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 😉

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. >>


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. >>


What is in My Water?

What is in my Drinking Water?

Water comes from the tap so it is all good, right?

Well, no.

There are so many ways that our drinking water can become contaminated – which is why it is important to have a good quality filter.

Firstly, much of our drinking water gets treated. Some of this is really important – like chlorine to prevent bug-growth. That said, we don't want to be drinking it!

Let me explain.

Then there are other additives to clean the water… and often there is a degree of residue…

Suppliers regularly test it – they have “Consumer Taps” where they collect it from various sources. However, they are using the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – which are less precautionary than what I would like.

Chlorine is added.

Chlorine actually plays an important role – it kills any microorganisms that like to grow in water. So its role is to prevent disease.

However, it is not something that we should consume.

It is still active when it comes out of the tap – and can damage our microbiome.

Then there is fluoride (in many parts of Australia).

This is highly controversial and I am NOT of the opinion that we should be consuming it at all!

I sit on the fence for it being good topically, but I from what I have read, it is not something we should consume.

The path it travels from reservoir to tap…

Then there is the pipes that the water travels in – all in various states of decay.

cement lined asbestos pipes

These photos I took outside my house when they replaced the cement-lined asbestos pipes with polyethylene pipes.

The brown marks on the road are the goop that came out.

underground water pipes

Copper, galvanised metals or plastics… none are great choices. Many have lead solder… and on it goes.

What shall I do?

So, I say, get yourself a good quality filter and know that your water is safe to drink!

Depending on the source, different filtration systems work better…

If you collect water from your roof and use it for cooking, bathing or drinking, then it is essential to filter it.

Book a Hidden Hazards Hotline call to discuss your situation.