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PROTECT YOURSELF
FROM THE CHEMICALS
IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT

We need to pay attention to the chemicals in our environment and minimize exposure as much as possible. From food to household cleaners to the paint on the walls and perfume...all of us are affected by chemicals...some of us more than others, but no one is safe.

Where to begin.....

Household cleaners are full of hazardous chemicals and are easy to replace with safer products. Doing so will make a huge difference for your whole family. You can clean with vinegar, water, and soap or buy safe cleaners at your natural food store or online. Hydrogen peroxide powders are good for laundry whitening and toilet bowl scrubbing. Remember, children are smaller and more vulnerable to toxins.

Your skin absorbs chemicals so be informed about what is in your water, (I was allergic to chlorine) use filters, and get to know the ingredients in all body care products.

Body care products can contain lots of chemicals that can be replaced with safer versions. Yes, I mean your makeup, lotions, shampoos and hair dye. Lipstick on your lips...think about it. I found out that no hair dye is safe, except henna, as far as toxins go.

Tampons inserted internally can contain lots of chemicals that your body will absorb. (Cotton is one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops.) Organic tampons and pads are much better and are very similar to the ones that you are familiar with.

Did you realize that indoor air can be extremely polluted? Be careful when you paint or varnish in your home. Use non-toxic versions that don’t outgas (emit chemicals into the air).

Carpets and padding also outgas unless they are a natural fiber. A contractor once told me that carpet padding is pure chemical foam and outgasses forever. When I lived in apartments, I used a coconut charcoal air purifier to protect me. The charcoal, made of an organic substance vs petroleum, absorbs chemicals from the air in your home (some people are allergic to carbon made from petroleum).

Did you know that they use formaldehyde in sheets and shirts to keep the wrinkles out? It can keep you awake at night. Particle board on your shelves has it too. Not to mention all the chemicals in mattresses. Get an air purifier in the bedroom and eventually replace the bedding and your PJs with more organic versions.

If you park your car in the garage or store toxic paints, insecticides, etc. in there, beware. When a garage is attached to the house, the fumes from everything, gasoline included, will pass through the walls into your home.

Let's talk yard & garden fertilizers and insecticides/fungicides. I read once that women who use chemicals in their yards have a higher rate of breast cancer. Lots of these chemicals are hazardous at best and may have not been tested for safety. Labels are not necessarily dependable. Organic and biodynamic gardening provides interesting and nourishing alternatives. The squirrels, birds, earthworms and beneficial organisms in the soil will thank you for it. So will your body. Remember, your food is only as nutritious as the soil in which it was grown.

The pollution from leaf blowers and gas mowers is many times higher than an automobile and creates a real hazard with every breath you take. Sweeping is good exercise and there are electric or push mowers.

There are natural ways to prevent insect infestations in your home. From diatomaceous earth, to citrus oils, there are many good preventatives that are safer than chemicals.

Perfume is a huge offender for me. When I was ill and chemically sensitive, it would turn my world upside down, literally. After being around it for any length of time, I would become forgetful and experience vertigo. Some fragrances affected me more than others and probably were chemical in nature.

You know that “new car smell”....... it comes from plastics, oils and chemicals that make up your car. They are outgassing. Roll down the window, get a car air purifier and remember to stay out of heavy traffic to avoid additional exhaust fumes.

Now that I am well, I don't have to be as careful, but am always aware. I live in a house surrounded by plants and trees. Plants soak up pollution both indoors and outdoors and are very, very helpful.

I had the opportunity to buy a cottage and remodel using safer, non toxic materials. I researched everything to make sure I was using safe products. Remember, there are alternatives for everything. There are lots of companies on the internet that supply natural products for home building and remodeling.

Dyes and preservatives in foods and supplements can be a another problem. I was allergic to Yellow Dye #5. Try to stay away from processed foods. The labels aren’t required to tell you ingredients that fall into a minimal percentage level of the product. Get familiar with reliable manufacturers.

Food should be organic or biodynamic, only free range meat and eggs, as fresh as possible. Look for local farmers to buy from and go to farmers markets. Question their farming practices before you buy.

Locally grown fruit and vegetables have a higher nutritional quality since they are not picked before they are ripe and get to the market fresher. Some say there is a special energy to do with eating food grown where you live, and in season, especially out of your own backyard.

One last thought. I have recovered from mercury toxicity that apparently came from my dental fillings. Knowing what I know now, I question anything that anyone suggests putting in my mouth.

Look for a biological dentist and be active in your health care. Don’t take medications without knowing all the side effects. Get your information from a pharmacy or the library.

References:

My personal experience and research (I was extremely chemically sensitive but have recovered).

Home Safe Home, by Debra Lynn Dadd, is one book, of many, that I found valuable in helping understand the toxins in my home and personal care.

Written by: Beverly Hartsfield

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