing woman kicking toxic chemicals out of her house

In my last post, I ranted about the onslaught of toxic chemicals our vulnerable kids are currently enduring. It’s a familiar-to-those-who-know-me rant. I concluded what I believe strongly: that protective parenting is necessary and, for some, empowering. I practice what I preach, too. Daily. As much as no parent wants another thing on his or her to do list, it’s absolutely our job to try to avoid exposing our kids to hazards and this includes unsafe chemicals—at home, at school, at play. While it’s impossible to steer completely clear, it’s critical to work towards minimizing exposure to what we know or suspect to be harmful when and where we can.

Researchers are busily seeking answers and politicians are working to protect our kids and us, but that doesn’t mean parents get to sit this one out. It’s time to get active.

Here are ten things you can do today to minimize exposure to known hazards in and around your home:

  1. Eat organic. As much as possible to reduce ingestion of chemical residues. Be especially careful about meat, dairy, poultry, and seafood. Drink filtered tap water in glass, not plastic.
  2. Ditch canned food. You’ll avoid the hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (and/or its not-much-better replacements) used in can linings. Choose dried beans and fresh or frozen produce.
  3. Break up with plastic. Chemicals found in various plastics have been linked to hormone disruption, cancer, and more. Choose glass for food storage and safer materials for toys.
  4. Rethink clean. Cleaning product formulas are government protected as trade secrets; purchase from natural companies voluntarily disclosing their ingredients to reduce indoor air pollution. Or DIY!
  5. Shoes off! Take off your shoes at the front door to avoid tracking in lead dust, pesticide residues, and more. Also damp wipe floors and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter frequently.
  6. No pesticides. Don’t want to eat them? Then why are you voluntarily spraying the house and garden? Keep clean to minimize bug outbreaks and opt for organic gardening measures.
  7. Wash hands. Especially before eating to reduce ingestion of whatever might be on little hands after crawling, digging in the dirt, or playing with art supplies.
  8. Seek safe(r) cosmetics. It’s shocking how many questionable chemicals can be found in one tube of diaper cream. Use fewer products and look for 3rd party certification when shopping.
  9. Renovate with caution. If you’re doing housework, take preventative measures to not disturb lead paint and more. Look for “green” new materials like paint to reduce indoor air pollution.
  10. Sit and sleep safe. Buying new furniture? Choose hard (not pressed) wood over carpeting, flame-retardant-free upholstered items and mattresses, and fabrics with no added stainproofing chemicals.

Looking for even more to do? Great. Parents have waited too long for toxic chemical reform. Our children need protection now. We are on the verge of a historic change in the way toxic chemicals are regulated in this country. Please tell your Senators to make kids a priority and pass the strongest toxic reform bill.


TOPICS: Children's Health, Indoor Air Pollution, Toxics