Five Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

In this video, Dr. Aly Cohen, founder of The Smart Human, discusses many of the everyday chemicals in our food, drinking water, cookware, cleaning products, personal care products, and even in the air we breathe are not tested for safety that can cause both short and long-term health issues.

Here are five things you can do right now to reduce exposure from harmful chemicals.

Number one, decrease the amount of canned food and drinks that you use. Canned food and drinks, yes soda too, all have a lining of plastic material made from BPA or bisphenol-A, a compound that was found to mimic estrogen and other hormones in the body. Resulting in a variety of hormone related health issues like thyroid disease, developmental issues in children, insulin resistance in diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and some cancers. Try buying fresh foods or frozen produce and prepared meals, and heat them up in glass containers and not the steam bag that they came in.

Number two, avoid cooking in non-stick pans. The chemicals used on these pans break down and get into the foods that you’re cooking. These non-stick chemicals, also called perfluoralkyls have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and are made using fluorine, an element which takes decades to breakdown in our bodies and in our environment. You may have to use a bit more elbow grease to clean your pans, but stick with cast iron or stainless steel and look for 18/8 on the bottom that let’s you know it’s food grade steel. Use real olive or coconut oil instead of synthetic non-stick sprays.

Number three, no more plastic for storage and microwave use. Ever wonder why clear plastic containers turn cloudy after running through the dishwasher a few times? Plastic breaks down over time, from high heat from dishwashers and microwaves and even from scratches. This breakdown can release harmful chemicals into your food in the container, especially food that has high fat content because many of the plastic chemicals are lipophilic or fat loving. It’s well worth your time to take a few extra seconds to transfer prepared foods into a glass container before heating it up in the microwave, and store foods in glass or stainless steel too.

Number four, create a water system no matter if your water comes from an in-ground well or city water from a water treatment plant. Always filter your water at the point of use, which is your faucet. This allows you the greatest control of what you and your family drink. Now there are simple carbon filters that are used in pitchers, on refrigerator doors, as well as those you can actually install onto your sink faucet. Then there are more complicated filters such as reverse osmotic, ion exchange, and distillers. Choosing the right filter for you and your family is very important, and the best resource for this is ewg.org guide to buying a water filter. Whichever type of filter drinking water system you choose, remember to change your filters regularly and carry your water in glass or stainless steel.

Number five, dust, mop, and vacuum weekly. In many studies household dust has been found to contain hundreds of chemicals that come from products we use in our homes every day. Children and household pets have been shown to have the highest levels of many harmful chemicals such as flame retardants, plasticizers, smoking chemicals, cleaning product chemicals in their bodies because they’re on the floor where dust collects and sticks to toys, fingers, and paws.

Of course making all of these changes doesn’t happen overnight. Try making one healthy change per month. Taking the time to think about the products we use everyday can help minimize chemical exposures and create a safer and healthier home and human body.

I share these prevention tips and more on TheSmartHuman.com website and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thanks for joining me, I’m Dr. Aly Cohen and remember, when it comes to our environment and our health, you too can be the smart human. ~ Dr. Aly Cohen, Founder, The Smart Human

The Smart Human LLC. seeks to educate, coach, and empower everyday people to make safer, smarter choices for human health. Our goal is to help hospitals, schools, and manufacturers, make changes to reduce unsafe chemical exposure of the children and adults that they serve. It’s a lofty goal, but it has to start somewhere! I hope you will join us on this mission.