Detoxify Your Life - What’s really affecting your health at home and how to fix it.
One of the biggest health threats is a nearly invisible one, and has crept into our lives unseen in the last century. The threat is one of toxins in products we use every day and science is still catching up to how it affects our health. Everything we are exposed to adds up and affects our health cumulatively. If the load is greater than the body can handle, imbalance and dis-ease occur.
There are 3 categories to look at: Personal care products, chemicals & cleaners, and environmental toxins.
Personal Care Products
This is a particularly toxic arena, in that we trust the products we are using on our skin have been tested and found safe. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our bodycare products have more chemicals than ever before and more and more people are having skin rashes and deeper health issues directly related to those ingredients. But the problem is more than skin deep. The skin is the largest organ of the body and extremely porous. It soaks up bodycare products like a giant sponge. If they are natural, they can heal the skin and accentuate health and if they are chemical, they deteriorate health. Many people have allergy symptoms from the ingredients in their bodycare products without knowing that is what is affecting them.
Chances are, if the words on the ingredient label are too long to pronounce, they are not derived from natural substances and could be harming your health. You can look up ingredients and find out toxicity levels on this informative website: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep. Check items like perfume, make up, deodorant, air freshener, lotion, shampoo, hair color and body wash.
Deodorant – most deodorants and anti-perspirants contain aluminum or a derivative. Aluminum has been implicated in many health issues, including Alzheimer’s which is one of the largest and fastest growing illnesses.
Perfume – many fragrances are neurotoxic and can cause cancer, skin and sinus irritation, immune dysfunction and serious nervous system issues. Opt for a non-toxic scent from essential oil based fragrances. Mix your favorite at home with natural lotion or a carrier oil.
To see more risks of personal care products, see: http://www.herc.org/news/perfume/risks.htm
Make up – most make-up contains tons of chemicals to help it perform. These products can clog pores, cause irritation, and add to the toxic load of the body. There are many companies who make natural and mineral based makeup with ingredients to improve skin health.
Lotion, shampoo, other bodycare & shower products – if you are rubbing it on your body, it’s soaking in. They may say “natural” on the label, but there are no regulations on what this marketing term means. Anyone can use it without having any ingredients that come from nature. There is great concern and reactivity among all conventional products on the market. Read ingredient labels and opt for something boasting “clean” or “green” ingredients, or adheres to a set of industry standards.
Air fresheners – They may smell good and cover up what doesn’t smell so good, and even though they may have a pretty picture from nature on the container, they are chemically based and highly toxic. So you are just breathing in chemicals which adds to the load the body has to try to detoxify and recuperate from. There are products made from natural ingredients that are just as effective and smell great!
You can find wonderful alternatives at your local health food store, or make them inexpensively at home from common household ingredients. Look for oils and herbs that support skin health and elasticity such as comfrey, calendula, coconut oil and essential oils that health with repair such as lavender or frankincense. For air fresheners use oils that say they are anti-septic or anti-bacterial to help keep your home sanitary and smelling great, like citrus oils, or eucalyptus.
Chemicals & Cleansers
When we clean, it is hard not to end up breathing in fumes from the cleaning products we use. Do you breathe while cleaning the shower or mopping the floors? Do you ever get any chemicals on the largest, most porous organ of the body – your skin? The chemicals you use to clean stay in the air in your home and on the surfaces you touch all day every day. Since we don’t see them, we do not think they are harming us. The lungs, skin and liver have to deal with these toxins, which can cause a burden on even the healthiest of bodies and are attributed to many diseases. Bleach, laundry and dish detergent, stain remover, polishes, and general cleaners (oven cleaners are especially bad) all contain extremely toxic ingredients. Here is another great website to find natural products to use: http://www.goodguide.com.
Consider not using or storing any chemicals in the home. Substances like acetone, paint thinners, degreasers, chemical preparations for drains, pesticides, fertilizers & weed killers, etc. add to the toxic load of the body and the planet. There are natural, less toxic alternatives readily available for all of these that will prolong your life and health. Many of the ingredients in chemicals and cleansers directly cause cancer and disrupt hormone balance.
Alternatives: Opt for plant or enzyme based cleansers, and products free of fragrance, dye and colors. Choose natural and organic fertilizers and pesticides. Even these can be quite strong and natural doesn’t mean harmless, so wear gloves and ventilate the area during and after use. Homemade cleansers – baking soda, borax, white vinegar, peroxide and essential oils can all be used to scrub, disinfect and eliminate odor.
Who knew the furniture you sit on can make you sick? Synthetics and products such as particle board outgas toxic chemicals into the environment. Consider seeking out and purchasing products made from natural materials, and air out items like new plastic shower curtains and freshly painted & carpeted rooms.
Mold is a particularly insidious environmental toxin that can be undetected in walls, flooring and furniture/bedding. It is prevalent in damp & high moisture areas. Mold can cause a range of issues in the human body and lowers the body’s resistance in general. If you suspect mold exposure, consider working with your natural healthcare practitioner to find ways to minimize mold issues. Try a natural, enzyme based mold spray for carpets, tile, and other household surfaces with mold and/or an air purifier labelled to reduce mold.
Detoxify for Life
By making conscious choices in household products for your family, you can take more responsibility for your own health. Make or buy products that will accentuate your life, leaving your home and body truly clean. Involving your kids in the shopping, preparation and cleaning process passes the information to the next generation and gives them a sense of ownership and pride in their environment. Pets and small children are affected by chemicals much more than healthy adults. Work to keep them healthy with a non-toxic home.
Pick at least one area of the home to work on. Commit to buying 3 naturally based products on your next shopping trip by adding them to your shopping list. You may have to visit a health food store or shop online to find truly healthy products.