While those detox juices might taste good (do they, though?), we know the human body doesn’t really need any help. Our bodies are naturally self-cleaning machines—but our homes are another story. So until they can clean themselves, what can you do to limit the grime and the chemicals?
As with many areas of wellness, it starts with awareness. A study of more than 700 people found that those who read labels in an attempt to reduce personal exposure to potentially harmful chemicals had lower levels of them in their bodies. The study was conducted by the Silent Spring Institute, a scientific research organization studying the link between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and breast cancer.
You can take action in bigger ways too. But eliminating everything potentially problematic is impossible to do all at once. Some of the tips here are easy to incorporate into your life starting today; others take time and money. Go slowly, and know that any change you make for your health is a good one.
Toxins are naturally occurring, while toxicants are man-made; both are potentially dangerous, explains Kim Harley, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkeley. You don’t want “natural” lead in your ice water or plastic particles in your spaghetti.
A healthier kitchen
Use the exhaust hood.
Cooking over a gas flame generates significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide and tiny particulates, which can irritate your nose, cause asthma flare-ups, or give you a headache or fatigue. An exhaust hood vented to the outside removes particulates and gases from your home. If you don’t have a hood, start saving for one. If you can’t go that route, open windows and/or doors while cooking to bring in fresh outdoor air.
For your next not-stuck omelet, consider stainless steel, cast iron, or enameled or anodized aluminum cookware. Nonstick cookware may be coated with PFAS. If you can’t swap pans yet, keep the heat exposure below 400ºF and open windows while cooking. But do stop using the pan if the nonstick coating chips or gets scratched.
Test or filter drinking water.
Water quality varies greatly across the U.S., and public utilities test for few chemicals and contaminants. Lead can lurk in an older home’s interior pipes, and some contaminants aren’t yet federally regulated. If you’re concerned, get your water tested—especially if you drink H₂O from a well. Water filters can excel at removing lead, bacteria, and many other contaminants, Patisaul says, but not all. Save up for an under-sink reverse-osmosis filter.
A more livable living room
Lose the shoes.
Several studies show that people who wear shoes indoors bring in lead, pollen, and pesticides, says Heather B. Patisaul, Ph.D., associate dean for research at NC State University. Kicking off your heels (or sandals) at the door is easy and…
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