When we make protecting Mother Earth from toxic chemicals a priority, we are also prioritizing prevention of breast cancer and numerous other health issues. Many of the things you can do to protect you and your family from toxic exposures are also good for the planet.
1. Find safe ways to fight germs.
These days it seems like everything claims to be antibacterial—soaps, toothpaste, clothing, bedding, band-aids, toys, cutting boards—you name it. Chances are, these products contain triclosan, an antimicrobial agent that is suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife. There’s no evidence that triclosan is more effective than soap and water, so trade in the toxics for some good, old-fashioned elbow grease.
2. Cut down on personal care products, and use Think Dirty to find safe alternatives.
When it comes to personal care products, simple is best. Decrease your exposure to toxic chemicals in cosmetics by using fewer products and choosing those with simpler ingredients. What you put on your skin can end up down the drain, entering rivers and streams, and disrupt ecosystems. For products you can’t live without, find a safe alternative using Think Dirty. The app, which contains a database of more than 94,000 personal care products (with more added every day!), will give you easy-to-understand info about products, ingredients, and cleaner options.
3. Go fresh, organic and hormone-free.
When possible, choose organic foods and hormone-free meat and dairy. Buying products grown organically reduces pesticide use, which is good for families, farmworkers, and the environment.
4. Dispose batteries, electronics and light bulbs properly.
When trashed, these items, which all contain chemicals linked to breast cancer and other health concerns, end up in landfills. From there, chemicals like cadmium and mercury can leach into soil, lakes and streams. What to do? Look for special battery or electronics recycling/disposal centers in your community, return compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) to your local hardware store and return electronics to returning them to the store or manufacturer.
5. Reduce your carbon footprint by walking, biking or taking public transportation. This also helps reduce exposures to other components of exhaust linked to breast cancer, because car exhaust releases carcinogens known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (known as PAHs). If you’re in the market for a car, choose a clean, fuel-efficient vehicle using the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide.