Are the products in my home safe or toxic?

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Are the products in my home safe or toxic?
June 19, 2023 

Living a clean, healthy lifestyle can require a lot of effort in our modern industrialized nation. In many ways our use of technology has become unbalanced. Pursuit of convenience and profit outweigh wisdom, stewardship, and wellness. The same scientific and industrial advancements that transformed society with sanitation, hygiene, and medicine have polluted every part of our natural and cultural world. It’s hard to find a place in nature not polluted by heavy metals, pesticides, carcinogens, and EMF radiation. The more I learn on this journey, the more I am tempted to be frozen in survival mode. Truly, everything in the modern world seems to be aimed at choking out life.

Which is why I believe life is truly a miracle. As a Christian, I lean back and trust the Lord to protect my family, and me. I am one small person. I may not be able to change governmental policies or close evil corporations, but I can make empowered choices about the products my family consumes. With the internet and the free market, we can find products (or make them) that will have a limited negative effect on our well-being.

I’ve learned to focus on the little I can control and let go of what I cannot. I think these small changes can make a big impact as we share what we learn with our family, friends, and those in our sphere of influence. I hope the principles below help you make empowered choices that serve the well-being of you and your family.

I hope this strategy serves you as much as it has served me…

pay attention
• PAY ATTENTION
• READ LABELS
• DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH
• DISCERN WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR LIFE

PAY ATTENTION

Have you considered that each individual person has their own “normal”? Based on our family of origin, where we live, what social groups we belong to, even our diet; they all create a familiar atmosphere. That atmosphere has programmed us to make habitual choices. Often to grow as a person we need to think above “normal”.

This is essential for our health. Many of us have been programmed to trust the medical industry and we may assume that corporations that make consumable goods have our best in mind. But corporations are not people; they are driven by survival and the desire to make a profit. For some companies, if the product they make is harmful to people and the planet but increases profit, they have no hesitation to sale it.

I say this because, often the food and products we consume are making us sick. We’ve become accustomed to inflammation, fatigue, and obesity as a society that we don’t realize we are a part of the problem. We are putting things in, on and around our body that hurt us. Do you get a headache after you drink diet soda or eat sugar? Does your skin get itchy when you apply lotion? Do you get dizzy after you scrub the shower? Those are signs that something you’ve been exposed to is hurting you. Your body is telling you to pay attention.

READ LABELS & DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH

You must first read the label to know what’s in the product. Search out what each ingredient is and discern how vulnerable you are to that toxin. Once you do this long enough, you can develop a running list of ingredients to avoid. Then, when you are examining a new product, toxins will stand out to you, and you can move on quickly.

Safe and environmentally friendly products are very trendy right now. Corporations have caught on to the demand for less toxic products. They will use words like “green”, “all natural”, and “nontoxic” to make their products more attractive to the consumer. But these claims are not regulated and are open to interpretation by the company that sale the product. They mean nothing. Pure marketing. You must read the actual ingredients and decide for yourself how toxic or safe the product is. Typically, Ingredients with long chemical names that you cannot pronounce are red flags.

Examples of ingredients I avoid: SLS, EDTA, Formaldehyde, Bleach…

I use search engines to find information. I also recommend the Environmental Working Group. They have strict standards and rate products based on their toxic level. Beware info could be out of date. You can also find books and many people on Instagram that inform about this subject.

RESOURCES:
ewg.org

Books:
A Healthier Home: The Room by Room Guide to Make Any Space a Little Less Toxic – Shawna Holman

Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home – Renee Loux

I really appreciate Shawna Holman’s approach to less toxic living… ALLT:

evaluate what you use
ASSESS – What do you really use? Eliminate what is not used.
LET GO – Use less; only what you need.
LEVEL UP – When you run out of something, try to make the replacement less toxic – within your budget and lifestyle.
TRANSFORM over time. Changes add up; we never arrive; just keep going.

I looked up products my family uses on EWG’s website. Overall, I think we are doing well. EWG Verified is “0”, the best rating and “10” is the most toxic rating.

