It has been found that more than 80,000 man-made chemicals are put into our houses (America) products, food, and food packaging each year, a majority of which are not tested for safety beforehand or if it was, very briefly. Let’s compare this is our industrialized world partners. In Europe, more than 1,300 chemicals are banned from use in lotions, soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, and other personal care products. In the U.S., a mere 11 have been banned. Don’t forget flame retardants, in many items ranging from beds, sofas, and baby products. To top it off these things shed fibers which get into dust and then into our lungs. These chemicals also affect your pets. This is just the start on the 7 home health hindrances. Lets figure them out and how to fix them!
Sofas, chairs, beds, and baby toys, oh my! (Flame Retardants)
This is the first place to check for home health. Just about anything you sit, lay, or lounge on at your contain flame retardant material. These things are naturally flammable so added chemicals are required by law. Unfortunately these chemicals have been linked to serious health risks such as: birth defects, learning disabilities, reduced IQ, cancer and infertility. With concern to breast cancer, flame retardant chemicals have been identified as a high priority chemical to be avoided in order to reduce breast cancer. Sadly, manufacturers are not required to disclose the chemicals (which means most of us have NO idea they are bad) they use to make their products comply with safety regulations, mainly fire safety regulations. The fiber coated chemicals join in the air and form dust, which you breathe in. Wool and silk are two great alternatives, as they’re both naturally flame retardant and can be found locally or online.
Indoor Air Pollutants
This is a MUST for obtaining home health. As we just learned flame retardants contribute via dust. The EPA reports that indoor air contains 2 to 5 times more contaminants than outdoor air and more dependent on lifestyle. 586 chemicals have been identified in seemingly ordinary homes. DDT (used commonly to repel mosquitoes) was one common chemical; dangerous levels of phthalates; and 120 chemicals the EPA couldn’t even identify (scary huh?). Just about anything in your home can contribute to poor air quality, including chemicals in paints, flooring, and furnishings, as well as household cleaning products and air fresheners.
As a general rule of thumb, a scented product carries a health risk (unless the scent comes from a pure essential oil or plants). The Royal College of Physicians report a simple solution is to open the windows of the house for a few minutes daily can make a big difference on reducing the effects of indoor air pollutants. Of course if you live near a major road, garbage dump, or factory you should seek indoor air filters and purifiers. To help clean your homes air check out this interesting tidbit. NASA tests have shown that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. They recommend using 15 to 18 “good-sized” houseplants in 6- to 8-inch diameter containers for a 1,800 square-foot house.
Next for establishing home health we focus on what we eat. Processed foods contain synthetic food additives, flavor enhancers, preservatives, and colors. Unfortunately most of these haven’t been studied for safety, let alone long term safety. These chemical in processed foods have been found to have a synergistic effect on other chemical in your body system. The studies that have been performed only are measuring one of these chemical acting alone, not in combination. Some of these chemicals have been even found to work with other chemicals to cause cancer, even the non-carcinogenic ones!
A common source is Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phtalates which can leach into your food and cause these effects. SO, in order to reduce your exposure make sure to get rid of pre-package foods, of which you need to make sure to avoid condiments, baked goods, and sweetened soft drinks. To earn an A+ here, get organic food and properly wash to avoid pesticides.
Temperature and home health
Many also keep their homes too warm at night, especially their bedrooms. The journal Diabetes, suggests “that simply blasting the air conditioner or turning down the heat in winter may help us attack belly fat while we sleep.” This works because of what is known as brown fat inside each of us. Brown fat is metabolically active fat that produces heat in our body, often found in higher concentrations when we are infants. Brown fat also plays a role in regulating blood sugar. Your body gets over two times the energy from fat than sugar.
Keeping bedroom temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit also will help optimize your sleep. Research shows the optimal temperature range for ideal sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in excess of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will interfere with your sleep and health.
Too much Light
Having inappropriate amounts of light have have big effects on home health and how well you sleep. Many people allow too much light in their bedroom at night, making sleep harder. Light exposure from phones, chargers, routers, clocks add up and dampen the release of melatonin — a hormone that helps regulate your waking and sleeping cycles. When your sleep cycle is disrupted, most other health problems tend to be aggravated.
Found in the American Journal of Epidemiology is a study highlighting people sleeping in dark rooms compared to more lit rooms. The dark room group was 21% less likely to become obese when in reference to the lighter rooms. This is due to melatonin, a hormone made in your brain.
Poor sleep is also associated with overeating, this is because of the effect upon leptin and ghrelin, hormones that deal with hunger. It has been shown that gradually waking to dim light is better for optimal ration of these hormones compared with waking with bright lights. If it is wintertime or dark outside make sure to use full spectrum light bulbs to give your body natural lighting. The more electronic devices that are owned and used regularly have been shown to increase the risks of being overweight as reported in Pediatric Obesity. Which brings us to the next factor affecting home health.
A new and quickly growing hindrance to home health are electronic devices such as phones, computers, and tablets. These devices exposure your body to what is known as electromagnetic fields (EMF for short) and “dirty” electricity. Your body is an extremely complex device designed to communicate. Cells, tissues, and organs “talk” to each other and your brain to perform basic functions. At each of these levels, the communication includes finely tuned bio-electrical transmitters and receivers, which are tuned like tuning into a radio station. Your body runs on electrical current and that is how it sends messages. All of these electronic devices which we love are causing static on our body’s radio receiver and sending interfering signals inside our body. Cell phones are not the only culprit. EMF can also disrupt sleep so that means it is in your interest and health to remove these devices from your sleeping area. Keep only basic battery-driven devices alarm clocks in the room, preferably far away from the bed.
It is well know that care products contain chemicals, this is an essential place to improve home health. The American woman uses on average approximately 12 personal care products and/or cosmetics a day, containing an average of 168 different chemicals. Sadly pads, liners, and tampons are full of toxic chemicals: disinfection byproducts, chlorine, genetically engineered cotton and pesticides. Men, who may use fewer products, are still exposed to about 85 chemicals from their daily regimen. Almost 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetic products on the market and growing yearly, only about 10 percent have been evaluated for safety. To protect yourself look for products bearing the USDA 100 percent Organic seal, and of course read the list of ingredients. A great resource is the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
These are some of the top things in the home that can sabotage our health goals and we expose ourselves for hours on a daily basis. Addressing these most common ones is excellent for letting the inborn innate healing and self-regulating power of your body to do its wonderful work. Make sure to take steps on the 7 home health hindrances and you will be surprised about how your body starts functioning and feeling better. Be epic!