I was walking with my friend when she told me her dog, Rita, was having a terrible time with allergies. Nothing—from pricey prescription dog food to medicated soap—made any difference. As she was talking, I thought of a Green Living Meetup I had just attended, the topic: “Ways of Reducing Chemicals in Your Home”. Something I learned there just might help.
I had never been to a Meetup before. When I arrived a little early on that rainy Saturday afternoon, the room in the public library was already half full of a diverse assortment of adults, plus a few babies. Our smiling hosts, Sara and Todd, sat on a table up front next to an array of boxes, bottles and bags.
Sara spoke first, explaining how the human body fights off infection and rids itself of harmful chemicals. Toxins are carried off in secretions such as sweat and mucus, or filtered by the kidneys, liver and other organs. Allergies and chemical sensitivity happen, she claimed, when those mechanisms are overwhelmed. The wafts from a fresh coat of paint or new printer could be the last straw to break the back of the body’s natural defenses.
Promising he’d have good news later, Todd launched into a litany of scary environmental data. A long-range study by the EPA detected 900 chemicals in the air of the average government office building. Indoor air can be ten times more polluted than the air outdoors. Houses, especially new ones, can harbor a host of noxious compounds. Throat-cancer-causing formaldehyde, for instance, may hide in your shampoo, your tissues, your carpet, and the no-iron clothes you wear. Continue reading