What's the healthier choice?
-Fragrance-free soap without antibacterial ingredients
Athough antibacterial soaps are important in hospitals, they are not the healthiest choice in the home. Absorbed through the skin or by mouth, traces of triclosan (a common antibacterial ingredient) have been found in human breast milk and urine. Triclosan, fragrances and other chemical ingredients found in beauty products can cause allergic reactions and affect hormone systems. Chemicals that affect the hormone system of humans, fish and wildlife are called endocrine disrupting chemicals or hormone disruptors.
Beauty products are washed off our bodies and down the drain. The chemicals they contain can pollute water and aquatic organisms. In fact, methyl triclosan has been found in fish.
Choose safer personal care products. Even if the label says a product is “gentle” or “natural,” it may not be the safest choice.
• Avoid products with Triclosan and Fragrance
• Choose safer products at Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database.
-Cleaning products made from simple, non-toxic ingredients
Have you ever wondered about the ingredients in your cleaning products? There is no law that requires cleaning agent manufacturers to list ingredients. Just because you find a product for sale on a shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe for you or the environment. The reality is that some of these products include a blend of toxic chemicals that is harmful, not only to human health, but also to our environment. And some ingredients have the potential to act as hormone disruptors in humans, fish and other animals. Most cleaning products end up going down the drain, and wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to remove these chemicals, so cleaning up the bathroom can contaminate our lakes and rivers.
Traditional household cleaners often contain toxic chemicals that can affect your health and our waterways.
• Use baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and pure soap flakes to make all of the cleansers that you need to keep your home fresh and clean.
-Non-plastic materials such as stainless steel, glass, ceramic, wood, bamboo
-Re-useable not disposable
Plastic beverage and food containers are made from petroleum-based chemicals, some of which can seep into the food or beverage they contain. These trace amounts of chemicals can be harmful to our health, and some chemicals like phthalates and BPA (Bisphenol A) can act as hormone disruptors in humans, fish and wildlife.
Plastics are not a healthy choice for the environment either. Manufactured using non-renewable energy and clean water, plastic containers are then are recycled into low grade products, or thrown away where they clog our landfills and pollute water. There are increasing amounts of ‘microplastic’ –tiny particles of plastic—in oceans and in the Great Lakes. Toxic contaminants adhere to these floating microplastics, and enter the food chain when they are eaten by fish and other animals. Some of these contaminants are also hormone disruptors, and can affect the health of aquatic life.
Reduce the plastic in your life. And if you must use plastic, learn to make safer choices at Playing it Safe: Plastics and Smart Plastics Guide Healthier Food Uses of Plastics. Visit the TBDHU Healthy Babies and Families website.
Scientists have found over 850 different chemical ingredients that have the potential to affect the hormone system of fish, wildlife and people. The hormone (endocrine) system affects growth, reproduction and other body functions in all sorts of species. Very low doses of these hormone disrupting chemicals can potentially lead to chronic health problems such as:
• Reproductive problems (reduced fertility, increased miscarriages, deformities of reproductive organs, skewed sex ratios)
• Problems with brain and nervous system function
• Increased obesity and diabetes
• Changes in behaviour
• Impaired immune systems.
Although fully-developed adult animals may show no ill effects from exposure to hormone disruptors, contaminants may be passed on to their offspring during pregnancy. Women can pass these chemicals to their babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Children are most likely to be affected due to their rapid growth and development, which is controlled by the hormone system. The wide range of reproductive, developmental, growth and behavioural problems can last a lifetime.
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