Per my last article, persistent organic pollutants (or POPs) are harsh chemicals found in fertilizers, herbicides, cleaning and beauty products with known toxic effects on the body. Their toxicity can cause anything from hormone disruption, severe skin irritation, respiratory problems or even cause cancer. Unfortunately, these compounds are EVERYWHERE - and I mean everywhere; in the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, the lotions we put on our skin and the products we use to clean our home. Whats worse is that these chemicals are often fat soluble, and can linger in our bodies and the environment for a very long time.
You’ve probably heard of some of the major toxic chemicals on the market - parabens, benzenes, phthalates, BPA and glyphosate to name a few. They usually appear as some huge, convoluted word with numbers thrown in somewhere that take 10 syllables to pronounce - like sodium C14-C16 olefin sulfonate. The most concerning thing about these chemicals is that there is very little - if any - long-term research on the effects on consistent exposure to these materials. What’s worse is that many of the safety tests were performed on cultures in a petri dish, or even worse on animals. Neither of these models can give scientists absolute certainty that the effect observed will be similar in humans, in the short or long-term.
Fortunately, there are many clean products on the market that are either completely free of toxic materials or contain very few. I am a huge fan of the work done by the EWG or the Environmental Working Group. The EWG releases the Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen reports each year on conventional produce (which if you aren’t familiar, should definitely take a look at). They have extensive databases on their site where you can look up cleaning AND beauty products that have been given a safety ranking based on their chemical constituents. If you really want to nerd out, you can read descriptions of each ingredient and the associated concerns for repeated exposure - if any. You can check them out at the EWG.org.
It is also very simple and affordable to make your own cleaning and personal care products at home. Plus, they make fabulous Christmas gifts! Here is a simple DIY All Purpose Spray Recipe for you to try:
DIY All Purpose Spray
16 oz spray bottle
1 TBS castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
1/2 TBS baking soda
5-10 Drops of tea tree oil
Enough water to fill the bottle
Optional: 5-10 drops of essential oils of choice for desired scent such as lavender, eucalyptus, lemon balm, etc.
Add everything to the spray bottle, adding the water last. Shake vigorously, spray generously. Great on counter tops, bathroom fixtures, etc.
I have written a complete 30-day detox protocol on identifying and replacing POPs in the home. If you are interested in diving deeper into this, feel free to reach out for a free copy!