Plastic-Free July (and every month)

Why Avoid Plastic?

Avoiding plastic has always been something high on my agenda.

When I was a teen and a twenty-something, it was about protecting the environment –

  • not creating waste,
  • minimising the creating of single-use items, and
  • protecting our beautiful planet (in a very general sense)

As I have gotten older, and understood more about the environment and health, it has become even more important.

Here are three really big reasons to avoid plastics.

 

1. Pollutants from Plastics

Plastic bottles and containers can leach phthalates, xenooestrogens and other pollutant into the food, personal care or cleaning product with them.

This can play havoc with our health, as they interfere with our hormones (“endocrine-disrupting chemicals”).

What is more, they can also effect other animals that are exposed to them.

 

2. Plastic Polluting

Most of us already know about the piles of plastics in the oceans that form islands…

Our PET bottles, condoms, bags, and so on, all sweep the oceans and accumulate in certain areas.

As well, very small particles can break off plastic items (including synthetic clothing) to form microplastics.

These tiny pieces are a massice problem in the environment.

 

3. Killing Wildlife

One example is seabirds.

I saw a documentary where seabirds needed humans to help them survive.

 

Parents were feeding their young plastic that they had “caught” in the oceans…

Of course, the young were not able to digest it…

So it accumulated in their stomachs.

There were three big consequences of this.

a) The presence of the plastics in stomachs of the youing birds could leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals… which might have devastating effects on the species.

b) The birds were not being nourished properly – as plastic isn't food!

c) The baby birds were heavy with all the plastic in their stomachs – which meant that as they headed out to sea, they would not be able to fly, and would then drown.

The scientists would catch the youngsters as they headed to the water…

And get them to vomit out all the plastic.

There was a surprisingly (and alarmingly) large amount of it!

By removing the plastic from their stomachs, they were being given the best chance to survive.

 

It was truly heartbreaking to see this.

So, what can you do about it?

Join the Challenge –

In my free Facebook group, we are doing a Plastic-Free Challenge.

Consider alternatives to plastic –

 

Choose Your Tactic

PlasticFreeJuly.org has compiled this great resource – download it here – then review it and choose which ones that you can action.

P.S. This is a great one to involve the kids with 😉

Mould & Essential Oils

Mould & Essential Oils

There is a lot of marketing around products for mould… and a lot of hype now that the effects of mould on health are gaining awareness in the community. In this video, I share with you information about mould & essential oils.

I want to shed light and science onto this, making things simple for you!

More Information on Mould & Essential Oils

Oregano and Thyme Essential Oils are the best anti-fungals of the essential oils – this has been demonstrated by numerous studies (see below).

To clean mould off hard surfaces (such as windows), simply make up a detergent-water solution, add a few drops of Eco Health Solutions 100% Pure Essential Oil: Thyme and Oregano and clean with a well-wrung-out microfibre cloth.

Be sure NOT to rinse and reuse the cloth, instead, dispose of it after using to clean off mould.

Some Links to Research into Thyme and Oregano Essential Oils

Sick Building Syndrome: Is Your Workplace Healthy?

“Sick Building Syndrome” is a term that has been around for a few decades to explain how and why people are affected by their buildings. As a building biologist, I am frequently assessing the health of buildings (whether they are sick or not) and how they may impact upon the health of the occupants – be that at home or at work.

Guest author Jennifer Bennett discusses sick building syndrome in relation to the workplace.


Sick Building Syndrome: Is Your Workplace Healthy?

Does it sometimes seem like everyone in your office is coming down with something?

Are you and your colleagues constantly coughing and sniffling, or complaining of headaches, dizziness and nausea?

Or perhaps you’re just really tired all the time?

And yet, when 5 o’clock rolls around and you’re on your way home, you start to feel a lot better.

You might be thinking that you just hate being at work!

Could it be more..?

However, there may be something other than burnout or a bad bout of the flu to blame.

If you’re experiencing odd symptoms that disappear when you go home, your building may well have a case of Sick Building Syndrome.

This is a somewhat mysterious condition that causes general feelings of ill health in occupants of a building, including headaches, aches and pains, skin irritation, fatigue and shortness of breath.

The precise causes of Sick Building Syndrome haven’t been identified, but the general consensus is that it’s a symptom of environmental problems within a building.

People first started reporting Sick Building Syndrome in the 1970s, when economic pressures and oil embargoes forced architects and engineers to design more airtight office buildings to cut energy costs.

As a direct result, indoor air quality drastically worsened, as polluted air became trapped in buildings rather than being recirculated outside.

Chemical pollutants such as VOCs and biological contaminants such as mould then gradually rose in concentration, resulting in the health problems in employees that we now call Sick Building Syndrome.

Poorly designed ventilation systems also resulted in uncomfortable temperatures and high humidity levels, which can further encourage mould growth.

What is the Impact?

A poor working environment doesn’t just have health implications – it can also have a profound economic impact on businesses.

