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Environmental Groups Applaud Loblaw’s Commitment to Phase Out Receipts With Phenol

Loblaw Companies Ltd. is winning praise from a coalition of environmental, health and labour groups for its commitment to stop using receipt paper that contains a potentially dangerous chemical.

The grocery and drugstore chain confirmed Tuesday its plan to transition to phenol-free receipt paper across all its divisions by the end of 2021.

The move was applauded by groups that said it will help protect workers and customers from harmful chemicals.

It also renewed pressure on other Canadian retailers to phase out the chemical.

“Loblaw’s actions are the latest example of a growing trend among top North American retailers,” said Mike Schade, director of the Mind the Store campaign, which pushes large retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals from their products and operations.

“Sobeys, Metro, and other Canadian retailers should step up and join Loblaw in banning toxic chemicals in their receipts,“ he said in a statement.

In 2019, the Toronto-based environmental group Environmental Defence released research that showed cashiers may be exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals found on receipt paper.

The findings prompted a coalition of groups to launch a call-to-action urging Canada’s top retail giants to stop using bisphenol-coated receipt paper.

“Grocery store cashiers who are exposed to high levels of hormone-disrupting (bisphenol A) and (bisphenol S) from handling receipts deserve to be protected,“ Muhannad Malas, toxics program manager at Environmental Defence, said in a statement.

The Canadian government declared bisphenol A (BPA) a toxic chemical in October 2010. Some retailers removed BPA-coated receipt paper, but replaced it with paper that contains similar phenol substances, according to the groups.

In January 2020, Costco Canada became the first Canadian-based grocery retailer to phase out bisphenol-coated receipt paper, the coalition of health, labour and environmental groups said Tuesday.

Last spring, Loblaw said in its Corporate Social Responsibility report that it plans to transition to phenol-free receipt paper by the end of 2021.

“Loblaw’s commitment to phase out all phenols in their thermal paper used for receipts by the end of 2021 is excellent news for women’s health, and we applaud the company for this initiative,” Jennifer Beeman, executive director of Breast Cancer Action Quebec said in a statement.

“Bisphenols used in thermal paper are known endocrine disruptors and can be a significant source of exposure for women – many of whom keep their receipts – as well as the women, particularly teens and young women, working as cashiers.“

She said bisphenol exposures can disrupt normal breast development and health and cause other types of health problems.

Loblaw includes stores under the banners Loblaws, Zehrs, Your Independent Grocer, Real Atlantic Superstore and Provigo, as well as its discount division, which includes No Frills and Maxi.

The company also has a network of Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix drugstores.

The Canadian Press        Tue., Jan. 26, 2021

source: www.thestar.com

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related : Receipt-handling may boost cashiers’ exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals: study

receipt

Most Plastic Products Contain Potentially Toxic Chemicals, Study Reveals

From yogurt containers to bath mats, stuff you use every day may come with hidden risks. Here are tips to minimize exposure.

Most of the plastics that consumers encounter in daily life—including plastic wrap, bath mats, yogurt containers, and coffee cup lids—contain potentially toxic chemicals, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The researchers behind the study analyzed 34 everyday plastic products made of eight types of plastic to see how common toxicity might be. Seventy-four percent of the products they tested were toxic in some way.

The team was hoping to be able “to tell people which plastic types to use and which not [to use],” says Martin Wagner, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and senior author of the new study. “But it was more complicated than that.” Instead of pointing to a few problematic types of plastic that should be avoided, the testing instead revealed that issues of toxicity were widespread—and could be found in nearly any type of plastic.

The results help illustrate just how little we know about the wide variety of chemicals in commonly used plastics, says Wagner.

To be clear, the plastics found to have some form of toxicity aren’t necessarily harmful to human health. The researchers tested the chemicals in ways that are very different from how most people come into contact with them. Extracting compounds from plastic and exposing them directly to various cells does not mimic the exposure you get when you drink from a refillable plastic water bottle, for example.

But the results do call into question the assumption that plastic products are safe until proved otherwise, says Wagner.

“Every type of plastic contains unknown chemicals,” and many of those chemicals may well be unsafe, says Jane Muncke, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist who is the managing director and chief scientific officer for the nonprofit Food Packaging Forum, which works to strengthen understanding of the chemicals that come into contact with food.

Here’s what the study found, what we know about how plastic could be affecting human health, and what you can do to reduce your exposure to some of the chemicals that researchers are concerned about.

What the Study Found

The 34 products tested were made from seven plastics with the biggest market share (including polypropylene and PVC), plus an eighth type of plastic—biobased, biodegradable PLA—that doesn’t yet have a huge market share but is often sold as more sustainable and “better,” according to Wagner.

Because there are millions of plastic products available, this study is not fully representative of the entire market, but it included a sampling of commonly used products made from the most widely used plastics.

The researchers detected more than 1,000 chemicals in these plastics, 80 percent of which were unknown. But the study was designed in part to show that it’s possible to assess the toxicity of plastic consumer products directly, even without knowing exactly which chemicals are present, Wagner says.

In the lab, the team checked to see if the plastics were toxic in a variety of ways, including testing for components that acted as endocrine disruptors, chemicals that can mimic hormones. (Elevated exposure to endocrine disruptors has been linked to a variety of health problems in humans, including various cancers, reduced fertility, and problems with the development of reproductive organs.) Almost three-quarters of the tested plastics displayed some form of toxicity.

Despite the large proportion of products that displayed a form of toxicity, Wagner says it’s important to note that some products didn’t show any signs of toxicity, meaning that many companies may already have access to safer forms of plastic.

It’s not yet clear from this work that any type of plastic can be consistently made in a nontoxic way; every type of plastic tested in this study sometimes displayed toxicity. That could happen due to chemicals added to the base plastic for color or flexibility, because of impurities in ingredients, or because of new chemicals that emerge in the manufacturing process.

By evaluating consumer products themselves and all the chemicals they contain, this study takes a very comprehensive approach to measuring plastic toxicity, according to Laura Vandenberg, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, who was not involved in the study. That’s because it’s testing plastics as people encounter them, not just by isolating individual chemicals.

The fact that plastics are made of mixtures of thousands of chemicals is important, says Muncke, who was also not involved in the new study. That’s because a combination of chemicals can make a product more or less risky. Individual levels of one concerning chemical, like BPA, might be below the threshold of concern. But if other chemicals that raise similar concerns are present, they could combine to create a hazardous effect.

cans

The Health Effects of Plastic

Most people don’t understand how little we know about the safety of the chemicals found in plastic, Muncke says.

But in recent years, consumers and public health experts alike have increasingly expressed concern about the potential health effects of our ongoing exposure to ordinary, everyday plastics and to the microplastics that people are inadvertently exposed to through food, water, and the air.

“We’ve surrounded ourselves with plastic. The stuff has been used to package foods for the last 40 years; it’s everywhere,” says Muncke. “It’s fair that the average citizen would say, ‘Well, if it wasn’t safe, it wouldn’t be on supermarket shelves.’ ”

In practice, however, “it’s actually not really well understood,” she says, and “we are still using known hazardous chemicals to make plastic packaging that leach into food.”

Some of the best-known examples include BPA, found in plastic water bottles, plastic storage containers, thermal paper receipts, and the lining of food cans; and phthalates, found in many products and often used to make PVC plastics (such as imitation leather and some shower curtains) more flexible, says Vandenberg.

In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report saying that some chemicals in plastic, including bisphenols (such as BPA) and phthalates, may put children’s health at risk, and recommended that families reduce exposure to them.

Studies in humans link BPA to metabolic disease, obesity, infertility, and disorders like ADHD, Vandenberg says. Studies in animals have also linked BPA to prostate and mammary cancer, as well as brain development problems. Phthalates are known to affect hormones, she says, which means they can alter the development of reproductive organs and alter sperm count in males.

“You’re not going to just drop dead [from hormonal activity in plastics], but it could contribute to diseases that may manifest over decades, or it could affect unborn embryos and fetuses,” Vandenberg says.

And there are many more chemicals that we know far less about, as this latest study showed. Sometimes, when chemicals associated with known problems (like phthalates) are phased out, we later discover that the replacement chemicals cause similar problems, something Vandenberg describes as “chemical whack-a-mole.”

Because there are so many unknowns, we should take a more precautionary approach to deciding whether or not a plastic is safe, Wagner argues. Instead of taking something off the market after it has been proved to be unsafe, manufacturers could test for toxicity before products are sold. “Better to be safe now than to be sorry in 10 or 15 years,” he says.

6 Tips for Cutting Back on Plastic

Totally avoiding plastic is almost impossible, but it’s possible to reduce your exposure to concerning chemicals found in these products.

  1. Eat fresh food. The more processed your food is, the more it may have come into contact with materials that could potentially leach concerning chemicals, says Muncke.
  2. Don’t buy into “bioplastic” hype. Green or biodegradable plastic sounds great, but so far it doesn’t live up to the hype, Wagner says. Most data indicate that these products aren’t as biodegradable as their marketing would imply, he says. Plus, this latest study showed that these products (such as biobased, biodegradable PLA) can have high rates of toxicity, he says.
  3. Don’t use plastics that we know are problematic. But don’t assume that all other products are inherently safe,either. The American Academy of Pediatrics has previously noted that the recycling codes “3,” “6,” and “7” indicate the presence of phthalates, styrene, and bisphenols, respectively—so you may want to avoid using containers that have those numbers in the recycling symbol on the bottom. Wagner adds that “3” and “7” also indicate PVC and PUR plastics, respectively, which his study found contained the most toxicity. But products made from other types of plastic contained toxic chemicals, too, which means that reducing your plastic use overall is probably the best way to avoid exposure.
  4. Don’t store your food in plastic. Food containers can contain chemicals that leach into food. This is especially true for foods that are greasy or fatty, according to Muncke, and foods that are highly acidic or alkaline, according to Vandenberg. Opt for inert stainless steel, glass, or ceramic containers.
  5. Don’t heat up plastic. Heating up plastics can increase the rate through which chemicals leach out, so try to avoid putting them in the microwave or dishwasher. Even leaving plastic containers out in a hot car could increase the release of concerning chemicals, says Vandenberg.
  6. Vote with your wallet. Try to buy products that aren’t packaged in plastic in the first place, says Vandenberg. “We need to make manufacturers aware that there is a problem,” she says. “There are products that could provide the benefits we need to make the food chain safer.”

By Kevin Loria    October 02, 2019

source: www.consumerreports.org

non stick

The Facts About Bisphenol A

In 2008, the possible health risks of Bisphenol A (BPA) – a common chemical in plastic – made headlines. Parents were alarmed, pediatricians flooded with questions, and stores quickly sold-out of BPA-free bottles and sippy cups.

Where do things stand now? Have plastic manufacturers changed their practices? How careful does a parent need to be when it comes to plastics and BPA? Here’s the latest information we have about possible BPA risks.

BPA Basics

BPA is a chemical that has been used to harden plastics for more than 40 years. It’s everywhere. It’s in medical devices, compact discs, dental sealants, water bottles, the lining of canned foods and drinks, and many other products.

More than 90% of us have BPA in our bodies right now. We get most of it by eating foods that have been in containers made with BPA. It’s also possible to pick up BPA through air, dust, and water.

BPA was common in baby bottles, sippy cups, baby formula cans, and other products for babies and young children. Controversy changed that. Now, the six major companies that make baby bottles and cups for infants have stopped using BPA in the products they sell in the U.S. Many manufacturers of infant formula have stopped using BPA in their cans, as well.

According to the U.S. Department of Health, toys generally don’t contain BPA. While the hard outer shields of some pacifiers do have BPA, the nipple that the baby sucks on does not.

BPA Risks

What does BPA do to us? We still don’t really know, since we don’t have definitive studies of its effects in people yet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration used to say that BPA was safe. But in 2010 the agency altered its position. The FDA maintains that studies using standardized toxicity tests have shown BPA to be safe at the current low levels of human exposure. But based on other evidence – largely from animal studies – the FDA expressed “some concern” about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate glands in fetuses, infants, and young children.

How could BPA affect the body? Here are some areas of concern.

Hormone levels. Some experts believe that BPA could theoretically act like a hormone in the body, disrupting normal hormone levels and development in fetuses, babies, and children. Animal studies have had mixed results.

Brain and behavior problems. After a review of the evidence, the National Toxicology Program at the FDA expressed concern about BPA’s possible effects on the brain and behavior of infants and young children.

Cancer. Some animal studies have shown a possible link between BPA exposure and a later increased risk of cancer.

Heart problems. Two studies have found that adults with the highest levels of BPA in their bodies seem to have a higher incidence of heart problems. However, the higher incidence could be unrelated to BPA.

Other conditions. Some experts have looked into a connection between BPA exposure and many conditions – obesity, diabetes, ADHD, and others. The evidence isn’t strong enough to show a link.

Increased risk to children. Some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA could be most pronounced in infants and young children. Their bodies are still developing and they are less efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.

Although this list of possible BPA risks is frightening, keep in mind that nothing has been established. The concern about BPA risks stems primarily from studies in animals.

A few studies in people have found a correlation between BPA and a higher incidence of certain health problems, but no direct evidence that BPA caused the problem. Other studies contradict some of these results. Some experts doubt that BPA poses a health risk at the doses most people are exposed to.

BPA: Governmental Action

The federal government is now funding new research into BPA risks. We don’t know the results of these studies yet. Recommendations about BPA could change in the next few years.

For now, there are no restrictions on the use of BPA in products. The Food and Drug Administration does recommend taking “reasonable steps” to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. The FDA has also expressed support for manufacturers who have stopped using BPA in products for babies and for companies working to develop alternatives to the BPA in canned foods.

cans

A number of states have taken action. Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont have laws restricting or banning the sale of certain products containing BPA, like bottles and sippy cups. So have cities like Chicago and Albany, as well as a few counties in New York. Similar laws are likely to pass in New York and California, and state legislatures are considering restrictions in many other states.

BPA Risks: What Can Parents Do?

Although the evidence is not certain, the FDA does recommend taking precautions against BPA exposure.

Trying to eliminate BPA from your child’s life is probably impossible. But limiting your child’s exposure – and your own – is possible. It doesn’t even have to be hard. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Find products that are BPA-free. It isn’t as hard as it once was. Many brands of bottles, sippy cups, and other tableware prominently advertise that they are BPA-free.

Look for infant formula that is BPA-free. Many brands no longer contain BPA in the can. If a brand does have BPA in the lining, some experts recommend powdered formula over liquid. Liquid is more likely to absorb BPA from the lining.

Choose non-plastic containers for food. Containers made of glass, porcelain, or stainless steel do not contain BPA.

