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Don't sterilize your home or your hands

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(Michael Krinke/iStockphoto)

From body soap to counter spray, the products we use to clean ourselves and our homes can affect us negatively. The antibacterial ingredient triclosan, which is in most liquid soaps, some toothpastes, many body care products and even some toys, has been linked to organ system and reproductive toxicity, irritation, hormone disruption and cancer. Studies have shown that our overuse of antibacterial ingredients has helped to create new resistant bacteria. Triclosan is now restricted in Japan and Canada and was the target of a U.K. cancer alert. Meanwhile, studies have shown that plain soap and water are just as effective as antibacterial soap. Many natural products (look for the green seal) are effective, inexpensive cleaners, as are vinegar (in place of bleach), baking soda (as a scrub) and hydrogen peroxide (for stain removal). To find out which cosmetic products are safe, check out the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

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Next: Steer clear of pesticides, inside and out


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