Environmental Toxins - Oh, My!

Posted by Hometalk | Sep 14, 2009
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We're dedicated to Green Solutions here at Networx, so I want to share a few new insights about keeping your house healthy. I'm inspired to write this now because yesterday I met with a naturopath who schooled me in environmental toxins. It was a little scary - she admonished me about the dangers of basic household stuff that I use every day. On her list was:

1. Stop drinking unfiltered tap water. She insisted that I install a reverse osmosis water filter under my sink. She grimaced when I told her that I have been using a Brita pitcher filter. "Those don't filter out fluoride and chlorine, and they're breeding grounds for bacteria!" she said with a frown. Uh-oh. Luckily it only costs about $350 to install a reverse osmosis filter, and you only have to change the filter once a year.

2. Get rid of fluorescent lights. The naturopath explained to me that fluorescent lights are full of mercury, and that they heat up and off-gas mercury into the air. I also learned that most fluorescent lights come with a warning on the package that should the light bulb break open, get out of the room immediately because the light bulbs will fill the room with a toxic level of mercury. This is a bit of a bummer because fluorescent lights use less energy. Luckily I get pretty good sunlight in my house and in my office, so I only need to use incandescent lamps for part of the day.

3. Stop drinking from plastic bottles. I had heard this before and generally carry water around in a glass bottle or stainless steel coffee cup. Check out some chic and affordable alternatives to plastic water bottles.

4. Stop using soap. "What?!" I said. She was serious. She explained that most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, the only good source of which is the sun. She claimed that it takes 48 hours for Vitamin D to absorb into your skin, and when you scrub all over with soap you wash the Vitamin D off the surface of your skin. She said that hot water and friction are enough to clean most of your body, and to save the soap for armpits and other places that need more intensive hygiene. She said, "Don't ever wash your face with soap. Soap does not belong on your face." I am nothing without my trusty bar of Dr. Bronners, but I'll try it and see how I feel.

5. Consume more oxygen. The naturopath told me that the average oxygen level in the Earth's atmosphere is 13%. To put that in perspective, living things cannot live when the oxygen level falls below 7%. According to her, the oxygen level is low, and getting lower. So what's a gal to do? She instructed me to eat foods that are rich in oxygen, especially leafy greens. Another great source of oxygen is house plants. Read staff writer Sirena's article on Vegetable Gardening in Small Spaces for container garden ideas that will improve the air quality around your house and provide you with some yummy oxygen-rich veggies.

Most of these ideas go against the dominant American lifestyle, and they'll take some adjusting to for me. Still, I'll try them. I'll let you know how it feels. So far, working without my usual overhead fluorescent lights today feels pretty relaxing. I'm really enjoying the sunlight.

Posted by: Chaya Goodman

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