Should You Switch to a DEET-Free Bug Spray?

DEET-Free Bug Sprays - bug jacket

With our short summers, not even mosquitos, black flies, deer flies, and ticks can keep me from enjoying warm evenings by the campfire. I’ve been avoiding DEET, but only based on a general understanding that it’s toxic. How bad is it? And if you should avoid it, what is a DEET-free bug spray that works?

Here’s my breakdown on DEET and some alternatives, looking at findings from regulators and environmental groups.

What is DEET?

DEET is a synthetic chemical pesticide that is believed to prevent bugs from smelling us (though it seems we haven’t quite figured out the details). It was developed in 1946 by the US army.

Is DEET Toxic?

What the Regulators Say

The US EPA reviewed studies submitted by DEET producers and have not identified any risks to human health or the environment, when used as directed (2002, 2014). Health Canada’s last review in 2002 came to the same conclusion.

The EPA classifies DEET as “slightly toxic” – one step above “practically non-toxic”. Some studies have linked seizures in children to DEET, but the EPA maintains that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the link.

The US Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry indicates studies of very small sample sizes which potentially connect DEET exposure to seizures, illnesses among Gulf War veterans, skin reactions, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Studies on 3 women found birth defects linked to DEET, but another study of 900 women found no adverse effects.

Use recommendations from Health Canada include “wash treated skin with soap and water… when protection is no longer needed.” (My question: how often do you think this happens after a few drinks around the campfire, when protection is most likely needed?) They also have maximum concentration guidelines:

  • “adults and children older than 12 years old is up to 30%
  • children aged 2 to 12 years is up to 10%
    • you can apply the product up to 3 times daily
  • children aged 6 months to 2 years old is up to 10%
    • you should not apply the product more than once a day.

For children younger than 12 years old, do not use a DEET product on a daily basis for more than a month.

For infants younger than 6 months old, do not use an insect repellent containing DEET. Instead, use a mosquito net when babies are outdoors in a crib or stroller.”

What the Environmental Groups Say

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) came to the surprising conclusion that DEET is among their top choices for insect repellant.

Canada’s Environmental Defence recommends DEET not be used on children, and nobody should use concentrations greater than 30%. (Note that increased concentrations don’t increase efficacy, but higher concentrations don’t have to be applied as frequently.)

DEET Alternatives

Other than avoiding the outdoors, you can use preventative measures to reduce the amount of repellent you need to apply – wear light coloured clothing and remove standing water from your yard. Or go all-out and get an ever-so-stylish bug suit (yes, I’m modelling one in the image for this blog!).

When you need repellent, it’s important to consider what insect you need protection from, as repellents may not be effective on all bugs. In EWG’s review, oil of lemon eucalyptus came out on top for botanical options, but can’t be used on children under 3. Environmental Defence also suggests soybean oil.

DEET-alternatives suggested by Health Canada are P-menthane 3,8-diol (related oil of lemon eucalyptus, not for children under 3), soybean oil, and citronella oil (not for infants or toddlers).

Other chemicals (Icaridin and IR3535) are available but more widely in the US. Icaridin (aka Picaridin) is approved by Health Canada and seems to be less of an irritant than DEET, but as it has not been on the market as long there are fewer studies.

There are several products with combinations of oils that get good reviews (though not tested like those registered by Health Canada). Check your local or online health/wellness shop –  you may have to look for products labelled as “Outdoors Spray” or “Nature Spray” rather than the more obvious “insect repellent.”

I’m a little less scared of DEET now, but I still don’t have much interest in using it on me, let alone my kids (maybe unless we’re somewhere with more significant insect-borne disease concerns).

DEET-Free Bug Spray Options

Here are some DEET-free bug sprays to consider:

PiActive – Active ingredient is Icaridin

Natrapel – Uses oil of lemon eucalyptus as the active ingredient (I’m waiting to hear back from them on the other ingredients as they aren’t listed).

Take a Hike – An essential oil + aloe vera based spray that looks similar to one I love but has been discontinued. I haven’t tried this, but might be my next attempt after I run out of what we have.

 

If you’re looking for more less-toxic product alternatives for your body and home, come on over to the Green Product Forum Facebook Group! And if you have a favourite bug spray, I’d love to hear what it is when you join!

The Best Non-Toxic Mineral Sunscreen Brands

best non-toxic mineral sunscreen brands

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely getting more outside time these days trying to keep the kids active and occupied. And I don’t leave the house without everyone putting on sunscreen. My kids have always used non-toxic mineral sunscreen but it took me longer to make the switch for myself. 

If you’re in the same boat, here are some reasons why your whole family should choose non-toxic mineral sunscreen this summer:

  • Conventional sunscreens contain ingredients that are known to harm coral reefs and have been shown to increase the chance of endocrine disruption. (Hawaii introduced a bill to ban some of these chemicals – it takes effect in 2021.)
  • A 2018 FDA-commissioned study found that common sunscreen ingredients – including oxybenzone and avobenzone – were absorbed at much higher concentrations than expected. A follow-up study in 2019 found similar results with additional common ingredients. This means that according to FDA rules, the manufacturers need to demonstrate that the products don’t cause cancer, developmental issues, or endocrine disruption. This work has been repeatedly stalled with no clear direction on when additional studies will be undertaken.

I’m willing to bet industry is going to come out swinging to fight the allegations and very little will come of the research for quite some time. But it adds even more reason why you should switch to a mineral-based sunblock rather than chemical sunscreens. Yes, you, not just your kids.

What’s the Difference Between Mineral Sunblocks and Chemical Sunscreens?

Mineral sunblocks use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.  They sit on top of your skin and physically block the sun’s UVA and UVB from hitting your skin.

Conventional chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, preventing skin damage. They include a combination of any of the following: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.

It was previously thought that these ingredients weren’t absorbed through the skin so the ingredients and products didn’t have to be fully studied. 

Read that again… products you put on your skin and your kids’ skin all summer long  haven’t been tested for long-term health and safety. What research has been done, suggests zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safer alternatives but must be formulated correctly with approved particle types (one reason I don’t recommend homemade DIY sunscreen).

Now, a word of caution. Since so many people are looking for mineral sunscreen, I’m seeing brands include zinc oxide or titanium – and prioritize the marketing around being mineral-based – but also contain chemical sunscreen ingredients (and often a host of other ingredients that aren’t healthy). And the non-active ingredients are important to look at too.

