January 4, 2016

Home Detox: How to Rid Your Environment of the Sources of Chronic Illness

Did you ever wonder why our country seems to be getting sicker by the year?

Given the huge leaps in medical technology and the scientific discoveries made over the past decades, doesn’t it seem as though people in civilized countries would be leading longer, healthier lives?

In reality, it’s just the opposite.

Everyone is either sick themselves or knows someone who is sick. People are living sicker and dying younger right here in the Land of Opportunity. Chronic illness is now the norm instead of an oddity. A report from Johns Hopkins provides these alarming statistics:

Today, 133 million people, almost half of all Americans, live with a chronic condition. By 2020, as the population ages, the number will increase to 157 million. These people represent all segments of our society – they are of all ages, races, and economic status. Many have multiple chronic conditions, including functional limitations and disabilities. Data show that in the general population, people with five or more chronic conditions have an average of almost 15 physician visits and fill over 50 prescriptions in a year. In the Medicare population, the average beneficiary sees seven different physicians and fills upwards of 20 prescriptions in a year.

According to JHU’s study, the top chronic illnesses are:

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University

But it gets even worse than this. The numbers above don’t even include cancer. These days, every other person…literally every other person…in America will have cancer in their lifetime.

  • Nearly half of all Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime. (source) Quick math tells us that is an astonishing 157 million victims.
  • Over half a million people in America died of cancer in 2012. (source)
  • In 2011, cancer was the #1 cause of death in the Western world, and #2 in developing countries. (source)
  • Cancer is the #1 cause of childhood death in the United States. (source)

This is a fairly recent increase.  A hundred years ago, the number was far different.  At that time, 1 in 33 people was stricken with the disease. And despite billions of dollars being spent to find “the cure”, the World Health Organization predicts that deaths from cancer will DOUBLE by the year 2030.

Chronic illness is big business.

Here’s the kicker. According to the report from Johns Hopkins quoted above, people with chronic illnesses account for 83% of all healthcare spending in the US. EIGHTY-THREE PERCENT.

Now, let these numbers sink in:

Are you beginning to see the epic size of the business of illness? Billions and billions of dollars. An amount of money that is unfathomable to most of us.

Don’t look for American “watchdog agencies” to look out for your health. They’ve proven time and time again that the nature of their protection is to look after the bottom line of large corporations. Their watchdog efforts are not there to protect folks like you and me.

For example, the FDA still allows many of the toxins that have been implicated in cancer, hormonal disruption, and autoimmune illnesses to be in our food and our personal care products. A dizzying array of substances that are classified as “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe) may not be safe at all. The things we put on our skin are quickly absorbed into our bodies, and we may unknowingly be applying hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals per day to our skin.

It isn’t just the FDA who is dropping the ball. The EPA is just fine with upping the levels of glyphosate allowed in our environment and sprayed on our food, despite irrefutable evidence that it causes toxicity and death.  There’s an immense body of research linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk, neurotoxicity and birth defects, as well as eye, skin, respiratory irritation, lung congestion, increased breathing rate, damage to the pancreas, kidney and testes. Another study links glyphosate directly to the proliferation of breast cancer cells via estrogen receptors. Even the World Health Organization has condemned the use of glyphosate, saying that it “probably” causes cancer.

The bottom line is this: you are completely on your own to protect your family from the environmental causes of all of these health issues.

What’s causing all of this illness?

It’s possible that the overwhelming amount of sickness in the country is due to nearly constant exposure to unhealthy chemicals in our water, our food, our personal care products, our cleaning products, and our environments. Our homes are full of things that make us sick, and all of it is approved for sale in our country.

Following is a brief synopsis of just a few of the possible culprits you may be unwittingly exposed to.

Water

Turning on the tap in many places releases a toxic stream into your glass or your shower. Some of these additions are incidental. The toxins present in municipal water supplies vary from city to city.  In the US Midwest, for example, there are high levels of pesticides (in particular, weed killers like glyphosate) due to agricultural practices that contaminate the groundwater (this also affects well water in the area).   In 22 states with military contractors, percholate, the explosive component of rocket fuel, has been found in the tap water.   In 2008, the AP released a report informing us that water treatment centers were unable to remove all traces of pharmaceutical drugs from the water supply.  (The drugs were introduced into the water by human and animal urine.) Tap water also contains contaminants like aluminum, arsenic and lead. (You can learn more about this in my book on the topic.)

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Chlorine, ammonia, and fluoride are deliberately dumped into the supply at water treatment facilities, and we’re told that it’s all for our own good.  These additives are poisons, though.

