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How Can I Clean Up My Environment To Be Less toxic?

How Can I Clean Up My Environment To Be Less toxic?

Avoiding toxins in the home:

The products I am recommending that you avoid have known neurotoxic, (kills the nervous system), carcinogenic (cancer causing), and teratogenic (affects unborn fetus), health hazards.

The following is a suggested list of the types of products to avoid and a recommended substitute:

General Rules:

1. Avoid all products with fragrances

2. Avoid food with additives and preservatives

3. Do not use fluoride

4. Do not use chlorinated water

5. Use natural, biodegradable, non-toxic products

6. Avoid products with colouring (dyes)

Request a Material Safety Data Sheet from the manufacturers of the products you commonly use.

Potentially Hazardous Materials Added to Products:

Products Avoid Use Non-Toxic Products
1. Deodorant
Aluminum Chlorhydroxide
-most commercial deodorants
Health Food Store (HFS)
HFS-Lavalin, Tom’s Queen Helene, crystals
2. Makeup Formaldehyde, preservatives, ammonia, fragrances, and petrochemicals Hypoallergenic, fragrance free products. HFS has all natural, nontoxic lines.
3. Soap Fragrances, deodorants, antibacterial soaps, Glycerin soaps, Ivory Nature Clean Castle soaps, Kiss my face, Dr. Bonners
4. Lotions Petroleum jelly (Vaseline), fragrances Almond oil, oxygenated olive oil, Vit. E
Products: Avoid Use Non-Toxic Products
5. Toothpaste All commercial brands that contain fluoride. Pepsodent, HFS-Tom’s, Nature’s gate. Microbrite
6. Hairspray Aerosols containing alcohol propellants, petrochemicals and fragrances, PVP, PVM, BHA, DEA, Dyes. Non-aerosol, non-fragrance, Many brands in HFS, Jason, Aubrey, Earth Science
7. Shampoo & Conditioner Fragrances, petrochemicals, coal tar, formaldehyde. HFS, Aubrey, Earth Science, Tom’s, Kiss My Face
8. Shaving Cream Fragrances, petrochemicals HFS- Aubrey, Logana, Jason
9. Hair Colouring Petrochemicals, toxic dyes Logana Henna products
10. Sunscreen Petrochemicals, (zinc oxides contain lead) HFS-non-toxic, Milk Creek Nature’s Care
Household Products:
1. Laundry Detergents Chlorine, fragrances, Ethoxylated alcohol Unscented Arm and Hammer Washing soda, Borax, HFS- many brands of non-toxic fragrance free brands
2. Dishwasher soap Formaldehyde, fragrances petroleum based, dyes Use latex gloves, ivory Borax, Baking Soda, Vinegar and water, Borax
3. All-Purpose Cleanser Ammonia, Fragrance Vinegar and water, Borax, HFS- Many brands
4. Glass Cleaner Ammonia, fragrance Vinegar and water
5. Furniture Polish Petrochemicals, fragrances Lemon oil
6. Disinfectants Ammonia, chlorine Hydrogen peroxide, Borax
7. Air Fresheners Perfumes/fragrances Essential oils, Borax, baking soda, white vinegar
8. Mold and Mildew Disinfectants Dehumidifier, Borax, Hydrogen peroxide
Lawn and Garden:
1. Weed sprays Herbicides, pesticides, dioxin, Agent Orange, Insecticides, Chemical fertilizers Mulching, natural fertilizers, manual weeding
1. Flea products Carbamates De-worm, Borax, If you are really sick, avoid pets altogether.
Pest Control:
1. Pesticides Organophosphate, Carbonate, Chlorinated Hydrocarbons, DDT, Chlorpyrifos (Dursban), Diazinon, Malathion, Carbarly (Sevin) Keep a clean house, cover garbage, use Borax, Boric Acid, Perma Proof products
2. Bug repellants Diethyltoluamide (DEET) Skin So Soft (Avon), Citronella
3. Flea Collars Carbamates Natural Pet Company
Products Avoid Use Non-Toxic Products
4. Lice Parathion, Lindane, Pyrethrins Tea Tree Oil
Building Materials:
1. Carpets Latex backing, stain resistant antimicrobial 100% nylon backing
2. Paint Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Mercury, Lead Non VOC paints, Glidden 2000
3. Paneling All pressed woods, Formaldehyde Woods treated with non-toxic stains and oils
4. Insulation Urea Formaldehyde, Asbestos No formaldehyde or asbestos
1. Natural Gas Carbon Monoxide Proper ventilation, Ensure peak efficiency, Put cheesecloth over vents
2. Barbeque Do not eat the black parts, PAH’s Cook on low heats, Vertikal Grill
3. Microwave Free Radicals Baking, Broiling
Cat Litter Urine vapours in the air Litter Green
Electromagnetic Fields Hydro lines, Transformers, Electric blankets, Microwave, Appliances; TV, Computer, copiers, cell phone Do not live close to these, avoid. No microwave. 36 inches away, short calls only
Noise Traffic, Loud Rap Music Classical Jazz

Labeling of Household and Personal Care Products

It is very difficult to make informed, healthy choices about the products we purchase based on the labeling, because the standards for labeling are inadequate.

There are many agencies in place that are supposed to “protect” us, unfortunately they do not adequately advise us of the potential health hazards present in the products we purchase. This is partially because the manufacturers are not providing these agencies with a full disclosure of the contents of their products. Especially, when it pertains to carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and teratogenic ingredients.

Protection Agencies:

1. FDA. labels for cholesterol, but not for carcinogenic or neurotoxic ingredients.

2. The Department of Agriculture allows meat to be contaminated with bacteria, as well as growth hormones and carcinogenic drugs.

3. The Environmental Protection Agency still allows many pesticides to be sprayed or added to our crops, while trying to “manage the consumer risk”.

4. Consumer Product Safety Commission requires labeling for poisons, irritating and caustic materials, as well as flammable ingredients. However, they do not require labeling for carcinogenic, neurotoxic, or teratogenic ingredients.

5. The National Cancer Institute’s statistics are very revealing. Cancer rates are up substantially; 1 American in 3 will have cancer.


You must become educated about your health and the products you consume. You most definitely cannot rely on these agencies to inform you of the full dangers of the products they approve.


1. D. Steinman, and S. Epstein, The Safe Shopper’s Bible, New York: Macmillan, 1995. To order, (this book is a must have)

I highly recommend you get this book. The list above is very short; there are many more choices in this book. There is a mail order section in the book to order the products.

2. C. Fincher, Healthy living in a Toxic World, Colorade: Pinon Press, 1996.

3. M. Breecher, S. Linde, Healthy Homes in a Toxic World, New York: John Wiley & sons, 1992.

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