6 Toxic fabrics for skin

 

Martin Fox, Ph.D. author of Healthy Water for Longer Life describes that we absorb more through our skin than through ingesting. In a 15-minute bath, the average adult absorbs 63% of the elements in the water. Drinking 2 liters of water, the absorption rate of elements is only 27%.

As we can get sick with “sick” clothes, healthy clothes can make us healthier. There are several ways our skin can guard us, as it stays guard outside our body for our inner body. Skin is our bodyguard for our inside. It keeps our inside in. If our skin is not healthy it cannot protect us, it cannot breathe and regulate body temperature. Unhealthy skin cannot sweat right, invigorate and synthesis vitamin D properly.

Not that long ago, people were stuck to the natural fibers: wool, cashmere, cotton, silk, linen, and hemp.

But if you take a look at your clothing labels today, you are likely to find materials like rayon, polyester, acrylic, acetate and nylon. And your shirts and slacks may be treated to be wrinkle-free or stain resistant.

These technological advances in fabrics may make our lives simpler, but at what cost? Chemically treated natural and synthetic fabrics are a source of toxins that adversely affect your health and the health of the planet.

Here’s our short list of fabrics to avoid, and the healthy ones to pick instead.

Top 6 Toxic Fabrics

1. Polyester is the worst fabric you can buy. It is made from synthetic polymers that are made from esters of dihydric alcohol and terpthalic acid.

2. Acrylic fabrics are polycrylonitriles and may cause cancer, according to the EPA.

3. Rayon is recycled wood pulp that must be treated with chemicals like caustic soda, ammonia, acetone and sulphuric acid to survive regular washing and wearing.

4. Acetate and Triacetate are made from wood fibers called cellulose and undergo extensive chemical processing to produce the finished product.

5. Nylon is made from petroleum and is often given a permanent chemical finish that can be harmful.

6. Anything static resistant, stain resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain proof or moth repellant. Many of the stain resistant and wrinkle-free fabrics are treated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), like Teflon.

Modern Materials

Keep in mind that many fabrics (including natural fibers) undergo significant processing that often involves:

  • Detergents
  • Petrochemical dyes
  • Formaldehyde to prevent shrinkage
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Dioxin-producing bleach
  • Chemical fabric softeners

These additives are often toxic to the human body, may contain heavy metals and can pollute our environment.

With these kinds of warnings, what can you do?

If you are chemically sensitive or just want to surround yourself with healthy fabrics, there are new options.

The more synthetic clothing you wear, the greater your risk of absorbing toxic chemicals that harm your health. Skin is the largest body organ and when toxins are absorbed through your skin, they bypass your liver, the organ responsible for removing toxins. You also may not realize that your skin keeps you healthy by venting up to a pound of toxins per day.

Petrochemical fibers restrict and suffocate your skin shutting down toxic release. Meanwhile, they contribute to your total toxic burden and may become the “tipping point” for triggering the onset of disease.

Two contributing factors:

  1. Toxic buildup in your body
  2. Multiple chemicals that interact together to create even worse problems than the individual chemicals by themselves.

Skin rashes, nausea, fatigue, burning, itching, headaches, and difficulty breathing are all associated with chemical sensitivity. If you have mysterious health symptoms that you can’t seem to get control over, it’s worth checking out whether your clothes could be the problem.

Here’s what you can do:

Choose natural fibers.

  1. Cotton — preferably organic. It remains the “king” of textiles. Organic accounts for less than 1% of worldwide production.
  2. Flax — one of nature’s strongest fibers.
  3. Hemp — grows without any need for fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides because it’s naturally insect-resistant. Its fibers are reported to be four times stronger than cotton. This is NOT the hemp known for its mind-altering properties!
  4. Silk — known as the “queen of fabrics”. Watch out for the use of synthetic dyes in silk.
  5. Wool — most of today’s wool is contaminated with chemicals, i.e., pesticides used to kill parasites. But organic wool is becoming more common.
  6. Other — alpaca, angora, camel, cashmere, mohair, ramie, aluyot. Read more

Best is to go organic.

The Organic Trade Association estimates that one non-organic cotton T-shirt uses one-third pound of pesticides and fertilizers. Cotton production uses one-fourth of all the world’s fertilizers. It’s another good reason to choose organic cotton to add to the ones above.

25 Tips for healthy wear– click here

When we choose organic cotton clothing, we not only benefit directly from its superior comfort and durability, we also help to minimize harm to our health and the planet’s ecosystems. From seed-preparation to weed control and harvesting, organic growing methods have proven to be safer because they rely on toxic chemicals. Organic cotton involves untreated seeds, crop rotation and water retention in the soil by adding organic matter, hand removed weeds from the crops and natural biological practices for pest control.

Organic cotton represents safe and sustainable practices.  People with allergies and chemical sensitivity especially benefit from organic cotton clothing, as conventional cotton may retain harmful toxic residues. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, organic cotton will just feel better on your skin.

Organic farming is not only safer and healthier for farmers, but also encourages just economic systems in the supply chain. It provides an economically viable and socially acceptable alternative to large-scale farming and dependence on subsidies.

So why wait, let’s make a start. Check out organic cotton clothing option next time when are you are in stores. Don’t let babies, toddlers and kids wear toxic clothes. They are soft and they need soft. Nature has given us the best option. 100% organic cotton.

Be safe buy safe.

References:

http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2007/06/ask-ewg-why-there-teflon-clothes-it-safe
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/your-money/11wrinkle.html?_r=0
“Killer Clothes” written by Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN
https://www.cancerdefeated.com/

https://bodyecology.com/articles/top_6_fabrics_you_should_avoid_wearing.php

Our genes load the gun, our lifestyle pulls the trigger


Treat your health like a job because your life depends on it- Anonymous


The true cost of an unhealthy lifestyle or little exercise, poor diet and smoking has been quantified by scientists who found that it can reduce lifespan by 23 years. People who develop largely preventable conditions like heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes are cutting their life short by decades, a 50 year study has shown.

It is estimated that around 80 per cent of cases could be prevented by keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking or drinking too much.

For a man in his 40s, suffering from all three conditions reduces life by 23 years. It means that a 40-year-old’s life expectancy would drop from 78 to just 55. Likewise someone in their 60s could lose 15 years, meaning a 60-year-old man might have just three years of life left.

The cost is far greater than smoking, which is thought to limit lifespan by 10 years.

“We showed that having a combination of diabetes and heart disease is associated with a substantially lower life expectancy,” says Dr Emanuele Di Angelantonio from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge
“An individual in their sixties who has both conditions has an average reduction in life expectancy of about 15 years.”

The researchers analyzed data from 700,000 people who were recruited for Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration (ERFC) cohort between 1960 and 2007 and 500,000 participants fro, the UK Biobank who were recruited between 2006 and 2010.

From the 1.2 million people studied, 135,000 died during the research period.

The study authors used the information to estimate reductions in life expectancy associated with different conditions including diabetes, stroke, heart attack and other diseases.

Around 134,000 cancers each year are the result of a poor lifestyle, Cancer Research UK has found.

Unhealthy lifestyles includes: Smoking, not eating right and eating lot of junk food, drug and alcohol abuse, not or little exercise, snacking when not hungry, irregular sleep habits and not sleeping enough, skipping breakfast, too much sitting, too much TV watching, unhealthy relationships, negative talking, staying annoyed all the time.

