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5 New Year’s Resolutions To Reduce Your Kids’ Chemical Exposure In 2015

January 6, 2015

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If you’re stuck in a check out line at a grocery store, New Year’s resolutions are apparently about looking better in your favorite pants. It’s time to broaden that definition. If you’re looking to safeguard your family’s health in 2015, these five resolutions are for you. They’re easy to do and they’ll reduce your kids’ exposure to harmful chemicals at home. Take all five at once, or tackle them throughout the year as it makes sense.

  1. Eat more organic. Only you know your budget. But the more USDA certified organic you can manage to eat as a family, the better. Eating organic means, among other critical points, less pesticide residues, no GMOs, no artificial flavors or colors, and no antibiotics or hormones in meat and dairy. While you’re at it, try to eat more whole rather than processed foods. A simple way to do this is to shop at local organic farms and farmers’ markets near where you live. There’s no time like 2015 to give them a visit.
  2. Ditch the plastic. The news is consistently not looking good for plastic these days. Study after study shows that many of the various kinds of plastic on the market can and do have negative health impacts. Whether it’s the plastic in your baby’s sippy cup, the plastic in your toddler’s baby doll, or the plastic in your tween’s ear buds or shower curtain, chances are it’s comprised of hormone disrupting chemicals and linked to myriad health concerns. Make 2015 the year to swap in safer materials wherever you can and to minimize your family’s exposure to the questionable chemicals found in plastic. Start with food storage containers and work your way up and out.
  3. Clean up your cosmetics. There is no parent who wants carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals in baby’s diaper cream, and yet so many creams contain these ingredients. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the worst cosmetic ingredients on the market—from parabens to PEGs to synthetic fragrance to antibacterial agents—and to read the labels on the products you’re currently using. If you don’t like what you read, make it your family resolution to start swapping in safer products. Need help finding some? Check out Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
  4. Clean up your clean up. To drastically reduce your indoor air pollution, commit to changing all of your cleaning products to “natural” versions this year. Conventional cleaning product formulas are currently protected by our government as trade secrets, though we do know the kinds of hazardous chemicals that tend to be in them. In the absence of ingredient lists, consumers can look for hazard warnings on labels (See a skull and cross bones? Do not bring it home!). Safer products are available from companies using plant based ingredients with formulas they voluntarily disclose. Even better are products with third party certification. You can also make your own out of household staples like hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, vinegar, and plant-based dish soap.
  5. Speak up. Don’t like the idea that those cleaning product formulas or, say, that the mix of chemicals in the synthetic fragrance in your baby’s bath oil can be government protected as a trade secret? Tell your elected officials. Consumer demand can and has driven toxic chemicals out of many products, including plastics, but we need strong federal legislation to protect us all more broadly—especially our children.

If you’ve already done these 5 things, share them with friends and family who are just starting out. Looking for other suggestions? You’re in the right place. Happy New Year!