Household Toxins Might be Making you Sick

household toxins

Common household toxins may be making you sick.  In some cases you don’t even know you are sick. Toxins are present in your home in the form of cleaning products, paints, furniture, synthetic building materials such as particle board and insulation, carpets, and even your printer and photocopier! Learn about the common culprits and just what they can do to your health.

VOCs are Household Toxins

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful gases released by all of the common household items listed above.  These gases cause lethargy, skin rashes, headaches, drowsiness, itchy eyes, asthma-like symptoms, and even cancer.

Be aware of what you are bringing into your home!  I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I was cleaning my house.  Out of my usual brand of toilet cleaner, I grabbed a bottle of Javex sitting around the house from my pre-toxin awareness days.   I used it (sparingly) to clean the toilets in my home…

Symptoms of Household Toxins

The next day I woke up with what I thought was the start of a cold.  My chest felt heavy and I could not seem to draw a full breath into my lungs.  I also had a vague headache, and a “tickle” in my throat, but no other cold like symptoms developed.  Later on that day, I developed a shallow, dry cough which felt like my lungs were trying to clear whatever was irritating them. 

These symptoms lasted for four days.  Coincidence?   I don’t think so; this is how my lungs felt most of the time before I switched to non-toxic products. The products I now use are all made with tea tree oil, an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, natural ingredient.  My respirologist agrees, as my asthma-like symptoms have disappeared since switching to these non-toxic products.

Houseplants Remove Household Toxins

You can also make your home healthier by adding house plants to your decor.  Not only do plants look nice, but they can also help keep your family healthy.  Carbon dioxide and the VOCs described above, as well as other harmful gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene are absorbed through the roots as well as through pores in the leaves of plants.   In exchange, beneficial and healthy products like oxygen and moisture are released into the air for us to breathe.

Choose plants such as spider plants, dracaena, English ivy, mother-in-law tongues, bamboo palms, and other tropical plants. These choices are all easy to grow and readily available.  Tropical plants are suitable for indoors in homes and offices because they are used to growing and processing gases in reduced light under the canopies of jungles and rain forests.  Water your plants thoroughly with warm water and let the soil dry out between watering; too much water is the easiest way to kill your house plants.

Fifteen medium to large plants (greater than six-inch pots) in an average-sized 2000 square foot home can greatly improve the air quality in your home. So, get growing!

In Conclusion

Get rid of the common household toxins making your family sick by removing offending chemical compounds and adding houseplants. Check out a recent post on what I’ve learned about houseplant care. My house is fast becoming a jungle, but I love it.

A green landscape outside can improve the air quality in your yard and even your neighbourhood as well. Planting lots of shrubs, trees, perennials and annuals can turn your yards into a healthy environment for you as well as the birds and other wildlife.

Rid your Home of Toxins

Toxins are present in your home in the form of cleaning products, paints, furniture, synthetic building materials such as particleboard and insulation, carpets, and even your printer and photocopier! Learn how to rid your home of toxins.

What are VOCs?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful gases released by all of these common household items listed. Exposure to these VOC gases can cause lethargy, skin rashes, headaches, drowsiness, itchy eyes, asthma-like symptoms, and even cancer.

Rid your home of toxins by identifying the sources.

Symptoms of Household Toxins

My body reacts to these toxins with cold and asthma-like symptoms.  Almost immediately upon exposure, I start off with a heaviness in my lungs, a vague headache, and a tickle in my throat.  I then develop a dry cough which can last up to four days after the exposure, as my lungs try to eliminate the toxin I have inhaled.  I have learned to avoid many of the toxins I was exposing myself and my family to by switching cleaning products.  Since switching to non-toxic cleaning products my mild asthma symptoms have disappeared.

Add Houseplants to Rid Your Home of Toxins, Naturally

You can also rid your home of toxins by adding house plants to your decor. This will help remove toxins you have less control over.  Not only do plants look nice, but they can also help keep your family healthy.  Carbon dioxide and the VOCs described above, as well as other harmful gases such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene are absorbed through the roots as well as through pores in the leaves of plants.   In exchange, beneficial and healthy products like oxygen and moisture are released into the air for us to breathe.

Choose plants such as spider plants, dracaena, English ivy, mother-in-law tongues, bamboo palms, and other tropical plants; they are all easy to grow and readily available.  Tropical plants are suitable for indoors in homes and offices because they are used to growing and processing gases in reduced light under the canopies of jungles and rain forests.  Water your plants thoroughly with warm water and let the soil dry out between watering; too much water is the easiest way to kill your house plants.

Some houseplants are suitable for a bright, sunny room while others prefer less natural light. Do your research to be sure you choose the right plants for specific areas of your home.

Fifteen medium to large houseplants (greater than six-inch pots) can greatly improve the air quality in an average-sized 2000 square foot home. What are you waiting for?   Get growing and remove the toxins from your home!

Bye Bye Asthma…

In one of my first posts, I think I told you how the last time I went to my respirologist to check on my lungs, he told me the condition of my lungs had improved.  I had been diagnosed with asthma several years earlier, with my symptoms and test results getting worse each visit to the respirologist.  Since my father had recently died from pulmonary fibrosis, and my mom from lung cancer before that, the deteriorating condition of my lungs was worrisome.

At that 2012 visit, I didn’t tell the respirologist about my wheat allergy news (discovered by a naturopath) and the fact that I had been wheat-free for almost one year before this round of testing as I wanted to see if there was a change in the pulmonary (lung) function test results first.  His response to my belief that my wheat-free diet was the reason for the change in my lungs was skeptical, as not many doctor like to be told that advice from a naturopath is sound.  His comment at that time was “well, whatever you have been doing, keep doing it.  Come back and see me next year”…

Well, i just returned from the annual respirology appointment, and my pulmonary function test results were even better than last year!  In fact, the respirologist  feels he doesn’t need to see me anymore, unless my symptoms return.

Although some things, like smoke and strong chemical smells, still bother me, I know to avoid them.  I also know that daily exercise and reduced stress make a difference too; my new career takes care of that aspect…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take the Wheat-Free Challenge Today!

Happy New Year!

If you have been thinking of eliminating wheat from your diet, why not start today?   I gave up wheat 18 months ago and have noticed a significant decrease in my cholesterol level, increase in my iron stores, and decrease in my asthma symptoms since then.  I have also shed 10 pounds of weight, most noticeable around my middle.

The good news is you don’t have to have an allergy or sensitivity to wheat to reap the numerous health benefits when you eliminate wheat from your diet.  You will be amazed at how fast you notice a change in your body!

Many of my friends and family members have shown interest in my wheat-free diet, so I thought I would start a blog on the subject…

Please send me your comments, questions, suggestions, and success stories; we can all motivate each other for a healthier 2013…