  • Chlorine: This removes disease-causing bacteria, which is great, but it also creates numerous toxic by-products, like chloroform and trihalomethanes. According to Dr. Michael J. Plewa, a genetic toxicology expert at the University of Illinois, chlorinated water is carcinogenic. “Individuals who consume chlorinated drinking water have an elevated risk of cancer of the bladder, stomach, pancreas, kidney and rectum as well as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
  • Ammonia: To undo some of the carcinogenic effects of the added chlorine, some facilities are also adding ammonia to the chlorinated water in order to meet EPA standards.  This creates “chloraminated” water. (Anyone who has ever cleaned a house knows that mixing bleach (chlorine) and ammonia is a no-no – so why are the facilities doing so?)   Unfortunately, it creates a brand new variety of toxins.  Fish and reptiles die when subjected to chloraminated water, and the effects on humans are just now being studied. To make a bad situation even worse, chloraminated water reacts with the lead in water pipes, releasing yet another toxin into the public water system.  In Washington DC, when chloramination of the water first began, lead levels were found to be 4,800 times the UN’s acceptable level for the toxic heavy metal.
  • Fluoride: The exact same fluoride added to the water supply in treatment facilities (sodium fluoride) is sold under a different label as a pesticide – that’s right – bug killer. The consumption of fluoride lowers IQs, causes infertility, has been linked to cancer and causes hardening of the arteries.  In fact, one study “published in the January edition of the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications, the research highlights the fact that mass fluoride exposure may be to blame for the cardiovascular disease epidemic that takes more lives each year than cancer. In 2008, cardiovascular killed 17 million people. According to the authors of the study: “The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events.”” (Source) It’s also important to note that the inclusion of fluoride in drinking water has no discernible positive effect on dental health. In fact, it can cause dental fluorosis,  a visible overexposure to fluoride resulting in  subtle white flecks in the tooth enamel all the way to a pronounced brown staining.

Food

Going down the aisles of your local grocery store to select food for your family is a lot like running a gauntlet, except instead of being pelted with stones and sticks, you’re being assaulted by unhealthy chemicals, invalid health claims, and highly processed items masquerading as food.  Health claims that have been “substantiated” by the FDA are a complete fallacy.  Whole, organic foods cost more than quadruple the price of conventionally grown foods.  Some of the most common poisons at the grocery store are either unlabeled or deceptively labeled.

  • GMOs: It’s nearly impossible to shop without adding some genetically modified food into your cart. Almost every item that is processed contains corn, for example, and up to 85% of corn grown in the United States is genetically modified. GMOs bear a high price tag for your health, however, despite corporate claims to the contrary. Just a few of the results of a GMO diet (based on peer-reviewed studies) are: grotesque tumors, premature death, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, severe allergic reactions, a viral gene that disrupts human functions…you can read more HERE.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are deadly.  Splenda, for example, is the trademarked name for sucralose, an artificial chlorinated sweetener that is formed when the hydroxyl groups in a sugar molecule are replaced with chlorine molecules.  According to Dr James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health”In animals examined for the study, Splenda reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent, increased the pH level in the intestines, contributed to increases in body weight and affected P-glycoprotein (P-gp) levels in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected.”The sweetener has been linked to:
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blood sugar increases
  • Weight gain

Shockingly, there is something even worse: aspartame. This excitotoxin literally stimulates your brain cells until they die.  If that isn’t enough to convince you to ditch the diet cola, is also a known carcinogen that breaks down into formaldehyde in the human body.  In fact, there are 92 documented negative health effects linked to the consumption of aspartame.

  • Pesticides/Herbicides: Even the hijacked Environmental Protection Agency has to admit that the ingestion of pesticides can cause health problems.  They warn of the risk of “birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.”  (Keep in mind, however, that despite this warning, the EPA just RAISED the acceptable limit of glysophate at the behest of Monsanto.) Especially at risk of harm from pesticides are children. Infants and children may be especially sensitive to health risks posed by pesticides for several reasons:
  • their internal organs are still developing and maturing,
  • in relation to their body weight, infants and children eat and drink more than adults, possibly increasing their exposure to pesticides in food and water.
  • certain behaviors–such as playing on floors or lawns or putting objects in their mouths–increase a child’s exposure to pesticides used in homes and yards.

Pesticides may harm a developing child by blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth. Another way pesticides may cause harm is if a child’s excretory system is not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides. Also, there are “critical periods” in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual’s biological system operates. (source)

The website What’s On My Food takes a stronger stance than the EPA regarding the risks of pesticides.

The human health impacts linked to pesticide exposure range from birth defects and childhood brain cancer in the very young, to Parkinsons’ Disease in the elderly. In between are a variety of other cancers, developmental and neurological disorders, reproductive and hormonal system disruptions, and more.

  • Autism
  • Breast Cancer
  • Children’s diseases
  • Endosulfan
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Growth Hormones: Our meat and dairy supplies are not safe either –livestock and dairy cattle are injected with genetically modified growth hormone, tainting the milk produced or the meat that is butchered.