One of our most important assets is our health. If we don’t feel well, we can’t do well. How can you expect to get the absolute most out of life if your energy levels are below average, carrying around excess fat, and feeling like complete crap? You can’t! Looking good is just a benefit. It is so much deeper than simply reaping the exterior rewards. The true benefit is what happens within us when we give our bodies the attention they need.

These days its easy to get your body loaded with chemicals by not paying attention to what we are throwing inside ourselves. If you look around, you’ll see a ton of eating options that are unhealthy and how easily we toss them in our body. Then we cover ourselves with chemical filled clothes and fill our houses with all kind of chemically made products. Without even knowing, we create a heap of chemicals in and around us. That’s kind of scary.

We live in our body and we cannot take it for granted.

Almost 300 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and are often present in non-organic food. Farmers are now using pesticides and chemicals as security to meet the production targets. They are constantly planting the same crop in the same field year after year. We are now living in a world where the foods, fruits, vegetables and grains raised no longer contain enough of certain needed minerals, like magnesium for example. We are depleting the soil, which means it is now almost impossible to be nutrient sufficient.

Eat organic and wear organic. Chemically treated clothes can put your health at risk too as chemicals get absorbed through skin and while we breathe.

“Eat the Rainbow” Ideally, your diet should include 5-7 different colored vegetables and fruits in a day. In addition, 50% of the fruits and vegetables you do eat should be raw as raw foods have the most nutrients. Many people are concerned about eating enough protein, but vegetables and fruits that you should be more concerned with.

Genetic Disposition: “Our genes load the gun, our lifestyle pulls the trigger.” You might have a history of heart disease or cancer in your family, but your lifestyle is what enables that disease to come forward. By eating healthfully, you can prevent any of these predisposed issues to ever arise.

The Human Microbiome: There is a lot of research being done right now about the Microbiome and how 70% of the immune system resides in your gut.  If your gut bacteria is out of balance in any way, this can cause lots of health problems. Make sure you are taking a probiotic, especially after being on antibiotics which decimate all the bacteria in your gut.

Good Health is the greatest blessing of life. Life is a weary burden to a person of broken health. The richest man with bad health always suffers and groans. He is unhappy despite his great wealth.

People would say, in this busy life, we don’t have time. Well, it’s a tradeoff. In exchange for feeling better, having fewer medical problems, and living longer. The tradeoff is that you have to sacrifice a certain amount of time and recreational indulgencies.

Another excuse might be, we cannot motivate our brain enough to exercise. I would say: declare a war on that part of brain that produces creative excuses for not exercising and that it must be a lifetime war.

The sedentary gang like to argue that even if you exercise religiously, you could still catch a bad break and dye young. And they are right. But you must see the odds. I would say, odd are in favor of more exercise than less.

Stack the odds in your favor. Exercise moderately to continue it as a lifelong routine. Fanaticism leads to quitting while moderation gives the best chances of exercising through out life

References:

https://twoten.org/wifi-boston-finding-healthy-bottom-lin

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/2399

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/8937984/Unhealthy-lifestyle-responsible-for-half-of-cancers.html

10 habits you’ll pay for in 10 years

 

 

Chemicals…..Leave me alone!

Chemicals will not leave us alone until we shun them. They are everywhere- in us(junk food), on us (clothes) and around us(our home).  How can we shun them then? Start reading labels, get to know chemical names and don’t buy them. Its not hard, I have done it, you can do it too. If you want to know more, keep reading my blog.

As a thumb rule, eat organic, wear natural fiber clothes and natural cosmetics. Just by doing that you will not only save yourself from a ton of chemicals but also help environment and planet earth to stay clean. A little investment will go a long way and save a ton of medical expenses too.

Nicholas Kristof is an American journalist, a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he is a regular CNN contributor and has written an op-ed column for The New York Times since November 2001. His article published in the New York Times on February 23rd 2018 is reproduced below:

Our bodies are full of poisons from products we use every day. I know – I’ve had my urine tested for them. But before I get into all that, let’s do a quick check for poisons that might be in your body.

Here are 12 chemicals found in these everyday products

Chemical Details Found in products like
Antimicrobials Can interfere with thyroid and other hormones Colgate Total toothpaste, soap, deodorant
Benzophenones Can mimic natural hormones like estrogen Sunscreen, lotions, lip balm
Bisphenols Can mimic natural hormones like estrogen Protective lining for canned goods, hard plastic water bottles, thermal paper register receipts
1,4-dichlorobenzene Can affect thyroid hormones and may increase risk of cancer Mothballs, toilet deodorizers
Parabens Can mimic natural hormones like estrogen Cosmetics, personal care products like shampoos, hair gels, lotions
Phthalates Can disrupt male reproductive development and fertility Vinyl shower curtains, fast food, nail polish, perfume/cologne
Fragrance chemicals Can exacerbate asthma symptoms and disrupt natural hormones Perfume/cologne, cleaning products, dryer sheets, air fresheners
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Can affect hormones, immune response in children, and may increase risk of cancer Scotchgard and other stain-resistant treatments, fast-food wrappers
Flame retardants Can affect neurodevelopment and hormone levels, and may increase risk of cancer Nail polish, foam cushioning in furniture, rigid foam insulation

Surprised? So was I when I had my urine tested for these chemicals. (A urine or blood test is needed to confirm whether you have been exposed.)

Let me stress that mine should have been clean.

Almost a decade ago, I was shaken by my reporting on a class of toxic chemicals called endocrine disruptors. They are linked to cancer and obesity and also seemed to feminize males, so that male alligators developed stunted genitalia and male smallmouth bass produced eggs.

In humans, endocrine disruptors were linked to two-headed sperm and declining sperm counts. They also were blamed for an increase in undescended testicles and in a birth defect called hypospadias, in which the urethra exits the side or base of the penis rather than the tip.

Believe me, the scariest horror stories are found in urology journals. If you’re a man, you don’t wring your hands as you read; you clutch your crotch.

So I’ve tried for years now to limit my exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Following the advice of the President’s Cancer Panel, I eat organic to reduce exposure to endocrine disruptors in pesticides. I try to store leftover meals in glass containers, not plastic. I avoid handling A.T.M. and gas station receipts. I try to avoid flame-retardant furniture.

Those are all common sources of toxic endocrine disruptors, so I figured that my urine would test pristine. Pure as a mountain creek.

Silent Spring Institute near Boston, which studies chemical safety, offers a “Detox Me Action Kit” to help consumers determine what harmful substances are in their bodies. Following instructions, I froze two urine samples (warning my wife and kids that day to be careful what food they grabbed from the freezer) and Fed-Exed them off for analysis.

By the way, the testing is for women, too. Men may wince as they read about miniaturized alligator penises, but endocrine disruptors have also been linked to breast cancer and gynecological cancers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns women that endocrine disruptors can also cause miscarriages, fetal defects and much more.

As I waited for the lab results, I continued to follow the latest research. One researcher sent a bizarre video of a mouse exposed to a common endocrine disruptor doing back flips nonstop, as a kind of nervous tic.

Finally, I heard back from Silent Spring Institute. I figured this was a report card I had aced. I avoid all that harmful stuff. In my columns, I had advised readers how to avoid it.

Sure enough, I had a low level of BPA, best known because plastic bottles now often boast “BPA Free.”

