Good health really begins by reducing your exposure to toxins.
People looking to improve their well-being often think about what they need to add to their lifestyle... such as adding more exercise, more sleep and more nutritious foods.
But at the foundation of a healthy lifestyle is taking some things away... and that's the number of toxins you are exposed to every day... many of which you'll find right in your own home.
Exposure to toxins has been linked to diseases in every system of the body. This includes the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the respiratory system, the endocrine system and the reproductive system.
Most noteworthy among toxin-induced diseases is cancer.
Toxins can also be especially detrimental when it comes to the health and development of children.
And at a minimum, ongoing toxic exposure can keep your body systems from functioning at optimum levels.
Because of the danger of household chemicals, it's important to be aware of them and avoid them as much as possible.
Below is a list of chemical toxins commonly found in homes today...
May increase the risk of throat and tongue cancer. Found in mouthwash and cosmetics.
An irritant to the skin. More seriously, linked to nerve damage, brain disorders (Alzheimer's disease) and breast cancer. Found in deodorants, vaccines.
Causes imbalances in the endocrine system. Used in a variety of food containers and baby products. Also found in some dental sealants to prevent cavities.
Well-known component of insect repellents. May cause skin irritation, nausea, headaches and dizzines. Prolonged use may lead to brain cell death and behavioral changes.
Ethanolamine Compunds (DEA/TEA)
A possible carcinogen. Found in shampoos conditioners, bubble bath, shaving cream, bath and shower gels and cosmetics.
Harmful to skin. Also causes kidney and liver damage in animal studies. Known as a solvent in antifreeze. Found in deodorants, cosmetics, shaving gels, conditioners, shampoos, toothpaste, facial creams, and even ice cream.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Known to cause skin irritation, teeth damage, endocrine changes, hair loss, mouth ulcers, headaches, coughing and congestion. 50 percent of rats died from oral ingestion. A commercial engine degreaser. Found in shampoos, toothpaste, mouthwash, hand creams and lotions.
Direct link between talc use in the genital area and ovarian cancer. Found in baby powder, feminine powders and deodorants, and cosmetics.
An antibacterial agent that is chemically similar to dioxin. Believed to disrupt the immune and endocrine system. Found in liquid soaps, toothpaste, deodorants, cosmetics, and kitchenware.
Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Ethyl, Butyl)
Used as a preservative. Accelerates the aging of skin and detected in human breast tumors. Found in deodorants and other cosmetics.
Used in stain repellents and nonstick surfaces. Linked to developmental problems and different types of cancer. Found in teflon cookware, microwave popcorn bags, and products treated with stain guard.
Pesticides and herbicides
Connected to nervous system abnormalities. Possibly a risk factor for cancer, developmental challenges, and reproductive problems. Found wherever there is non-organic farming and landscape practices
Added to plastics for resilience and flexibility. Harmful to the male reproductive system. Often found in soft vinyl products and food packaging... including children's lunch boxes. Also an ingredient in the powdery cheese packets hat come with mac and cheese.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Connected to reproductive, respiratory, neurological, developmental problems and some forms of cancer. Found in air fresheners, hair spray, perfumes, cleaning products, paints, carpets, and furniture made out of pressed wood.
Being aware of your toxic exposure is one thing, but reducing your vulnerability to harmful chemicals is something else.
So what can you do to reduce your exposure to everyday toxins?
The most logical way to reduce your family's toxic exposure is to stop using as many of the offending products your are currently using as you can -- and replace them with more natural products.
Instead of using some of the chemically-laden air fresheners that are so common today, start using an essential oils diffuser.
The typical product areas for you to consider are:
Household Cleaning Products
Personal Care Products
Makeup and Cosmetics
Baby Care Products
Replacing the products you've grown accustomed to may seem like an overwhelming task. But it doesn't need to be.
Just set some weekly or monthly goals to make changes in these different categories, and before you know it, you will have greatly reduced your family's exposure to harmful chemicals.
And you'll be so pleased you've done this... especially when you remember the dangers these chemicals present to your family over time.
But remember too... Because toxins are so prevalent, creating a home a that is completely chemical free is just about impossible... and becoming preoccupied with every single ingredient under your roof can be emotionally distressing.
So, I find the healthiest approach is this:
Be diligent to avoid toxins the best you can... while at the same time supporting the systems of your body with an overall wellness lifestyle... including the use of essential oils.