Do not heat plastic that could contain BPA. Never use plastic in the microwave, since heat can cause BPA to leach out. For the same reason, never pour boiling water into a plastic bottle when making formula. Hand-wash plastic bottles, cups, and plates.

Throw out any plastic products – like bottles or sippy cups – that are chipped or cracked. They can harbor germs. If they also have BPA, it’s more likely to leach into food.

Use fewer canned foods and more fresh or frozen. Many canned foods still contain BPA in their linings.

Avoid plastics with a 3 or a 7 recycle code on the bottom. These plastics might contain BPA. Other types of numbered plastic are much less likely to have BPA in them.

WebMD Medical Reference  Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 10, 2019

Sources 

Harvey Karp, MD, pediatrician, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block; assistant professor of pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine.

American Nurses Association.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Environmental Working Group.

Food and Drug Administration.

George Mason University’s Statistical Assessment Service (STATS.)

Healthy Child Healthy World.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Ryan, B. Toxicological Sciences, March 2010.

Sharpe, R. Toxicological Sciences, March 2010.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

source: WebMD


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15 Simple Ways To Reduce Toxins In Your Life

By Dr. Manisha Ghei   October 8, 2013

Every day, we’re exposed to toxins, from our food, water and air! Our body therefore, has a built in, efficient detoxification system which works 24/7, through our liver, gut, skin, kidneys and lungs.

The liver, our main filtration system, has two detoxification phases, and each is very important. The Phase 1 pathway leads to the production of toxic intermediates (free radicals), which then must be rapidly acted upon by the Phase 2 pathway so as to render these harmless. If Phase 1 is overactive and Phase 2 is sluggish for any reason, we run a risk of build-up of the toxic intermediate products from the Phase 1 pathway. These intermediary chemicals are more detrimental than the original toxin itself!

Some simple strategies to reduce your toxic exposure:

1. Stop eating canned food (even if it’s organic)!

Cans are lined with BPA (Bisphenol A), a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP). POPs can linger in the human body for up to 100 years! POPs preferentially induce Phase 1 enzymes (Cytochrome P450 enzymes) of your liver detoxification pathways, causing production of free radicals, which in turn deplete the antioxidant reserves of your body.

2. Avoid plastic water bottles.

Drink water all day long, but don’t drink it out of plastic bottles! These also contain BPA.

3. Read your make-up ingredients carefully!

Most makeup products (even the brand name ones) contain phthalates and Triclosan, which are endocrine disruptors and hormone mimickers. Your makeup should contain only natural ingredients. Remember, if you can’t eat it, don’t apply it on your skin or body!

4. Use only natural household cleaners!

Synthetic cleaning chemicals produce a byproduct called dioxin, an endocrine disruptor, immune modulator, and carcinogen which induces Cyp1B1, an enzyme of the Phase 1 liver detoxification pathway. This leads to increased production of 4 Hydroxy Estrogen, a “bad” estrogen, associated with breast cancer development.

5. Find a biological dentist and get any silver-mercury fillings, removed safely!

Mercury accumulation in the body can cause autoimmune and neurological problems. It binds to sulfhydryl groups in Glutathione (GSH), the master anti-oxidant of the body, rendering it ineffective in its job as a free radical quencher. Mercury depletes GSH and selenium, a crucial mineral for thyroid health and proper production of thyroid hormones.

6. Stop eating toxic, denatured, pesticide-laden, genetically modified and processed “dead” foods!

Consume grapefruit, onions, garlic, cruciferous veggies, cilantro, parsley, all of which help the liver in its detoxification role. Eat organic whenever you can. Consume a good quality protein at each meal as both the detoxification phases need amino acids to function optimally. Avoid charbroiled meats, which selectively induce phase 1 enzyme, Cyt1A1. If you have concerns about your diet not being optimal in nutrients for any reason, at least consider consuming a good quality multi-vitamin multi-mineral supplement. I’m partial to this brand. (Full disclosure, it’s my line of supplements!)

7. Stop any form of substance abuse.

This includes tobacco, alcohol, drugs, even stimulants like caffeine!

8. Know that pharmaceutical drugs can be the biggest burden for your body to attempt to detoxify.

Always discuss with your physician in detail regarding the need your prescription medications. Review safer options, and understand their side effect profile well.

happy-pills

9. Drastically reduce your stress levels.

Stress is a toxin, especially when chronic! Our body cannot differentiate between emotional and physical stress, and reacts similarly to both, by producing generous amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. When elevated for long periods of time, cortisol can lead to undesirable chronic diseases and symptoms like high blood pressure, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, IBS, sleep issues, and it even increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes.

10. Investigate any food allergies.

Food allergies and poor gut health are inflammatory! Excess inflammatory markers chronically circulating in the blood behave like toxins and slow down the efficacy of the liver detoxification mechanisms. A Comprehensive Stool Analysis and a food sensitivity test can help you identify your trigger foods.

11. Lose excess fat.

Fat stores toxins! Lose excess body fat, especially the inflammatory Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT). Our body’s intelligence believes that the solution to pollution is dilution, and since most toxins are fat soluble, it tries to dilute the blood content of these by pushing them into the fat cells!

It’s crucial to remember that fat reduction should always be done under supervision of a trained health care practitioner. If liver detoxification pathways are not supported before initiating a fat or weight loss program, one can become very sick when fat loss causes release of large amounts of stored toxins into the blood stream. You may have heard of people getting quite ill after losing weight rapidly. So, please exercise caution!

12. Shake it up!

Movement mobilizes toxins! Exercise regularly to gently release toxins through skin via sweat. Yoga is great to enhance lymphatic drainage. Slow deep breathing releases toxins through lungs.

13. Get those bowels moving.

Our gut has been called the “Phase 3” Detoxification pathway! Avoid constipation, so that once the liver has done its job of converting the fat soluble toxins into water soluble compounds, they are easily and rapidly eliminated in the stool. Constipation leads to recirculation of toxins in the body, increasing toxic exposure, thus increasing risk for cancers and other chronic diseases.

14. Prevent emotional toxins from building up!

Practice journaling, meditation, forgiveness, mindfulness, and emotional release techniques on a regular basis. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

15. Last, but probably one of the most important is sleep!

It’s the best way to rejuvenate the body’s detoxification capacity both on a mental and physical level. Assess whether you wake up refreshed every morning. If not, please get evaluated for why that is so! It could be the most important thing you did for yourself!

Hopefully some of these simple reminders will help you. For additional individualized help and functional testing of your gastro-intestinal tract health, food sensitivities, toxin testing; adrenal health evaluation, or testing for micro-nutrient, vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies (which impact your liver’s ability to eliminate toxins), find a Functional Medicine Physician in your area.  


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“Hidden Caves” in the Brain Open Up During Sleep to Wash Away Toxins

A new study published in the prestigious journal, Science, has found that the brain may wash away toxins built up over the day during sleep.

The research discovered “hidden caves” inside the brain, which open up during sleep, allowing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to flush out potential neurotoxins, like β-amyloid, which has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

To reach their discovery, researchers injected mice’s brains with a dye and monitored the flow while they were awake, asleep and anaesthetised (Xie et al., 2013).

One of the study’s authors, Dr Maiken Nedergaard, explained the results:

    “We were surprised by how little flow there was into the brain when the mice were awake. It suggested that the space between brain cells changed greatly between conscious and unconscious states.”

For a long time the real physiological purpose of sleep has remained a mystery.

We know that lack of sleep causes all kinds of psychological problems like poor learning, decision-making and so on.

