Genetics + Environment = Chronic Disease
What does this mean?!...
Is this an insurmountable obstacle?..
Not at all!
i'm not posting this to be Debbie Downer. I just want to touch on one of the minuscule factors in the "environment" portion of the equation. In the spirit of the New Year and cleaning house, I thought we could do a little education about the things you use to CLEAN YOUR HOUSE.
"Environment" refers to all of the aspects of the world that influence you and influence your body's physiological responses. These include your emotional environment (ie. your loving or hostile relationships with others and yourself), your mental environment (ie. is your brain offered up daily challenges?.. are you keeping sharp as you age?..), your spiritual environment (ie. a sense of the world as something greater than yourself), and of course, your physical environment.
Today I'll be talking about the most obvious aspect of your overall environment -the PHYSICAL realm, and more specifically, how to keep it free from toxins that will affect the formula and increase your risk of chronic disease.
The "X Factors": aka WHAT TO AVOID!
PHOSPHATES: Banned in laundry detergents for quite some time (!), phosphates are only recently being banned from dishwashing detergents. The problem with phosphates lies in their impact on aquatic life once they've been washed down our drains. It can cause toxic algae blooms to build up, and, if this algae shows up in drinking water, it can have negative health effects!
AMMONIA: A serious irritant to your respiratory system, meaning that people with asthma or other respiratory conditions can be particularly sensitive! While ammonia is a gas that can be naturally-occuring, it is best to limit your exposure by choosing cleaning products that do not have it as an additive. *Be very cautious of cleaners containing both ammonia and bleach (sodium hypochlorite) as they combine to produce a very poisonous gas!
PHENOLS: Mimic the hormone estrogen, which can increase your risk of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer. While Environment Canada requires manufacturers to reduce their use of phenols, they are still present in many cleaning products!
TRICLOSAN: Another hormone disrupter. Also has detrimental environmental impacts, specifically to aquatic life. Triclosan is an antibacterial agent, and with the recent popularity of "antibacterial" everything on the market, there are suspected long-term health impacts on our immune systems! Our bodies need to be able to mount healthy responses to bacteria - ie. get a little work out in now and then - in order to maintain overall health! Choose NON-antibacterial soaps/cleaners. Use proper hand-washing techniques. Those are much healthier options!
PHTHALATES: Yet another hormone disrupter. These are a component in fragrances that can cause headaches and other minor irritation. But they have also been linked to decreased sperm count in men! *won't be labelled - will be hidden under "fragrance", so look for "phthalate free" products or those that use essential oils as fragrance.
This is just a starter list of ingredients to avoid when choosing cleaning products. Read labels! You have choices! And if you really want to choose the healthiest (and cheapest!) option, there is always baking soda and white vinegar.
And - the best book for Canadians on environmentally-friendly, health-wise options for cleaning house is ECOHOLIC HOME by Adria Vasil. Buy it - you won't regret it!