Our ‘exposome’ is everything we are exposed to, including what we breathe, drink, eat, put on our skin, clean our home or clothing with, and even the events that we experience.
The environment in which we live can have a major impact on our health. Even in our own homes we may be constantly bombarded with toxic substances, thanks to cosmetics, cleaning products, renovation products, pets, heating systems, and old or new carpets. What your body can not process may make you sick.
What can be done? Here are some helpful tips:
- Smokers: either quit, or go outdoors.
- Remove all scented products, including personal care (perfume, cologne, aftershave, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotions, or make-up) and household cleaning (detergents, fabric softeners, sprays, polishes, disinfectants, air fresheners, candles, etc.) Go for unscented personal products and for non-toxic household products with low volatility. Baking soda, vinegar, and household peroxide for disinfecting, Borax, and safer detergents such as Shaklee’s Basic H and Basic L will do what is necessary, probably with less expense.
- Remove as many stored chemicals from the house as possible. Old paint, varnish, and other renovation products do send chemicals into your household air.
- If you have carpets, have them steam cleaned by a company that knows about using no or nonvolatile chemicals, e.g., Steamatic is a pioneer in this. If you have carpets, the carpets themselves may be emitting chemicals, depending on their material. For sure, any carpet will have dirt, mould, dust mites, and residues of outdoor chemicals, unless there is a strict household rule to remove shoes at the door. The ultimate goal would be to remove carpets in favour of non-toxic smooth flooring. When having home renovations done, be sure to insist on the least toxic approach. You will be doing the workmen a favour, too.
- If you have pets, fleas sprays, flea collars, and other pet products may be introducing another chemical load into your indoor air. For sure, pets will be bringing in material from outside as well as producing hair, dander, etc. Indoor plants may also be a problem for some, because of fertilizers, pesticides, or mould.
- Air filters may be prescribed by doctors and listed as a medical expense for income tax purposes. Change or clean your furnace or air conditioner filters frequently.
- Do not use chemicals on your lawn or garden, because these will inevitably be tracked into your house. There are more non-toxic alternatives and ideas all the time.
- Last, but not least, your heating system may be polluting your indoor air too. Oil furnaces emit a small puff of fumes each time they come on. Gas furnaces are less so, but there is still some residue. Wood furnaces emit smoke too. Electric furnaces have the least polluting effect on your indoor air quality, but there are other considerations with them. If you begin to feel less well when the heat comes on in the fall, then you may have to think about this. The heating ducts are another source of pollutants and dust, mould, dust mites, and, if the ducts have been cleaned, there may have been chemicals used. Ultraviolet filters are available to kill bacteria before they enter the duct system.