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Naturally Detoxify Everyday Toxic Chemical Exposure

Naturally Detoxify Everyday Toxic Chemical Exposure

Naturally Detoxify Everyday Toxic Chemical Exposure

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Why reduce toxic chemicals?
From the foods we eat to how we maintain our yards and clean our homes, we can be exposed to chemicals in many ways. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only a fraction of the more than 75,000 registered chemicals have gone through complete testing for human health concerns. Some chemicals have immediate toxic effects. Others are toxic to our bodies only after repeated, long-term exposure.
Children are especially susceptible to the negative effects of chemicals, warns the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection. Pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food, and when they play, they crawl and put things in their mouths. As a result, children have an increased chance of exposure to potential pollutants, and because children's bodies are still developing, they may process these pollutants differently from adults. Nursing mothers and women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should also take precautions.
A good principle to follow is always to look for ways to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic chemicals as we go about our daily lives, to keep our homes safe for our children, our pets, and us.

What you can do
Simple changes in our everyday routines can reduce our long-term exposures to low levels of potentially harmful substances—changes in how we choose the products we buy, or the ways we clean our houses and take care of the yard. These changes will not only make our homes safer, they may also save us money.
Consider these helpful ideas for reducing toxic exposures in your home.

Reducing toxins inside your house
Until recently, indoor air pollution has been largely ignored as a source of exposure to toxicity. But studies have shown that levels of harmful chemicals in indoor air may exceed the standards set by the EPA to protect us from harmful chemicals. You can avoid such levels in your home by buying and using products that are free of toxic chemicals whenever possible.


Choosing the products you buy
Whenever possible, buy products that are free of toxic chemicals. Alternatives are available. The market for non-toxic household products is growing in response to customer demand.

 

Ingredient lists don't always tell you everything that is in a product but they can offer clues to the toxicity.

  • When purchasing products, take a minute to carefully read the label. Look for products that appear to disclose all their ingredients. "Signal words" will help you spot ingredients that are harmful: caution,warning, danger, and poison ("caution" is least hazardous and "danger" is most hazardous; extremely toxic products must also include the word "poison."). Choose the least-hazardous product to do the job.
  • Before you use a product, carefully read the directions and follow the instructions. Be sure to use the correct amount of a product. Remember, you won't get twice the results by using twice as much.
  • Select products (cleaners, shampoos, etc.) made from plant-based materials, such as oils made from citrus, seed, vegetable or pine. By doing so, you are selecting products that are biodegradable and generally less toxic. These products also provide the additional benefit of being made from renewable resources. Ask for plant-based products at your local grocery or retail store.
  • Choose pump spray containers instead of aerosols. Pressurized aerosol products often produce a finer mist that is more easily inhaled. Aerosols also put unnecessary volatile organic chemicals into your indoor air when you use them.
  • Ask for unbleached paper products or products bleached with hydrogen peroxide or oxygen, which produce less pollution during papermaking.

DIY Natural Cleaners

For yourself: Bath, beauty and hygiene products

  • Avoid using antibacterial soaps. Antibacterial agents, while not directly harmful to you, contribute to the growing problem we face when bacteria mutate to strains that are more drug-resistant. Remember, however, that hand washing with any soap is still vital to maintaining good health.
  • Purchase a mercury-free fever thermometer. Many effective alternatives are on the shelves at your local pharmacy. Broken mercury fever thermometers can be a source of toxic mercury levels in your home and discarded products containing mercury contribute to higher levels in the environment. consult your county house-hold hazardous waste program manager to learn where to take your old thermometer. (For information, see www.swmcb.org or www.pca.state.mn.us/waste.)
  • Use eye drops, contact lens solutions, and nasal sprays and drops that are free of thimerosal or other mercury-containing preservatives.
  • Look for unscented and natural dyes in products to avoid potential allergic reactions.
  • Recipes for personal care products using natural ingredients— baking soda, lemon juice, etc.—can be found online:www.care2.com/channels/solutions/self/114.

