March 15th, 2012

How to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home

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how to keep toxic chemicals out of your house Groovy Green Livin

In 2009 I participated in my first triathlon. It was much more than a triathlon for me; it was a dedication to a 5 year old boy who was diagnosed with cancer while in preschool with my youngest son. My second triathlon was done in his memory.  After a tragic and long battle with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer,  5 year old Matty  was laid to rest. The impact on Matty’s family and our community was profound and many of us continue to carry the weight of this loss with us today and forever.

Triathlon loriNot surprisingly, the word ‘cancer’ is surrounded by some daunting statistics. Around 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. About 12,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Since 1975 cancer in American children has increased, especially childhood leukemia and brain cancer.

As cancer rates continue to soar, toxic chemicals continue to make their way into our products with minimal government regulation.  There is increasing evidence that these chemicals are impacting this surge in cancer cases.

No family should have to go through what Matty’s family, and countless other families, are forced to endure. Companies are adding cancer causing chemicals to their products and there are no repercussions.


Make our own cleaning supplies.

Cleaning product companies aren’t required to tell us the chemicals they use in their products, and what they’re keeping secret from you could be hazardous to your health. Women’s Voices for the Earth, in a commissioned study, found hidden toxic chemicals in some of the most popular cleaning supply companies.  Until we know what’s in the products we buy off the shelf, we can mix our own with safe ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.

Use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

Before heading to the store to pick up new personal care products, try using  Skin Deep. Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products put together by researchers at the Environmental Working Group. It’s one of my fav resources.  I use it for all my makeup and personal care products.  I can’t tell you the number of times I bought something and checked it out on Skin Deep, only to find it was extremely toxic.

Open our windows.

It’s finally spring! Many of our homes and apartments were built to be air tight. This might sound like great modern day advancements in building, but in reality it keeps the toxins in and the fresh air out. It’s time to open up those windows and doors to let the fresh air flow.

Take our shoes off.

In our house we are attempting to contain the toxin filled outdoors by declaring our home a “shoe free zone”. All shoes come off in the garage and they stay there until the next time we venture out.

Sign a petition or two.

Like many moms, my commitment to a greener lifestyle was strengthened after having children. I’m careful about what we eat, and am selective about products we use to keep our home clean. A report released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in Tide Free & Gentle®.  Please sign my PETITION asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!

While you’re on a roll take a few seconds to sign Anna from Green Talk’s PETITION requesting that strict guidelines be enacted immediately to reduce arsenic in rice and food related products.

Ask congress for help

Toxic chemicals are pervasive in our daily lives, and despite our best efforts to purchase products free of toxic chemicals, we’re still routine exposed through the air, water and our home environment. Due to lax federal laws, industry chemicals are not tested or regulated for health and safety

We need all congressional candidates to know that the American public cares deeply about increased regulations on toxic chemicals. Ask your Congressional candidates to reject the chemical industry’s agenda and support the Safer Chemicals Agenda.

What are some other ways we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals?

This post is part of this month’s Green Moms CarnivalHow to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home– which I’m hosting! The carnival goes live Monday, March 19, 2012.  Be sure to stop back for lots of great tips and  suggestions for keeping toxic chemicals out of your home.

Photo © Ken Hurst –



18 Responses to “How to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home”

  1. Thank you for mentioning my petition. People don’t realize taking off your shoes is so important. We drag pesticides and other toxic chemicals in from the outdoors. And guess where they sit? In our carpets.

  2. Losing anyone to cancer is devastating, but to lose a child to this awful disease … I fear even allowing my heat and mind to imagine such a loss.

    I recently watched “A Wake Up Story”, a short video produced by Healthy Child, Healthy World. Powerful. I have been slowly waking up since my first child was born 6 years ago … when I realized more clearly than ever before that what we all do individually adds up to a sum total, and that we all have only one home: earth. If collectively we screw it up, what future will our children have?