As with all personal care products, get in the habit of reading the full ingredient label, not just the front of the package. It’s more important to know what’s in a sunscreen than what’s not (and PABA-free just doesn’t cut it any more). If you want help reading labels, check out my Guide to Choosing Healthy Products.

What Else to Look For

Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 – 50. SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays, and anything higher offers little additional protection.

Look for sunscreen labelled “broad spectrum” or “UVA and UVB protection”. SPF only measures UVB protection effectiveness. UVB radiation contributes to skin cancer and is the chief cause of sunburn, however UVA rays also accelerate skin aging and contribute to skin cancer.

Retinyl palmitate. This is a form of vitamin A that Health Canada’s draft guidelines indicate that may increase the skin’s sensitivity to sun. EWG and Environmental Defense warn against using sunscreens with Vitamin A (on ingredient labels often as retinyl palmitate or retinoic acid) as FDA studies have indicated that it can cause changes to cells when exposed to UVA radiation (though the Canadian Cancer Society reports that there is no evidence these changes are cancerous).

Before I dive into the product recommendations, remember that sunscreen should be your last line of defense when enjoying summer. Wear long sleeves, hat, and sunglasses and avoid being in the sun in the middle of the day wherever possible.

The Best Non-Toxic Mineral Sunscreen Brands

The brands I list here meet the following criteria:

  • Free from chemical sunscreen ingredients (they use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the only active ingredients).
  • Free from the ingredients in my Ingredient Watchlist (these are based on health and toxicity, if you have allergies be sure to read ingredient labels accordingly).
  • Non-whitening and decent performance (this is fairly subjective, but I’ve only included products recommended by many).

Top Picks for Kids

Green Beaver 

Pump Spray: My kids have been using the pump spray since they were little. They love how quickly it goes on so they don’t have to sit still while I spend precious minutes trying to rub it in like some thick creams require. It’s on the greasy side so I don’t love it for me, personally. I have friends with kids with darker skin and they like it too.

Note: I don’t recommend aerosolized sprays because the fine mist can be inhaled, which poses health risks not associated with skin exposure. The pump spray comes out as a liquid stream rather than tiny droplets.

Baby Lotion: This goes on really nicely! It’s less greasy than the pump, but does take a bit more to rub in (like all lotions). It doesn’t leave a chalky residue and spreads well. A lot of people like the regular lotion as well. I haven’t tried it recently since the baby lotion went on nicer than the last time I tried the regular.

Top Pick for Adults

Beautycounter 

Lotion: This is truly the first mineral sunscreen to win my heart. It goes on well, doesn’t leave a heavy white residue, and keeps even my sensitive (super sunburn-prone) skin protected. It’s my summer-time go-to.

Stick: I used this stick for my face during ski season, and now I pack it in my bag for quick touch-ups when we’re out and about. It goes on nicely – the kids love it too.

Tinted Spray: I know I said I don’t recommend fine-mist sprays, but this deserves a mention because it comes in two tinted shades for darker skin. I’ve used the non-tinted version, and it feels good once applied. I recommend always spraying it into your hand first, and avoid inhaling the mist.

Runners Up

These aren’t my personal favourites, but get recommended often so are worth a mention.

Badger

Badger is a great all-around brand. When I first tried their sunscreen, it was very thick and hard to rub in – it’s the first sunscreen I used on my babies. But I tried a small amount more recently and it seems to have improved. 

ThinkSport

Everyday Face: This tinted face sunscreen spreads well, and provides a light tint to offset any whitening found in typical mineral sunscreens. It contains cetyl dimethicone, which if you have acne prone skin might contribute to breakouts. 

Lotion: I used to use this myself – it was the first natural sunscreen I could handle and it finally allowed me to break-up with Coppertone. But eventually, I found it too thick and it left my black bathing suits stained. I’m including it here because so many people love the ThinkSport and ThinkBaby lotions, and it offers a texture and performance comparable to conventional products so can make for a good “gateway”.

Attitude

This brand gets recommended a fair bit. I have to admit, I was underwhelmed when I tried it – it was hard to rub in and stayed pretty white. But it’s got a number of raving fans and the ingredients are decent.

 

I hope this list helps you pare down your search for the best non-toxic mineral sunscreen for your family. If you’re switching for the first time, maybe pick up a couple from this list to try. Everyone has slightly different expectations and criteria so it doesn’t hurt to have options!

And if you’re still not sure, you can join over 3,000 other health-conscious parents and parents to be over in my free Facebook Group the Green Product Forum to ask questions and support others! Request to join here.

 

This post contains affiliate links, which help support my research and free resources at no cost to you. These recommendations are my own and this post is not sponsored.

Toxins and Racism: We Can All Do Better

I have been told that I speak from a place of privilege about choosing a green and non-toxic lifestyle and that it’s not attainable for everyone.   

While it’s true I am speaking from a place of privilege, addressing toxins certainly doesn’t only benefit those with privilege. And we have a responsibility to use our privilege to affect change. 

This is a post I’ve been planning for a while. But I kept hesitating or putting it off for fear of not “getting it right”. For saying the wrong thing. The past couple of months have shone a bright light on the dark reality of systemic racism – specifically in the US but I’m not naive enough to believe it’s not in Canada too. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery lost their lives because of the colour of their skin. It might be too little too late, but I’ve realized that silence is worse so this is my way of speaking up.

There are a thousand things we should be doing differently to combat racism. I will be working privately on those and it’s not my place to attempt to teach others as I am still at the beginning of my own journey. What I do have the ability to teach publicly is what I’ve been teaching all along. Ultimately, I want to shift the conversation around toxins away from “it’s not important to me” to “it’s essential for all of us.”

Environmental Health is a Public Health Issue 

I haven’t talked about it on my platforms, but a big part of my mission in bringing environmental health into mainstream conversation is to support those who don’t have the same access to information and solutions. 

I want toxin-free and green living to be the mainstream. To be attainable for everyone because it is the only way. To be affordable because the demand created for products that don’t harm our health becomes great enough. To be the easy choices for our elected officials because the public demands it.

When it comes to consumer patterns, minorities and disadvantaged people are most affected by the choices those with privilege make. 

From climate change to toxins, the environmental movement serves to help the whole planet – not just those who can afford investing in change. 

