TOXIC-FREE LIVING resources
Now that you've got the FACTS, what do you do about it? There are many things we can do everyday to prevent or reduce our family's exposure to toxics. Many of these things have to do with our consumer choices and daily-living behaviors. The food we eat, water we drink, and things we put on and around our bodies really do make a difference in our exposure levels and health outcomes. Change is not always easy, but change can happen.
a toxic-free home is a healthy home
There are over 84,000 chemicals in commerce in the United States, 15,000 of which are used in high volume. Only 200 of these have been tested for safety and only 5 banned due to toxicity. Many of these chemicals used in everyday items are toxic and contribute to significant health outcomes. Unfortunately, many toxics are commonly found in our home environments and are brought into our homes through our consumer activities and exposure.
Our homes are our sacred spaces. Ideally, we experience a deep sense of safety and connection to loved ones within our homes. We all deserve to be safe in our homes. We recognize that busy families may not have the time to do the toxics and consumer research, so we've done it for you! Click here for a list of best practices for reducing toxicant exposures in your home:
For a brochure-style checklist of things you can do to reduce toxics in your home, check out our Health Homes Checklist in English and Spanish:
Food choices that reduce exposure
Our choices around food have a huge impact on our health and the health of our environments. Currently in the United States, more than 1.2 billion pounds of synthetic pesticides are sprayed on or added to food crops each year. The widespread use of synthetic agricultural chemicals in our food supply are associated with increases in birth defects, developmental delays (cognitive and biological), infertility (including impacts on sperm production and viability), and cancers.
Children are particularly vulnerable to synthetic pesticide exposures. Specific impacts on children's learning and development include Psychomotor Development Index and Mental Development Index delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorder problems.
We strongly advocate for an organic, seasonal, whole foods diet sourced from local and sustainable farms whenever possible. This the best option for reducing toxicant exposures through our food system and reduces our carbon footprint. Organic and local foods are nutrient dense and are rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and protective phytonutrients, which are the protective factors we need to stay healthy and resilient.
We know eating an organic diet is not always possible. There are many areas within the US where it is difficult to access clean and organic food, and there are many people who cannot afford to purchase organic food. In this case, we suggest following the EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty 12 consumer guides so you can be informed about what conventional foods are safest to eat and which ones have the most pesticides/herbicides. For questions about seafood, we suggest Seafood Watch’s recommendations. For suggestions on healthy eating on a tight budget, check out EWG’s Good Food on a Tight Budget Shopping Guide
We support local, organic, community supported agriculture, or CSAs. To learn more about CSAs or find a farm near you, we recommend the US Department of Agriculture's Local Food Directories.
Water is Life
Clean, pure water is essential to health. We recommend having your water tested to ensure it is healthy for your family. Based on the results of water testing, you can learn about installing appropriate filters or remediate efforts to ensure water quality. Don’t worry, it's not as hard as it may seem.
The EWG's Tap Water Database is a great place to start researching water quality in your neighborhood.
The EPA's Home Water Testing resources has recommendations for when and how water testing should be considered.
For those with the resources to pay for home water testing, we recommend Tap Score. It is the only home water testing service to apply toxicological and epidemiological research to your water's contaminant profile in order to give you a full picture of how your drinking water affects your health.
Water filter pitchers are a less expensive way to ensure your water has at least some filtration before drinking it. With so many water filter pitchers on the market, which one is best? Your Best Digs researches products using a series of quantitative and qualitative tests; their 2019 preferences can be found here: The Best Water Filter Pitcher.
We do not recommend buying bottled water in plastic water bottles because all plastics, including BPA-free, leach toxic chemicals. If bottled water must be purchased, we recommend a glass or stainless steal water container.