By Sara Russell, Ph.D., FNTP, CGP

This is the first in a series dedicated to helping you detoxify your home. Each post in the series will focus on specific areas of concern, so you can choose one or more areas to work on each week and move forward at your own pace.

In health!

Sara Russell, Ph.D., FNTP, CGP
Founder, Feed Your Fertile Body!™ Program

Clean living: beyond just diet

A lot of my clients work very hard on cleaning up their diet in the pre-conception period. They reduce or eliminate processed foods with artificial flavorings, dyes and other harmful additives. It takes a big paradigm shift to change from the standard American diet to a nutrient-dense whole-food diet. It is important for the couple to leverage these changes for maximized fertility and for improved health of mother and baby. You can do this by ensuring that your home and body care products are in line with your health goals. A complete overhaul of your home and body care routine takes time and effort, but by troubleshooting specific areas, you can easily make big changes.

Detox your budget

The first step in the process is detoxifying your budget, and any perceptions you may have about cleaner living being too expensive for you. It’s not, as long as you apply common sense.

The most important idea that you must keep in mind is that of your self-worth, the worth of the baby you are preparing to conceive and the worth of your family. In this sense, it can be said that detoxification starts on an emotional level.

If you have a habit of choosing the cheapest products, you should know that this habit can be very costly. This applies to food, to the choice of materials used in dentistry and to home and body care products. In the area of home and body care, most people are using many unnecessary items. Just by cutting out on those, you can free up your budget for better-quality, non-toxic or less-toxic replacement for essentials. Many articles have been written on the hidden costs of “cheap” products, which often contain harmful chemicals that can disrupt health in general and fertility in particular, including this one.

Fragrances in home and body care products

Perfumes and fragrances added to perfume, cologne, soap, detergent, fabric softener, air fresheners, scented Clean up your body care routinecandles, lotion, deodorant and a slew of other home and body care products contain dangerous chemicals that harm the endocrine system and cause many health problems, especially during pre-conception, pregnancy and fetal development. These products do not actually make people smell better, nor do they make any setting cleaner. I recommend identifying scented products in your home and replace them with unscented equivalents or products that are lightly scented with essential oils that are safe during pregnancy.

You can find better cleaning products and better personal care products through the Environmental Working Group’s consumer product guides.

Mercury in make-up and common self-care products

We all know that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive are advised to reduce fish consumption, especially that of large fish high on the food chain, due to the dangers of mercury for the developing fetus. Thimerosal is a preservative and anti-microbial that is 50% ethylmercury. It’s a potent neurotoxin and epigenetic toxicant and has a cumulative effect when absorbed, and the developing fetus is particularly susceptible to damage from mercury exposure. Did you know that as long as it’s under 65 parts per million, and if it is classified as an “inactive ingredient,” the FDA allows thimerosal in cosmetics, eye drops, ear drops, and other OTC and RX products for children and adults?

Mascara is one of the most common products using thimerosal, partly because the Minamata Global Treaty of 2013 banned it from a number of other products but concluded that for mascara there were not sufficient alternative options to protect consumers from infection and extend product shelf life. Please note that the FDA allows cosmetic companies not to list ingredients that make up less than 1% of a product, so more mascaras than are currently acknowledging thimerosal use may be using it at or under the allowed 65 parts per million. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database includes the brands that list thimerosal as an ingredient. If you use mascara, it’s a good idea to check directly with the manufacturer to ask for a list of inactive ingredients not listed on the product label. Learn more about mercury in mascara here.

Need more guidance?

Would you like more guidance on cleaning up your nutrition, lifestyle, and home and body care routines during the preconception period? Get in touch with me at