I can’t really explain what has happened to me this past week.
I have ALWAYS known that exposure to a lot of chemicals or plastic is “bad for you”. I never really investigated any further other than that passing understanding, and over the years, I have settled into a lifestyle where I am surrounded by products that are without question, toxic.
In the last 12 months I have become increasingly concerned about our use of plastic and its effects on the environment. To me, the damage that plastic is causing the natural world is very tangible and very alarming. I began making small changes at home as a way of reducing our use of single-use plastic and changed the way I thought about shopping at the grocery store (because so much of our plastic trash comes from the packaging of products we pick up at the store). I started to buy cleaning and laundry products with ingredients that I was certain were safe for the environment, and I changed the products we wash our hair and bodies with so that I wasn’t leaking toxins into the drinking water. And still it never really occurred to me that those things that are harmful to the environment are also harmful to us.
The other day I had what can only be described as a lightbulb moment. I read something (on Instagram of all places) that resonated with me. I spent the following 48 hours obsessively devouring as much information as I could possibly find. I read the results of clinical research, articles (both pro and anti industry), listened to radio clips, podcasts and watched 3 documentaries.
Sidenote: In recent years I have been really aware of the way we consume information, so I am REALLY PARTICULAR about making sure I am seeing a topic from all sides. Social media algorithms and tracked internet usage usually make it so that we only see/read/hear about topics and opinions we already believe in, so you really have to do some digging to make sure you’re getting a comprehensive education on any topic.
The things I read about carcinogens and endocrine disruptors broke me. I realized that even when I think something is safe, like BPA-free, that it still may not be. BPA is just the devil we know. There are hundreds of other toxins in BPA-free plastics that act as endocrine disruptors. The effects those toxins have on our bodies, especially our babies’ tiny still-developing bodies, is disturbing.
I encourage everyone to do their own research and decide for themselves what is appropriate, but I came to the conclusion that I need to make some big changes at home to limit - where I can - our exposure to toxic chemicals. Particularly those that seep into what we eat, and what we put on our bodies.
Immediately after deciding that I tore through our kitchen cupboards and was instantly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the task I was taking on. I thought back to what I had read, some of which had truly upset me, and I just knew I couldn’t let it go.
I can’t unlearn what I’ve learned.
It’s going to take some time, and it means replacing probably hundreds of items in our home, but we’re on a one-way street here. I am not talking about making radical lifestyle changes, shielding my kids from all potential exposures and going off-grid. I am talking about making simple and impactful changes at home especially concerning products that we use frequently and touch our bodies or our food.
As I am quite literally on the beginning of this journey, I also reserve the right to change my mind at times, to be open to learning new things as more information becomes available, and to sharing this process as it happens. As with everything you read here, this is just what works for our family. I’m not an expert, just a person muddling through like the rest of you. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being better.
Links to a handful articles I found useful:
Plastics & Infertility - https://natural-fertility-info.com/plastic-infertility.html
Radio Interview on CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/information-morning-moncton/segment/15669613
Endocrine Disruptor FAQ - https://www.nrdc.org/stories/9-ways-avoid-hormone-disrupting-chemicals
Impacts of Plastics on Human Health & Ecosystems - https://www.news-medical.net/news/20100320/Impact-of-plastics-on-human-health-and-ecosystems.aspx
Is BPA-free plastic safe? - https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/09/news-BPA-free-plastic-safety-chemicals-health/