So, how are you this week? Getting some of your Spring cleaning done? Well, this article might help you a bit. Following on from our discussions last week on detoxing your bathroom, I thought we should have a look at another important room – the kitchen.
In most homes, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where we prepare food, eat, entertain and clean up. With this comes the use of cleaners and utensils to keep this area in order, but often people don’t realise the amount of chemicals and toxic items that can be found in most kitchens.
Many of the chemicals found in the bathroom can also be found in the cleaners and detergents in the kitchen. With our obsession to remove germs, it is very common to see antibacterial cleaners and soaps for all the kitchen surfaces, as well as antibacterial wipes. One of the problems with these antibacterials is that many of the antibacterial chemicals used to make up these solutions are registered pesticides. Also, not only do they kill the bad bacteria and some viruses, but also the good bacteria which gives us a healthy environment by not letting the other germs overtake the place. With the overuse of these chemicals, we are becoming more sensitive and have triggered allergies.
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Non-stick coating on cookware
Avoid non-stick coated cookware, if possible, as they contain chemicals that leach into our food and maybe toxic to us. Most are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), known to most people as the brand "Teflon”. The problem is when pans overheat, toxic particles and gases, some of which are carcinogenic, can be released. Maintaining a low-medium heat will avoid this, but why not try cast iron, enamel, copper or stainless steel cookware instead.
Last night’s take away may sound good, but re-heating the plastic in the microwave means you are heating chemicals in the product and helping them to leach into your food. Plastics cover a multitude of different materials. Some are made from BPA and others from phthalates, both believed to be "endocrine disrupters” (this means they mimic human hormones and believed to be a cause of some cancers). When plastic containers with BPA and phthalates are microwaved, these chemicals may leak into the food. Instead of microwaving in plastic, place your food on glassware or ceramic. Otherwise only use plastic that has been microwave approved.
Utensils that will last
Choose cookware and utensils that will stand the test of time. It is so easy to pick up a new gadget or additional piece for the kitchen every time you shop, but often these utensils are not very sturdy and are made from plastic. Avoid plastic utensils and accessories as they can melt or flake with extreme heat or wear down over time. Aluminium (that has not been anonized) is soft and a very reactive metal. It is linked with some brain disorders.
Also, only buy what you need. It is very easy to be taken in by all the marketing hype and get the latest gadget. Invest in high-quality materials that will last and that will become your staple in the kitchen. Good options are wood, bamboo, glass, silicone or stainless steel.
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What is your pantry, cabinets and flooring made from? Resins can be found in products for furniture, countertops, flooring, and textiles, as they are used to make up particleboard, fibreboard or plywood. They often contain urea-formaldehyde, which gives off a gas dangerous to human health. Now I am not suggesting to go out and get a brand new kitchen. Just you need to be aware of what materials may be toxic, particularly if exposed to heat. Ensure your kitchen is always well ventilated. If building a new kitchen consider greener materials that are less toxic and sustainable. Look for FSC certified wood or bamboo products or even consider stainless steel or specialty-finish metal, reclaimed stone or concrete slab.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can be found in nearly every kind of glue, sealant, paint, and coating. Ventilation is important and reducing the humidity in your home. This is all explained in more detail in our blog VOCs IN MY HOME? WHAT ARE THEY? You might like to have a read of this to see how you can reduce their impact.
These are a few of the most common toxins in your kitchen and your home. I hope this helps with your spring cleaning or even your decision on how to remove toxic substances in the home. If you have any questions or have a comment, please let us know in the comment section below.
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Have fun being earthly passionate while you Spring clean,
Attracta & the earthly passion team.