Saturday, April 16, 2011
Spring is the Ideal Time to Get the Chemicals Out of Your Home (and Your Body) As winter draws to a close and warm breezes coax the early spring flowers to brighten the landscape, people can be inspired to clean out their homes. They wash windows, throw out stuff that is cluttering their homes and welcome in the fresh air and sunshine.
Cleaning goes with spring because it’s a wonderful way to refresh our homes and our lives, but if we’re using toxic household cleaning products it can also be harmful to our health. Since World War II, we have developed over 80,000 chemicals that are used in cleaners, pesticides, cosmetics and other products many people use regularly in their home. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are toxic and pollute the environment.
To verifY this, all you have to do is read the labels. If the product warning says “Poison or Danger,” it means that the product is highly toxic, which means ingesting as little as a few drops could be fatal. “Warning” means the product is only moderately toxic, but this still means that as little as a teaspoonful could kill you.
Even the milder warnings can mean the product is fairly toxic. If the label says “Caution,” the product can still contain irritating chemicals, although many relatively safe natural cleaning products still have to carry this label because ingesting large amounts would be unhealthy. “Corrosive” means the product can damage your skin if it comes in contact with it and your mucus membranes if you inhale it.
Even though you’re not ingesting these products, you are absorbing small amounts through inhalation and contact with your skin, so you want to use products that are as safe as possible. The EPA determined in 1989 that the chemicals in common household cleaners, often dispersed in fumes, are three times more likely to cause cancer than other air pollutants. In fact, the level of pollution we create inside our homes from the products we use is often greater than the environmental pollution in the outside environment.
Household Cleaning and Environmental Pollution
The problem doesn’t stop there, because the chemicals we use to clean our homes are major contributors to environmental pollution. The Clean Water Fund estimates that the average American uses 40 pounds of unsafe household cleaners each year. Multiply 40 times 308 million Americans and that’s 12.3 billion pounds of toxic chemicals we’re dumping into the environment annually from household cleaning supplies alone.
Many of these chemicals are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which means that once they enter the environment, they don’t readily break down. This means that we’re not only creating health problems for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren, as well.
Making the switch to safer cleaning products has helped many people with problems like asthma, allergies, skin conditions and mood disorders. It’s an easy way to improve your own health and the health of your loved ones.
In this issue of Sunshine Sharing, we’ll offer suggestions for detoxifYing your home by replacing toxic cleaning products with natural, biodegradable products. We’ll also offer some suggestions for doing a cleanse to detoxify your body from exposure to these chemicals.
Detoxify Your Home for Better Health
It’s easy to start detoxifYing your home. Just look at the labels of all your cleaning supplies and find a safe way to dispose of anything that is poisonous. Especially avoid products that say “poison” or “danger” on the label. Then, start using non-toxic alternatives. Here are some great products to try.
Health Hazards of Home Chemicals
Household cleaning products can contain toxic chemicals like chlorine, formaldehyde, phosphates, benzene, xenoestrogens, petrochemicals and chemical fragrances. Health problems associated with common household chemicals include:
- Neurotoxic effects, which can cause depression, headaches, lack of mental concentration, mental confusion and even symptoms of mental illness.
- Allergic effects, which contribute to allergies and asthma
- Respiratory irritation, which can cause coughing, sneezing, allergies and asthma.
- Endocrine disrupters, which contribute to infertility, PMS reproductive cancers and other glandular problems.
- Liver and kidney toxicity.
- Corrosive actions that can burn the skin and eyes.
- Carcinogenic compounds that contribute to the development of cancer.
Avoiding these chemicals is an important part of protecting the health of you, your family and your pets. Look carefully at all your household products and replace toxic products with non-toxic, natural biodegradable products wherever possible.
This is a concentrated, all-purpose cleaner that contains no environmentally-harmful substances like phosphates, borates or acids. Sunshine Concentrate can be used as a general cleaner for dishes, laundry, floors, windows and walls. It is a mild cleaning product suitable for washing delicate fabrics like sweaters, but it. can also tackle tough dirt and grime.
