We all want to live life with full energy and well-being, but few of us realize how environmental toxins can impact our health. From mysterious illnesses to debilitating symptoms, it’s time we end these invisible culprits that threaten our health.
Perhaps you don’t realize it, but you are more likely to experience health complications from toxins lurking in your home rather than those outside. According to Stephen Levine of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, ‘the greatest threat to our health is from environmental pollutants that we find indoors. With 90% percent of time spent inside our homes, exposure can lead to respiratory issues or potentially harm cells and tissues – making awareness about indoor contaminants essential for maintaining good overall health over a lifetime.
Our indoor air can contain cancerous toxins such as arsenic, dioxins, and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE). Research from the University of California has shown that these noxious contaminants are entrenched in our bodies and can be detected in an individual’s blood, urine, organs, cells, breast milk- even in newborn cord blood with over 200 chemicals detected!
It stands to reason that exposure to pollutants like BPA, DDT, and phthalates may be wreaking havoc on more than just your lungs: it could impair your nervous system or harm tissues.
Despite these findings, toxic exposures are commonly underestimated and misunderstood. Although the EPA has set various regulations on protecting human health from toxins in outdoor air, they have not done so for indoor air pollutants.
reduce indoor pollution
Avoiding exposure to indoor pollutants can seem like a difficult task, but there are ways you can keep your air clean. In addition to being aware of the warning signs from common offenders, such as cleaning products and everyday items, it’s essential to become familiar with the sources – these range from building materials and furniture down to seemingly innocuous things like air fresheners. Taking steps now will help ensure that you stay healthy in your home!
Making small changes in your home can reduce your exposure to indoor toxins and improve your health. Here are a few tips for reducing indoor toxins:
- Use natural cleaning products with non-toxic ingredients.
- Invest in an air purifier and regularly change the filter.
- Look for natural materials when buying furniture and carpets.
- Open windows regularly to let in the fresh air and reduce moisture.
- Avoid using air fresheners and artificial scents as they can contain harmful chemicals.
Additionally, by doing simple things like vacuuming more frequently, replacing carpet with hardwood floors, avoiding cigarette smoke, reducing cleaning product use and maintaining good ventilation systems you can greatly reduce harmful pollutants in the environment around you.
By taking these steps, you can drastically reduce the number of toxins in your home and improve your health. With a few simple changes and mindful choices, you can protect yourself from the potentially harmful contaminants hiding in your home.
So take a few moments to assess what toxins are lurking in your house and make the necessary changes to clean up your home – it could benefit your health in the long run.
The benefits of a toxin-free home are worth the effort!
Examples of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
One of the most common VOCs is formaldehyde, a colorless gas with an acrid (sharp and bitter) smell. Formaldehyde is found in many building materials such as plywood, particleboard, laminate flooring, glues and often in very dangerous levels.
Formaldehyde can also be found in
- Drapes, fabrics, and certain types of foam insulation in mattresses and furniture.
- Is often a byproduct that can be found in some children’s toys and toys made of composite wood that contain adhesives that release formaldehyde.
- Acrylic paints – both solvent-based and water-based could off gas formaldehyde.
- Formaldehyde can also be used to bind pigments in fabric (in dolls and stuffed animals) to achieve wrinkle resistance and water repellence.
Triggers that make us sick
Other VOC sources include tobacco products and burning fuels such as gas, kerosene, and wood. VOCs are also found in:
- Air fresheners
- Arts and crafts products: glues, permanent markers, etc.
- Caulks and sealants
- Cleaners and disinfectants
- Cosmetics and deodorants
- Dry-cleaned clothing
- Flooring, carpet, pressed wood products
- Office printers and copiers
- Paint, paint strippers
- Varnishes and finishes
- Wood burning stoves
E.g. – Traditional carpet/rug cleaners contain highly toxic chemicals. Many carpets already have toxins from pesticides or other chemicals added during the manufacturing process. So carpet cleaning adds poisons on top of toxins. If you spend a lot of time indoors, you will breathe in these toxic fumes for most of each day, weakening your immune system, feeding viruses, and causing many problems such as SAD (Seasonal affective disorder).
Therefore you can avoid this by buying “green” carpets—organic cleaners and using a modern “green” carpet cleaning service.
