• Casey Thomas-Hardesty

6 Areas Where You Can Reduce Toxins in Your Kitchen

Updated: May 8, 2019

Making a switch to safer options in the kitchen doesn’t have to be overwhelming. For part two of our reducing toxin series (see part one HERE), we’re taking a look at 6 areas within the kitchen where we can make effective changes to reduce toxin exposure.


Skillets


I’m sure you’ve heard by now that cooking on a pan with a chipping non-stick coating is a definite no for your health. But why? Most non-stick coatings are made with PFOA, a fluorinated compound that has been linked to cancer, birth defects, and hormone disruption. The greatest risk is from ingestion of pieces that may have made its way into our food when the coating begins to flake off. Because PFOA is hard to break down, it can remain in the human body for quite some time causing buildup of toxicity.


Cast iron skillets (like this one HERE) are a great alternative. I love my cast iron for high heat cooking, especially searing meat. While it isn’t non-stick, a properly seasoned cast iron skillet can still be a good option for more delicate cooking like frying eggs or sautéing vegetables as well.


If you’re still in need of a non-stick skillet (hello busy mom that needs fast cooking and easy cleanup), there are a few moderately priced options on the market. The Green Pan (HERE) is a ceramic non-stick pan which is manufactured without PFAS and PFOA. It’s a good option, but the coating does tend to wear out faster than I would like.

Ballarini (HERE) makes an excellent non-stick skillet that is PFOA free. While it does have a granitium coating, I do consider it a safer option, especially when used properly. The finish wears well and the pan is extremely easy to use.


Water Purification


Depending on where you live, your drinking water could be contaminated with anything from Chromium-6 and lead to fluoride and pesticides. You can find out more about what is in your local water HERE.


While a whole house water filtration system would be amazing, it’s not feasible for many of us. The Berkey filtration system (HERE) is the gold standard of table top water filtration. Depending on your needs, you can get it with the traditional charcoal based filter or add in a fluoride filter as well.

If the cost or size of the Berkey filter doesn’t work for you, there are other really good options that you can keep in the fridge or small section of your counter. Try the Zero pitcher (HERE) or Aquagear (HERE).


For on the go filtration, THIS travel filter is a really good choice to help reduce reliance on bottled water.

In the Lunchbox


My kids take their lunch to school every day. While I love being able to offer them nutritious food, I needed to reduce the amount of plastics to both limit BPA exposure (shown to negatively effect hormones and metabolism and has links to cancer and heart disease) and reduce waste.


These are some of the safer and more sustainable items that we have found to work well.

  • Silicone Bags – THESE reusable silicone bags are great for snack storage. The larger versions are good for storing leftovers in your fridge and freezer as well.

  • Insulated Food Jar – Great for sending warm food and soups for lunch. I like THIS one. It has the option for a BPA and phthalate free plastic lid or an all stainless steel interior.

  • Ice Pack – THIS is a good option. Made with non-toxic gel and a cover from recycled plastic bottles.

  • Sandwich wrap – THIS BPA free reusable sandwich wrap is a hit at my house. It’s easy for the kids to use and me to clean. Because it eliminates the need for so many disposable plastic baggies, it is also environmentally friendly.

  • Reusable pouches – Do your kids like squeeze yogurt or applesauce? THIS reusable pouch is another great option. They are BPA and PVC free, environmentally friendly, and save you money over prepackaged options. Bonus!

Cleaning


Swapping out your dish cleaning products can be a very easy first step. I’ve tried several different options when it comes to dish detergent for the sink and dishwasher, but my favorite so far has been the Seventh Generation Free & Clear line. It is free of any artificial fragrances and dyes which often contain phthalates, known hormone disruptors. It is also eco-friendly and chlorine free.


Water Bottles


When your goal is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day, you want a drink container that is both safe and can be used on the go. Stainless steel and glass are great options here to reduce your risk of exposure to BPA and BPS, which are known hormone disruptors (specifically estrogen mimicking chemicals).


Here are some of my favorite options for both adults and children.

  • THIS Healthy Human bottle is a great option since it has a full stainless steel interior. That is especially important for those of us taking water in higher heat locations (aka a southern summer) where BPA and BPS can leach into the liquid.

  • If you drink coffee on the go, THIS full stainless steel bottle is a great option to keep your drink warm. If you are getting coffee at your local coffee shop, don't forget to remove the plastic lid to prevent BPA and BPS from leaching into your hot drink.

  • My kids love THIS bottle for school and sports events. And that silicone tether helps keep the top from getting lost. (All about small wins in parenting over here!)

  • Can you consider yourself a Southerner if you haven’t drank out of a glass mason jar? THESE silicone jar jackets can help you keep a better hold on the jar when either hot or cold. Plus they’re super cute!

  • For sippy cups, we use either THIS stainless steel version or THIS glass and silicone version. Both work really well and are free of the typical toxic ingredients that many other sippy cups contain.

Food Storage


Food storage containers are another great place to reduce your exposure to BPA and BPS in plastics, especially when you may be storing or reheating food. Glass storage containers (like THESE) are a great alternative. Already have glass bowls but needs lids? THESE silicone stretch lids are a good replacement for plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

The kitchen may feel like an area of the home where you can quickly become overwhelmed with options when trying to reduce your toxin exposure. It doesn’t have to be though. Simply take a look at these 6 areas in your kitchen and see where you can start to make changes. Remember, it’s ok to go slow and replace a few items at a time. Even small changes can have big impact.


Up next: Part three of our blog series which will focus on reducing toxins in your personal care products.



Resources:

https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/state-of-american-drinking-water.php

http://tibbs.unc.edu/ask-a-toxicologist-is-it-safe-to-use-teflon-pans/

https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2018/02/5-ways-reduce-your-exposure-toxic-bpa

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bpa-free-plastic-containers-may-be-just-as-hazardous/

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