‘Toxic Free’: Browsing Through a Book

I stopped at the library this afternoon to pick up “Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Kids,” recommended by several friends. As baby was fairly well-behaved at the moment, I browsed through the new books for a few minutes and picked up a couple other titles.

One was a baby sign language book — I’d been thinking that would be neat to learn more about. (Note, I do take everything I read with a grain of salt.)

The other was called “Toxic Free: How to Protect Your Health and Home From the Chemicals That are Making You Sick.” Just yesterday I was reading some about BPA and learned it’s not only in bottles and cans, but toilet paper and napkins, and our main contact with it is probably in receipts and tickets. So this was along one of my current brainwaves.

On the whole, the book is too extreme for me. The author writes that one day, she went through and threw out everything in her home that contained toxic chemicals. “When I was done,” she says, “all that was left was four bare walls, a concrete floor with dried paint spatters all over it … and a roll-away bed frame with a pile of cotton thermal blankets for a mattress.”

Even if I wanted to do that, I think I’d quickly find myself a divorced woman. Just mentioning to my husband that maybe we could switch to cloth napkins was over the line for him.

I don’t know much about toxic chemicals, but I definitely believe they are in everyday things that we don’t even dream of. BPA began to be used inside cans in the 1960s, back when doctors probably smoked while they were delivering babies. My daughter’s pacifier is BPA-free — the sucky part, anyway. Apparently that may not be the case for the hard plastic parts of it. And yes, our parents are living to ripe old ages having consumed any number of poisonous chemicals, but I don’t think that means we need to keep doing it. I would like to take small steps of smarter choices.

On that note, here are a few items from the book that I found interesting:

  • The only bottled water she considers safe is sold in glass bottles.
  • Toothpastes can contain formaldehyde and plastics.
  • Baking soda can be used as a natural deodorant. (Not sure I’m willing to try.)
  • Most major dish manufacturers still use glazes with lead in them.
  • “If you do need to use plastic, choose food storage products made from polypropylene, which has a very low toxicity. The ‘disposable’ storage containers are made from polypropylene and can be reused many times.”
  • Do not microwave foods in plastic containers.
  • Nylon, polyester and acrylic fabrics are plastics made from petrochemicals.
  • Polyester-cotton and permanent-press cotton is coated with a substance that contains formaldehyde — that includes a lot of bedsheets, and could be a cause of insomnia.
  • CFL bulbs contain mercury, as you know if you’ve had to deal with cleaning one up. LEDs contain arsenic and lead, but they are very difficult to break.

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Filed under Green Living, Home Maintenance, Scary Chemicals in the News

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