We also know that animals that are chronically deprived of sleep will eventually die: flies or rodents in days to weeks, humans within months or years.

Everyone who has ever enjoyed a blissfully good night’s sleep knows just how restorative it can be, but the actual physiological process wasn’t clear.

This study, though, suggests that the flushing out of toxins by the CSF may be central to sleep’s wondrous powers.

The interstitial spaces in the mouse’s brain took up only 14% of the brain’s volume while it was awake. Yet, while it slept, this increased by almost two-thirds to take up fully 23% of the brain’s total volume.

The difference might seem slight, but the actual physiological effects are profound.

During the day, the CSF mostly covers the surface of the brain. During sleep, though, the CSF is able to move deep inside.

The effect is that potential neurotoxins, like β-amyloid, are cleared twice as fast during sleep as during waking.

The results of this study–if they hold in humans–may help to explain why many neurological diseases, like strokes and dementia, are associated with problems sleeping.

It could be that lack of sleep, and restriction of the brain’s cleaning system, may cause toxic metabolites to building up, leading to long-term damage.

source: PsyBlog


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6 Toxins to Wipe Out from Your Life

Shubhra Krishan    November 10, 2012

A number of daily use items stacked on store shelves call out to us with their beautiful packaging and attractive promises—”24-hour freshness,” “incredibly clean” and such. But scratch the surface, and some scary facts emerge.

Room fresheners: as most of us know by know, room fresheners can be chemical-laden and toxic. To keep your room smelling fresh, create your own potpourri, with dried herbs and essential oil. The way to make it is explained quite nicely here.

Laundry fresheners: Beware of the word ‘fragrance.’ It sure sounds inviting, but those jasmine and lavender scented laundry detergents and dryer sheets can be loaded with chemicals that can cause skin problems to  reproductive dysfunction.

Permanent-press cotton sheets: Use untreated cotton sheets in the bedroom: the permanent press cotton-polyester ones may seem more convenient but release chemicals that can irritate the throat and eyes.

apples 

‘Regular’ apples and peaches: these are among the most contaminated produce, and by paying a little extra for organic ones, you can cut down on upto 80% fewer pesticides entering your body.

Mothballs: the insecticides in them  have been linked to health problems, including cancer-causing agents. Cedar chips are known to be a safe alternative to them. Make a sachet of these chips, adding a little lavender essential oil, to keep clothese free of damage from months.

Perfume and colognes: packaged in alluring bottles and heady in their scent, perfumes and colognes often contain hundreds of synthetic compounds that have been linked to skin problems, reproductive issues and other disorders. Pure plant essential oils, mixed with organic carrier oil, are a wonderful alternative.

source: care2.com


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6 Toxins to Wipe Out from Your Life

Shubhra Krishan    November 10, 2012

A number of daily use items stacked on store shelves call out to us with their beautiful packaging and attractive promises—”24-hour freshness,” “incredibly clean” and such. But scratch the surface, and some scary facts emerge.

Room fresheners: as most of us know by know, room fresheners can be chemical-laden and toxic. To keep your room smelling fresh, create your own potpourri, with dried herbs and essential oil. The way to make it is explained quite nicely here.
Laundry fresheners: Beware of the word ‘fragrance.’ It sure sounds inviting, but those jasmine and lavender scented laundry detergents and dryer sheets can be loaded with chemicals that can cause skin problems to  reproductive dysfunction.
Permanent-press cotton sheets: Use untreated cotton sheets in the bedroom: the permanent press cotton-polyester ones may seem more convenient but release chemicals that can irritate the throat and eyes.
 
‘Regular’ apples and peaches: these are among the most contaminated produce, and by paying a little extra for organic ones, you can cut down on upto 80% fewer pesticides entering your body.
Mothballs: the insecticides in them  have been linked to health problems, including cancer-causing agents. Cedar chips are known to be a safe alternative to them. Make a sachet of these chips, adding a little lavender essential oil, to keep clothese free of damage from months.
Perfume and colognes: packaged in alluring bottles and heady in their scent, perfumes and colognes often contain hundreds of synthetic compounds that have been linked to skin problems, reproductive issues and other disorders. Pure plant essential oils, mixed with organic carrier oil, are a wonderful alternative.

source: care2.com


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Back-to-School Supplies Contain Toxic Chemicals, Report

According to a new consumer report, children’s back-to -school supplies have chemicals that have been linked to asthma and birth defects.


BY AMBER MOORE | AUG 27, 2012



According to a new consumer report, children’s back-to -school supplies have chemicals that have been linked to asthma and birth defects.High levels of phthalates were found in vinyl backpacks, rain boots, raincoats, lunch boxes and 3-ring binders. Popular branded school supplies including Disney, Dora and Spiderman had elevated levels of phthalates.

According to the report, 80 percent of children’s back to school supplies contained phthalates and about 75 percent contained levels of phthalates that would have been considered a violation of federal law if these supplies were treated as toys.

One product, the Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox, contained an estimated 27,900 parts per million (ppm) of the phthalate DEHP which is 27 times more phthalate than what is allowed in toys.

“Our investigation found elevated levels of toxic phthalates widespread in children’s school supplies, including Disney and Spider-Man lunchboxes and backpacks. These dangerous chemicals manufactured by Exxon Mobil have no place in our children’s school supplies,” said Mike Schade, Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) author of the new report, Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children’s Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies.

“Unfortunately, while phthalates have been banned in children’s toys, similar safeguards don’t yet exist to keep them out of lunchboxes, backpacks and other children’s school supplies. It’s time for Congress to move forward and pass the Safe Chemicals Act to protect our children from toxic exposure,” said Schade in a press release.

Phthalates are used in a variety of things like soaps, shampoos, building materials plastic toys etc. Previous research has shown that exposure to phthalates is common in infants. Phthalates are also known to disrupt the human hormonal system and reproduction system. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is used extensively because it is flexible and stable. This flexibility is achieved by the use of plasticizers like phthalates, diesters of phthalates and phthalic acids. Previous research has shown that exposure to phthalates can cause asthma.

In the present study, 20 back-to-school supplies available at various store in the New York City area were tested for the presence of phthalates. Researchers at Paradigm Environmental Services tested multiple components of the same products for the presence of 6 phthalates and heavy metals. The phthalates measured were Diethyl phthalate (DEP), Dimethyl phthalate (DMP), Di‐n‐butyl phthalate (DBP), Bis (2‐ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP) and Di‐n‐octyl phthalate (DnOP).
“This report highlights the fact that parents can’t assume that a product is safe for their kids simply because it’s on a store shelf. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need comprehensive laws that make sure chemicals are safe,” said Kathy Curtis, Executive Director, Clean and Healthy New York, in a press release.

The report recommends that parents must
  • -> Always buy products that do not contain vinyl
  • -> Check for universal recycling symbol. If the product has been labeled as V or PVC, then avoid the product.
  • If you are unsure if the product has vinyl then email or call the 1-800 number of the manufacturer or the retailer and ask them about the material used in the product.


source: medicaldaily


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Buttered Popcorn Flavoring Linked to Alzheimer’s

Diacetyl in Butter Flavoring, Beverages May Build Brain Plaque

By Daniel J. DeNoon     Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD      WebMD Health News

Aug. 8, 2012 – The flavorant that adds buttery taste to foods and a smooth feel to beverages may also trigger Alzheimer’s disease, new studies suggest.