Keeping your house clean
Remove your shoes when you enter your house. Your shoes can track in harmful amounts of pesticides, lead, cadmium and other chemicals. Keeping a floor mat at your doors for people to wipe their feet on when they enter will also help.
Vacuum carpets and floors regularly. Children playing on your carpet may actually be more exposed to pesticides lodged in the carpet than from the outside, because pesticides break down less readily indoors than outdoors in the sunlight. Use a fine particulate filter, such as a HEPA filter, in your vacuum cleaner, if possible. Otherwise, the dust vacuumed up is redistributed into the air where it can be inhaled.
  
By cleaning with products like these, you can save money and avoid exposure to toxic chemicals.


Single-ingredient, common household materials such as baking soda, vinegar, or plant-based soaps and detergents can often do the job on your carpet or other surfaces. Soap and water has been shown to keep surfaces as free of bacteria as antibacterial soaps do. If your carpet needs professional cleaning, enlist a carpet service that uses less-toxic cleaners that are low in VOCs and irritants.

  • Baking soda works well to clean sinks, tubs and toilets, and it freshens drains as well.
  • Vegetable oil with a little lemon juice works wonders on wood furniture.
  • Simmer a mixture of cloves and cinnamon or use vinegar and water as a safe and environmentally friendly air freshener. Consider how you can eliminate odor problems rather than just covering them up.
  • Use vinegar and water in a pump spray bottle for cleaning mirrors and shining chrome. Vinegar or soap and water with drying rags or a squeegee also work well for cleaning windows.
  • Use reusable unbleached cotton towels, rags, and non-scratch scrubbing sponges for all-purpose cleaning instead of bleached disposable paper products.
  • Use dishwasher detergents that are free of chlorine bleach and lowest in phosphates.
  • Use bathroom cleaners that are free of aerosol propellants and antibacterial agents.

What you eat

  • Choose organic fruits and vegetables for your family whenever possible. They have been shown to have less pesticide residue.
  • Rinse all fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove fertilizer residues.
  • Don't microwave foods in plastic containers. Chemicals from the plastic container can become absorbed by food during microwaving. Cover with waxed paper or paper towel instead of plastic wrap to keep food from spattering.

The Salmon Scam

Artificial sweeteners are highly toxic

Controlling pests

  • In order to survive, pests need food, water and living space. Remove all food sources through good sanitation and storage habits (i.e., screw-cap jars, zip-lock bags, garbage pails with tight-fitting lids). Block pest entrances to your kitchen by caulking holes, using door sweeps on the bottom of doors, and keeping window screens in good repair. Avoid placing chemical pesticides around your kitchen to kill indoor insect and rodent pests.Avoid using no-pest strips. They contain pesticides that are released to the air in your home.
  • When storing winter clothing, use cedar blocks or bags of cedar chips hung with your clothes. Avoid mothballs that contain p-dichloro benzene or naphthalene, which are very toxic and also contribute to respiratory problems.
  • Consult your veterinarian for non-toxic pest control products for use on pet pests such as fleas and ticks.
  • Use non-toxic head lice treatments, including combing, enzyme-based treatments and mayonnaise or oil. See www.headlice.org for more information.

 

Doing the laundry

  
Try simple ingredients like Borax, non-chlorine bleach and washing soda.

  • Instead of more complicated detergents, try using a combination of washing soda and borax in your machine. These are usually as effective as more complex formulas and are also usually cheaper.
  • When possible, hang clothes to dry outside to avoid using the dryer, which uses energy and depletes resources. In winter, fluff the clothes in the dryer, and then hang to dry indoors. You get the added benefit of increased humidity
  •  Avoid bleach when possible. If whitening is needed, use non-chlorine bleach, which is oxygen based and often highly effective.
  • Buy clothes that don't need drycleaning or use an alternative called "wet cleaning." Clothes that have been drycleaned emit perchlorethylene, a chemical that can cause cancer. The wet cleaning process uses water so there are no harmful gases emitted from the cleaned clothing. MnTAP maintains a list of cleaners that use the wet cleaning process:http://mntap.umn.edu/drycl/consumer.htm.

