Green Living Expert & Author Alexandra Zissu joined me this week on Mondays With Marlo to discuss the dynamics of having an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. We chatted about everything from dangerous chemicals lurking in your household cleaners to the benefits of organic foods to why you shouldn't use hand sanitizer. It was all so fascinating!
Learn how to become more eco-friendly with Alexandra's green living tips:
Don’t Use Antibacterial Products
Most antibacterial products contain an ingredient called triclosan, which has been associated with creating superbugs, according to Alexandra Zissu. A thorough hand washing will kill the same amount of germs, and you can use a product made with thyme oil on the go.
Rethink Your Manicure
There are three chemicals found in most conventional nail polishes – phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene. Not only is it harmful to breathe in the fumes, these chemicals sit on your nails for days or weeks at a time. Opt for “three free” polishes that are made without these ingredients.
Don’t Put Plastic In The Dishwasher
When you put plastic into the dishwasher, the hot temperatures will cause it to break down and certain chemicals could get into food you’re eating on the dishware. To avoid this, hand wash plastic, or substitute with glass.
Buy Safer Candles
Any type of candle will create indoor air pollution, but if you must have them, buy beeswax candles or soy-based candles that are scented with natural essential oils to ensure that you’re not breathing in carcinogenic fumes.
Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
An easy way to reduce indoor air pollution is to simply remove your shoes before you walk into your house. The bottom of your shoes has automobile exhaust, pesticides and other pollutants that can affect the quality of indoor air. Opening your windows will also help improve air quality, as will maintaining your heating and cooling systems.
Buy Fragrance-Free Products
Alexandra Zissu explained that when the word “fragrance” is used on a product, it serves as a placeholder for a mixture of chemicals. The ingredients most commonly used in fragrance are hormone disruptors that have been linked to cancer. Therefore, she recommends buying fragrance free products, and items that have been made from natural product companies.
Ask About Lead Paint When You’re Choosing A Home
Lead paint is a potent neurotoxin, and although it’s not used anymore, it’s still present in many older homes. Ask for a lead disclosure form before renting or purchasing a home. If you do choose to live in a home with lead paint, you’ll have to encapsulate it and you may even have to replace your windows.
Know What You're Eating
Every year, an organization called The Environmental Working Group releases a list called the “dirty dozen,” which are the fruits and veggies with the most pesticides and a list of the “clean 15,” which have the least. Go to EWG.org and use these lists to determine which produce you’ll buy organic, and which you’ll avoid altogether.
Make Pets More Eco-Friendly
Protect yourself and your family by avoiding contact with your pets after applying flea and tick prevention chemicals. Become an environmentally responsible cat owner by buying recycled newspaper pellets instead of kitty litter that is full of chemicals. And always wipe your pet’s feet off before they come into the house, so they can’t trudge in pollutants.
Make Your Own Household Cleaners
Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and use yesterday’s newspaper as glass cleaner. Make a paste from natural dish soap and baking soda to clean the bathtub. You should only buy from brands that disclose their ingredients on the bottle and don’t use synthetic fragrances.
BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that can be found in can linings and plastic #7. Instead of using hard plastics, opt for glass or stainless steel. Instead of eating canned foods, opt for dried, fresh or frozen foods.
Be A Conscious Consumer
It’s important to act as a gatekeeper and be aware of exactly what you’re bringing into your home. According to Alexandra Zissu, there are a number of chemicals in consumer products that are not particularly safe. Don’t use products with hazard warnings, or those that don’t offer an ingredient list.
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