Sick Building Syndrome drastically reduces productivity, with poor indoor air quality estimated to cost employers around $15 billion a year in worker inefficiency and sick leave.

It’s also been noticed that Sick Building Syndrome is most common in open plan offices, and it’s unlikely to be a coincidence that employees in open plan offices also take on average 62% more sick days than those in cellular offices.

It’s clear that something needs to be done.

This infographic…

Paint Inspection have designed this infographic to tell you everything you need to know about this important topic.

Covering everything from the symptoms and causes, to the costs to businesses and some actionable solutions, we’re sure you’ll leave this blog feeling more equipped to deal with your unhealthy office building!


About the Author

Jennifer Bennett is the Content Writer at Paint Inspection, a UK-based coating inspection and surveying company.


Want to learn more about how you can create a healthier workplace?
Book a call so we can create a plan for you. >>


Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum Cleaners. What to look for in a good one…

With the enormous range of vacuum cleaners on the market, how do you choose what is best for your needs?

Is the price the best way to determine? What else should you consider?

Is it enough to get one that sucks – or will it suck?

How do you know?

In this video, I explain what to look for when you are considering vacuum cleaners.

What to Consider When Looking for a New Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuum cleaners are an important part of our cleaning practices, and it is important to get a good one.

That said, there are vast differences between the models on the markets, as well as staggeringly different price ranges.

What To Look For

1. TURBO HEAD

A turbo head means that the brush is powered electrically and can “thump” the carpet to loosen dirt that has lodged further down in the pile. A powered head is one that is “powered” by the air passing by as it sucks – this is a less powerful option, but better than neither.

2. HEPA FILTER

Ensure that the vacuum cleaner has a genuine HEPA filter in it. A HEPA filter is designed to capture the dust that would ordinarily come out of the vacuum cleaner – it prevents that act of vacuuming from being just an exercise in dust recirculation. Originally it was just for people with allergies, nowadays it is a common feature.

3. BAGGED OR BAGLESS

This will depend on whether the person who would empty it has dust mite allergies or not. If they do, a disposable bag is less risky. If not, environmentally, a bagless is better as it creates less waste, and it is less ongoing expenses without bags.

4. BARREL OR UPRIGHT

This is about choice – what do you prefer to use? What sort of storage space do you have?

Whichever one you choose, make sure it will suit your purposes and not be so heavy that it is difficult to manage.

5. CARPET AND/OR HAND FLOORS

Make sure that the vacuum cleaner you choose matches the floor coverings you have. Some on the lower end of the scale are only suitable for carpets, whilst others may only suit hard floors. If you only have hard floors, check reviews (such as Choice magazine or online forums) in terms of how they behave. In the past, there have been issues with many vacuum cleaners actually scratching or damaging floorboards.

6. TELESCOPIC WANDS AND TOOLS

Accessories and features such as these can be excellent. If the price excludes you from these optional extras, a damp microfibre cloth is a great cleaning option.


Cleaning Tips

Research was done by Dr Peter Dingle who found that a quick vacuum over your floors was not enough to get a good clean happening.

It is important to spend good minute on every 1m square of carpet. By doing this just once every six weeks, you will be cleaning your carpets far better than if you did a quick vacuum over the house every week.

That is a lot of time in one small area, and if your house is fully carpeted, then you will be spending a LOT of time vacuuming.

What I recommend:

  • Create a list which sequences the carpeted rooms in your house
  • Each week, vacuum one room “in detail” – and lightly vacuum (as you used to) the other rooms
  • Rotate the focus room each week

In this way, all of your carpets get a thorough vacuum, and you don't spend every waking moment vacuuming 😉


If you want to learn more about creating a healthy home,
then join our Inner Circle.

Home is the Most Important Place

Home is the most important place. It is our castle.

Home is our safety haven, our sacred space, our island in the midst of the world.

For many of us, the world can be a bit full-on. The onslaught of fragrances, noise, wi-fi, people, lights… it can be overwhelming at times.

Also, most of these things are out of our control.

The best thing to do is to have a healing, safe, and nourishing home to come back to.

A virtual Indoor Environmental Health Assessment Can Short-Cut Your Route to a Healthy Nurturing Space

By assessing your home with great care, and attention to detail, we can shortcut the agonising searching for information and hazards.

Whether it be:

  • electromagnetic fields
  • phone towers
  • neighbours wi-fi
  • the smart meter
  • air pollutants
  • indoor air quality
  • volatile organic compounds
  • lead and other heavy metals
  • drinking water contaminants
  • mould and water damage
  • personal care and cleaning products
  • and more!

By assessing your home, I can determine the hazards, the potential problems AND provide you with solutions.

Many of my clients experience not only peace of mind, but improved health after implementing the recommendations.

They know that they have made their home safe for their families.


Get in touch so we can arrange your assessment.

Ten Toxic Truths

Ten Toxic Truths

Toxic truth: lifestyle-related chronic disease is widely recognised as being one of the top underlying causes for death.

