Five easy wins to avoid everyday chemicals
To welcome in the New Year we’d like to share five easy wins to reduce your exposure to everyday chemicals in 2024.
One – go organic for breakfast
Breakfast made up of organic foods might help get your layoff to a healthier start. Our breakfast helps our body to start our day – it gives us nutrients to replenish our body after a night’s sleep when key metabolic functions are carried out. So, what we put into our bodies at the start of our day is really important. Switching to organic foods grown without the use of any chemicals easily reduces your exposure to pesticides and herbicides used in the production of cereals and flours. Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicide and has been linked to cancer, and is classed by the WHO as “probably carcinogenic” – so it’s best avoided.
Two – avoid fruit foods on the PAN list
Many fresh foods are produced by spraying with pesticides and herbicides which penetrate beneath the skin into fruit and vegetables – you can’t wash them off. Every year the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) rank the fruit and vegetables with the highest percentages of pesticides and herbicides when tested in the Dirty Dozen list. It’s easy to access and free to download. Cooking from scratch with more organic ingredients can help to reduce your exposure to everyday chemicals in your food and food packaging.
Avoiding ultra processed foods is also a healthy idea due to the high levels of saturated fat, salts, and sugar they contain. Additives such as preservatives, flavour, colour and texture enhancers, and emulsifiers are often formulated with a chemical base, so cooking from scratch with your own ingredients can help reduce your exposure to some of these chemical additives.
Three – check what’s in your toiletries
Download the YUKA app on your phone and use it to scan thousands of products for information about chemical ingredients – it’s free to download and simple to use.
Four – ditch your dishwasher rinse
Research published last year found that exposure to industrial strength dishwasher rinses leave residues can disrupt the gut epithelial barrier that might cause immune and epithelial gut inflammation responses. Whilst concentrations of any potentially disruptive ingredients may be lower in domestic products, it’s an easy swap from rinse aid to water and/or lemon juice. Your dishes may take a while longer to dry, but they’ll be free of any chemical residues rinse aids can leave behind.
Five – take your shoes off at your front door
Pesticides, chemicals, and traces of petroleum can all enter our homes on the soles of our shoes where it can settle as dust. Last year, an Australian study assessed whether infectious pathogens can also be carried indoors on the soles of our shoes. They found that the sole of our shoes can act as a carrier for bacteria, including staphylococcus, usually found in the skin or nose. E. coli was swabbed on the bottom of 96% of shoe soles along with a staggering 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of shoes!