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 😉

Is My House Making Me Sick? Pt2

Is My House Making Me Sick?

PART 2

>> Is My House Making Me Sick? Part 1 is here <<

3. Sleep… in peace!

There is a lot of emerging research that shows device use interferes with our sleep, and that blue light can damage our eyes.

The mental stimulation when Googling things, interacting on social media, and even video calls can make it hard to sleep.

Our tablets, smart phones and smart watches contain LED lights.

The evening use of such devices which has been associated with:

  • Poor quality sleep,
  • Reduced concentration the next day,
  • Poor mood, and
  • Reduced accuracy…

… According to recent research.

As well, there is a reduction in melatonin – a hormone that has antioxidant actions.

Antioxidants play an important role in detoxification and keeping us healthy.

When we began this conversation, I shared with you about the importance of sleep in the healing. Anything that interrupts sleep, for whatever reason, needs to be reduced.

Did You Know?

Did you know that apps used to measure sleep have uncovered an insomnia epidemic?

BUT did you also know that the wireless technology required for these apps to function has been linked to sleep disturbances?

“What Can I Do?”

At the very least, don’t sleep with your phone!

4. Smell… naturally lovely!

I want to tackle the topic of “fragrances” here. Fragrances are in everything from perfumes, air fresheners and deodorisers. They are in our laundry products, sanitary protection, and even in our cosmetics. Nappies, doggy-do bags, and toilet paper also are scented… and that is just the tip of the iceberg!

If you ever see this word on a label, it means “a cocktail of many ingredients.” Fragrance, parfum and perfume all mean the same thing, when reading labels.

The ingredients used in perfumery are primarily chemicals, most of which haven’t been tested for safe use by humans, some that have been tested really aren’t good for us (causing cancer, irritating our skin and lungs, messing with our hormones…).

Our exposure to fragrances is enormous and our bodies need to deal with this. For some people, this constant exposure is physically exhausting.

Did You Know?

Did you know essential oils are a better option that synthetic fragrances? But please bear on mind that they are very potent – so use sparingly and avoid using them 24/7. For people who are environmentally sensitive, even these can be problematic. Please use them with care (and NEVER eat/drink them).

“What Can I Do?”

Don’t buy anything that contains fragrance, parfum or perfume.

5. Stay… mould-free!

Have you noticed there has been a lot of media stories about mould and how it is making people sick? It has definitely attracted a lot of attention, and was the subject of a 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry, instigated by Senator Lucy Wicks. Mould comes in many different colours, and it doesn’t have to be black to cause health problems.

Mould spores are everywhere and play an important role on our planet. Only 25% of the spores can grow, the other 75% are “dead” (that said, it doesn’t make them less problematic for someone who is sensitive).

However, we don’t want mould growing in our homes.

When you think about it, all mould is waiting for is the right conditions to grow. This centres on the right amount of moisture. Moisture can come from leaks, burst pipes, spills, condensation and many other places.

Did You Know?

Did you know that flexible braided hoses (the bendy pipes on your taps and toilets) account for over 20% of water damage claims in Australian homes? They only last for around 5-7 years and erode faster in the presence of chemicals. (What is under your sink?)

“What Can I Do?”

Deal with water quickly – mop up spills, fix leaks, dry out anything that has become wet within 24-hours.

I trust this has given you a lot to go on with…

If you have any concerns, or want to get in touch, please book a call.

Scented Reeds And Candles: My Opinion

What do I think of Scented Reeds and Candles?

Scented reeds and candles – peh! I have thought a lot about scented reeds and candles …and my opinion is very low.

Scented reeds and candles contain a cocktail of chemicals to make the “fragrance.” Many of these ingredients are known or suspected lung irritants (and remember, you are breathing these in) and some also contain suspected carcinogens (meaning that they may cause cancer).

Many candles are made from paraffin – a petrochemical.

Most of them contain wicks that contain lead.

Safer alternatives include:

  • opening windows to freshen the air instead
  • using unscented candles or even salt lamps for ambience
  • source candles that have lead-free wicks (remember, as a consumer, you have power, so ask your favourite companies… you will get the ball of change rolling)
  • if you tolerate essential oils (and many people don’t) then you can get scented candles that are fragranced with essential oils instead of chemicals
  • avoid incense
  • seek out non-GM soy candles – avoid palm oil (environment) and beeswax (for the bees)


For information about air fresheners (and scented reeds and candles do fall into this category, you may like to view this…

As well, there are a number of posts that explain fragrances in more detail:


And of course, if you would like assistance with reducing your exposure to chemicals and other hazards in your home or workplace, let me know.

You can book a call here >>

Hidden Hazards That May Surprise You

Surprising Hidden Hazards in Our Homes

There is a multitude of hidden hazards in our home, and some affect us in surprising ways!

