Sunday, December 09, 2007

While we're at it, let's just de-tox the whole house...Otherwise entitled, "It ain't easy being green".

Part I -- The Introduction.

In my last post, I explored how to eliminate the health concerns and the environmental concerns connected with dry cleaning. In the process of researching that, I found information about dealing with other potential toxins.

There are many of you who are way more savvy about these issues than I. But, I thought I'd share what I'm learning, and you can post your own tips in my comments section if you like.

Before we launch into that subject though, I wanted to explore a few ideas:

First, let me say again that we can never avoid exposure to every potential toxin in the world. Nor, should we attempt to have a 100% sanitized home environment. Our immune systems need some challenges in order to grow and stay strong, just as our muscles need work and exercise to grow and stay strong. Plus, as important as it is to be a wise steward of this good old glove, it will not be our permanent home. So, there's no need to become neurotic in our quest for a cleaner, greener home on earth. In fact, the best thing we can do for our family's health is to create a household that's relaxed and happy.

Second, let me point out that some of the guidelines concerning home and environmental toxins are not black and white. There are many areas where the research either isn't clear, or it's subject to change as people learn more.

Plus, the types of toxins that threaten our health and our environment have a way of changing as conditions change. Way back in the 1930's, the city I live in was heavily polluted from coal, which was the main source of heat for many houses. That coal residue in the air was cleaned up long before I was even born. Yet, in the 2,000's, there are other pollutants in our air.

So, in light of changing conditions and changing ideas about what's healthy, it's wise to have a flexible attitude about our choices.

If we keep these two things in mind, it will help us stay balanced as we de-tox our homes. We can take simple steps to protect our family's health without letting the process consume us.

Winter is probably a good time to tackle a home de-tox project. During cold weather, we keep our homes more tightly shut against the elements. Thus, whatever toxins are in our homes' atmosphere are trapped inside, and the levels of indoor irritants rise. Plus, we spend more time inside, where we breathe that recycled, irritant-rich air. Not only that, but we are exposed to seasonal illnesses, such as the flu.

Of course, with the holidays coming up, you may be too busy right now to start a new home project. A few weeks from now, after the holiday rush is over, you may be ready to give your home a fresh new start to the new year.

Note: During this short series, I'm defining toxins as anything in a home's air and surfaces and materials or any home product that could be harmful to our health. This would include germs, chemical irritants, pollutants from new carpeting and furniture, molds, etc. We'll also consider allergens. Allergens may not be toxins in and of themselves, but a sensitized immune system might wrongly perceive them as a toxic threat, producing an allergic reaction in certain individuals.



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