stories

Simple Switch

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Even the smallest changes can make us better. In a world full of chemicals, switching even one aspect of your life can help you avoid so many problems in the long run.

I used to always think that all you had to do to be healthy was eat healthy. However, when I joined the HBCAC’s Students and Scientists Environmental Research Scholarship Program, I learned that even if you are eating all the fruits and vegetables in the world, you can still be exposed to unhealthy and sometimes toxic substances. We are exposed to toxins when pesticides containing endocrine disrupting compounds are used to spray the food we eat. These same chemicals and more are also  found in our water supply because they get polluted onto our streets and end up in our community’s underground aquifers. Something as simple as following the daily recommendation of drinking eight glasses of water a day could also be hurting you by exposing you to endocrine disrupting chemicals such as chromium 6 and 1,4 dioxane. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not telling you not to drink water- instead consider a good water filter to avoid these.

When I learned this information I became aware of how often I was being exposed to these chemicals and was eager to make the switch. I started checking the numbers on my fruit to see if it is GMO, covered in pesticides, or organic. Using resources such as ewg.org, I was able to make the switch to organic foods easily. I then went further and looked into a safer water filter after I learned that little things such as living by a laundromat increased my chances of exposure to chemicals in my water. This information also began to make sense. Many of the people around me who did everything they could to be healthy were being diagnosed with all sorts of cancers and autoimmune diseases. Of course there are genetic factors, but to me, environmental factors are just as important. This information explains the underlying link as to why some of the most health conscious people I knew were facing so many health problems.

And that is why I love HBCAC’s Prevention is the Cure program. They gave me the knowledge and the ability to share this key information with others. I was able to switch my foods, water, and even personal care products for the better and help others to do the same. Because as I’ve learned- it’s much easier to prevent than to cure.

By Sara Frawley

Reasonable Recipe

Do what you can. It’s always better than doing nothing.

I dream of the day there is a single “chemical-laden” aisle that is hard to locate the way organic/natural/toxin-free once, was and in many communities still is.  In the meantime, I love that more and more big box stores are embracing this trend of proactive protection and I hope toxin-free becomes the norm.  One year ago I had a baby.  Before his arrival, I was making my own deodorant every few months, because I found my recipe worked better for me than most readily available natural deodorants and I had the time to do it every so often.  Well, as luck would have it, my last batch ran out just as I was bringing home a tiny, helpless person and making a batch of deodorant was not high on my priority list.  A dear friend came over about a month later and lucky for me, she gifted me her favorite natural deodorant.  It worked great and I’ve been recommending it to friends ever since, especially to friends and family whose young daughters, like my nine year old, are starting to use personal care products. Of course I continue to check to make sure the ingredients stay natural.  Well, you can imagine how excited I was when ten months later, Target featured this deodorant in their weekly circular!!!  I was jumping for joy.  Mainstream is embracing this new movement!! 

“Who has time to make their own deodorant?” you may be thinking.  Well, some people do and some don’t.  For others, they may not have the time but they chose to set time aside to make it because while natural deodorants are more expensive,  baking soda, coconut oil and cornstarch are inexpensive and readily available.  The way I look at it is there will always be someone who does more or takes two steps farther to try to protect themselves and their children from perceived toxins in our environment.   It doesn’t mean your efforts aren’t valuable or insignificant.  Consider this:  for every mom who makes her own baby food from organic vegetables, there is probably another that grows the vegetables she uses for her home-made baby food.  They may have more time, more money or just prioritize it higher on their list.  That doesn’t diminish your choice to buy organic baby food to avoid pesticides or choice to purchase plastic pouches to avoid the BPA in the lids of glass jars.  What you do for your family is enough to show you care about your family's health.  Don’t throw in the towel because you can’t do it all!!

That is why I love websites like Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) and their Dirty Dozen list as well as their Skin Deep guide to cosmetics in addition to HBCAC, who shares the most up to date research on enviromental heath.  My other go-to is searching google for blogging moms who do a lot of the homework for you on safe products to buy and recipes to make. All of these resources take the guess work out of identifying products and items in your kitchen or bathroom that may be a danger to your family’s long-term health.  Any steps you take to replace toxic items in your household with safer alternatives are better than doing nothing out or fear that it’s not enough.  And you can do it at your favorite big-box stores, as long as you do a little reading first!

By Amanda Roth