Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Green Parenting ~ Guest Blogger Donna Walls RN, IBCLC, CCE

Donna Walls
The connection between the environment and our health is clear.  The alarm has been sounded about the harmful effects of many toxic chemicals. Now parents need to take action.

How can we protect out families from these ever-present chemicals. The answer is clear- start at home. We can create a safer, “greener” home by following these steps:

  1. Switch to non-chemical, basic cleaning products. This is safe and less expensive. For most basic cleaning you can use white vinegar. Dilute in half with water for cleaning kitchen and bath. If scrubbing is needed- sprinkle baking soda on the surface, add water to make a paste for simple, effective scrub. Lemon juice is also a great disinfectant for kitchen counters and cutting boards.
  2. AVOID anti-bacterial products. These have not been shown to be anymore effective than plain soap and water and most contain triclosan, a dangerous chemical linked to hormone disruption. If you are looking for a safe “away from home” hand sanitizer, mix 20-30 drops of lavender essential oil in 1 oz water. Spritz on hands, no need to rinse.
  3. Personal care products are a hidden source of harmful chemicals. They often look and smell so good, it’s hard to believe that many of them can cause cancer,  hormone disruption affect our immune systems. Minimize the use of these products for babies and children. Read the labels of all products before you use them and use only products that do not contain any paraben, phthalate, dye, fragrance or preservatives like EDTA. A simple tip- for dry skin use olive oil instead of expensive lotions.
  4. Get rid of the plastics! This one is a big one. We are surrounded by plastics, but make every effort to switch to glass or ceramic cookware, storage containers and serving  dishes. Plastics have been shown to release harmful chemicals into our food, especially when the food is warm or hot. A good investment is in glass kitchenware, wherever possible.
  5. Don’t be fooled by those good-smelling air fresheners. Most contain formaldehyde and other dangerous chemicals that increase the risks of asthma, ear infections and headaches. If you want the house to smell good- bring in some organic flowers, place a few drops of an essential oil on a cotton ball an place on a table or desk or simmer some aromatic seeds or citrus rinds to a fresh, clean, non-toxic aroma. Remember, plants like philodendron and spider plants are also great natural air cleaners.
  6. Avoid all insecticides and herbicides for your lawn and especially in your home. Since the 1960’ we have know about the dangers of these products, but they remain a staple of our everyday life and most people feel they are safe. Research shows the use of these chemicals are linked to asthma, mood and behavior problems, cancer and now interfering with our bodies ability to use insulin correctly, contributing to the sky rocketing rates of diabetes. Switch to organic lawn care products and use only non-toxic products in the house. Trying to get rid of ants? A few drops of a citrus essential oil in vinegar will do the trick. Choose organic foods whenever possible to avoid these exposures through food sources.
  7. Organic sheets, towels and infant clothing are available in more stores than ever. It’s worth a bit more to keep your children from exposures to dyes, flame retardants or formaldehyde.
  8. For more information check out and  and start a healthier more “eco-friendly” life today!!

1 comment:

Eliza said...

I love for looking up any type of skin products from soap to lotion to makeup. It rates the toxicity of all types of products.
I would also suggest looking locally for foods above seeking out organics. Many areas have available no/low spray foods that are more nutritious because they are picked at the peak of ripeness (often that day!)and the foods are in season. They are also not trucked across the country or globe further contributing to global warming. A further bonus is that you are supporting a local farmer.
Another thing we do in our family is buy used clothing, it's a great way to reduce our footprint by abiding by the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle theme.