This completely non-toxic cleaning product makes a great wash for produce to remove pesticide and chemical residues from fruits and vegetables. It’s also great as a hand or bath soap, including bubble baths. It leaves no soap scum or bath tub ring. With a pH of 6.5, it won’t remove the protective coating on your skin, so it leaves your skin in a healthier condition, too.
Sunshine Concentrate is unscented, but you can add your favorite essential oils if you want a scented cleaning product. To give it a fresh scent, try lemon or pine. These oils are also disinfectant. For a stronger disinfectant add tea tree oil. Lavender, ylang ylang and rose are good fragrances to add for use in the bath.
Nature’s Fresh Enzyme Spray
This amazing product is completely non-toxic and biodegradable, but works wonders at removing organically-based odors and stains. It contains plant-derived enzymes that breakdown the compounds in odors and stains but don’t harm people, plants or pets.
Nature’s Fresh can be sprayed directly into the air or on clothing, bedding, upholstery, carpets or shoes to eliminate organic odors. For stains, spray it on, allow it to sit for a while and then blot the stain. (This may require more than one application.)
These enzymes are not only harmless, they can actually be beneficial to health. People have applied Nature’s Fresh Enzyme spray topically to help heal skin ailments, muscle aches and pains, insect bites and stings and sunburn.
Nature’s Fresh Dish Soap
This biodegradable, pH neutral dish soap is free of phosphates, chlorine and other chemicals that can irritate the skin. It can even be used as a hand soap. It combines coconut-oil derived surfactants with a blend of citrus essential oils-lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit. It breaks up grease and leaves a fresh citrus scent that lifts your mood.
Nature’s Fresh Automatic Dishwasher Gel
This is a 100% biodegradable, concentrated dish washing product that is friendly to people and the planet. It contains plant-based surfactants (from coconut), enzymes and essential oils. It contains no harmful petrochemicals, but cleans dishes effectively leaving them free of spots and streaks. Because it’s concentrated you only have to fill one dishwasher detergent cup.
Nature’s Fresh Laundry Soap
Unlike many commercial] laundry soaps which pollute the environment with their phosphates, chlorine and linear alkyl sulfonates, this laundry soap uses plant-based surfactants from coconut oil that break up stains and dirt without polluting the environment (or leaving chemical residues in your clothes). It is pH neutral, biodegradable, 2x concentrated, low sudsing and effective in all temperatures.
Nature’s Fresh Fabric Brightener
Like the other products in the Nature’s Fresh cleaning line, this oxygen-based fabric brightener is pH neutral and biodegradable. It is safe for colored fabrics and most water-washable items and surfaces. It contains sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate, which release oxygen when combined with water. This helps to brighten fabrics and remove stains and odors.
Detoxify Your Body for Better Health
In the past, people have not only cleaned out their homes in the spring, they’ve cleaned out their bodies. Spring “tonics” were consumed to cleanse the blood from the heavy proteins and starches consumed during the winter. The idea was to “thin” or “cool” the blood in preparation for the beat of summer.
Internal cleansing is a controversial idea in modern society. Many doctors dismiss the idea, but common sense (and traditional wisdom) tells us otherwise. Plumbers have to periodically clean out pipes and drains. Auto mechanics have to drain and replace oil and radiator fluids. Just about everything needs an occasional cleaning, so why nor our bodies?
All traditional systems of medicine recognize the value of the occasional fast or “cleanse” to allow the body to clear out congestion and metabolic debris. Furthermore, millions of people have tried a cleanse and discovered that they felt cleaner, lighter, brighter and more energetic as a result. Of course, like any good practice, cleansing can be overdone or abused, but doing a cleanse once or twice a year can prove very beneficial to our health, especially in today’s chemical-laden world.
The easiest way to do a cleanse is to use a prepackaged cleansing program, like one of the following.
Harmonize Your Health with The Tiao He Cleanse
The Tiao He Cleanse is one of the best basic cleansing programs in the marketplace. It gets its name from the Chinese herbal formula Tiao He, sold under the trade name Chinese Liver Balance. Tiao He means to “mediate harmony,” referring to the formula’s ability to harmonize the function of internal organs by helping to ease congestion in the liver.
