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Top 10 tips for a less-toxic home in 2014

The Breast Cancer Fund is on the forefront of the battle to prevent cancer.

Chemical-sunscreen-220x165The organization believes it's clear that exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation are connected to breast cancer risk.

It offers the following tips for consumers for a less-toxic home environment for 2014.

1. Carry out a shoes-off policy at home.

Shoes track in more than dirt. They also bring in environmental contaminants including pesticides, chemicals from car exhaust, and even lead-contaminated soil. As a perk, you’ll spend less time mopping or vacuuming.

2. Wash your hands. A lot.

During flu season this has a two-fold benefit — it protects you from that virus going around the office or school, but it also washes off chemicals linked to breast cancer found in household dust, including phthalates, alkylphenols, PAHs, PCBs, pesticides, bisphenol A, and flame retardants, which are found in furniture and electronics, and linked to endocrine disruption, especially thyroid disruption.

3. Avoid flame-resistant kids pajamas.

Though some chemicals like chlorinated tris and PBDEs have been phased out of kids’ pajamas, these have been replaced with other chemicals. Check labels that indicate that PJs are flame resistant, and pick snug-fitting alternatives that don’t require added chemicals.

4. If you’re thinking about getting a new couch, wait a year.

By 2015, manufacturers are expected to remove toxic – and ineffective – flame retardants from furniture, due to the implementation of the state of California’s new flammability standards. If you can’t wait, choose new furniture made with naturally flame retardant materials, such as wool.

5. Replace your plastic leftover containers with glass or stainless steel.

Go old school with metal and glass, and especially avoid putting hot food in plastic.

6. Keep plastic out of the microwave.

Even so-called "microwave safe" plastic can leach chemicals into your food when it gets hot, so choose glass or ceramic containers for re-heating food. Don't cover your food with plastic wrap when you heat it, either; use a ceramic plate or an unbleached paper towel or napkin.

7. Avoid synthetic fragrance.

Choose personal care and household cleaning products that fully disclose all ingredients, including what’s in “fragrance”— that single word on a label can contain dozens of chemicals, some of which, like phthalates, should be avoided.

8. Find safe ways to fight germs.

Skip antibacterial soaps. Chances are, these products contain triclosan, an antimicrobial agent that is suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife. There’s no evidence that triclosan is more effective than soap and water, so trade in the toxics for old-fashioned soap and water. See item No. 2 for added benefits. Since hand sanitizers rarely contain triclosan, these are a good option when you are out and about. Pick those with alcohol or thyme-based derivatives.

9. Kick the can.

Limit consumption of canned foods until companies replace BPA-based can linings with safer alternatives. Instead, choose fresh or frozen options. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or nursing, given concerns about prenatal and early-life BPA exposure.

10. Take the plunge and say goodbye to your nonstick pots and pans.

Although there’s no denying they make our life easier, nonstick pans and stain-resistant materials can contain toxic polyfluorinated chemicals. Alternatives include anodized aluminum, stainless steel, or cast iron.

Breast cancer prevention starts in your everyday environments, according to the Breast Cancer Fund.

For more tips on choosing safe cosmetics and safer food and making informed healthcare choices, visit Tips for Prevention.


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Amy Blitchok

Thanks for sharing. I think this is a really important topic. Eating right and exercising regularly are two main components of preventing chronic diseases, but people also need to be conscious of other environmental factors.

In addition to the tips mentioned, I also try and avoid bottled water (for both health and environmental reasons) and strongly advise that people do not refill bottles and reuse them. Not only do these chemicals contribute to cancer, they also affect hormone levels, which can have a much more immediate effect on your health. This is especially true for women who suffer from mood swings or PMS.

I hope this topic continues to gain exposure in the news.

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