Would you like to make a change towards ecological and healthy living? In that case, the article below is for you!
Are you concerned about indoor air quality? We spend 90% of our time indoors. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that indoor air can be 10 times (or more) polluted than outdoor air. There is scientific evidence that long-term exposure to a cocktail of chemicals in the air, house dust and everyday products is harmful to our health. People most at risk from low-level chemical exposures are the fetus, babies, children, women, the elderly, high-risk workers, the poor and people with chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma and multiple chemical sensitivities. Exposure to chemicals and the resulting symptoms may escape the attention of physicians due to routine exposure to these products. There is a lack of education and awareness of the health effects of daily exposures to commonly encountered chemicals. Sometimes a new product could trigger symptoms in an individual, and if the question of product choice or exposure and effect is never asked, the connection between the two goes unnoticed and the exposure/exposures continue. People may have different reactions to the same chemicals and some people can have high responses to very low doses.
For this reason, we can all benefit from using products with zero or least-toxic chemicals. We have complete individual control over what we buy for our home and family: food, cleaning products, personal care products, construction and renovation materials.
How do these chemicals enter the body?
The three main routes of exposure are through the skin, lungs and mouth. Chemicals are absorbed, distributed and added to the total load of toxic chemicals in our bodies. The skin is the largest organ in the body and can absorb chemicals from personal care and household cleaning products. Chemicals can come into frequent contact with the skin and some can cause irritation on contact. Also, when we breathe, delicate lung tissue can be exposed to chemicals that enter the bloodstream and are distributed without going through the liver detoxification process. These chemicals can cause damage throughout the body and can damage lung tissue. The use of aerosols is a concern because the particles expelled are very small. Toxic chemicals that enter the mouth are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. These include chemicals found in food that we eat and drink, such as pesticides, preservatives, additives, colourings, etc., as well as products applied on or near our mouth, such as lipstick. Frequent hand-to-mouth activities make children more vulnerable to the ingestion of toxic residues on floors, furniture, toys and other objects.
For more information, visit the Human Health and the Effects of Exposures section on our website.
Create the change you want to see happen!
So many products are advertised with seductive messaging, such as using a particular product or cream will make you look ten years younger or a specific deodorant will result in infinite energy which would enable performance 18 hours a day without breaking into a sweat. Fact is, in this messaging, there is no mention of the harm that can be caused from exposure to the chemicals contained in these products!
Changing the products you use on a daily basis may seem like a difficult step to implement. However, this change is essential for your health and the health of those around you, and the environment! You will certainly feel good about reducing chemicals by making healthy product choices which will result in better indoor air quality and a healthier environment.
Let us help you and accompany you while you make this change!
Some steps may seem more difficult than others, especially for household and personal hygiene products. Remember, less is more! Visit this section to learn how to identify healthy products.
There are some people who believe that chemicals are good for us! Together, let’s undo some preconceived ideas:
- Personal and household products with “clean” smells make me and my home healthier = FALSE!
The “smells” used in these products are actually synthetic chemicals that are used to produce a scent that we can associate with feeling clean. But in actual fact, these chemicals are harmful to our health. Healthy cleaning products such as borax, vinegar, baking soda, etc. do not have these chemical odours, but they are just as effective at cleaning your home in a healthy manner.
- Living in an environment composed of chemicals makes us stronger and less vulnerable = FALSE!
Exposures to chemicals contained in products, as explained above, are harmful to our health. Children and other vulnerable groups are at a higher risk. Should you become ill from chemical exposures, diagnosis is very hard to obtain and medical treatments are not available in the public system. In Canada over one million people have been diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity and we know from the statistics that this number is increasing (Statistics Canada, 2016). In order to prevent illness from chemical exposures, choose your products wisely.
Now that you have some basic information in hand, here is a plan for a successful step-by-step transition to a healthier environment:
- Think about all the good reasons to change your lifestyle and create a healthier environment for your children, yourself and the planet!
- Go at your own pace. Make changes room by room (e.g. start with the bathroom, removing harmful products and replacing them with healthier alternatives). After removing the harmful products from one place, it will be easier for you to continue to make the other rooms of the house healthier. To find out which products are harmful and how to effectively replace them, please refer to the different sections of our website. (Note: In an attempt to dispose of your products, do not pour toxic cleaners and/or other products down the drain or throw them in the garbage. Contact your municipality for safe disposal).
- Integrate these changes into your daily life: buy healthy, or try DIY projects with health in mind (recipes from the guide), build or renovate in a healthy manner, etc. You can drive change! Use your buying power to create the change you want to see happen, and the markets will respond to your needs.
- Adopt certain rules at home: for example, don’t allow smoking indoors, leave outdoors shoes at the entrance, ensure good ventilation, etc.
- Spread the message to your family, friends and the people around you, on social networks. Become an actor for change!
We are just an email away to help you create healthy spaces!