But even a diligent student like me failed the test. Badly. I had high levels of a BPA substitute called BPF. Ruthann Rudel, a toxicologist who is the head of research at Silent Spring, explained that companies were switching to BPF even though it may actually be yet more harmful (it takes longer for the body to break it down). BPF is similar to that substance that made those mice do back flips.

“These types of regrettable substitutions — when companies remove a chemical that has a widely known bad reputation and substitute a little-known bad actor in its place — are all too common,” Rudel told me. “Sometimes we environmental scientists think we are playing a big game of whack-a-mole with the chemical companies.”

Sigh. I thought I was being virtuous by avoiding plastics with BPA, but I may have been causing my body even more damage.

My urine had an average level of an endocrine disruptor called triclosan, possibly from soap or toothpaste. Like most people, I also had chlorinated phenols (perhaps from mothballs in my closet).

I had a high level of a flame retardant called triphenyl phosphate, possibly from a floor finish, which may be “neurotoxic.” Hmm. Whenever you see flaws in my columns, that’s just my neurotoxins at work.

My lab results: high levels of four chemicals were found

Chemical Details Found in products like
1,4-dichlorobenzene Can affect thyroid hormones and may increase risk of cancer Mothballs, toilet deodorizers
Antimicrobials Can interfere with thyroid and other hormones Colgate Total toothpaste, soap, deodorant
Bisphenols Can mimic natural hormones like estrogen Protective lining for canned goods, hard plastic water bottles, thermal paper register receipts
Flame retardants Can affect neurodevelopment and hormone levels, and may increase risk of cancer Nail polish, foam cushioning in furniture, rigid foam insulation
Benzophenones Can mimic natural hormones like estrogen Sunscreen, lotions, lip balm
Parabens Can mimic natural hormones like estrogen Cosmetics, personal care products like shampoos, hair gels, lotions

Notes: Benzophenones and parabens were also found, but in lower levels than in most Americans. Tests for phthalates and fragrance chemicals were not included.

Will these endocrine disruptors give me cancer? Make me obese? Make my genitals fall off? Nobody really knows. At least I haven’t started doing random back flips yet.

The steps I took did help, and I recommend that others consult consumer guides at ewg.org to reduce their exposures to toxic chemicals. Likewise, if I had downloaded the Detox Me smartphone app, I would have known to get rid of those mothballs, along with air fresheners and scented candles. (Science lesson: A less fragrant house means cleaner pee.)

Yet my takeaway is also that chemical industry lobbyists have rigged the system so that we consumers just can’t protect ourselves adequately.

“You should not have to be a Ph.D toxicologist to be safe from so many of the chemicals in use,” Dr. Richard Jackson of U.C.L.A. told me. “So much of what we are exposed to is poorly tested and even less regulated.”

The Trump administration has magnified the problem by relaxing regulation of substances like chlorpyrifos, Dow Chemical’s nerve gas pesticide. The swamp has won.

So the saddest lesson is that even if you understand the peril and try to protect yourself and your family — as I strongly suggest you do — your body may still be tainted. The chemical companies spend tens of millions of dollars lobbying and have gotten the lightest regulation that money can buy.

They are running the show, and we consumers are their lab mice.

Conventional Cotton Clothes Vs Organic Cotton Clothes


“I try to apply the organic concept to my clothes and bedding as well. There’s nothing like swimming in organic cotton sheets” – Woody Harrelson


Conventional Cotton Clothes Vs Organic Cotton Clothes

Readers will find information on organic cotton on my blog articles, here is conventional cotton clothing versus organic cotton clothing facts.

Conventional Cotton Clothes Organic Cotton Clothes
Ø  Conventional cotton clothes are mostly made from GMO cotton.

Ø  Conventional cotton clothes are made from cotton grown with seeds treated to fungicide and insecticides

Ø  Conventional cotton clothes are made from cotton grown with the use of synthetic and toxic fertilizers and pesticides. Use arial sprays.

Ø  Conventional cotton clothes are made from cotton grown using methods and materials that are harmful for the environment.

Ø  Due to heavy fertilizer and pesticides use soil devoid of all organic matter that depletes and degrades soil’s value. Some of the most toxic pesticides are used for cotton crop cultivation.

Ø  Conventional cotton clothes are made from cotton that promotes mono-crop culture and leads to loss of soil

Ø  Conventional cotton destroys weeds by the use of chemicals

Ø  Conventional cotton large amount of water for cultivation and considered as intensive irrigation crop.

Ø  Convention cotton crop growing methods are harmful to agricultural communities because of the use of most toxic chemicals as fertilizers and pesticides.

Ø  Due to toxins used to grow conventional cotton, it kills the natural habitation.

Ø  Defoliation is done with the help of chemicals.

Ø  Conventional cotton does not need any third party certification as it uses no special methods for production.  

Ø  Conventional cotton is grown on regular farmland

Ø  Extensive run off of soil and chemicals ends up in the rivers and fresh water sources.  This leads to nitrogen contaminated lakes, rivers, and oceans which causes death of fish and other aquatic species

Ø  Conventional cotton clothes are mostly treated with conventional dyes and chemicals while processing the fabric.

Ø  Conventional cotton clothes are cheaper compared to organic cotton clothes because of mass production methods used for cotton crop and clothing production.

Ø  Top ten conventional cotton growing countries in order of rank are China, India, United States, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Australia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Greece.

Ø  Organic cotton clothes are never made from GMO cotton

Ø  Organic cotton clothes are made from cotton grown with untreated seeds

Ø  Organic cotton clothes are made from cotton grown without the use of toxic fertilizers and pesticides, instead natural methods of fertilizing are used.

Ø  Organic cotton clothes are made from cotton grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment.

Ø  Organic cotton production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture.

Ø  Organic cotton clothes are made from cotton that promotes crop rotation and builds strong, and fertile soil.

Ø  Organic cotton control weeds by physical removal and hand hoeing.

Ø  Organic cotton uses lesser amount of water as compared to conventional cotton. More organic matter in soil helps retain water.

Ø  Organic cotton growing methods are health friendly to agricultural community. They do not pose harm to human life as natural ways are used to cultivate the crops. 

Ø  Natural means used to grow organic cotton helps natural habitat growth.

Ø  Organic cotton crops use natural ways for defoliation.

Ø  Third-party certification verify that organic producers use methods and materials allowed in organic production.

Ø   Organic cotton crop needs the land to be detoxified for cultivation

Ø  For organic cotton crops, farmers use organic methods, which has a positive impact on our earth by saving ecosystems, soil fertility, and our health.

Ø  Organic cotton clothes are treated with non-toxic and low impact dyeing methods. Fabric is free from toxic finishes likes formaldehyde etc. and are safer for the sensitive skin people.

Ø  Organic cotton is more expensive than conventional cotton because its production takes more time, skill, and hands-on labor

Ø  Organic cotton was grown in 20 countries worldwide in 2010-11 led by India and including (in order of rank): Syria, China, Turkey, United States, Tanzania, Egypt, Mali, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Pakistan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Benin, Paraguay, Israel, Tajikistan, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Senegal. Approximately 219,000 farmers grew the fiber. According to the 2014 Organic Market Report from Textile Exchange, global sales of organic cotton products reached an estimated $15.7 billion in 2014, up 10 percent from 2013.

See report for conventional cotton production statics.

See report for organic cotton production statics.

