Toxins in your Home
About Toxins in your Home
Toxins pollute our homes and endanger our families on a daily basis. Our air, water, food, and the substances we use to clean our homes contain chemicals that are accumulating in our bodies and they are contributing to a variety of illnesses, from allergies, to autism, to cancer (read more about toxins as the hidden cause of many allergies). Experts like Dr. Hulda Clark (The Cure For All Diseases, 1995) explain that our bodies are often unable to cleanse these toxins from our systems, thus they set the stage for illness, especially in children who are more vulnerable. Between the 1970s and 2000, childhood cancers greatly increased and became the primary cause of death by disease for children. Deirdre Imus, author of “Green This” (2007), explains that Children are born today with toxins in their bodies. According to Imus, The Environmental Working Group found in their 2004 study that 287 toxins were present in the umbilical cord blood of babies.
There are more disturbing facts relating to children. Autism rates have skyrocketed to 1 in 166 children, while just ten years ago these rates were 1 in 10,000. Five million children under the age of 18 now suffer from asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis has now become a common childhood disease! If you are asking “where is the direct causal link” between these illnesses and toxins, my answer can only be, do you want the evidence to jump up and slap you? Over 100 million Americans live in cities that exceed federal smog standards, most municipal drinking water contains over 700 chemicals, and 25% of municipal water facilities are in violation of federal standards for drinking water! How long will we contemplate the evidence before we take action?Click here to learn about creating an allergy-free, toxin free home
We are a dependent society; dependent on gasoline, electric appliances, and thousands of products that provide us with convenience. That convenience, however, comes at a high price. Toxins are contaminating our homes, our bodies, and our Earth. Indeed, there are about 80,000 chemicals used in the United States. The disturbing reality is that the Environmental Protection Agency has banned only five of these 80,000, despite convincing evidence that many are extremely dangerous!
Mark Schapiro, author of “Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products” (2007), explains that the European Union is actively adopting aggressive standards to protect the health of its citizens and the environment. The European approach, called the precautionary principle, attempts to prevent the harm of citizens before it happens, and as a result many toxic substances in Europe are already banned. What is America’s response to Europe’s moral leadership and “go-green” initiative? Well, American Lobbyists, whose numbers have tripled in the past seven years, are traveling to Europe in an effort to stop or slow their “green” initiatives. Shame on you, American industry!
Our neighbor to the north, Canada, has a “hotlist” of banned or restricted substances that closely resembles the European’s. It is clear, however, that we can not rely on American government and industry to protect us from the hazards and toxins from which the Europeans and our Canadian neighbors are now being protected. We need to protect ourselves by becoming well-informed and that’s what we attempt to do here. Let’s take a look at several dangerous toxins that, in America, “you can’t live without!”
Dr. Hulda Clark (referenced above) has done extensive work investigating toxins that were contaminating her patients. Her findings are very enlightening, especially regarding cancer. Dr. Clark considers refrigerators to be the top cancer hazard in our homes! Every single person she has tested had Freon in their body; whether they had cancer or not. But she found that in cancer patients, the Freon was always concentrated in the cancerous organ. Once freon enters the body, it may never leave since the body doesn’t have a method of a detoxification for it. Dr. Clark recommends an alternative refrigerant called forane, which although toxic, is better handled by the body than freon. Dr. Clark also recommends doing a liver and kidney cleanse to help eliminate freon from the body.
Chlorine, when it’s in a liquid and solid state, is a powerful bleaching and disinfecting agent. It can also be found as a poisonous yellow-green gas; in fact it has been used in warfare as a choking agent-toxin. Today, chlorine is used in water purification, in bleach, in disinfectants, and in the manufacture of numerous products. For example, paper companies bleach their products with chlorine. Chlorine, however, is a double-edged sword. Dr. Konrad Kail, co-author of “Allergy Free” (2000), explains that chlorine irritates the skin, negatively affects the important acidopholus living in our intestines, causes cancer causing compounds, and it can deplete vitamin E and important polyunsaturated fats.
Chlorine has been designated as a hazardous air pollutant in the 1990 Clean Air Act, and it is the largest contributor of industrial injury in the U.S. In 2000, chlorine injured more than 18,000 children, as reported by poison control centers. In the U.S., industry mostly ignores the warnings and dangers of chlorine, whereas in Germany, for example, it is almost impossible to find chlorine bleach. Deirdre Imus, referenced above, recommends we disinfect household surfaces using distilled white vinegar. She also recommends the use of chlorine and bleach free writing paper, and chlorine-free paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, and tampons.