Besides the Chinese Liver Balance (or Tiao He) formula, the cleanse contains All Cell Detox, a general cleansing formula, the stimulant laxative formula LBS II and Psyllium Hulls, a dietary fiber. Two single herbs, Burdock Root and Black Walnut Hulls ATC Concentrate, complete the program.
This 14-day cleanse is even more effective if you add more fiber. Take 1-2 heaping teaspoons of a fiber blend like Psyllium Hulls Combination or Everybody’s Fiber first thing in the morning along with a large glass of water. Taking an enzyme formula like Proactazyme Plus between meals will also enhance the action of this or any other cleanse. And, remember to drink plenty of water during the cleanse, at least 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight per day.
Any cleansing program is also more effective when you go on a mild food diet while on the cleanse. Most people in our society aren’t healthy enough to fast, but they can do a semi-fast by refraining from “junk food” while on the cleanse. Avoid refined sugar, white flour products, heavy meats and dairy and stick to a diet principally composed of whole grains and legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables. This makes the cleanse even more effective.
CleanStart Helps You Get Your Sluggish Winter System Moving
A simpler and more basic cleanse is CleanStart. This program contains a fiber packet with psyllium hulls and hydrated bentonite. The fiber can be mixed with water or juice and taken before both breakfast and dinner. It comes in two flavors, Apple Cinnamon and Wild Berry.
CleanStart contains Enviro-Detox, a liver detoxifYing formula that helps the body get rid of environmental pollutants. It also contains the LBS II laxative formula.
CleanStart is also a two-week cleansing program. It is great for people who are just getting started on the path to improving their health with herbs and supplements. It’s also a great spring cleanse. As with the Tiao He Cleanse, it helps to drink plenty of water and eat a mild food diet while doing the cleanse. Digestive enzymes with meals are also helpful.
When NOT to Cleanse
Cleansing isn’t for everyone. First of all, it’s never a good idea for pregnant women or nursing mothers to go on a cleanse. Cleansing programs like the Tiao He Cleanse and CleanStart are also too strong for children. People who suffer from inflammatory bowel disorders, autoimmune diseases or who are very weak or elderly should approach cleansing slowly as cleansing can make them feel very sick and may make their conditions worse.
Protecting Your Body
Finally, since it’s impossible to avoid all chemicals and toxins in our modern industrial society, it’s a good idea to offer your body some extra protection so it can break down chemicals you are exposed to. Milk Thistle Combination is a good formula to take :if you’re exposed to chemicals on any regular basis. Antioxidants, like Thai-Go, will also protect your system from oxidative damage from environmental chemicals.
Spring is a Great Time for Cleaning (Inside and Out)
Unfortunately, many common household cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that damage our health and pollute the environment.
Inside, we suggest non-toxic ways to clean your home and programs to rid your body of these and other harmful chemicals
Nature’s Fresh Citrus Surface Cleaner
This all-natural cleanser can be used to clean any non-porous, washable surface. It’s a great general-purpose kitchen and bathroom cleaner. Simply spray it on and wipe surfaces clean.
Biodegradable and pH neutral, Nature’s Fresh Citrus Surface Cleaner will not irritate the skin or produce toxic fumes. It contains no chlorine, ammonia or other harmful chemicals, only the essential oil of orange and plant-based surfactants from coconut oil.
Use it to clean any washable, non-porous surface such as: kitchen surfaces (counter tops, stoves, refrigerators, floors, walls, backs plashes, sinks, pantry surfaces), bathrooms (porcelain, showers and tubs, tile, floors) or any other washable surface.
Nature’s Fresh Dryer Sheets
Made from bamboo, these 100% biodegradable dryer sheets contain no harsh, irritating chemicals. They remove static electricity on clothes, soften fabrics and provide a fresh citrus scent.
Nature’s Fresh Surface Wipes
These convenient cleaning wipes are free of harsh antiseptic agents, but they still help to both clean and disinfect surfaces using Silver Shield. Silver Shield is a patented colloidal silver product that kills harmful microbes without disturbing friendly organisms. These wipes also contain plant-based surfactants to break up stains and clean up spills. They are made with 100% biodegradable wood pulp to reduce environmental pollution.
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