Building a Non-Toxic Life – Part 1: Prioritizing

Every so often I get a call from a person who is completely overwhelmed by the discovery that their house and their lives are filled with toxins. This encompasses cleaning products, laundry detergents, furniture, and of course…personal beauty products.

They want to eliminate the toxins from their lives but don’t know where to start, or how best to prioritize. Panic has set in, and they are on the verge of throwing everything they own out the window! Of course doing that is not practical, economical or ecologically helpful.

Some planning is in order. Here are some suggestions for how to start.

Change whatever you are running out of now. It’s much easier to investigate and make changes one item at a time.  It’s easier to develop a research process that works for you and less wasteful this way as well.

Pick whatever may bring the next biggest reward. Toxicity runs on a continuum, so not everything may need to go, and some changes will reap greater benefits than others.

  • If there are young children in the household, focus on products that they use. Developing bodies and brains are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of toxins.
  • Switching to unscented laundry products can have a huge impact for everyone in the family, since clothing, sheets and towels come in contact with your skin 24/7. “Fragrance” includes thousands of toxic chemicals.
  • Change your body lotion or any product that you put all over your body. We, of course, suggest Herbaliz creams and lotions! They not only have no toxins, they also include herbs that work to improve your health.
  • Changing shampoo and hair conditioner can help, especially if you wash your hair in the shower, because the products will rinse over your whole body. Hair conditioners are among the most toxic body care products.

Other thoughts to help break the process down into manageable bites include making one change a month or picking one toxin to focus on.

The important thing is to not get so overwhelmed that you don’t do anything.

Coming months will be about resources and more specific actions that can help you reach your goals. In the meantime do one thing!

Halloween Hobgoblins: Toxins in Your Personal Care Products

October has always been a time to look forward to falling leaves, crisp air, and the fun of Halloween. Yet this month, I have other scary things on my mind beyond witches and ghosts.

Extreme weather has brought Hurricane Matthew, which has battered and devastated people from Haiti to the United States. Closer to home, I continue to be concerned about the multitude of toxins in our environment, homes, and products. I am encouraged though by the initiatives that grassroots activism has pushed through.

A recent example is the new Chemical Safety law signed by President Obama in June of this year. In addition to correcting shortcomings in the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), one of its key goals is to foster greater “public transparency for chemical information.”

Ingredients to Avoid CardOn the Herbaliz website, we have a page devoted to Toxins to Avoid, a topic I feel strongly about. (We also offer a wallet card listing chemicals to steer clear of.) Some of these substances are better known culprits than others. Yet, too many still show up in allegedly “natural products.” Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, is most frequently used in soaps and shampoos. Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, TEA), when absorbed through the skin, accumulate in body organs and have been linked with an increased incidence of kidney and liver cancers.

That’s more frightening than a witch’s curse! When you see ghouls, vampires and Darth Vaders walking around on Halloween, you know they are the bad guys.

Unfortunately, there are individuals in the beauty and cosmetic industries – lurking in the shadows – who still implement the use of cruel experiments on animals to test their products. To fight this, three members of Congress (not wearing costumes!), Reps. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Don Beyer (D-VA), Joe Heck (R-NV) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), are backing The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2858) which “prohibits testing cosmetics on animals.”

Puppy with pumpkinsHerbaliz is sharing the Humane Society petition to encourage action in contacting local law makers on this bill. It’s easy: a phone call, an e-mail, and a shout out on Social Media will do the trick.

Happy Halloween!

Chemicals replace infection as top threat to health

Lately there has been much concern about new superbugs that can overpower any antibiotics we have available, so the title of this article may no longer be correct. We want to include the article in spite of this, because that does not make the threat of chemicals any less real. Happily, there is also a solution.
Liz McEwan 1/31/16

Chemicals have replaced infection as top threat to health, expert says…
Houston – Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to human health in western industrial nations, says toxicologist Rick Irvin.

“The major causes of death in the western world up until the 1950s were mainly diseases of microbial origin – influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, ” says Irvin, toxicology professor at Texas A and M University.

“Through public health practices, immunization and nutrition, we’ve just about controlled those. The diseases we’re beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of this century and certainly into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin, “Irvin said in an interview.

identify and avoid

He said scientists now believe 70 to 90 per cent of all cancers, for example, are caused by exposure to chemicals. Heart disease, too, is essentially chemical in origin because it’s caused by fatty foods and cigarette smoking, Irvin said.

“When you’re talking about chemicals.” Heart disease and cancer are responsible for more than 50 per cent of all deaths in western nations, Irvin said.

He said toxic chemicals may work singly or in combination with other chemicals to cause disease. In real life, people in industrial societies are exposed to many chemicals every day, Irvin said, “We’re finding that with a lot of combinations, we get a toxic effect not previously known.” For example he said it has been found that diesel soot has as many as 100 chemicals in it, many of which combine to create the same carcinogens found in cigarettes.

Irvin believes the threat posed by toxic chemicals will grow because researchers are producing more and more new substances for industrial and scientific use. “There will be an explosion of new chemicals in the next 20 years, which will overwhelm governments ability to regulate their use.

chemical-barrels

“We’re getting a lot more of what call high-tech chemicals – such as those used in the manufacturing of microelectronics – that have very specialized uses. We really don’t know much about this group and its effects on humans.

“Irvin said people cannot avoid all chemicals, but they should use common sense to avoid excessive exposure to harmful ones. “For example, I don’t smoke or drink and I don’t take illegal drugs. I eat a high-protein, low-fat diet and I expect to live my threescore and 10 years.

“A person’s genetic makeup influences his or her susceptibility to disease, but it appears that genes “modulate as opposed to determine” the amount of risk, Irvin said.

“Some people, because of their genes, are more likely to get diseases from chemicals than others, but their genes will not absolutely determine their fate.” He also said that, while chemicals pose a threat to health, in some ways they are less insidious than bacteria and viruses. It is difficult to completely wipe out disease-carrying microbes because they can be transmitted to other humans, Irvin said.

Chemicals, on the other hand, generally cannot be passed on. “That means that, if you identify a chemical that causes a disease, you simply avoid it and the disease ends.

http://consumerhealthreviews.com/articles/GeneralHealth/ChemicalsReplaceInfection.htm