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Start the School Year Toxin Free

When it comes to parenting, protecting your kids is undoubtedly the most important job. As the little ones get ready to go back to school, now is the perfect time to ensure they’re set up for a successful year ahead. Sure, it’s important to stock up on school supplies, find just the right backpack and snag those back-to-school bargains while you can, but sometimes keeping your children safe goes beyond making sure they’re ready for their first day.

To truly set your kids up for success it’s important to keep their health in mind. Kids are resilient, but keeping them safe from toxins is a responsibility that falls squarely on your shoulders. While dealing with the whirlwind of prep that comes with the first day of school, take a moment to consider how to guard your lovable little booger and set them up for lifelong health.

Plastic pandemonium

Plastic is an easy choice, but easy is not always the best route. All plastics are bad for the environment, but those that contain Bisphenol-A are extremely bad for people. The chemical is more commonly known as BPA and can be found in plastics labeled with the number 7. It’s added to plastic to make it shatterproof, but at what cost?

Elevated levels of BPA have been found in 93 percent of Americans tested by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and exposure to the chemical has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, asthma, and cardiovascular problems. The chemical has also been found in the linings of canned foods and drinks.

Check your cupboards for potential hazards and make the switch to avoid complications. Switching from plastic bottles to glass or metal, and buying canned foods labeled “BPA free” can prevent unnecessary exposure.

Asbestos: Airborne Particles

Sometimes the most dangerous things cannot be seen, that is the case with microscopic asbestos. The fibrous mineral was widely used in building and commercial materials from the 1930s through the 1970s and it is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer. Asbestos is still legal in the United States in limited amounts, and can be found in many homes and offices today. It can be found in vinyl wallpaper, insulation, flooring, ceiling tiles, and radiators. When these products are damaged, such as a chipped floor tile or peeling wallpaper, the fibers can become airborne and possibly inhaled. Once inhaled, the particles embed in the linings of organs which may lead to the development of mesothelioma over time. There is currently no cure for the cancer and prognosis is poor. Most patients live only 12 to 21 months following diagnosis.

The good news is that mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are preventable. If your home was built between 1930 and 1980, have it inspected by an asbestos specialist to see where the carcinogen might be lurking..

Gases Galore

Radon is an odorless, tasteless, and invisible radioactive gas that is a known cancer causing agent. The gas is also the second-leading cause of lung cancer, trailing behind only smoking. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as many as 8 million homes throughout the country have elevated radon levels. Current state surveys show that one in five homes has radon levels above the safety standard.

Radon leaches through cracks in the walls and foundation to enter the home, where it accumulates and can become hazardous. Typically, radon levels are highest in basements and the lowest levels of a home. There are no immediate symptoms that would indicate radon exposure, so home testing is needed to prevent adverse health effects. If your home’s radon levels test higher than 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) you need to call a professional and take immediate action.

Addressing issues now before they snowball into larger dangers can protect your children. By making several small changes and having your house inspected, you can protect yourself and others from future problems!

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