Healthy Alternatives

Read BCA’s fact sheet: Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

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Home Care

Many common household cleaning products contain chemicals that are unhealthy for both you and the environment. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2-5 times and sometimes more than 200 times higher than outdoor levels. Cleaning products and other household products are among the many contributors to poor indoor air quality. Safe and simple substances, such as ammonia, borax, vinegar, and baking soda can clean and disinfect at the level of hospital standards, and are much cheaper than many name brand cleaners.

Keep in mind that weed killers, pesticides, insecticidal flea collars, sprays, dusts, shampoos, and dips for household pets are some of the other ways unsafe chemicals can enter your home. Yard chemicals can be tracked into your home on shoe bottoms and remain in carpet fibers for years. Several studies have linked childhood cancer to home pesticide use. There are many ways to beat the bugs without using killer chemicals.

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Lawn Care

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Body Care

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Organic Food

Organic food is increasingly available in grocery stores across the country, but not everyone can afford to eat only organic food and not everyone lives in a place where they can easily find it. The lists below will help you prioritize which foods are most important to eat organic. Remember that by buying organic you’re not only reducing your exposure to pesticides, you’re reducing harm to the planet. Organic farming is safer for agricultural workers, who are among the people most at risk for exposure to pesticides, and it also prevents endocrine-disrupting chemicals in pesticides from ending up in our water system. So in the long run, it benefits everyone!

If your local grocers don’t carry organic food, keep contacting them and let them know there’s a market for safer, healthier food. Another great way to support healthy farming is to buy locally grown food. Find a community supported agriculture farm near you.

Certain foods are more consistently contaminated with pesticides than others. The Environmental Working Group created the following lists of “best” and “worst” foods from the results of more than 100,000 tests on pesticides in produce conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Learn more at FoodNews.org about what pesticides you might find in the foods you eat, and print out a handy wallet guide of the following lists:

  • Fruits and vegetables most likely to have pesticide residue:
    Studies show that eating these “dirty dozen” foods organic rather than conventionally grown can reduce your pesticide exposure by 90 percent: strawberries, raspberries, apples, peppers of all kinds, peaches, nectarines, pears, cherries, imported grapes, spinach, celery, and potatoes.
  • Fruits and vegetables least likely to have pesticide residue:
    Sweet corn, avocados, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, peas, broccoli, pineapples, mangoes, bananas, kiwi, and papaya.
  • Some thoughts on meat, poultry, and fish:
    Nonorganic fish, meat, poultry, and dairy products are a major source of pesticides, hormones, and other chemicals in our diet. Many of the toxins in our environment are fat soluble and accumulate in body fat. These contaminants are passed from organism to organism up the food chain, and their concentration increases as they go. This means that when we eat animal products, we consume the toxins in that animal as well as the toxins in the plants and animals that animal has eaten, and so on.

Choose organic meat and dairy products when available and affordable, and when possible, avoid farmed fish. A number of recent studies have found high levels of PCBs in farmed fish. In addition, they’re treated with antibiotics, and after harvesting, they’re colored with petroleum-based dyes. They also contain lower amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that make fish a nutritional champ. Choose wild fish low in mercury, like salmon and sardines. Find out more about safe seafood.

More information:

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Dry Cleaning

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