Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead exposure and poisoning can occur in three different ways – primary, secondary and tertiary.

The primary way, is through direct exposure – eating paint chips, accidentally swallowing a lead sinker, consuming water or food that has been contaminated.

The secondary way includes exposure to dust from leaded petrol, consume plants that are grown in contaminated soil, and similar.

These first two methods of exposure can result in lead being stored in the bones, and potentially also the brain.

The tertiary way occurs when lead is released from its storage sites within the body and re-poisons you.

This can happen when you are pregnant, lactate and go through menopause.

This is because as people age, generally their bones leach lead back into the body.

It is interesting when you look at the list of health issues that can be related to lead poisoning and you see that many of them are generally considered to be “diseases of ageing” – dementia, cataracts, hypertension (high blood pressure) and more.

To share more about this topic, I had the privilege to discuss this topic with Lead Advocate, Elizabeth O’Brien.

Elizabeth O’Brien

In 2004, Elizabeth O’Brien was awarded the United Nations of Australia Association World Environment Day Award for Outstanding Service to the Environment.

As well, she has been involved in lead poisoning prevention for almost three decades and is the instigator of the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action.

I had the honour of catching up with this incredible environmental activist… here’s our interview.

  • We discussed how this Week of Action came about, and what the World Health Organisation is working on
  • Why it is important to act in prevention of lead poisoning (which includes safely removing it from the body)
  • The effects of lead on the body
  • Diseases of “ageing”
  • How to test for lead and the optimal limit
  • What sort of testing is reliable
  • The pros and cons of spot testing
  • Unexpected sources of lead – including in our diet (you will be surprised!)
  • Action that you can take
  • Where to get more help

#lead #leadpoisoningprevention #elizabethobrien #theleadgroup #leadsafeworld #interview #heavymetals

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. >>

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

Sick Building Syndrome – What Does it Mean?

What is a “Sick Building”?

Have you heard about “Sick Building Syndrome”?

This is where the occupants of a building are sick because of something in a building where they spend time.

What makes people sick are known as “environmental stressors” – environmental hazards that place a stress on our immune system.

This can be anything from water damage and mould, to indoor air quality, to electromagnetic fields. It may be from components of the building itself, such as lead. Or even from the land where the building was erected – a form of “geopathic stress.”

In Australia, this term is somewhat understood, but far less people really understand what “Building Biology” is.

An Interview

When I began this career, I was an active committee member of my professional association. In my time as President, Nicole Groch from LivingSafe.com.au interviewed me about “building biology.”

Here is a snippet of it:

You may have heard of someone using a Building Biologist to check out their home for radiation, mold and sick building syndrome, but you really are not exactly sure what it is they do and who they are….

I personally have hired a Building Biologist to come out and measure the EMF from the Smart Meter in our home and I am very glad I did. It wasn’t just the smart meter that was the problem. It was also our transformer base study lamps, that we were using as bedside lamps and high EMF hot spot was found in our bedroom from an unearthed water pipe running under the floor. Thanks to the Building Biologist we were able to correct these hazards.

So what is a Building Biologist?

In a nutshell, a Building Biologist is a person who has been trained to assess the potential health hazards of a building or built environment. We adopt the Precautionary Principle, that is, if something hasn’t been proven to be safe, then we err on the side of caution and aim to minimise exposure or risks.

… Read it all here.

Another Interview

As well, I chatted with Nicole Bijlsma about Building Biology, the changes in the field, and what is required of a Building Biologist.


#buildingbiology #environmentalsensitivities

revised 20/4/20

Non-Stick Pans – Should You Stick With Them?

The introduction of non-stick pans has allowed us to use less oil in our cooking, which is great. It is also easy to clean, make it a “tool of choice” for kitchen staff.

However there are a number of concerns about these products.

Non-Stick Pans: History

I love to understand why and how things come about, so here’s the story on non-stick pans.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

Back in 1938, there was a fellow by the name of Plunkett who was working for a chemical company. His job was to make refrigerants using tetrafluoroethylene gas. He noticed the canister registered empty before it weighed empty, so, he cut open a canister and discovered a slippery white waxy coating lining the inside of the tin. In 1945, the Teflon trademark was registered for PTFE.

By 1948, it was being used by DuPont in their marine products. In 1954, the wife of an engineer urged him to use the product he was using on his tackle (“Teflon”) on her cooking pans ~ and thus was born the first Teflon coated cooking pan! In the US, Marion Trozzolo had been using Teflon on scientific utensils, and in 1961 marketed the “Happy Pan.”