“ Increasing cancer risk, milk from cows injected with genetically modified growth hormone contains “up to ten times the amount of insulin growth factor-1.” The growth factor has been shown to cause breast, prostrate, and colon cancer (Miller). When humans consume this milk, it puts them at risk for these cancers. This is not the only danger to reproductive health. Rats fed genetically modified potatoes grew smaller brains, testicles, and livers, and male rats fed only genetically modified soy had their testicles change from “from the normal pink to dark blue””

Source

Cleaning products, hygiene products, plastic containers, even tainted air

This is only a small portion of the toxins that we are ingesting, breathing in, and soaking up every single day.  We are lathering our skin with petrochemicals. BPA is leaching into our food and beverages.  Questionable farming methods are tainting the air that we breathe…it’s enough for a book, not merely an article.  Additives like MSG and unpronounceable non-food ingredients are killing off our brain cells and triggering the growth of cancerous cells in our bodies. We’re facing an antibiotic apocalypse because much of the meat and dairy products available at the store was preemptively treated with antibiotics due to horrible farming conditions.

And the result of all of these toxins in our environment?

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Chronic illness
  • Lowered immune systems
  • Lethargy
  • Lower IQs
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Infertility and other reproductive ailments
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Shorter lifespans

What about moderation?

In my opinion, moderation is not an option.  We need to learn to avoid these toxins that are all around us, whenever possible.

Here are some examples that aren’t really that different, if you think about them.

  • Would you willingly feed your child just a “little bit of cyanide”?
  • Would you let them have a serving of strychnine “once in a while”?
  • Would you purposely give them a cigarette just because you “happened to be out and that is what was offered”?
  • Would you let them drink bleach from the laundry room as long as it wasn’t in an amount that would be immediately deadly?
  • What if it was diluted so that it didn’t burn their throats when they swallowed it?

It sounds pretty outrageous when you look at it that way, but by some of the choices we make, aren’t we doing just that?

Does your home need a detox?

Detox is a catchy buzzword these days that brings to mind drinking nothing but lemon water for a week and rejoicing over the inevitable weight loss. (Duh, you fasted for 7 days. You’re starving.) Because of this, I really hesitated to use it, but no other word seemed to encompass exactly what I wanted to convey.

de·tox·i·fi·ca·tion
dēˌtäksəfəˈkāSH(ə)n/
noun
noun: detoxification
  1. the process of removing toxic substances or qualities.

See?

This is what we want to do. We want to remove the toxic substances from our homes. We want to perform a whole home detox so that our environments nurture health, instead of damaging it.

Without even knowing it, most people bring toxic substances into their homes with every bag from the store. It sneaks in with the groceries, the cleaning products, the personal care products we apply to our bodies, our home decor items, the tools in our kitchens, and the products in our OTC medicine cabinets. Harmful chemicals are in nearly everything you purchase these days, and it takes dedicated effort to weed these out and make your home a less toxic environment.

It actually takes more than just effort. Can you imagine the expense if you tossed everything in your home that contained chemicals you want to avoid and started over all at once? That’s not an inexpensive prospect. Have you ever looked at any of those crunchy granola people with their bento box lunches, their health-food store toothpaste and sunscreen, and their glass water bottles and thought, “Holy cow, it would be nice but that stuff costs a fortune.”

Depending how you go about it, living a healthy lifestyle can be far more expensive than picking up the standard household items from Wal-Mart that everyone else uses. But don’t despair. Even on a budget, you can make a change if you take things a step at a time. Removing the artificial, chemical-laden, harmful products from your home doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. In fact, there are many DIY projects you can do to make your own versions of toxic store-bought products like cleaners, personal care items, and quick meals.

And best of all? Over the next year, I’m going to show you how.

Introducing The Whole Home Detox Series

This series is about arming yourself with knowledge and discovering why, in this age of medical miracles, people are living sicker and dying younger.

Over the next year, I’m going to show you how to remove the harmful chemicals from every facet of your home life. If you tried to do it all at once it would be completely overwhelming, so we’re going to break things down into categories and make small, meaningful changes each month. We’re going to talk about the following subjects this year:

  1. Laundry Products
  2. Kitchen Cookware and Storage Products
  3. Food
  4. Cleaning Products
  5. Yard and Garden Products
  6. Personal Care Products
  7. Cosmetics
  8. Pet Care Products
  9. Air Quality Products
  10. Water
  11. Home Decor
  12. Over the Counter Medications

We will spend the year exploring the options that are available, discussing the things to avoid going forward, and figuring out solutions that don’t include the artificially scented, chemical-laden products that nearly everyone else is buying.

I’m a single mom, so trust me, I’m on a budget too. But getting sick is more expensive than taking extra steps to ensure our wellness now. I’m going to offer suggestions in a variety of price ranges, DIY solutions, and simple lifestyle changes that don’t cost a penny.

So, let me know if there is anything specific you’d like to cover. Please feel free each week to add your own solutions to the comments – our community here has so much knowledge that the comments section often has just much information as the articles. Together, we can help each other on the road to health. Do as many or as few of these steps as you’d like and as your budget permits.  Look for a weekly post in the Whole Home Detox series with this nifty little logo on the featured image.Whole Home Detox logo

Daisy Luther

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper's Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy's articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

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