Simplicity Helps You Live Longer

I value simple living.

That may already be apparent but if it wasn’t, I wanted to make it clear.

I value simple living for several reasons. When I own less stuff, there’s more space to be creative. I’m more content. I’m less anxious. My desire for more is curbed when I see how valuable it is to live with less. 

With less clutter comes more order.

But today, I want to address another reason I value simple living:


This may seem unrelated, but by the time you’re done reading this I hope you see my point.

We all know that it takes chemicals to create and manufacture almost ALL the products we buy and use on a daily basis. But what many of us are unaware of is how toxic these chemicals can be. 

Let’s look at just one of them: formaldehyde

According to the US National Toxicology Program, formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen…which means it causes cancer. It’s been primarily used in coatings and industrial resins to help bind particle board (think IKEA). 

But formaldehyde has found its way into TONS of other products. Here’s a few:

  • Air fresheners and plug-in fragrances
  • Cleaning products
  • Paper Towels
  • Clothes
  • Bedsheets and pillows
  • Upholstered furniture and curtains
  • Skin care products
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • Toothpastes
  • Perfume
  • Baby care products
  • Furniture made of manufactured wood (including beds and cribs)

I’ll stop there. 

I was appalled at the amount of products that potentially have formaldehyde in them. A known cancer-causing chemical…prevalent on the shopping shelves. 

Now, we’ve probably all heard the phrase: “It’s the dose that makes the poison.” And that’s true! Our bodies naturally produce formaldehyde at safe levels, but that dose is below .03 ppm (parts per million). When you add in all the other products we’re exposed to, the level in which we ingest this chemical quickly rises to highly toxic levels.

And we’re just talking about one harmful chemical. ONE. Don’t even get me started on BPA.

Here’s the deal: the chemical industry has largely been unregulated. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is supposed to keep us safe from harmful chemicals and products. But guess what? Until June of this year (2016), chemicals didn't have to be proven safe before they hit the market. It is only after they’ve caused damage that they were brought under investigation. And even THEN, it’s not certain that those chemicals will be removed. In 1989, the EPA issued a ban on asbestos, another known human carcinogen, and it was overturned in court 2 years later. And that is ludicrous.

However, there is hope. This past June, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. This Act actually empowers the EPA to do the job it was created to do — keep us and the environment safe from harmful chemicals.

Although this is great news, we still have decades worth of products in our homes, offices, and schools that contain known harmful chemicals. 

In one study by the Environmental Working Group in 2005, they found an average of 200 chemicals in blood taken from the umbilical cords of 10 newborn babies. According to this study, “The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.” Babies are being born pre-polluted, having never been outside the womb.

This simply shouldn’t be.

I know this article is quite a bit different than my normal writing, but I was compelled to share this with you all in hopes that you might educate yourself on the dangers of toxic chemicals in our environments. 

Here’s some good news: when you choose to live with less, you’re exposed to fewer toxic chemicals in your home. 

When you decide that ‘more’ is too much and ‘less’ is enough, you’re not only removing the clutter from your physical environment, you’re also lowering the potential toxicity levels in your home. 

So, if you’re choosing to shop on Black Friday (which I hope you’re not…read my last post), please look for less toxic products. Support green companies and initiatives. Make small decisions like changing your shampoo, lotion, or shaving cream. Every little bit helps.

For more research (besides all the linked articles), below are two documentaries I highly recommend you watch. 

  1. The Human Experiment, available on Netflix or for purchase on iTunes, etc.
  2. The True Cost, available on Netflix or for purchase on iTunes, etc.
Derek HarveyComment