The flavorant, diacetyl, already is linked to lung damage in people who work in microwave popcorn factories. This led many microwave popcorn makers to stop using diacetyl in their products. But now other workers exposed to diacetyl – and possibly consumers as well – may face another scary risk.
University of Minnesota drug-design expert Robert Vince, PhD, and colleagues find that diacetyl causes brain proteins to misfold into the Alzheimer’s-linked form called beta amyloid. Moreover, the popcorn butter flavorant can pass through the blood-brain barrier and can inhibit the brain’s natural amyloid-clearing mechanisms.
“Whether toxic levels of diacetyl are achieved in various body compartments upon mere (over) consumption of diacetyl-containing food substances is an unanswered but an important question,” Vince and colleagues note.
In laboratory experiments, Vince’s team showed that at very low concentrations, diacetyl:
  • Causes misfolding of amyloid into toxic beta amyloid.
  • Easily crosses the blood-brain barrier that keeps many toxins from entering the brain.
  • Inhibits natural mechanisms that clear beta amyloid from the brain.
So far, these effects have only been seen in test-tube studies. More studies are needed to see if diacetyl acts the same way in living animals.
Vince, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Drug Design, and colleagues report their findings in the online edition of Chemical Research in Toxicology.
SOURCES: More, S.S. Chemical Research in Toxicology, published online Aug. 1, 2012. News release, American Chemical Society. WebMD, “Kernel of Truth about Butter Flavoring,” March 13, 2008. WebMD, “Microwave Popcorn Linked to Lung Harm,” Sept. 5, 2007.

source: WebMD


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Are You Watering Your Garden With BPA and Toxic Chemicals?

by Jill Richardson, via AlterNet.org
What says summer like running through the sprinkler, eating a homegrown tomato off the vine, or drinking right from the garden hose? Unfortunately, those summer experiences might come with toxic chemicals like lead, bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and even flame retardants. That’s what the Ecology Center found out when it tested a number of different common garden products recently.
The finding that your hose might be the most dangerous tool in your garden was not necessarily what the Ecology Center expected to find.
“We’ve been looking at a wide range of products where there is a credible connection to having human exposure and we know that consumer products are a very significant source of exposure to many of these chemicals,” explained John Gearhart, the Ecology Center’s research director. “We’ve looked at everything from baby products to toys to things as big as vehicles and building materials.”
They had not yet examined garden products, and a few people had asked about them. “We started off trying to do a broader assessment and we did screen a range of products, but overwhelmingly we found that the garden hoses were of most concern.”
What is so dangerous about an innocent-looking hose? To start, one in three of the hoses tested had levels of lead that exceeded drinking water standards. And water sampled from one hose was 18 times the levels allowed in drinking water! Only there is nothing illegal about this, because hoses are not regulated by the same laws that limit lead leached by plumbing fixtures into drinking water. (Since, you know, no one is ever going to drink out of a hose or use it to water plants they might eat.) Brass, often used in plumbing fixtures, is an alloy that can contain up to 8 percent lead. In addition to its uses in brass fixtures, lead is also sometimes used as stabilizers or pigments, particularly in yellow or green hoses. Lead is a neurotoxin and children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults.

The good news is that the state of California took action against three major manufacturers of water hoses over lead content in their products in 2003 and settled in 2004. Under the settlement, the companies Teckni-Plex, Inc.; Plastic Specialties and Technologies, Inc. Teknor Apex Company; and Flexon Industries Corporation were to limit the lead content in their products.

While the Ecology Center did not test any of these brands for lead leaching, presumably gardeners who purchased their hoses since 2007, when the settlement terms fully took effect, can skip worrying about lead – and instead only worry about other chemicals like BPA and phthalates.
For anyone familiar with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nicknamed “poison plastic,” it should come as no surprise that PVC hoses contain phthalates and leach them into the hose water. According to Gearhart “most vinyl hoses are going to have phthalate plasticizers in them.” Phthalates, used as plasticizers, are endocrine disruptors, and some studies link them to liver cancer. Levels of one phthalate, DEHP, was found in the hose water at a rate of four times the amount permitted in drinking water. Several phthalates have been banned in children’s toys, but they are still used in garden hoses and garden gloves.
Another concern found was BPA, an endocrine disruptor that has gotten a lot of publicity recently due to campaigns to ban it from use in baby bottles and sippy cups. Nowadays, consumers have wised up, and many plastic water bottles are marketed as “BPA-free.” The hose industry has faced no such scrutiny, it seems. This endocrine-disrupting chemical was found at a level 20 times higher than what is considered a safe amount in drinking water by the National Science Foundation.


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The Exhaustion Cure

Body+Soul, March 2009

Are you feeling stressed, fatigued, and burned out? Discover the top 10 ways to put a stopper in your personal energy drains
Consider this simple question: How are you?
We answer it 10 times a day, often rejoining with a clipped “Fine” or “Busy!” accompanied by a glazed smile. But when your best friend or spouse asks, perhaps you tell the deeper truth: You’re stressed out and tired. Really tired.
“Busy,” “stressed,” and “tired” are intimately connected. They describe the ethos of our times — and its inevitable aftermath. We balance work, family, friends, and our various self-improvement programs. We take in a steady stream of information from the people, screens, phones, and sounds that surround us. We don’t sleep enough. We multitask like crazy, striving to get more done in less time.

For a while, maybe even years, it’s easy to feel like you can handle this frantic pace — or even thrive at it. But ultimately, it works against you. “Stress is pervasive in our society, and it’s only getting worse,” says integrative-medicine expert Woodson Merrell, M.D., author of “The Source: Unleash Your Natural Energy, Power Up Your Health, and Feel 10 Years Younger.” “And people do not necessarily have the coping skills to deal with it, even when they think they do.” We often don’t realize how much of our days are spent dealing with stressful situations, and on a physiological level, the effects of stress add up. “You don’t start every day with a clean slate,” he says. “You start the day with all the stress you’ve accumulated in your life, and you add to that.”

