Food, soap, shampoo and cosmetics contain many untested additives. Foods and personal care products that are certified organic are free of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and generally are much healthier to eat or put on your skin.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets the guidelines for the organic label. The 100 percent Organic label means that products can only contain organically produced ingredients. Watch for the label on produce, dairy and packaged items.
Organic isn't just for food and grocery products. Pesticides and fertilizers are sprayed onto conventional fibers such as cotton. Look for organic and naturally-dyed cotton, bamboo, tencel, and wool in clothing and soft goods.
Watch Out For Plastics
Plastic containers are handy, but the chemicals used to manufacture them can be harmful to human health. While they are hard to avoid, you can significantly reduce your use of plastics. Stainless steel water bottles are a great replacement for plastic bottled water. When you store food, use glass or ceramic containers or foil that can be reused or recycled. Avoid using plastic containers and cling wrap in the microwave, as chemical leaching is associated with heat.
Many household items are made of #3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride or vinyl) and can leach harmful chemicals. Phthalates are added to make the PVC soft for use in chewable infant toys like teething rings. Heavy metals like lead and cadmium are added to make rigid PVC more durable for use in older children's toys. Look for PVC-free and lead-free toys.
Filters are an effective way to purify your air and water, but know what to look for before you buy a filter. To filter the air in your home, look for high-quality HEPA air systems, which filter odors, gases and chemicals and remove 99.97% of airborne particles. To maintain clean air, avoid traditional paraffin candles, which are petroleum-based. Opt for soy-based candles scented with essential oils.