Archive for the ‘Toxic Chemicals’ Category

TOXINS in YOUR bedroom

Posted: November 2, 2011 in Solutions, Toxic Chemicals
A Healthier Night's Sleep

A Healthier Night's Sleep

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  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

Lifefactory Glass Sippy Cup

Yes, you read correctly. I don’t like BPA-free plastic, nor do I use it.  I do my best to stay away from it and have actually tossed all my plastic, including my BPA-free plastic. Confused? Let me clarify. I do not like BPA-Free Plastic, or ANY plastic for that matter.  Classifying something as BPA free does not mean it can be categorized as safe; it’s definitely better than those containing BPA however it is still not always safe.

BPA was first used commercially in 1957, however it took approximately 50 years (and numerous studies) for the FDA to revise it’s assessment on the safety of BPA.  FIFTY YEARS of being exposed to this toxic chemical DAILY before finding out how bad it was!!   So who’s to say that other chemicals commonly found in plastics today do not pose an equal, or even greater threat to our health?

Chemicals found in plastic DO leach into our foods, especially when in contact with liquids or exposed to heat. I’m not willing to take a VERY likely chance that a few years from now another study will show yet another chemical commonly found plastic is in fact toxic.

Going plastic free has not been easy, and unfortunately my journey is far from over, however when an alternative is available I go for it, regardless of what other more convenient products may be out there. One of my favorite plastic-alternative items I purchased earlier this year was a glass sippy cup by Lifefactory. The truth is I was in love with the sippy cup before I even purchased it. I mean come on now, it’s GLASS, you can’t get much safer than that!  Although the lid is plastic (I unfortunately don’t know of any sippy cups that do not have a plastic lid),  I was pleasantly surprised when I received it and was just as in love as I thought I would be. I decided to do a quick product review for any of you who may be considering purchasing one.  Check it out and let me know what you think:

Here’s  my product review:

If you’re interested in buying a sippy cup, I purchased my sippy cups on Amazon for a little over $15, here’s the link:

Lifefactory 9-Ounce Glass Bottle, Ocean

Would love to hear what you think!

**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

Hidden BPA

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Toxic Chemicals

Most of us, especially parents, have at some point or another heard of BPA.  Even if you don’t know what exactly BPA is, you know enough to avoid it.  Baby bottles,  sippy cups,  even adult water bottle now boast of the fact they are  “BPA FREE” with bold labels shouting out to the consumer.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is known for it’s use in the production of polycarbonate plastic.   Unfortunately this compound does a lot more than simply keep your plastic bottles together.

BPA, which mimics estrogen, has been classified as an endocrine disruptor and as a result can disrupt hormones in the body.  This in turn can cause a long list of problems  including, but not limited to,  low sperm count, reproductive disorders, early puberty, cancer,  diabetes, infertility, attention deficit disorders and the list goes on.  In September 2010, Canada became the first country to actually declare BPA as a toxic substance.

It should therefore come as no surprise that BPA should be avoided at all costs.  Unfortunately simply sticking to BPA free plastic doesn’t guarantee that you are not being exposed to this toxic chemical.   Although BPA can be found in anywhere from pizza boxes to credit card receipts, what we need to avoid the most is putting ourselves at risk of introducing this toxic chemical into our bodies.

Consumer reports conducted a study on 19 canned brand name foods (including ones that were organic) and found that almost all of the 19 tested were contaminated with BPA.   How so you ask?  Not only is BPA used in the production of plastics, but it is also used as a lining in canned foods.  That’s right, your canned veggies, fruits, tuna and even pop cans (hopefully you’re not drinking pop anymore!) may be contaminated with BPA.

Although the FDA has recently become aware of the potential harm BPA may cause, it is going to take some time for thorough studies and action on their end and so it is up to us to be proactive and protect ourselves.

I’m an advocate of eating as much fresh raw foods as possible.  The discovery of BPA in canned foods is yet another reason to ditch the cans and opt for whole fresh foods instead.  When food is preserved in a can nutrients are lost, and unfortunately replaced with preservatives.  By eating organic raw food not only will you be protecting yourself from exposure to BPA, but you are also ensuring you are getting the most nutrients out of your food.

So my dear readers, my advice for the day is stay away from BPA.  Take a look in your refrigerators and cupboards and make a plan of how you are going to take steps to be as BPA-free as can be.  If plastic is something that is difficult for you to give up, be sure to check the triangle label (usually found on the bottom of plastics), anything with a 3 or 7 most probably contains BPA.  Also,  make a commitment to start using fresh foods.   Fresh food will taste better, look better and make you feel better in the long run. Let me know how it goes 🙂

**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