No wonder we’re so tired. In fact, many experts contend that chronic stress and our inability to cope with it are the biggest factors in fatigue. “I hear it all the time. People tell me, ‘I have no energy, I can’t sleep, I’m exhausted,'” says Andrew Weil, M.D., director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and author of “Healthy Aging.” 
This “tired-wired” state has become a cultural condition, he adds. And for those that struggle with it, fatigue can also become a significant crisis. “Your personal energy level should meet the demands of the day. Your sense of well-being should be good most of the time,” says Weil. “When it’s not, you have a real quality-of-life shortage.”
As is always the case, however, in crisis lies opportunity. Fatigue, it turns out, can be a terrific teacher, giving you a chance to slow down and examine your life, learn more about yourself, and consider what’s really important. 
For starters, you want to cover your bases by eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining good sleep habits, and following other steps toward sound overall energy hygiene. But many of our most potent energy drains fly under the radar. By taking careful stock of your daily habits, work life, and relationships, you can begin to see patterns that cause your vitality to slip away unnoticed; make some simple changes, and you’ll plug these leaks and start feeling better.
Here, Merrell, Weil, and other experts highlight 10 surprising causes of fatigue and offer thought-provoking solutions to help you energize your mind, body, and spirit — and your life.
1. Exhaustion Cause: Good NewsWe know that our energy gets drained by negative events: death of a spouse, divorce, imprisonment, getting fired, serious illness or injury, losing your home or savings. But positive events can drain us, too, says Alice Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Waltham, Massachusetts. “Getting married, having a baby, buying a new house, getting promoted at work — these are all positive steps, but they often come with a lot of worry, which can be exhausting.”
To further complicate the picture, it’s hard to find support when things are going great. “Tell people you’re exhausted because you’re caring for your dying mother, and you’ll get all the support in the world,” Domar says. “Tell them you’re exhausted because you got a fantastic new job, and they’ll be like, ‘Give me a break!’ “
Exhaustion Cure: Make A Positive Prep PlanThe best way to end-run positive exhaustion? Prepare for it. “When you start getting tired,” says Domar, “ask yourself two questions: ‘What’s being asked of me that I don’t feel that I can deliver?’ and ‘Am I accurately perceiving what’s needed?'” Then make a list of what really needs to be done, and when. “We often feel like everything needs to happen at once, and that’s not true,” says Domar. Breaking things down into manageable chunks lets you catch your breath so you can plan and delegate accordingly.
2. Exhaustion Cause: Shallow BreathingBreathing is our most elemental and immediate need. But there’s a big difference between breathing to survive and breathing to thrive. “Most people I meet take shallow, rapid breaths, using only about a third of their lung capacity,” says Weil. You need oxygen to metabolize your food so your body can produce energy. “Not breathing fully and efficiently has a huge effect on your vitality.”
Most of us don’t often stop to consider the way we breathe. “We don’t pay attention to it because we’re never taught to,” explains Weil.
Exhaustion Cure: Extend Your ExhalationsIf you make a conscious effort to deepen your breathing, says Weil, “you’ll sleep better, gain more control over your moods, experience less fatigue, and have better energy overall.” Rather than start by taking a big, deep inhalation, increase your breathing efficiency with a focus on breathing out. “We have more voluntary control over the exhalation,” he explains. By learning to use the intercostal muscles (between the ribs) to expel more air from the lungs, “inhalation will automatically increase.”
For best results, Weil recommends spending a little time every day on breathwork. “Keep it very simple. For several minutes, simply squeeze at the end of every exhalation. You don’t have to sit in any special posture. You can do this anywhere, but lying in bed is a good place to start. Over time, your breath will become more regular, quieter, and deeper.” And your energy level will grow stronger.
3. Exhaustion Cause: Disconnection from NatureIt’s hard to feel tired or anxious while hiking in the wilderness or staring out at a blue expanse of ocean. “Nature has built-in mechanisms for relieving stress,” says Doreen Sweeting, M.D., founder of Psychosomatic Wellness Intuitive Life Coaching. “There’s aromatherapy in the scent of the pine trees and grass, chromatherapy in the colors of the rocks and sky and flowers, sound therapy in the birdsong and wind rustling the leaves.”
Our society, unfortunately, is increasingly cut off from this wellspring of energy. “We live in artificial light. We walk on concrete. We exercise on machines,” Sweeting says. “We go from home to work to the store and back home.”
Exhaustion Cure: Take A Morning WalkWhether you live in a suburb or a bustling city, take a walk first thing in the morning — if possible, in an area filled with trees. “You’ll feel the energy of nature replenishing you,” says Sweeting. “The tree huggers are on to something.” As often as possible, venture deeper into the woods by planning day hikes or overnight camping trips.
Make an extra effort to notice the changing seasons. “You’ll start to realize the rhythms of nature apply to you, too,” Sweeting concludes. “When you harmonize yourself with nature, you’ll develop a stronger sense of well-being. The body responds quickly to being honored in this way. And it can all start with getting out to the park.”
4. Exhaustion Cause: Toxins Everywhere“Clean air, clean water, and clean food are the physical building blocks of good energy,” says Merrell. But those fundamentals are increasingly hard to come by. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 148 industrial chemicals course through our bloodstream at any given moment. Are they toxic? Probably. 
“[Scientists] tend to look at the data and determine whether each chemical is within an acceptable level,” says Merrell. “But what happens when you get 148 potentially toxic chemicals that may be interacting in your body? Little bits of this and that add up, and we just don’t know what’s really safe.” Processing these ever-present chemicals can strain your body’s energy resources, possibly contributing to fatigue.

Exhaustion Cure: Clean HouseLimit your exposure wherever you can, says Merrell. Invest in a good water filter and air purifier, buy nontoxic cleaners, and choose home products (paints, carpets, furniture) less likely to emit harmful fumes and chemicals. Finally, choose organic food whenever possible. Merrell suggests consulting theEnvironmental Working Group to assess which fruits and vegetables are most and least likely to contain pesticide residues.
5. Exhaustion Cause: Lack of Meaning and JoyTo feel fully alive and energetic, says Merrell, we need a sense of meaning and connection. But it’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind — work 9 to 5, buy groceries, make dinner, pay bills, watch TV — and let the things that make us feel truly happy slide off our priority list. Without enough meaning and joy to buoy you, fatigue and stress can easily drag you down.

Exhaustion Cure: Keep A JournalStart by recording your sources of disconnection and stress. At the end of each day, write down all the things that created stress in your life, how you reacted to them, and the result of your actions. “After a while, you’ll start to notice patterns,” says Merrell. Then record all the things that bring you joy and pleasure.
Now plot your own route to a more meaningful life. Do less of the things that bring you unhappiness and anxiety, and more of those that make you feel good. You might find, for instance, that a nightly chat with your spouse keeps you grounded, whereas watching TV drains you. You could discover that making time for that dance class is worthwhile even when you’re tired, because you always leave energized. Or that you feel renewed after attending religious services or sitting down to meditate. Follow the trail of the positive, and you’re guaranteed to feel a charge. And if you don’t already, consider practicing random acts of kindness. “Giving to others without expecting anything in return is the highest form of connectivity,” says Merrell.

6. Exhaustion Cause: Thinking Like a PessimistA negative outlook presents a huge energy drain, but we can overcome it. “You first have to recognize what pessimistic thinking looks like,” says Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of “Your Soul’s Compass.” The best time to do that? When you experience a setback — say, your car broke down or you didn’t get a job you’d been hoping for. Take note of whether you experience a trio of qualities that psychologist Martin Seligman, Ph.D., termed the “three Ps”: personal, pervasive, and permanent. “Personal means, ‘It’s all my fault,’ ” Borysenko says. “Pervasive means, ‘I mess up everything I do.’ And permanent means, ‘It’s the story of my life.’ ” If you find yourself reacting this way, consider an attitude reform.

Exhaustion Cure: Learned OptimismOptimism can be learned, Borysenko insists, “even though we might have ingrained patterns and brain circuitry that support negative thinking.” On the flip side of the three Ps are the three Cs: challenge, commitment, and control. “Optimists see changing circumstances as a challenge to meet,” she says. “They approach it with commitment. And they feel they can influence the situation, so they have control.”
That last ingredient, control, requires a measure of discretion. “You can’t control everything,” she says. “Optimists focus on making life less stressful by controlling only what they can, and in a skillful manner.” Understand the difference in these two ways of thinking and you’ll start the process of moving from pessimist to optimist.
7. Exhaustion Cause: Leaky BoundariesTo draw more energy into your life, you have to first ask an important question: Where do I begin and end? “When I see patients complaining of exhaustion, nine out of 10 have trouble setting personal boundaries,” says psychologist Bo Forbes. One of the biggest emotional drains for women, she says, is the need to be available for everyone — our friends, children, spouses, and bosses — all the time.

The most empathic among us often pick up negative emotions from other people, too. “Even if we’re in a great mood,” she says, “we can encounter someone who’s anxious or angry or tired, and we end up taking on that person’s emotions.” The net result is a plundering of our energy resources. “If we don’t have sufficient boundaries, we’re like a house with all the windows and doors open,” says Forbes. “Energy is leaking out everywhere.”

