Creating A Healthy Home
According to Bau Biologie - one should examine three elements in creating a healthy home - indoor air quality, electro magnetic waves, and mold. Once you have discovered the elements in your home that need attention, it is advised to begin your fixing in the bedroom. We spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping, during the hours our bodies are meant to rest, heal and rejuvenate. Cleaning up the space we sleep in can make the greatest impact in our health. The following is a list of probable culprits in making your home sick - and things you can do to fix them.
- Using green cleaning products (and body care also!) is an important step in the quest for your families health and the health of our planet. Standard cleaning supplies have many cancer causing and polluting chemicals. In fact one study showed that housewives who work in the home are 55% more likely to get cancer just because of the cleaning products they use. Choose non-toxic, biodegradeable cleaners free of synthetic fragrances. For budget cleaning, vinegar and baking soda works well for most cleaning jobs.
- Conventional paints contain problematic ingredients like mercury, arsenic disulfide, phenol and formaldehyde that offgas into your home. Some mainstream companies have made great strides towards cleaning up the toxic chemicals. The No VOC paints available today are an improvement over the paints of yesterday, but still allow chemicals like formaldehyde which are not technically listed as a VOC. AFM Safecoat makes a great quality paint that is free of carcinogenic chemicals and actually seals in the toxins beneath it when you paint.
- Mattresses and upholstered furniture are a hidden source of toxins. Most are made of petroleum based foams containing flame retardents. These foams off gas (VOCs) into your breathing environment when new, and as they get older, the petroleum based foams break down, bonding with dust particles (SVOCs) that float around you home and when breathed in, fill your body with toxic chemicals. They have found this is the greatest way that PBDEs are getting into the human body and a recent study of the dust vacummed from the floors of 75 homes across America showed alarmingly high levels in every sample. These chemicals are found in mother's breastmilk and in newborn babies cord blood. Look for furniture made from solid hardwoods with no particle boards or laminates, which offgas formaldehyde, and cushions made from wool or natural latex. The new soy foams may sound green, but are actually made from a small amount of GMO soy (which is not a good thing for our planet)a much larger amount of petrochemicals. An investment in an organic mattress is a long term investment in your families health.
- Wall to wall carpets are notorious for harboring allergens like mold and dust mites as well as trapping toxins like pesticides that get tracked in from outside. Most synthetic carpets also emit VOCs. The glues in the backing as well as any stain proofing contain a long list of carcinogenic chemicals. Studies have shown that household cats, who live close to the ground, have skyrocketing levels of these toxic chemicals in their bodies, leaving one to wonder about crawling babies...Formaldehyde free hardwood floors, natural cork flooring, or wool carpets are healthiest. Marmoleum makes a true linseed linoleum flooring that is earth friendly and beautiful. If you have standard carpets in your home and are not ready to do an upgrade, AFM Safecoat's 3 Step Carpet Sealing process helps seal those toxins from off gassing into your home or getting on crawling babies hands. Vaccum every week with a Hepa filter vaccum to reduce your exposure.
- Limit your purchase of vinyls in your home. A recent study showed a vinyl shower curtain can offgass over 100 toxic chemicals into your home. This goes for vinyl flooring, doors, waterproof mattress surfaces as well. Not only is vinyl one of the most toxic things to have in your home, but it is completely toxic to produce as well.
- Keep all electrical devices at least six feet from where you sleep or sit. Especially keep them away from your heads. Be conscious when placing your bed not to have an electrical panel the other side of that wall. Limit the electrical appliances in your sleep space to as few as possible. Don't put your office (computer ect) in your bedroom. Get rid of your cordless phones. (Yes I know this seems like a crazy impossible thing!) Cordless phones send out constant EMR Waves that bombard your body whether the phone is being used or not. These waves act as a steady immune system disruptor. This is especially important for people recovering from cancer, woman who are pregnant, and children. Use an airtube headset with your cell phone and limit your time on it. Text instead of talk.
- Get rid of your non-stick cookware. It is toxic. These contain yet another toxic chemical showing up in unborn babies cord blood. Listen to the canaries in the coal mine - the birds who die quickly when teflon is overheated. This can't bode well for humans. Use glass whenever possible. Stainless steel, cast iron, and stoneware are healthier options. Corning ware and enameled cookware as well. Also note that microwave popcorn has been found to contain high levels of these same chemicals, which they use to line the bags.
- Replace your plastic. I don't believe food is meant to be stored or eaten in petroleum based plastics. Use glass for storage; glass or stainless steel water bottles replace the plastic. Always use glass baby bottles if you must use bottles. I'm not sure exactly what chemical these BPA free companies have used to replace the bisphenol A with but we do know it has not been tested for safety long term! #7 plastic has been found to contain BPA (bisphenol A) which is a hormone disruptor and has been linked to breast cancer as well as a host of other health problems. One low dose can alter brainwaves for hours and it's effects can reach 3 generations into the future when a pregnant woman carrying a girl is exposed. The plastics industry has been trying to cover this up for 15 years now. Recently Canada became the first country to officially declare BPA a toxic chemical. Also note that BPA is found in the linings of almost all canned foods.
What you can do:
- Keeping your windows open allows fresh air to keep you healthy. If you suspect you may have indoor air issues, running an air purifier in your home and while you sleep can make a big difference.
- Use plants to clean your air. Keep your home dry and check for mold regularly.
- Run a dehumidifier if you've got moisture problems. Use a non-toxic mold inhibitor in problem areas.
Realizing these things and seeing the changes you can make to lead you towards a healthier home is just the beginning. It is a long term process to create a truly healthy home. It is not about running out and replacing everything in your home. It is about, when you are ready to purchase home products or do upgrades to your home, researching your choices and choosing to buy sustainable, non-toxic or organic. Every toxic thing that we buy is poisoning the earth as well as our families, so keep in mind you are supporting the well being of our planet, which is a gift to our children and our grandchildren.