5 Household Items You Aren’t Buying Organic—But Should

5 Household Items You Aren't Buying Organic—But Should
You might buy organic fruits and vegetables, but what about these common household items?

Many of us look for a Certified Organic label on our foods, but what about household items? Sure, what we put into our bodies is important…but foods aren’t the only kind of products that find their way inside. Your touch, breath and skin reside inside your household environment, which means that keeping it free of harmful chemicals and air toxins is incredibly important. Consider buying these five household items organic next time you’re at the supermarket.

Cotton Balls

Did you know that cotton is one of the most heavily pesticide-treated crops in the US? Not only does that mean that when you use non-organic cotton balls, your skin could be coming into contact with pesticides and other toxins—it also means that purchasing non-organic cotton is bad for the environment. Do the planet and yourself a favor and go organic.

Pet Food

Pet owners know that our furry friends are just as important as any other member of the family, so why give them substandard food? Ingredients like meat byproducts, unnecessary sugars and sweeteners, and harmful preservatives are known to proliferate mainstream pet food. There are no federal laws that prohibit harmful ingredients from being added to pet food, so unless you buy from a company that has proven themselves worthy of a Certified Organic label, there’s no telling what’s been added to your furbaby’s food.

Kids’ Toys

Baby teethers and kids’ toys are pretty scary. Phthalates are chemicals that plasticize ingredients, making them into the strong and malleable material we know as plastic. Phthalates have been associated with breast cancer, hormone disruption and estrogen dominance, and they’re often used in toys that wind up in our kids’ and grandkids’ mouths. So far, six types of phthalates have been banned in the US, according to Organic Life, but there are still tons that haven’t been.

Mattresses

You spend six to eight hours every night breathing the air right on top of your mattress, and non-organic mattresses have been associated with cancer-causing materials such as flame retardants. If this sounds like a bad combination, that’s because it is. Many flame retardants have been banned in the US already, as they are suspected to cause hormone disruption and developmental disorders in young children. But some types of flame retardants still remain.

Pads and Tampons

Finally, ladies, you should strongly consider looking for an organic or chemical-free option when it comes to your menstrual cycle. The FDA doesn’t require manufacturers of pads and tampons to disclose their ingredients on the packaging, and there are a lot of harmful chemicals that could be lurking beneath the surface of your products. In addition to being made with cotton (a highly pesticide-treated crop, as we mentioned above), pads and tampons are often treated with dioxin, which is known to be harmful in large amounts. Though your exposure from an individual pad or tampon may be small, women are estimated to use about 12,000 menstrual products throughout their lifetime. Consider going for organic pads and tampons, or switching to a menstrual cup.

This article originally appeared on Care2.com.