Photo by bandk4ever
Exercising outdoors is a great example of doing something that's good for your body and good for the Earth. The average treadmill produces about two pounds of CO2 over the course of a 30-minute workout. But that's not the only thing you can change in your daily routine that will improve your health and your family's health while giving Mother Nature a break. In his article for Prevention, "Green This To That: Go Green Easily," Dr. Andreas von Bubnoff offered ways to go eco-friendly while boosting your health.
The article cited a 2004 survey conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of more than 2,300 people, which found that the average woman uses 12 different personal care products containing 168 different chemicals. Whoa. So what should you swap to green your health? Dr. von Bubnoff suggests the following:
- Purchase products with eco-seals. Though there are over 100 eco-seals in the United States, there are four expert approved labels: EcoLogo, Green Seal, USDA Organic, and Energy Star.
- Use regular soap instead of antimicrobial soap. Studies show that antibacterial soap doesn't keep your hands any cleaner than regular soap. In fact, triclosan -- the bacteria-killing ingredient in liquid antibacterial soaps -- can cause antibiotic resistance in bacteria, which damages the environment on a microscopic level. Instead, look out for soaps that don't make an antibacterial claim or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which kills germs without creating antibiotic resistance.
- Buy organic produce. Pesticides found on non-organic fruits and vegetables are difficult to wash off.
- Switch your non-stick pan with a cast-iron pan. Chemicals called fluoropolymers are used to create a slick surface, but release human carcinogens in the air when cooking with high heat.
- Cook your popcorn on the stove. Smell the popcorn straight out of the microwave bag and you could be inhaling unhealthy levels of the carcinogen PFOA.
- Ditch the flea collar. Many store-bought flea collars contain hazardous pesticides that are dangerous to humans because they target an essential chemical messenger in the flea's nervous system that humans also have. Spot-treatments are safer because they target nervous system chemicals that mammals do not have.
- Use jarred tomato sauce. Most cans contain bisphenol-A (BPA), which leaks into acidic foods such as tomatoes or tomato sauce. Jars offer the convenience without any of the worry.
- Trade in your plastic water bottle for aluminum or stainless steel. Plastic bottles may contain BPA and phthalates, which are also thought to be endocrine disruptors.
- Go PCV-free in the shower. Vinyl shower curtains that are not labeled PCV-free release hazardous chemicals such as toluene and phenol, known to cause kidney and liver damage in high concentrations.
- Try a compact fluorescent light-bulb (CFL). Replacing one incandescent bulb with a CFL cuts down emissions of greenhouse gases and saves you money. The downside is that each CFL contains 4 mg of mercury, a potent neurotoxin. If one breaks inside your home, you must follow instructions on how to clean it up safely without touching it and if one burns out, you need to find a safe place to dispose of it.
What are your tips for going green while staying healthy?