Experts recommend a handful of fertility-boosting tips, and minimizing environmental toxins is invariably on the list. We know beyond a doubt that environmental toxins have an effect on fertility, and you can blame the lion’s share on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC). These toxins are in everything – your favorite scented candle, your shampoo, your plastic storage containers, your laundry softener, and the list goes on. The good news is a little eye-opening education is all you need to minimize your exposure. Get started with these five easy swaps for a fertility-friendly home environment.
- Endocrine disruptors have been linked to all sorts of problematic things, including hormonal disruption, miscarriage, and infertility.
- Small changes, like taking off your shoes at home, swapping home cleaners, and using glass or stainless steel instead of plastic, are all easy ways to minimize your exposure to toxins for a healthier home.
It’s a lot easier to avoid nasty stuff when you know what to look for, so get in the habit of scanning labels. If you see bisphenol A, phthalates, parabens, or fragrance, look for an alternative. And don’t stress about making a clean sweep all in one go. It can feel overwhelming to look around your home and worry where all the toxins are hiding. Just remember that small daily changes can go a long way in minimizing exposure, and you can swap things out as you go.
1. Take off your shoes
Depending on where you live, it might be standard to kick off your shoes the minute you step through the door. And if it’s not, it might be time to start. Think about everything you step in outside – and everything that you bring in when you return home. From pesticides and herbicides to all kinds of bacteria, it may not be your standard EDCs, but you still won’t want this stuff in your house.
2. Avoid conventional home fragrances
Conventional cans of air freshener and that plug-and-play scent stabilize their formulas with phthalates, which also increases shelf life. That’s great for manufacturers, but not for you! Most conventional and mass-market candles – even the expensive ones! – are using synthetic fragrance, which is a catch-all term for literally hundreds of chemicals. Of course, not all chemicals are bad, but the fact that so many aren’t disclosed and instead fall under the umbrella of “fragrance” raises a few eyebrows, no? If you want your home to smell amazing, you still have options. Just look for non-toxic candles and air fresheners.
3. Use wool dryer balls
Wood dryer balls are a great alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets that add synthetic fragrance. You’ll get the benefit of decreased static cling, softened fabrics, and faster drying time, without the chemicals.
4. Make your own cleaners
Chemicals in conventional all-purpose cleaners can be really irritating to mucous membranes, but it gets worse. Studies have linked birth defects to the use of conventional household cleaners during pregnancy. Of course, surfaces still get dirty, and you still need to keep things clean. But you can swap worrisome cleaners with a few DIY options:
- A 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water is a food-safe alternative to bleach that disinfects sinks and counters. Throw in a few drops of essential oil to mask the tell-tale vinegar smell.
- A 2:1 ratio of water and hydrogen peroxide is another effective disinfectant. Just make sure to use a solid-colored spray bottle to preserve its strength. Squeeze in some lemon juice for a fresh scent and a little acid to help break down grime.
5. Use safer containers for food storage instead of plastic
Who knows what’s leaching into your foods from that plastic container? Glass or stainless steel is a much safer alternative for storing leftovers. And if you’re wondering what you can use instead of plastic snack and sandwich bags, look for greaseproof paper alternatives. They’re in most grocery stories, right alongside the plastic versions, and they work just as well to keep your food fresh. Plus, they can even be composted! Oh, and your plastic water bottle falls into this category too. Ditch it for a steel version.
When you’re focusing on fertility, focusing on the five pillars is a good place to start. Minimizing your exposure to environmental toxins is a small but meaningful way to support your fertility, and you don’t have to go nuts in one day. Just focus on making gradual changes over time to limit your exposure and create a fertility-friendly home environment.