Making the switch to non-toxic prodcuts can feel intimidating and overwhelming, especially when there’s a baby involved. These tips can help make the process feel easier and more approachable.
Did you know that the average woman is exposed to about 168 chemicals a day 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, 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 yet convinced?
Download the Think Dirty app and start checking the toxic load of some of the common household products you use daily. You may be shocked at what you discover.
How to transition 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 so easy to get overwhelmed when you dive into making the switch 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 most important 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 they pay attention to greenwashing attempts.
Once they’re at home, they note how both they and their children respond to certain products and ingredients.
If you’re looking for a place to dive in and do some 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 when 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 had the urge 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.
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Final thoughts on making non-toxic swaps
As mentioned above, making the switch to less-chemical-filled products can feel intimidating and very overwhelming, so it’s important to take it one step at a time and use the five tips shared above on your journey.
Share with us
This year, I’m focusing on my personal care products, like menstrual products and razors. Where do you plan to start? Comment below and share your thoughts.