Low toxicity living

Low Toxicity Living

We are exposed to chemicals every day; in the air we breathe, the food we eat, products we put on our body, cleaning products, products we use in the garden, from the cars that we drive and other forms of transport. Chemicals are not intrinsically bad for us; in fact our bodies are made up of millions of different chemicals. However, humans have managed to produce hundreds-of-thousands of synthetic chemicals and heavy metals that we need to avoid in our day-to-day lives. Some neurologists estimate that we may contact over 150,000 neurotoxic man-made chemicals during our daily routines.

When we are healthy, these dangerous chemicals are naturally more easily eliminated from our body (although they do slowly accumulate). When our immune system is compromised (such as when we are sick, highly stressed or following trauma) the body is unable to eliminate these chemicals, and we sustain damage at a cellular level. Even when we are healthy, if we are exposed to these toxic chemicals and heavy metals at a high enough level, or for a sustained period of time, our body loses the ability to eliminate them from our system.

We must also remember that, when we have developed a degenerative process early in life (and that is when neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders begin), we have, within our body, cells 100+ times more vulnerable to the effects of these synthetic chemicals than those whose childhoods were more robust.

Living a low toxicity life is essential for all those wishing to live a truly healthy life. It is critical for those of us who have developed any degenerative disorder. Every synthetic chemical we contact will have a negative effect on our physical and/or mental/emotional function. Sometimes we deliberately choose to use synthetic chemicals where we believe the benefits will outweigh the risks – for instance, when using some medications, driving our motor vehicle, flying overseas, or using antibiotics to combat a serious infection.

Sometimes we use toxic chemicals because we have not thought about the consequences, do not know about the consequences, or simply out of habit. Many of us use strong cleaning products around our homes because we have been told since childhood that we need a gleaming clean, germ-free house. In reality, a little less gleam will not be noticed, creating a sterile environment reduces the effectiveness of our immune system, while the chemicals we use also attack our immune system and our nervous system.

If we are challenged with symptoms of disease, we also need to make choices about our work and social environments. We may even need to think about new types of work to do and the people we mix with so we can avoid the nastiest of chemicals.

Hints for living a low-toxicity life:

  • Look at your work environment – if you work in an environment that exposes you to chemicals, air conditioning of doubtful quality, light exclusively from fluoro tubes or very high, unremitting stress, it may be time to think about a change in occupation. Yes, we may need to continue working to earn money to pay for food, clothes, education and therapies. But do we need as much money? Can we earn a reasonable living doing something less toxic while we recover? Do we ever want to go back to our toxic occupation?
  • Eliminate toxic chemicals from your home. Cleaning products, air fresheners, disinfectants etc., are all highly toxic – many are neuro-toxic (that is why there are such strong warnings on the label). Find alternatives (look at the suggestions below), there is always another way to do the job.
  • Petroleum based chemicals are some of the most toxic in our world, and are used in many synthetic compounds such as oil based paint, perfume, cosmetics, many cleaning products, petrol, baby oil, medicinal creams and some medications. Avoid being around petroleum-based chemicals in general, especially petrol (ask someone else to fill your tank whilst you stay in the car with the windows up, or better still avoid the petrol station altogether). I use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in my car. This is not available in all countries but is a useful and inexpensive alternative in Australia. However, even though my vehicle is filled with a closed system (no fumes) the smell and fumes of others filling their cars with petrol at the same service station can quickly give me a headache, or some digestive disturbance. I try to fill my car during quiet times. If you use petrol, and have to fill your car yourself, wear gloves (keep gardening or rubber cloves in your car), and turn your head away from the filler to avoid fumes. Always take more vitamin C on the day you fill up.

What To Avoid

There are classes of chemicals commonly used in both household and personal care products that we need to avoid at all costs. Most of these are derived from petrochemicals, but some are otherwise synthesised in the laboratory. Avoid polyethylene glycol (PEG), sulfates and sulfides, sodium/ammonium laurel sulfates and sodium/ammonium laureth sulfates, ethoxylates, parabens, propylene glycol, silicones, phthalates, mineral oils, artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. This list is not exhaustive as new chemicals are introduced each year. We don’t know what most of them are, their names or composition, as manufacturing companies only need approval from a government department. They don’t have to tell us what they are or what they do.

