15th March 2018
Detox Your HomeTreatments & Therapies, Food Sensitivities, Allergies & Immunity
Home is where the heart is. It is our haven, the place where we rest our head, and, ideally, the place where we regenerate. In a world where toxins are abundant, we can make positive changes for our health by striving to reduce the toxins in our home without sacrificing comfort, cleanliness, or our beauty routines. Between cosmetics, cleaning products, furniture, and clothing we may be exposed to thousands of toxins every day. The average woman is wearing 515 chemicals every day! Luckily, many companies have popped up, devoted to bringing healthier products to the masses. Detoxing your house means exploring these healthy options and integrating natural products into your household whenever you can, without judgement or breaking the bank!
Detoxing your home means choosing:
Pesticides are toxic by design. Intended simply to ward off pesky invaders that threaten plant crops, they have now been linked to many health concerns in humans, including hormone imbalances, digestive issues, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Additionally, many pesticides deplete our levels of vitamins and minerals.Tips:
- Whenever possible, choose organic produce
- If you cannot buy organic, use a natural fruit and veggie wash to soak and clean produce
- If you can only buy certain produce organic, try to buy ‘The Dirty Dozen’ (see Resources) organic; these foods are highest in pesticides whereas the ‘Clean Fifteen’ (Resources)
You may think that living in a metropolitan city, water quality is not a concern. However, did you know that chlorine is added to the tap water in Metro Vancouver? Added in order to kill off harmful bacteria, it unfortunately cannot differentiate between bad bacteria in the water and good bacteria in your digestive tract. Additionally, chlorine produces many chlorination by-products that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.Tips:
- If you can, investing in a home filtration system ensures that your drinking water, as well as cooking and shower water, is filtered
- Cheaper options include showerhead units, attachable tap units, and countertop filtration systems such as one of our favourites, the Berkey - all can be found at ‘Your Water Matters’ in Vancouver, BC or online (Resources)
Outdoor air pollution is not the only concern when it comes to air quality; studies have shown that the air inside your house may be even more polluted! Products we bring in to our home are the primary culprits including dry-cleaning, new furniture and clothes, as well as scent altering products such as air fresheners and candles. This is due to their high concentration of phthalates and flame retardants, as well as many other chemicals. Additionally, the components of your house itself can be a concern such as toxic paints, carpets sprayed with formaldehyde, or mold.Tips:
- Reduce toxic products your bring in to your home (see the Dirty Thirty list in Resources)
- Remove potential contaminants (such a dust, dirt, and mold; remove your shoes when you enter your home)
- Add tools to improve the quality of air (such as HEPA filters and fresh plants; see Resources)
- Ask your local nursery for guidance to pick indoor plants that improve air quality
Many cosmetics have been shown to include heavy metals such as mercury and lead, as well as chemicals that disrupt our hormones and may cause cancer. And just because you are using cosmetics on your skin, don’t think that it won’t affect you systemically – our skin absorbs the products we use topically, carrying these substances into our bloodstream.Tips:
- Check out The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (Download) that assesses the safety of a huge variety of cosmetics. Look for a safety score of 0-2, the highest ranking a product can get!
- Bring a list of the Dirty 30 (Resources) with you when shopping for cosmetics; this list will guide you away from the most dangerous thirty chemicals commonly found in cosmetics.
The easiest way to avoid toxins is to clean less (yippee!) which may actually be more beneficial for your immune system. The “hygiene hypothesis” suggests that obsessive cleanliness decreases immune system development and can lead to more allergies. We’re looking at you, antibacterial soap!Tips:
- Focus on cleaning up obvious dirt using natural cleaning products
- DIY – many homecare products can be made easily and cheaply
Although not directly related to toxins, clutter can also be harmful to our health, diminishing our ability to focus, complete tasks, or feel relaxed. Create a home filled only with the things you truly need and you’ll create a clean space for both physical and mental health to flourish.