  Clotheslines: A healthy hangup
Don't rely on dryer sheets for freshening your laundry. Clotheslines are a great way to keep clothes, sheets and towels smelling clean. Fabrics will last longer if they're not tumbled around—after all, isn't dryer lint made up entirely of material from your clothes?


Reducing toxins in the yard and garden

  • Mowing your grass to a height of about 3½ inchesis the most important thing you can do to improve the health of your lawn. By keeping grass length longer, the roots grow deeper and can reach more water during dry periods. Longer grass also creates shade, making it harder for weeds to get established.
  • f you use a lawn service, consider a service provider that uses less-toxic alternatives.
  • Test the soil to see what your soil needs. Apply only as much fertilizer as is needed. Soil test kits can be purchased at a lawn and garden store or through University of Minnesota Extension:www.extension.umn.edu.
  • Dig into the root of the problem. Hand- and foot-powered weeding tools.
  • If your grass grows in heavy clay soil, aeration can be very beneficial. Aeration decreases compaction and allows air and water to get to the roots.
  • Weeds such as dandelions can be removed easily by digging them up with a fishtail weeder when the soil is damp.
  • Top dressing your lawn with a compost-soil mix will reduce your lawn's water needs and make it more resistant to drought and disease. You will need to fertilize less often, and when you do, you can use less fertilizer.
  • Consider replacing parts of your yard with native perennials that lower maintenance and lessen the need for water and chemicals.
  • Ask at your garden store for less-toxic alternatives to chemical pesticides to control pests.


Fertilizers, leaves, and grass clippings from lawns contribute to phosphorus problems in our lakes and rivers. Homeowners can protect water quality by using lawn fertilizers that do not contain phosphorus—look for a middle number of zero—and sweeping up grass clippings from streets and sidewalks after mowing and trimming.
Restricting the use of phosphorus
Routine phosphorus use on lawns is now restricted statewide. Starting in 2005, by law, Minnesota homeowners cannot use fertilizer containing phosphorus, with exemptions when establishing new lawns or when a soil test indicates a need.Minnesota soils are naturally high in phosphorus, so our lawns usually don't need any extra. Minnesota law bans the use of phosphorus fertilizer on most lawns. When shopping for your turf needs, be sure to buy a brand that has a middle number of zero.


Building and remodeling

  • When building or remodeling your home, ask for building materials and supplies that have the least amount of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds. VOCs have been shown to cause cancer or developmental problems. Toxic fumes can come from unexpected sources like new carpet and cabinets.
  • Choose no- and low-VOC paints and varnishes when finishing walls, floors and furniture. Make sure you have proper ventilation.
  • Ask for carpeting that meets standards for indoor air quality established by the Carpet and Rug Institute. Once a carpet is installed, thoroughly air out the house for at least 48 hours.
  • For decks and playground equipment, use reclaimed cedar or redwood, which is naturally resistant to fungus and insects. Or use recycled plastic lumber. Ask about these products at your home improvement store.
  • Avoid using "green-treated" lumber, which is treated with the toxic compound copper chromium arsenate (CCA). In particular, don't use it for eating surfaces on picnic tables or children's play equipment. Clean up all scrap treated wood and sawdust and dispose of it properly—it should go to a lined landfill or licensed waste incinerator. Treated wood should not be burned at home for bonfires or stoves/fireplaces.

