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Dangerous Cleaning Products You Need To Stop Using

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True confession: I hate housework. I grew up in a large family and from an early age we were all taught how to clean properly and were responsible for thoroughly cleaning our five-bedroom home regularly. By regularly, I mean EVERY. Damn. Day. With a deep cleaning every week. Laundry was done every day.

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Dishes were washed, dried, and put away after every meal. Bath linens were washed daily, then folded precisely and put back in the linen closet. Bed linens were changed on all the beds every Saturday. We’re talking hospital corners. The whole nine. All surfaces were dusted and polished. Floors were swept and mopped. Carpets were vacuumed. Every. Damn. Week.

Vacuuming

Because I had asthma as a child, cleaning was very uncomfortable for me. The dust that spewed out of the fan in the back of the 1960s vacuum became airborne and made me sneeze. Chemicals in window cleaners and household cleaners emitted toxic fumes that made me dizzy and caused me to wheeze. But, that did not stop the progress of housecleaning. Chemical cleaning smells and inhaling concentrated amounts of dust came with the task and were all we knew. I grew up thinking that household cleaning was hazardous to my health and I was determined not to do it when I became an adult. Sometimes letting dust bunnies accumulate is better for your health than stirring up dust particles and making them airborne by cleaning.

Since those days, vacuums have become highly efficient. When I bought my first house, I plunked down $1000 and bought a high end vacuum that filtered everything, even the finest particles. If clean air is important to you, skip some other indulgences and invest in the best vacuum you can afford. They are now so well made that the air that spews out the back is cleaner than the air taken in during the act of vacuuming. And, best of all, these vacuum options are now more affordable.

Dusting

Let’s talk airborne allergens. Dusting should NOT be done with a feather duster. You’re just moving that dust around. It floats in the air, getting inhaled, and then settles down to accumulate in another place. Waste of time. Dust instead with a damp cloth so you are actually picking UP the dust. And, in washing your damp dust rag, you are washing that dust down the drain.

Another airborne allergen is fragrance. You know that sweet smell in candles and cleaning products? That is a chemically derived fragrance. The fragrance industry is actually part and parcel of the chemical industry. They manufacture scents that smell “clean” but are very far from clean. If you have any doubt, pop into a typical nail salon. You can barely breathe in there because the smell of chemicals is so strong, right?

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Chemical companies synthesize a fragrance that may smell good but it is exactly the same as the nasty smelling chemicals. Your brain, your mood, your breathing, and your overall health are negatively affected. Better to smell real cinnamon than to smell a candle that is chemically scented to smell like cinnamon. If you think about it, it doesn’t even make sense that we would buy a toxic version of something that already exists in nature and is safe and smells better! If you like the scent of cinnamon and vanilla, put them in a pot on the stove and simmer them. Your whole house will smell amazingly cozy and you won’t have damaged any brain cells.

So, give up the scented candles and buy unscented or beeswax candles instead. Your body will thank youbeeswax for it. As for scented cleaning products, invest in some good essential oils and add a few drops to your homemade cleaning products. Be aware of the impact of chemical versus natural scents on your physical and mental state and on your mood. Be certain that the products you are using to scent the air, like candles, potpourri, et cetera, are natural scents such as food products and essential oils and not chemically derived fragrances.

lysol_products-crisp-linen-02One of my least favorite products is Lysol™ deodorizing spray. Some people are obsessed with using it to clean and deodorize the air in places such as the bathroom. Did you know that Lysol spray is purposely made sticky? You spray it in the air and it doesn’t actually diminish odors, it masks them. The sticky spray particles are inhaled by the user (and anyone who has the misfortune of being nearby), coating the hairs in the nose so you can only smell the Lysol.

The bad smell is still in the air, you just can’t smell anything but what is stuck up your nose. The sticky particles are also inhaled into your lungs. Your lungs will produce mucous to rid the lung cilia of the sticky substance. Excess mucous floods your lungs, causing chest congestion, wheezing, and hopefully coughing to clear it out, but ultimately, you are drowning in your own phlegm. This is an asthmatic reaction that can send the sensitive to the Emergency Room.

Lysol also has other harmful effects that damage body systems, like endocrine disruptors and central nervous system effects. Would you knowingly spray a pesticide in your bathroom? Doubtful. Lysol is classified as a pesticide by the FDA. I rest my case.

Mold

The worst airborne allergen is mold. You need to be vigilant with that stuff. Don’t let it get a foothold in your home. You want to kill it before it spreads. Unlike dust, airborne mold spores are living organisms. If you inhale them, they’re in your lungs and growing in your body. If you come in contact, they can grow on the surface of your skin, causing bacterial infections.