Epidemics and pandemics have been fuelled by high intake of sugar, fat, salt, alcohol, tobacco and lack of physical exercise. Along with this, is the involuntary exposure to the cocktail of industrial chemicals. The World Health Organisation are paying attention to this as they forecast a “tidal wave of cancer.”

The Shift in Thinking

Toxicology has shifted the scientific thinking. Previously the view was that “the dose makes the poison,” and now we are looking at windows of development and minute doses being extremely problematic.

No longer is toxicity about the dose – “the type of chemical, timing of exposure, the combination of chemicals and individual risk factors” all play a role in the toxic effects, says Prof. Marc Cohen.

Cohen identifies the 10 toxic truths to be:

  1. Everyone is Affected
  2. The Full Extent is Unknown
  3. Tiny Doses can have BIG Effects
  4. Biomagnification Occurs up the Food Chain
  5. Chemical Cocktails are Synergistic
  6. Bioaccumulation Occurs over a Lifespan
  7. Windows of Development are Critical
  8. Effects are Trans-Generational
  9. Risk is Unequal, Unjust and Greater for the Young
  10. Exposure is Unequal, Unjust and Accidents Happen

I encourage you to read the full article – here.


Do You Want Assistance Identifying All Things Toxic in Your Place?

Check our our Virtual Indoor Environmental Health Assessments here. >>


Avoiding Sick Building Syndrome in the Workplace

Sick Building Syndrome – Avoid this in the Workplace

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) incorporates many facets of the built environment.

Focus on Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to air pollution, we tend to think about it in terms of the outdoors. We worry about factories’ smokestacks, traffic jams and other factors that pump pollutants into the air.

Yet air pollution isn’t just an outdoor problem.

The air indoors also can be toxic for us to breathe. This is especially in an industrial facility where hazardous materials may be used. In fact, the air quality inside buildings can be so harmful that it can cause illnesses. This phenomenon, known as “SBS,” can create symptoms in people without an easily identifiable cause.

Further, people with sick building syndrome may experience respiratory issues such as shortness of breath and coughing, as well as more generalised symptoms such as fever and muscle aches.

SBS – What Does it Mean for the Workplace?

These illnesses can lead to decreased productivity and employees taking excessive time off. As a result, it’s important for industrial and commercial facilities to understand sick building syndrome and how to avoid it.

SBS can be caused by a variety of factors, all of them related to a building’s indoor air quality.

Often, sick building syndrome is a result of poor ventilation, which prevents indoor pollutants from being circulated out of the air.

Many times, contaminants such as motor vehicle exhaust or fumes from volatile chemicals used in industrial processes get trapped inside the building. Bacteria, mould and pollen from outside also can contribute to sick building syndrome.

Avoiding Sick Building Syndrome

Avoiding SBS starts with improving air flow throughout the building, such as with large fans.

From here, other measures to improve indoor air quality include:

  • selecting less toxic cleaning products and methods,
  • avoiding “air fresheners,”
  • creating a “fragrance-free” workplace,
  • choosing real wood furniture (instead of “was wood” composite woods),
  • selecting furnishings made locally that are low in volatile organic compounds, and
  • ensuring that any leaks are fixed promptly and that there is no mould in the workplace.

Improving indoor air quality and avoiding SBS are tasks that should be at the top of most managers’ priority lists.

Not only can it boost the health and well-being of employees, but it also can increase productivity and reduce health care liabilities for the facility owner.

This infographic from Go Fan Yourself provides some great tips on improving indoor air quality quality and reducing the risk of SBS.

sick building

Created by Go Fan Yourself


Unsure if you have a problem?
Let's talk!
Click here to book a Virtual Indoor Environmental Health Assessment.
>>


#Sickbuildingsyndrome #OHS #WHS


References:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/sick_building_factsheet.pdf

Hawthorn University Holistic Detoxification Presentation

Hawthorn University: Holistic Detoxification

Hawthorn University offer high level online training to health practitioners, predominantly naturopaths. So, I was thrilled to receive an invitation from Hawthorn University to present a webinar.

I have watched many of their webinars, which are available for free and are presented by highly respected people, so as you can imagine, getting an invitation from them was such an honour.

The topic which I presented on is, of course, so dear to my heart – Holistic Detoxification: How to Create a Healthy Home Which Supports Healing.

Too often I hear stories of people on the (expensive) merry-go-round of treatments, objects, supplements, drugs… when in many cases the cause is environmental and can easily be addressed by changing the environment.

I wanted to help students of natural therapies and practitioners understand more about this and avoid unnecessary treatments and delays.

In a nutshell, the topics that I covered in my webinar include:

  • why detoxification is so important
  • case studies
  • our built environment
  • hindrances to detoxification
  • action steps for your clients/patients
  • when to think of the environment

After the webinar, I was able to answer the questions asked by the audience – and they were such fabulous questions.

I would like to publicly thank Hawthorn University for the opportunity to present this webinar, all of the audience members, and everyone who has watched it since. What an honour!! 🙂

Hawthorn University Presentation

#hawthornuniversity #holisticdetoxification #buildingbiology #health