Having chemical sensitivities in our current world creates many challenges. The toxic and harmful chemicals seem to be everywhere. Dealing with this challenge requires preparation and forethought.
Possible offenders are not hard to find, from fragrances to chlorine to formaldehyde in furniture. These three seem to pose the most problematic when shopping and keeping my home a safe zone. Being aware of what items contain these chemicals is important.
For me all perfumes and artificial fragrances are dangerous. Unfortunately, they are everywhere; in soaps, detergents, air fresheners and cleaning supplies. I have to be very mindful of what I buy and what ingredients are involved. For soaps and shampoos I have to search health stores to find options. Essential oils are a good alternative to air fresheners and can actually benefit your health as opposed to harm it. For cleaning I just keep with the basics: vinegar, water, baking soda and occasionally borax.
Chlorine was one chemical I knew about, but didn’t realize how many things actually contained it. I knew early on to stay away for drinking water with chlorine and swimming pools. What I didn’t know was they put chlorine in toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, feminine products, baking cups, parchment paper, paper plates and the list goes on. After finally figuring out what was bothering me, I now know to buy products that specifically say they are made without chlorine. Some alternatives use hydrogen peroxide to whiten the items instead.
With all the chemical waste that is created…what do they do with it. Sadly, they put a little bit of it in everything they sell to us. Furniture is one of the most challenging chemical issues, mostly because of the price points of alternatives. Buying something that is made of actual solid wood…no additives is sometimes 10 times more expensive then the fake stuff. Organic mattresses are another huge expense. So, what can we do?
A few suggestions; have a separate space where your furniture can off gas safely before you bring it into your house. This is not a quick option, it could take months to years depending how newly produced the item is. Another option may be to go searching at Garage Sales. There is risk involved with this option also, because you don’t know where the piece has been or what it’s been exposed to over its lifetime. I always wipe down anything that comes into my house with vinegar first. The last option is; make your own furniture. This is still expensive and unless you are a carpenter a challenging endeavor, but definitely something to look into.
The larger the demand for chemical free options the more those price points will trend downward. While we wait for things to be more affordable, I’m a big believer in keeping lots of houseplants. They are the best air purifiers to help deal with all the chemicals we are surrounded by daily and everyone can afford them. Also, remember to open your windows often. Outside air is always fresher then inside air!