Sunday, April 11, 2010

Living Without Chemicals

We're getting better.... most of us. We've become more aware that we are essentially a product of our environment. Movies like Erin Brokovich raised some awareness about the effects that the invisible bi-products of industry in our neighborhoods can cause on our health. Erin & the students of Beverly Hills High School, where I once attended, were actually involved in a class action suite against the school for allowing Venoco Oil Co. to drill on their campus, causing benzene emissions which is a know cancer carcinogen. There are alarmingly high rates of thyroid and other cancers among alumni, but the case was dismissed by a judge mainly because it was hard to tell if the cancers in former students were actually caused by the oil drilling or if by other factors like smoking, foods, housing etc.

But, it's not just from industry, we can now buy products at the local super market that can cause your skin to peel off and make you blind. Awesome! Let me clean my shower with it! It goes without saying that a lot of people are unaware that what they think is a healthy practice like mopping the floor with some pine smelling cleaner, is actually spreading a nice layer of petro chemicals for them and their kids to get comfortable on. These chemicals leach out of our paint, soaps, shampoos, floor cleaners, air fresheners and foods and cause cancer and other disorders.

Luckily, like Grandma once did, we can opt to use simple homemade household cleaners. We can paint our walls with low or no VOC paint. We can choose natural materials for our clothing, linens & toys instead of plastics and synthetics. We have a choice. We need to realize that the chemicals in food, water and our household products have real consequences. A recent piece in the New York Times delved into the effects of these chemicals on our health. Each decision we make and use in our household has an effect on our well being, and the earth's too.

Here are a few simple tips for avoiding toxins in your home:
  • Buy or grow organic food
  • avoid processed food
  • filter your water
  • choose to buy non-toxic household cleaners or make your own - water, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and essential oils are pretty much all you need
  • choose non-toxic personal product - shampoo, makeup, toothpaste and so on...
It's not easy, I know. I also know you've heard this all before and I'm just regurgitating the same bla bla bla about evil chemicals, BUT I want you and your kin to stay healthy. Thanks for reading.

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