7 Tips For Reducing Your Exposure To Toxic Chemicals
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7 Tips For Reducing Your Exposure To Toxic ChemicalsKevin Gianni Shares Shocking Findings From The Environmental Working Group
So why, you might ask, doesn’t someone do more to police the toxic chemicals that turn up in the products we use every day?
Technically, the U.S. government does. In 1976, President Gerald Ford passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to regulate new and existing chemicals that might be harmful to “human health and the environment” —particularly those that might cause cancer, birth defects, or genetic damage. The law authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oversee compliance.
In theory, TSCA provides comprehensive safeguards. But in reality, the EPA has tested only 200 of the approximately 84,000 chemicals now in the TSCA registry. (And those 84,000 chemicals are only a fraction of the millions of chemicals currently in use.) Critics of the current legislation—including me—say it protects the companies that make the chemicals, not the people who are unknowingly exposed to them.
When Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an independent watchdog group, gives his “10 Americans” speech (below)—about the 200-plus toxic chemicals the EWG found in the umbilical cords of ten fetuses—he points out some of the glaring flaws in the toxic substances legislation. The law hasn’t been amended once in the past 30 years, even though tens of thousands of new chemicals have been introduced in products we use every day.
When the TSCA was passed, it grandfathered in 62,000 chemicals without any testing to prove they’re safe. Chemicals used in the United States still aren’t required to undergo health and safety testing before being put on the market. Since 1976, only five chemicals have been banned or restricted under the TSCA. In May 2013, Congress introduced a bill “to reauthorize and modernize” the TSCA, acknowledging that Americans had lost confidence in the government’s ability to regulate chemical use.
The main thrust of the bill is a revision of TSCA’s subsection S. 1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act that would give the EPA more muscle to test chemicals before they enter the marketplace, rather than following the “safe until proven dangerous” policy that is presently in place.
As it stands, TSCA is “a law that protects polluters,” Ken Cook states in a YouTube video above of his 10 Americans speech. “It’s a law that protects companies. It’s a law that protects profits.” What this means is that to protect ourselves, you and I are the ones who need to police what comes into our homes. There’s no one who can do that better.
How To Reduce Your Exposure To Toxins Now
The best way to reduce the toxin load in your body is to take in as few as possible in the first place. Here are some prevention tips:
1. Buy a water filter. Many chemicals, including chlorine and fluoride, are in our water systems. To avoid ill effects, install water filters on your taps, particularly the kitchen faucet and shower.
2. Limit the use of plastic in your home. You probably can’t completely escape BPA and its derivatives. But wherever you can, replace plastics with glass or ceramic containers, dishes, and bottles.
3. Use natural cleaning products. Stop spreading toxins on your walls, windows, and floors. Look for nontoxic cleaning products at the health food store or order them online.
4. Open your windows. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that the air inside our homes and offices may be more polluted than the air outside. Keep your windows open when you can. Letting in a little fresh air could save your life.
5. Change your beauty products. Check out the ingredients in your beauty products on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website (www.ewg.org/skindeep/) or read Annemarie Gianni's healthy skincare blog: www.annmariegianni.com.
6. Eliminate pesticides. A simple Google search for “homemade natural pesticides for gardens” will reveal a world of nontoxic solutions.
7. Eat organic. This is still one of the best ways to lower your intake of pesticides and heavy metals like cadmium.
Fore more health and wellness tips, see my book, Kale and Coffee.