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Make a safer home by knowing your ABC's
7/7/2007 3:04:43 AM

Create a Safe and

Healthy Home


Know Your

A, B C's

By Dr. Joyce M. Woods

Dr. Joyce Woods worked as a medical/surgical nurse, public health nurse, nurse educator, nursing school administrator, occupational health consultant. She holds Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Arts (Specialist), and Master of Education degrees, and has completed her doctoral degree in the area of "Indoor Air Pollution, and its Effect on Your Health."


A. Begin by thinking of your home as a toxic waste dump. The average home today contains 62 toxic chemicals - more than a chemistry lab at the turn of the century.

B. More than 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced since WWII.

C. Less than 2% of synthetic chemicals in wide spread use have ever been tested for toxicity, birth defects or their mutagenic or carcinogenic effects.

D. The majority of chemicals have NEVER been tested for long-term effects.

E. An EPA survey concluded that indoor air was 3 to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air.

F. Another EPA study stated that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air.

G. CMHC reports that houses today are so energy efficient that "out gassing" of chemicals has nowhere to go, so it builds up inside the home.

H. We spend 90% of our time indoors, and 65% of our time at home. Moms, infants and the elderly spend 90% of their time in the home.

I. National Cancer Association released results of a 15-year study concluding that women who work in the home are at a 54% higher risk of developing cancer than women who work outside the home.

J. Cancer rates have almost doubled since 1960.

K. Cancer is the number one cause of death for children.

L. There has been a 26% increase in breast cancer since 1982. Breast cancer is the number one killer of women between the ages of 35 and 54. Primary suspects are laundry detergents and bleach, household cleaners and pesticides.

M. There has been a call from the U.S./Canadian Commission to ban bleach in North America. Bleach is being linked to the rising rates of breast cancer in women, reproductive problems in men and learning and behavioral problems in children.

N. Chemicals get into our body through inhalation, ingestion and absorption.

O. We breathe 10 to 20 thousand liters of air per day.

P. There are more than 3 million poisonings every year. Household cleaners are the #1 cause of poisoning of children.

Q. Since 1980, asthma has increased by 600%. The Canadian Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada identify common household cleaners and cosmetics as triggers.

R. ADD/ADHD is an epidemic in schools today. Behavioral problems have long been linked to exposure to toxic chemicals and molds.

S. Chemical and environmental sensitivities are known to cause all types of headaches.

T. Labeling laws do not protect the consumer - they protect big business.

U. The New York Poison Control Center reports that 85% of product warning labels are either inadequate or incorrect for identifying a poison and for first aid instructions.

V. Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene and xylene are all found in common household cleaners, cosmetics, beverages, fabrics and cigarette smoke. These chemicals are known to be cancer causing and toxic to the immune and nervous systems.

W. Chemicals are attracted to, and stored in fatty tissue. The brain is a prime target for these destructive organics because of its high fat content and very rich blood supply.

X. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found more than 2,500 chemicals in cosmetics that are toxic, cause tumors, reproductive complications, biological mutations and skin and eye irritations.

Y. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, circulatory disorders, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and hormonal problems are diseases commonly related to chemical exposure.

Z. Pesticides only have to include active ingredients on the labels, even though the inert (inactive) ingredients may account for 99%, many of which are toxic and poisons.

The following are more facts from the Indoor Air Pollution Seminar given by Joyce in October 2000.

Our homes should have a complete change of air three or four times each day. New homes are built so air tight that it is impossible to get a complete change of air. We should leave our windows open on each side of our house for better cross ventilation.

In Alberta last year, accidental poisoning statistics were as follows:

Between the ages of:

  • 0 - 4 years - 11, 515 poisonings
  • 5 - 10 years - 1,524
  • 11 - 19 years - 1,019
  • 20 and over - 7,799

Top three culprits according to Poison Control: Household cleaners, bleach and medications.