To be sure a product really is organic from field to finished product, look out for below symbols:

  GOTS symbol: Product grown and processed to organic standards. Products carrying the GOTS symbol are made from organic fibers, have met strict environmental and social criteria during processing and have been certified by an independent, third party along the whole supply chain.
Find out more about GOTS…
  Soil Association symbol: Product certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard by Soil Association Certification Ltd. The Soil Association was a founder member of GOTS and is a quarter owner of Global Standard GmbH which manages the GOTS.
Find out more about the Soil Association…
  OE100 symbol: Cotton in the product grown to organic standards. Product has been tracked and traced along the supply chain by an independent, third party. Contains 100% certified organic cotton fiber, but hasn’t necessarily been processed to organic standards.
  OE blended symbol: Product contains a minimum 5% of organic cotton fiber.

Organic cotton clothing will cause fewer allergies, reduced respiratory problems Organic crops are generally far more flavorful, since they contain many more nutrients. A person’s mouth can actually taste the difference between God’s goodness and man’s folly. For the environmentalists out there, growing organically embraces the ideal that agriculture should meet the needs of the present without harming future generations.

Resources:

https://ota.com

Image: eternalriders.com

 

Chemicals Pervade Our Lives


“Unacceptable levels is powerful. It tells the story of toxic chemicals in just every aspect of our lives, and the egregious lack of regulation. Our ability to protect our families is a at stake” – Joan Blades


Chemicals Pervade Our Life

EWG (Environmental Working Group) a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment with a mission to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

Body burden of chemicals: Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York collaborated with the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal for a study and researchers at two major laboratories found 167 chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides in the blood and urine of nine adult Americans. Study results appear in a published edition of the journal Public Health Reports (Thornton, et al. 2002) – the first publicly available, comprehensive look at the chemical burden we carry in our bodies. None of the nine volunteers work with chemicals on the job. All lead healthy lives. Yet the subjects contained an average of 91 compounds – most of which did not exist 75 years ago.

Below is the list of chemicals found and are linked to serious health problems

Health Effect or Body System Affected Number of chemicals found in 9 people tested that are linked to the listed health impact
Average number found in 9 people Total found in all 9 people Range
(lowest and highest number found in all 9 people)
cancer [1] 53 76 [2] 36 to 65
birth defects / developmental delays 55 79 [3] 37 to 68
vision 5 11 [4] 4 to 7
hormone system 58 86 [5] 40 to 71
stomach or intestines 59 84 [6] 41 to 72
kidney 54 80 [7] 37 to 67
brain, nervous system 62 94 [8] 46 to 73
reproductive system 55 77 [9] 37 to 68
lungs/breathing 55 82 [10] 38 to 67
skin 56 84 [11] 37 to 70
liver 42 69 [12] 26 to 54
cardiovascular system or blood 55 82 [13] 37 to 68
hearing 34 50 [14] 16 to 47
immune system 53 77 [15] 35 to 65
male reproductive system 47 70 [16] 28 to 60
female reproductive system 42 61 [17] 24 to 56

Source: Environmental Working Group compilation
References: Health Effects

Read the full alarming report here

The chemicals found are linked with cancer, immune system, brain, nervous system, reproductive system and hormone system.

Scientists refer to the chemical exposure documented here as an individual’s “body burden” – the consequence of lifelong exposure to industrial chemicals that are used in thousands of consumer products and linger as contaminants in air, water, food, and soil.

KEMI is a Swedish chemicals agency and a supervisory authority under the Ministry of the Environment in Sweden and work in the EU and internationally to develop legislation and other initiatives to promote good health and improved environment.

In 2014, KEMI did a screening study with the aim to identify hazardous substances/groups of substances posing a potential risk to human health and the environment and below is (part of) the results they found:

  • Approximately 3500 textile-related substances were identified; More than 2000 of these substances have not been fully registered under REACH (a regulation of the European Union, adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals) About 1000 substances are expected to be confidential in REACH registrations.
  • Approximately ten percent of the textile-related substances analyzed here are identified to be of high potential concern for human health.
  • Five percent of the number of textile related substances to be of high potential concern for the environment.
  • Substances of high potential concern for human health mainly include direct and acid type azo dyes and fragrances.
  • Many flame retardants and plasticizers were identified as having concern for human health due to exposure via fiber loss/ dust.
  • Acid and direct type azo dyes were also identified as substances of high potential concern for the environment.

Click on the picture to learn more

It is important to note here that the majority, approximately 80%, of the textile articles consumed in the EU are imported from a non- EU country. Similar is the case in United States.

Textiles expels lots of effluent into our water system too. The 40,000 to 50,000 tons of synthetic dyestuffs expelled into our rivers are complex chemical formulations containing some things that are very toxic to us, such as heavy metals (like lead, mercury, chromium, zinc, cobalt and copper), benzene and formaldehyde. 

Chemicals used in the production of textiles can remain in the final clothing product as minor contaminant amounts, and clothing may also contain substances formed by degradation. Other chemicals are intentionally added to textile articles in order to provide a specified function, such as color or easy-care. Chemicals in textile materials may be released from clothing and expose humans and the environment. Textile articles are used in a way that both consumers and the environment can be exposed to chemicals released from the clothing.

Below are some heavy metals found in toxic dyes, and the harms they cause to human body:

Chromium:

Necessary for insulin activity and an essential trace metal; at toxic levels it causes squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.

 

 

 

Cadmium: 

Extremely toxic to humans because of its inhibition of various enzyme systems; primary target organ is the kidney; but also causes lung cancer; also causes testicular damage and male sterility. Plants readily absorb cadmium from the soil so it easily enters food chain. Chronic exposure is associated with renal disease.

Sodium chloride (salt):

Not toxic in small doses but the industry uses this in such high volumes it becomes an environmental hazard

 

 

Toluene: 

Affects the central nervous system; symptoms range from slight drowsiness, fatigue and headaches, to irritation of the respiratory tract, mental confusion and incoordination; higher concentrations can result in unconsciousness and death.  Prolonged contact can cause dermatitis.  Teratogenic, embryo toxic.

Mercury:

Easily absorbed through skin or inhalation of dust which contains residue; affects the immune system alerts genetic systems, damages the nervous system. Particularly damaging to developing embryos. Which are 5 to 10 times more sensitive than adults.

Lead:

Easily absorbed through skin or inhalation of dust which contains residue. Impacts nervous system. Even low level of lead can reduce IQ, stunt growth and cause behavior problems.

Copper:

Fatigue, insomnia, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, migraine headaches, seizures. Mental disorders include depression, anxiety, mood swings, phobias, panic attacks and attention deficit disorders.

 

 

 

 

 

Benzene: 
Highly carcinogenic, linked to all types of leukemia but believed to cause the rarer forms (acute myelogenous leukemis (AML) and acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL); effects the bone marrow and decrease of red blood cells, leading to anemia, excessive bleeding and/or immune system dysfunction. Low levels cause rapid heart rate, dizziness, headaches, tremors, confusion.  Easily absorbed by skin.

Many consumers might think that chemicals used in the daily products they use as shampoo, detergents etc. are tested but they are wrong.  Unlike pharmaceuticals or pesticides, industrial chemicals do not have to be tested before they are put on the market.

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, and Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, introduced a bill called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, which would require the chemical industry to demonstrate that a chemical is safe in order for it to be sold. Later that year Senator Frank passed away. A bipartisan group of senators, lead by Senator Cory Booker, picked up where the late U.S. senator left off. Legislation will require all the chemicals in use to be examined to make sure they are safe for public use and prohibit the new chemicals from reaching the market until they are proven to be non-toxic.  .