Have you got thrush/thrush-like symptoms or other irritation in >that< area?

Discover what the environmental cause could be, so that you can take simple action today.


**Women you need to watch this video**


So often women talk about irritation, itchiness and swollen skin in their “private parts” and then self-diagnose it as thrush.

They go on to purchase over-the-counter thrush treatments.

Little changes.

This is because in the majority cases that I have worked with, it wasn't thrush at all. It was a localised inflammation.

Watch the video below to find out what was the cause in these instances. You'd be surprised!

Alternatives to these Hidden Hazards

I did this live video on social media and it sparked a LOT of discussion on alternatives; so here recommendations from that conversation:

Sanitary Protection Alternatives:

Toilet Paper Alternatives:

Unscented Soaps:


A Bit About Fragrances

Fragrances are labelled on items as perfume, fragrance or parfum. It is all the same thing.

But what goes into making the fragrances is impossible, in most cases, to find out.

That is because of trade secrecy laws. The formula for a fragrance is a closely guarded secret for most companies.

What we know…

Fragrances are made from sometimes 100s of chemicals.

The International Fragrance Association published a list of ingredients that are commonly used in their industry to provide some level of transparency. When that list was published, I randomly selected a few for further research.

What I found was that many were skin and lung irritants and some were suspected or known carcinogens.

What concerns me most with fragrances is that the effects discussed are when one single ingredient is used. It does not look at what happens when they are used together (this is known as the synergistic effect).

From the little research that has been done that examines the synergistic effect, it was discovered that the results were unexpected. They weren't the sum of the ingredients, they were different.

To clarify, this means that if ingredient A (a skin irritant) and it is mixed with ingredient B (a lung irritant) that when combined they didn't just irritate the skin and lungs. There were other effects as well.


Want to learn more about the hidden hazards in your environment?

Join us in the Detox Your Environment Inner Circle to learn more. >>>

detox your environment inner circle

Essential Oils

Essential oils are potent gifts from nature

Essential oils can be used for many things – cleaning, mood enhancement, health, personal care products, perfumery, in your bath, in a burner, pest repellent, and on and on.

However, they do need to be used with care.

One drop of essential oil goes a very long way. When you put them in a burner, just use no more than 3 drops at a time.

Unless you are under the care of a qualified aromatherapist, NEVER EVER ingest any essential oil.

My Favourites

Two of my most regularly used oils are OREGANO and THYME.

This is because of the work that I do.

Of all the essential oils, oregano and thyme essential oils are the best at killing mould. Hence the regularity of its use.

When I have been in a mouldy house or workplace, despite wearing all my protective gear, I wash my clothes with a few drops of it.

I also burn it in my car to help reduce any contamination.

** They also smell tasty!

Quality Essential Oils

Here is a video I did to explain what to look for, so that you get good quality ones.

* Please be aware that some people are very sensitive to essential oils.

Note that even though they are sourced from nature, and not synthetic, many people are very sensitive to them, particularly those with chemical sensitivities.

Also, everybody has individual nuances, and as such, even oils like lavender may not have the calming effect that they are traditionally known for.

As with everything, be slow and careful. I embrace the precautionary principle and encourage you to do the same.

One other important consideration is our pets – many pets are extremely sensitive so please consult your vet for advice.



Diffusers and Mould

Diffusers and Mould

Many of the homes I assess have essential oil diffusers.

Whilst I love that more people are using essential oils, I have concerns about the essential oil diffusers that harbour mould… and then potentially spread it throughout your home.

So, let me share with you ways to avoid mould – and fragrant oils!

Some key points about essential oil diffusers that require water:

  • they add moisture to your indoor air
  • the water inside them is infrequently changed
  • the tubes within them are impossible to dry out – and this is where I see the most mould – and they are equally impossible to clean!

Options:

  • use an electric oil diffuser – such as this one that requires no water at all
  • put essential oils on a cotton ball or tissue
  • grow fresh herbs and enjoy their aroma

Why we Don't Want to Add Moisture to the Indoor Air

Mould spores are everywhere. They are an important part of our world. We just don't want them growing in our homes.

Mould requires food and moisture to flourish. Usually the spores are sitting on food. So the thing that we CAN control is moisture.

When there is enough moisture (high humidity levels or a material is wet for 48+ hours) mould can proliferate. This sets off a chain of events, which for those who are sensitive or sensitised can be extremely problematic. Mould can be detrimental to our health as well as to the structure of the building.

Taking steps to reduce moisture levels is ideal – and avoiding adding it is even better!

Want to talk about this? Book a Hidden Hazards Hotline call.


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.

https://youtu.be/50SDRUsDU7Q



#buildingbiology #environmentalsensitivities

revised 20/4/20