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/MultimediaFiles/Live/FullReport/5679.pdf


1. Keep It Out
The best way to reduce exposure to chemicals is to keep them out of your surroundings. Here are some examples1:
The exposure can come from... What can I do?
Secondhand smoke Go outside if you have to smoke and encourage other smokers to do so too.
Contaminants tracked in from outside such as lawn pesticides, lead dust from exterior paint, etc. Use a doormat, remove shoes at the door, plant shrubs and grass to keep dust levels down.
Chemical drift from nearby pesticide applications Close windows during treatment and then open them about 30 minutes later for fresh air. Cover children's play toys and equipment prior to applications if possible, or hose down exposed items before re-use.
Gasoline and kerosene fumes from lawnmowers,snowblowers and other power equipment Store equipment in outside shed or garage and use proper storage containers.
Release of mercury from broken thermometers Clean up spills properly2 (never vacuum a spill); replace mercury thermometers with digital types and dispose of old ones properly.
Chemicals from backyard burning. Smoke from burning trash can contain harmful chemicals such as arsenic, carbon monoxide, cyanide, dioxins, formaldehyde and PCBs. Stop backyard burning. Reduce waste, re-use, recycle and compost when possible. Dispose of remaining trash at a transfer station or with a sanitation service.


2. "Air" On The Side of Safety Home SAFE Home
Chemicals or other contaminants in the house are best reduced by ventilating with fresh air, or using exhaust fans if necessary.4Here are some examples:
The exposure can come from... What can I do?
Breathing chemicals from paints, wood finishing products and cleaning products When possible, either use these products outdoors or open windows. Schedule painting and finishing projects during warm months when windows can be left open.
Breathing chemicals from new carpets or building materials Ask the merchant to air out new carpet before installing or delivering it; keep the windows open if possible until the smell has disappeared.
Some materials used for adult hobbies, such as glues and paints with strong odors, lead for stained glass work, etc. Keep children away from hobby areas and make sure there is plenty of ventilation when you are using the materials. Store chemicals in tight containers and keep them out of children's reach.


3. Less Is More
For many products, less toxic alternatives or methods are available. Using less of any chemical product is often desirable. Here are some examples:
The exposure can come from... What can I do?
Cleaning products Have as few products as necessary, and use them sparingly. Consider less toxic or lower strength alternatives. Resist the use of anti-bacterial products, as they encourage the growth of stronger germs.
Pesticides Many pests can be controlled without the use of chemical pesticides. Keep pests under control. Learn about IPM5 (Integrated Pest Management) techniques that focus on preventative pest control and use chemical pesticides as a last resort.
Insect repellents Use the lowest concentration of a repellent that is needed and then use only as much as you need for your situation.6Do not let young children apply their own repellent. Spray repellent on your hands and then apply to children, avoiding the face.


4. Water, Water Everywhere
We know frequent washing is a great way to keep germs at bay. Get into the habit of washing hands, toys, fruits, vegetables and surfaces around the home, as it also reduces potential chemical exposures.
The exposure can come from... What can I do?
Contaminants on and in food, such as bacteria, pesticides and other chemicals Wash fruits and vegetables. Rinse meat, chicken and fish before you cook it. Also, skin and trim fish, since some contaminants concentrate in fatty tissues. For more information about sportfish contamination, see the Department of Health's Chemicals in Sportfish and Game brochure. Check the FDA website to review reports about pesticide residues in food.
Chemical dust and residues Wash children's hands and toys with soap and water frequently. Damp mop floors. Wash window sills and the area between the sill and the screen or outside window, where dust collects. If clothes get contaminated, wash them separately from children's items.


5. Is The Exposure Really Worth It?
Many household products contain chemicals that can be harmful.The choices we make as consumers, parents and teachers can make a difference in exposure. Only you can decide what may be an "unnecessary" exposure for you and your family. Here are some examples:
The exposure can come from... What can I do?
Lawn pesticides Learn about ways to control pests and weeds that do not use chemical pesticides.10 Appreciate the look of a natural lawn.
Air fresheners, deodorizers and candles Recognize that if you can smell it, the artificial scent or odor may be made up of chemicals. Nothing freshens a room like fresh air.
Personal care products Ask yourself if the products you use are really necessary (hair spray? powders? perfumes?).
Art supplies Oil paints, pastels, rubber cement, and spray adhesives are not good choices for young children. Look for the phrase "conforms to the federal ASTM D-4236 standard" on art supplies. Avoid permanent and scented markers.


