22 Mar Are You Exposed?
Are you overwhelmed by the amount of information available on “toxins”? Being a naturopath, I may be aware of more environmental pollutants we are exposed to, but it can become overwhelming, and often it becomes confusing.
Having kids, I am all too aware of their increased exposure to all sorts of chemicals. I was always afraid of creating a monster by being too aware, especially when it came to fast food.
Inevitably they have been invited to parties at “Mackers” or “Jacks”. I felt pretty bad the first time my then five year old boy came back with the burger and chips in his pocket after being at one such party, as he knew the food “was really bad”. I did explain to him that it was fine occasionally especially if it was a friend’s birthday!
I’m sure some of you are familiar with Julie Eady- an ordinary mum, who after the birth of her first child started to research the effects of additives in our food, with a family history of asthma and chronic allergies she wanted to avoid the chances of her kids developing these conditions. We invited her to give a talk at my kid’s primary school, and sold her book as a fundraiser. When I approached a few parents their attitude was “I’d rather not know, as it limits what I buy in the supermarket.”
I was very surprised by that attitude, as surely we all want our kids to be free of allergies and feed them healthy wholesome foods for optimal growth and development! I find this to be a real “head in the sand” attitude, and if we ignore the march of processed additive laden food it will give the food industry the message to manufacture ever increasing amounts of chemical laden food. But enough ranting!
I live by some simple rules:
- No commercial cleaning products in the home, there are great alternatives, Enjo, Planet Ark, and Earth Care.
- Additive free shampoo and soaps. There are many reasonably priced natural products, Sukin, Corrynes, natural soaps, and body products, A’kin. Search on line and always check out the ingredients.
- Use 100% natural oils instead of commercial air fresheners, (Planet Ark does a great orange oil), or lime oil for home use.
- Don’t use plastic containers for storing foods, Target does great glass containers (they do have plastic lids, but there is limited contact with the food)
- Source chemical free makeup, including nail varnish. There are numerous sites on line such as: NatureDelivers.com, and AdornCosmetics.com.
- If you are not sure if additives in food or other products are safe, use “Chemical Maze” app by Bill Stratham, or the printed edition (for technophobes like myself)
- Change to BPA free drinking bottles, Bisphenol- A plastics are much more likely to leach into the water and long-term exposure to these chemicals has now been shown to be associated with an increased prevalence of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Limit the amount of processed food consumed. As a working mum I realise how time poor many parents are but I become very OCD when it comes to cooking a meal from scratch every night, or pre-prepare food at the weekend.
- Limit fast food options to occasional visits, or special occasions, due to trans fats, preservatives, high salt, and sugar content.
- Drink filtered water (and avoid that well used plastic bottle)
I think by making small changes you can then progress to changing the bigger picture.
Often in the clinic I will see clients whose test results suddenly change, with high oxidative stress, and inflammation in their live blood tests. On questioning they have recently painted the house, bombed for cockroaches or white ants, or been exposed to herbicides/ pesticides in the garden.
The increasing prevalence of many modern day illnesses and allergies is being linked to chemicals that we are exposed to in our homes. Many everyday items found around the home emit chemicals that, when combined together, create a chemical cocktail with poorly understood effects on our health. It is now widely recognized that babies and young children are at the greatest risk of this exposure. Just being aware of this is a great first step, as well as educating yourself on the risks and potential long term health effects.
Try out this chemical toxicity check list to assess your own exposure: click here to download.