Many people ask me
‘Are chemicals really that bad for us Cara?’

And rightly so.

Some ask out of curiosity wanting to know why I do what I do and charge forward on my path to help you make your homes healthier.

But others ask out of fear.

Fear out of not wanting to change or step out of a comfort zone, which is so familiar to them. Fearing they will be bombard with a tonne of overwhelming information with the only solution to go live in some remote forest with only a few leaves as toilet paper.

Well that’s not the case here. You can enjoy living less toxic easily, without forgoing your life.

So why do I rave on about them? 

Well, Here's the 5 key points why I struggle to welcome the nasties into my humble abode.

In my years practising as a pharmacist, I have seen many acute cases of exposure that could have been largely avoided. Acute symptoms are those you experience immediately or a short period after exposure. This could range from a rash or hives, itchy skin, vomiting, headaches, light-headedness, shortness of breath, fainting, coughing and sneezing. Largely avoidable if they had not used them at all or reduced if they had allowed adequate ventilation and protection of the body.

But who really suits up and follows what’s written in the safety directions? 
It’s on the shelf in the supermarket so it should be relatively safe?

The safety directions are usually found in the very fine text on the back of the bottle, in a little corner away from all the information that’s bold and bright that they want you to read.

Take bleach for example. Bleach actually helps breed mould.

There I said it! Let me break it down to you.

Most of the time mould is found on tile grout and grout is porous. When we apply bleach with water, the bleach does not actually penetrate the grout, it instead aids the penetration of the water to the mould in the grout. This is ultimately what mould breeds on - moisture, lack of good ventilation and light. Bleach is doing pretty much what it says it’s going to do...

...bleach or whiten your mould.

Bleach is also classed as a pesticide, is highly corrosive and extremely toxic on our bodies, in particular to the lining of our lungs and eyes. When exposed to it, it can make you cough and burn your eyes if you have your face too close to it when pouring. 

Bleach is not only nasty for us, it’s nasty for our environment.

When it goes down the drain and into our water ways it can combine with minerals and other toxic products to form compounds that linger in our water ways and take a long time to break down.

If I’ve just blown your mind with that refer to my previous blog ‘How Safe is Bleach’ here and find out an alternative way to tackle mould. 

Then let’s look at
fly spray.

This is one of my favourites. Read the cautionary directions on this.

Does it read ‘Do not inhale’?

I find it extremely impossible to be able to not inhale something that is sprayed into the air, especially indoors. Confusing right?! Next look at a number of antibacterial air sprays.

Do they read the same? Hmmmmmmmmmm……

Chemicals can also accumulate in our bodies.
This is known as Bioaccumulation.

What may be considered low risk with exposure doesn’t really cover the chemicals that can accumulate in our bodies over time. With repeated exposure, particular chemicals can build up in our body and accumulate to levels that are toxic.

They may not cause problems today, but long term they can create huge ones. And the terrible thing is, we may not know what half of the new chemicals out there are capable of doing because only a fraction have known toxicology in humans.

Other nasty chemicals have been linked to being a possible cause of cancer.

In some cases, the chemical alone may not be the direct cause, but they can potentially react with other compounds or be inhaled or absorbed into the body and then potentially turn into carcinogenic compounds.

An example of such a chemical is formaldehyde, found commonly in cosmetics and clothing to preserve and prevent bug growth.  

Some chemicals can also create problems with our hormones. And this is where fragrances concern me. Some have chemical structures that are very similar to our own hormones and can potentially disrupt how our own hormones work in the body.

These are known as endocrine disruptors and include chemicals like phthalates, which are plasticiers found in fragrances to extend the length a smell lingers.

Our hormones are only produced in small amounts and at certain parts of the day or due to biological processes within the body.

Therefore, exposure to even the smallest amount of chemical can have the potential to have large effects on this systems.

With patients that present with issues such as infertility, irregular periods, moodiness, headaches and brain fog, I recommend that they look closely at what they are using on their bodies. Is it fragrance filled? Can we swap it out for something more natural or as simple as coconut oil say for a body lotion?

Is it fragrance filled? Can you swap it out for something more natural or as simple as coconut oil say for a body lotion?

Some chemicals
may also affect our
nervous tissue.

These are referred to as neurotoxins.

This is a big issue for me with children. Their nervous system, brain development and growth does not need to be exposed to harmful toxins that can disrupt its normal course. Their bodies are so tiny and fragile and are working so hard to grow, we don’t need to place additional burden on their bodies to metabolise and eliminate toxins that could potentially be affecting their development.

Especially since they have no say in the matter.

I’ve probably bombarded you with enough chemical jargon to send you screaming?

But please don’t feel scared. I’m not here to say that using them is going to kill you or you’ll be condemned to hell.

Geezzz a little drastic!  

What I really want to do is raise awareness and ultimately the decision to make a change is up to you.

At the same time, I am realistic. There are going to be times when you may need to use chemicals in your home. Just follow the safety directions, make sure your house is adequately ventilated and use with caution.

If you want a little help knowing more about certain chemicals, check out my fave resource website, the Environmental Working Group or download apps like The Chemical Maze.

But at the end of the day, it’s more about becoming conscious of what you are using and not falling for marketing strategies and ploys that make you
think you are doing the best thing for your family.

Until next time!

Wishing you wellness,