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Unfortunately, toxins are found everywhere, including in our homes. As a result of increased toxin exposure, common toxins can build up in our body and trigger unwanted symptoms. This is why it’s critical to adopt practices and habits that create a non-toxic home and atmosphere. Our health actually depends on it, especially if you find yourself with a leaky gut and or autoimmunity!
It’s important that we define what exactly a toxin is as we dive deep into the effects that various toxins can have. A “toxin” refers to any harmful substance or chemical that can have adverse effects on our health OR adverse effects on our environment. Toxins can appear in many forms such as chemical additives (think of colors, flavors, preservatives, etc.), harmful ingredients in personal care products (parabens, phthalates, etc.), pesticides (residue from the agricultural process left behind) and SO many more. Below are a few ways that these everyday toxins can impact your health.
A recent review identified a 19.1% net increase and prevalence of autoimmunity disease in the last 30 years. This study also indicated a stronger influence of environmental factors, winning even over genetic factors in the development of autoimmunity. The studied environmental factors leading to this finding were common things such as pollutants and toxic metals found in things like food, drinking water, household products and even the air we breathe. See chart below. (Kharrazian, Datis. “Exposure to Environmental Toxins and Autoimmune Conditions.” Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.) vol. 20,2 (2021): 20-24.)
|Chemical Category||Chemicals||Common Exposure Sources|
|Persistent Organic Pollutants||Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), aldrin, chlordane, tetrabromobisphenol A, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, polychlorinated biphenyls, hexachlorobenzene, dioxins and furans||Food, water, air, soil, flame retardants, breast milk|
|Toxic Solvents||Acetone, butanol, toluene, methanol, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene, xylene||Paint, lacquer, glue, cleaning supplies, industrial soap, degreaser, paint stripper, ink, synthetic rubber|
|Toxic Heavy Metals||Mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic||Food, water, air, dental amalgams, cosmetics|
|Endocrine Disruptors||Bisphenols, dioxins, phthalates, perchlorates, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers||Plastic products, herbicides, pesticides, water, food, flame retardants, lining of cans, coating of paper plates|
One of the biggest consequences of household toxin exposure is the risk of heavy metal toxicity. Heavy metal toxicity affects many Americans unknowingly, as the symptoms can be vague and are often overlooked in the Western medical sphere. However, it’s important to address heavy metal toxicity as it can negatively influence the gut and lead to chronic disease, such as autoimmunity.
Using common household items that are filled with toxins, such as cleaning products, have been associated with higher amounts of Lachnospiraceae, a pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Heavy metals have also been shown to change the structure of the gut microbiome.
The only way for heavy metals to be removed from the body is through the digestive tract. As they move through the digestive system, they increase inflammation in the gut lining. This can result in unwanted digestive symptoms, the presence of leaky gut syndrome, and more.
Exposure to heavy metals damages mitochondrial membranes and inhibits the body’s ability to produce ATP. This is a common cause of fatigue.
Although the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity can be vague or sometimes mistaken for other illnesses, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms. These are common symptoms of heavy metal toxicity:
If you suspect heavy metal toxicity is negatively affecting your health, it’s important to prioritize a non-toxic home. However, a personalized treatment protocol may also be necessary to eliminate heavy metals from the body. Learn more about how we can work one-on-one, here.
Although toxins are not usually obvious to the naked eye, they are often lurking around every corner of your home. Common sources of toxins in the home that are not-so-obvious include:
The first step to creating a non-toxic home is being aware of the toxins in your home in the first place. The Environmental Working Group can serve as a resource for assessing and addressing the products in your home so that you can ultimately create a non-toxic household.
Despite the prevalence of toxins in the household, it is possible to create a non-toxic home by eliminating toxic products and incorporating natural, safer alternatives. If this sounds really overwhelming to you, you are not alone.
Whenever someone asks me where to start along their health journey to improve gut health and reverse autoimmunity, I always steer them in the direction of reducing their toxin exposure and accumulation. One of the most effective ways to do this is to simply improve the quality of the environment they are living in. That’s why I am breaking down 4 simple places to start to minimize your toxin exposure so you can start to see benefits in your health and life.
These are the four steps to creating a non-toxic home:
Our household air and water can be contaminated with pollutants and chemicals. In fact, a recent study from the Environmental Protection Agency stated that indoor air can be 2-5 TIMES more polluted than even outdoor air! Common places that air pollution can happen within the home is through tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, harmful cleaning products, and off-gassing from building materials and furniture. Off-gassing is the airborne release of a chemical in vapor forms such as new memory foam, fresh paint, new carpet, etc. All of these products make purifying our air a high priority for our homes!