Perfluorooctanic Acid (PFOA) (aka C8)

The story isn’t so interesting here, just that 3M began using it in 1947 and DuPont in 1951. In 1999, the US EPA began investigating the toxicity of it, which resulted in 3M phasing it out. Not only is it used in non-stick pans, but waxed papers, dental floss and tape, stone, tile and wood sealants, and textiles products, particularly outdoor clothing.

eco health solutions health


PTFE pyrolysis is detectable at 200oC (392oF) – which means it begins to break down from heat.

Studies have documented bird deaths from PTFE at 202oC (396oF), with reports of bird deaths from non-stick cookware being heated to 163oC (325oF). Interestingly, it is the degradation by-products that are lethal to birds and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.

In 2003, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) petitioned the US government to have warning labels on products with non-stick coatings.

In terms of the temperatures I am talking about, this will give you a better guide:

Meat is usually fried from 204-232oC (399-450oF)

Smoking point for many oils is 260oC (500oF) – but safflower and avocado oil have a higher smoking point

Empty cookware that is heating can exceed this


PFOA persists in the environment – meaning that it does not breakdown. It is toxic and carcinogenic to animals. In 1961, DuPont was aware that it was causing hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver) in mice fed with PFOA (Arneson 1961, Clapp).

2012 studies have linked PFOA exposure to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, hypercholesterolemia and pregnancy-induced hypertension (Nicole, 2013). It is thought the general population is exposed to it via stain resistant treatments, carpet cleaning liquids, house dust, microwave popcorn bags, water, food and some PTFE cookware.


PFOA is recognised as being carcinogenic, toxic to the liver, toxic to the immune system, and as being an endocrine disruptor (particularly thyroid) (Lau, 2007). As well, it alters fat metabolism and oxidative stress.

New Generation

The new pots and pans are making a range of claims. Collecting adequate data from the companies was a tad difficult, so the following represents information gathered from websites, and where assumptions have been made, I have made it clear.


Woll have a video to show the manufacturing process.

There is no mention of PTFE or PFOA, but I assume from what they have said, that these are not used in creating this surface.

They use “diamond crystals” to create their non-stick surface. These are not really diamonds, but titanium dioxide (TiO2 CAS 13463-67-7). My research showed that titanium dioxide has the potential to react with aluminium (used in Woll cookware) and other metals at high temperatures resulting in a “violent or incandescent reaction” (you can read this in the MSDS here: http://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductMSDSDetailCB0461627_EN.htm). What constitutes a high temperature is unclear.

My other concern is that it appears that Titanium Dioxide Type 4 is used in cookware, and this is in the form of nanoparticles.

Due to the current lack of understanding of the safety of nanoparticles, I must err on the side of caution and not recommend this product.

eco health solutions fresh


Stonedine claim to be free from PTFE and PFOA. Two big ticks for these.

I really struggled to get meaningful information from the company to my specific questions – I really only had a staff member cut and paste information from their website that I had already read.

Stonedine says that the surface of their products “actually contains real stone particles that are directly bonded to the aluminium then fused to a 1/8 inch thick ferromagnetic stainless steel base plate…”

What I understand of this is that aluminium makes up some of the cooking surface.

I assume, because it has not been stated and I could not get answers, that the stone surface is something at least similar, if not the same as Woll’s.

Again, I would not recommend this product based on the information that I currently have – namely the nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and the aluminium on the cooking surface.


These pans are claimed to be PFOA-free. Here’s a quote direct from their site “FlavorStone™cookware is manufactured using the latest advances in technology and design.  FlavorStone™ cookware is highly durable and is designed to last as long as the tough sapphire gemstone that inspired its name.”

In terms of more helpful information, it has, “multiple layers of water-base [sic] non-stick coating” and has an aluminium alloy core with a stainless steel induction base.

It sounds like the aluminium is not in contact with the food – which is a good thing.

However, there does not seem to be enough information provided about what the non-stick coating is.

I have trawled through their site and manuals, and have come to the conclusion (an assumption) that the surface may in fact be PTFE. This is based on the care instructions which are very much focused on temperature, and the durability seems less than the two mentioned above – suggesting that the surface is quite different.

eco-health-solutions natural

My Recommendations


  • Good old-fashioned stainless steel pots and pans win hands-down for me.
  • If you have a problem with nickel, you can get a form of stainless steel that is 18/0 (ie 0% nickel). SolidTeknics have a range (Nöni™) which are stainless steel and nickel-free
  • Ceramic cookware, such as Silit Silargan
  • Wrought Iron, such as SolidTeknics Aus-Ion™ Satin range

Other options:

  • Pottery pots and pans (where the glazes do not contain lead);
  • Enamel pots and pans


We haven’t really focused on this at all here, but I do need to say very clearly, that I do NOT recommend silicone bakeware. Also, please avoid baking sheets and bags as these are coated with silicone.

