Today, caring about the environment is a no-brainer. When we think about the environment, we tend to think about how we impact the planet. We tend to focus on global issues like deforestation, pollution, the shrinking ozone layer and waste management. We think about protecting the planet's species, saving the rain forests and the melting ice caps. Wow...it all can be pretty overwhelming. Our very big picture, macro perspective can cause paralysis when it comes to understanding how or even believing in our ability to have any impact.
Whether or not you believe that it is our role to 'save the planet' and that global climate change is a reality, thinking about how your personal environment is impacting YOU is something that you should take an interest in. Our personal environments and the choices we make for ourselves has a tremendous impact on our health and on our wellbeing.
Here are 5 things you can do to make your personal environment healthier:
1. Keep Your Air Clean: Keeping your air as clean as possible at home is important. After all, you spend at least half of your life at home!
- Air Filters: A good rule of thumb is to switch out your air filters in heating and cooling units twice a year. This will ensure that your units function efficiently and that the air is being effectively cleaned.
- Mud Rooms: Have a designated area at your entry for taking shoes off. Taking off your shoes will prevent you from tracking in dirt, dust and pollutants into your home.
- Smoking: This goes without saying...don't allow people to smoke in your home. If you live with a smoker, make sure they smoke outdoors, and if possible, urge them to stay outdoors for five minutes after they are done smoking. When smokers reenter a building, they continue to exhale after they put the cigarette out. An extra 5 minutes outdoors should help to minimize this.
2. Choose Personal Care Products Wisely: What products we use on our bodies can play an important part in our health. Chemicals, preservatives and additives can interfere with hormones and our wellbeing. Unfortunately, there aren't very many authorities on what personal products are healthy and a lot of product companies make claims that aren't necessarily true. That said, you can be wise about the products you choose to use. Aim for those that are high in natural ingredients and avoid chemicals, fragrances and preservatives. Here are some ingredients worth avoiding:
- Parabens (butyl, methyl and propylparaben)
- Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
- Disodium Laureth sulfoscuuinate (DLS)
3. Choose Home Products Wisely: Products that you use in and around your home, such as cleaners, pesticides and detergents can emit toxins into your air, clothes and home fabrics. There are some great brands out there that aim to eliminate these. Some to try:
4. Eat Organic: Although organic foods tend to be more expensive than non-organic foods, there are some foods that are really worth the extra money. Produce, meats, eggs and dairy in particular are worth the extra dough. Organic meat and dairy are free of antibiotics, GMO Feed, Drugs and added hormones. While organic produce is free of pesticides and chemicals that can be detrimental to your health.
5. Renovate Wisely: If you are doing some home renovating projects, try to find materials that are sustainable, earth friendly and non-toxic. For instance, use low or non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to ensure that toxic gases aren't emitted into the air. Further, you can use products such as FLOR Carpet Tiles and other surfaces to keep emissions low.