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nontoxicNot everyone will have the incentive to make all these changes—however, every change you make WILL make a difference! This way of living is not only much better and safer for YOU—it's also much better for the environment! Switching to nontoxic living can be a very pleasant experience if we think of it as a return to the purity and safety of the way our ancestors lived. Many of the suggestions here were actually used by our ancestors before all the toxic chemicals were marketed to make life "easier." We pay dearly for that "ease" with the loss of safe, clean air to breathe and—in many cases—the loss of our health. Some of the products may take a little more "elbow grease"—others actually work BETTER than their toxic alternatives. Either way you can take major steps to clean up your environment and protect yourself and your family from toxic chemicals by following these suggestions…

General Recommendations:

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  1. Avoid ALL scented products ("fragrance" listed as an ingredient)—including all perfumes, colognes, after-shaves, personal-care products, air fresheners, pot-pourri, etc. Be careful about certain "unscented" products that use "masking fragrance" to cover up the original fragrance—these are doubly toxic!

  2. Avoid ALL fabric softeners, dryer sheets, bleach, scented detergents, etc. These products are VERY toxic and very harmful to the environment as well.

  3. Avoid ALL pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Pesticides are neurotoxins (affect the central nervous system), and they don't know the difference between the BUGS and YOU! For fleas, roaches, ants, etc., use diatomaceous earth, boric acid, and nematodes. You can get these from health food stores and pet supply stores—or from some of the "Resources" listed on the MCS Resources page.

  4. Use only nontoxic cleaning products and personal-care products (see below).

  5. Drink and bathe in filtered water. Taking a shower in chlorinated water causes the chlorine to go right into your bloodstream. You can purchase shower filters that easily attach to your shower nozzle. Also avoid swimming in chlorinated pools. See if you can find pools that use either salt water or ozone for purification!



  6. Eat organic food (food grown without pesticides or fertilizers) as often as possible. Avoid processed foods, foods with colors and dyes, preservatives, etc.

  7. Wear only natural-fiber clothing (100% cotton, linen, wool, or silk). Make sure the clothes are NOT "permanent press" or "wrinkle resistant"—these clothes have been treated with formaldehyde that does NOT wash out!

  8. Use only 100% cotton, wool, or pure silk bed linens and blankets. Avoid "no-iron" or "wrinkle-resistant." A good brand is "Simply Cotton," marketed by "Martex" and available at department stores like Dillard's. Wal-Mart also now carries 100% cotton "T-shirt" sheets!

  9. As much as possible avoid plastics (store food in glass jars), particle-board, plywood, glues, inks, paints (use Glidden 2000—least toxic), foam rubber, vinyl, carpet, synthetic rugs, varnishes, solvents, etc.

  10. Open your windows as often as possible! Even in the most polluted cities, the outdoor air has been found to be less toxic than the indoor air! Amazing, isn't it?!

  11. Certain houseplants are beneficial in removing toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde, benzene etc. The best plants for removing these and other toxins are philodendrons, spider plants, aloe vera, English ivy, golden pothos, and Boston fern. To learn more about this, there is a really good book available called: How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office by B. C. Wolverton. (NOTE: Many thanks to Karen Snyder for this information!)

  12. Use a good air purifier in the living areas you spend the most time in, such as the bedroom and living room. The two below are the kinds we use in our home.


Cleaning Products

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GENERAL CLEANING:

Other General Cleaning Products:


FOR LAUNDRY:

  • Baking soda (NOT "Arm & Hammer Detergent"!)—1 cup per load

  • Sodium Percarbonate—a chlorine-free, natural bleaching mineral:
    Grab Green Bleach Alternative (Fragrance Free)

  • White Vinegar—1 cup in rinse cycle to soften clothes, kill fungus and bacteria, and remove odors and residual detergent

  • Use one of the suggested dishwashing liquids for spot removal—great for grease, ketchup, and other stains!

  • Dr. Bronner's Organic Castile Liquid Soap

  • Ecover Zero 2x Laundry Detergent Fragrance Free

  • All-Free, Cheer-Free, or Tide-Free if you feel you must use a "regular" detergent. These products at least do not contain fragrances, but they do contain other petrochemicals and are not the "best" choice if you are trying to reduce your toxic exposures.

Other Laundry Products:


Personal-Care Products

(NOTE: Use nothing on your skin that you'd be afraid to eat! Products are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream just as if you'd eaten them!)

SHAMPOO:

SOAP:

DEODORANT:

TOOTHPASTE:

(NOTE: Avoid fluoride—it's toxic and doesn't help cavities anyway!)

FACE CREAMS AND BODY LOTIONS:

(NOTE: Avoid "Quaternium-15", which releases formaldehyde!)

SHAVING CREAM:

(NOTE: Regular shaving cream is one of the most toxic personal-care products you can use! Jacki had some of her worst reactions whenever someone was around her who had just shaved, so it can't be good for anyone to use!)

SUNSCREENS:

(NOTE: It's best to use the non-chemical sunscreens, such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide that are "barriers" instead of the kind that actually changes the way the sun interacts with your skin.)

FEMININE HYGIENE:

(NOTE: FDA studies have shown commercially-bought pads and tampons to contain harmful substances. The traditional cotton used in these products has been grown using as many as 35 different pesticides and chemicals and is then chlorine bleached—creating dioxin in the process, which is extremely TOXIC! You really don't want to put these chemicals right up against one of your most sensitive areas. While it is indeed more expensive and not as convenient to use natural cotton pads, it is so much better for your health, as well as the environment! It is also cheaper in the long run…)

The following are the disposal options made of natural, unbleached cotton:

HAIRSPRAY:

(NOTE: For the most part—AVOID!! Most hair sprays contain nerve gas and propane or butane (yes, the stuff that goes into your gas heater and lighters!) and are VERY toxic. Cut hair in style that does not require sprays. You can also make a homemade gel by dissolving 1 package of unflavored gelatin (not "Jello"!) in 2 cups of hot water. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. We are listing some of the better options here.)


MISCELLANEOUS TIP:

Plant mint around the house to keep mosquitos away. Rub some mint leaves on you to keep them from biting you, or use peppermint essential oil and/or citronella essential oil. It is much better for you than using commercial bug spray, which is a poison!

This is a good book that gives alternative products and suggestions for nontoxic cleaning:


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For more information, MCS book listing, and mail-order companies, for non-toxic products, please see the "MCS Resources" page. The following are books specifically related to nontoxic living and alternative products to use:

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