If you have mold anywhere in your living environment, whether it is your own home or a rental, clean that mold up and out. If it’s just a damp smell in your basement, get a dehumidifier and keep it going all summer. Basement dampness can be the first sign of mold growing behind your walls and you may need a professional to remove it. Get on that! You can’t sell a home with mold. And, your landlord’s building can be condemned if it is found to contain high levels of mold. Don’t jeopardize your health. Be proactive when it comes to mold.

Chemicals

I’ve learned to make housecleaning bearable by weeding out the poisons in my home that made me sick. Surface cleaning can also be bad for your health. You know: Floors. Counters. Sinks. Bathroom tile and fixtures. Furniture. Fabrics. Appliances. And, windows – ack! Open the cabinet under your kitchen sink. What’s down there? If you have a childproof lock on that cabinet, you already know the answer — it’s poison, quite literally. If your child needs to be rushed to the Emergency Room after ingesting something from under your sink, then you already know you’re cleaning your house with poison.

If it’s poison to ingest it, why would you use it to clean surfaces that you or your child or your companion animals come into contact with? Kids put their fingers in their mouths after touching the surfaces you’ve cleaned. Animals clean themselves constantly and they are laying on the floors you just used that poison on. And, lastly, YOU are touching these same surfaces that you just used rubber gloves to clean because you didn’t want to get the poison on your hands. 

Are you getting the visual here? When you apply poisonous chemicals to surfaces believing you are cleaning or disinfecting them, you are turning your house into a hazardous area. Unless your family is all outfitted in hazmat suits, right down to the dog, you are living dangerously in a home that has been poisoned. Sounds alarmist? You should be alarmed. The chemicals found in most standard cleaning products have been deemed hazardous by the EPA.

Most cleaning products are laden with chemical toxins. How many of the cleaning products under your sink are chemical cocktails making outrageous claims of their cleaning, degreasing, and disinfecting ability? If ANY of them have chemical names in the ingredient list, dispose of them responsibly like you would any other poison.

Bring them to your local recycling center and make sure they aren’t just dumping them down the drain. If you wouldn’t drink/eat it, do not use it to clean your home. Not only are chemicals in cleaning products skin and eye irritants, many contain ingredients that are known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and may also cause birth defects. Why take any chances with your health or a family members’ health? Not to mention the health of your companion animals.

Specifically, avoid ingredients such as bleach, toluene, parabens, formaldehyde and anything with benzene in the name. Also avoid anything that has chemical fragrance.

Many people are now going the natural route, and most magazines and websites are now featuring homemade cleaning products. They clean surfaces naturally with a mixture of vinegar and water. You can clean almost anything with some variation of these ingredients: vinegar, baking soda, borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and natural soaps like Castile or hemp.

Here are some links containing lists of safe natural ingredients you should stock your cabinets with to use for cleaning, with simple formulas you can create right in your own home. If you don’t like the scent of vinegar, you can add a few drops of lavender essential oil. This provides an aromatherapy benefit too, as lavender has a calming effect on your brain. If you prefer another scent, like lemon or orange, because that is the smell that you associate with cleanliness, then by all means, use essential oils of lemon or orange or pine to clean surfaces.

But, notice that it is the scent that you associate with cleanliness. That’s how fragrance makers get you to buy their chemistry experiments. It’s a psychological association with cleanliness. They synthesized those natural scents and turned them into chemical fragrance. Doesn’t it make sense to just use the natural source? Here are some safe simple options: non-toxic solutions

Okay, so maybe you’re not a Do-It-Yourselfer. For pure convenience, you just want to buy the lovely new “natural” cleaning products that are now increasingly more present in your local grocery store. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We should support companies that produce healthy products and are trying to make a difference by not contributing to the pollution of our planet. But, not all natural products are alike. There is natural and then there are the “greenwashed” products. Greenwashing is making your product look like it’s natural but it actually isn’t. If you’re wondering what Treehugger would recommend, click here.

I have to admit that I fell victim to a greenwashed product myself. I bought a window cleaner made by a company called Green Works™ that was a clear liquid in a clear bottle, as opposed to the familiar blue spray that we shall not name here. When I used it to clean my countertop, my nose immediately picked up a chemical scent. I looked at the label more closely.

Yup, chemicals. Turns out that Green Works is owned by Clorox™ — the least natural company on the grocer’s shelf. In 2007, Clorox purchased Burt’s Bees™, a small natural beauty brand sold in health food stores for a whopping $925 million. At the time, I wondered why Clorox would be interested in tiny little Burt’s Bees. They were just trying to greenwash their image so they could hop on the “natural” products bandwagon, straddling both the latter and the chemical side, making money off of all consumers. They made the Burt’s Bees buy just before launching the Green Works brand. Those rascals! I was furious at myself for falling for it. So, let the buyer beware!

