If your like me, when you hear the word air pollution, your mind automatically envisions factories with large billowing stacks spewing smoke and seemingly toxic air for miles. While that pollution might be real, have you ever thought about the air quality in your own home? After my diagnosis I starting looking under every stone for things that could be damaging to my health. Everything needed to be scrutinized.
My goal was giving my body its best chance to heal. While nutrition plays a big role in my overall journey, the air I was breathing, the makeup and body products I was using, and the water I was drinking were all on top of my list as suspects. They were innocent until proven guilty, but I didn’t have to dig too deep to find most of them guilty as charged. The more stones I turned the more I realized everything I was doing was potentially killing me and I didn’t have a clue of where to begin.
Re-evaluating everything was a little overwhelming, but a little adventurous and fun too. I had to challenge many of the beliefs I had and be very open minded to different perspectives in order to start to see a new reality. One thing was certain, whatever I was doing wasn’t working…..I was sick and needed to be well. Things I uncovered where fascinating and scary at the same time, but I needed to learn more…..so I kept digging.
Some of the things I learned were shocking. The fact that the United States has over 84,000 chemicals on the market today and many have no safety data. Many of these chemicals are found in our makeup, body care, cookware, hair care, cleaning products, and building supplies. These chemicals have infiltrated our households which is why the EPA has ranked indoor air pollution as a top 5 environmental danger. The air quality inside our homes can be as much as 100 times more toxic than the outdoor air we breathe. It is said that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors so this is something that effects us all. But why aren’t we hearing about any of this?
While we can’t take immediate action on the outdoor pollution we certainly have a whole lot of control over the indoor air and the amount of neurotoxins we come into contact with daily. Here are a few of the things we started changing that you can do too.
1.) Clean up your laundry room. One of the very first things I did was remove the chemical laden products in my house starting with cleaning products and laundry supplies. Did you know one of the most toxic items in your house is your laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets? A good rule of thumb – if you can smell clean….then its likely very toxic. Clean should have NO smell. My cancer was estrogen positive. I have come to learn that most synthetic chemicals out there mimic estrogen and are called xenoestrogens which is an “endocrine-disruptor”….it disrupts the hormones. The effects of increased exposure to these chemicals can cause serious damage to our health such as, infertility, birth defects, developmental disorders, and cancer to name just a few.
We ditched our old products and replaced them with spray bottles we created with equal parts cleaning vinegar and water. We use 7th generation products in a pinch for laundry detergent or you can make your own. And we use wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets and discontinued using fabric softener all together.
2.) Get a good water filter. Our water today is filled with many contaminants and many of those contaminants are known carcinogens. To find out what’s in your water you can go to www.ewg.org/tapwater and type in your zip code. Drinking more water was top of the list for me after my diagnosis, and ensuring good clean water was a MUST. We looked into many options and settled on a whole house structured water system. http://www.structuredwaterunit.com I would also recommend the Berkey water filter. You can check them out on http://www.berkeywaterfilter.com. Clean water is essential for good health and is the basic necessity in life so it should be free of cancer and hormone disruptive agents.
3.) Take a look at your cookware. In the years leading up to my diagnosis we got in a bad habit of eating on the run and used our microwave for just about everything. When our focus shifted to eating real food from the produce department or local farmers market, our need for good cookware became very apparent. We were using non-stick, but non-stick is hazardous for your health. If you haven’t read about the harmful effects of non-stick cookware I would highly recommend it. Initially we switched out our non-stick cookware for stainless steel, but we have since found ceramic cookware that we love. And the best part….its a more affordable option compared to stainless steel. If your into antiques or resale shopping you can always look for the tried and true cast iron skillet. For the ceramic cookware you can visit xtrema at www.xtrema.com for more details and products.
4.) Take a good look at your beauty products. This is where women especially have lots of room for improvement. I am still a work in progress in this department. Shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers, hair products of any kind, lotions, sunscreen, tooth paste, makeup, PERFUME, hair color (if your like me and went gray early), DEODORANT……the list goes on and on. One of the very first moves I made was to throw out my old deodorant and swap it for a natural one without heavy metals and other skeptical ingredients. I shop local for that. Our skin is our bodies largest organ and it absorbs everything we put on it. Why make your body work harder to detox from all the chemicals and neurotoxins we have been putting on our body day after day, year after year? Did you know that the average women puts 250 synthetic chemicals on her body everyday without knowing it…..ouch! That is a staggering number of hormone disturbing chemicals used daily. Just imagine how that could be impacting your health? Start taking steps today to be more conscience about the products you are using. A great app to help you understand where your products rank is called “Think Dirty”.
5.) Move away from plastic where possible and make the move to glass when storing food. It was common practice for us to store our food in plastic containers and even warmed up our food frequently in the microwave in those same plastic containers. We started ditching our plasticware for glassware. Glass containers are more pricey so we did this over time and have pretty much phased out most of our plastic. Most plastic contain BPA (bisphenol A) a toxic hormone-distributing chemical that can leach from the plastic into your food.
6.) Stop spraying for insects. Bug sprays of any sort are filled with heavy metals and other very toxic chemicals. I’m not a fan of those creepy crawlers anymore than you , but knowing how damaging these chemical concoctions are for my health and the air I breathe has fueled me to find more natural solutions. We used to get the house sprayed inside and out every year just to help ensure we didn’t see any of these ugly little creatures, but we have since forgone the spraying and instead we grab the handy dandy fly swatter or nearby shoe. We also have tried many recipes that involve using essential oils that has proved to be safe and effective.
7.) Stop using synthetic fertilizer for your lawn. Not only does this get tracked into the house to pollute your interior, but it also ends up in our water supply through the water run off. The need for having the greenest lawns in the neighborhood are causing many disturbances in our health that include kidney, lung and liver diseases as well as causing cancer. Fertilizers are full of heavy metals that remove naturally occurring nutrients in our soil. These chemicals almost always make their way into our house through our shoes and if you have young kids or pets it can be potentially harmful for them playing outside. There’s a reason they say to keep pets off and kids away…..its not safe….EVER! Save money and skip the fertilizer.
8.) Stop using car or house air fresheners. These are the ABSOLUTE worst and do everything BUT clean or freshen your air. These are all made with synthetic chemicals and fragrances and among the biggest culprits of robbing us of good clean air and disrupting our hormones. What’s more disturbing is that some large hotel chains are having them fill the air of their lobby giving them a signature smell making it hard to find any indoor air sustainable for healthy breathing. A solution that has worked great for our family is diffusing quality essential oils.
If this list seems overwhelming, just pick one and make moves to start implementing positive changes today. Then keep moving in the direction of being more conscious of the things you are bringing into your house. These things have made a huge impact for our family and I know they will for yours as well.
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