“Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health. The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900’s) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” – Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University
We live in a chemical world. Over 5000 chemicals have entered daily use since WW II, many of them found in the products we use every day to clean and beautify our bodies and our homes. Scientists are increasingly concerned that long-term low-level exposures to chemicals create a variety of health risks. They also worry that we do not yet know the impact of living with the cocktail of chemicals found in household air and dust. Testing for human health effects is normally done on single chemicals. However, in the real world, we are exposed to a daily variety of chemicals which create ‘chemical stress’ in the body and impact cellular function. Quite simply, if you are breathing, absorbing, ingesting a variety of chemicals regularly, your body has to work harder to keep you functioning well.
Many people assume that “if it was bad for us, the government would not allow it to be sold” but we know that regulatory bodies are slow to act. Legislation governing pest control products was only amended in 2002, after over 30 years without change and review of pest control products is just beginning. Health Canada has recently added some chemicals to their ‘hot list’ of chemicals not permitted in cosmetics, but those ingredients had not been used for years and were added for the sake of ‘clarity’. Health Canada has been slow to restrict many chemicals currently in use, including identified or suspected carcinogens, hormone disrupters and reproductive toxins. The process of evaluating and regulating all the chemicals we use in our daily lives is going to be slow. And past experiences in regulating lead in gasoline, tobacco and lawn pesticides tell us that the companies which produce these products won’t take attempts to limit their use quietly.
In choosing the products we use on our bodies and in and around our homes WE are the ones in control. We can make informed choices for the sake of our own health and the health of our families. And in most cases, what is less toxic for us is also less toxic for the natural environment.
Making the move to less toxic products can seem overwhelming… but it doesn’t need to happen all at once and is likely easier than you think! Whether you make changes in a few areas or in many, you will be making positive choices for your life.
Ready to start? Grab one of the many books from the practice or keep watch for more posts with ideas and solutions. Share your ideas with us too! Some of the most useful tips I have gained have come from others and not out of a book…