Everyone 3-1 Soap Lavender Vanilla, EWG verified
Seventh Generation Baby Wipes, 2 Rating – Fair
Honest Baby Wipes, EWG verified
Mychelle Fruit Enzyme Facial Cleanser, EWG verified
Old Spice Swagger Men’s Deodorant, 6 rating, moderate hazard

A simple and often cheaper way of ensuring the products you use in your home are safe and less toxic is to make them yourself. We will cover this topic in our next post.


Disclaimer: We do not claim to be experts on these subjects. We communicate what we understand to be well sourced facts. We acknowledge that information on these topics evolves over time and that we may not have uncovered the full story on these subjects. Please do your own research and follow your peace. We make suggestions out of good will and state that you follow them at your own risk. Our heart is to spark curiosity and empower you to make incremental changes that deeply improve your wellbeing. Thank you for going on this health journey with us.

Toxic Chemical Load #2: Phthalates

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Toxic Chemical Load #2: Phthalates
March 7, 2023 

Sometimes I wish I had not failed chemistry. I was great at math, I liked science, but for some reason, my seventeen-year-old brain did not want to comprehend chemistry. The more I discover how products are made with health compromising chemicals, I wonder if chemistry would help me make sense of it all?

I express gratitude every day for the privileges of living in a world with electricity, modern plumbing, HVAC and vehicles. I understand how sanitation and modern appliances create a hygienic and convenient lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is a dark side to these modern perks. So many products and services are created with toxic materials or are filled with them.

As a millennial, I grew up in a world of plastic, fast-food, tv and pop-tarts. My parents were raised with less and higher quality (usually American made) goods. There was a simplicity and minimalism that required patience. If you wanted something, you had to save for it. Once you could afford it you would go to a physical store and buy it. Our generation is spoiled with LOTS of things that can be acquired on a low budget or with credit cards. We are completely disconnected from the supply chain and the true cost of things.

Our blind consumption of stuff and busy lifestyle habits leave us susceptible to encounter a wide range of toxins. Our air, water, food and habitats are filled with toxic chemicals. We really cannot avoid all of them. We do have some control though. We can choose products with less toxins and we can slow our lives down to detox. We must become educated consumers if we hope to steward healthy lifestyles for our families.

Today, we are highlighting another chemical and showing how to make simple changes to prevent toxic overload in your life.

 


 

What: Phthalates (ortho-phthalates) – commonly used in plastics (to make it soft) and used as “fragrance” and “parfum” in personal care products and home goods like air fresheners. Also found in vinyl flooring and other home finishes.

 

Research Blurb:

“One of their common uses is to soften vinyl plastic. Things like shower curtains, boots, and IV tubing are made from that same hard white plastic that a plumber would use, but when you add about 30% by weight to it of a specific phthalate, you get soft pliable vinyl plastic. Phthalates are also used in many personal care products such as colognes, perfumes, soaps, and shampoos, in the coatings of some medications, and in vinyl tubing used for food processing. I would estimate that phthalates are used in many hundreds if not thousands of different products.

One primary way that people can be exposed to phthalates is through diet. For example, it’s been shown that these chemicals can leach into food from vinyl plastic equipment and materials, food preparation gloves, and food packaging materials. Phthalates can also migrate into indoor air and household dust from products like vinyl flooring and wall coverings.” (1)

 

Health Concerns: Known to disrupt hormones, especially testosterone in males and carcinogenic.

 

Research Blurb:

“PVC can contain as much as 57% chlorine. Carbon—derived from petroleum products—is also often used in its manufacture. Due to the toxins that can potentially be released during manufacture, when exposed to fire, or as it decomposes in landfills, PVC has been dubbed by some medical researchers and environmentalists as the “poison plastic.”
PVC-related health concerns are as yet to be statistically proven, however, these toxins have been linked to conditions that include but are not limited to cancer, fetal developmental setbacks, endocrine disruption, asthma, and diminished lung function. While manufacturers point to PVC’s high salt content as being natural and relatively harmless, science suggests that sodium—along with the release of dioxin and phthalate—are in fact potential contributing factors to the environmental and health hazards PVC pose.” (2)

Where: In ALL types of plastic, hygiene products, home goods and home finishes.