Chemical Induced Ailments
Chemical Induced Ailments
Chemical-induced ailments caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) depend on the concentration and length of exposure to the chemicals.
Health problems caused by VOCs (formaldehyde, pesticides, solvents, and cleaning agents), signs and symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Allergic skin reactions, e.g., eczema
- Conjunctival irritation
- Declines in serum cholinesterase levels
- Epistaxis (Formaldehyde)
- Nausea, emesis
- Nose, throat discomfort
Low concentrations are ephemeral, while higher concentrations irritate the lungs, and long-term exposure can cause injury to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.
Detox your home by removing toxic products
The most helpful way to improve your health is to detox your home. And your health will significantly improve. For this purpose, go through each area and clear your home of harmful toxic products, one at a time.
The chemicals in synthetic scents (such as air fresheners & scented candles) can lower the immune system instantly. When the chemicals enter our bloodstream, our natural killer (NK) cells, lymphocytes, and other white blood cells absorb them, immediately weakening our immune cells and destroying others. Therefore, our white blood cells need clean, fresh, oxygenated blood.
The simple elimination of toxins in the home improves the air quality significantly and takes an enormous load off the body’s detoxification system. It will also help rejuvenate and strengthen the immune system creating a powerful resistance to viruses and bacterial infection.
In addition, it will improve its ability to manage unexpected exposures to chemicals, natural pollens, dust, and mold in environments that are not within our control.
Most people who have suffered from ailments caused by a toxic environment, “total allergy” or “multiple chemical sensitivity,” have significantly improved their health when all sources have been removed from their environment.
Moreover, when adversely affected by an environmental illness, the best remedy source is from a clinical ecologist specializing in such cases.
Don’t be misled by Catchy TITLES, packaging or by the name “organic” + “natural ingredients”
Numerous cleaning products on the market have catchy titles, the “organic” and “natural” name on their packaging. Which hold little importance in the largely unregulated products in the industry. Also keep in mind that the phrase organic and natural does not always mean good for your health (for instance, lead). Always read the labels!
However, chemical awareness in household products helps circumvent bringing toxins unintentionally into your home and restricts your overall exposure. Visit the EWG guide to healthy cleaning for product guides, label decoders, and tips to help you recognize and avoid the most common toxins found in household cleaning products.
Helpful Tip: Your cleaning products should have ingredients rated a one on EWG Skin Deep. Plus an A rating on EWG Healthy Cleaners Database.
Seven things that you can change immediately to improve your health
Our homes can become veritable poison havens without us even realizing it, from conventional cleaners and air fresheners to furniture and clothing made with toxic chemicals. But don’t worry – there are steps you can take to make your home a clean and healthy space for you and your family. Read on for tips on how to create a non-toxic environment at home.
1| DETOX YOUR HOME OF SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES
Did you know that the word “Fragrance” functions as a single title for up to 5,000 different ingredients protected under “Trade Secrets?” In fact, nearly 95% of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from crude petroleum oil, which contains an outlandish amount of carcinogenic chemical additives. For example, common fragrance chemicals include phthalates linked to allergens as well as reproductive and developmental harm.
Synthetic fragrances hide in various household products such as air fresheners, candles, cleaning supplies, clothes saturated in fungicides, dryer sheets, furnishings, home sprays, laundry detergents, perfumes, and soaps. These toxic chemicals are easily absorbed through the skin and linked to allergies, cancer, congenital disabilities, nervous system disorders, and more.
The chemicals in synthetic scents can lower the immune system quickly. When the chemicals enter our bloodstream, our natural killer cells, lymphocytes, and other white blood cells absorb them, instantly weaken our immune cells and destroying others. Our white blood cells need clean, fresh, oxygenated blood; with chemical scents, our white count becomes limited.
2| ABOLISH YOUR TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS
Cleaning products are the most toxic class of products found in the home, contributing to various health problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), household cleaning products rank among the most toxic every-day substances to which people are exposed.
Such toxic products are absorbed through the skin, inhaled into the lungs, and ingested as chemical deposits that remain after laundry, dishes, and other household items have been thoroughly cleaned. They have been linked to asthma, cancer, congenital disabilities, endocrine disruption, headaches, learning difficulties, neurological problems, obesity, and reproductive disorders, to list a few.