What I do recommend is:

  • Borosilicate glass;
  • Glass ceramics – such as Corningware; and
  • Traditional pizza stones.

#nonstick #cooking #healthyfoodprep

UPDATED: 16 December 2019


Arneson, Gerald J. (November 1961) “Toxicity of Teflon Dispersing Agents” DuPont, Polychemicals Department, Research & Development Division, Experimental Station

Clapp, Richard; Polly Hoppin, Jyotsna Jagai, Sara Donahue “Case Studies in Science Policy: Perfluorooctanoic Acid” Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP)

DanozDirect (2014) FlavorStoneTM(multiple related pages) viewed online at http://www.danozdirect.com.au/flavorstone/

Lau C, Anitole K, Hodes C, Lai D, Pfahles-Hutchens A, Seed J (October 2007) “Perfluoroalkyl acids: a review of monitoring and toxicological findings” Toxicol. Sci. 99 (2): 366–94

Nicole, W. (2013). “PFOA and Cancer in a Highly Exposed Community: New Findings from the C8 Science Panel” Environmental Health Perspectives 121 (11–12)

StoneDine (n.d.) Stonedine (multiple related pages) viewed online at http://www.stonedine.com/

The Chemical Book (2008) Titania (13463-67-7) viewed online at http://www.chemicalbook.com/ProductMSDSDetailCB0461627_EN.htm

Woll Cookware (2014) Woll Cookware (multiple related pages) viewed online at http://www.woll-cookware.com.au/

photo credit: Marty Harrington on Unsplash

Perfumes – Their History

The History of Perfumes

Perfumes have a long history…

Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a wise and wonderful woman.

Her name was Tapputi-Belatikallim, or Tapputi for short.

She worked within the palace with flowers, oils and balsam. Relying on her skills as a chemist, she made perfumes from these natural wonders that were available to her.

perfumes rose

Tapputi lived around 3000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Her work was referenced on a cuneiform tablet – a clay tablet into which messages were impressed or engraved. Tapputi is the world’s first recorded chemist.

Something else was happening in another land not too far away… At around the same time, there was an enormous perfume factory on the island of Cyprus. Amazingly, this factory covered 4000m2, which suggests that it was being made on a large scale.

Clearly, men and women have used perfume throughout the ages. It is also clear that there has always been a close interplay between chemistry and perfumery.

More Recently

During the first millennia, two Iraqi chemists established the perfume industry. Their names were Jābir ibn Hayyān (known as Geber) and Al-Kindi (known as Alkindus). They developed techniques that are used today. These include distillation, evaporation and filtration.

Al-Kindi extensively researched perfumes and pharmaceuticals, and wrote a book (during the 9th century). This book contained over one hundred recipes, “Book of the Chemistry of Perfume and Distillations.”

During the 14th century, a perfume was made for Queen Elizabeth of Hungary from scented oils in an alcohol solution. This became known as “Hungary Water.” During this time, it was mostly the royalty of the West that used perfumery.

As time went on, perfume became more and more popular. The perfume industry responded to this demand. This meant that they found ways to make large quantities of perfumes quickly, cheaply and without relying on crops.

Predominantly, perfumes today are made from chemicals, which are not so costly for the manufacturers and provide a reliable source.

eco health solutions health

My history of perfumes…

When I was little, Mum had a bottle of perfume that she would wear on special occasions. That single bottle, I think, lasted my whole childhood. It was precious and used to mark an event.

From a young age, I recall knowing where Mum was taking us because I could identify the smell. As a teenager, I retraced Mum’s steps and sniffed out the shop where she bought her freshly-ground coffee… An aroma that I still cherish!

Scents are strongly emotive and can cause the memories of places, thoughts, people, emotions and more, to resurface quickly.

Being blessed with an acute sense of smell, I count myself as super lucky. I have greatly enjoyed working with and blending essential oils since I was 18 years old.

I feel honoured to be using more traditional methods in my work. Using essential oils, to me, is using something as close to nature as possible. Not only the fragrance, but also the energetic qualities are captured through cold-pressing and distillation.

Now, with my allergies and sensitivities, I am grateful that I am absolutely fine with anything natural. A while back, a mere waft of a chemical fragrance and the story is very different.

In hindsight, Mum's sparing use of perfume probably kept my tolerance at a decent level… Hilariously, the only perfume that I was given, and I was 17 at the time, was “Poison”!!

Wishing you all the best of health!

(c) 26/10/12