It’s no secret that the ones who will feel it most if we don’t act are those who are already struggling the most. 

By making choices that reduce toxins in the supply chain, reducing energy consumption, and supporting fossil fuel alternatives, we can use our privilege to help reduce the impact so many of these environmental health issues have on people of colour in particular. 

Here are some examples – particularly focusing on the racism experienced by Black Americans, given recent events that have brought systemic racism to the forefront:

  • US farm workers are mostly Hispanics, followed by Blacks. Which puts them at increased exposure of pesticides – well beyond the levels we’re experiencing on produce from the grocery store. When you buy organic, you’re supporting a farm that doesn’t expose its workers to daily exposure to high levels of carcinogens and hormone disruptors.
  • After talc was declared a possible carcinogen, Johnson & Johnson identified Black women as the “right place” to focus their sales. Their efforts to offset declining sales in baby powder included distributing free samples in primarily Black and Hispanic churches and beauty salons. Watch The Devil You Know on Netflix and tell me if it doesn’t make your blood boil.
  • A 2017 EPA study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that Black Americans were exposed to significantly more small pollution particles (PM 2.5). These are associated with lung disease, heart disease, and premature death. The study found that Blacks had 1.54 times higher burden than did the overall population – higher than both those in poverty and the non-white population in general.
  • EWG research looked at 1,177 products marketed to Black women, and found that one out of 12 products were rated “highly” hazardous to human health. The most problematic products are hair relaxers, colours, and bleaches. They are linked to hormone disruption, reproductive damage, and cancer.
  • Mould and lead in poorly maintained public and low-income housing also disproportionately affects people of colour. Exposure to these, especially in early childhood contribute to long-term illness and development issues.
  • And the staggering statistic that Black women are 2-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues in the US compared to white women is hard to ignore.
  • Furthermore, research on diseases that disproportionately affect Black people, and their treatments, are lacking in Black study participants. There are several barriers, and this article does a great job of explaining them.

What You Can Do

If you’re anything like me, the events over the past few weeks have left you feeling sad, confused, and heavy-hearted. And if you’re not a BIPOC, you might also be feeling powerless, because “you’re not part of the problem.” 

You and I might not be actively part of the problem, but we can still be more actively part of the solution. 

There are so many ways to do this, and I’m not qualified to speak on most of them. But I know a thing or two about toxins, and the impact our daily choices have on those responsible for making the products and food we consume on a daily basis is one thing we can control. 

This is also why I spend so much time educating you on how to speak to others about toxins, and giving you the why behind the changes I encourage. Because we need to have conversations about toxins with more people. We need the narrative and stigma around toxins to change. We need to provide greater access to information so that more people can make more empowered decisions. 

I am starting more conversations at home about race and racism. I am reading different points of view and learning how to break my own patterns. It’s a process, one that I encourage you to look at as well. It all starts at home. How we teach what we model for our children. How we respond to what others are saying. 

Here are some of my resources to help you have more conversations around environmental health and the urgent need to address it – for everyone’s sake:

“Not enough to be harmful” and other misconceptions about Environmental Toxins

How to Talk to Skeptics

How to Read Labels (and join my mailing list for ongoing trainings)

 

To learn more ways you can stand up against racism, here is a (far from exhaustive) list of resources. Speak up. #blacklivesmatter.

http://www.raceconscious.org/

@theconsciouskid

@rachel.cargle

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

“Not Enough to be Harmful” and Other Misconceptions About Environmental Toxins

myths about environmental toxins emma reading on couch

Doubt is the killer of dreams. And because of this, doubt has been the playbook go-to for industry to stall progress on public health decisions for decades.

From cigarettes to flame retardants to climate change, the facts have been obscured by seeding doubt in the public. Eventually, the facts prevail, but not without collateral damage to our health and the planet’s. 

Some of the biggest doubt campaigns: Cigarettes are now known to cause cancer. Many flame retardant chemicals are banned due to the environmental and health hazards they pose. Climate change is still a work in progress… These should have been no-brainers, but industry seeded doubt and lengthened the legal, social and political processes because of it. (Check out the book Merchant’s of Doubt for more on this.)

When it comes to the ingredients in the products you use every day, doubt is playing the same role to discredit the notion that environmental toxins are a serious concern.

Sometimes the doubt is internal – you may not be totally clear how harmful your skincare products really are. Often, it’s affected by external doubt – manufactured by industry as in the examples listed above, or because your friends and family don’t understand your concerns.

I’m here to help you overcome doubt. To share the facts, credible science, and enable you to make informed decisions. I’ve already written about ways you can get your skeptical partner on board, so in this article I want to address some of the most common misconceptions that lead to doubt and ultimately sabotage your success.

Let’s go…

 

Misconception #1: “I grew up using those products and I’m healthy.”

There are a few problems with this belief. 

First, a single product is not typically responsible for poor health. Our cumulative exposures, genetics, and lifestyle are all factors. The truth is, we are exposed to more toxins and stressors than before. Add that to poor sleep, less movement, and a higher body burden to start with and our health picture isn’t the same as previous generations.

Second, as a society our definition of “healthy” is basically “not very sick.” As I wrote about in this blog post about my personal reasons for starting down a non-toxic lifestyle, things we consider normal (like PMS, period cramps, asthma and allergies, eczema, etc.) shouldn’t be. They’re common now, but they certainly don’t mean we’re healthy. 

Also, as an individual you might be generally healthy. But as a society, rates of obesity, cancer, reproductive issues, childhood development concerns, and more are on the rise. And since these rates are rising faster than genetics can explain, experts agree that environmental exposures are playing a role.

So the fact that someone grew up using Johnson & Johnson’s baby wash and didn’t develop obvious health issues, doesn’t mean it’s safe to use for your family. 

 

Misconception #2: “Mainstream doctors and nurses don’t seem concerned, so why should I be?”

This has less to do about their level of concern and everything to do about their level of education. Environmental health is a specialty, just like cardiology or pediatrics. You wouldn’t expect your family doctor to be able to do open heart surgery, would you? Of course not. 

Environmental medicine is a relatively new field of study, considering physicians have been formally trained for about 800 years. And medical schools offer very little in the form of environmental health training – I’ve seen anywhere from 6 – 9 hours reported over 4 years of med school.