So, what should you buy if you don’t want to make your own concoctions? There are many reputable brands on the market. I advise that you consult the Environmental Working Group’s recommended products that can be found here.  Then go to the store and check them out for yourself. Some are very costly due to package design and marketing, but there are many affordable options.

I encourage you to visit the links here to find options for both off-the-shelf products or for recipes for homemade cleaners. This site and this one has great tips. Cleaning can be a fresh, pleasant, and healthy experience. I won’t go so far as to say it’s fun. But, I’ll definitely settle comfortably for healthy. As you begin the new year, consider cleaning up your cleaning supplies. While you’re at it, put on your favorite music and make it a sensory experience. Happy cleaning!

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Awareness

Johnson & Johnson Found To Have Knowingly Allowed Asbestos In Their Baby Powder

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Johnson and Johnson have recently lost lawsuits for negligence in knowingly allowing carcinogenic substances in their talc-based hygiene products.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we starting to turn the page on an era where human health and safety are not the prime considerations in the manufacturing of consumer products?

We are starting to awaken to the fact that it seems to be the rule, and not the exception, that large Western corporations put profits above human health considerations. The only time they seem to give any regard to human health concerns is when their forecasts of potential lawsuits down the road would likely exceed the cost measures needed to ensure the safety of their product.

Johnson & Johnson is just one of a long line of corporate perpetrators who believed that covering up and lying about known health concerns would make better business sense than taking the time and resources to actually address those health concerns within their products.

Contaminated Baby Powder: The Height Of Indignity

One would think, regardless of an understanding that the bottom line is a priority for most private companies, that the health and safety of a nursing mother and her newborn child would be sacrosanct for any industry. The reality is that this is simply not the case, even though J&J could have mitigated this problem from the start.

Companies that mine talc are required to take extra steps to ensure the absence of asbestos in their talc. Instead, J&J allegedly went to great lengths to fake it.

Not only did the company know about the asbestos contamination, evidence suggests, but J&J also failed to warn its customers about the link between Baby Powder and cancer or replace its talc with a safer alternative. As a result, J&J guaranteed its customers’ exposure to asbestos.

And regardless of their size or numbers, asbestos fibers are lethal at any capacity. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed repeatedly, there is no safe level of exposure. (source)

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The Testimony of Scientist James Webber

Baby Powder’s contamination with asbestos (a mineral that naturally occurs near talc) has long been the subject of lawsuits. But only in recent years has evidence begun to unravel J&J’s defense – that the company had no idea – and threatened its success in lawsuits to come.

In March, a California jury awarded $29 million to Terry Leavitt, a woman who said that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based products caused her terminal mesothelioma. Environmental scientist James Webber testified in her high-profile California trial and made these observations:

During several hours on the stand, Webber explained how he ran tests that showed “clear” evidence of asbestos contamination in the mines from which J&J sourced talc.

“The testing I have seen [shows] that it was present at least as early as 1971 and up through the late 1990s,” said Webber, who ran an asbestos laboratory in New York state.

Despite denying it publicly, J&J had observed this contamination in internal memos. Its notes dismissed the amount of asbestos in its talc as “but a trace,” Webber alleged. But that was just an optimistic interpretation of superficial testing, he said: the tests used methods too weak to detect microscopic asbestos fibers. Webber insisted the actual tests results revealed there could be millions of asbestos fibers per gram of talc.

And J&J’s inaccurate reports were allegedly only the tip of the iceberg. In some instances, Webber said, photos attached to J&J’s reports revealed that “they had been seeing it and not reporting it.”  (source)

And It’s Getting Worse

The $29 million verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, was the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. And things may be getting even worse for J&J, according to ZeroHedge:

Johnson & Johnson shares are down over 5% after Bloomberg reports that, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder…

Now, a grand jury in Washington is examining documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products, the people said.

The Takeaway

It seems as though corporations have long been willing to take the calculated risk of short-cuts and denials instead of ensuring that their products are safe for public use. My suspicion is that a part of our collective awakening process will be issuing in a new business paradigm in which human health and safety become paramount.

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Awareness

Prescription Infant Formulas Found To Be Contaminated With Aluminum

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple brands of prescription infant formula were found to contain high levels of aluminum.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be questioning the quality of products that come from pharmaceutical production? Do we veer away from natural methods of raising children more than we should? At what cost?

You may not think aluminum is a big deal, but it is. For anybody who has looked into aluminum toxicology, it’s quite clear and apparent that it has no place inside of any living biological organism. Putting it simply, it wreaks havoc on our biology. High amounts of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, with experts in the field believing that aluminum brain accumulation may be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s also been discovered within the brains of MS patients, and some of the highest aluminum content ever recorded in brain tissue has also been discovered in people with autism. Aluminum is associated with several diseases. But an adult body can do a great job of flushing out aluminum.

