Dust Is More Than Dirt
There Is More Than You Think in Your Dust
Breathing and Eating Tiny Dust Particles Increases Your Health Risk
But the Dust Doesn’t Stop There
Tips to Reduce Your Risk
Eat Organic Meats and Raw Produce
As much as possible, buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic meats to reduce your exposure to added hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. Also avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
Eat mostly raw, fresh foods. Processed, prepackaged foods (of all kinds) are a common source of chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates.
Eat Wild-Caught Salmon or Purified Krill Oil
Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality purified krill oil, eat smaller fish or fish that are wild-caught and lab tested for purity. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, herring and sardines are about the only fish I eat for these reasons.
Buy and Store Food in Glass Containers
Buy products that come in glass bottles or jars rather than plastic or cans, since chemicals can leach out of plastics and the linings of cans and into the contents. Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap. Use glass baby bottles and avoid plastic sippy cups for your little ones.
Cook With Ceramic or Glass
Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
Use Clean Water
Filter your tap water — both for drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants. To remove the endocrine-disrupting herbicide Atrazine, make sure the filter is certified to remove it.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), perchlorate can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.
Use Earth-Friendly Products, No Plastics
Look for products that are made by companies that are earth-friendly, animal-friendly, green, non-toxic and/or 100 percent organic. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, upholstery and more. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric.
Vacuum and Dust Regularly
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove house dust, which is often contaminated with traces of chemicals. Wet mop your hard floors regularly, which will prevent dust from accumulating. Wipe furniture with a wet or microfiber cloth.
The small fibers of a microfiber cloth cause the dust to cling to it, while a wet cloth will attract and hold dust better than a dry one. Avoid chemical dusting sprays, which will only add to your home’s chemical load.
Damp dust your electronics frequently; these are a common source of flame-retardant chemicals in your dust. Use high-quality filters in your forced-air heating or cooling system and change them frequently. Caulk and seal cracks and crevices where dust might otherwise accumulate. Wash your hands before eating to remove dust from your hands and reduce the potential of ingestion.
Use Furniture and Clothing Without Fire Retardants or Stain Resistance
When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses or carpet padding, ask what type of fire retardant they contain. Be mindful of and/or avoid items containing PBDEs, antimony, formaldehyde, boric acid and other brominated chemicals.
As you replace these toxic items around your home, select those that contain naturally less flammable materials such as leather, wool and organic cotton. Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
Protect Your Children
Minimize your use of plastic baby and child toys, opting for those made of natural wood or fabric instead. Pay special attention to dusting areas where young children crawl, sit and play.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
Only use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid products that contain 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can damage fertility and cause fetal harm.18
Use Safe Personal Care Products
Switch to organic brands of toiletries for shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. You can replace many different products with coconut oil and baking soda, for example. EWG has a great database 19 to help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
I also offer one of the highest quality organic skin care lines, shampoo and conditioner, and body butter that are completely natural and safe. Replace feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary pads with safer alternatives.
Look for products that are fragrance-free. One artificial fragrance can contain a dozen or more potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances.
Download a Helpful App
Milken Institute of Public Health recommends trying the Silent Spring Detox Me app available at silentspring.org. This free app shares simple tips to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals at home and at work.