Women's Health Matters

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Healthy Environments

On a typical day, most of us are exposed to a wide variety of potentially toxic substances while simply going about our regular routines at home, at school, at work and in our communities. For example, we can breathe in chemicals that "off-gas" from our furnishings, from dry-cleaned clothes, scented personal care products and harsh cleaning products. We can eat pesticide residues on foods. We can encounter biological agents like bacteria, viruses, dust mites and mould in indoor air, as well as electromagnetic radiation from computer monitors, cell phones and microwaves. We can come into contact with toxins by breathing, touching, eating or drinking them.

While we cannot totally eliminate these everyday "hidden exposures,” we can work to reduce them and make choices that minimize our exposure to them. For example, we can choose unscented personal care products, use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning, choose a dry cleaner that offers "wet cleaning" or other non-toxic cleaning methods, eat organic foods, use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate arresting) vacuum cleaner to reduce dust, get rid of mouldy items, sit at least 50 cm from computer monitors, and stand away from the microwave when in use.

These are just some examples of changes that we can make that contribute to a healthier environment for ourselves and our children.

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Related resources

Air quality at home

Alternatives to common household products

Avoiding mould

Scent-free spaces

Avoiding pesticides

Discussion Groups

Share knowledge and talk about your environmental health-related experiences with other women.

Environmental Health Discussion Forum

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  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital