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Some things you can do

* Use water-based paints - they don't give off so many toxic fumes.

* Try not to buy toys made from PVC, which is likely to contain phthalates.

Tell the shop why.

* Use shops that are aware of the chemical issues - the Friends of the Earth website has a league table (Ikea came top, with Body Shop, Marks and Spencer, B and Q and the Co-op close behind), and details of what action you can take.

* Throw away all worn or scratched plastic bottles and beakers - they are likely to leak phthalates.

* Don't buy scented bathroom and kitchen products for the home.

* Reduce the quantities of washing powders and washing up liquid that you use.

* Reduce your use of chemically based shampoos.

* Look for lipsticks with natural oil rather than petroleum bases.

* Try not to use chipboard for your DIY jobs - the glue used in making it contains potentially harmful chemicals.

* Don't bring pesticides into the house from the garden on your shoes.

* Think what you're putting on your baby - baby wipes and bath products contain chemicals - do you need to use them so frequently, or at all?

* Make yourself aware of the campaigns and advice on chemicals from the Friends of the Earth, WWF and Greenpeace websites.

* Write to your MEP showing your awareness of REACH and asking what he or she is doing to expedite it.

* Use fewer aerosols and air fresheners. Squeeze a lemon or an orange if you want a pleasant fresh smell around the house.

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