In the USA, the #1 cause of accidental poisoning is Dawn Dishwashing detergent. WHY? Because it is the #1 seller.

Tide contains lye and is the #1 polluter. It is also the #1 seller. Deep Woods, Off and many other insect repellents have an ingredient called DEET. DEET is known to cause seizures and in some cases, even death in children and adults.

Inert (or inactive) ingredients in products are protected by trade secrets and very dangerous. In the work place Material Safety Data Sheets must accompany any product used. The work place and the outdoors are considered "legal environments" while homes are not. Thus, regulations for outdoor air pollution and toxins in the workplace are much more strict than in the home.

The ideal rate of humidity is between 35% and 45%. Anything higher causes mold. When we use humidifiers or dehumidifiers with standing water we are encouraging mold growth in the standing water. The ideal temperature in the home is between 68 degrees and 72 degrees - anything higher makes chemicals more active.

When we shower, the hot water combined with the chlorine in the water, can cause headaches.

Using aerosols can cause dizziness and headaches.

Steam from our dryer vents is extremely toxic, because of the chemicals from dryer sheets and residue from laundry soap and bleach.

Chemicals used to dry clean clothing are very dangerous and can cause cancer. When you bring dry cleaning home, you should hang it outside for at least three days. Dry-cleaning chemicals are the same cancer causing chemicals that are found in mothballs.

There are 4,700 chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Chemicals from carpets and plastic have been found to cause kidney and liver damage.

More products that contain Formaldehyde:  antiperspirants, mouthwash, toothpaste, Tupperware, baggies, permanent press clothing, floor waxes and furniture polishes, coffee, wax paper, money

Some symptoms caused by formaldehyde are:  allergies, cancer, immune system failings and asthma

Products that contain Phenols:  acne medications, baking powder, computers, TV sets, mouthwash, sugar substitutes, wallpaper

Some symptoms caused by phenols (which are absorbed by lungs and skin) are: caustic burns, kidney and liver damage, hyperactivity and possibly even death.

"Lysol" is even more dangerous than we thought. Lysol contains phenols and dioxin (Agent Orange).

Fungicides used on fruit trees in the Okanagan, BC and in southwestern Ontario have been found to cause babies in both areas being born with no eyes or very tiny eyes.

When using chlorine, antiseptics or bleach in industrial settings you are required to wear impervious protective clothing including hard hats, boots, gloves, apron or coveralls, chemical goggles or full face shield. You are required to use them only in well ventilated areas.

When using Easy Off make sure all your skin is covered, wear protective clothing, do not breathe in and don't get it on your stove's enamel. (If this product will hurt the enamel on your stove, can you imagine what it will do to us?)

Air fresheners desensitize the nerves in your nose so you cannot smell.

1970 - NTA's were banned.

1980 - Lobbying by Proctor & Gamble brought back the use of NTA's in our products although they are extremely cancer causing. What are they used for? ONLY to make more suds in our laundry detergents so that you think your clothes are getting cleaner.

Our immune system is very powerful. Like a janitorial system, giving our bodies good nutrition means our body can repair itself and be able to handle what we face in the world.

Household chemicals cause all kinds of problems that you would never suspect could be related to cleaning your home and clothes such as: cardiovascular problems, panic and anxiety attacks, and bedwetting.

Eliminating the cause of the environmental illness is more effective and much less expensive than treating the symptom.

Prevention - 80% - 90% effective
Treatments - 50% - 60% effective

There is a solution to toxins in your home.

You are now aware that the products you are currently using in your home may be extremely hazardous and unhealthy. Once you are made aware of this problem, would you be open to hearing about a safer, healthier alternative?

I'd like to introduce you to a new "shopping system" for products that you buy, use and run out of every month. These products include shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, laundry detergent and cleaning products.


Contact me by filling out "Hitch Your Wagon To A Star" at


Report: How Chemicals Affect Our Bodies

More Info on Toxic Chemicals in the home:




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