In 2016, Congress finally took action to better protect our health by adopting far-reaching reforms of TSCA. After years of debate and inaction, on June 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – a new law that fixes the biggest problems with the old law.

The Lautenberg Act gives EPA the tools necessary to ensure the safety of chemicals and significantly strengthen health protections for American families. Notably, the law:

  • Mandates safety reviews for chemicals in active commerce.
  • Requires a safety finding for new chemicals before they can enter the market.
  • Replaces TSCA’s burdensome cost-benefit safety standard—which prevented EPA from banning asbestos—with a pure, health-based safety standard.
  • Explicitly requires protection of vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women.
  • Gives EPA enhanced authority to require testing of both new and existing chemicals.
  • Sets aggressive, judicially enforceable deadlines for EPA decisions.
  • Makes more information about chemicals available, by limiting companies’ ability to claim information as confidential, and by giving states and health and environmental professionals access to confidential information they need to do their jobs

See here for a detailed analysis of the law. 

This is good news for public health and safety, if the system works well and fast. Let’s hope this law helps consumers to have safer daily use products.

Good Riddance of Bad Chemicals.

Resources:

https://www.edf.org/health/policy/chemicals-policy-reformhttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/sunday-review/think-those-chemicals-have-been-tested.html?_r=1
http://www.ewg.org/sites/bodyburden1/findings.php

http://www.ewg.org/sites/bodyburden1/findings.php

image: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/adidas-needs-to-earn-its-stripes-by-championi/blog/36451/

Image: Pixabay

Protect Your Future

 


Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see – Neil Postman


We as adults, eat and wear whatever we want but we cannot do the same for kids. It’s our responsibility to feed them healthy and clothe them safely. We don’t want kids to be wrapped up in chemical filled clothes. But if we are not conscious, we might be covering them with chemical induced clothes. Lot of parents don’t even know that clothes have health damaging chemicals.

We must be cautious with what we expose our children to. Our world has turned from nature as a source of everything from food and medicine to clothing and almost everything in between. Man-made alternatives offer benefits in many situations, but come with a cost to the environment, and ultimately to our health.

Our children today live in an environment that is fundamentally different from that of 50 years ago. In many ways, their world is better. In many ways, they’re healthier than ever before.  Thanks to safe drinking water, wholesome food, decent housing, vaccines, and antibiotics, our children lead longer, healthier lives than the children of any previous generation.  The traditional infectious diseases have largely been eradicated. Infant mortality is greatly reduced. The expected life span of a baby born in the United States is more than two decades longer than that of an infant born in 1900.

Yet certain childhood problems are on the increase: asthma is now the leading cause of school absenteeism for children 5 to 17; birth defects are the leading cause of death in early infancy; developmental disorders (ADD, ADHD, autism, dyslexia and mental retardation) are reaching epidemic proportions – 1 in 88 children is now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.  Childhood leukemia and brain cancer has increased sharply, while type 2 diabetes, previously unknown among children, is on the increase.  And the cost is staggering – a few childhood conditions (lead poisoning, cancer, developmental disabilities –including autism and ADD – and asthma) accounted for 3% of total U.S. health care spending in the U.S.  “The environment has become a major part of childhood disease” as per Time magazine in a report.

Today’s children face hazards that were neither known nor imagined a few decades ago. Children are at risk of exposure to thousands of new synthetic chemicals which are used in an astonishing variety of products, from gasoline, medicines, glues, plastics and pesticides to cosmetics, cleaning products, electronics, fabrics, and food. Since World War II, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been invented.

To protect kids from harmful chemicals in food, we can go organic and look for USDA seal to make sure it is certified.

How about clothes?

Name a thing that is in direct touch of our skin most of the time? You are correct, clothes. Our clothes can help heal our skin. In other words, we need healthy clothes to help our skin heal.

The clothing we wear can affect our well-being.  Plastic and synthetic clothes can make our skin sick. It is not just the fiber of the cloth that matters; industry has generated various ways to top the fiber with dangerous, toxic and unhealthy chemicals. They come hidden in synthetic dyes and chemicals finishes. Common allergic skin reactions are caused by the formaldehyde, finishing resins, dyes, glues, chemical additives, tanning agents and fire retardants that are used in today’s modern clothing production.

DearmNet, a New Zealand based trust run by dermatologists explains, “Textile Contact Dermatitis” is inflammation of the skin induced by chemicals that directly damage the skin and by specific sensitivity in the case of allergic contact dermatitis.

Synthetic chemicals can enter our children’s bodies by ingestion, inhalation, or through the skin. Infants are at risk of exposure in the womb or through breast milk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200 high-volume synthetic chemicals can be found in the bodies of nearly all Americans, including newborn infants.  Of the top 20 chemicals discharged to the environment, nearly 75 percent are known or suspected to be toxic to the developing human brain.

We also now know that time of exposure is critical – because during gestation and through early childhood the body is rapidly growing under a carefully orchestrated process that is dependent on a series of events.  When one of those events is interrupted, the next event is disrupted and so on until permanent and irreversible changes result. These results could be very subtle like an alteration in how the brain develops which subsequently impacts, for example, learning ability.  Or it could result in other impacts like modifying the development of an organ predisposing it to cancer later in life.

Our skin and body is not designed for toxic clothes. Low-allergy clothes are always made of organic, natural fibers with low impact dyes. Organically made 100% natural fiber clothes heal our skin. They have to be free from toxic processing though. Learn more.

Remember, designer or luxury clothes is not a solution to this problem. An investigation by Greenpeace International has found a broad range of hazardous chemicals in children’s clothing and footwear produced by eight luxury fashion brands. Read more.

What you can do?:

  1. Just say no to sandals, shoes, boots or rain-gear made entirely or predominantly from rubber- or plastic-like materials. Keep an eye out when shopping for shoes treated with anti-microbial chemicals.
  2. Rid wardrobes of garments screen printed with plastisol, the thick, rubbery material used to create slightly raised designs and logos.
  3. Don’t purchase clothing promising stain-resistant, waterproof, or odor-fighting performance, technologies which utilize toxic chemicals.
  4. Steer clear of polyester, which frequently contains traces of antimony.
  5. Stick to natural fiber clothing, preferably organic.
  6. Don’t add insult to injury. Wash clothing in plant-based detergent without synthetic fragrance, which can contain hormone disrupting chemicals. And skip the fragrant dryer sheets.

It does not end here. The textile industry uses more than 8,000 chemicals to make the 400 billion m2 of fabric sold annually around the world. Many are toxic and persist in the environment. They include heavy-metal-rich dyes and fixing agents, bleaches, solvents, and detergents.

Making textiles is also a water-intensive business. Producing a pair of jeans requires about 1,800 gal of water; a T-shirt takes 700 gal. Treating such large volumes of waste water is costly—if it is treated at all. All toxic chemicals cannot be treated and end up into our fresh water ways which is causing pollution all over the textile manufacturing countries. Read more

Pollution also can occur after clothing leaves the factory. Outdoor gear is often stain- and waterproofed with perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), but these additives can detach during use. The PFCs or their breakdown products end up in the environment where they can be persistent, bioaccumulative, and carcinogenic hazards.

