Most of us have grown up knowing a few certain truths.
A couple of those are, smoking is bad for you, and being clean is good.
In fact, many have taken the entire clean thing to an entirely new level. Seems that just about everything is anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti —viral, anti - something or another. And its killing out guts, and other things!
Anyway, moving on. Did you know that cleaning might be just as bad for you as smoking.
In fact, recent studies suggest that if you use certain cleaning products you might as well smoke. Don't, just in case that wasn't obvious.
A new study shows the lung decline over 20 years caused by using conventional cleaning products (which have NO federal regulations for health or safety) equals that of smoking 20 cigarettes a day. For those of you that dont know, In Canada 1 pack generally has 25 cigarettes, in other countries they often have 20. So lets just make it easy and say 1 pack a day.
The only reason I know is that I looked it up. I generally hear patients and people say they have a "pack a day" habit so I was curious how it compared. Now you know!
So there you have it. It's about 1 pack per day.
The toxic chemicals used in cleaning products damage the lungs little by little, adding up to a significant impact that rivals a pack-a-day smoking habit. That is not an insubstantial amount.
The Norwegian study tracked 6,000 women over two decades. That's a long time to track someone. Can you say "stalker"?
There were 3 different groups.
1. Women responsible for keeping the home clean (the stay at home mom)
2. Women who cleaned as a job (Maids, housekeepers, hotel cleaners, etc.)
3. Women NOT regularly engaged in cleaning(those that have a cleaning person or those who work).
Compared to the women who didn’t clean house, the regular home cleaners (group 1/aka house mom) and occupational cleaners (group 2 / the business mom) who used cleaning sprays and other products showed an accelerated decline in lung function.
Think of all those fumes and chemicals getting sprayed into a fine mist all over the place. The finer and wider the spray of mist the more area it covers, but also the smaller the particles it creates and generally the more we inhale and the deeper into our lungs it gets. This may be part of the reason why vaping may not be as good as some people think.
This study was the first of its kind to look at the long-term effects of cleaning products on the respiratory tract and the results are not really all the surprising. We don't use these cleaning products in our house or in my practice. But on the rare occasion that we do use it, it always the hold your breath, spray and run type "cleaning".
There have already been studies demonstrating the short term effects. The studies have already established a link between the cleaning products — bleach, glass cleaner, detergents, and air fresheners — and an increase in asthma.
In fact, the women who cleaned regularly in the Norwegian study also showed an increased rate of asthma. Which is not a surprise. If the cleaning products created short term asthma why wouldn't it create long term asthma. DUH! Sometimes things are so obvious yet no really puts it together or thinks about it if there hasn't been some sort of study to confirm something.
Breaking news! Getting punched in the face twice hurts as just as much
or more than a single punch.
Household cleaners are toxic and damaging to multiple systems
in the body, not just the lungs.
The lungs aren’t the only part of the body conventional cleaning products damage. They also impact the brain, immune system, hormonal system, and liver. Which are pretty important areas.
For instance, phthalates are used in the perfumed scents many cleaning products have. Phthalates lower sperm counts, cause early puberty in girls, and raise the risk of cancer and lung problems.
Perchloroethylene (PERC), a solvent used in spot removers, carpet and upholstery cleaners, and dry cleaning, raises the risk of Parkinson’s disease and cancer. And I've seen many clients develop MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) after living above a dry cleaners for a period of time.
Here's a couple little hints.
1 - Don't live above or next to a dry cleaners
2 - Look at the types of businesses that are around you house and work
3 - If you start to notice you can't smell or taste things, that is not a good sign!!
Although hundreds, if not thousands, of studies have repeatedly demonstrated the toxicity of chemicals in common household ingredients, their use in manufacturing is largely unregulated. Big money!
People see that certain products work well for what they are supposed to but they don't think of the possible side effects. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. It's also not an excuse!
Our over exposure to toxic chemicals has been linked to skyrocketing rates of autoimmunity and even autism (check out our page on Autism) which is a neurological presentation of autoimmunity in many people.
In the past few decades we have seen autism increase tenfold (10 times), leukemia go up more than 60 percent, male birth defects double, and childhood brain cancer go up 40 percent (which may partially be due to all those EMF waves that kids get exposed to at such an early age). Check out my upcoming series on EMF's and subscribe to my youtube channel. Those are some Sobering statistics.
Helping protect your body from toxins
Unfortunately, it is not possible to be toxin-free in today’s world. Toxins have gotten into our air, water, food (even organic), and our bodies. Everyone carries hundreds of toxins in their bodies, even newborn babies. I should say specially newborn babies. I often tell my clients that it's not about living a perfect life and avoiding all toxins. It's about limiting the toxins that we can so that when we do get exposed to toxins we can't avoid they have less of an effect on our bodies.
When a person has a highly reactive immune system, various toxins and heavy metals can trigger inflammation in the same way a gluten sensitivity can, causing a flare up of autoimmune and inflammatory symptoms. By using functional medicine principles to keep inflammation as low as possible, we can help prevent toxins from becoming immune reactive.
Much like my previous post on chronic viral infections causing or triggering autoimmunity, chronic toxin exposure can do the same thing.
To accomplish this, first avoid toxins as much as possible and use non-toxic products in your home and on your body. The Norwegian researchers suggested cleaning with a microfiber cloth and water. I have some other recommendations too.
Also, eat an anti-inflammatory whole foods diet consisting primarily of produce, nurture healthy gut bacteria, exercise regularly, spend time in nature - grounding, have healthy social interactions, and supplement with compounds such as vitamin D and glutathione precursors (the body’s master antioxidant). These are a few ways to support the body and make it more resilient to the many toxins it must battle.
I have included a few links to some of the products we use in our house and practice. But also consider some simple natural products as well such as:
1. Baking soda - Great for grease and grime
2. Castile Soap - This is a type of soap that is 100% Plant oils
3. Vinegar - This has so many uses, almost too many. There are entire books on how to use vinegar
4. Lemon Juice - Great for mold and mildew. Works for grease and can put a nice shine on some hard surfaces.
5. Olive oil - Can work as a polisher
6. Borax - This is often an ingredient in many natural cleaning products and recipes. We use it in our homemade laundry detergent.
Natural cleaning products:
Honest Cleaning products
Method Natural Cleaners
We will also be adding some blog posts on some recipes for natural cleaning agents that work great. Including toothpaste, laundry detergent, a great all around cleaner. And last but certainly not least is my all natural weed killer.
If you have any questions, comments or recipes of your own you would like to share post it in the comments and consider subscribing to our youtube channel.
Keep it clean, but a little dirt never hurt anyone either.
I'm Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be Healthy, be happy!