At this point, we all know the drill: get 8 hours of sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat your veggies. These are well known strategies for better health. But not all healthy behaviors are this obvious. Some un-healthy habits hide in the strangest places.
Here’s a handful that caught even a hardened vigilante like me off guard:
Your tableware. Be mindful of plastic tableware that contains melamine. While melamine has been shown to be safe in food containers for most foods, the FDA cautions against using it for acidic foods or using it when under more extreme temperatures (think microwave). High exposure to melamine can also adversely impact kidney health.(1)
Your bedtime TV habit. Your computer, TV, alarm clock and other sources of artificial light can confuse your body’s internal clock. This in turn can impact your sleep patterns, which can produce adverse effects for hormonal balance, digestion, and cardiovascular health. Research suggests that reddish light is less disruptive than bluish light, and that even the light from bedside smart phones matters. Clear your boudoir of illuminated displays and sleep better.(2)
Your life’s volume level. Living in a loud environment is more than annoying. Scientists have found that a variety of health effects, from sleep disturbance and heart disease to inhibited performance in cognitive tasks, may be caused by noise pollution. Silence really is golden after all.(3)
Your pillow. Brace yourself… After two years, one third of your pillow’s weight can consist of dead skin cells, bugs, and dust mites and their wastes. Dust mites are a serious allergen so wash your pillows regularly in hot water or use allergy covers.(4)
Your home’s dust. Speaking of dust, most is contaminated with unknown chemicals. That’s because dust is the final resting place for many common household materials. One study found 66 hormone disrupting chemicals—from flame retardants to phthalates—in tested samples. Dust with a damp or microfiber cloth that removes dust instead of stirring it around.(5)
Finally, let’s look at flea collars. Most pet owners use them without a second thought. But flea collars may contain ingredients that you would not want rubbing off around your home and family. Look to grooming techniques, oral preventatives, and baths as ways to prevent fleas.(6)
The Inkslinger has written about environmental issues for over 20 years and is a freelance writer for some of America's most iconoclastic companies and non-profits. His true loves include nature, music of the Americana/rock and roll variety, interior design, books, old things, good stories, pagan rituals, and his wife of 24 years, with whom he lives in an undisclosed chemical-free rural Vermont location along with his teenage daughter and two infinitely hilarious Australian shepherds!