Switching to non-toxic products can feel intimidating and overwhelming, especially when there’s a baby involved. These tips can help make the process feel more straightforward and approachable.
Did you know that the average woman is exposed to about 168 chemicals daily through personal care products?
Or that one study found that the cord blood of a newborn has an average of 200 harmful chemicals, including industrial pollutants and pesticides?
These facts are mind-boggling because they show that what a pregnant person breathes, eats, and puts on their skin affects their baby. After all, the skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything into the bloodstream.
Why should I switch to non-toxic products?
From our editor: These days, many products on the market are filled with harmful chemicals that studies show can cause respiratory issues, skin irritation, inflammation, and decreased immune response.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a newborn at home, it’s imperative to re-evaluate the products and the potentially harmful chemicals you’re using – and exposing family members – to in your home.
Some especially harmful chemicals such as phthalates found in plastics and food packaging have been linked to asthma and allergies in infants. Other chemicals to look out for include BPAs, parabens, triclosan, and TBT.
Not convinced to make a change?
Download the Think Dirty app and check the toxic load of some of the everyday household products you use daily. You may be shocked at what you discover.
How to switch to non-toxic products
If you’re pregnant or already have a little one, here are some approachable tips to start your journey toward a non-toxic lifestyle.
1. Choose one area of your life at a time
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you dive into switching to non-toxic living. Instead of trying to swap everything at once, choose a priority.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Maybe you choose to start with food (more on this below), laundry, or baby bottles. Focus on one area and take some time researching the essential swaps to make in that area.
2. Take time and do some research
I don’t mean to memorize every harmful chemical out there. That would be exhausting and way too time-consuming. Instead, work towards becoming a conscious consumer.
What does a conscious consumer do? Well, imagine you run out of shampoo and run to Target to get a new one.
A conscious consumer wouldn’t just grab any shampoo based on the label or terms like all-natural; they learn about what’s safe and what’s not and pay attention to greenwashing attempts.
Once they’re at home, they note how both they and their children respond to specific products and ingredients.
If you’re looking for a place to dive in and research, check out the Environmental Working Group or EWG to get started.
3. Follow the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen
Buying only organic produce can add up quickly. Each year, a shopper’s guide is updated with the safest and least safe produce. I use this as a guide when deciding what to prioritize as organic shopping.
I also pay attention to what my family is eating the most; then, I can make sure I buy organic for the fruit, veggies, and (let’s be honest) snacks they eat more often.
4. Replace as you need, not before
After diving into the world of non-toxic products, I felt compelled to throw away every single product and start over. But that is wasteful, hard on our environment, and can be very expensive.
Instead, use up the products you have and replace them with safer alternatives when they’re empty.
Some of my recent favorite swaps include:
- A harsh toner for an alcohol-free one
- Chemical-laden cleaning supplies for DIY vinegar-based ones
- Disposable diapers for cloth diapers
- A highly-toxic baby wash for this amazingly gentle one
5. Remember that every bit counts
When you get overwhelmed, remind yourself that every product swap, every bowl of organic strawberries over conventional, makes a difference.
It’s impossible and unrealistic to eliminate every harmful chemical, so trust that every little change positively impacts you and your family.
6. Don’t forget about your pots and pans
From our editor: In 2019, the FDA confirmed that the toxic chemicals in non-stick pots and pans contaminate our water supply. Imagine what those chemicals could do to your body?
When switching to non-toxic products, you must look for lurking toxic chemicals in places you might not expect, like your pots and pans. Thankfully, Caraway makes it easy to swap out your toxic cookware for something non-toxic.
Try these options instead of traditional cookware:
- Swap a cake pan for this non-toxic circle plan
- Swap your sheet pan for this non-toxic baking sheet
- Swap your non-stick pan for this non-toxic fry pan
Not only will you save yourself and your family exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals, but this modern cookware will also look great in any kitchen.
Everything from Caraway is ceramic non-stick coated, which is not only non-toxic, but it’s also a more eco-friendly option and emits 60% less CO2 than a traditional non-stick pan. Learn more about Caraway’s materials.
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Final thoughts on making non-toxic swaps
As mentioned above, switching to less-chemical-filled products can feel intimidating and overwhelming, so it’s essential to take it one step at a time and use the five tips shared above on your journey.