Autoimmune disorders, allergies, asthma and obesity are on the rise. Commonly used household products contain chemicals that play a role in these and other illnesses. Chemicals disrupt our hormones and immune system making you sick, fat and tired.. When the immune system gets turned on, it increases inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of many illnesses. It has a profound effect on autoimmune disease.
Make Up and Personal Care Products
The average woman puts 515 synthetic chemicals in or on her body on a daily basis. Getting clean and green is important for prevention. The Environmental Working Group EWG at www.ewg.org has an app that allows you to scan the bar code on products and it will rate them for safety. Here are some things to look for:
- Red lipstick contains lead. Many shampoos, lotions, conditioners and creams contain parabens, phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate and fragrance that disrupts your hormones and immune system. Symptoms can range from fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and hundreds of autoimmune disorders where the symptoms vary.
- Fragrance is a generic term for proprietary, undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate and acetaldehyde. Fragrance is in so many products, is airborne, gets into your lungs and can be an irritant. This can aggravate allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions. The safest fragrances are essential oils made by mother nature. A little goes a long way and they can have healing properties.
What’s in the Air Can Cause Cancer
The number of chemicals we are exposed to are astounding! The average home contains 62 toxic chemicals. One of the big offenders that can harm health are air fresheners. They contain what are known as VOC’s or volatile organic compounds.
- When they get in the air, they can irritate the lungs and nasal passages and aggravate asthma. They have been linked to neurological damage and cancer.
- 12 out of 14 widely available air fresheners contained phthalates. Some of the air fresheners that tested positive for phthalates were labeled as “all-natural” or “unscented.” Marketing can be very deceiving and unless you read the fine print and understand there is no meaning to the word natural, you can easily fall prey to buying something that could be hazardous to your health and anyone who lives or works with you.
- Your best bet is to open a window, boil cloves and cinnamon wrapped in cheesecloth or use essential oils The Green Guide suggests mixing a few drops of an organic essential oil (lemon, orange and lavender are popular choices) with distilled or purified water and spraying with a mister.
- Houseplants, which can improve indoor air quality by filtering toxins out of the air. Mother Nature Network reports that aloe vera plants can filter benzene and formaldehyde out of the air, that spider plants are known for their ability to take xylene and carbon monoxide out of the indoor environment, and that Gerber daisies excel at removing the trichloroethylene that may come home with your dry cleaning.
Fluffy and Soft Laundry Can Harm Your Health
One of the other top offenders are dryer sheets and fabric softeners. The amount of chemicals they have in them really surprised me.
- Researchers sampled laundry emissions after using scented fabric softening and dryer sheets in clean washers and dryers. Seven hazardous air pollutants and 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were released from the dryer vents into the air. Some of these, including acetaldehyde and benzene, are not safe at any level.
- Volatile organic compounds can trigger allergy and asthma attacks, headaches and even gastrointestinal illness.
Our world and products have become very complex. Seemingly innocuous products labeled natural with pictures of flowers or babies on the label can be hazardous to your health. Consult EWG.org or work with a functional medicine team that has someone well versed in healthy products and essential oils.