How many chemical-laden products do you have in your household? Do you know? Have you ever counted? I don’t, or I haven’t, but I try to keep them at a minimum because they scare me. I don’t even know what’s in them, or how to pronounce some of the chemicals on the labels. I bet some are carcinogenic, despite the fact that the FDA might approve them for human usage. After all, there are warnings on most bottles advising consumers not to ingest, to avoid eye contact, to keep out of the reach of children, not to mix with other chemicals, and to use in well-ventilated areas. The warnings vary, as do the chemicals, as do the products, from body soap to shampoo, laundry detergent to bleach, dishwashing soap to dish soap, toilet soap to floor soap, carpet soap to wood polish, deodorant to glass cleaner, nail polish to hair spray, conditioner to straightener, leather cleaner to leather moisturizer, shoe cleaner to shoe polish, car soaps to car-carpet soaps, hair gel to shaving lotion, moisturizer to exfoliating cream, sunscreen to tanning lotion, toothpaste to mouthwash, baby soap to bubble wash, cologne to perfume, hair removal cream to hair growth cream, and on and on and on.
Do you feel like a sucker reading the above list? Go to any Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Costco, or other big box store and just observe the variety of chemical products available for your convenience and carcinogenic pleasure. Ok, I’m not a scientist, and I’ve been told this before, so I don’t have hard proof that these products directly cause cancer, but I am pretty sure that cancer has been on the rise over the last 50 years and I’m almost certain that housing such a toxic cesspool of consumable products is not a healthy choice for any family.
The wide, human-made need for such a vast variety of chemical products has harsh consequences not just for humans, but for the environment as well. If the chemicals don’t end up in your body, your kids, or your significant other, they are bound for the sink, the toilet, the bathtub, or the shower stall, which means that those chemicals will eventually reach the water cycle. Municipal water is treated before it cycles back into the water cycle, but I doubt that treatment plants can remove all pollutants.
Additionally, the plastic bottles that most chemical products are bottled and sold in must be manufactured using fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and gas, which were mined, which destroys the environment and emits millions of tons of climate-change-inducing greenhouse-gas emissions yearly. On top of that, these bottles end up sitting in landfills as eyesores and ecological disturbances for centuries on end.
What can you do? A whole lot, and not only is it easy but it will save you lots of money, which in today’s economy is something that most people should appreciate. Below are some steps or actions that can be pursued in order to minimize the amount of chemical products in the household. Some are common sense, while others require looking beyond marketing. I tend to look at the home in compartments, and I really like to keep all chemicals out of my kitchen. I also like to think of the bathroom as somewhat of a sanctuary, where I cleanse my body, so I don’t want chemicals in there. I spend a lot of time studying, working, and relaxing in the living room, so the last thing I want to do there is to be surrounded by chemicals. The same is true for my bedroom, where I sleep. You might notice a pattern, in that I really do not feel comfortable having more than five or so chemical products in my house at a given time. I am still struggling with this, and I plan to cut back a bit more to reach that goal of five. My last inevitable battle will be with my lovely wife regarding her cosmetics collection. I am not sure how or if I will win, but no matter how long or steady the battle I hope to prevent her from putting so much chemical junk all over and in her body. Steps for reducing the chemicals in your household follow:
- Consider the health and well-being of yourself and of those you love before purchasing and using a chemical product in your household
- Realize that 99 percent of the chemical products sold in stores today are sold as a result of manufactured need—neither you nor your loved ones need these products. Look beyond the marketing, put your wallet away, and get even more satisfaction going home to a chemical-free environment. Then put the money you would have spent on your foregone purchase into a piggy bank for a bigger treat (i.e. vacation) to be had later in the year.
- Good old-fashioned soap can be used on pretty much anything, including countertops, bodies, bathtubs, toilets, clothing, etc.
- Baking Soda is an amazing cleaner, it is all natural and non-toxic, super cheap, and can be used in place of almost all the miscellaneous cleaners that you may have sitting in the various rooms of your home.
- Consider other natural cleaners such as lemon juice and white vinegar. Like baking soda, these are amazing cleaners, all natural and non-toxic, super cheap, and can replace many of the chemical cleaning products that you may have in your home.
- Minimize the chemical cosmetics that you purchase. This includes items used before, during, and after bathing. Just think that your body is a sanctuary and you should know what you put on and in it. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients on the label then stay away from it.
MESSAGE TO CITIZENS: Reducing the number and variation of chemical products that you purchase, store and use is something that you control entirely, perhaps less the potent force of marketing. Take control of your lives, your loved ones, your health and the environment by reducing the amount of chemical-laden products that you consume.