Keep yourself up to what’s going on around you and keep learning. Don’t let dark side of modernization damage your health. Just by wearing safe and eating safe, you will not only protect your kids and your health but save our planet from polluting. Let’s keep our planet earth safe for our kids.

Watch here– A film about chemicals in our body and how they got there.

Resources:

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/toxics/2014/A-Fashionable-Lie.pdf

https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/author/oecotextiles/

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=42

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsInfantDeaths/

Boyle, Coleen A., et al, “Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in U.S. children, 1997-2008”, Pediatrics,  February, 2011.

Grady, Denise, “Obesity-Linked Diabetes in children Resists Treatment”, New York Times, April 29, 2012

Walsh, Bryan, “Environmental Toxins Cost Billions in childhood Disease”, Time, May 4, 2011.

Koger, Susan M, et al, “Environmental Toxicants and Developmental Disabilities”,  American Psychologist, April 2005, Vol 60, No. 3, 243-255

Polluting Our Future, September 2000, http://www.aaidd.org/ehi/media/polluting_report.pdf

Main Image: Pixabay

What is Certipur?


“Apparently, if you live until 75, you’ll have spent 25 years in bed, so it makes sense to have a decent mattress” – Marc Warren


Once upon a time, household dust was just a nuisance. Today, however, house dust represents a time capsule of all the chemicals that enter people’s homes. This includes particles created from the breakdown of polyurethane foam. From sofas and chairs, to shoes and carpet underlay, sources of polyurethane dust are plentiful.  Organotin compounds are one of the chemical groups found in household dust that have been linked to polyurethane foam. Highly poisonous, even in small amounts, these compounds can disrupt hormonal and reproductive systems, and are toxic to the immune system. Early life exposure has been shown to disrupt brain development.

There was  no way before 2008 for consumers to find out what was inside foam used in bedding and upholstered furniture. The CertiPUR-US® program provides information whether the flexible polyurethane foam meets standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. As a result, foam producers from all countries today participate in this program, as long as they meet rigorous certification guidelines.

If you buy a CertiPUR-US certified mattress or upholstery furniture, you can rest assured about below facts:

  • Made without ozone depleters.  The CertiPUR label prohibits the use of any CFCs or other ozone depleters in the foam manufacturing process.
  • Made without PBDE flame retardants.  This has just recently been increased (as of October 25, 2016) to include other flame retardants such as pentaBDE, octaBDE , decaBDE, TRIS, TDCPP and TEPA.
  • Made without mercury, lead or other heavy metals.    Heavy metals are not commonly used to make polyurethane foam.
  • Made without formaldehyde.
  • Made without phthalates.  Of 29 possible phthalates, CertiPUR prohibits seven.
  • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality.

The certification process was developed by the foam industry in close collaboration with leading environmentalists, chemists, accredited laboratory research scientists, and bedding and furniture industry leaders. CertiPUR-US emissions and analysis methods are compatible with other standards such as Eco-label (EU), LGA (Germany), OkoTex 100 (Class IV Mattress) EUI, Blue Angel (Netherlands), IKEA, AQS Greenlabel and BIFMA criteria.

Here is list of Certi-PUR participating companies.

If you are thinking you are safe from chemicals while sleeping, you might wanna check your mattress, bed sheets, pillows and mattress covers. Who knows what are you inhaling while sleeping, unless it is certified.

It is so important to find a safe mattress for your babies. They spend most of the time sleeping and immune system works hardest in the night. You want their sleeping environment to be fresh, clean and safe.

100 years back everything you bought was close to nature, food, clothes, mattress and upholstery. What an irony, crops for food and products for manufacturing have to go through a rigorous certification to prove it is not harmful. This use to be a normal thing before, but not anymore. Kind of sad.

Please be careful and don’t get fooled by the industry and ruin your and your kids health by bringing harmful products in your home.

To stay healthy, check the health of food and products you buy. Every day. Buy less, pay more but buy safe. Use it thorough. Recycle it.

Get yourself educated about anything and everything that can affect your health. If possible, involve kids in this process and teach them how to buy healthy. They will thank you one day.

Eat Safe, wear safe and sleep safe.

References:

https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com

http://certipur.us/

 

Invisible Plastic


“Chemicals from plastics are a constant part of our daily diet. We generally assume the water bottle holding that pure spring water, the microwave-safe plastic bowl we prepare our meals in, or the styrofoam cup holding a hot drink is there protecting our food and drinks. Rather than acting as a completely inert barrier, these plastics are breaking down and leaching chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting plasticizers like BPA or phthalates, flame retardants, and even toxic heavy metals that are all absorbed into our diets and bodies” – Scott Belcher, Ph.D. Research Professor, North Carolina State University


Plastic is everywhere. Phone in your pocket, sole on your shoes, food in the refrigerator, clothes you wear, furnishing in your home, contacts in your eyes, inside your car, and now, in tap water too. It’s a plastic invasion. We have definitely entered into a plastic age. If it’s so much around us, it goes inside us too as we inhale, eat and drink. Now that’s a matter of serious concern.

A report published in The Guardian in September 2017 states that microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world. Tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analyzed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media and 83% of the samples were found contaminated with plastic fibers. Bottled water may not provide a microplastic-free alternative to tap water, as it was also found in a few samples of commercial bottled water tested in the United States for Orb. The rates of contamination in tap water are as high as 94% in USA, 72% In Europe, 76% in Indonesia, Jakarta,  82% In New Delhi, India, 94% in Lebanon, Beirut and 81% In Uganda.

“This should knock us into our senses. We knew that this plastic is coming back to us through our food chain. Now we see it is coming back to us through our drinking water. Do we have a way out?” – Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of Grameen Bank

ORB found 16 fibers in the tap water at the visitor’s center in the U.S. Capitol, home to both houses of congress.

Sherri A. Mason, PhD., Chair, Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences (The State University of New York at Fredonia) says “There are certain commons that connect us all to each other, air, water, soil, and what we have universally found time and time again is if you contaminate any of those commons, it gets in everything”.

Why should you care? Microplastics have been shown to absorb toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses, and then release them when consumed by fish and mammals. If fibers are in your water, experts say they’re surely in your food as well – baby formula, pasta, soups and sauces whether from the kitchen or the grocery. It gets worse. Plastic is all but indestructible, meaning plastic waste doesn’t biodegrade; rather it only breaks down into smaller pieces of itself, even down to particles in nanometer scale. Studies show that particles of that size can migrate through the intestinal wall and travel to the lymph nodes and other bodily organs.

This research led Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, to tell a UK parliamentary inquiry in 2016: “If we breathe them in they could potentially deliver chemicals to the lower parts of our lungs and maybe even across into our circulation.” Having seen the Orb data, Kelly told the Guardian that research is urgently needed to determine whether ingesting plastic particles is a health risk.

Know your Plastics:

  1. PET: polyethylene terephthalate.

PET is commonly used in commercially sold water bottles, soft drink bottles, sports drink bottles, and condiment bottles (like ketchup). While it is generally considered a “safe” plastic, and does not contain BPA, in the presence of heat it can leach antimony, a toxic metalloid, into food and beverages, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach ulcers. Some studies have shown up to 100 times the amount of antimony in bottled water than in clean groundwater. The longer the bottle is on the shelf or exposed to heat or sunshine, the more antimony is likely to have leached into the product.

  1. HDPE: high-density polyethylene.

HDPE is commonly used in milk and juice bottles, detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, grocery bags, and cereal box liners. Like PET, it is also considered “safe,” but has been shown to leach estrogenic chemicals dangerous to fetuses and juveniles.