For an effective chemical-free cleaning option, try my homemade recipe using essential oils.
3| BEGIN A NEW HEALTHY CHEMICAL-FREE LAUNDRY ROUTINE
Laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets have the most significant potential for undermining your health. They contain proprietary signature fragrances comprised of hundreds of toxic chemicals that are never tested for safety.
The chemicals in most laundry products are hazardous to humans. And after use, these chemicals reside on our clothes and rub against our skin. One study found that chemically scented products emit more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That’s equivalent to breathing in paint fumes all day. Many of these chemicals are deemed carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and contribute to air pollution.
4| CHOOSE NON-TOXIC COOKWARE.
Most non-stick cookware on the market are coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is extremely dangerous because it is composed of carbon and fluorine atoms.
This polymer has been linked to cancer, endocrine disorders, congenital disabilities, and more. In similar, avoid buying products made with PFC, such as Teflon cookware and Scotchgard.
5| REPLACE HARMFUL PLASTIC WITH GLASS.
Various plastic containers contain phthalates, and the ubiquitous chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), which can interpose with the body’s endocrine (hormone) system and are associated with many health issues.
The widely used chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), is commonly found in everyday items – from water bottles to baby bottles and even the lining of food cans. BPA has been proven to cause reproductive and neurological problems, congenital disabilities, endocrine disruption, impaired immunity, and various cancers.
Additionally, Phthalates are ubiquitous in modern life, used to create products that provide comfort and convenience. They can be found in everything from soft plastics, such as children’s toys and food wrappers, to fragrances for beauty supplies. This chemical is everywhere!
Let’s break the plastic habit and embrace glass when possible- a healthy choice that will keep harmful chemicals far away.
6| FILTER YOUR DRINKING WATER.
Most people would regard their drinking water safe; however, the answer is No! Especially if you are drinking city water.
City water is abundant in harmful chemicals like arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and toxic heavy metals linked to cancers, high cholesterol, hormone-related disorders, thyroid disease, and ulcerative colitis. The same as “well water,” your well water can contain vile pollutants as well.
Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many areas of our environment, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body. For an effective detox to remove heavy metals from your body, try this delicious Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie.
Having your drinking water tested for safety and using a water filtration system is one of the best health investments you can make.
7| OPEN YOUR WINDOW & LET IN THE FRESH AIR EVERY DAY.
Although we cannot see the harmful chemicals we breathe, they affect our health significantly. EPA studies prove that indoor air pollution is typically two to five times higher than outdoor air, and natural ventilation is healthier than breathing stale air from the indoors.
New air is chemically different than the recirculated indoor air that most people breathe. High-quality air is electrified. Airing out your home every day improves the quality of the air you breathe. Utilizing an Air Purifier in each room, especially in a bedroom while you sleep, will significantly help as well.
Fresh, clean air contains the life-giving oxygen molecule that is negatively charged or “negatively ionized,” which has remarkable effects on behavior, such as alleviating anxiety and behavioral problems. It also helps our mood to be cheerful and optimistic, with an improved sense of well-being. Furthermore, negative air ions are seen to be a tool with potential theoretical and remedial applications.
Therefore, get as much fresh air as possible. Let the invigorating air refresh your body, soul, and home – open up those windows for 15 minutes each day, especially during winter, to fill your space with crisp seasonal goodness.
Read Ingredient Labels –
It is perfectly legal for companies to use ingredients linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive harm in products we use every day.
free of harmful fragrance
human safe: zero eye irritant, skin irritant, and lung irritant
free of harmful preservatives
plant and mineral-based
Every small change adds up over time. Resulting in a toxic-free home and a much healthier and happier YOU!
The “Dirty Dozen”
2-Unintentionally Produced – Result from some industrial processes and combustion.
- aldrin ¹
- dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)¹
- hexachlorobenzene ¹,²
- 1- polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) ¹,²
- 2- polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins²(dioxins)
- 3- polychlorinated dibenzofurans² (furans)
Are you looking for more inspiring tips?
Are you looking for guidance on detoxifying your body? Check out our informative Heavy Metal Detox article to get started on improving health and well-being.
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