Despite the fact that aluminum has no place within earth’s biota, it’s still present in many of our medications, our food, and even in the water that we drink due to contamination since the industrial revolution. Aluminum inside the body is a new phenomenon and still understudied. Again, there is a threshold, and aluminum that is injected via vaccines doesn’t exit the body–there is strong evidence that it remains inside the body and ends up in distant organs and eventually inside of the brain. If you want to access more studies on that topic, you can read this article I published that provides them and goes into more detail. You can also watch this interview with Christopher Exley, where he also points to that fact.

A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown that multiple popular infant prescriptions are contaminated with aluminum. You may be asking how much aluminum, but the authors make it a point to stress that there are no safe amounts of aluminum levels that can be inside of a human body, let alone a newborn baby. That being said, the amounts found are listed within the abstract of the study:

Historical and recent data demonstrate that off-the-shelf infant formulas are heavily contaminated with aluminium. The origin of this contamination remains to be elucidated though may be imported via ingredients, packaging and processing. Specialised infant formulas exist to address health issues, such as low birth weight, allergy or intolerance and medical conditions, such as renal insufficiency. The aluminium content of these prescription infant formulas is measured here for the first time. We obtained 24 prescription infant formulas through a paediatric clinic and measured their total aluminium content by transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry following microwave assisted acid/peroxide digestion. The aluminium content of ready-to-drink formulas ranged from 49.9 (33.7) to 1956.3 (111.0) μg/L. The most heavily contaminated products were those designed as nutritional supplements for infants struggling to gain weight. The aluminium content of powdered formulas ranged from 0.27 (0.04) to 3.27 (0.19) μg/g. The most heavily contaminated products tended to be those addressing allergies and intolerance. Prescription infant formulas are contaminated with aluminium.

Another very important point made right off the bat by the authors:

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Human exposure to aluminium is a serious health concern. Aluminium exposure in infants is understandably a burgeoning issue. While infant exposure to aluminium continues to be documented, its consequences, immediate and in the future, have received only scant attention and research is required to understand the biological availability of aluminium through formula feeding. For example, how much aluminium is absorbed across the neonate gut and its subsequent fate, including excretion.

There is already too much aluminium in infant formulas and herein we have measured its content in a large number of prescription formulas, products which are fed to vulnerable infants in their first months of life. Many of these products are heavily contaminated with aluminium.

As for the specific infant formulas, you can refer to the study. The researchers obtained 24 prescription infant formulas via the Paediatric Clinic of Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, United Kingdom. The ready-to-drink and powdered products were new, ready-to-be used and unopened samples. These formulas are for babies with some sort of growth restriction, like for preterm infants or infants who have poor weight gain. There were also powdered formulas for allergies and intolerances and powdered formulas with additional amino acids.

The authors contacted each manufacturer and expressed that they denied knowing that there was any aluminum in their products, which means it’s still a mystery as to their source. The authors hypothesize on a number of ways that aluminum could be entering into the formulas.

In their conclusion, the authors emphasize that:

Where possible, breast milk feeding should be prioritised, as the aluminium content of breast milk is invariably an order of magnitude lower than in formula feeds. Where infant formulas are the only source of nutrition for many infants in their first weeks and months of life, aluminium ingested in formula feeds will be the major contributor to their body burden of aluminium. The last thing that vulnerable infants fed specialised formulas for their specific nutritional/medicinal need is additional aluminium in their diet.

Detoxing

There is a lot of information out there on how a person can detox from aluminum and other heavy metals. There are multiple studies, and based on what I’ve looked into, water with high amounts of Silica are effective in draining aluminum out of your body and brain. Herbs like cilantro and substances like chlorella and spirulina are also great for removing some metals. The information is out there, so be sure to do your research.

The Takeaway

It’s concerning to think about what these corporations are doing. Again, aluminum should hold no place in our society, it should’ve remained well below our surface as part of the Earth’s crust for a reason. It wasn’t until humans began digging it out and using it for a number of things, irresponsibly I might add, that we started to see the health implications which still go largely ignored by the medical community.

In fact, heavy metal accumulation and detoxification of aluminum haven’t been addressed at all, which is odd given the fact that heavy metal accumulation is linked to a variety of diseases.

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Awareness

9 Studies You Should Be Aware of Before Trying The Ketogenic Diet

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.

  • Reflect On:

    Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?

The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.

But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?

In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.

It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.

Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.

So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.

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The Videos

Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.

In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.

Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.

Related Articles

Diabetic Shares Why He Quit ‘The Ketogenic Diet’

Doctor Explains Why She Never Recommends The ‘Ketogenic Diet’

The Biggest Misconception About The ‘Ketogenic Diet’…You Don’t Actually Have To Follow It

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