Are you on the Marie Kondo wagon? Learning to tidy up your life and declutter your home to provide a more functional and relaxing atmosphere?
The idea of having our lives organized and surrounded by items that have meaning and purpose can sometimes seem unattainable. What we have seen is if we tackle one part of our home at a time – it becomes possible and a reality.
What about decluttering the toxins out of our life? The unseen chemicals and products that are harmful to our bodies and overall health. We hear how we should detoxify our bodies with healthy organic food and drink lots of water to clean out our body. What about the products and household items that leach unwanted chemicals into our air and skin? This may not seem important but when you suffer from allergies, autoimmune issues, mental health problems, hormonal problems, migraines, dermographism and many other health related issues, it becomes very important to lessen our exposure to harmful chemicals to the extent possible.
Here are a few things you should be aware of that could contribute to an unhealthy home that you may not even be aware of:
Air Fresheners and Candles
Air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds and toxic phthalate. These chemicals can aggravate asthma and reproductive development. This was shown to have some contribution in a study by the Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC). In 2008, a study at the University of Washington revealed that all air fresheners tested gave off chemicals regulated as toxic or hazardous including carcinogens with no safe exposure. If you suffer from conditions that could be aggravated by these substances, it would be safer to just eliminate them from your environment.
Candles made with paraffin wax release toxic fumes when burnt. A study by South Carolina University found that burning paraffin wax candles give off harmful fumes that contain toluene and benzene which is linked to asthma and lung cancer. Since other alternatives exist, check to see which candles are made with safe ingredients. Use natural fragrances from essential oils.
Shampoos and Beauty Products
Carcinogens such as formaldehyde, nitrobenzene, and methyl chloride are used in everyday items such as rubber, plastic, dyes, perfumes, and shampoos. Make sure to read labels and switch to natural organic products made by reputable companies. Any product that touches our skin will be absorbed into our body and therefore has the ability to make us sick if contains toxic chemicals. This is especially important with autoimmune diseases and inflammatory conditions. With certain inflammatory and autoimmune issues, doctors are not certain what causes or makes them worse. Eliminating exposure to chemicals and products that could make your health suffer dramatically is key in living a happier, healthier life.
Rugs and Furniture
Most of us don’t think of furniture and rugs as a potential health hazard except when we have babies. We are preoccupied with sharp edges and toxic paint in nurseries. Rugs and furniture treated with flame retardants have been found to be connected to cancer. Flame retardants in furniture contain volatile or semi-volatile organic compounds which means they can become airborne or collect on the dust particles we breathe. These compounds are of concern with its effects on immunosuppression, endocrine disruption, and neurotoxic effects. The Center for Environment Research and Children’s Health at the University of California Berkeley established this linkage.
Flame retardants are not the only health concerns. Stain repellents and water repellents contain fluorinated compounds which never break down in the environment and have been linked to liver and kidney cancer as well as reproductive and developmental problems.
More studies are needed to examine the quantities of these and other chemicals that our body can tolerate before seeing adverse effects. For some, the amount of exposure may be very small.
Flame retardants in children’s pajamas are halogenated hydrocarbons such as chlorine and bromine. Inorganic flame retardants are antimony oxides and phosphate based compounds. These chemicals can irritate the skin and create gas in the air that children breathe. A child with asthma or eczema or other immune and allergy issues could see their condition aggravated.
When it comes to furniture fabrics and clothing, use organic natural products that are chemical or dye-free to lessen exposure to harmful agents that may affect your health. More companies are starting to provide safe alternatives.
There are many things to consider when trying to live a toxic-free life. Taking baby steps and choosing one area at a time to focus on will make it much easier. Start by using up the remaining products in your home. As you finish them, start replacing them with non-toxic alternatives. Choose organic natural cleaners and health products when available. When it’s time to replace bedding and throw rugs, choose natural organic cotton or untreated options. Make a list of chemically processed items you would like to change. Look for sales or highly discounted items as purchasing all new products at once can be expensive.
There are many things to consider when your health is on-the-line: The food we eat, the environment in which we live, our mental state, and our support system. Our ability to be our own advocate in decision-making is the best way to live healthy and happy lives. Detoxify your life and home for a safer and “feel the joy” future.
One of our recommendations to start? TAKE A DETOX BATH!
It is near impossible to not be exposed to chemicals that could be harmful. Whether it’s by the food we eat or the things in our environment at home or at work. One way we can help our bodies eliminate these toxins is by taking a detox bath. This is one relaxing way to rid our body of pesticides, heavy metals, flame retardants, and air pollution. If you feel you are exposed to chemicals that may be affecting your health, it may benefit you to soak in a detox bath 2-3 times per week for a several weeks in a row, then 1 time a week as a maintenance. If you have problems soaking your whole body due to skin issues, high blood pressure or lack of a bathtub, you can substitute a foot soak which also has full body detoxification benefits.
On a personal note:
I have switched to using organic / plant-based products on my body and eat organic to the extent possible. Since eating plant based foods while reducing my use of added oils, my vitiligo has been slowly reversing itself. I also have achieved relief from joint pain and dizziness (vertigo) and numbness in my hands and feet. I am very sensitive to fragrance as it can bring on sinus allergies, itchy skin, and headaches. I use perfumes and scented items sparingly, and only on special occasions. I love essential oils. They now have blends that are beautiful and natural. Remember, natural products can still induce a negative reaction. I can usually tell by smelling a product or fragrance if it is going work for me. If it smells toxic, it probably is.
I hope this information helps your awareness on things in our daily lives that could be affecting your health. In the autoimmune world, it’s difficult to know what is harmful or exacerbating our symptoms. For me, slowly eliminating toxins from my environment has resulted in the reversal of many adverse health issues and greatly improved my quality of life.