  1. PVC: polyvinyl chloride.

PVC can be flexible or rigid, and is used for plumbing pipes, clear food packaging, shrink wrap, plastic children’s toys, tablecloths, vinyl flooring, children’s play mats, and blister packs (such as for medicines). PVC contains a phthalate called DEHP, which can cause male traits to become more feminized (DEHP-containing products have been banned in many countries, but not the U.S.). In some products, DEHP has been replaced with another chemical called DiNP, which has similarly been shown to have hormone disruption properties.

  1. LDPE: low-density polyethylene.

LDPE is used for dry cleaning bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, produce bags, and garbage bags, as well as “paper” milk cartons and hot/cold beverage cups. LDPE does not contain BPA, but as with most plastics, it can leach estrogenic chemicals.

  1. PP: polypropylene.

PP is used to make yogurt containers, deli food containers and winter clothing insulation. PP actually has a high heat tolerance and as such, does not seem to leach many of the chemicals other plastics do.

  1. PS: polystyrene.

PS, also popularly known as Styrofoam, is used for cups, plates, take-out containers, supermarket meat trays, and packing peanuts. Polystyrene can leach styrene, a suspected carcinogen, especially in the presence of heat (which makes hot coffee in a Styrofoam container an unwise choice).

  1. Everything else.

Any plastic item not made from the above six plastics is lumped together as a #7 plastic. Any plastic designated #7 is likely to leach BPA and/or BPS, both potent endocrine disruptors linked to interfering with proper mood, growth, development, sexual function, reproductive function, and puberty, among other essential human developmental processes. They are also suspected of increasing the risk of adult reproductive cancers, obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

How did it happen? Almost 300m tons of plastic is produced each year and, with just 20% recycled or incinerated, much of it ends up littering the air, land and sea. A report  found 8.3bn tons of plastic has been produced since the 1950s, with the researchers warning that plastic waste has become ubiquitous in the environment.

What is the solution now? Below are suggestions from ORB-

To keep plastic out of the air, water, and soil is to radically rethink its design, uses, sale, and disposal. Here are some ways people around the world are working to change this grim global reality:

  1. Waste-to-Energy turns plastic and organic waste into gas and liquid fuel using a variety of technologies. The global waste-to-energy market is forecast to grow into a USD$33 billion industry by 2023.
  2. In the “Circular Economy”model, manufacturers and designers ensure that packaging and materials can be easily recycled and repurposed. Today, more than half of all plastic packaging can’t be recycled.
  3. New Materials: Leading brands and new startups are working to design synthetic fabrics that won’t shed fibers into the air and water. Bolt Threads, in California, is using proteins from spider silk to create a strong, stretchy fabric they hope will replace synthetic fleece. A Japanese company, Spiber, also plans to serve the outdoor apparel industry through spider silk. Meanwhile, startup NewLight Technologies has created a plastic called Air Carbon from greenhouse gases produced by cattle and landfills instead of from oil.

It is for sure that major shake ups are required to make our planet cleaner. There is no Planet B. We need to start taking steps, in every home, from today.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals

https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics

https://www.alternet.org/personal-health/toxic-traps-when-these-7-types-plastic-are-dangerous

https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/microplastics-found-in-tap-water/#_ftn1

https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/microplastics-found-in-tap-water/#_ftn1

Photo Credit: Vince Cinches / Greenpeace Philippines

 

21 WAYS TO AVOID CHEMICALS


“The more we pour the big machines, the fuel, the pesticides, the herbicides, the fertilizer and chemicals into farming, the more we knock out the mechanism that made it all work in the first place” – David R. Brower


Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), with headquarters in New York, is one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of 675 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals 15 countries around the world.

EDF selected 10 individuals across the country for one week, they wore a novel wristband technology designed to detect chemicals in their environment. These wristbands are increasingly being used in research to better understand how chemical exposures may affect our health.

Here are some results found from the participants:

  • A lieutenant’s (at the Memphis Fire Department in Tennessee) wristband came to detect 16 chemicals including gamma-chlordane, a highly toxic pesticide banned 30 years ago.
  • A College of Wooster student in Ohio was surprised to learn that her wristband detected the fragrance enhancer diethyl phthalate, the preservative benzyl benzoate, and the synthetic fragrance galaxolide. Such chemicals are typically found in lotions, shampoos and other personal care products and have been linked to health effects ranging from skin sensitization to endocrine disruption.
  • A dispatcher living in a big-sky country Montana was eight months pregnant when her wristband picked up phthalates such as DEHP and DBP. These toxicants, which are linked to reproductive toxicity, have been banned in the United States for use in pacifiers, toys and other children’s products – but continue to be legal for many other uses.
  • A pharmacy student’s wristband detected the flame retardants TPP and TCPP, chemicals often added to furniture and other everyday foam products, along with an assortment of other chemicals.
  • A chemical safety specialist at the University of Georgia was alarmed to learn what her wristband picked up: several pesticides and an alphabet soup of phthalate plasticizing chemicals including DEHP, BBP, DEP, DIBP, DBP, DHEXP and di-n-nonyl phthalate.

Read their stories here.

To reduce the load of environmental toxins in our bodies, the first step is to stop putting toxins into our bodies. The two easiest and most effective places to begin are with our diets and our homes. About 90% of our daily toxic intake comes from the air inside of our homes and workplaces, as well as the foods that we eat. Most of us cannot make huge changes in the air at work, but we sure can change the air in our homes. Utilizing high quality pleated air filters that are changed regularly (every 4-8 weeks) is one of the best ways to reduce the toxin presence in our home air, as well as clean out any pollutants brought in from outside the home that may have attached themselves to the dust and fabric within.

There are steps you can take to reduce the amount of pesticides and other dietary contaminants in your family’s food. EWG’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides“ can help, and the website contains advice on how to limit your dietary intake of arsenic, which turns up in a variety of foods but primarily rice. You should also be aware of the everyday household chemical exposures that can cause harm.

Here’s a quick reminder of the worst pesticide offenders:

The Dirty Dozen:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries (domestic)
  12. Potatoes Plus: +Green beans +Kale/Greens

There are toxic chemicals all around us. In today’s world it is not possible to be 100% chemical free.

