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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Do Your Part: Seven tips to ‘Detox Your Life’

Terri Bennett McClatchy

Do Your Part is kicking off a year of green challenges. January is “Detox Your Life” month. We’re finding and eliminating chemicals that could be polluting your home and your family. Here are my “Top 7 Ways to Detox Your Life.”

1. Clean green: Household cleaners can actually pollute your home’s air. Find recipes to clean your entire home at living/columns/.

2. Free yourself of formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is linked to a number of health issues, including asthma and cancer. It’s often emitted from pressed wood pieces, flooring adhesives and paint. It’s also emitted from wrinkle-free bedding, dry-cleaned clothes and many nail polishes. Choose natural fibers that can be laundered and seek formaldehyde-free home furnishings to reduce your exposure.

3. Ban VOCs from your home: Beyond formaldehyde, the volatile organic compounds in your home may include benzene, toluene, methylene and chloride. VOCs are found in paint, personal care products, furniture, carpets and adhesives. Do a little research to see what’s really in products.

4. Choose better personal care products: Use the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database,, to search thousands of products to find out what’s really in them and how they ranked compared to others.

5. Know what you’re eating: Opt for organic foods. Familiarize yourself with the so-called “Dirty Dozen” list to find out which produce items contain the highest amount of pesticide residue.

6. Give BPA the boot: Studies have linked bisphenol-A to developmental problems, cancers, heart disease, diabetes and infertility. BPA is used in polycarbonate containers that are often marked No. 7.

7. Choose natural pest control products: Chemical pesticides can be bad for you and your pets. Natural alternatives like vinegar, borax or diatomaceous earth are effective and much safer.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, author, and founder of DoYourPart, everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet. Send questions to and follow DoYourPart on Facebook and Twitter.