Greetings, Powerful Warriors!
Our journey together is an awakening into Truth, a refinement of the senses, and an invitation to fundamentally transform the ways in which we show up for our lives and for our collective experience on a shared planet. Purification is a process of mindfulness and active participation. And it is a never ending adventure. We have already invested so much thought and consideration into how we nourish ourselves nutritionally, yet there are other aspects of living that require our attention if we are to free ourselves from toxic patterns and experience a vibrantly holistic existence. Although we may not see it, the air we breathe and surround ourselves with is part of what determines the quality of our health and our inner atmosphere.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that 80% of most people's exposure to pesticides occurs indoors, and that measurable levels of up to a dozen pesticides have been found in the air inside of homes. This concentrated exposure without proper mitigation can potentially cause long-term damage to the liver and the central nervous system, as well as an increased risk of cancer. These levels are especially dangerous during fetal development and early childhood. According to the EPA, your home can be up to five times more polluted with common chemicals than the outdoors.
Commercial cleaning products, no matter how fresh smelling, should also be considered poisons and factored into your personal toxic load. According to the U.S. Poison Control website: “In 2011, U.S. poison centers answered more than 3.6 million calls, including about 2.3 million calls about human exposures to poisons. Children younger than 6 accounted for about half of the calls placed to poison centers about poison exposures. The top five substances involved in poison exposures for children younger than 6 were cosmetics/personal care products; painkillers; household cleaning substances; foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous; and topical preparations.” Further, governmental regulations do not require commercial cleaning products to label their ingredients. And according to a 2010 New York State Department of Health study, women who hold cleaning jobs while pregnant have children who experience an increased incidence of birth defects.
Antibacterial cleaning products have also been repeatedly discredited in their claims of being superior disinfecting agents over good ole soap and water. A microbiologist from Tufts University notes that:
"Unlike these traditional cleaners, antibacterial products leave surface residues, creating conditions that may foster the development of resistant bacteria. For example, after spraying and wiping an antibacterial cleaner over a kitchen counter, active chemicals linger behind and continue to kill bacteria, but not necessarily all of them.
When a bacterial population is placed under a stressor—such as an antibacterial chemical—a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop. These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.
As bacteria develop a tolerance for these compounds there is potential for also developing a tolerance for certain antibiotics. This phenomenon, called cross-resistance, has already been demonstrated in several laboratory studies using triclosan, one of the most common chemicals found in antibacterial hand cleaners, dishwashing liquids and other wash products."
An environmental scientist at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health warns that:
"Both triclosan and its close chemical relative triclocarban (also widely used as an antibacterial), are present in 60 percent of America's streams and rivers. Both chemicals are efficiently removed from wastewater in treatment plants but end up getting sequestered in the municipal sludge, which is used as fertilizer for crops, thereby opening a potential pathway for contamination of the food we eat. We have to realize that the concentrations in agricultural soil are very high, and this, along with the presence of pathogens from sewage, could be a recipe for breeding antimicrobial resistance in the environment."
And according to Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition, the most dangerous cleaning products capable of causing acute reactions are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners. Corrosive chemicals can severely burn the eyes and the skin. If ingested, they can also burn the throat and esophagus. Ammonia and chlorine bleach emit fumes that are highly irritating to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Sometimes on deep cleaning days, it is not uncommon to mix both of these chemicals. But when these two chemicals are combined, they can react with each other to form gases that can severely damage the lungs. Combining products that contain chlorine and ammonia, or ammonia and lye (found in some oven cleaners) produces chloramine gases – which cause oxidative free radical damage and mild to severe respiratory tract irritation.
The fragrances responsible for making your clothes smell April fresh, may also cause respiratory irritation, headaches, sneezing, and watery eyes in sensitive individuals or allergy and asthma sufferers. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has determined that approximately one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic. But because the chemical formulations in fragrances are considered “trade secrets,” companies aren't required to list their ingredients in detail, but can instead obscurely label them as containing "fragrance." What else is new?
So you see, cleaning your home is potentially a very dirty job. Commercial cleaning products produce smog, thereby directly affecting the quality of our air. They also pollute groundwater, leaving the world practically uninhabitable for future generations of humans and the rest of the animal and plant kingdoms. Something so seemingly innocuous can have devastating implications.
Many of you may spend most of your days indoors, whether in an office setting or at your home computer. As part of your self-care, please consider finding ways to purify the air you breathe. Your breath is your LIFE! Remember that there are thousands upon thousands of untested, yet approved chemical substances in our environment. The great news is that making your own cleaning products is...ahem...dirt cheap. And you probably already have most of the key ingredients in your pantry! Whatever you don't make, you can supplement with environmentally friendly cleaning products that are at least 95% natural and sustainable. This is a great way to save money while maintaining a clean lifestyle! The main ingredients you need are: distilled white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, lemon and salt. If you add a few drops of naturally antimicrobial tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to your creations, your household chores will be that much more delightful to complete! :) I make a very effective disinfecting spray by taking lemon and orange peels (as well as limes and grapefruit - whatever you are consuming in the moment) and placing them in a glass jar soaked in white vinegar. I cover this mixture with a lid for about two weeks and then strain into a spray bottle. I add a few drops of lemon essential oil and voila! Organic Spic 'n Span!
We are living in a crucial era where individual choices can and do have global repercussions. Choose Life! Choose healing! Add indoor house plants, invest in a HEPA air filter and make your home a shoe-free zone! What are some other ways we can purify our indoor environment? Please feel free to post your thoughts and ideas on our group page!
Enjoy your beautiful, healing process today!!!
©Erika Elizondo, H.H.C