A chemical-free living area enables our body to use its energy for rejuvenation and healing instead of detoxifying harmful chemicals. Research has shown that many of these chemicals can disrupt the endocrine system leading to breast and prostate cancer, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, loss of sex drive and fertility and can damage brain chemistry leading to hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and even mental illness. They can also accumulate in the organs, triggering cancers of the liver, lung, colon, thyroid, etc.
Reduce chemical exposure in the home by removing the following items from sinks, drawers, cabinets, closets, and garage:
All pesticides and herbicides (Click here for more information.)
All toxic cleaning products*
These present a hazard even if kept under sinks or in closets because the VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) escape through the lids, creating a low-level chemical soup in the home’s air. These VOC’s escape even if the lid is sealed and closed. To illustrate this problem, consider how strong the smells of chemicals are when you go down the grocery store aisle containing cleaning products. These containers are sealed and have never been opened!!! In your home these chemicals diffuse throughout the house and the detoxification system of the body has to continually fight, through the day and especially at night when you sleep, to process and clear them. As long as these toxic cleaning products remain in the home, the immune system will continue to be under siege.
For more information on toxic household cleaners:
- “What’s Under Your Sink? The case for non-toxic cleaning products”
- “If you can’t pronounce it, should you use it?”
Replace toxic products with non-toxic alternatives:
- See “Reducing Immune Stress: Non-Toxic Cleaning Products”
- See “Reducing Immune Stress: Non-Toxic Body Products”
- See “Unscented Products for the Extremely Chemically Sensitive”
There are many non-toxic products that are biodegradable and environmentally safe, but are not human safe. Human safe means that if ingested accidentally, it will not harm you. Replace as many household products as possible with those that are human safe. This is especially important when there are young children in the home as there is no danger to them even if some is accidentally swallowed.
All personal hygiene and beauty products that contain toxic ingredients
This includes nail polish, nail polish remover, shaving creams, shoe polish, deodorants, makeup, scented soaps, lotions, perfumes, etc.
Please refer to the every-growing Cosmetic Safety Database sponsored by the Environmental Working Group for a list of personal care products (hair, skin, make-up, sunscreen, baby products, etc.). You can also search the toxicity of the products you currently use.
All scented products that contain synthetic fragrances
This includes scented candles, stationery, potpourri, air fresheners including aerosols and plug-ins, potpourri, etc.
A single synthetic fragrance can contain up to 200-600 individual chemical ingredients. The Natural Academy of Science in a report to Congress in 1986 reported that 95% of the chemicals used in fragrances are petroleum based and are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and allergic reactions. In addition, many of these synthetic fragrances contain chemicals that are endocrine disruptors that disturb the hormone regulation of the body. Note: People that are chemically sensitive, emf sensitive, or have serious chronic illness should also remove products with natural scents from the home until they recover as these will trigger very weakened immune systems.
Dr. R. Anderson, toxicologist and president of Anderson Labs has studied the acute biological effects of polluted air on laboratory animals for 30 years. The lab tested air fresheners by placing each sample in a closed box. Mice were exposed to air that was blown over the samples. The following adverse effects were observed with the smallest quantity of freshener tested: Note: The EPA states if neuro-toxic effects are seen in animals, then neuro-toxic effects are expected in humans.
- Severe pulmonary irritation comparable to asthma in humans
- Sensory irritation increasing over twenty minutes, becoming severe and remaining until the freshener was removed
- Neurological impairments severe enough to bring some mice close to death
- Neurological effects which displayed as aberrant behaviors.
Plastic containers for food storage
Plastics leech chemicals that are endocrine disruptors into the foods stored in them. Removal of these items is of paramount importance if a person is suffering from any hormonal issues (heavy bleeding, severe cramps, inability to conceive, etc.), has cancer, or is chronically ill.
Replace plastic containers with glass jars or cellophane bags. Let foods cool to room temperature before placing them in cellophane bags or they will tear easily. They can be washed and reused several times if care is taken. Bags available from Needs (1-800-634-1830) and Natural Lifestyle (1-800-752-2775).
For more information:
- Hormone and endocrine disruptors in women, click here.
- Hormone and endocrine disruptors in men, click here.
- Endocrine disruptor’s effects on male reproduction, click here.
- Endocrine disruptors, pesticides and children, click here.
Soft plastic items
This includes vinyl shower curtains, soft plastic toys, containers, etc.
These products outgas phthalates from plastics that cannot be fully metabolized and slowly stockpile or bioaccumulate over a lifetime. Phthalates damage hormone receptors, leading to loss of sex drive and energy, ability to conceive, and/or they damage brain chemistry leading to mental illnesses, brain dysfunction disorders, learning disabilities and hyperactivity, and/or or they accumulate in the organs and trigger cancers of the prostate, breast, lung and thyroid.
The links in the above section are applicable here as well.
Chemicals in an attached garage
If you have an attached garage, do not keep paints, finishes, caulks, solvents, cleaners, etc. there as the VOC’s will find their way into the home unless special building precautions have been taken.
If you keep a car in the garage, open the garage door when starting the car because when the door is closed, the exhaust fumes build up. Keep garage door open for ventilation to air out any fumes from the car when you drive in. Consider installing an exhaust fan so that the fumes from the garage are drawn out through the fan. Ideally, there should be no car parked in an attached garage because of the potential infiltration into the home of petroleum-based chemicals.
Reduce Electromagnetic Field Exposure
This is an often-overlooked, yet extremely important, area of immune stress that affects the ability of the body to heal. EMFs are a part of the body’s total load and a reduction of exposure to this stress takes pressure off the body and will help the chronically ill, the chemically sensitive and the EMF sensitive.
In Germany, many insurance companies will not pay for a patient’s medical expenses if the patient has not had their home checked for electromagnetic fields (as well as chemical/microbial contamination) by a certified Bau-Biologist (building biologist). The Germans have found that many chronic illnesses and conditions that do not respond to treatment will turn around after the electro-climate of the home is fixed and chemical/microbial exposure is eliminated. See EMF section for further information on implementing their reduction.
Make dietary changes
- Eliminate processed foods
- Eat organic, grass-fed meats and produce when possible
- Do not eat sugar, which suppresses the immune system
- Avoid poor-quality fats and increase quality fats and oils
- Refer to “Getting Your Feet Wet” in the Food section
Replace toxic thoughts with positive thinking
- Fear, anxiety, anger, bitterness, envy, jealousy, despair, hopelessness, etc. (negative emotions) should be considered as toxic thoughts and should be resolved in a constructive manner.
- These feelings should be dealt with and not buried as they can literally act as poison to the body. In other words negative thought processes should be dealt with/removed/changed – just as chemical exposures and processed foods are removed to take a load off the body. See the section “Detoxifying the Mind”.
- “A heart at peace gives life to the body…” Proverbs 15:30
Read the following articles for more information:
- “It’s Time To Learn From Frogs” New York Times
- “Endocrine Disruptors: Today’s Canaries in the Coal Mine?” PBS News
- “Endocrine Disruptors and Prostate Cancer Risk” Society for Endocrinology
- Click here for a list of endocrine disruptors.