Just because the medical system is slow to evolve and doctors aren’t aware of the risk toxins pose, doesn’t mean they aren’t impacting your health. The physicians, naturopathic doctors, and researchers who focus on environmental medicine and toxins agree that we should be deeply concerned about, and lowering, our daily exposures.

 

Misconception #3: “It wouldn’t be allowed to be sold if it weren’t tested and safe.”

North America operates under a system of post-market regulation for general household products. New ingredients and products are typically put on store shelves, and deemed safe based on studies conducted by the companies wanting to sell them. 

Another issue here is that a chemical is typically considered safe until proven otherwise, but this level of proof is very difficult to obtain. Because it takes a long time for the effects to be seen from things like hormone disruptors and carcinogens, we’re literally the guinea pigs. And often for years if not decades.

Lead paint. PBDE flame retardants in pyjamas and couches. PFOA in Teflon, stain repellents and waterproofing products. DDT. These are just a few examples of chemicals that were permitted for widespread use, only to be banned years later because of overwhelming evidence that they were causing health and/or environmental harm. 

In addition, “safe” levels for certain chemicals determined by regulators – especially hormone disruptors – typically don’t adequately factor in cumulative exposures to all chemicals, increased risk of children, and low-dose exposure risks. 

Regulators can’t keep up with increasing new products. Testing of some products – like cheap make-up or costume jewelry – have repeatedly been found to contain heavy metals like lead and cadmium that exceed the regulatory limits. It is up to consumers to know who we’re buying from, unfortunately.

What’s more, if a product is found to contain a harmful ingredient, regulators cannot legally enforce a recall. Some companies will voluntarily recall a product from public pressure, but this is typically only after people have been harmed.

So yes, products can be (and are) on store shelves that shouldn’t be. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t every develop or use new chemicals. Chemicals aren’t the inherent bad guys here. But we do need to do a better job at understanding the long-term and cumulative risks before bringing them to market.

 

Misconception #4: “It seems like everything’s toxic these days. You can’t avoid it all, so why bother?”

One part of this statement is true: you can’t avoid all toxins. They are literally everywhere – in the food we eat, water we drink, and air we breathe. We can’t control it all. But that’s precisely why we have to avoid what we can control.

The goal of reducing your exposure to toxins isn’t total avoidance. The ultimate goal is to lower your overall body burden (total accumulation of toxins in your body) so your natural detoxification systems are able to better handle what you can’t control.

This also brings in another layer that people often lean on, and that’s total reliance on our immune system. And while it’s true our immune systems can do a wonderful job at eliminating things that don’t belong, most of our immune systems are so over-worked and often under-supported that they can’t cope with the onslaught of things we’re throwing at them. 

So I rephrase this misconception to: We are exposed to so many different toxins, which is why we must reduce our exposure to the things we can control so our bodies can cope with what we can’t control.

 

Misconception #5: It’s only a little bit, and well within the safe limits allowed.

Or in other words, the dose makes the poison. Maybe you’ve heard it as “everything’s poisonous if you take enough of it, even water.” The problem here is that certain chemicals, in particular hormone disrupting chemicals, have been shown to cause harm at very low doses.

Our hormones are incredibly small molecules in our body, and control much of what we take for granted – our mood, metabolism, reproductive system, sleep, etc. They do all this at concentrations equivalent to a teardrop in a swimming pool. 

Hormone disrupting chemicals can do a very good job at mimicking our natural hormones, so it makes sense that the research is showing it doesn’t require high concentrations of hormone disruptors to interrupt these processes.

Studies have shown that we all carry a toxic load – even from birth. So while a small amount of parabens in your shampoo or pesticides in one glass of water won’t cause much harm, the chemicals in all our products, food, and water that we’re exposed to day in and day out certainly are

On this note, if you’re thinking of getting pregnant or already are, starting before baby is born is an important first step. You can check out my free guide 4 Hormone Disruptors to Avoid Before Having a Baby here.

 

I hope this helps you clarify some of the misinformation and misconceptions out there when it comes to toxins in your daily life. Toxins absolutely can and are contributing to lasting and detrimental health effects. Understanding that, and how to overcome objections like these from your family but also yourself are key to being able to mitigate the risks toxins pose. 

If you haven’t already, be sure to join the free Green Product Forum Facebook Group – an incredibly supportive community here to help you on your healthy home journey >> Click here to join now.

How You Can Boost Immunity Naturally at Home

how to boost immunity at home

 A couple weeks ago I shared strategies you can make your home more resistant to coronavirus (you can read that here). In this post, I’ll share how your home can directly impact your immune system and what you can do about it.

Now, there is no shortage of advice online right now about how to boost your immunity naturally, especially in light of the pandemic we’re in. Some of it is well-intentioned and accurate, some of it is false. So before I dive in, I will say it very clearly:

The only way to ensure you don’t get covid-19 is to not come in contact with the virus that causes it.

Full stop. No amount of immune-boosting strategies will guarantee that you won’t get sick, so it’s still critical that you practice physical distancing, wash your hands, don’t touch your face… all the stuff public health agencies are telling us to do. 

Now, that being said, we should absolutely be helping our immune system do its job. All the time, really, but especially in light of the pandemic. Because if your body isn’t functioning optimally, it’s less likely to be able to fight for you.

I actually attended the Environmental Health Symposium (online) last week, an annual conference. And this year’s theme was suitably “Immunotoxicity: The Intersection between Toxic Exposure, Infectious Disease and Autoimmunity”. So some of this was covered by speakers there, and I’ll be sharing more from the conference over the coming weeks.

 So, without further ado, let’s dive into how you can boost your immunity naturally at home!

 

What it Means to Boost Your Immune System

So the key here is that you want to help your immune system maintain its natural balance, rather than giving it a boost. An over-functioning immune system is just as bad as an under-performing one (autoimmune disease is an example of an over-functioning immune system).

Yes, there are vitamins and supplements and dietary changes you can make. But that’s not in my realm of expertise so I’m not going to go there.

So, how can you support a healthy immune system while you’re stuck at home? 

Gold star if you guessed where I’m going here…

 

Toxins and Immunity 

Yup. I talk about them all the time as they relate to long-term health impacts like hormone disruption, children’s development, asthma and allergies, cancer, etc… but toxic chemicals found throughout our homes also play a role in our immune function. 

