When used in our homes, traditional cleaning products contain chemicals that can stay suspended in the air for hours or even days after the product has been used. These chemicals are then inhaled. They also remain behind as residues on the surfaces that have been cleaned by them. They are then easily absorbed through skin that comes in contact with those surfaces.
A 15 yearlong study in Oregon found that women who stayed at home had a 54% higher death rate from cancer than women who worked outside the home. The study suggested that chronic exposure to cleaning products played a role.
This is something that women should take very seriously. As we learn about these chemicals affecting our lives, many of us choose to start eating organic food, buying from local farmer markets, as well as cutting out processed foods. But what about the chemicals in our own home that we breathe in every day?
Often times we hear stories about small towns where plants that use certain chemicals have led to birth defects, and very high rates of cancer (like in Erin Brokovich). We tell ourselves that those incidents are because of the concentration of the chemicals, or because it got into their water. That might be true - but what happens when chemicals are in the air, floor, and surfaces around you every day week after week; that can have a big impact too. Even though the amount present on these surfaces is likely very small, constant exposure to these chemicals over time may have the same effect.
There are a number of different alternatives to your current cleaning products - try them and find the ones that suit you best. Some of these companies include: Organic and Nature, Meyer's Clean Day, Seventh Generation, and The Good Home Co. - try these companies to find which product suits you best.
Why buy organic cotton?
Cotton surrounds us - our clothing, bed sheets, towels, all have cotton. What you put on your body can be as important as what you put in your body. Various harsh chemicals are used on conventionally grown cotton, including: pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, defoliants, and synthetic fertilizers. To complete the production process chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, and high-impact dyes are used. Washing cotton materials does not remove all of these chemicals, so you are likely being exposed to these harsh chemicals everyday without realizing it.
Cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides - more than 25% of the world's pesticides each year. According to the Sustainable Cotton Project, one-fourth of a pound of pesticide and other agricultural chemicals are used to produce cotton for one t-shirt. Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens.
Not only is the process of producing conventional cotton an impact on your health, it takes a significant toll on the environment. Our behavior now will impact the world our grandchildren will live in. Should we continue to use and abuse the planet selfishly? Our purchase decisions can have a tremendous impact on the environment. As a society, by creating a market for cotton produced this way, we are in a way adding to the negative impact on the environment.
There are so many products out there that we use every single day. If you replaced even half of these products with the healthier, organic alternative the next time you went shopping - imagine what kind of impact you could have on the planet. Natural toothpaste recycled plastic toothbrushes, chemical-free mouthwash and deodorant, organic cotton shirts, chemical-free cleaning products, biodegradable laundry detergent, natural cosmetic products, organic spices, etc. As more and more people follow this path of a healthier lifestyle, we can change the way businesses produce personal care products all over the world. The more we create demand for the healthier alternatives, the more big businesses will switch to meet that demand. As they do so, the whole planet benefits.
By purchasing organic cotton, fewer pesticides will flow into our rivers, which eventually affect our own water supply. Fewer chemicals in the waters also affect the plants and animals in those areas, which could eventually end up on our own plates. By helping the environment we are not only helping future generations, we are also helping ourselves.
A Healthier Lifestyle
I recently went to a lecture by an Ayurvedic physician in Houston, TX. At her lecture she went over the daily life of someone living the ayurvedic lifestyle - I was completely floored.
She started with the morning routine.
Wake up early, massage your body with herbal ayurvedic oils, do a morning yoga practice, then move on with your day. Brush your teeth with a natural toothpaste (like Tom's of Maine), rub your gums with a special paste, and use a tongue cleaner on your tongue. Right there I had a few things on my list of things to buy.
Take your morning shower - use natural soap. Apparently anything you use on the surface of your body can be absorbed into the body - and most of these chemicals are not good for us. Do not use a synthetic perfume - use natural essential oils. My list of things to buy was continuing to grow.
Eat organic fruit and vegetables - do not eat any processed or frozen foods. When cleaning your home, do not use these harsh chemical products - use natural home cleaners that work as well, without filling your air and covering your surfaces with toxic chemicals that can be soaked into your skin.
Sleep early, wake up early, and start the process again. Ayurveda goes on to talk a lot more about eating certain foods based on your body constitution, but this is a basic day in the life of someone living a healthier, more organic lifestyle.
When I started to tackle my new list of things to buy, I realized it was not easy to find all of these things. That's when I decided to create a place where people could find all of these items and learn more about living an organic lifestyle - www.samawellness.com.
Good for yourself, Good for the planet
We are fortunate to live in a society where we have the opportunity to do good for others even when we are buying things for ourselves. Our dollars can help make a difference to our own body, to our wellness, to the planet, and to the future. There's no extra work involved, just replace what you're using with the healthier alternative.
Being environmentally friendly in part means not polluting the physical world or environment. Next time you're in a store, buy products that are made of recycled paper - cards, gift wrap, printer paper, paper towels, etc. Buy natural cleaning products that are biodegradable - laundry detergents can have various harsh chemicals that can end up in our water systems - buy detergent that is biodegradable and not harmful to the environment.
You are what you eat. Many companies are creating gluten-free, preservative-free products for us to enjoy. Take advantage of this - Cherrybrook Kitchen has excellent desserts that are gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free nut-free, kosher, and all natural. Ancient Organic Ghee - has created an organic alternative to using butter in your cooking.
Your skin eats too. Using a natural skin care line instead of one that is completely chemical based can make a big difference. Many spas are starting to use natural, botanical product lines for treatments - including ones that use fruit and vegetables for their benefits. If your skin can soak up the vitamin C from orange, why couldn't it absorb all the chemicals in a synthetic product? One spa line, Astara, is an all-natural botanical line that has something for all skin types, and feels great on your skin - it smells great too.
What about kids? There are various clothes, foods, toys, and bath products available for kids nowadays. Studies have shown that for their body weight, small children eat significantly more fruit and vegetables than adults. Children should eat organic because as they are growing, they are more likely to be affected by the accumulation of harsh chemicals and pesticides in their bodies. Use natural products during baby's bath time, in their diapers, in their clothes, and their toys. There are great products available for all ages.
With a few changes in our purchases, we can help the planet and ourselves at the same time; how great is that.