This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
healingways Household


CLEANSE Banish these Five Chemicals for a Domestic Detox


by Gail Griswold-Elwyn “


environmental chemicals we inhale and ingest, yet most still live with dangerous substances in their homes,” according to Jen Loui. She is a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design-accredited professional in St. Louis and an industry expert who writes green curricula for high schools across the country. Guarding against pollution of indoor air is a good place to start; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked poor air quality among the leading environmental dan- gers, reporting links to many common health problems. Here’s how to rid the family home of the top five common household toxins.


A


Formaldehyde. Traces of this toxin, the same chemical used to embalm the deceased, pervade almost every room. “My clients are often shocked to learn that they likely ingest this toxic, cancer-causing chemical every day of their lives,” says P. Richelle White, a sustainable lifestyle coach and co-owner of Herb’n Maid, a green cleaning and concierge service in St. Louis. “Because formaldehyde is often an ingredient in everyday things like cosmetics, faux wood furniture and conventional clean-


46 Chicago North & North Shore


mericans are collectively more aware and educated than just a few years ago about the range of


ing products, they get a daily dose of it.” Even at low levels, formaldehyde


can cause eye, nose, throat and skin irritation; at its most malignant levels, it can cause severe allergic asthma, infer- tility and lymphoma, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Healthier choices: Switch to all-


natural beauty products and cosmetics. At minimum, check that compressed wood fibers don’t use a formaldehyde- based chemical as a binding agent; bet- ter yet, choose natural, reclaimed wood for interior surfaces and furnishings.


Polyvinyl chloride. PVC is omnipresent and dangerous. Water bottles, nylon backpacks, pipes, insulation and vinyl tiles generally contain PVC, as well as almost anything waterproofed, such as baby changing mats and mattress cov- ers. PVC usually contains plasticizers called phthalates, which are released over time; it also can chemically combine with other organic materials to produce toxic dioxin byproducts. According to Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), PVC byproducts and vapors are endocrine disruptors that can mimic or block hormones in the body. In addition, the EPA has linked PVC to serious respiratory problems, immune suppression and cancer.


www.NAChicagoNorth.com


Healthier choices: Look for PVC-free


plastics. When shopping for waterproofed items, choose those with coatings made from polyurethane or polyester.


Phthalates. A 2007 report by the NRDC notes that 12 out of 14 common brands of household air fresheners and room sprays contain phthalates, which people regularly inhale primarily because these chemicals prolong the time that prod- ucts maintain their fragrance. In studies conducted by the World Health Orga- nization, researchers concluded that consistent exposure to phthalates could increase the risks for endocrine, repro- ductive and developmental problems. The majority of synthetic air freshen- ers were found to also emit significant amounts of terpene, a volatile organic compound (VOC) that can react with naturally occurring ozone to cre- ate formaldehyde. Healthier choices: Put boxes of baking soda in cabinets to absorb odors and scent interiors with all-natural oils and potpourri.


Chlorine. According to the American Lung Association, most conventional cleaning products include some chlo- rine, with large concentrations in bleach. Inhalation of chlorine can irritate the respiratory system; prolonged exposure can lead to lung disease and asthma. Healthier choices: Purchase chlo- rine-free cleaning products, especially chlorine-free bleach. Or make inexpen- sive solutions of white, distilled vinegar mixed with a little lemon for scent for a multipurpose, multi-surface cleaner; try baking soda as a scrubbing powder.


Volatile organic compounds. VOCs are emitted as harmful gases by a wide array of products including paints, lacquers and paint strippers; cleaning supplies; pesticides; carpets and furnishings; office copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper; plus graphics and craft materials that include glues and adhesives, permanent mark- ers and photographic solutions. The EPA calculates that, “Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher [up to 10 times] indoors than outdoors.”


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72