Newsflash: You have toxins in your bedroom. Not maybe, or perhaps, or even probably, you simply do. The sad reality is, in most cases the air inside your home is far worse than what you breathe outside. That’s right, car exhaust, pollution, etc. that fills our outdoor air can in fact be less harmful than the air in our homes.
What am I talking about?!?!
Ever think the beds you lay to sleep on every night and spend as much as 1/3 of your life on could be doused in something as horrid as cancer causing formaldehyde?! Hard to believe but unfortunately very true. The United States has strict flammability laws when it comes to mattresses. According to these standards, mattresses need to be flame retardant in order to protect us from fire. Unfortunately what is used to make our beds flame retardant isn’t so safe. Chemicals such as Boric Acid, Antimony (a heavy metal similar to arsenic), PBDE’s (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers) and formaldehyde can be found in most conventional mattresses. What’s worse is the fact that by simply going to sleep on our comfortable mattresses our bodies absorbs these toxic chemicals every night. The above listed chemicals are known to cause anything from headaches to reproductive damage to even cancer in high doses. Not such a pleasant night’s sleep after all.
So what do we do?
If you’ve ever looked online or in stores for Organic mattresses you know the price for a healthy night’s sleep is high. Organic mattresses, wool mattresses, etc. can cost a pretty penny (usually 4 digits!), and when you have a family it seems almost impossible to be able to afford natural bedding for everyone. If buying new mattresses is not an option for your family, here are a couple suggestions based on what we’ve used in our home:
Keep your distance
The closer you are to your mattress the more your body will absorb. We’ve used extra blankets, comforters, sheets etc and placed them on top of our mattress creating more of a barrier between us and our mattress. You can then place your sheets (organic if possible) on top of this barrier.
Make your own mattress
We’ve used 100% organic mattress pads and stuffed them to make our own mattress. Again, blankets, comforters, sheets etc can be used. You can even use pillows! We then used kid cots and placed our homemade mattress on the cot creating a comfortable mattress like bed. The kids loved it!
Buy some plants!
Plants? Nature has some amazing abilities!! Various plants are known to absorb chemicals in the air. We experienced how amazing this was first hand. Earlier this year we installed new flooring in our home. We purchased flooring that met the strictest standards for the lowest amount possible of formaldehyde emission (yes, flooring too often has formaldehyde used in the adhesive). Prior to installing the floor I had read up on plants and their ability to absorb formaldehyde (as much as 1800 micrograms per hour) and so we purchased a plant for every room in our home that we were installing flooring in. In re-arranging the rooms, moving furniture for the new flooring, etc. we accidentally placed two plants in one of the bedrooms and no plants in our bedroom. Upon entering our bedroom I noticed there was a smell from the boxed flooring, a smell that none of the other rooms had. I then realized our mistake and put the extra plant in our bedroom. Within a an hour or so the smell was gone! How amazing is that?
Some plants that are known to absorb formaldehyde are:
- English ivy
- Weeping Fig
- Bamboo palm
- Chinese evergreen
- Gerbera daisy
- Peace lily
- Pot mum
- Spider plant
Open your windows
Let the toxins out and the let the fresh air in. Opening your windows helps circulate and clean out indoor air. Whenever possible open your windows and breathe!
Don’t give up!
A lot of times I get posts/comments from readers saying it’s so overwhelming and feels impossible to tackle all of these ‘toxic hurdles’. Remember, one step at a time. Do what you can do one step at a time, and a year from now you can look back and see the progress made. One of my favorite videos is A Wake Up Call by www.healthychild.org. Although there are no spoken words (there is music playing) the video pretty much sums it all up in a nutshell; yes we are surrounded by harmful substances daily, however each step we take in the right direction can make a difference for ourselves and our families.
**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer, the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can. If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends. Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**
–Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences