Getting rid of toxic stuff in the house... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Did any of you feel overwhelmed when you first started purging the toxic stuff in your home? What made you first aware you even had toxins to get rid of?


I'm still working on greening our home, but it is like I find out about new things daily. I'm trying to take baby steps, here. So far I've tackled makeup, kitchen, personal care stuff, cleaning products, organic food, baby toys and mattresses...cloth diapers... we have a Prius. We have a water barrel (which we never use oops), and an organic garden (which failed this year, but I tried!)

This has all been a process. I certainly didn't do it all in a week.


I know there is more I'd like to do, but not sure where to go from here. 


How did you decide what to get rid of? 

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#2 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 08:33 AM
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We are taking a similar approach. I am starting with cleaning products and making my own. As we brun out  of packaged not so good food I am not replacing it. We joined a CSA and planted a fall organic garden and hope to do a successful spring garden. Would love to do organic meats but we simply can't afford it. Grass-fed beef is sometimes on sale so we do that when we can.


I amalso making more from scratch. This serves two purposes, one is avoiding preservatives, fillers and sugar. The other is self-suffiency (green and cheap!). I started making our own bread and granola and some sweet breads for deserts and snacks.

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#3 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 09:59 AM
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This is tricky because when you factor in the time, money, & resources to replace 'toxic' items, often it makes more sense to just keep them. Some things were really easy for us (cleaning & personal care products, for ex.) and toys wasn't a big deal either. Mattresses are hard, very expensive to replace & I figure that hopefully our older mattresses have off-gassed enough to not be a big toxin???? We can't afford all organic food but we do the best we can (and are vegan anyway so don't have to worry about dairy/meat at least). We have to get gutters & when we do I think we'll add a rain barrel too but right now it's not worth the effort. Purging all the plastic tupperware was a project -- well we still have a lot of it but try to only use it for dry food & keep wet foods in glass containers. Wasn't a big deal to stop using disposable products since we gradually added in cloth alternatives. \

We really simplified & minimalized our home -- we had way more stuff than we needed and didn't actually need to replace a lot of the things we had gotten rid of. One important thing I try to keep in mind is that it will be hard and unenjoyable to try to make our home 100% perfect. Sometimes it's just easier, cheaper, or makes more sense to use something that's not ideal. Accepting that I can't be perfect has helped me to do the best I can with the things I *can* do.

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#4 of 6 Old 09-16-2011, 08:00 PM
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I am also taking things one step at a time....when I buy new products, I buy as nontoxic as I can afford but I can't afford to replace all our furniture and mattresses right now - for the mattresses I at least got wool mattress pads but organic mattresses are just out of our reach right now.


Cleaning supplies seemed like one of the biggest sources of toxins and one of the easiest to get rid of - I just make my own.


Personal care products were not that hard either - I don't use many anyway so I just started buying organic nontoxic things - toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, soap. facewash, deodorant (cool days I go without deodorant) - I rarely wear makeup so I still have the typical makeup but once it runs out I'll replace it with natural things.  I use coconut oil as moisturizer.


I bought a bunch of houseplants that are supposed to filter air - I would love an austin air filter but it's out of our range also so I vacuum with a HEPA vacuum and open windows as much as possible


We rent right now so things like flooring are out of our control - our building was designed to be eco friendly so at least paint was no VOC, no carpet glue, etc.


We cant afford to eat all organic.  We buy organic beef but we don't eat it much. I still buy normal chicken from the grocery store because we can't afford organic.  I make sure all dairy is free of growth hormones but it's not organic.  I buy organic as much as I can afford and I cook almost everything from scratch.  We have an apartment so a garden is sadly not an option right now.


I tried to keep things nontoxic for my dd but thanks to family she now has an abundance of plastic toys (she's almost 3) - I am not as concerned since she is past the point of putting things in her mouth but I wish we didn't have so much plastic!!  I won't buy her flame retardant pajamas, she sleeps in normal cotton clothing.  she has an organic wool mattress pad and organic sheets, but a regular mattress. 


We have very few plastic kitchen things - dd eats from regular plates or stainless steel bowls.  We try to store things in glass and I use fabric reusable snack bags.  I got rid of all my teflon and use cast iron or stainless steel.  I try to buy food in glass containers whenever available.


We don't use perfumes, air fresheners, etc.  I use cloth diapers and mama cloth.  We use rags for cleaning adn reusable sponges.  I use family cloth part time for myself and dd but we also use toilet paper...i make sure not to get anything scented.


We don't vaccinate and don't use medicine unless absolutely necessary...we always look for a natural solution to illness first.


i TOTALLY feel overwhelmed all the time and frustrated that I don't have more control about what chemicals my family is exposed to.  Writing this list helped me feel better because I see how much i HAVE done, even though sometimes it seems like there is SO much more I should be doing and so many toxins we are still exposed to.


Hopefully one day the US will actually put safety over profits, but I'm not holding my breath  irked.gif


I try to focus on small steps and realize that every small step is one less toxin my family is exposed to

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#5 of 6 Old 09-19-2011, 08:33 PM
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i didn't feel overwhelmed as i did it a little at a time.


BUT there were things also where i differed philosophically. not so much for the safety issue as much as environmental factors. 


for instance i don't consider prius a green car. a gas saver yes, green no. though i've never ever had the option of really researching the car i could buy. for me since at that time i did a  lot of freeway driving i was looking at a 'well built' car as opposed to a 'tin can'. so those aspects are there.


as crunchy pointed out the funds are a key. but its also the philosophy of why i was doing what i was doing that helped. for instance with grocery i volunteer for a CSA  box and get some extra as well as check out the discount items at our organic place. i obviously can't do all organic that i would like to do - like all oils and grains. but i try within the budget i have. i have found i give up things much more easily if i look at the toxic or exploitation factor (i rarely eat bananas) rather than coz i am poor. poverty means i am being forced to give up things, rather than choosing to give it up myself rather than my hand being forced (or is that a choice too  huh?!!!)


i have never really done plastics (a few toys yes, but not food items) and processed foods so it was not a big deal. 


it has become even more important now coz dd is growing up and understanding why i do what i do, and i feel it is important she see my action and so i stay more firm than give in as i used to do so. dd understands the meaning of chemicals - meaning man made ones and she watches out for it. 


so yes i spend more money on living green (not just buying a buy green tshirt) than say i spend on a vacation which i miss i will admit. its a choice i make which actually does not feel like a choice. 


when dd was an infant though between work and a HNs baby i didnt have time to think of green. infancy was just a blur of surviving. 


however i have not kept dd away from candy playing the organic rule. nor soda. finally dd makes the choice and now chooses freshly picked cherry tomatoes over ice-cream coz she felt she had had her quota of ice-cream for the week. yet someday if she is DYING for some she will choose ice-cream which is ok by me. 


now its not just me but dd taking on the toxic/green living too. AND fair trade too. THAT is big in my book. 


i will however say OMG TOXIC didn't happen when i got pregnant or had dd. that started a while before her so perhaps that's why i wasn't so overwhelmed. 

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#6 of 6 Old 09-20-2011, 05:56 AM
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We've been using water, vinegar, and baking soda to clean for years now so it wasn't hard to switch over after the babies were born. I try to use all-natural cosmetics and other products when possible, but there are some things that even though they're non-toxic, shouldn't be ingested or handled (dishwasher detergent, dish soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.). So we keep those on a high shelf and teach DS about "yucky" things and what he's not allowed to touch without permission.


We travel almost constantly for DH's work now, so it's not feasible for us to garden or do any other homesteading activities (yet). I do try to support local farmers when I can, though. We eat only produce that's in season and get our dairy, meat, and eggs from local suppliers when we can find them through stores and farmers' markets. I buy only certified organic/non-GMO unless there's literally no other alternative. Other than that, it's using a lot of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day and California Baby and hoping for the best. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination but it's so hard to be very conscientious when you move every few months. redface.gif

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