6. Keep Kids Away
If you decide to use products that contain hazardous substances, reduce the risk to children by keeping them from getting too near. Here are some examples:
The exposure can come from... What can I do?
Household products such as glass cleaners, oven cleaners, drain openers, floor and furniture polishes, bleaches, dishwasher detergents, carpet cleaners, etc. Put locks on cabinets and store products out of children's reach.11 Do not keep what you will not use again. Dispose of unwanted products properly.
Pesticides such as flea and tick controls, lawn pesticides and indoor pesticides Read and follow label directions carefully.12 Keep children away from areas being treated during treatment and for a while after. Remove toys and stuffed animals from areas before treatment. Teach children not to touch flea and tick collars on pets or areas where other products, such as spray and spot treatments, were applied.


7. Home Safe Home
Keeping your home and surroundings in good working order can stop trouble before it starts.13,14 Here are some examples:
The exposure can come from... What can I do?
Breathing radon gas Test your home for radon15(using a simple and inexpensive detector); if there is a problem, it can often be fixed quite easily.
Carbon monoxide (CO) and other emissions from furnaces, appliances, space heaters, fireplaces and woodburning stoves Have your furnace checked about once a year or immediately if you smell fuel or smoke. Clean chimneys. Consider the use of CO detectors.
Molds (which can trigger allergies or asthma) Find the source of the leak or moisture and fix it. Dehumidifers can help in damp settings; make sure you empty the reservoir and clean frequently.
Chemical and bacterial contaminants in drinking water If you are on a private well, test it periodically for bacterial contamination. Check with your local health department if testing is needed for other contaminants of concern in your area and ask for names of certified labs.
Lead-based paint and dust Use wet techniques for small jobs involving the removal of lead-based paint. For larger jobs, such as renovation projects, get professional help.
Indoor fuel oil storage tanks Make sure fuel oil is properly delivered, and does not leak on the floor. Spills should be cleaned up completely.
Playground equipment, decks and furniture made with pressure-treated (chemically treated) wood Seal pressure-treated wood regularly to reduce skin contact with the chemicals. Oil-based, penetrating stains appear to work best for this purpose, or use several coats of paint. When possible, choose playground equipment made from plastic (preferably recycled), metal or untreated natural wood.

BPA toxicity from Plastics

7 ways plastics damage your body

Dangers of sunscreen

Dangers of synthetic scents


REFERENCES
1. Indoor Air Pollutants
Call NYS Department of Health at 518-402-7800 or 800-458-1158
2. Cleaning up Mercury Spills
Call NYS Department of Health at 518-402-7800 or 800-458-1158
3. Burning Trash
4. Tick and Insect Repellents
http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2749/
5. Chemicals in Sportfish and Game
http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/fish/fish.htm
6. Get Ahead of Lead!
Call NYS Department of Health at (800) 458-1158
7. Healthy Lawn and Environment
http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/Publications/lawncare.pdf
8. Reducing Pesticide Exposure
http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/pests/reduce.htm
9. Home Safe Home
10. Indoor Air Quality
http://www.nyserda.org/publications/iaq.pdf
11. Carbon Monoxide
12. Space Heaters
13. Lead-based Paint

 

Our chemical lives

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personal care products

Your skin is your largest organ, and anything you put on it should contain only the best and safest ingredients from nature. So before slathering lotion or body wash on your skin, take a look at this infographic on toxic chemicals found in personal care products. Discover these common yet deadly chemicals and how they can potentially sabotage your health and well-being.

 

 

The Dangers of Beauty Products (MP4) from foodmatters on Vimeo.

If you or a loved on are suffering from any chronic health issue and wish to find the root cause so as to eliminate it and reclaim your innate wellness, we specialize in just that.   For state of the art products and services, bespoke detoxification rageimes and nutritional advice plus much more please contact Linda on 02866328200, or email info@lindaburke.co.uk