Are elements in your home and everyday life making you sick? Eliminate them with these simple solutions. From No Grain, No Pain: A 30-Day Diet for Eliminating the Root Cause of Chronic Pain.
How To Minimize Toxic Exposure
It’s scary stuff, especially since with the exception of mold, you can’t see most of these attackers coming. In addition to eliminating plastics from your kitchen and as many other toxic products as you can and minimizing your intake of drugs, what can you do to protect yourself and your family from toxic exposure?
Step 1: Filter Your Water
Most major cities have serious contamination of their drinking water from unmetabolized drug residue excreted in urine or unused drugs flushed down the toilet. There is no perfect way to filter your water. Nor has there been research on how to remove specific contaminants. What we do know is that a granular activated carbon filter works well at removing chlorines, bromines, and certain other compounds, and can remove some toxins. For removing metals and other chemical compounds, KDF (kinetic degradation fluxion), a copper-zinc alloy, is the most effective. A whole-house water filter typically uses a salt to soften water, but a combination granular activated carbon and KDF purification medium improves its quality. The KDF will remove chemical compounds from the water along with fungi, bacteria, chlorine, certain pesticides, and some heavy metals.
I recommend that you filter all the water in your home at the point of entry, rather than simply at your kitchen faucet. When you take a shower, you breathe in roughly a quarter of a gallon of steam, not including the toxins you may absorb through your skin. Nor do you want to wash your clothes in chemical-laden water. That said, a carbon/ KDF filter is not going to remove fluoride. If your water is fluoridated, you’ll also need to use a reverse osmosis (RO) filter to get rid of it, typically in the form of a five-gallon RO tank under the kitchen sink. The RO system usually has a carbon and KDF prefilter on it. Otherwise, the chlorine in the water would destroy the RO filter. On the other hand, if you have your own well, you might have hundreds of feet of earth filtering your water, and may not need certain filters. Nonetheless, your well could be contaminated, especially with slant drilling, aka fracking, by the petroleum industry, so I would still recommend filtering well water with a KDF/carbon filter. It’s also a good idea to have your water tested by an independent company.
Step 2: Filter Your Air
Better-insulated homes have reduced our energy consumption, which is a good thing, but when a building doesn’t “breathe” and windows remain shut, toxins are trapped inside. If your air conditioner uses recycled air, you’re just recirculating those toxins. The result is massive exposure to chemicals leached from your furniture, wall-to-wall carpeting, polyurethane-finished flooring, fabrics impregnated with flame-retardant chemicals, and other volatile organic compounds. Emissions from gas cooktops, heaters, furnaces, and other devices add to the toxic stew. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, off-gassing of numerous products has made the air inside our homes two to five times more toxic than our outdoor environment. In some cases, indoor air is a hundred times more polluted than outdoor air!
Obviously, you aren’t going to do away with your furniture and accessories. So what can you do?
If you can afford furniture made with all-natural organic components, go for it, but it’s extremely expensive and, frankly, may not hold up as well or be as comfortable. Instead, filter your interior air and regularly open the windows to air out the house. An AC system that pulls from the outdoors is a healthier alternative than a recirculating one. Your objective is to filter both the air coming into the home from outside and the air within.
And get yourself a good vacuum cleaner. Again, control what you can and pray about the rest.
Air conditioning creates condensation, which can lead to humidity formation. An air conditioner also acts as a dehumidifier. Try to keep the relative humidity under 55 percent to avoid mold growth. A digital reader available at any hardware store lets you keep it in check. Even in a dry climate, I would advise using a humidifier only if you experience severe dry skin and persistent rashes. (Certain types of mold grow in dry climates.) Any air filtration system should be HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) based, meaning the screen is small enough to capture mold spores. If you then subject them to UV light, you kill a lot of those that create problems for humans. An electrician can install a UV light to reduce the likelihood of mold circulating in the vents. (It’s also a good idea to have a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner.) The Swiss-based company IQAir (iqair.com) makes a good whole-house air purification system, which is worth considering if you are building a new house.
Step 3: Clean Up Your Act
Most household and personal cleaning products contain petrochemicals, which again have estrogen-mimicking effects, as do the dyes and artificial scents used to make them more appealing. My patients are more apt to have migraine headaches and other problems triggered by inhaling the chemical perfumes than by the cleaning agents themselves. My suggestions for natural alternatives:
• Instead of ammonia-based window cleaning products, use vinegar and water.
• Instead of hand or facial soaps loaded with chemicals, use a coconut-derived agent or glycerin or castile soap.
• Instead of shampoos made with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a sudsing agent, look for organic products and natural ingredients.
• Instead of antibacterial wipes full of triclosan, which plays havoc with our hormones and creates free radicals, which have an oxidizing effect in the body, opt for unscented products without this toxin.
• Avoid household cleaners with chlorine, artificial scents, and any unpronounceable chemicals.
• Seek out brands of toothpaste that are free of SLS, the antibacterial triclosan, and fluoride; or use baking soda.
Rather than provide a list of the chemicals and products currently in your medicine cabinets and under your sink to avoid (new entries are regularly being added), I recommend you use the resources provided by the Environmental Working Group. You’ll want to also minimize exposure to most fertilizers, as well as herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals in your garage or garden shed. To find more natural alternatives, visit transition-to-organics.org/safe-alternatives.