In most countries, manufacturers do have to list contents on the pack of each product (the thoroughness of this varies widely between countries). However, often the chemicals are listed by number rather than name. In this case, my policy is “if you can’t spell it, pronounce it, understand it, or know what the number means, don’t buy the product without further investigation”.

Cleaning products:

  • Avoid using harsh cleaning products at all. First use water (this cleans off a remarkable amount of dirt and grime with no further cleaning needed). If required, add some bicarbonate of soda, eucalyptus oil (an amazing cleaning product), vinegar or pure, organic detergent-free “soap”.
  • Where you are unhappy with the results of the above cleaning suggestions, ask at your health food store, organic store, or check out the “alternative press” for products that won’t poison you.
  • There are a large number of micro fibre cloths available now that clean very well without harsh chemicals. They are especially good for cleaning bathrooms, timber floors and dusting (which is very helpful for asthmatics and those with a dust allergy). Start off by buying the better quality cloths from the supermarket to see how they work. If you are as happy as I am with these moderately priced products, you won’t need to waste your money on the more expensive products, or multi- level marketing products claiming spurious superiority.
  • If you must use a cleaner avoid those that contain petrochemicals, phosphates, organochlorines, synthetic fragrances and colours or any of the chemical groups named above. Just because a product is labelled “bio-degradable” does not mean it is low toxicity. If you do have cleaning chemicals in your home (other than those listed above as low toxicity), get rid of them in a toxic waste disposal facility. Or, better still, get someone more robust to take them away for you.
  • Buy a book of old home remedies and you will have lots of ideas for low toxicity cleaning. Many (perhaps most) “old wives” cleaning ideas work.
  • Avoid bleach at all costs, it is very neuro-toxic.
    Here are some natural low toxicity products that are useful in cleaning your house (& you):- Water
  • “Elbow grease” (muscle power)
  • Bi-carb soda – great for absorbing smells and is good in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Vinegar – good for polishing glass, tiles, metal, mirrors, ceramic surfaces and floors. It is also a good conditioner for silk and wool. If you have burned on cooking stains on your stainless steel cookware, soak them with vinegar for several hours, then scrub. It works a treat!
  • Lemon juice mixed with table or sea salt makes a good abrasive scrub for chopping boards and other rugged surfaces.
  • Eucalyptus Oil – removes stains and grease, is a mild antiseptic and an insect repellent (good forgetting fleas off pets).
  • Cleaners made from citrus fruits (Orange and Lemon). These work really well for stubborn stains.
  • Borax (use this sparingly) – is a mildly abrasive cleaner, a water softener and an insect repellent.
  • Raw sea salt – a great bleach and stain remover.
  • Beeswax – good wood preservative and polishing agent.

A real bonus in cleaning your home in this way is that you will spend a lot less on cleaning products. I have saved hundreds of dollars over the past few years, yet my house is cleaner and nicer to live in.

Your house – more ideas:

  • Avoid synthetic fragrances – toilet fresheners & cleaners, carpet deodorizers, room/furniture deodorizers, cleaning products with strong smells (which are not naturally derived) etc. If your toilet is really smelly then use some essential oils in a burner or use a spray bottle with Eucalyptus oil diluted with water. If you can buy the citrus cleaning products, you can probably get the citrus toilet deodoriser too; it works well.
  • Smoking is bad for everyone’s health. If you smoke, stop. If you live with someone who smokes, see if you can negotiate where they can smoke (i.e. outside, or down the street) but be aware that secondary smoke is only part of the problem. Smokers have large amount of toxic gasses in their clothes, so you may want to ask your smoking housemate to quit (it would be good for both of you). If possible avoid smokers (and their clothes, cars and furniture).
  • A recent Senate Inquiry into air quality found that most Australian homes have poorer air quality than most factories. This is because of three reasons – 1: dust (which can contain toxic chemicals), 2: the large amount of synthetic materials we have in our houses which give off tiny amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s or toxic gas) and, 3: poor ventilation in getting dust and VOC’s out of the house. Most developed countries will have similar home-toxicity challenges.

Hints for a low toxicity house:

  • Look at what you have on your floor. Many carpets are either synthetic, or have been treated to make them more hard wearing and so give off large amounts of VOC’s (this also applies to their underlay or rubber backing). Vinyl also gives off VOC’s. The best floor coverings are wood, natural linoleum (made with linseed oil), terracotta tiles, slate, limestone, sandstone and carpet made from wool or other natural fibres (with jute or hessian underlay).
  • Eliminate synthetic scents (including most candles and incense), these give off large amounts of VOC’s. Use essential oils instead.
  • Paint gives off massive amounts of VOC’s – never use oil based paint (it is petroleum based as well as toxic). Water based paint will have a lower level of VOC’s. Look for low-toxicity or non-toxic paints. These are sometimes hard to find and more expensive, but worth it for your health.
  • Buy furniture that is made out of natural materials if you can. Plastic gives off a high rate of VOC’s and should be avoided if possible. Wood, wool and leather are good.
  • For your towels, curtains, sheets, etc., use natural fibres. This is worth it, particularly with your bedding as you spend so much of your time wrapped up in it.
  • Get indoor plants – these are good at taking the toxic chemicals out of your air and replacing them with oxygen.
  • Dust more often, using a micro fibre cloth. Keep two or three cloths discretely stored around the house so you can whisk dust away before it accumulates. It is easier to dust one room while you’re there than to tackle a whole house once or twice a week.

Around the Garden:

  • Pesticides often work by either poisoning the insect or plant, or by interfering with them at a cellular level. Many are extremely neuro-toxic. You don’t want these products working on you as well. Use organic and permaculture practices in your garden. Borrow a book from the library about this and you will get lots of hints about how to do things without chemicals.
  • Avoid having your house sprayed for pests (this includes using fly spray and flea bombs). These chemicals stay in your hose for months and make you very, very sick. When the “daddy long legs” spiders start coming back into your house, you know that you are living close to a low toxicity life. Use Double D Eucalyptus oil to keep away ants (painted onto the area where they are coming in). Double D is also very useful for getting fleas off pets (dilute with water and spray on the animal and its bedding).
  • The best way to avoid pests in the home is to stop them coming inside the house – screens on windows and doors, don’t leave stagnant water outside near your house (many pests need water to thrive and breed), and clean up sticky spills straight away (they are a magnet for ants and cockroaches).

Away from home:

When you go to other people’s houses for dinner, be aware that their cleaning products, food with preservatives and other chemicals added to their food and drinks, perfumes, carpet and dust may make you sick. If you do have a reaction remember this and suggest that they come to your house next time. Really good friends will understand and accommodate your health needs. If you have friends or family who won’t help you with this need to heal and stay healthy, they might need some encouragement and education, or you may need to reconsider how you relate to them.
- Be aware that large shopping malls and supermarkets have large amounts of toxic gasses in them. This is from the cleaning products they use, some of their tenants (nail and beauty salons) and the artificial fragrances they pump through their air conditioning units. This does not stop you from shopping. You can shop at smaller local retailers (they will love you), spend the minimum amount of time in the larger shops or shop online. Better still, get your partner or a friend to do the shopping! - Restaurants are a wonderful way to have a great night out. It can be even better if you asked to be seated in the non-smoking section. - In the end there are a lot of simple things that you can do (no matter how sick you are) to live a low- toxicity life that will benefit you, your family and the environment. A good book to help you with this is Going Organic, Your Guide to A Healthier Life by Kris Abbey, published by New Holland (2002) and available at most bookstores. Be gentle on yourself, don’t try and do everything at once. Get rid of your household cleaning chemicals first. Then gradually work on the rest.WHAT WE PUT ON OUR BODY Many people believe that the skin is an effective barrier to toxins but it is, in fact, a semipermeable membrane. That means that we can, and do, absorb many substances through our skin. What we put on our skin often passes through the skin and into the blood. From there it is carried to various organs including the brain, liver and kidneys, where it may have immediate or long-term effects. Skin absorption can be a significant source of exposure to the chemicals in personal care products, since they may be applied to the skin frequently and in large amounts. The scalp is an especially absorbent part of the body.

The skin is one of the most common routes of exposure. Many chemicals can penetrate the skin and their toxicity depends in part on how much absorption takes place. The greater the absorption, the greater the potential for a chemical to exert a toxic effect. The amount of absorption depends on the amount applied at any one time, how often we apply that substance, and the affinity of the chemical with our tissue.

Although chemicals are absorbed much more readily through damaged or abraded skin, chemicals can and do penetrate intact, healthy skin. Skin irritation is a common result of skin contact with certain chemicals but, of greater concern, these chemicals can damage many body systems, including your nervous system and brain, thus exacerbating neurodegenerative and autoimmune disease symptoms, or creating new ones.

Other routes of absorption from personal care products are ingestion (e.g. lipstick) and inhalation (e.g. talcum powder). We often swallow or inhale some ingredients of products without being aware of what is happening as we “beautify” ourselves after a shower or before a social engagement.

Essential oils

Many products claim to be “natural” because they include essential oils. While essential oils can be very useful in enhancing our environment and replacing some elements of personal care products, we must be cautious. Essential oils are very concentrated extracts of plants and, therefore, are not entirely “natural”.

Some essential oils, especially those used in cosmetics, may contain residues of pesticides or other processing chemicals. Therapeutic grade (or 99% pure) essential oils are the safest, but still need to be used cautiously. Remember you are at least 100 times more sensitive to any chemical than more robust people. Essential oils may cause hypersensitivity or a neuro response if too powerful for you.

If you choose to use essential oils on your skin, always dilute them with some less concentrated, but still non-toxic oil, such as sweet almond or apricot graded for ingestion, so that the essential oil will spread effectively without being too concentrated in any one place. They may also be diluted with pure Aloe Vera gel, and this can be very effective.

NATURAL? SAFE?

Natural is not always non-toxic. Some “natural” ingredients have proven harmful effects. For example, d- limonene, found in orange peels, is a powerful solvent, has been found to be a sensitizer, and causes severe reactions in some people. Sodium lauryl sulfate, often derived from coconut, is a known skin irritant which enhances allergic response to other toxins and allergens. Sodium laureth sulfate may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen. Ammonium Laurel and Laureth Sulfates present similar challenges.

“Natural” on a product label does not necessarily mean the product is safe to use. “Natural” may indicate that a small proportion of the product is derived from natural sources, while the remainder is petrochemical. Always read the label thoroughly. Furthermore, as indicated above, not all “natural” substances are safe; after all, snake venom is natural, but we don’t want to rub it into our skin.

MY VIEW

The comments below on products designed for various uses are my own opinions derived from research and experience. My knowledge is confined mainly to Australia, so I have not tried to list healthy alternatives. Rather I have attempted to warn you of the dangers of becoming too focused on sterility and appearance to the detriment of your health. Do your own research, read your alternative press, talk to your health food store proprietors and use as few personal care products as possible.

YOUR HAIR

Shampoo

Shampoos cause the most number of adverse reactions of all hair care products. They frequently contain harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and numerous irritating and carcinogenic compounds including sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate (irritant, can form carcinogenic nitrosamines), DEA, TEA, MEA (hormone disruptors, can release carcinogenic nitrosamines), quaternium-15, DMDM hydratoin (can release carcinogenic nitrosamines), polyethylene glycol (irritant), coal tar (carcinogenic), propylene glycol (neurotoxin, dermatitis, liver and kidney damage), and EDTA (irritant). Shampoos claiming to make your hair shinier with less work will often strip your hair over time, leaving it brittle, broken and falling.

