For most families, the kitchen is a hub of activity: cooking, eating, just general hanging out. It’s also one of the places most likely to expose you and your family to potentially harmful chemicals and germs. Here’s what you can do to make your kitchen a safer place for everyone.
The high heat from microwaving causes endocrine-disrupting chemicals to leach from plastic into foods. That means transferring leftovers to microwave-safe containers before nuking, and covering them with wax paper or a paper towel instead of plastic wrap. Similarly, avoid placing hot foods into plastic containers or bags. Safer options include glass, ceramic dishware with lead-free glaze, 304 grade stainless steel, or food-grade silicone.
The classic nonstick coating, Teflon, is manufactured using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is considered a likely human carcinogen. Its concentration in foods increases when food is cooked at high temperatures and when the pan is scratched. Similar non-stick coatings are suspect, too. Instead, try the new ceramic-coated cookware or a silicon-based coating. Or try cast iron, enamel-coated cast iron, or 304 grade stainless steel.
Use non-toxic cleaning products--baking soda, Borax, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners and lemons, or store brands like Method and Second Generation. Look for “recipes” to make your own cleaning products. You’ll be surprised how well these simple, cheap ingredients tackle even tough cleaning jobs.
Find a high-quality filter than can remove heavy metals, chlorine, and volatile organic compounds (aka VOCs, which include many common solvents such as acetone, formaldehyde, and butane) and other contaminants.
Stay bug-free by cleaning up, removing clutter and using boric-acid-based bait stations found at home improvement stores. Or make your own using corn syrup and boric acid powder or crystals.(Add about one teaspoon of boric acid per cup of syrup.) Place a small amount on wax paper near where insects are seen, replacing frequently for a month. Ants and roaches will carry the solution back to their nests, and slowly die. Avoid toxic insect sprays, especially if you have pets or crawling kids.
Or, at least, wash them every couple of days in your dishwasher. Less likely to harbor germs are white dishcloths, which you can change often during the week and soak in bleach weekly.
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