    I was overwhelmed. Fearful. And full of that feeling that nothing I could do could possibly have an impact on changing the course we are on as a society. And then I was introduced to Norwex. And I hope you will not read this and think “Oh, here it comes … she’s advertising her business…”, because that is not why I post here. I am passionate about Norwex because of what it has done for me, my family, my friends, and for anyone who will allow me the honour of showing them how easy it is to reduce chemical use in our homes. And it’s a ripple effect … every home I can switch from using chemical cleaners to Norwex is one less home using products with “suspected” or known carcinogens in them. And then they’ll tell two friends.

    The mission of this remarkable company is to radically reduce the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning. Radically. And the greatest thing? These products that are genuinely safe for people both big and small actually do the job BETTER than any chemical cleaning product I have ever used. So, I hope that you will check it out … either on my website, or find a Norwex consultant in your area … or better yet, become one yourself and join us in spreading the word and cleaning up this planet of ours, our home, using microfiber and water.

    Oh, and by the way, Norwex Ultra Power Plus laundry detergent does NOT contain 1,4 dioxane … and it WORKS!

  3. […] here? Get more useful information by subscribing for free to the RSS feed ← How to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home | Older March 16th, […]

  4. Hi Anna, taking your shoes off is such a simple way to avoid toxins. I just had someone come to fix my sink and I kindly asked him to take off his shoes. He looked at me like I had 4 heads. In the end he took off his shoes!

  5. Thanks for sharing Carol. I could ‘hear’ your passion for Norwex products and for helping people.

  6. Taking shoes off is an excellent starting point for keeping your house healthy. We all take off our shoes as do all our visitors.

  7. […] month’s Green Moms Carnival -How to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home- Hosted by my friend Lori of Groovy Green Livin‘.  The carnival goes live Monday, March 19, 2012. Rate this: Share […]

  8. I find the Skin Deep database from EWG so overwhelming! I need the whole thing in front of me when I’m in a store. One take away message I got though was to reduce how many products my family uses and how much we use of them and that helps limit exposure too.

  9. I had no idea that’s what put you on this path – how devasting for those poor parents and the whole community. I can’t even imagine seeing one of my kids go thru something like that and hope I never have too. So hopeful that awareness-building and fighting for change will help kids grow up safer and healthier in the years to come.

  10. Hi Erin, There were a number of things that put me on this path. Seeing things like childhood cancer confirms my commitment and pushes me to work even harder to get the word out!

  11. What a tragic loss! Avoiding cancer is one of my biggest motivations in making green choices since there has been a lot of cancer in my family. It breaks my heart to hear stories like this. How awesome that you have done triathlons to honor that little boy!

  12. Hi Charise, It is beyond tragic. It certainly motivates me to do whatever I can to help prevent others from such a tragic loss. Some of it is out of our control, but there are things we can all do to make a difference. Want to join in the triathlon? It’s so much fun.

  13. What a sad story. For three years I worked in a cancer hospital conducting psychosocial research, and even when young adult patients didn’t make it, it was tough. With children it’s just senseless.

    Another important thing to remember is the toxins we ingest with produce, prepared foods, and artificial drinks. Ugh, there’s so much to keep track of!

  14. […] month’s Green Moms Carnival -How to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home- Hosted by my friend Lori of Groovy Green Livin‘.  The carnival goes live Monday, March 19, […]

  15. […] in honor of a little boy in her town who lost his life to cancer. It’s been four years and the triathlon has become an annual event. Lori has joined the Go Green Get Fit Challenge to help her stay motivated to achieve her fitness […]

  16. […] Don’t use pesticides on your lawn and garden. Use nothing or find a brand or company that uses only organic ingredients that are safe for pets and people. Be prepared that your lawn might not look perfect, but you’ll be making the world a bit safer for all of us. […]

  17. […] Lori at Groovy Green Livin'  documents the rise in cancer rates that have motivated her to take simple steps to protect her family. "Around 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. About 12,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Since 1975 cancer in American children has increased, especially childhood leukemia and brain cancer." Her post offers practical and affordable ways to reduce your exposure to chemicals linked to cancer. […]

  18. […] honor of a little boy in our town who lost his life to cancer. It’s been four years and the triathlon has become an annual event. This year I joined forces with a group of 25+ remarkable green bloggers in the Eco Mom […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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