Conditioner

Most mainstream and many “natural” conditioners rely on quaternary compounds to produce thicker, tangle-free silky hair. These compounds – benzalkonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, quaternium 15, quaternium 18 – can be irritating to eyes and skin. Other ingredients to be aware of include carcinogenic coal tar colours (FC&C), propylene glycol, cinnamate sunscreens, and polysorbate 80 that may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen.

Again, many herbal conditioners are available that do the job well with no more cost (maybe less) and no damage to health.

Rather than buy conditioner, mix a table spoon of apple cider vinegar in one litre (2 pints) of water, soak through your hair at the end of the shower and do not wash out. The aroma will dissipate quickly and your hair will shine.

Hair Colouring (Permanent)

There is NO SAFE HAIR COLOUR.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical Schools suggested that women who use hair dyes five or more times a year have twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Most permanent hair dyes contain potential irritants and carcinogens like formaldehyde and ammonia. Petroleum-based coal tar derivatives and phenylenediamine cause cancer. Products containing phenylenediamine can cause blindness if the solution drips into eyes. Dr. Samuel Epstein, chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition, says the use of hair dye places women at increased risk of certain cancers, especially leukaemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease. He states there is strong evidence that the use of hair colouring products accounts for up to 20 percent of all non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases in U.S. women, and that there is suggestive evidence these products increase breast cancer risk. Dark and black colours are particularly toxic.

Henna may be used if it is pure. The colour may vary from red to deep brown and will depend on your hair colour and texture. DO NOT use Black Henna as this is polluted with irritants.

Hair Relaxers and Straighteners

Toxic ingredients: sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, guanidine carbonate, guanidine hydroxide, thioglycolic acid, lithium hydroxide. A relaxer must be used with a neutralizing shampoo and conditioner whether applied at home or in a salon. Conventional shampoos and conditioners found in hair straightening kits contain the same ingredients found in conventional shampoos and conditioners, whose health effects are shown above.

Hair Styling

Aerosol and pump sprays produce fine droplets which can be inhaled deeply into lungs and transferred into your bloodstream. Inhalation of spray can also cause respiratory irritation and breathing difficulties. Hair styling products can contain TEA, DEA, MEA, FD&C colours, BHA and palmidate-O, all carcinogens. Ethoxylated alcohols, PEG compounds, and polysorbate 60 or 80 may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen. Conventional hair sprays coat hair with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), a plasticizer.

Permanent Waves

Chemicals in permanent waves can cause eye and skin irritations, swelling of legs and feet and swelling of eyelids. These products are suspected of causing low blood sugar. Hair can become damaged and weakened, resulting in hair more susceptible to chemical and ultraviolet damage. The main ingredient in permanent waves, thioglycolic acid, is also used in chemical hair straighteners. These solutions can result in first- and third-degree burns and even hair loss. Chemical straighteners contain allergens and skin irritants like TEA, polyethelene glycol and synthetic fragrance.

YOUR FACE

Eye and Face Make-up

Through the ages men and women have painted their faces and bodies with colour – often with deadly results. Many substances used included lead, mercury and talcum. We now know that lead and mercury are neurotoxic and carcinogenic.

Today, most colours in conventional cosmetics are chemically synthesized from coal tar. These compounds have been shown to cause cancer in animals. Impurities like arsenic and lead in some coal tar colours have been shown to cause cancer not only when ingested, but also when applied to skin, and are very neurotoxic – therefore will exacerbate disease symptoms.

Blush

The main ingredient in most blushes is talc, a carcinogen. Colour is provided by hazardous coal tar dyes that are neurotoxic. Mineral oil, which can clog pores, and propylene glycol, a neurotoxin and skin sensitizer, are binders used to hold the formulation together. Acrylate compounds, commonly used as thickening agents, can be strong irritants.