There are many different ways toxins can affect our immune systems. Here are some examples:

Mitochondrial Damage

Certain chemicals have been shown to damage mitochondria, which are tiny structures inside each cell that create energy required for cell function. Heavy metal and certain pesticides have been found to be particularly damaging to mitochondria. Healthy mitochondria are thought to be an important part of a healthy immune system, and are required for your body to continue to clear toxins and maintain optimal health.

Glutathione Depletion

Gluta-what? Glutathione! It’s a critical component of detoxification that helps toxic chemicals leave the body more easily. But it’s also a critical component of a healthy immune system. Interestingly, gutathione has been shown to play an important anti-inflammatory role in the lungs.

Immunotoxins

Specific toxins have been shown to impact the immune system directly, like PCBs and dioxins. These are commonly found in our food and water, and won’t be found on any ingredient labels. Not all toxic chemicals can be avoided completely, which is why it’s important to understand where your main sources are and do your best to reduce your exposure.

 

What You Can Do

The good news is, you have a lot of control over your household exposures! And sitting at home in isolation is a perfect time to pause and reflect on the products you’re using and daily habits that could be contributing to your body’s toxic load.

Some ideas…

  • Audit of your skincare and cleaners as a simple way to start to lower your total body burden (I show you how here). 
  • Reduce your exposure to pesticides in your food.
  • Eat foods to support glutathione production (watch this for recommendations from Dr. Melina Roberts, ND).

Taking simple yet impactful steps to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals can help support your immune system so it in turn can help keep you safe. And this is something we should be focused on all the time, not just during a global pandemic. 

If you’re looking for a supportive community ready to cheer you on and help answer your questions about creating a healthier, greener home, I invite you to join us over in my free Facebook Group, the Green Product Forum! Click here to join today.

covid-19 Isolation Survival Guide

I know, I know, we’re all sick of hearing covid this, physical distancing that… but you know what? This is our reality and if I were a betting girl, I’d bet it’s going to be our reality for quite some time. And if you’re like me and just about every other person on the planet, you’re having a tough time with the new isolation conditions. I’ve gone through the various stages of grief… and will probably cycle through them a few more times before this is all over.

And the panic I’ve seen in various mom communities online suggests I’m not alone. But I’m seeing a lot of women are having a hard time coming out of panic and anxiety. I get it. This situation is HARD. But I also know that our kids are watching.  I think we owe it to them to model behaviour in crisis that we would want them to practice.

In light of that, I’d like to share a little bit of insight into what’s run through my brain over the past month:

Denial: “Huh, this virus doesn’t sound great. Glad we live somewhere we won’t be affected.”

Anger: “What?! Schools are closed for 2 whole weeks? This is going to be terrible.”

Bargaining: “Who wants to socially isolate together? Anyone want to borrow a kid?”

Depression: “I can’t do this. I miss my life. I miss people. I miss my quiet house while I’m working. This is too much…” {This wasn’t my finest several days, but I also think it’s important for kids to see us have emotions and this is where they saw the most.}

Acceptance: “OK, sitting on the kitchen floor crying felt good for those 20mins, but I can’t live like this for months. Let’s figure out a way to make this work.”

 

So, now that I am sitting squarely in Acceptance I’m trying to keep from reverting back into a depression state. I wanted to share some things that have helped me out – giving me comfort, self care, or making life a little easier. So I can help support my family through this time and show them that we can do hard things. 

I’ve put together a little covid-19 Isolation Survival Guide – I hope you find it helpful and that it inspires you to add some things to your new routine that bring you joy and help make this situation a little easier. I’ve linked some of my favourite products and businesses too.

Get Out of Your PJs 

OK, I know staying in PJ’s or yoga pants all day is tempting… but one of the biggest shifts in my mood was starting my day getting properly dressed. The bonus is that with my super comfortable (and eco-friendly) outfits from Logan & Finley, it still feels like I’m in pjs. But I know I’m dressed and ready to face the day.

Owner Julie has even created a collection specifically for the work-from-home life. You can shop online – and get a virtual wardrobe consultation – here. (And most of what I’m wearing in my photos on social and my website are from Logan & Finley!)

Logan & Finley clothing

Move Yo’ Body

I’m only just starting to get back into working out after a solid couple of months off (the flu hit our house in February). I am a terrible self-starter and got used to the routine of going to the gym. So when we all got stuck at home I had a hard time getting motivated. Enter my trainer, Reena Parekh.

I’ve been training with her for years in-person. Lucky for me, and just in time for a pandemic situation, she now does online training. She helped kick my butt into action. I’ve got workouts that burn, and the accountability to help me stick to it. 

Learn more about online training with Reena here.

Oh, and maybe it’s just me, but even when I’m just stuck around the house, I don’t like going braless. My TMPL Sports Bra has definitely been my go-to. Its super soft material feels just as good all day as it does during a workout. (I also love their leggings and tank, pictured below.)

Shop their high performance, ethically-made, non-toxic line of athleticwear here and save 15%. In the photo below I’m wearing the medium support sportsbra (that I’m wearing as I write this), tank, and pocket leggings.

 

Pamper Yourself

I’ve started putting on make-up every day – even more than I used to beforehand. I don’t know if it’s because I’m washing my hands a million times a day and looking in a mirror more often or what, but the morning routine also helps me set myself up for a healthier mindset to face the day.

My favourite make-up brands are all thanks to Maria Velve – my go-to skincare expert and make-up artist. She sells amazing brands in her online shop and can do virtual consultations too! Check her out here.

In the quiet, after the kids are in bed, and nobody’s asking me for something (maybe my favourite part of the day?!)… I’ve started really looking forward to my pre-bed facial treatment. 

I’ve been using an oil cleanser and moisturizer from Lifance, which I am absolutely loving. (You can save 15% when you use your Healthy Moms Discount Card. Don’t have one yet? Grab it here and save a whole bunch on awesome products and services.)

In the shower, I use an exfoliating face scrub I picked up when I got my last facial at Pure & Simple. They’re selling self isolation kits now that look like fun too. 

These simple luxuries seem to help melt away the stress of the day, and I enjoy them unapologetically.

 

Embrace the Chaos + Simplify

So all the product-based strategies aside, the greatest survival tactic I realized is that I have to embrace the chaos and learn to simplify. 

