You can spend a lot of time searching out organic options for your home. Choosing products wisely and always choosing natural fibres and organic manufacturing processes affords a degree of comfort in knowing that you are not only protecting the environment but protecting your health. Long term exposure to harmful vapours, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins and carcinogens have a confirmed negative impact on our health and always should be avoided where ever possible.
If you are an informed consumer, you may feel confident that you are making good decisions for the health of your home and the environment. However there are a number of ways that volatile organic compounds can still find their way into your home, particularly if you are a pet owner. After all, how many people do you know that routinely make eco-friendly decisions when it comes to pet products?
Inorganic dog toys can contain polymers and other plastics that over time, can break down and flake. Miniscule plastic flakes from the degradation of plastic over time can be absorbed into the dust particulates and then inhaled. These polymers inside the human lung can create respiratory infections and lead to other chronic conditions such as asthma and emphysema.
When you consider the number of dog toys that are purchased every year (30 billion in the United States alone) and the average life span of a dog toy (six months) it is worth making a better choice for your pets health as well as eliminating excess plastics and polymers from contaminating our environments.
Tip: Choose organic (unbleached) cotton, wool or hemp toys which are durable and free of synthetic or reprocessed dyes or toxins. Choose a 100% recyclable toy or one that will be able to biodegrade naturally over time after the end of its useful product life.
Have you ever read the back label of a bottle of shampoo for your pet? If not then you should start because pet shampoos, conditioners and coat sprays are often loaded with chemicals that are both cancer causing and harmful to the environment. Avoid any pet cleaning products that contain Co Co Amide, Methyl Paraben, Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate, Ethyl Alcohol or Tar. Tar is a known carcinogen and cancer causing in pets and humans.
Tip: Choose soap free or low-lather options. Natural vitamins A, D and E as well as oatmeal are effective skin and coat conditioners. Tea tree oil and neem, as well as Sodium PCA derived from natural vegetable sources also indicate a quality alternative for your pet and the environment.
Organic bedding has become a trend among informed consumers who want to make a better choice for the environment, home air quality and for the comfort of their pet. Choose a bed that is manufactured using quality materials and fabrics. The filling for new dog beds can be a recycled material from reclaimed plastic bottles such as IntelliLoft®. Avoid polystyrene filling which has been shown to create respiratory inflammation in pets (and people) as well as gastrointestinal effects and kidney damage.
Tip: Look for pet bedding made from organic 100% cotton (unbleached) hemp or wool. Avoid bedding that is manufactured with adhesives which can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over time.
Even consumers who are informed are surprised to learn the number of toxins and chemicals that can be introduced into the environment through pet products. Small changes can have a large impact on your own health as well as the well being of the environment. Every small step in the right direction helps us all breathe a little easier.
Stefanie Gomez is associated with MyEssentia. She is Self proclaimed internet addict and shopaholic. She is Eco lover who write about healthy living options. Stefanie also contributes on MyEssentia blog as well as many other platforms. Photo by Les Chatfield