Five MORE Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

In this video, Dr. Aly Cohen, founder of The Smart Human, discusses five more ways we can reduce our exposure to many of the harmful 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, reduce foods with pesticides, coloring, preservatives, and genetically modified ingredients, or GMO. Go for fresh and frozen produce. Organic produce is not allowed to be genetically modified and it’s grown with substantially fewer pesticides and harmful fertilizer chemicals. If you can’t locate organic produce where you live, or they’re just too pricey, soak conventional produce in one part white vinegar to three parts warm, clean water.

Number two, the average person applies nine personal care items, from shampoo to lipstick, to his or her skin each day for a total of roughly 126 unique ingredients, according to the Environmental Working Group. Many of these ingredients that we rub, lather, and spray onto our skin contain endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, that can alter hormone levels in the body. Others contain preservatives, coloring, metals such as lead and mercury. Added fragrance or perfume can contain hundreds of individual chemicals. Try to use fewer overall products, especially during pregnancy. If you don’t buy bad products, the chemicals can’t get into you. Read labels and avoid products that contain fragrance or perfume, even in products for young boys, teens, and men.

In general, try to avoid products with parabens, ethylene glycol, aluminum, phthalates, and antimicrobial chemicals like triclosan. Choose water based nail polish without acetone, toluene, and formaldehyde. Use tampons and feminine care products that are 100% cotton and chlorine, phthalate, and pesticide free. Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone and stick with sunblock such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Avoid antiperspirants, which contain aluminum, and go for natural deodorants instead. Avoid cosmetic products with the word paraben or sulfate, for example, sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureate sulfate. Check your products and find safer alternatives on Environmental Working Group’s website,, or their smart phone app, Healthy Living.

Number three, avoid cleaning products with toxic chemicals. These chemicals evaporate into the air and also remain on surfaces where they are absorbed into the skin when we touch them. Check safer brands found on’s database, or make your own using basic ingredients such as white vinegar, baking soda, water, real lemon juice, and sea salt for scrubbing. Natural products work just as well without coating your home in toxins.

Number four, avoid harmful chemicals in the air you breathe by not buying these products in the first place. Don’t buy air fresheners, plug ins, fake incense, and candles, carpet powders, or foams, which contain harmful phthalates. If you must do your dry cleaning, keep the dry cleaning outside of the home in the garage for a few days before putting them in your closet. And buy only candles made with 100% natural ingredients, even check with the manufacturer. And open your windows every day to freshen the air and circulate it.

Number five, limit radiation exposure when possible. Even though you can’t see, touch, or feel radio frequency radiation from wifi or cell phones, over a dozen government and major medical organizations recommend limiting your cell phone and wifi use due to health risks such as headache, insomnia, irritability. And long-term exposures are linked to decreased sperm quality and infertility, as well as increased risk for certain brain tumors. Kids and teens are especially at risk from this radiation because their bodies and brains are still developing. Keep your phone away from your head and turn your phone off or turn on airplane mode at bedtime. Use earphones, speakerphone, whenever possible. And don’t carry your cell phone in your bra, shirt, or front pants pocket. Keep wifi away from your body especially if you’re pregnant. Remember, with radiation, distance is your friend. Limit cell phone and other technology use with young children and teens, and don’t walk or drive while using your cell phone. A few distracted seconds can really be deadly.

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 that we use every day can help minimize chemical exposures and create a safer and healthier home and human body.

I share these prevention tips and more on 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.

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