Reducing the Amount of Environmental Chemicals in Your Home
Have you been told by a health professional that you have multiple chemical sensitivity? Or perhaps you think that you may have it?
Do perfumes give you headaches? Do you suffer from chronic migraines? Perhaps your condition in another chronic symptom?
Whatever your chronic health ailment, you may feel that want to try to get some relief by reducing the toxic burden on your body by eliminating as many environmental chemicals in your home as you possibly can.
Below, some suggestions for living a cleaner, healthier, less symptomatic life!
Start with Your Bedroom
For some, it may not appear the most obvious place to start, because we mostly just sleep there, but the bedroom is a great area to purify in order to reduce prolonged exposure to the chemicals that may be triggering your MCS symptoms.
We sleep for eight hours a day so most of us spend a large proportion of our day in our bedrooms.
While we are asleep the body works hard healing, and repairing itself. So, it makes sense to remove as many toxins that may be causing adverse reactions as possible. This will promote deeper sleep and faster healing, which may help relieve MCS symptoms during your normal daytime hours.
Furthermore, breathing purer air while we sleep, for a third or more of our day, should contribute to better overall health.
What needs to be removed from our bedroom and living areas?
You can promote deeper sleep and try to relieve MCS symptoms by removing the following from your bedroom, and also from other living areas where you spend a significant amount of time:
Lots of people buy those plastic space-savers and storage bins to use either in the closet or in an out-of-the-way corner. This cheap plastic is one of the most toxic offenders, and you may not even realize you’re breathing in harmful chemicals that may cause adverse reactions in the body such as hormone and endocrine disruption.
If you have no choice but to store personal items in plastic, at least make a concerted effort to reorganize your things so that you can place bins that contain out-of-season or less used items someplace like an attic or garage, where you won’t be breathing in the fumes.
If your home has an attic, this may be one of the best places to store new cheap plastic bins. The summer heat in your home’s attic will hasten the off-gassing of the chemicals it’s made from.
Perfumes, colognes and nail polishes
You may be so used to these odors that you don’t even notice their presence in your home.
However, many people develop migraines and neurological symptoms after being exposed to the aldehydes that are present in synthetic perfumes, and the solvents of nail polish.
If you or another family member decides that you can’t part with your fragrances and other such items, then at the very least you can take the bottles out of the rooms where you sleep and do most of your living, to lessen the amount of toxins inhaled.
Consider storing these types of bottles in an air-tight container such as a coffee jar with tight-fitting lid.
Not only are computers constructed of plastic, but they’re also said to release an excess of positively charged ions to the air that can make us tired, irritable, and that may adversely impact our health.
To make matters worse, computers can be extremely addictive to many of us, whether it’s compulsive information searching on sites like Google, constant message checking, or some other computer related obsession. This means we can spend long periods with our computers
If believe you are reactive to odors, then your nervous system may play a role in this.
Keeping screens out of your sleeping space can maintain and increase levels of calm and decrease the likelihood of you developing unpleasant side effects, or at least reducing their severity.
Sheets, bedding, blankets, curtains and clothing that have been washed in scented laundry detergent and/or fabric softener
Scent is a funny thing that people become emotionally attached to.
Despite your symptoms, like many others you may still be attached to a particular smell, like laundry detergent. It’s that instantly recognizable scent that you associate with clean laundry and comfort, even though, in reality, it may be making you sick.
However, if you suffer from insomnia or have trouble falling/staying asleep; or if you experience frequent headaches, aching joints, and even mood changes such as irritability or depression, then you may want to experiment by switching to unscented laundry products to see if your sleep and mood improve.
It’s possible that you can find a brand of laundry soap with a lighter scent that you may be able to tolerate.
Additionally, there are now many pleasantly scented natural laundry detergents available such as Seventh Generation, that don’t leave a lingering chemical scent behind.
Lots of people use plug-in air fresheners, or they spray aerosol fresheners around their home to mask pet odors and get rid of stale air.
There are many, environmentally sound alternatives to using synthetic air fresheners which are actually known to cause neurological damage and endocrine function disruption.
Why not try to remove all the fake scents entirely, to see if this improves how you feel?
Later, if you really miss having a way to freshen the air in your bedroom, you might try an essential oils mister or diffuser to see if it’s better tolerated.
In addition to being 100% natural, essential oils also offer many healing benefits, including being antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and having a positive effect on emotional health and increasing a sense of well being.
If you believe that paraffin is the offending substance that makes you feel ill when you light candles, then you might try soy candles as a clean-burning alternative.
However, it can also be the candle’s fragrance itself, and in fact you may not react to regular, unscented paraffin candles in the same way that you do when, for example, you find yourself growing headachy and irritable after spending ten minutes in your favorite candle store.
Beeswax candles that are scented using pure essential oils offer a more environmentally friendly option that you may wish to try in your quest to reduce the amount of toxic burden on your body.
Please bear in mind, however, that soot from burning candles is a potential health risk. We will be discussing this in more detail in the future.
Chemical cleaning products
There are many natural alternatives to commercial house cleaning products like bleach, ammonia, and other, more powerful chemical based products that produce reactions in MCS sufferers.
- baking soda
- witch hazel
- plant-based soaps
- castile soap
- essential oils.
You can find natural alternatives to abrasive cleaners such as Bon Ami; make your own cleaning products using wonderfully scented oils like orange and lemon; kill germs with thyme essential oil, and disinfect, unclog and deodorize with vinegar and baking soda.
Houseplants that help clean the air
There are many different houseplants that can help to purify the air by removing chemicals and pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia.
The Snake Plant, also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue is ideal for the bedroom because it sucks in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during the night.
It also helps to eliminate formaldehyde. trichloroethylene, benzene and xylene from the air.
You can find out more about plants that help clean the air here.