There are many books out there that cover the chemicals in our homes and Dr. Myron Wentz and his son Dave do cover those issues in their book titled The Healthy Home: Simple truths to protect your family from hidden household dangers, but they go much further in to what constitutes a healthy home than just the cleaners we use. They take on clothing and even how we wear them and give us the alternatives to look for as we make the change to a nontoxic home environment. I read this book a while ago and luckily had this review in a word document on my computer so I can share it with you now.
Starting with clothes, the authors begin with synthetic fabrics. I knew synthetic fibers are petroleum based and even knew that they pollute the waterways because they shed fibers that are so small they escape the filtration processes. But I didn’t know that synthetic fibers, according to Wentes are poison to our bodies.
Synthetic fabrics contain petroleum, pesticides, perfluorochemicals, antimony and cadminum along with the cancer causing polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Exposure to antimony can affect the heart, digestive system, eyes, skin and our lungs. So pretty much every part of our body.
To list all the warnings here would overwhelm both you and me so I will keep this short and suggest you pick up a copy of the book to learn all the different health warnings the Wentz’ have collected. In the meantime, to wear healthy clothing these fabrics are the ones suggested: Organic cotton, linen, wool cashmere, silk and hemp.
Before I made the switch to homemade laundry detergent I used a fragrance free green brand. What I didn’t realize until reading the healthy home is that even brands labeled fragrance free may still have certain fragrance chemicals in them. These fragrances, while not noticeable to your senses, are there to neutralize the odors of the other ingredients. For those of you with sensitive skin or children who have skin issues you may want to look into this further.
Wentz’ go deep into the subject of Dry Cleaning. I never used dry cleaning, long before I knew the dangers, because it was one more expense and errand to contend with. If you use dry cleaning you may want to rethink this. The solvent used to remove dirt and stains is not water soluble and will forever be a part of the clothing you had cleaned. Long term exposure to these chemicals can lead to kidney and liver damage. Short term exposure can cause many ailments but what caught my eye was the central nervous system depressant. What is even worse about these chemicals is that they can enter the body through the skin and lungs and are stored in our fat cells. Because they are not water soluble we can not flush them from our bodies through increasing our water intake.
The authors then take on how we wear our clothes and the consequences for our health.
Constrictive clothing of any kind that leaves even the tiniest of red marks on the skin is the same as wearing a tourniquet. This restricts the lymphatic and circulatory systems. These systems carry nutrients and removes waste from our body while fighting germs.
For women, the advice is to not wear a bra, but if you must wear one then choose a bra that is two sizes larger than normal to avoid restricting your lymph flow. On this subject I can say that giving up the bra was one of the best things I ever did. (TMI?) On my 40th birthday I found a lump in my breast. This wasn’t the first but it would be my last. Benign cysts and breast cancer runs through my family on both the maternal and paternal side so this was bothering me greatly.
This cyst would be a defining moment for me. The doctor that I was routinely sent to have my cysts drained was unable to see me right away due to a family health problem. I decided to wait for him to return to his practice rather than find another doctor. This turned into a three month wait. In that time the cyst became so painful I couldn’t stand to have a bra touch it, so I stopped wearing a bra for this period.
When I was able to see the doctor my cyst was gone. I knew the pain had reduced to the point I didn’t notice it any more but didn’t realize the cyst was no longer there. When I told the doctor the only thing I had done differently this time was to remove my bra he smiled and said “If women stopped wearing bras I would never see another cyst and probably never see another case of breast cancer.” I was stunned. He told me to do some research for myself, but in societies where the bra is not a part of a woman’s wardrobe there is virtually no cancer regardless of diet or family history. Our breasts were made to move as we move, not to be held immobile. When the breasts are allowed to move freely our lymph nodes are free from blockages.
Men are not free from constrictive clothing. Take a look a neckties. Men who have a tight collar and wear a tie are cutting off oxygenated blood to the brain and sensory organs of the head (nose, ears, and eyes). This can affect vision and even fluid build up behind the eyes. The advice: make sure you can fit a couple of fingers comfortably between the collar and your neck.
ElectroMagnetic Frequencies (EMF) are also an important subject to the authors when it comes to a healthy home. EMF waves cause DNA fragmentation! When this happens in reproductive cells there will be a reduction in fertility and increase in genetic disorders in future generations. Cell Phones and wireless signals are the focus in this section. The suggestion to have a healthier home is to turn off wi-fi and to keep a cell phone at least four feet from you when sleeping along with never carrying the cell phone up against your body.
Probably the most surprising thing I learned from the book was that exposure to VOCs in the home can mimic a cold or hay fever. Symptoms can include: congestion, throat and eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. These reactions to VOCs appear to affect children and the elderly the most. I was left wondering if the rise in allergies among children could be a reaction to VOCs in their environment.
This book reinforces my belief that the modern lifestyle choices are wrecking havoc on our health and healing could be as simple as cleaning up our homes. What do you think?
Have a great weekend, I’ll be away this weekend celebrating a birthday and the Super Bowl. See you Monday.