Friday, May 17, 2013

Hidden Poisons: Home

My latest article on The Triune--Hidden Poisons: Home.

One of the hot nutrition topics right now is Hidden Poisons. When I began researching this topic, I was amazed at how much we have in our home that is harmful to our bodies!  I’m beginning at home, with the items in most of our homes that you may not realize are poisonous.

3 Steps to Eliminate Home Toxins

1. Avoid any product labeled antibacterial. 

Problem: Trying to kill all bacteria is a big mistake. Antibacterial products can create indestructible superbugs.
A recent study determined that triclosan, the active ingredient in many antibacterial products, has a profoundly negative effect on our immune system’s natural killer cells, our primary defense against virus and tumor cells. 

Solution:  Good old unscented soap and water has worked for centuries, and there’s no reason to change now. A little bit of dirt never hurt anyone. In other words, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” 

2. Shop for cleaning products carefully.

Problem: When it comes to certain dangers, cleaning products are clearly marked. But if you don’t understand the terminology, warnings can be confusing. For example: What is the difference between a product labeled “danger” and one that carries the warning “caution”? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “caution” means fatalities can occur if more than two tablespoons are ingested, while anything labeled “danger” or “poison” is so deadly that just a few drops can be lethal.

In between the two, there’s the term “warning.” Just one teaspoon of these products can be deadly, and these terms apply only to adults. It takes far less to poison a child or an animal. In spite of the labels, household products poison about two million people each year, and more than half of them are children.

Other than these legally required warnings, manufacturers of conventional cleaning products usually provide little health information.
If you want to know what ingredients a product contains you are on your own. Most mainstream product labels do not include ingredients nor do they have to, thanks to trade-secret laws that protect these “recipes.” 

Solution: Read, read, read the labels. Don’t fall for imitation-healthy “green-washed” products created by companies hoping to profit from the nontoxic cleaning movement.
Terms like
  • Biodegradable
  • Natural
  • Free
  • Clear
  • Gentle are legally meaningless, so they can be used on products loaded with petrochemicals and toxins.
Instead, concentrate on the ingredients. On safe cleaning products, they are usually listed. Most of the ingredients should be recognizable names — citrus or coconut extracts, for example — not what appear to be answers to a chemistry quiz. If you have questions, contact the manufacturers. Those with nothing to hide should give you straightforward answers.
A great place to shop in Austin is at Treehouse on S. Lamar, and Meyers is a good brand to purchase that is found at most grocery stores. 

3. Go homemade.

Problem: Nontoxic cleaning products are too expensive or hard to find. 

Solution: You can make safe cleaning products yourself. There’s nothing better than plain old soap and water or the stuff our grandparents used — baking soda; borax; essential oils, such as lavender; lemon and other citrus extracts; distilled white vinegar; vegetable soaps or dyes; and linseed oil.

Kat Grosshaupt posted a blog HERE for a quick recipe on how to make a cleaning solution at home. You will need some refillable spray bottles and a bucket or container for mixing, but you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with not worrying about your home’s chemical contamination.

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