If you read my earlier posts, you know that one of my pet peeves is outdoor air pollution wafting out of nearby dryer exhaust hoses. Those fragrances however aren't just annoying, they are actually toxic or intentionally obscuring the odor of more hazardous irritants and carcinogens. Even worse, most toxins persist in the environment and in our bodies, bloodstreams, and even mother's milk.
But does it really make an individual difference? My patient Audrey had a thermogram a couple years ago which showed a strong estrogenic (potentially cancerous) effect on her breast tissue. She and I had never discussed the estrogenic nature of non-organic household chemicals, but we did that day. She made three changes to organic only: household chemicals, makeup, and meat. Her follow-up thermogram was perfectly normal. I think her home will stay organic.
How does one go about converting a conventional home to an organic home? Unless you have a lot of money, it's step by step. I'll list three steps here, all good places to start.
- Small step: Take out the chlorine or bleach. Chlorine can come out of the water with water filters. Eco-friendly scouring and spray cleaners can be found that work fine for routine use and you can save money by making your own. Reserve chlorine bleach use for only the most difficult cleaning jobs.
- Medium Step: Be kind to the earth: dish and laundry detergents empty eventually into the water system. Here again, the organic and biodegradable products are adequate for most usage.
- Big step and big payoff: Make your bed and bedroom organic. It's hard to know whether to start with sheets (less expensive but cotton associated toxins wash out) or mattress (big expense but toxins off-gas a long time, and the organic options are very comfortable). A good compromise is to start with your pillow. Options on all the bedding choices can be found on the website of our friends at Organic and Healthy. They have thoroughly researched all the options and will give you a discount if you are referred from here and use the discount code YHW5 at checkout.
I can only speak from my own personal experience about the wool mattress, but it's cozy and I'm told by the shepherds who made it that it will last me a lifetime.
How organic is your home? What changes have you made for your health?
Deborah Gordon, M.D., is a family physician specializing in Integrative Medicine. She is a co-founder of www.drdeborahmd.com