Ultimately, it should be remembered that you couldn’t possibly avoid everything! Follow the advice given below for tips on how you can reduce your contact with chemicals. Pregnant women and small children should take extra care, as they are most at risk.
- PVC plastic frequently contains phthalates, which evidence has suggested could be hormone disrupters, so avoid goods made from this material. PVC is one of the most widely used types of plastics and is used for packaging in cling film and bottles, for consumer products such as credit cards and audio records, for construction in window frames and cables, for imitation leather and around the home in pipes, flooring, wallpaper and window blinds. Testing by several governments concludes that children can ingest hazardous chemicals from PVC toys during normal use. Ask in the shop if the product contains any PVC – if so, try using a different brand.
- Buy organic produce whenever possible and support local growers
- Avoid perfumed products containing artificial musks as they contain chemicals that build up in the body.
- Try cutting down on the scented products you use. For example, only wear perfume on special occasions, open the window instead of spraying a chemical air freshener or use products marked ‘fragrance free’.
- Try to use paints that are water-based, as these are often less toxic than those which are oil-based. There are some non-toxic paints on the market as well.
- Avoid using pesticides and chemicals in your garden and avoid going near areas that have been freshly sprayed with pesticides.
- Reduce your use of plastics in general; use glass containers, wax paper, etc.
- Avoid ‘anti-bacterial’ products, which can contain risky chemicals such as alkyltins, persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals.
Make your Own Cleaners
It’s easy to make your own green cleaning solutions rather than always having to buy them in. Vinegar is the active ingredient in many commercial products anyway – just add a bit to warm water and you’ve got the perfect solution for mirrors, tiles and windows. A stronger vinegar solution will de-scale a kettle or toilet, while lemon juice is a good alternative to bleach.
- Descalers – distilled white vinegar for limescale in kettles and toilets, lemon juice is a fragrant alternative for teapot stains
- Oven Cleaner – a paste of baking soda and water left on for 3 minutes and then washed off with a scouring cloth and hot water. Sprinkle salt on spills while still warm to ease their removal once oven is cool.
- Window Cleaners – 2tbsp distilled white vinegar and a few drops of liquid soap in a spray bottle. Some smearing may occur on first use due to waxy build-up from previous cleaner. Remove this with surgical spirit or washing soda.
- Scourers – Bicarbonate of soda is a good scouring powder for sinks and baths and polishing chrome. Salt is also abrasive but perhaps not quite as effective.
- Drain blockages – dissolve quarter of a cup of baking soda and 50ml of vinegar in boiling water. 1
1. Taken from http://www.arcania.co.uk/greentree/features/clean.htm
Reproduced with kind permission from Natural Collection and dotguides:http://www.naturalcollection.com/