Concealer

Concealers contain numerous irritating chemicals like propylene glycol, lanolin and paraben preservatives. These chemicals may be neurotoxic. Imidazolidinyl urea is the second most reported cause of contact dermatitis. BHA, a preservative, is a carcinogen that can be absorbed through the skin. DEA, TEA and MEA can form carcinogenic nitrosamines that are absorbed through the skin, and may be carcinogenic in themselves.

Eyeliner

Mainstream eyeliners contain carcinogenic coal tar colours, hormone-disrupting TEA, and PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone), an allergen. Carcinogens are often also neurotoxic.

Eye Shadow

Eye shadows are used for the colours they provide. However, they contain artificial colours from coal tar. Talc, a carcinogen, is the main ingredient in powdered eye shadows. Eye shadows may also contain mineral oil, a petrochemical derivative, dimethicone, a silicone oil, to make the powder stick to the eyelid, and binding ingredients like methacrylate, a strong irritant. Cream eye shadows are made with petrochemicals like paraffin and petrolatum, carcinogenic coal tar colours, and lanolin, an allergen which may contain pesticide residues. The glitter in cream eye shadows is created by adding pure aluminium, implicated in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and, perhaps, other degenerative diseases. The Consumer Agency and Ombudsman in Finland tested 49 eye shadows and found that all contained lead, cobalt, nickel, chromium and arsenic. These minerals are known neurotoxins.

Face Powder

Mainstream powder products commonly contain talc, a carcinogen. Airborne talc is particularly dangerous because it can be inhaled. Other toxic ingredients include formaldehyde (carcinogenic and a sensitizer), quartenium-15 (can release formaldehyde), lanolin (irritant), imidazolidinyl urea (irritant, can release formaldehyde), MEA, TEA and DEA (hormone disruptors, can release formaldehyde) and parabens (hormone disrupters, irritants).

Foundation

Foundations are the third leading cause of contact dermatitis among cosmetics users. Because foundation is worn on the skin for many hours, products containing synthetic ingredients can cause skin problems. Mineral oil can block pores and promote cosmetic acne and isopropyl myristate, a fatty compound, can cause blackheads. Other ingredients include propylene glycol, a neurotoxin and skin sensitizer, TEA and 2- bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol which are often found together and which, combined, may cause the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines, parabens, commonly- used hormone disrupting preservatives that may accumulate in body fat, and quaternium-15, a germicide that may break down into formaldehyde which is a carcinogen and sensitizer. Foundations also include coal tar colours and synthetic fragrances. They may also contain lanolin, a common allergen.

Many foundations contain Bentonite that helps suspend water and disperse the foundation on your skin. Bentonite is believed to be carcinogenic and acts to “suffocate” your skin.

Lipstick

A woman may ingest more than four pounds (1814 grams) of lipstick in her lifetime – even more if she wears it every day. Mainstream lipsticks are composed of synthetic oils, petroleum waxes and artificial colours. Coal tar dye colours are common allergens and also carcinogenic. Lipsticks also contain amyldimethylamino benzoic acid, ricinoleic acid, fragrance, ester gums and lanolin. Some dyes can cause photosensitivity and dermatitis.

Make-up Remover

Makeup removers may contain propylene glycol (a neurotoxin), parabens (which are estrogen mimics), carcinogenic coal tar colours, DMDM hydantoin and diazolidinyl urea which release formaldehyde, polyethelene glycol and polysorbate 80 which may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen which readily penetrates skin, and fragrances.

Mascara

Conventional mascara contains petroleum distillates, shellac, acrylates (strong irritants), phenylmercuric acetate (preservative made from benzenes and mercury that can cause blisters, skin irritation and allergic reactions), parabens (hormone disrupters, allergens), quaternium-22 (preservative, allergen), quaternium- 15 (eye irritant) pentaerythrityl (resin additive made from formaldehyde). Lash-extending products can contain plasticizers, like polyurethane, that cause cancer in animals, and polystyrene sulfonate which can irritate eyes and may be a hormone disruptor.