These are clear liquids used as plasticizers ; they make things bend and they make fragrances last longer. They include: dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate. They are used in nail polish, cosmetics, toys, adhesives, caulk, and paint, and they are used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which can be found in shower curtains, flooring, wall covering, food storage containers, and teething rings. The problem is, phthalates are toxic to the reproductive system and they may cause cancer. The European Union has already placed tight restrictions on the use of some phthalates; those in children’s toys for example. In America, it is “buyer beware.” It is wise not to store or microwave food in “number 3” plastic containers. In addition, try not to let plastic wrap come in contact with food in the microwave.
These chemicals are highly carcinogenic hydrocarbons that are byproducts of combustion. They are found in vehicle exhaust fumes, tobacco and marijuana smoke, charbroiled food, burnt toast, and wood smoke. In 2001, the National Cancer Institute found high levels of benzopyrenes in steak, chicken, and hamburgers that were grilled well-done.
Raymond Francis, who hosts the radio show, “An Ounce of Prevention” on KEST in San Francisco, stated that benzopyrenes affect a human gene that prevents cancer. He also said you can ingest this toxin even if you eat a raw diet, if your food is grown near exhaust fumes or a plant that makes asphalt. In her book, Dr. Hulda Clarke explained that foods raised to high temperature in microwaves and even toasters can produce benzopyrenes. Dr. Clarke recommends taking the supplements niacin or niacinamide, and vitamin B2 to help your body detoxify this harmful chemical.
PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is a chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon coatings in cookware. Dupont, the maker of Teflon, says it doesn't understand why PFOA is showing up in the blood of people throughout America. Dupont also says that its tests show Teflon is not toxic to humans, and their cookware is safe at temperatures up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, seems to disagree. They issued a report stating a high probability that PFOA is a carcinogen. In addition, the EPA recently fined Dupont in the amount of seventeen million dollars in a case involving the exposure of employees to Teflon chemicals.
Environmental groups explain that PFOA does not break-down and seems to last forever in the environment! Considering that the chemical is used in many products, including water resistant fabrics, carpets, food wrap, computer chips, and some food storage boxes, our environment could be getting a very high dose of PFOA that will last for generations. Naturally, there may be serious health consequences to the accumulation of this toxin in the environment. For example, studies on animals have suggested that PFOA may be a cause of cancer and hypothyroidism. Also, when the blood of several hundred children was studied in 2001, 96% of the blood samples contained PFOA.
How can we protect ourselves against PFOA? We need to cook in well-ventilated areas when using Teflon, and we need to be careful about using high heat with this cookware. Of course, we might prefer to use stainless steel or cast iron cookware instead. In addition, we can avoid clothing and carpeting that contains stain and water resistance. Finally, be aware of flu-like symptoms if you use Teflon. This is sometimes called “Teflon-Flu” which behaves similar to the flu, but without a viral infection.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Dr. Gary Ginsberg, co-author of “What’s Toxic, What’s Not” (2006), calls VOCs “the most ubiquitous indoor air contaminants;” they are present in every home and every workplace. VOCs represent a great variety of toxins that have two things in common: they are liquids that can evaporate into the air we breathe, and they are organic or composed of carbon. VOC chemicals are used to create wrinkle resistance, stain resistance, and adhesion. These VOCs can vaporize from the products in which they are contained, thus polluting your indoor environment. Here are three of the more dangerous ones:
This chemical is a known carcinogen, but still used in cleaning products, permanent press fabrics, wallpapers, furniture, and mattresses. It is a respiratory irritant that can have serious effects on the body, such as dizziness, insomnia, headaches, and rashes. In the 1980s, formaldehyde foam insulation was banned in the U.S., but it is still used in many products, especially pressed wood and particleboard. It is advisable to purchase solid wood cabinetry instead of pressed wood products.
Perchlorethylene is an organic solvent that has been listed by the EPA as a hazardous air pollutant and it is encompasses 90% of all groundwater pollution in the U.S. Perc is used by many dry cleaners even though it is a carcinogen that can damage the liver, kidneys, and vision of unsuspecting victims. This toxin has even been found in mothers’ breast milk. There are safer alternatives to Perc that dry cleaners can use, but about 75% of dry cleaners still use this dangerous chemical. Since Perc takes a while to vent from the clothes after they are cleaned, it is wise to let your clothes air-out, outside, after picking them up from the dry cleaner.
Benzene is a chemical that is used in a great variety of products, including: paints, plastics, detergents, rubber, and solvents. It is also found in cigarette smoke and petroleum solvents. The EPA has named this chemical a Class A carcinogen. Benzene exposure has been linked to: leukemia, skin problems, respiratory illness, lung cancer, bladder cancer, and lymph gland cancer. Even at low levels, benzene exposure can cause memory loss, tremors, headache, dizziness, and unconsciousness. If you feel you have been exposed to benzene, particularly at work, do a Google search for “benzene lawyer;” our search yielded about 26,000 listings.