Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chemicals? Can We Reduce Our Exposure?

What can we do?
What are some of the ways that we can reduce the amount of chemicals we are exposed to?
Can we really do anything about it?
Yes and yes. There are solutions.
Being aware of which products have harmful chemicals in them is a good first step. Knowledge is power.
When we know which things are harmful and why we are in a much better position to find other products to use or other ways of doing things.
Here are a few suggestions that might help you get started in making some changes that will bring you a more chemical free and therefore healthier life.
  • Chlorine is in our water and many of us have a water filter for drinking water. What about the shower? In the confined space of a shower, the chlorine levels in the air can rise to dangerous levels. As well as this we can absorb quite a lot of chlorine through our skin. There are shower filters, which attach to the shower rose, that will eliminate these and other chlorine problems.
  • Paints. There are a variety of eco paints now with low or no VOC's. Some paints are entirely plant based. I recently came across recipes for home made paint. They use the unlikely ingredients of milk and lime. I believe it is important to get the ratios right or it will flake off. If you do use conventional paints make sure you are in a well ventilated area, and use a mask. Allow the painted area to ventilate well while it is off gassing.
  • Household cleaners. Save some money on this one. Choose plant based cleaners or even cheaper, white vinegar, bi carbonate of soda and lemon juice do a great job. A few drops of oil of cloves in water will get rid of mold.
  • Air Purifier. Using an air purifier can help to reduce the chemical load in the air. There are many things like flame retardants that can be in things from our clothes to our furniture. When everything in the house is new, including the house, it can take quite a while before everything has out gassed sufficiently.
  • Add indoor plants NASA has been looking at the ability of plants to help clean up the air quality for years. It is found that they can help in reducing chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. Which plants?
Aloe Vera: eliminates emissions from most toxic materials
English Ivy: petroleum based products
Fig trees: formaldehyde
Chrysanthemum: formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia
Spider plants: great for eliminating formaldehyde
Chinese evergreen, Bamboo palm and Lillies: many toxic materials
Gerbera daisies, philodendrons, golden pathos and snake plants are also useful.
  • Personal products Just to mention this one again. Many of them are full of chemicals that we would be horrified at the thought of putting on our skins.
That is enough of a list to start with.
Change can be difficult. It is better to make small changes that can be sustained rather than changing everything and then dropping it all and doing nothing in the long term.
Check out the things in your house. Which ones are contributing to your health and which are taking away from your health?
It takes a bit of time to find alternatives but it is worth it.

Be healthy


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