Here are 21 ways to kick chemicals out of our lives:

  1. Eat a diet focused on locally grown, fresh, and ideally organic whole foods. Food that travels thousands of miles loses its nutrient value under different light and temperatures. Processed and packaged foods are a common source of chemicals such as BPA and phthalates. Wash fresh produce well, especially if it’s not organically grown.
  2. Choose grass-pastured, sustainably raised meats and dairy to reduce your exposure to hormones, pesticides, and fertilizers. Avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
  3. Rather than eating conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury, supplement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat fish that is wild-caught and lab tested for purity, such as wild caught Alaskan salmon.
  4. Find alternate to plastic. Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; be aware that even “BPA-free” plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA. Never microwave plastics.
  5. Plastic is made out of oil. Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
  1. Use glass baby bottles. Hot foods and drinks don’t go well with plastics. Don’t use plastic straw with hot coffee/drink.
  2. Instead of plastic reusable water bottles, use unlined stainless steel or glass.
  3. Say no thanks to paper receipts—a lot of stores will e-mail your receipt now. (BPA serves as a “developer” in thermal paper receipts. These receipts aren’t actually printed with ink; they’re coated with chemicals that react to heat and change color to create the appearance of printed type.)
  4. Wash your hands frequently and always before you eat. Chemicals in dust or on thermal paper receipts can get on your hands, and you don’t want that stuff in your mouth. It’s the same with your kids—try to wash their hands often throughout the day and always before they eat.
  5. Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware. While you look for replacement turn down heat under non-stick pots.
  6. Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants. To remove the endocrine disrupting herbicide Atrazine, make sure your filter is certified to remove it. According to the EWG, perchlorate can be filtered out using a reverse osmosis filter.
  7. Look for products made by companies that are Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic, and GMO-free. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, furniture, mattresses, and others.
  8. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame retardant chemicals.
  9. When buying new products such as furniture, mattresses, or carpet padding, consider buying flame retardant free varieties, containing naturally less flammable materials, such as leather, wool, cotton, silk, and Kevlar.
  10. Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Avoid wrinkle free clothing as well. They are quoted with chemicals.
  11. Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.
  12. Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
  13. Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. EWG’s Skin Deep (click here) database can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.
  14. Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.
  15. Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
  1. Look for fragrance-free products. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners  and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

Still time to change the road you are on!

Eat Organic! Wear Organic!

References:

https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com

https://www.edf.org/blog/2017/06/01/which-toxic-chemicals-are-our-daily-life-these-5-people-found-out

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/how-to-avoid-the-chemical_b_2236932.html

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/4-ways-avoid-toxic-chemicals-food-packaging

http://www.naturopathic.org/content.asp?contentid=474

 

Care The Skin You Are In


“Invest in your skin. It is going to represent you for a very long time” – Linden Tyler.


Skin is body’s coat that protects us from cold and warm weathers. Skin keeps our inside in. In 1 inch of skin, you have about 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes (the stuff that makes melanin and gives your skin its color.), 1,000 or more nerve endings. Skin is our sensor, shield and communicator as well as reflection of external beauty. Every day we lose 1 quart of liquid through sweat. When we exercise we sweat one quart each hour. Now here is the important finding: Skin absorbs 60% of what touches it. Many medications are made into creams, gels or patches. These medications penetrate from skin to the bloodstream and delivered to all body parts.

Martin Fox, Ph.D. author of Healthy Water for Longer Life describes that we absorb more through our skin than through ingesting. In a 15-minute bath, the average adult absorbs 63% of the elements in the water. Drinking 2 liters of water, the absorption rate of elements is only 27%.

Golden rule for best skin care: “If you cannot eat it don’t put on your skin”. This might be next to impossible in today’s world but if you keep it natural, it will stay natural and reward you naturally.

Skin is an important part of our immune system. The skin is the largest organ in the body and its largest eliminative organ too. Skin releases toxins. It matters what you clothe your skin with and what you put on your skin. What goes on the skin, goes in the skin.

In an article published in NY Times on Dec 10, 2010 “When Wrinkle-Free Clothing Also Means Formaldehyde Fumes” reveals the anti wrinkle finish comes from a resin that releases formaldehyde, the chemical that is usually associated with embalming fluids or dissected frogs in biology class. It further states that formaldehyde is commonly found in a broad range of consumer products and can show up in practically every room of the house. The sheets and pillow cases on the bed, the drapes hanging in the living room, the upholstery on the couch. In the bathroom, it can be found in personal care products like shampoos, lotions and eye shadow. It may even be in the baseball cap hanging by the back door.

The biggest potential issue for those wearing wrinkle-resistant clothing can be a skin condition called contact dermatitis. It affects a small group of people and can cause itchy skin, rashes and blisters, according to a recent government study on formaldehyde in textiles. Still, some critics said more studies on a wider array of textiles and clothing chemicals were needed, including a closer look at the effects of cumulative exposure. At the very least, they said, better labeling would help. 

“The textile industry for years has been telling dermatologists that they aren’t using the formaldehyde resins anymore, or the ones they use have low levels,” said Dr. Joseph F. Fowler, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Louisville. “Yet despite that, we have been continually seeing patients who are allergic to formaldehyde and have a pattern of dermatitis on their body that tells us this is certainly related to clothing.

DermNet New Zealand, a New Zealand based trust presents facts about the skin for consumers and professionals on their website DermNetNZ.org. DermNet presents authoritative facts about the skin for consumers and health professionals in New Zealand and throughout the world.  DermNet covers hundreds of illustrated topics about skin diseases and conditions, dermatopathology, treatments and procedures. Trustees are renowned dermatologists.

DermNet throws light on “Textile Contact Dermatitis” and explains that textile fiber can be natural, synthetic or a combination of the two materials. Natural fibers include silk, wood, cotton and linen. Synthetic or man-made fibers include rayon, nylon, polyester, rubber, fiberglass and spandex.

Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the skin induced by chemicals that directly damage the skin and by specific sensitivity in the case of allergic contact dermatitis.

Allergic skin reactions to clothing is most often a result of the formaldehyde finishing resins, dyes, glues, chemical additives and tanning agents used in processing the fabric or clothing. Cases of allergic contact dermatitis have been reported for the following fabric additives.

Safe cosmetics will help you shine naturally. Read the ugly truth about synthetic make up here.

Almost 90 percent of the 10,500 cosmetics and skin care ingredients known to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not been evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution, according to the Environmental Working Group.

To be fair, no one’s dropping dead after a using a mascara wand or a body wash, and manufacturers have an interest in creating products that don’t harm their customers. But complex chemicals with potential unknown side effects lead us to follow the Precautionary Principle. That is to say, if we’d prefer to stay on the side of safety until we know.

    • 4 pounds: Average amount of lipstick a woman will ingest over her lifetime.
  • 11: Percentage of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal-care products that the U.S. government has documented and publicly assessed for safety.
  • 1,110+: The number of ingredients banned in cosmetics in the European Union.
  • 10: The number of ingredients banned in cosmetics in the United States.
  • 600: The number of companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
  • 20: Percentage of personal-care products that contain at least one chemical linked to cancer.
  • 22: Percentage of cosmetics contaminated with possible cancer-causing impurity 1,4-dioxane.
  • $160 billion: Amount spent annually on skin- and hair-care, makeup, cosmetic surgery, fragrances, health clubs, and diet products.
  • Sources: Campaign for Safe CosmeticsThe Environmental Working GroupThe Economist

It’s important to note that people who are going through special medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiations need to take extra care of their clothings to protect their skin. Chemotherapy can damage your skin and leave it itchy and dry. If we wear clothes filled with chemicals and synthetic makeup may further cause discomfort and allergies. Choosing clothes made from natural fibers is a good idea. Organic cotton made clothes are best to wear during and after the treatment. Organic cotton clothing are recyclable, comfortable to wear, great Insulators, good for sensitive skin, renewable resource, biodegradable, carbon neutral, healthy and safe on skin. Studies show that Organic Cotton causes fewer allergic reactions than conventional. Organic cotton apparel also reduces respiratory problems and smells pleasant.  

Here is some good information on how to care your skin when undergoing chemotherapy.  

Take care of your body gaurd – Skin

References:
http://www.dermnetnz.org/
Killer Clothes written by Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN

http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/Dermatitis/files/clothing.pdf
http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/textile-dermatitis.html
https://mesothelioma.net/caring-skin-chemotherapy/
https://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-natural-skin-care.html

Image: Pixabay

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