Purifying the air removes bacteria, viruses, pollen, mold, and dust mites, which can boost immune function and lessen the stress load on your lungs.
In addition, water makes up almost 60% of our body mass and plays an incremental role in our health and overall body function. The problem is that roughly 85% of people drink tap water with over 300 known contaminants. Some toxins in our tap water are even contaminated as it travels through old piping, which is why it’s necessary to filter your drinking water. You can use the free Tap Water Database to see the levels of heavy metals and contaminants in your water supply based on your zip codes.
We know that both these air and water toxins are contributors to not only intestinal permeability but the autoimmune cycle that some women have such a hard time overcoming.
The Air Doctor has an air quality sensor that evaluates the air in the room and automatically adjusts to the correct filtration level. It captures particles as small as 0.003 microns in size, which is 100x smaller than the HEPA standard. The mission of Air Doctor is “to inspire a thriving life for all, through pure, healthy air technology proven by science.” They have intentionally created devices and products that will serve any size home, room, business – you name it! Air Doctor has independently tested all of their products and has therefore proven to be able to capture a raving 99.99% of ultra-fine contaminants such as smoke, bacteria, viruses, pet dander, pollen and mold. You are sure to see results in your health when focusing on improving air quality.
Water is the number 1 place I recommend starting when transitioning to a non-toxic home! Most Americans are chronically dehydrated and don’t even realize it. In fact, most symptoms people experience on a daily basis can be attributed to simply not being well hydrated. Hydration for optimal gut health and reversing autoimmunity isn’t solely about how much water you consume though, but also how well you absorb the water you drink. Anytime the body loses liquid (which happens naturally), it’s also losing minerals. Electrolytes help you replenish those minerals, which include potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. These minerals are essential for gut function and overall health.
When we absorb our water efficiently, the body is more effective at transporting nutrients, delivering oxygen to cells, supporting detoxification pathways, excreting waste and toxins, regulating body temperature, and maintaining normal electrical properties within cells. When dehydration kicks in, the body is more prone to autoimmune flares, digestive issues, and poor gut integrity.
The quality of the food we eat is just as important as the quality of the water we drink. I can rest easy knowing I’m consuming the highest quality water that is not only helping me balance electrolytes but that is also free of toxins such as chlorine, PFA’s and other harmful contaminants found in tap water and even other filtration units on the market.
Pure2o reduces toxins beyond what most filters are able to and you can truly taste the difference! Not only is it the cleanest water I’ve consumed but my skin has also improved since switching to this system. Since the home filtration unit removes toxins as well, my body isn’t absorbing those toxins through the skin when we bathe. This results in healthier skin and hair, along with not experiencing skin irritation which chlorine in our water typically causes.
The science behind Pure2o is really fascinating too! Not only is the water ionized and remineralized, but it helps create a more alkaline environment in our body with an abundance of antioxidants. This helps provide better hydration at an optimal pH with important minerals that help the body thrive. It replenishes, restores, energizes, and can truly help someone heal along their health journey!
Most conventional household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals like ammonia, chlorine bleach, scents/fragrances, apes, and triclosan. These can contribute to a high toxin burden. Instead, swap your cleaning products for these safer alternatives:
Branch Basics is an all purpose cleaner that can be used in every room in the house. It is free of harmful preservatives, while also being non-GMO, non-toxic, biodegradable, plant and mineral based, without ANY harmful preservatives. One thing I love about Branch Basics is that you can use ONE concentrate for every room in the house from your kitchen, to the bathroom, to cleaning dishes, to doing loads of laundry – with ONE product! This concentrate is plant based with decyl glucoside which is often used in baby products for its gentle nature. It contains natural water softeners, which removes the heavy metals harmful to the body, and finally, contains chamomile flower which is rich in antioxidants and contains soothing properties. To top it all off, these products carry the MADE SAFE ® seal which certifies that they were made without 5,000+ toxic chemicals known to harm human and environmental health.
Force of Nature is an EPA registered disinfectant and sanitizer that kills 99.9% of germs. It is free of dyes, fragrances, preservatives, surfactants, bleach, alcohol, quats, hydrogen peroxide or other toxins.
Force of Nature uses electrolyzed water to convert salt and vinegar into two new effective ingredients: hypochlorous acid & sodium hydroxide. These new ingredients are stronger than botanical cleaners. I actually enjoy making this solution because it feels a bit like a science experiment (also really fun for kids). All you have to do is buy a kit once and then you can buy refill pods to make more solution.
Force of Nature can be used on literally everything and I love that you don’t have to wipe anything afterwards. I use it to sanitize everything and anything including cookware, baby items, toys and stuffed animals, my car, bathroom, etc. It is even safe on food and I use this to soak and clean my produce to remove harmful bacteria before cooking or preparing meals. The uses are truly endless!
