COVID-19 influencing your everyday behaviors?

I recently came across an interesting study about how COVID-19 is influencing certain behaviors.

Researchers analyzed how often people use personal care products and household cleaners.

They also compared dietary choices, monitoring how often people resort to fast food, restaurant food, ultra-processed food, or homecooked meals.

The good news is, some of the results are quite promising.

Let’s take a look…

You win some, you lose some

As part of the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) group, researchers analyzed survey responses from 1,535 adults across six states.

When it comes to personal care products, participants reported using fewer of these since the start of the pandemic. This category includes hair products (like dyes and gels) and makeup.

On the flip side, 48 percent began using antibacterial soap and a whopping 81 percent of respondents used more hand sanitizer.

As for household cleaners, there was an uptick in antibacterial cleaners and products containing bleach.

And when it came to food-related behavior, 34 percent reported eating less fast food, 24 percent ate less processed food, and 49 percent started eating more home-cooked meals.  (That’s music to my ears!)

However, 12 percent of respondents began eating more ultra-processed foods.

Now, researchers attributed some of these changes to a stress response. For example, one may use more chemically-derived cleaners if they’re experiencing pandemic-related traumatic stress. Or they may cook at home to avoid crowded spaces.

But here are my thoughts on these findings…

Smart alternatives

I’ve written before about how many Americans use dozens of personal care products on a daily basis.

And while this survey showed a decrease in use for some of these products, I can’t help but wonder how many other chemically-derived products they were still using—like shampoo or lotion.

So, click here to read about how I battle the chemical soup from brewing in my bathroom.

In addition, I can at least understand why more people may have started reaching for antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer in the age of COVID-19. But remember, these soaps are virtually worthless—and are still using banned substances linked to poor health outcomes.

(Same goes for harsh household cleaners. Here are safer strategies for a spotless home.)

Now, I am relieved to see some good news on the food behavior front. After all, I launched my very own Cooking with Dr. Fred show during the pandemic so people could learn how easy—and FUN—it is to make delicious, healthy meals at home.

(Check me out on YouTube or Instagram!)

But as restrictions loosen, I hope these behaviors don’t shift again.

Because at the end of the day, the unspoken threat among all categories relates to chemical exposure. And knowing your enemy is the first step to defending yourself against it.

You can learn more in the April 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“Staying healthy in a polluted world: How to protect yourself against the dangerous toxins you come face-to-face with on a daily basis”).

Until next week,

Dr. Fred


“COVID is changing how we are exposed to household health risks.” MDLinx, 01/18/2023. (