I say chaos because I think it aptly describes the idea that we are to instantly transform into different people and lose our usual support systems. In my case, I am now a work-at-home and stay-at-home-mom, being the primary caregiver during the day as my husband works for an essential service. We don’t have access to grandparents or babysitters. Given how quickly I went from a work-at-home-while-kids-were-at-school-mom to this new reality… chaos is really how I feel.

But I’m learning to embrace it and work with it – after I went through the grief process about what I’ve “lost”, which I still think is an important thing to acknowledge.

And simplify is a word that resonates with me as I navigate trying to do all the things… so I wanted to share something from the most gentle soul you’ll ever meet, Lynne Newman. She offers coaching and workshops around simplicity parenting among others, and has put together a great (free) e-book to help you simplify your children’s toys. 

With everyone home looking for something to do, this might seem counter-intuitive. But her process will help you create a more calm home, and will make it easier for your children to engage with what they already have better.

You can download it here.

 

We’re in this for a long time. When I moved through the stages of grief and really settled into that, I was able to focus on the little things that ultimately help boost my mood and morale. Getting outside has also been a huge part of my support process, but I know with varying levels of isolation that might not be possible where you are – but if you can do it safely, try to get outside or at least open your windows every day.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not business as usual right now. Lower expectations of what you can get done in a day if you’ve got children at home especially. Practice daily gratitude, allowing yourself to acknowledge what went well. 

And most importantly, show compassion to yourself and others. We’re all doing the best we can. 

If you’d like to continue having conversations about navigating this time, creating healthy homes, and supporting healthy families, I invite you to join me over in my free Facebook Group, the Green Product Forum >> click here to join now.

 

This post contains affiliate links. These help support the work that goes into this blog and other resources I create. For any purchase made from affiliate links, I earn a small percentage at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the businesses I love, and for helping me continue to do my work :).

The EWG Dirty Dozen, Produce Washes, and More: How to Reduce Pesticides in Your Food

ewg dirty dozen strawberries in bowl

It’s that time of year again… when eco-bloggers go nuts over the EWG Dirty Dozen list and no doubt will share headlines like your “strawberries are doused in toxic pesticides giving you cancer with every bite…” OK, maybe they don’t go that far. But some of the articles that I’m sure will come out over this time will sound pretty close. 

Before you check out this year’s Dirty Dozen list (spoiler alert: the big shake-up this year is raisins), I want to share what the Dirty Dozen actually means, does it matter, and how else you can take informed actions to reduce pesticides in your food. 

Because while tools like the Dirty Dozen can certainly be part of your strategy to lower your exposure to toxins, it’s pointless if you don’t understand what it means.

Let’s get to it then, shall we?

 

What is the EWG Dirty Dozen?

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit out of the US, publishes its ranking of produce and pesticide residues in its Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen lists.

The “dirty dozen” are the produce that have the highest amount of pesticide residues. Then there’s a group in the middle, and the “clean fifteen” which have the lowest amount of pesticide residues.

 

How the Dirty Dozen Works

To come up with their Dirty Dozen list, the EWG uses data from USDA and FDA sampling. The USDA selects which specific types of produce will be tested each year, so there isn’t annual data for everything. Produce is tested as it would normally be eaten – for example, apples are washed under water and oranges are peeled.

The EWG takes the most recent 1 – 2 years of sampling data per type of produce – in some cases, this data could be up to 10 years old. 

In 2019, kale was moved up in the dirty dozen ranking and EWG used it as their big headline and hook to get people talking about the list. However, kale hadn’t been tested by the FDA for several years. So the reality is that although it was farther down the list in previous years, the pesticide content likely was the same or similar in 2017 and 2018.

The government studies also don’t account for all pesticides – according to the EWG, even glyphosate, one of the most widely used pesticides, isn’t tested for. (I wrote about glyphosate in our food here.)

To compare foods, EWG looks at various measures of pesticide contamination:

  • Percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides.
  • Percent of samples with two or more detectable pesticides.
  • Average number of pesticides found on a single sample.
  • Average amount of pesticides found, measured in parts per million.
  • Maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample.
  • Total number of pesticides found on the crop.

The produce is ranked against each of these criteria using equal weighting, and given a score. These scores are used to come up with the best and worst when it comes to pesticide residues. You can read about their full process here.

 

How to Use the EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists

Is the Dirty Dozen is far from conclusive or a perfect system? Absolutely not. You’ll find no shortage of articles debunking it. But as long as you understand its limitations, it can still be used as a simple way to help avoid decision fatigue and prioritize where you’re spending your money.

It can be a way to help you prioritize certified organic purchases where they’re more likely to have an impact on your exposure to certain pesticides. 

And yes, before you jump at me saying that organic farmers use pesticides too, I am well aware. But they aren’t allowed to use some of the most problematic pesticides like hormone disrupting atrazine or carcinogenic glyphosate.

 

What About Produce Washes? Can You Remove Pesticides That Way?

I get asked quite often how I wash my produce. And this will probably disappoint you, but I just wash them under cold water. Mostly because there’s only so much time in the day and I’d rather find it easier to eat fresh fruits and vegetables than reach for something less healthy. 

The truth is, no one method will remove 100% of pesticide residues.

Rinsing with regular water has been shown to be effective on certain pesticides, but not all. And it’s mostly the mechanical process of rubbing the fruits under water (some say it should be for 2mins).

Other methods that have been shown to be effective on certain fruits and veggies with specific pesticides are soaking in a solution of baking soda and water for 15mins and soaking in 10% vinegar for 20mins.

These studies had several limitations, but if you don’t mind the extra time or effort, the strategies certainly don’t hurt. However, soaking and washing don’t remove the pesticides that soak into the fruit (another reason to opt for organic where you can).

Fruit and veggie washes typically use surfactants to help loosen dirt, wax, and germs from the produce. But they haven’t been standardized or tested fully so it’s hard to know how good a job they do on pesticides. The FDA doesn’t recommend them because they can leave residue on the food. 

 

How Else Can you Reduce Pesticides

Some studies have shown that pesticides in some foods are reduced through cooking, so prioritizing organic for raw foods may be one way to lower your exposure (though cooking changes the nutrition quality so you still want to be getting some raw fruits and veggies in your diet!). 

You can also use a course brush on thicker-skinned fruits and vegetables like potatoes, cucumber, etc. 

