Summer is just around the corner. The fun under the sun, plunging in the pools and relaxing on the beach can bring a lot of relaxation after the cold weather subsided. But how can we have fun and relaxing summer without sacrificing the safety of our family and their health? After all, summer can bring a lot of heat and danger and sometimes, the things that we are using at home and outdoors and even the food that we eat can have toxic chemicals that we are not aware of.

Summer will not be complete without family gatherings and family vacations. Swimming, whether in the pool or on the beach, is one of the great activities that we are doing when summer times come. But did you know some chemicals used to keep the water in the pool clean can harm you?

According to 2010 study in University of Illinois made by Michael Plewa, Ph.D., “Sweat, hair, skin, urine and products like cosmetics and sunscreen are rich in nitrogen, which creates a toxic agent when mixed with chemicals used to disinfect the water. These disinfection byproducts can mutate genes, causing asthma in children, birth defects and even cancer after long-term exposure,” he says.

The best way to reduce exposing ourselves and our family in this harmful chemicals is by showering before diving in the pool. We can also avoid swimming in a poorly ventilated pools where there is a strong smell of chlorine. If the activities are at the beach, avoid swallowing beach water because there can be bacteria and other contaminants in the water that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.

Sunscreens and sunblocks are great protections when it comes to UVA rays from the sun. But not any kind of commercial sunscreen or sunblocks. Don’t use sunscreen with octyl methoxycinnamate and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. These are the main chemicals used in sunscreens to filter out ultraviolet B light and to filter ultraviolet A. Several studies show that the chemicals commonly used in sunscreens are absorbed through the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream. Use only products with minerals like zinc oxide. Zinc oxide helps reflect and scatter away both UVA and UVB rays from your body. You can also protect your skin by wearing appropriate clothes, using hats and umbrella and taking shades once in a while to avoid so much exposure to the sun.

When hiking and going outdoors are fun activities to share with family, a bug or mosquito repellant can be of help to avoid certain skin rashes, allergies and diseases bring by these pesky bugs. You can use a natural mosquito repellant like oil of lemon eucalyptus, catnip oil and oil of citronella. Just make sure to use and reapply insect repellent according to the instructions on the product’s label.

Summer will not be complete without all the foods in the table. Grilling is a fun activity when having family vacations and gatherings. Experts do not recommend placing your foods directly in coals. have more tips on how to properly grilled your food and avoid engulfing them in ashes and fire that can lead to high levels of carcinogens. Also, don’t cook with aluminum foil because heating aluminum foil activates the molecules and you’ll get food laden with tin. Aluminum is unhealthy for bones and a suspected culprit in causing Alzheimer’s. Serve fresh fruits that are thoroughly washed and clean to avoid toxic chemicals like pesticides and other toxic fertilizers.

Make your summer fun and relaxing. Make sure you are using products that are bio-degradable in which way you can help not only yourself but also the environment.