If September is a time of new routines for you too here’s a checklist of six suggestions to help you get off to a healthy start.
- Vacuum and dust to reduce your exposure to flame retardants. Dust contains tiny particles of stuff that includes a lot of undesirable chemicals, like flame retardants. Enthusiastic dusting and vacuuming will keep flame retardants harboured by dust in check. When you dust use a damp cloth so you’re not simply stirring up the dust.
- Test your home for radon. New Brunswick homes have the highest radon levels in the country and 20% of New Brunswickers live in homes with radon concentrations above the Health Canada guidelines. Considering that exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, testing your home for radon gas is a logical safety precaution. A simple test sold through the NB Lung Association and hardware stores will let you know if radon gas is a problem in your home.
- Bid goodbye to synthetic air fresheners. Room sprays and plug-ins are loaded with toxic chemicals including phalates (hormone-disrupting chemicals) and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that have been linked to increased incidences of headaches, diarrhea and depression. Replace aerosols, plug-ins and any other synthetic “fresheners” with essential oils and baking soda (or open a window.)
- Air out your dry cleaning before bringing it in the house. When you bring dry cleaning home, remove the plastic and hang it on the clothesline or in the garage before bringing it in the house and never put it in the closet before airing it out. Dry cleaning effluent off-gasses VOCs (even so-called “organic” dry cleaners) and you don’t want to coop those fumes up in your closets.
When you buy new clothes wash them three times before wearing them. New clothes are treated with several chemicals to keep them looking crisp and to keep them from being damaged during shipping. As your new clothes rub on your skin these chemicals get absorbed into your body. And that new-clothes smell – you’re inhaling the chemicals.
Try Meatless Monday for the month of September. It’s often been said that eating less meat is the single best thing you can do for the environment. Meat has a high carbon footprint and beef in particular gets an iffy environmental rating because it’s fed growth hormones. There is no science that says whether these hormones are harmful to humans but they are harming the environment. Hormone residue in cow manure, especially from huge factory farms, is making its way into waterways, disrupting ecosystems and causing irregularities in fish eggs. Look for organic or naturally raised meat and eat less of it.
Even choosing just one or two of these habits will help to make your home healthier for you and the environment.