And finally, always wash your produce, even if you’re going to peel it anyways.

 

If you’re starting to read all the horror stories about the EWG Dirty Dozen and are worried about your own pesticide intake, I hope this helps you navigate the landscape more confidently! You can read more on whether organic produce is worth it in this article.

If you want to learn how to lower your toxic load with strategic product swaps and habits, I invite you to join my online program the Healthy Home Method. It’s your step-by-step roadmap to help you reduce toxins in each room of your home without going crazy. It’s only for those serious about taking control of their long-term health – if that’s you, click here to learn more.

How to Prevent COVID-19 Naturally at Home

How to prevent covid-19 naturally at home

I’ll just say it straight: we are living in a crazy time right now. There is an unbelievable amount of information (and misinformation) floating around about the 2019 novel coronavirus (covid-19) and I’ve hesitated to add to the noise. But there’s something we’re not talking about that I think is important – for our health, and our sanity.  

Now, before I dive in I want to make it perfectly clear that despite what some are sharing online, nothing has been proven to cure or make you immune to covid-19 as of today.  However, there are definitely things you can and should be doing to boost your immune system – covid-19 or not. 

I’m not going to give you recommendations for supplements and herbs and immune boosting tonics, because that’s not my specialty. For that kind of information, I recommend following this page put together by Dr. Aviva Romm. She’s an MD, herbalist, and midwife and  focuses on practical, clinically relevant recommendations.

I’m going to stay in my lane here, and share tips that you can act on right now – whether you’re social distancing or in quarantine – to make your home less friendly to viruses like covid-19. 

In this article, I share:

  • The proper way to wash your hands, and what kind of soap to use.
  • The step you need to take before disinfecting, and what products actually work.
  • How fresh air plays a role in virus prevention.
  • The optimal humidity level in your home to make it less friendly to viruses.
  • The source I trust for advice on boosting your body’s immune response.

These things are not going to guarantee you don’t get sick. But they can go a long way to reducing your risk and supporting your body in the event you do.

 

Wash Your Hands (For Longer than You Think You Should)

The number one way to prevent germs from coming into your home, is to wash your hands before you touch anything. The good news is, viruses like covid-19 are easily combated with regular old soap and water (this article explains why). 

Yes, even the natural stuff – you don’t need special antibacterial soap. Just make sure you’re spending at least 20 seconds, using warm water, and rubbing your hands. There are a million videos out there on this now, but here’s the official guidance from the CDC.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the second best option when you don’t have access to soap. Be careful using homemade versions, as the concentration needs to be at least 60% to be effective.

Clean then Disinfect

If you are appropriately distancing yourself – you are avoiding contact with other people by now, right? – and washing your hands as soon as you come home, you’re doing the most important steps to reducing your risk of exposure and the spread of the virus. 

As far as the research shows, transmission is mainly through inhaling droplets from coughs and sneezing. That being said, the virus has been shown to live on surfaces for hours to days. BEcause of this, Health Canada and the CDC recommend cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces daily, especially if a member of your household is at risk or showing symptoms.

Short-term use of disinfectants like Lysol and bleach isn’t going to hurt. However, long-term use could be impacting especially our children’s immune systems for the long-term (stay tuned, more on this to come). 

If you are sanitizing your home, be aware that disinfectants only work on clean surfaces. So before you sanitize, be sure to clean with a soap first. 

My go-to all-purpose cleaner is liquid castile soap in water – this hasn’t changed with covid-19. 

I use Benefect for our normal disinfecting needs (which I really only use when we’ve got a serious illness or vomit going on). It’s Health Canada approved as a hospital-grade disinfectant and has been demonstrated effective on viruses similar to covid-19 (though hasn’t yet been tested on it specifically).

Hydrogen peroxide has been shown to be effective on viruses, including other coronaviruses. You can find a list of EPA-approved disinfectants here.

Oh, and a lot of people are worried about bringing in contaminated groceries. So far, the risk is incredibly low of contracting covid-19 from food and packaging. This article provides the best summary I’ve seen on the subject. The take-away? Worry about washing your hands, not so much about getting the virus from eating contaminated food.

Please for the love of all things, do not share false information about colloidal silver, essential oils, and other strategies being spread around the interwebs that have not been proven to be effective against covid-19.

 

Increase Fresh Air

Indoor air quality can impact your immune system’s ability to fight off infection. When our homes are all closed up, the chemicals that offgas from the building materials, furniture, cleaners and personal care products accumulate. 

The impact of poor indoor air quality is two-fold. First, it increases our exposure to toxins and therefore our overall toxic load. This is a form of stress on the body, which contributes to reduced immune system performance.

Second, there is emerging research linking hormone disrupting chemicals with immune system dysfunction. It’s impossible to avoid hormone disruptors entirely, but improving ventilation can help flush them out of your home to lower your exposure. 

Also, increasing fresh air inside has been studied with respect to the SARS outbreak in 2003, and the study authors found that “increasing building ventilation rates using methods such as natural ventilation in classrooms, offices, and homes is a relatively effective strategy for airborne diseases in a large city.”

You can increase fresh air by opening windows or running your furnace fan more often – ideally with an air exchanger (if you’re in a new home, you should have one of these and make sure you know how to use it!).

 

Check Your Humidity

The ability of viruses to survive is linked by many different studies with both temperature and humidity. However, there are inconsistencies in the findings to confirm the impact on a specific virus. Not all viruses are impacted the same. And they aren’t always linear – meaning some will survive longer in low and high humidities, but not in the middle.

For influenza, research suggests higher humidity is more effective at reducing virus transmission than low. Because covid-19 is still relatively new, there isn’t much data on it. As a result, it’s been suggested to use other known viruses to predict the impact of covid-19. 

My recommendation to help reduce the spread of cold and flu, while balancing mold growth, is to maintain 40 – 50% relative humidity in your home. Based on the literature around similar viruses, covid-19 appears to have lower survivability at higher humidities. 

Given the lack of research around covid-19 specifically, maintaining an RH of 40 – 50% will at least help prevent other illness, without contributing to harmful mold growth in your home (though always watch out for condensation if you are actively increasing humidity).

 

In Summary

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. All the time.
  2. Clean surfaces before disinfecting them.
  3. Increase fresh air throughout your home.
  4. Maintain a relative humidity of 40 – 50% inside.

