Have you seen USA Today’s brand new health magazine Fresh? The first issue includes a list of “Top 10 toxins and how to protect your family.” When a widely-read mainstream publication like USA Today tackles a topic like this, everyone in the environmental health movement is pleased.
If USA Today had asked me to write the article (obviously they didn’t and never would), I would have done it a little differently. “Top Ten Toxins” is a mind-boggling concept (and yes, for you dictionary lovers, toxins in the wrong word there, but let’s leave that aside for a moment). Going with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics, there are more than 84,000 chemicals manufactured or processed in the U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a Congressional hearing recently that it’s “rare” for EPA to have adequate health and safety information about a chemical.
Makes it hard to figure out which are the “ten worst”, doesn’t it?
Still, USA Today has put together a concise list of steps you can take to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals without taking a lot of time or money. Here’s a quick summary in case you’d rather not read the whole article:
1. Don’t mess with lead-containing paint.
2. Choose phthalate and PVC-free products.
3. Don’t smoke.
4. Don’t use insect sprays. Buy local and organic food.
5. Avoid eating high-mercury fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel).
6. Test your basement for radon.
7. Stay away from cheap jewelry.
8. Take special precautions with arsenic-treated wood. (CEH can test your deck or play structure for arsenic).
9. Use low-VOC paints, and make your own cleaning products.
10. Choose BPA-free products. Avoid canned food.