YOUR MOUTH

Mouthwash

Conventional mouthwash is alcohol-based. Products with alcohol content higher than 25 percent can contribute to cancers of the mouth, tongue and throat when used regularly. Mouthwash can contain artificial flavours and colours, formaldehyde and sodium lauryl sulfate. Some mouthwash formulations include polysorbate 60 and polysorbate 80, which may be contaminated with 1,4-dixane, a carcinogen and fluoride which is a suspected carcinogen and may cause problems for some sensitive people.

Toothpaste

Conventional toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic colours and flavours, and polysorbate 80 which may be contaminated with 1,4-doxane, a carcinogen. Almost all conventional brands contain fluoride. Fluoride is linked to cancer and causes problems for some sensitive people.

Remember, any chemical that causes a sensitivity reaction, or is a known carcinogen, will affect you profoundly at cellular level, and is likely to exacerbate your disease symptoms, and may speed up the progress of the disorder.

Personal care :

  • Avoid most deodorants and anti-perspirants – they have aluminium in them, a metal linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. If you keep yourself clean most of the time you don’t need it
    anyway. Try not using it for a few days, if you really smell – or on those hot days when we all smell – use a crystal deodorant that kills the bacteria that produces the smell (available from health food stores – they are more expensive than your ordinary deodorant, but will last a whole year). There are also a number of good quality deodorants that do not contain aluminium or other toxic chemicals available from your supermarket and health food store. I have used at least three different brands, all with success. I have found that, as I improved my diet and metabolic performance, I needed deodorant much less.
  • Avoid makeup. You are beautiful the way you are.
  • Avoid mineral oil in any form and in any product. Oil on your skin prevents healthy breathing,reduces dispersal of waste products through the skin, exacerbates skin irritations and may cause rashes. The minerals may be absorbed through your skin and affect your health more profoundly.
  • Avoid any personal care product containing fragrances as these chemicals (even if “natural”) mayadversely affect you at cellular level. What you wear :
    • Wear natural fibres as much as possible – wool, cotton, silk, hemp. These fibres breathe better, are better for you and better for the environment. There is no chance of volatile organic compounds getting into your system from your clothes if you aren’t wearing synthetic materials. Make sure you wash new clothes before wearing to reduce the chance of dye material being absorbed through your skin.

What you eat and drink:

  • Don’t drink water out of the tap!!! (unless you live in a place of peace unspoiled by human hands, or have your own rainwater tanks) The toxic chemicals that they use to treat drinking water (especially fluoride and chlorine), and the chemicals that they add to the water to preserve it (and us) are, generally speaking, bad for you. Buy bottles and tanks of pure water from the supermarket. If you don’t want to lug the bottles home install a good quality water filter. A filter is, in fact, the best bet as bottled water is expensive and not always what it seems. Most bottle water comes in soft PET plastic bottles, and is often left in the hot sun on a truck for many hours during transport; during this time, they leach DEHP, an endocrine-disrupting phthalate and probable human carcinogen into the water that you drink. Under no circumstances reuse a PET bottle. Bottled water may also be simply tap water with a label on it.
  • By the way, it is a good idea to use a simple osmotic filter for your tank water to remove any residue collected on your roof or in the atmosphere during rainfall.REFERENCES
    COLEMAN John ND; “Stop Parkin’ and Start Livin’”; Michelle Anderson Publishing, Melbourne,Australia, 2005.

VICTOROFF Dr. Jeff; “Saving Your Brain”; Bantam Books; Random House Australia, Milsons Point, NSW; 2002.

COLEMAN Reverend Nicole; “Low Toxicity Living”; unpublished. Presented as an information resource by The Reverend Nicole Coleman who is in recovery from chronic Lyme disease.

Dr. Wei-Wei Han

Dr. Wei-Wei Han


Culminating with Graduate work at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Dr. Han has practiced since 2002. Read more on our Practitioners page.

  Peterborough, Ontario

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