We live in a chemical world. They are in use all around us - from pesticides to cosmetics and baby bottles to computers. Some chemicals are known to be toxic and we know very little about many others.
There are simple actions you can take to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. And protect wildlife from the toxic threat.

In the living room and bedroom

  • dry cleaning wherever possible
  • re-carpeting when you are pregnant
  • synthetic carpets, carpet underlay or upholstery with synthetic foams, foam rubber, latex or plastic coverings, because these emit VOCs
  • air fresheners, go for fresh air - open your windows! If you can’t do that, use natural odour eaters such as a bowl of baking soda, or natural fragrances such as potpourri
  • carpets from organic natural fibres such as wool, cotton, rattan or jute
  • machine washable clothes and clothes with fewer chemical treatments such as stain repellents

In the bathroom

  • cosmetics, toiletries and perfumes with synthetic fragrances
  • long-term use of permanent hair dyes, especially those carrying a warning "can cause an allergic reaction"
  • beauty products such as soaps, shampoos, conditioners and hair care products made from natural ingredients
  • fragrance-free products
  • unbleached toilet paper and sanitary products

In the kitchen

  • tinned food products
  • chemical air fresheners or heavily scented cleaning products such as dishwashing liquids, floor cleaners and washing powders
  • cling film when reheating or cooking food in the microwave
  • microwaving food in plastic containers unless they are designed for that purpose
  • organic products whenever possible
  • fresh, frozen or dried food rather than tinned food;
  • a water filter to reduce the levels of chemical contaminants in drinking water
  • non-vinyl flooring

In the garden

  • using creosote-based preservatives or products pre-treated with creosote
  • using pesticides indoors or in the garden - use alternatives and try gardening organically
  • paints, varnishes and glues labelled ‘Low VOC content’, or those that are water-based water-based
  • organic or natural paints made from plants oils - ask in the store to find which products are available.
  • garden furniture not treated with creosote

In the nursery

  •  polycarbonate-plastic baby feeding bottles. The vast majority of plastic feeding bottles are made from polycarbonate which contains bisphenol A, a hormone disrupting chemical that can leach into the liquid inside. Polycarbonate can be identified by looking on the packaging for PC 7 or looking inside the recycling triangle for the number 7. Wherever possible, breast feeding is always the best option
  •  using old and worn plastic baby bottles
  • baby bottles that are not made of polycarbonate
  • children's teething products and dummies from a reputable source
Woman with arms crossed 
© iStockphoto.com
Woman with arms crossed
© iStockphoto.com

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