 

Research Blurb:

“How can I reduce my exposure to these phthalates?
• Avoid plastics known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or vinyl (with recycle code 3).
• Choose personal care products that are identified as “phthalate-free” or “fragrance-free.”
• Prior to undergoing medical procedures (especially recurring ones, like dialysis) plan ahead by requesting medical devices or equipment that do not contain DEHP. This is especially important for protecting boys from the reproductive effects of DEHP (during pregnancy, in infancy, and around the time of puberty).
• Minimize exposure to dust, which can contain some of the phthalates listed above.
o Wash your hands and your child’s hands frequently, especially before preparing food, and before eating.
o Clean floors regularly, using a wet mop or a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, if possible.
o Wipe up dust regularly, using a damp cloth.
• Eat more fresh food, and less processed and packaged food.” (8)

 

Suggested Changes to Make:

Clean your house more often (with natural products of course!) because dust contains phthalates.

DO NOT drink water out of plastic and avoid pre-packaged food. Use a glass or (lead free) stainless steel water bottle.

Consume purified water.

Upgrade food storage containers and serve ware to glass, ceramic, wood and (lead free) stainless steel.

READ LABELS. Replace ALL products with “fragrance” and “parfum”. This includes shampoo, soap, cologne, lotion, air fresheners, and cleaning products. There are plenty of items available without phthalates. You made need to find a health food store or search online.

AVOID all plastic numbers 3, 6 and 7 (found within the arrow triangle symbol that signals how to recycle it).

Sources to learn more:

(1) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/the-big-3-why-phthalates-should-be-restricted-or-banned-from-consumer-products/
(2) https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-pvc-plastics-820366
(3) https://www.thoughtco.com/what-are-plastics-820362
(4) https://www.thoughtco.com/examples-of-everyday-plastics-820348
(5) https://www.thoughtco.com/recycling-different-types-of-plastic-1203667
(6) https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/phthalates-cosmetics
(7) https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phthalates_FactSheet.html
(8) https://www.p65warnings.ca.gov/fact-sheets/phthalates
(9) https://www.thoughtco.com/is-it-safe-to-drink-hose-water-609429

It’s been a long journey for me to remove common toxic products from my life. I still have a far way to go. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when your eyes get opened. If you feel this way, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “what is one change I can make in this season?”. We are on a journey to better health.

What changes have you made or are interested in making? Leave us a comment below!


Disclaimer: We do not claim to be experts on these subjects. We communicate what we understand to be well sourced facts. We acknowledge that information on these topics evolves over time and that we may not have uncovered the full story on these subjects. Please do your own research and follow your peace. We make suggestions out of good will and state that you follow them at your own risk. Our heart is to spark curiosity and empower you to make incremental changes that deeply improve your wellbeing. Thank you for going on this health journey with us.

Toxic Chemical Load #1: Acrylamide

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Toxic Chemical Load #1: Acrylamide
December 22, 2022 

Hello! My name is Angelina. I am the owner of Healthy Home Cleaning Services, Inc. This is our very first blog, so Welcome! I am so glad you are here. My intention in these blogs are to educate, invite dialog and make understanding a healthy lifestyle, simple, and pleasurable to read.

Let’s talk: A Chemical toxic load refers to the collection of toxins and chemicals in our bodies that we ingest. There are a variety of sources including: the environment, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the personal care and household products we use. When you start your own research on these toxins you will come across some toxins that you cannot pronounce. Let me briefly break one of them down for you.

 

Acrylamide

How do you say it?

uh-kri-luh-mide

 

What is it?

Acrylamide is a common environmental toxin found in our everyday foods.

Why is acrylamide in food?

Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods during high-temperature
cooking processes, such as frying, roasting, and baking. You can use your own
common knowledge (or google) to find out which everyday foods this toxin is
found in.

How much is safe to ingest?

There are not many regulations regarding this toxin.
EFSA concludes that there is not a known tolerable amount due to acrylamide
being a genotoxic substance. There are new regulations being put out every year
to reduce acrylamide.

Here is a weblink to follow for more in depth information from the FDA.

•Practical ways to reduce acrylamide:

-simmer, steaming or boiling
-keep your potatoes at room temperature
-potatoes and vegetable should be soaked in water immediately after cutting
-avoid scorching (aka toasting) your food
-stir fry using low heat and stir often

 

 

 

My objective here is to simply educate you and your families. Healthy Homes are my passion. The best place to start is on the inside. Do not despise small changes as they will add up to a much larger, healthier outcome.