Exhaustion Cure: Just Say NoLearning to set boundaries is a personal-growth odyssey, and it requires a close and careful inventory of what’s really important to you. But the best way to get started on the path is to start saying no. “If someone drains your energy, say no to spending time with them,” says Forbes. “Say no to checking your emails after 5:30 in the evening, or to that extra committee meeting.” As you scale back, start adding into your life the things that renew you. 

8. Exhaustion Cause: Not Enough RestSure, insufficient sleep presents an enormous energy drain. But so does insufficient rest, a state that’s entirely different from sleep, says Judith Lasater, Ph.D., author of “Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times.” “Rest requires that you be still and quiet,” she says.
Americans don’t get enough for two reasons. First, time and labor are both valued and demanded in this country; second, we have too many options. “We have theaters, shopping malls, and restaurants to choose from, pottery classes to take, home improvements to make,” she says. “At any given time, we could be balancing our checkbook, hitting the gym, weeding the garden, or working on our scrapbooks.” Combine the national work ethic with all those options, she says, and you have a nation of very busy people. And we wonder why we’re tired.

Exhaustion Cure: Play DeadEvery day, set aside 20 minutes for Savasana (corpse pose), the most restful of the yoga positions.
1. Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes so you don’t have to watch the clock.

2. Lie down on your back on a soft yet firm surface, such as a rug (but not a bed). Place a rolled pillow or blanket under your knees if that feels good, and cover your eyes with a soft cloth. Cover yourself with a light blanket.

3. Let your arms and legs roll slightly out from the body as you relax and begin to take a series of long, slow breaths, setting an intention to disengage from the external world. If your mind starts spinning away, simply return your attention to the breath.

4. When the timer chimes, bend your knees, roll to the side, and sit up. After a moment or two of stillness, reengage with your day.

9. Exhaustion Cause: Information OverloadEver spend an hour watching the news and feel hungover afterward? Felt knocked down and slapped around after checking your BlackBerry for the 40th time? If so, you’re suffering from a common energy-zapping malady: information overload. “Our media culture offers up sensory experiences that don’t nourish us, even when they seem pleasurable,” explains Thomas Yarema, M.D., national director of clinical services at Kerala Ayurveda USA.
In Yarema’s view, based on India’s ancient health system, Ayurveda, the underlying cause is a disruption of the energy that animates our lives, known as vata. But you don’t need to understand Ayurveda to know that too much information can leave you upset and depleted.

Exhaustion Cure: Get GroundedAs you make strides to reduce your media exposure, Yarema also suggests creating a stronger center of gravity so that you’re not so easily buffeted on the winds of information. To that end, follow a simple grounding ritual every morning: At sunrise, drink 2 to 4 ounces of warm water with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Then warm some sesame oil and, sitting on a towel, massage the oil into your skin, head to toe. Follow this with five minutes of deep breathing, directing the breath to tension in your body. Finally, do some yoga or take a walk. With this nurturing, vata-soothing routine, you’ll be able to strengthen your center in the face of sensory overload.
10. Exhaustion Cause: Resentments and RegretsIf you’ve dallied in the spiritual life at all, you know that living in the present moment allows you to feel awake, alive, aware, and energized. Unfortunately, says Borysenko, too many of us live in the past. 
While running a mind-body clinic at Harvard Medical School for people with cancer, AIDS, and stress-related disorders, Borysenko noticed that some people underwent stunning transformations and others didn’t get much at all out of the program. “The difference was the willingness to let go of [negative experiences] in the past,” she says. “People who weren’t ready to release regrets or resentments simply couldn’t come into the present to make use of the program.”
Many of us have our own “grievance story,” says Borysenko, and replaying it over and over wedges it ever deeper into the limbic brain, which controls basic emotions and instinctual drives. Eventually, the story takes on a life of its own, zapping our energy in the process.

Exhaustion Cure: ForgivenessForgiving someone — or yourself — comes with realizing that the feelings you’re holding on to have “made your life unmanageable, stealing your energy, your sleep, and your happiness,” Borysenko says. “Forgiveness isn’t about pardoning the offender; it’s about transforming the forgiver.
Borysenko recommends creating a ritual to help reset the limbic brain. “This involves two kinds of memory: verbal memory, which we’re all aware of, and iconic memory, which stores images away in the amygdala. When you perform a forgiveness ritual, you create new images that can get into that part of the brain.”
Write your intention to forgive on paper and burn it, then bury the ashes. Or tie a string to yourself and a photo of the person you want to forgive, then cut the string to set yourself free. To forgive yourself, try this ritual drawn from the Judaic tradition: “Deposit your sins into a piece of bread, and throw it in moving water,” says Borysenko. Although traditionally done during Rosh Hashanah, you can try it anytime you need to see your regrets float away.
Don’t Forget the BasicsTake care of the energy essentials to maximize your personal vitality
Get Enough (But Not Too Much) Sleep
Studies indicate that seven or eight hours a night work best for most people. To get them, establish a wind-down routine: Keep everything but sleep (like paying bills or watching TV) out of your bedroom; avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, and strenuous exercise within four hours of bedtime; and dim the lights an hour before you hit the sheets. Remember, though, that you can get too much of a good thing. Sleeping more than nine hours is associated with waning energy levels and increasing illness.
Eat Right
The body thrives on a diet of whole foods, with lots of anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables. “Start by trying to make one meal a day perfect,” says Ronald Stram, M.D., founder of the Center for Integrative Health and Healing in Delmar, New York. “Get some lean protein, a monounsaturated fat or omega-3 fatty acid, a whole grain, and a serving or two of fruits and vegetables.” Beyond that, limit your intake of processed foods, sugar and white flour, and artificial flavorings and sweeteners.
Stay Hydrated
If you’re underhydrated, fluid doesn’t move through the body as actively as it should,” Stram explains, and the body has to work harder to keep its processes going. That depletes your energy. If a headache accompanies your fatigue, you probably need more fluid. Stram recommends 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight; if you’re an avid exerciser, add another 16 ounces to your daily intake.
Get Plenty Of Exercise
Upping your exercise quotient is perhaps the surest bet for more energy. “On a cellular level, it’s mitochondria that produce energy,” says Woodson Merrell, M.D. “You can increase the size, efficiency, and number of mitochondria by exercising. It plugs you into the energy grid.” Cardiovascular exercise also tones the body so it needs less energy to operate, says Stram.
Limit Caffeine
A cup of coffee may be the quickest route to energy, but it comes at a cost. “It doesn’t give you energy, it just bunches your energy up early in the day, says Andrew Weil, M.D. “Then you run out.” Consider switching to green tea.
Check With Your Doctor
A number of health conditions can underlie fatigue, so visit your health-care provider if you’re tired all the time.


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Air Fresheners Create Toxic Chemical Soup

October 21, 2007 Jorg Mardian RHN, CPT, MT, CKS @ 7:11 am

Did you know that by using an air freshener in your living room, you are probably breathing in more toxic substances than you would in the middle of a traffic jam in Los Angeles?

Few people understand how bad air fresheners are for their health, and fewer seem to care. North Americans love their scent neutralizers: those air fresheners, plug-in room deodorizers, odour sanitizers, room sprays, and aromatherapy candles. Advertisements are geared to make us feel that we don’t have a clean home unless some type of freshener is hanging on various outlets.

