After so many weeks on the topic of how to stay healthy in a world full of unregulated, ubiquitous, persistent, and harmful substances, I will now summarize what we have learned and offer guidance on how to continue to move forward safely. Although we cannot escape exposures in our food and environment, we can do our best to mitigate risk and avoid more accumulation of toxins.
In my post on staying healthy in a chemical world, I reviewed what one needs to be aware of when considering a cleanse or detox. I also provided a comprehensive compilation of tips for greener living and how to access safe, non-toxic products. These suggestions included:
- Choosing organic when possible and/or avoiding the “Dirty Dozen.”
- Consuming low mercury fish: these include sardines, anchovies, and small varieties of salmon.
- Using glass over plastic to avoid BPA and other plasticizers.
- Purchasing safe, non-toxic beauty products and avoiding fragrances.
- Nurturing one’s body with delicious and nutrient dense foods. (This should be taken in the context of a personalized dietary approach and a HAES and non-diet perspective.)
- Eating fiber to decrease POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants).
- Sweating to reduce heavy metals and toxins.
- Considering the need for chelators and nutritional supplements to help relieve total body burden.
- Using essential oils. I provided a post and webinar on integrating essential oils into a wellness-enhanced lifestyle with specific DIY recipes and additional materials. I also just released my top five oils to make spring cleaning safer, soothe the mind-body, and support the cheerful and delightful aspects of this time of renewal.
As much as I know on this topic, I continue to learn more. I aim to focus on the solutions, not the scary facts. Below are some more options on how to stay informed and keep in the loop to empower our choices and better our health.
The Urgent Need to Be Safe, Not Just Clean
In today’s world, we need to stay aware of what we purchase so that we are not unknowingly trumping our attempts for wellness and healthy nutrition through chemical exposures. Recently, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) released a report “Beyond the Label: Health Impacts of Harmful Ingredients in Cleaning Products.” According to the website:
For over a decade, Women’s Voices for the Earth has advocated for the safety and transparency of ingredients used in cleaning products. As a result of a new California law (California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act – SB 258), we have dramatically increased our understanding of the ingredients we are exposed to in keeping our private and public spaces clean.
This report calls attention to some of the most problematic and pervasive ingredients used in household and institutional, cleaning products that have remained hidden from the general public until now. It also includes recommendations for ensuring that cleaning products are regulated for safety, that companies are accountable for their role in cumulative exposures, and that manufacturers prioritize the health and well-being of the people who use their products. (source)
The pdf from this report highlights various compounds, their reproductive and health risks, and the manufacturer brands that contain them. It may be wise to skim through it, even if you think you’re “greened up.” This is because some of the products mentioned are considered “environmentally friendly.”
The WVE website also offers other resources, factsheets, and materials to assist with living a lower risk life. For example, they offer 10 tips to avoid toxic chemicals.
I have listed them below. They include some repeats of what has been discussed and additional suggestions:
1. Make your own cleaning products. You can use essential oils and even invest in essential-oils infused products for purchase if you have the means.
2. Avoid fragrances. (Read about the sneaky toxins in fragrances here.)
3. Replace your cosmetics with safer options, by using the Skin Deep Database.
4. Ditch BPA (bisphenol A).
5. Avoid plastics as much as possible.
6. Go Quat-Free. “Quats” irritate the skin and are linked to lung inflammation, allergies, and reproductive issues. They are often found in antibacterial products and end with “-onium chloride.”
7. Keep chemicals out of the house. Avoid carrying in pesticides and pathogens from the outdoors by taking off your shoes, dusting, and using an air purifier and diffuser. Please remember that our pets and little ones are closer to the floor and are more susceptible to toxins. This makes them increasingly vulnerable.
8. Avoid non-stick cookware and products that contain PFAS. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and others. Health risks associated with them include developmental, reproductive, liver, immune, and kidney effects. Check packages for these compounds and filter your water! I am a fan of Berkey filers, no affiliation.
9. Avoid air fresheners, diffuse instead.
10. Stay informed and be active. Toxins impact our own cellular and systemic health, but also our healthcare system, planet, economics, and culture. It is a reality that socioeconomics and accessibility are issues with many of these options. This is why we need to continue to advocate for better regulations from our representatives. We can also vote with our dollars for companies that care for our planet and our well-being when we can.
Staying Aware: Conclusion
My goal for this series was to provide you with action tips and to enhance your health. It is also easy to get overwhelmed, so it is important keep things simple and take in these facts in doable chunks. Then, once you have an overview, you can go back to some of the posts for more details and dive in even more.
I find in my practice that a lot of my clients who get “stuck in a rut” with symptoms often have environmental or emotional triggers that have been overlooked. Someone can have an extremely healthy diet and lifestyle, but if they are bombarded with chemicals and toxins, it will only get them so far.
I hope you can use this information to support your emotional and physical well-being, make your home and the environment safer, and to nourish your important relationships.
Here’s to a happier, more rejuvenating life.
Mental Health Resources
*If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or are suicidal, please seek professional mental health support:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) — Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor
- Lifeline Crisis Chat — Chat online with a specialist who can provide emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services at www.crisischat.org
Other Helpful Links
Below are some of the highlights of the many free emotional health resources on this website:
- Four Essential Oils Blends for Supporting the Mind-Body and Easing Tension
- VIDEO: How Your Brain and Body Suffer with Too Much Stress & Naturopathic Medicine Tips for Calming the Mind and Relieving Overwhelm
- Video Recap: Essential Oils to Ease the Stress & Anxiety of Back to School
- The Importance of Fun, Music, & Play for Mental Health
- Video Recap: Essential Oils for Brain and Mental Health & Soothing Stress
- 10 Natural Ways to Relieve Stress and Calm the Mind-Body During Trying Times
- Video: A Naturopathic Doctor’s Approach to Thyroid Health Using Essential Oils: Video Recap & Additional Resources
Additional Supportive Techniques & Tools
- The Tapping Solution, A Technique to Lower Cortisol and Reduce Stress- Podcast interview by Dr. Kara Fitzgerald with Nick Ortner.
- Stress management tips and resources
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.