Everyday Chemicals May Be Affecting Your Health
MACI, P.O. Box 754, Andover, MA 01810 (978) 681-5117
Perhaps you have chronic symptoms (scratchy/sore throat, headache, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, etc.). Medical tests may have failed to show a cause, so you’ve tried to ignore these symptoms. What could possibly happen to you, right? ...Well, these seemingly harmless symptoms may actually be your body’s warning signals that something in your environment is overloading you. It may get worse. Some individuals may have their health suddenly spiral downward, perhaps developing Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, a severe form of environmental illness. It may happen to you.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS): A preventable, chronic condition in which a person develops greatly increased sensitivities to common chemicals and other irritants. A person may develop MCS from repeated low-level exposures to various environmental chemicals or agents, or from an acute exposure. This illness is not like getting a cold or the flu, and then recovering. MCS reactions can be very serious, even life threatening, involving any part of the body (brain, lungs, skeletal muscle, heart, etc.). MCS afflicts people in all walks of life, and it disables. Prevention is crucial. Once afflicted, recovery is difficult and incomplete.
You may not know if you are at risk for MCS until too late. Researchers estimate that 15% of the population have an increased allergic sensitivity to chemicals commonly found in household products. Incidence of environmental illness and MCS is escalating.
Where Are These Environmental Chemicals?
- Carpeting/furnishings (esp. new): thousands of volatile organic compounds
- Air ducts: asbestos, microbial growth, mineral or fiberglass fibers
- Moist or leaking areas: mold, mildew
- Copiers/printers: toners and other volatile organic compounds
· Household/Office Cleaners and Disinfectants
Chlorine (can form organo-chlorines and dioxins), ammonia, lye, petroleum distillates, nitrobenzene, naphtha. Disinfectants also contain phenol, formaldehyde, ethanol
· Synthetic Fragrances (called simply ‘fragrance’ on ingredients labels)
'Fragrance’ is in most laundry products (fabric softener and dryer sheets especially), body care products, perfume, cleaning products, air fresheners. Among the many possible immuno- and neurotoxic chemicals in ‘fragrance’ are: acetone, benzaldehyde, camphor, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, methyline chloride, terpineol. Health effects testing of these compounds is woefully incomplete.
· Synthetic Pesticides and Fertilizers
Our food and indoor and outdoor environments are affected. Chemicals include: organo-chlorines, organo-phosphates, petrochemicals.
How Can I Minimize My Exposure to Toxic Chemicals?
· Choose natural fiber carpet, or no carpet. Heed your body’s symptoms and investigate unhealthy indoor air; remove, ventilate, purify (air filtering), in this order of priority.
· Choose natural/low toxic cleaning products: Bon Ami instead of chlorinated cleanser, plant based over petroleum based, hot soapy water or borax for disinfecting.
· Eliminate or minimize synthetic fragrances; choose natural alternatives/'fragrance free’. Don’t use scented dryer anti-cling sheets--dry like fabrics together to eliminate cling.
· Buy ‘organic‘/natural foods. Research natural pest control and fertilizing methods. Note: Lawns are heartier with organic fertilizers that encourage deep roots.
Eliminate as many as possible of the items below, especially those that make you feel unwell. A list of approved substitutes will follow this table.
Air deodorizers & sprays
Carpet (except all cotton, all untreated wool, Persian, Chinese, etc.)
Car exhaust (including from open window or attached garage)
Cedar wood or chips
Clothing containing polyester
Copy machine toner
Deodorants & antiperspirants
Electric blankets & sheets
Flame proof mattresses
Floor cleaners, strippers & waxes
Fragranced products (any & all)
Fungicides (& treated wall piper)
Gas appliances (stoves & other)
Insecticide sprays & no pest strips
Kerosene & gasoline
Lacquer & Varnish
Moth balls and crystals
Moth proofed paper
Nail polish & remover
News print & ink
Oil and Lubricants
Perfume & perfumed products, after shaves
Pillow cases & sheets cont. polyester
Pine scented cleaners
Plastics (that emit odors i.e. mattress covers, tablecloths, shower curtains, draperies, vinyl food wrappers, shelf paper)
Rubber foam cushions & mattresses
Scented soap, shampoo, conditioner
Smoke from frying & baking
Stain proof upholstery & carpet
Teflon pots and pans
Borax and Baking Soda = Parts
1/2 Hydrogen Peroxide instead of Bleach
Granny’s Power Plus Laundry Detergent
Life Tree Detergent
Arm & Hammer Detergent, Perfume & Dye Free
Shaklee Power Formula Basic L Free, Laundry Concentrate
Vinegar or Lemon Juice and water
Baking soda and water
Original Bon Ami
Super Washing Soda
Life Tree for Automatic Dishwasher
AFM: Super Clean and Safety Clean
Shaklee Basic H
Granny’s Body Satin, Shampoo & Cream Rinse
Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste
Rock Crystal Deodorant
Unscented Vegetable Glycerin Soap
Unscented Ivory soap, shampoo, cream rinse
Pure Essentials Fragrance Free Shampoo
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