Truly Free is an amazing brand for so many reasons. Their mission is to free over 10,000,000 homes of harmful toxic chemicals and excess plastic waste. Their products are 100% naturally non-toxic and made with the purest ingredients that they could source. They have created the “Forever Jug” and “Forever Bottle” to serve as a one time purchase, to both serve our earth by reducing our carbon footprint, and serving your home by making it more affordable to purchase.
I love Truly Free cleaning supplies because this company makes it so easy to refill each solution. They carry all things from bathroom soap, bathroom cleaner, air fresheners, dishwasher soap, and of course, a lovely all-purpose cleaner. I love this product because you don’t need to compromise – you get a powerful product AND it’s safe for you and your home. The perfect win-win.
Common laundry products, like dryer sheets and detergents, are loaded with fragrances, chemicals, and other toxic chemicals. If you are anything like me, you are probably doing a lot of laundry so this is an area where you can be exposing yourself and your loved ones to many irritants and toxins.
Instead, swap your laundry products for these safer alternatives:
Think of this as your non-toxic Tide (it works just as well and even smells similar)! You get a Forever Jug, one that you will refill as you use your detergent. These detergents contain plant-based quadra-salt technology – what does that mean? It smells yummy and still effectively cleans your clothes, removing tough stains and odors. Don’t like scented options? They have an unscented choice as well! If you have sensitivities to detergents, look no further! Truly Free is a perfect option for you! This detergent gives you the peace of mind you deserve to know that you, and your whole family, is experiencing a non-toxic daily experience.
Molly Suds was founded by a pediatric nurse and a mother of three that experienced the tragedy of a stillbirth. She came to realize that the chemicals, specifically those found in the items closest to us, meaning our clothes. She set out to create a product that would serve families with peace-of-mind detergents, with the confidence that what was in contact with our skin is pure and clean. Molly Suds has laundry detergent (including sports, all purpose, and powder) and oxygen whitener bleach that are great alternatives for sensitive skin. Choose from their unscented products or those scented with essential oils. I personally love the lavender scented detergent, sure make your clothes smell beautiful while giving them a high quality clean. Molly Suds is free from dyes, harmful fragrances, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phosphates, phthalates, and SO much more!
Since dryer sheets are among the most toxic household cleaning items most of us use often, this is a definite switch worth making. Branch Basics’ wool dryer balls are a non-toxic alternative to dryer sheets. Made from 100% handmade wool, they soften your clothes while reducing static. I really love adding a few drops of pure essential oils to dryer balls to give my clothes a fresh clean scent right out of the dryer.
Tip: I use oils such as lemon or orange when I want an energizing fresh clean scent to things like towels and lavender essential oil to my sheets to help with relaxation and sleep. The possibilities are endless and you can truly customize a non-toxic scent to fit your preferences!
Many common kitchen tools are made with toxic ingredients, such as aluminum, teflon, and copper. The popular non-stick material on cookware contains PFOA’s (perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8). Research shows that the dangers of PFOA are when they slowly migrate from the non-stick cookware into your food when cooking at high temperatures or when the cookware is damaged or scratched. This synthetic chemical raises concerns on various health fronts including: cancer, reproductive and developmental effects, immunity, liver or thyroid problems, and hormone imbalance.
As you can see, these materials can all be detrimental to our health. Instead, swap your kitchen tools, such as pots, pans, and baking dishes, for these safer alternatives.
Some non-toxic brands I love for cooking include All Clad, Xtrema, Le Creuset, Lodge, and Our Place. I always recommend changing your cookware out over time so that it isn’t overwhelming.
Household toxins can negatively impact our gut health by increasing our toxin load, including heavy metals. By implementing these four steps to a non-toxic home, you can reduce your toxic burden and improve many common mental and physical symptoms. Our homes should be a safe place for our family and these non-toxic alternatives help make our homes a safer environment
I hope that as you have read through, you feel educated, but also empowered to make changes. Even if these household changes are slower and happen over the course of months, your body will be so much better and healthier because of it. Think about the implication these small improvements make; swapping out laundry detergent this month, preparing to switch out your all-purpose cleaner next month, and even slowly starting to save for bigger purchases like a water or air purifier. Your spouse, your children, your future grandchildren will be healthier because of these investments made, both big and small. I encourage you to start as soon as you can! There’s no better time!
For even more non-toxic favorites for your home if you are ready to take it up a notch, check out my resource page here. I list everything from non-toxic candles and fragrance, mattresses, baby items, EMF blockers, and SO much more!
Let me know what some of your favorite non-toxic household items are your favorite in the comments below!
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.