Chemicals are found in everything! The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we consume and the home we live in! They are everywhere and often exposure to them is beyond our control.
Often when patients are told to change their lifestyle they often consider two variables, their diet and the amount of exercise they do. But there is one important factor that is often overlooked, that is the environment they surround themselves in. Our home can shape our health, for example, if it contains mould spores it can cause an asthmatic child to continually display symptoms, or continually reinfect someone who has persistent tinea/Athletes Foot, or worsen someones dermatitis or worsen a child ADHD. This overlooked variable is something we can chose to have control over just like our diet and exercise. A variable that doesnt just impact ourselves but our whole family.
We have become a society too quick to grab the easiest solution when in some cases it could be as simple as changing what we use around the home. And today's market we are led to believe that in order to be clean we need to kill every germ and we need a product for everything. This isn't true. Not all bacteria is bad and killing bacteria off can leave our immune system vunerable. Yes you better believe it, we have bacteria in our body that forms part of our immune system and kills off the nasty bugs that can sometimes get inside. Often the large array of products in the cleaning isle are just the same product repackaged for all different cleaning purposes. Smart aren't they.
Now not all chemicals are bad. It's the ones that are found in common household cleaning products that have accumulative (hang around and build up), carcinogenic (cancer causing), neurotoxic (nerve damaging) and hormonal influences (mimic our normal hormones) that can cause us great harm.
With all the misleading information out there, how do you know you are choosing the right product. It is difficult and often frustrating when you are led to believe a product is good for you when in fact it isn't. Well as a Pharmacist, the beauty of my professional studies is that I understand these labels and where these substances come from, but to the untrained eye the long words can be daunting and lets not even try to read them.
So I've simplified it into a list of the top 5 Chemicals that I recommend to avoid in the home. Start with these first and then slowly grow to remove more items from the home.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate/Sodium Laureth Sulphate: This chemical compound has been linked to cancer and can be accumulated in the body. It is largely irritating on the skin and can worsen conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
- Parabens: These compounds have been linked to cancer and can also be largely irritating on the skin.
- Ammonia: This compound is highly irritating on the lungs, throat, eyes and skin. It can worsen conditions like asthma and allergies.
- Phthalates: This name will not be visible on the label but if you see the words 'fragrance' or 'parfum' then that product contains these toxic compounds. Phthalates are hormone disruptors and can affect reproductive hormones.
- Triclosan: This is a strong antibacterial agent found in a number of soaps, dishwashing liquids, shampoo, bodywash and even toothpaste. This compound promotes the growth of resistant bacterial strains (promoting 'super bugs') and is a hormone disruptor.
Now this is just my top 5, they are readily found in product you use everyday to clean with and wash with. But let's just start with this, make yourself aware. Look at your products, read their labels and make a pile of the ones that contain the above chemicals. You will be surprised!
Now you are aware, now you can make a more conscious effort about what you expose your family to.
Let's empower ourselves to make better choices with what we use in the home.
I am here to help and join you on your journey!