I hope this helps you take a step back and focus on what you can do to help prevent your family from getting sick during this pandemic. Stressing about the situation is inevitable, but that also puts your body at increased risk of infection. So let’s acknowledge those feelings (I cry them out, personally), but not dwell on them. We’re all in this together.

Let me know if you’ve got any other questions related to covid-19 or otherwise. I’m planning out my next series of blog posts and would love to help answer your burning questions! Comment below or contact me with your ideas.

And for ongoing training and information about creating a healthier home – during and after this pandemic – join the over 3000 members in my free Facebook Group the Green Product Forum.

Are There Toxic Flame Retardants in Children’s Pajamas?

sleeping baby

This is one of those questions that has some parents totally freaking out, or completely unaware that it could be a “thing”. And if you start looking into whether there are toxic flame retardants in your children’s pajamas, you may find the answer you want in a 5 minute Google search… but it won’t take long before you read something else that contradicts what you just learned.  

When I write about a topic like this, I spend many (many) hours trying to unravel the information. Because so many articles stop short of digging that one extra step, which can make the difference between an educated decision and a wrong assumption. Now, I’m not an investigative journalist… I’m not travelling to manufacturing facilities under cover or anything crazy. But I am critically looking at sources, and trying to find the most credible and impartial information. All these are linked throughout if you want to dig deeper yourself.

So, let’s dive into the big question: do you have to be concerned about toxic flame retardants in your child’s pajamas?

Children’s Sleepwear Regulations

Back in 1972, regulations were written to require children’s pajamas be flame retardant. At the time, they were treated with brominated tris. In 1977, scientists warned that it could damage DNA and was probably absorbed through the skin. Brominated tris was banned for use in children’s sleepwear after government studies found that it could cause cancer and was absorbed through the skin. 

For 5 years, children were exposed to this carcinogen in their sleep. But it didn’t stop there. Brominated tris was replaced with chlorinated tris… and guess what? It was also found to affect DNA. (This is the same playbook followed by many chemical manufacturers.)

Until 1996, natural fibers like cotton were only deemed flame resistant if they were treated with flame retardants. But in that year, regulations changed to allow tight-fitting cotton pj’s since they are less likely to catch fire than baggy clothing.

Now, both the US and Canada require that clothing sold as sleepwear for children 9 months to 14 years old must meet flammability requirements or be tight fitting.

Canadian labelling laws require that loose fitting pyjamas treated with flame retardants have a label that says “flame retardant” along with wash instructions that describe cleaning procedures. For example, fabric softener increases a fabric’s flammability because it separates the fibers, giving them that soft and fluffy feel.

The Nuance of “Inherently Flame Retardant”

After the risks of flame retardants become more widely known, clothing makers switched away from the natural fibers that required flame retardant treatment, to polyester, which didn’t require the application of chemicals to the fabric to meet regulations.  

This is why so many articles claim that polyester is naturally flame resistant, and that we no longer have to be concerned about flame retardants. But that’s not the whole story…

It’s unclear whether all polyester is made in this way, but it appears that flame resistant chemicals are commonly used as an additive or embedded into the material during fiber manufacture. Since polyester is plastic, it doesn’t ignite into flames like natural fibers, but will melt without flame retardants. 

So while polyester may be “inherently” or “naturally” flame retardant, this is achieved either with the addition of flame retardant chemicals or flame resistance built into the fibres. Phosphorus-based treatments and nanoparticles seem to be on the cutting edge of this processing.

Because this is at the material manufacturing stage, companies who sell children’s sleepwear might not know what chemicals or processes are used to render the polyester flame resistant. They just know that they haven’t added flame retardant chemicals, and therefore can market them as having no added flame retardants.

The additives don’t have to be disclosed, nor do we know much about health impacts – if any. 

Certain applications for making “inherently flame retardant” plastics use BPA (a hormone disruptor) and PTFE (the chemical used in Teflon). These process is seemingly for hard plastics, but again, as consumers, we’re kept in the dark of how our products are made. Wo who knows if the same processes are used on plastic fabric.

Also, there is a history of the clothing industry in general using chemicals with toxic properties in the manufacturing process for dyes and to make them resistant to mold, mildew, and wrinkling during shipment. This is why it’s so important to wash clothes before wearing them. But I digress…

What’s a Concerned Parent to Do?

The truth is, while chemicals known to be harmful to our health are less likely to be sprayed on PJs today than in the 70s, we really don’t know unless we ask. So is it worth even worrying?

Some testing has found no flame retardants in the majority of PJs tested (though when labs are asked to test for “known flame retardants”, I’m not sure of the completeness or scientific validity of these tests). The documentary Stink! is based on one dad’s crusade to figure out why his daughter’s pajamas had such a strong odour coming out of the package (and he found chemicals that are technically banned in the US). 

And while polyester can be made to be flame resistant, when I asked Hatley, they confirmed that their polyester nightdresses are treated with flame retardant (via email correspondence, December 19, 2019).

Of note, in the US, flammability tests on products with flame retardants added must be done on fabric after manufacture and after 50 washes, in Canada after 20 washes. Which means that washing treated PJs isn’t an effective solution to reducing exposure to flame retardants.

Regardless of the risk of flame retardant chemicals, there are several reasons to opt for (tight-fitting) natural fiber pj’s over synthetic. For one, polyester doesn’t breathe.  And I hesitate to share this because it is purely anecdotal, but I found more than one suggestion that fleece is often treated with formaldehyde or chemicals that can release formaldehyde during use. 

Because children spend so many hours in their most vulnerable years wearing pajamas, this is one area where I think it is especially prudent to apply the precautionary principle as much as possible.

That means prioritizing organic (next best is non-organic) cotton tight-fitting sleepwear that has “not flame resistant” on the label. The good news is, it isn’t hard to find conventional brands that fit the bill. 

I also want to remind you not to freak out. Reducing your family’s toxic load requires taking a holistic approach that’s never going to be 100% avoidance. There are lots of ways you can reduce your child’s exposure to toxic chemicals – their pajamas are just one piece of the puzzle.

If you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed and panicky every time to hear about the dangers of a new product in your home, there is a better way. The Healthy Home Method is my signature program designed to take you from afraid and burnt out to confident and clear in your home detox strategy. Without having to do everything 100% or totally change your lifestyle. Learn more and sign up here.