But in spite of what manufacturers would have us believe, air fresheners do not “purify” the surrounding air, nor do they add natural fragrances. In fact, they coat the nasal passages with an oil film (such as methoxychlor – a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells) or by releasing a nerve deadening agent (www.consumerlawpage.com), to drown out whatever smells may be deemed offensive.


Various harmful substances in air fresheners include allergens, potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde or styrene, dangerous substances such as toluene and chlorbenzene, glycol ethers, phthalates and artificial musk.

Paradichchlorobenzene (a white, solid crystal) has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and phenol (carbolic acid) is flammable, corrosive and very toxic. (Alive: Something in the Air, February 2004)

Even more dangerous, formaldehyde, (admitted by the EPA to be a cause of cancer), and benzene (a carcinogen for which the WHO recommends zero exposure), may hang around the air after the use of several types of incense or electric scenter. Not to mention all the other chemicals not mentioned here and about which we know nothing. (WECF, 2005)

Most of these chemicals have never been the subject of an in-depth toxicological study, and the effects on health and the environment have not been subjected to sufficient evaluation before the products were launched onto the market. When used in a confined area, like a homes, at work, or cars, they create an intense amount of toxins in a small area.

The following list of ingredients that may be found in air fresheners is taken from “Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products“, by Gosselin, Smith and Hodge, 1984.

Spray Type Deodorizers:

  • ethyl or isopropyl alcohol
  • glycol ethers
  • surfactant (quaternary ammonium salts)
  • perfume
  • water
  • propellants
  • metazene (4.0%)
  • petroleum distillates (6.0%)
  • aluminum chlorhydrol
  • bromsalicylanilide 2,3,4,5-BIS(2-butylene) tetrahydrofural
  • cellosolve acetate
  • dichlorodifluoromethanol
  • ethanol
  • fatty esters
  • lauryl methacrylate
  • methoxychlor
  • methylene chloride
  • o-phenylphenol
  • p-dichlorobenzene
  • pine oil (toxicity like turpentine)
  • piperonyl butoxide
  • pyrethrin
  • synthetic surfactants
  • trichloromonofluoromethane
  • wax
  • zinc phenolsulfonate
  • Wick Type Deodorizers:
  • formaldehyde (37%)
  • water-soluble perfume
  • coloring
  • water
  • emulsifiers
  • essential oils
  • aromatic chemicals (xylene)
  • chlorophyll

Several of these components are well-known carcinogens, and others have a wide range of immediate and long-term toxic effects on vital organs. The cumulative effect their mix has on human health is largely unknown. But it is safe to say that these products represent a real risk to health not only of allergy sufferers, asthmatics, pregnant or nursing women and children, but also to anyone using them continuously.

According to a September 2007 report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), these noxious chemicals may even affect hormones and reproductive development.

As part of its “Clearing the Air” study, NRDC researchers tested 14 brands of common household air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals known as phthalates, which are “hormone-disrupting” chemicals. Phthalates can affect normal hormonal processes-those that control brain, nervous and immune system development, reproduction, mental processing and metabolism-by blocking them altogether, throwing off the timing or “mimicking” natural hormones and interacting with cells themselves, with very unhealthy consequences. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates-including one commonly used in air freshener products-are “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.” (Kansas City Infozine, October 11, 2007)

Scented and aromatherapy candles are no better at clearing the air, and bear little or no relation to true aromatherapy. Such candles, are of questionable benefit regardless of the flowery implications of their names, and have negative effects on air quality and health. Aromatherapy candles:

are usually made of chemical (paraffin) waxes & toxic synthetic fragrance oils.

usually contain metal wicks made of lead or zinc. 100% is inhaled in the black soot which ends up in the bloodstream and can be particularly damaging to children.

create toxic byproducts. Burning scented oils, and even candles with pure essential oils, chemically converts the combustion into unhealthy byproducts.

Source: www.deliciousorganics.com

Electric air fresheners also problematic

One of the most innovative, and popular formats of purifiers is the electric air freshener. These use heat generated by electricity to spread fragrance through the air. It consists of a tiny plastic tray containing a gel-like fragrance concentrate. The consumer simply peels a multilayer barrier film from the top of the tray, leaving a permanent membrane layer that allows the fragrance to diffuse into the air. The tray is inserted into a warmer unit, which then is plugged into an electrical outlet. As the warmer unit heats up, fragrance permeates at a controlled rate through the film membrane, dispersing into the air. (gale-edit.com)

Researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say that potentially harmful smog could accumulate inside homes through the reactions caused by electric air-fresheners and ozone. Experts believed the reactions produced formaldehyde, (at a concentration level of approximately 50 micrograms in each cubic meter of air), which is classified as a probable carcinogen that is believed to cause respiratory problems. This measurement was nearly equivalent to the EPA’s outdoor particle limit, which is considered to be an unhealthy level of particle exposure. (Nature May 10, 2004)

Air fresheners may damage your lungs

Another harmful ingredient is called 1, 4-dichlorobenzene, or 1,4-DCB, which could harm your lungs, according to a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The study — published in Environmental Health Perspectives — analyzed the effect of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as 1,4 DCB on the lung function of 953 adult men and women. Of the 11 chemicals studied, only 1,4 DCB was linked to a reduction in pulmonary function; a link found to be significant even when smoking was factored in. This could be serious for those with asthma or other lung problems. Reduced lung function is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. (WebMD July 27, 2006)

This chemical is usually found in space deodorizing products, such as room fresheners, urinal cakes and toilet bowl fresheners, and is used as an insecticide for moth control. It can also be found in things like tobacco smoke, paints, cleaning products and vehicle exhausts, and is detectable in 96 percent of population blood samples. (www.newstarget.com)

The American Lung Association (ALA) website at lungusa.org points out that commercially made room deodorizers are a contributing factor to the 56 percent increase in asthma cases since 1979. And the Canadian Lung Association (CLA) also lists air fresheners as a hazardous product.

What can we do?

We need to realize that “clean” does not have a “scent.” We have been brainwashed to believe that “clean” means some kind of toxic fragrance – whether it’s in our air, clothes, or body. But “clean” actually has a very “neutral” smell: non-offensive and non-toxic.

If you’re trying to eliminate unpleasant scents, try (pure) therapeutic essential oils instead. Most essential oils have antibacterial qualities and have varying physical and emotional effects depending on the oil, such as stimulation, relaxation, pain relief and healing.

You can purchase an atomizing diffuser, an electrical air pump, and a nebulizer. Use a blend of essential oils such as orange, marjoram, lavender, basil and chamomile to help you relax. Most importantly, these don’t produce harmful chemicals like traditional air fresheners that could result in respiratory problems.

The best way to avoid the problem is to simply open a window instead of reaching for one of these harmful products. You can also try:

=> burning 100% pure beeswax candles with 100% cotton wicks

=> using a drop or two of pure essential oils and distilled water, make a spritzer and mist the air.

=> using an “ash tray”– Zeolite, a mineral formed from volcanic ash, works the same way as baking soda.

=> adding drops of orange, lemon or lavender essential oils to organic cotton balls and put them around the house

=> simmering spices like cinnamon and cloves, organic lemons, fresh ginger or herbs such as rosemary or basil in a little water on the stovetop

=> adding a drop or two of pure essential oils to some hot water

=> use organic herbal sachets and potpourris

=> using freshly cut fragrant organic flowers or potted plants as air freshening factories. They clear carbon dioxide from the air and can even remove toxins.

source: Health In Motion